improv a great idea for navigating world of work

What helps you navigate an unpredictable global economy?  Many experts agree that the answer is creativity.  Creativity is the skill of improvisation. You may have seen improvisation performed on the television show Whose Line Is It Anyway?

These stage pros show us how to build with what we are given. In professional improv, this is “accepting the offer” or performing “yes, and”. Learning some tools of improv can empower you in navigating the rapids of a dynamic world.

You improvise every time you step even a little outside the familiar. When life hands you the unexpected and you perform instead of being stopped in your tracks or doing the same old unhelpful thing again,  you are improvising.

I have a client I will call Mary. Mary is an accomplished person with several degrees and a highly paid position that drains her time and energy.  She came to me feeling that she was losing her life.

Mary was deeply attached to an outlook which kept her stuck.  She arrived quite convinced that what she already knows is enough. This approach helps Mary at times, but in our work this attitude freezes her in place. She can only keep doing what she already does. As a career and creativity coach, I advocate for trying something new.  After our first meetings, Mary agreed to try a step outside her box. She agreed to try something she didn’t already know.  She accepted a small assignment which required that she improvise.  She did.  Mary created. She performed.

As we continue, Mary will develop her skill with improvisation. She will get better at challenging old habits as we create her new work and new life.  By saying “yes, and”, Mary accepted my invitation to discover her new work/life together.  She opened the door.