"So I married an improvisor..."

Jay's wife weighs in on the marriage of business and improv.

If you haven't already guessed, improv isn't just about being funny. To me, and to the guy I spend my life with, it's so much more.

I married an improvisor. A passionate one. Someone with a flurry of color, ideas, and possibilities.

Then there's me - a corporate person. NOT improv. Risk averse. Practical.

How do the two come together?

By figuring out how I could live with saying YES.

What does that look like for me?

First let me say what it isn’t: it isn’t saying yes to every idea I hear from my husband.

What it is, is learning to slow down my reflex that says, “this idea is a bad one”.

It’s retraining my brain to look at how something COULD work instead of how it will not.

Try it some time. It’s applicable in so many more ways than you’d think. When someone proposes something you don’t agree with, PAUSE. Make space for a moment to entertain the idea. Sure, it absolutely might not work the way it was proposed. So how COULD it work? How could you accept the idea that is offered, and try shaping it into something that works?

My experience is that when I do that, we land on something we both are excited about, that wouldn’t have existed if we hadn’t built it together.

My prime example is when we started our improv business together,The Riot Act. What started as a preposterous idea from Jay turned into, ok well if I know all the ways it won’t work…what are the ways that it will? By creating that space, it created possibility.

Try it this week. When you hear something that really compels you to say no, PAUSE. What if it COULD work? What would it take? What are the ways this crazy idea could make sense. (Improvisers will call this justifying) Then see where you land.

If you’re feeling particularly brave, share your experiences in the comments section below.

Live - Laugh - Love.

Thank you for reading. As Martin deMaat said, “You are pure potential.”

Written 6 years, 6 months ago.
We Write About Improv

You will find hints and suggestions to improve your performance as a troupe or an improvisor. We also cover stories from the field of performing on the stage as well as teaching improv. Sometimes we include case studies of our corporate work to show how improv can boost office productivity and morale.

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