I channelled my inner Mr G at an improv class recently. It was initially a bit anxiety-inducing but then it was lots of fun and brought back memories of high school drama class (miming ‘youth issues’) and studying to be a high school drama teacher (terrifying teenagers). The thing I enjoyed most was that we were encouraged to accept all offers, say yes, move things forward, celebrate our mistakes, be in the present moment and focus on our partners rather than ourselves.
Wow. What a lovely place the world would be if we were all ‘yes, let’s’ people. One such person is the hilarious and highly successful Tina Fey who says the Rules of Improv have served her well in life as well as art. This got me thinking how I can bring these more into my life…
Accept all offers ‘yes’: I can say ‘yes’ to ideas and invitations. Looking to agree first rather than dismissing things out of hand because they’re foreign or scary or involve leaving the house. This feels good and gets me out of my comfort zone.
Move things forward ‘yes, and…’: I can build on ideas and suggestions. Focus on being part of the solution rather than dwelling in the problem. This builds momentum and positivity and gets you out of the cycle of thinking about a problem and feeling crap about it so doing nothing about it. Why not add some flava and move things forward?
Celebrate mistakes: Traditionally I beat myself up about mistakes and try to hide them rather than acknowledging them, let alone celebrating them. It felt much better to jump up and down and say ‘yayyyy’ in celebration of stuffing up rather than feeling guilty or idiotic about it. Mistakes are inevitable for humans and if you’re afraid of doing something for fear you might make a mistake, it can be paralysing to try. Start anyway knowing you will trip up and when you do: don’t hate, celebrate!
Be in the present moment: Rather than thinking about what happened previously or what you might say in the future, improv encourages you to stay totally in the now with senses tuned into the present. This is the essence of mindfulness and something I’m oft trying to achieve IRL.
Focus on others: Our teacher said our main role was to support our partner and make them look and feel good. I do feel a lot happier in life when I stop focusing on myself and instead put others first. This works in many situations as it puts you in the role of being ‘of service’ and gets you outta your head. Also in public speaking when you look at the friendliest face and just speak to them rather than fixating on your internal commentary.
So try it and see and soon you’ll be singing, “My name is Mr. G. 3 talents, 1.2.3. Singing and dancing and acting is my life!”
Love and light and yes let’s xxx Yvette
Impro Melbourne: https://www.impromelbourne.com.au/
My Name is Mr G: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41_d17NV1uk