When my son Luke was 12, he asked me if he could take Improv classes. Even though I have always encouraged him to try new things, I wanted him to do something else; something that would teach him some useful life skills. What were Comedy classes going to do for him in the future?
I resisted, he persisted, and eventually I gave in. I told him that he had to promise to stick with it; he was not allowed to just give-up if it got tough. He would have to learn to overcome the fear of performing in front of others. Once started, he was going to have to continue these classes throughout the entire summer.
I waited for him outside the classroom on his first night. I wanted to see his expression after his first session. He ran through the doors smiling ear to ear and eager to share everything that he learned.
As we drove home, he told me about the games that they played and the fun that he had. He said that there was an Adult Improv class immediately after the kid’s class and that I should join. I remember him screaming with glee, “You would be so good at this, Dad! You’ll love it!”
So, the following week, after his class let out, I walked in and gave it a shot. The teacher was an enthusiastic comic, and the class was filled with a family of funny friends eager to play. I tried to jump right in but overthought everything. My comments and contributions seemed to be met with silent stares. Nervousness turned into anxiety, and that hour-long class felt like an eternity that couldn’t end quick enough. In my mind, I quit and vowed never to return.
I sprinted out of the room, ready to run home. But outside the door, waiting for me, was Luke. With a big smile on his face, anticipating the same excitement that he felt, he asked me how much I loved it. The lessons of trying and not quitting that I hammered into him now haunted me. I said, “It was different, and I’ll think about doing it again next week.”
The following week was spent listening to him talk about the “Yes, and” theory of Improv. How we must sometimes allow others to take the lead. And how, instead of over analyzing our answers we must learn to “go with the flow” and strive to enhance what others bring to the table.
I went back the following week and continued for 6 years. My son gave me the motivation, inspiration, and courage to commit. I overcame my fears and fell in love with Improv.
Improv teaches us that that stepping outside of our comfort zone is how we grow. We learn how to listen, make connections, and help others build upon their ideas. Improv is an overlooked life skill that has helped me do better in business. It has helped me become a better husband, a better friend, and because of Luke I believe that Improv has helped me become a better father.
Consider attending an Improv for Business Workshop or let's talk about creating custom workshops for your team. www.MasterHappiness.com/improv
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