Improvisational theater has changed not only my personal life but my work life as well. I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to do multiple improv trainings for CAFAA and so it only seemed natural and important to write my blog post about improv. When I reflect back to my work life three years ago, I saw myself as a negative person that said “no” a lot, not only to the students I was counseling but other co-workers too. Being negative at work is so draining and unnecessary, so I’m thankful that my improv training has turned my attitude around.
There are some basic (insert air quotes here) rules of improv, and the very first rule is to say “yes, and”. This means to say “yes” to anything that comes up as well as contributing something, which is the “and” part. In an improv scene on stage saying “yes, and” moves the scene along and helps to heighten, explore, and build relationships. It’s so important to bring this “yes, and” theory back to the workplace because it promotes positivity and creatively. I’m constantly challenging people to spend an entire day, week, or month saying yes to anything. And what I’ve learned (and what my colleagues have learned) is that saying “yes” is very challenging but it’s more rewarding then saying “no” and you will be glad in the end that you chose to stay positive.
The second rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club (you’re welcome movie buffs). The second rule of improv is to make statements. How does this relate to office life? Be confident. Be a part of the solution. Innovate. Speak up about your ideas. Be bold. Take risks. Make statements. You won’t regret it, I promise.
Which leads us perfectly into the last important rule: there are no mistakes, only opportunities. The fear of making a mistake has stopped numerous people from being happy and successful in their career. If you take anything away from this blog, I hope it’s this very last rule. I urge you all to focus less upon the mistake and embrace the opportunities.
There’s a saying in the improv world, “If you don’t take risks in life, you won’t take risks on stage.” I’ve never been this happy before with my work/personal life then I am today and it’s because improv has pushed me to take risks and chase those opportunities!
If you are interested in improv or any of the ideas talked about in this blog, I would LOVE to talk to you so please feel free to contact me. Or come play an improv game with me at the 2015 RMASFAA Conference in Westminster, CO this fall. I hope to see you all there!
Erin “Brogs” Brogan
2015 RMASFAA Conference Co-Chair
2015 Leadership Pipeline Mentee
Season 6 Winner of Denver’s Next Improv Star
Metropolitan State University of Denver – Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
Brogan is a participant in the current class of the RMASFAA Leadership Pipeline. Mentees in this year’s Pipeline are all contributing blog posts as part of their leadership development.