Welcome to One Word Suggestion.
Most people think improv is just for comedy or jazz music. But, really, it’s a tool for life. For each article in this series I use a single word, suggested by you, as a leaping off point to explore how having an improvisational mindset will help you perform at a higher level, both personally and professionally, whether you have a career on or off the stage.
One Word Suggestion: Vulnerability
When it comes to watching a performer struggle on stage, or someone giving Powerpoint a bad name, I’m pretty sure most people would be glad it’s not them up there.
In fact, a lot of people feel that way even when a comic kills or the client loves the work. They would never want to be on stage, exposed, and all alone.
But here’s the thing about long-form improv. It revolves around what we call the ensemble philosophy.
The idea is that as a group, we decide and commit to having each other’s backs and supporting each other’s ideas, actions and choices no matter what.
Have you ever been to a stand-up comedy show where the comedian is bombing? Or in a client presentation where things just aren’t going as planned?
So while standups choose to live and die alone, improvisers always have a group of people supporting them, and when you know your team has your back, it becomes so much easier to be vulnerable and open to whatever comes without letting your own fears, agenda or ego get in the way.
In our corporate training work we see this all the time: “I don’t want to look stupid, or for people to see the real me… what if they don’t like what they see? What if I come across as weak?”
But guess what. Vulnerability is the truest demonstration of strength – being vulnerable by choice means you have enough confidence in yourself and your peers to see you through whatever comes at you.
Vulnerability makes you strong, not weak. When we show vulnerability with confidence we share ourselves without hesitation, comfortable whether we are accepted or not, committed to accepting others whether we are accepted or not.
And if being vulnerable does make you feel week, then that just means you’ve lost touch with your own personal power. The solution is to aim for openness.
Being vulnerable means that you don’t put your guard up—that you force yourself to be open to whatever happens on stage, at the office, in life. It is at the root of spontaneity.
If we’re afraid to show the depth of our personality or our emotional core, we deny the scene, our fellow players, our team, the audience, and even our friends and family, the power inherent in our details, our reactions and ourselves.
The trick is to foster an environment where people feel enabled and empowered to not only live their truth, but encourage others to live theirs as well. Only then can you draw from real life, embrace the awkwardness, and be real.
If you want to suggest a word for next week, or add your perspective, drop us a note in the comments or in a review and definitely subscribe, like, share, and all that jazz.
And in the meantime, if you’re interested in improv for personal growth, professional achievement, or just for fun, my suggestion is to get yourself into an improv class or book a corporate training workshop for your team.
You can learn all about PowerProv’s programs at powerprov.com.au
About One Word Suggestion
The One Word Suggestion series is your personal toolbox full of ways to help you use the power of improvisation to craft a more mindful and meaningful existence. Available as articles, a podcast, and soon, a book filled with powerful exercises for teams.
The One Word Suggestion Podcast with Eran Thomson
In each 3-minute episode, Eran uses a single word, suggested by listeners, as a leaping off point to explore how developing an improvisational mindset will help you perform at a higher level personally and professionally.
Whether you aspire to be better on stage or on the job, this quick hit of improv inspiration is sure to bring you some insights, perspective, and joy.
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