A better artist
Creating something "new" requires generating a lot of ideas. To allow those ideas to bubble up, judgement - "good" or "bad" - must be suspended. Improv helps me with this through radical acceptance of ideas - others' and my own.
It's taught me that often, all an idea needs is - space. In Impro Melbourne workshops, I've seen unexpected, interesting, and original ideas emerge consistently. As a result, I'm now less afraid of the blank page, and more excited to see what emerges when I sit with the space.
These are some of my favourite games to help idea generation for creative work:
A better Professional
Improv has helped me tilt my business skills from always-competing mode to let's-collaborate! mode. It's taught me what trusting others' ideas looks like.
It's helped me develop a better awareness of status transactions, which has taken my influencing skills to the next level.
Improv has helped me 'go with the flow' a bit more and develop a higher tolerance for ambiguity. I've learned to trust that things will land okay, even if I don't know where they're going.
These are some of my favourite games to help build strong professional communication skills:
- Status swap: for understanding power dynamics
- Master servant disaster: to understand what “blocking” communication feels like
- Gibberish expert: to pay attention to body language and non-verbal cues
I was first introduced to these games at Impro Melbourne's Character workshops.
A better Human
Of the list of many, many things Improv has enhanced for me, these stand out as particularly life-changing:
- Improv has brought 'play' back into my life, helped me connect with my inner child and experience joy often. It's also had an excellent side effect of making me more aware of my energy levels.
- It's taught me how to be present with people and made me a better friend & family member.
- Perhaps most importantly, it's ~10x'd my courage & creative confidence (thanks to happy failing!).
For the outcome driven folks reading this -
Since I started Improv, I've written and painted more in the last year, than in the last 10 years, combined. In March 2023, my second book was published. It's a short book of poems.
And of course, it has a poem about Improv that I'd like to leave you with -
An ode to improvising
Give me the stage
Let me unfold
And my dear audience
I will hold
Your attention, anticipation
And I don't know how I know
But I know this for sure
It's a beautiful moment
When I see
That you are enraptured
And you're looking back at me
Every pause as meaningful
As every word said
I speak from my heart
Instead of my head
Not a phone or screen
Our masks put aside
We've come out to play
And where we go from here?
Well, who can say?!
It's this unknown that holds
The fear and the magic
The delightful and the strange
The beautiful and the tragic
When we follow our curiosity
And into this unknown we delve
We find the ultimate pleasure
Of surprising ourselves
So, if you’re looking to try a new hobby / want a fun way to use your professional development budget, I’d highly recommend taking an Impro Melbourne workshop. It might just change your life (in the best way possible)!