Do It With Purpose!

direction

What is the trick to improvising?

Most people freak out over the idea of walking on stage and having to create something out of nothing. And, even the most seasoned improvisors have found themselves on stage in the same predicament…

With nothing…

Helpless. Idealess. “What am I doing here?”

But here’s the trick. It’s simple.

Just ask yourself, “What is my objective?” Or, you can ask…

  • What is my emotion?
  • What is my goal?
  • What is my intention?
  • Who am I?

That’s it. Start a scene, pick an idea, emotion, goal, or intention – and you have all you need to have a purpose.

Instead of feeling like “what am I doing here?” – you have what you need to give you direction – and that is enough to get the scene going.

Your life is no different. Work is no different.

Think about your day. What is your purpose? What intention are you brining to work?

How are you showing up with your team? Do you have a goal? Is there a purpose – or are you just flying blind or going through the motions?

If you bring a sense of purpose and intention to everything you do – you never feel stuck. There is never a dull moment.

Try it. Today, choose one intention to bring to work. Will you try to be positive all day? Maybe you need to work on your patience or compassion?

What is it? What are you going to choose?

Think about when you get home tonight. Choose an emotion – or goal. Maybe your goal is to get laundry done, or spend quality time with your spouse or one of your kids?

Notice how having a purpose gives any activity or day a focus and enthusiasm.

It’s the key to improvisors creating magic on stage – and now you can do it in your life.

Want to learn more – than give us a call! http://www.improvasylum.com/corporate-training/

You’re Killing Them!

 

05_Flatbed_WEB - JULYThey show up to work every day afraid of you.

They know you track them. You know when they come in. You know when they leave.

Every time they forget to dot an “I” or cross a “t” – you’re there to point out their mistake.

You’re thorough in your criticism and micromanagement – and you are thoroughly destroying the morale and culture of your entire team.

You don’t manage them – they manage around you.

You think you lead them, but behind your back they have devised a system of how to survive you. That is their only goal – surviving you. As soon as a better opportunity comes along (better meaning “not you”) they will jump ship and never look back.

When you walk you will have a clear path because everyone is staying clear. They are ducking around corners, hiding behind cubicles, or just trying to look busy to avoid your contact. Have you ever noticed how many people are on the phone when you walk in their direction?

When they took the job they wanted to make a difference – now they are just indifferent. You’re the reason why.

When they took the job they had passion, but you killed it.

They wanted to do great work – with purpose! Now, their purpose it to make it look like they’re working.

Do they have any responsibility in this?

Of course. All of us are responsible for how we respond to others. People can’t take our power unless we give it to them.

That is a fact.

But that is easier said than done.

You have the opportunity to create a dynamic, inspiring, and engaging work environment. Your employees are screaming for it. Their families wish mom and dad would come home in a better mood.

They wish work was more than “just a paycheck.”

But that’s what it is – and it is slowly killing them.

The overwhelming #1 cause for the reason someone leaves their job – is their relationship with their boss. What impact are you having on your employees? What is the culture you have created? Is it based on trust, respect, and compassion? Does your team feel safe to make mistakes in the name of creativity – or are they stifled in fear? If you think the blog above was overly dramatic, than you have never been in their shoes. Our corporate training programs can help. Give us a call.

http://www.improvasylum.com/corporate-training/

 

 

 

Pour Some Sugar On Me!

sugar

I’m sorry. It’s stuck in your head now. You can’t help it.

…When you need some love…Pour some sugar on me!…

I’ll stop. Although, you should know, I’m hot, sticky sweet, from my head to my feet.

Moving on.

And, if you don’t know the Def Leopard song, this is one awkward opening to a blog.

Mainly, I have been doing a lot of sessions recently on the power of gratitude and appreciation. They are different, but they go hand in hand.

Actually, right now, think of three things you are grateful for. Do it. Don’t read ahead until thinking of three things.

Do it.

Okay, did you do it?

So, if we were to rate your level of happiness, it just increased. It’s true. Gratitude makes us happier. In fact, it is impossible to be in a bad mood and express gratitude at the same time. Impossible. Don’t believe me? Try it.

You can’t.

Also, did you know that when you are in a good mood – you tend to spread that good mood to other people. If you manage others, think about how pleased your employees are when you come to work in a bad mood. Yeah, you make their life easier.

We all have that person in our life that brings their stress, negativity, and baggage with them wherever they go. Are you thinking of someone right now?

If you can’t think of someone…well…

It might be you!

Did you also know that the overwhelming reason people leave their job…

Is not about the money.

It’s about their relationship with their boss.

When is the last time you expressed gratitude to your co-workers or employees? Was it genuine, or results oriented?

Do your employees know you appreciate them? Do you appreciate them? What do they do that you are grateful for?

Tell them!

Management is about relationships – not tasks. Performing with others on stage is not about improvisation rules – but the relationships that exist with the other performers. If there is trust, respect, and appreciation – it’s going to be a pretty good show.

If not…

Well, they’re probably already cleaning up their resume.

Maybe it’s not too late, so give us a call!

You Have The Power!

week5powerbutton

Hey…

Hey you!

Yeah, you!

I am talking to you. You work with people, right?

Yeah, you might even manage people.

I am talking to you.

Did you know?

Did you know that you have the power?

Did you?

The power. The power to transform lives.

The power to impact someone’s life – and maybe even lots of lives!

You have that power right now. That power goes with you everyday you go to work. Every meeting. Every interaction. Every communication.

You wield your power for either good or bad. Positive or negative. Empowering or suffocating.

You don’t need permission to have the power – you already have it.

How will you use it?

Think about it. Someone else has the power to. How are they using their power with you? Are they using it for good or bad?

Now, back to you. Don’t worry about them – you can’t control them. You only control you and how you choose to use your power.

Don’t think you don’t matter. Don’t be fooled to believe that you don’t impact lives. After all, you spend most of your day with other people – other living things. People respond to the people and environment around them. You are a big part of that environment – so what influence are you having? What are you contributing to the environment?

When you spread your power for good – people respond in a big way – and then they start to spread their power for good. It’s kind of a cool thing. It’s like being on stage with a bunch of improvisors working seamlessly with one another – making each other look like geniuses.

It is POWERFUL!

And remember…

YOU ALREADY HAVE THE POWER!!!!

So, how will you use it.

The Squeaky Wheel!

As a parent, the old adage is definitely true…

The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

It stinks. I hate it. I have tried to ignore it – but it seldom goes away. In fact, left unattended it seems to get louder.

The last thing you want to give a squeaky wheel is the power that whenever they are upset – they can squeak and have it taken care of.

But, if you do not nip a squeaky wheel in the bud, it will start to influence the whole team – event the best of them.

So what do you do?

An improv group, like a sports team, like a work team are no different. They all work and excel or flounder under the same dynamic principles of collaboration, respect, and trust.

When there is a lack of those three – they will flounder.

As a leader, you need to know the difference between an oil can and a wrench.

The important thing is to notice the squeak and address it. Some squeaky wheels are actually the only courageous one of a team brave enough to speak out. The others silently cheer them on and hope they lead the way for change.

If this is the case – this is a blessing because it gives you feedback of what needs to be improved. This is when you use the oil can to address the problem and solve it.

Some squeaks are individual and just a reflection of an employee who will squeak no matter what you do. They do not represent the whole team – and applying the oil in this case will actually cause resentment amongst the team.

They need the wrench so that they can be removed.

Okay, enough mechanistic analogies – afterall, we are not robots.

The bottom line is this – teams are made up of people. If you empower and manage a team based on autonomy, collaboration, and freedom – most teams can manage themselves, including taking care of the squeaky wheels.

But if a team feels powerless, you will hear lots of squeaks. You see, when people feel helpless and unable to manage themselves, they protect their own skin, instead of solving problems. Yet, if you make a team accountable to one another, dependent on each other, and they can operate in a way that does not limit their common sense – they will figure it out.

wheel

You won’t need to carry an oil can because the team will take care of itself.

If a problem arises from the team that needs your mediating – you will know it is more than just a squeak.

I have performed on improv teams, sports teams, and work teams with squeaky wheels. It’s no fun. Not everyone is a good fit on a team. Some people need to be let go.

But, knowing when to let go – and when someone just needs a little help is the key. Sometimes the squeak is not the person – it is the culture that has been created – and if you just replace the person – the squeak will keep showing up with other people.

If you are not sure between the two – give us a call. We can help!

Living Your “Yes And…”

yes-and

We all know about the mid-life crisis. And in recent years we have heard more and more about the quarter-life crisis. This typically describes people in their mid to late 20′s wrestling with the direction and purpose of their life.

The scary part is – they are often VERY successful.

But, successful at what?

Growing up we are told to get good grades, get into a good school, which leads to a good job, so that you can climb the corporate ladder, have a wonderful spouse and family, retire at the right age, and relax your later years away in the spot of your choice. And if you are really good, you’re kids will be able to the same.

It’s called the “American Dream.”

But what is the American reality?

I am not going to say that it is not a nice path – and there are many who have achieved that path to live happy and fulfilling lives.

Yet the American dream leaves a lot of important information out – and makes a lot of poor assumptions. For example, have you ever asked yourself, “What do I really need to be happy?”

I believe our society is experiencing an epidemic. An epidemic of purpose, authenticity, and meaning.

We have been force fed a blueprint of what success and happiness look like, yet not one ever asked us our opinion. And, if you are not asking yourself these questions of purpose, passion, and happiness – you just might find yourself waking up from the American dream – and feeling like it’s a nightmare.

Anyone?

Uber-successful film director and comic icon Tom Shadyac was the picture of success and fame – and now he lives in a trailer park.

By choice.

He sold the houses. Sold the possessions. Lives in a trailer, bikes to work, and donates his time sharing his passion and purpose to young people less fortunate than him. And though I don’t know him personally, he now looks like a very happy man. If you need more proof, check out his documentary I AM or his new book “Life’s Operating Manual.” They both might change your life.

Improvisation is built on and based on the principle of “YES And.” It is about listening and building off of ideas – and turning them into magic on stage. It’s creativity and collaboration at its finest.

Your life is no different. You have ideas, passion, purpose, and a desire for authenticity. A yearning for more joy and fulfillment in life – but you have not been taught how to say “YES And” to yourself.

It is scary, uncertain, and often uncomfortable. But man, is it awesome!

I am not against the American Dream, but I am against a prescribed formula of success based on superficial outcomes. As Lily Tomlin once said, “Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.”

We all need to say YES And to ourselves – but do you know how?

Luckily, we know how to help. Are you ready to say yes?

Where the Magic Happens

comfortzone

I speak a lot in this blog about how the magic happens on stage.

A good friend of mine is a mental conditioning coach for elite athletes and he posts an inspiring message in his window each morning. The image above is from earlier this week – and it inspired this blog.

Where does the magic happen?

Yup, that’s right – outside of your comfort zone. That is where you need to go if you are going to grow.

In improvisation the only way to create magic is by going places you have never been, and trusting that your scene partner(s) will have your back as you go there. It’s when you both find yourselves in this new frontier that you make discoveries and insights new to your understanding and skill level. If you were a video game – you would be leveling up!

But, the only way to get there is by getting uncomfortable.

In Finding Joe, the documentary about Joseph Campbell, they discuss the Hero’s Journey – and the need for each of us to create a path that has never been trod before. If you are trying to follow someone else’s path, it won’t get you there. You need to make your own path – and the only way to do so is by going beyond your comfort zone.

As yourself, what is the last major thing that really stretched you outside your comfort zone?

Was it painful?

Now, assuming you have a little distance from it – ask yourself, “What did I learn?”

Odds are – you learned a lot. Not that you would choose to have the experience, but the experience itself got you outside of your comfort zone – and as a result you can’t help but to grow.

Most of us love comfort, and we don’t like surprises, yet nothing happens in the space that moves us forward. (Sad, but true)

So, as a worker, manager, friend, spouse, co-worker, parent – can you consciously CHOOSE to get out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself?

What would that look like to you right now?

What is one thing you can do this week that will allow you to step over that comfort line into the unknown?

Are you willing to go there even if it’s scary?

Remember…

That is where the magic happens!