Improv-ing Your Business

By Jaclyn Sorci
07.29.2012

Lesson #2: Life, Unscripted
I’m excited to return to my blog series, Improv-ing Your Business. Last time, I introduced the series to you—specifically, how applicable my experiences as a comedy writer and actor/improviser have been at work and in my life—and talked about the importance of saying “yes” and remaining open to experiences and opportunities.

This second lesson is about being ready for anything and dealing with uncertainty and chaos. As an improviser and stage actor, I have to be ready for absolutely anything. A multitude of things can go wrong or right—and I have to be ready to make the save or capitalize on the opportunity that’s presented. When I’m improvising, I have no idea what my partner is going to say or do next. I don’t know if there will be hecklers in the crowd, a lighting/sound problem in the booth, or if the audience’s next topic suggestion will be good, bad or crazy.

It’s not unlike the real world. We can never be quite sure how our ideas will go over, whether a meeting will be productive, or if our life plans will be disrupted when life actually starts happening. If you’ve ever relied on public transit, you know all about relinquishing control to a cold, cruel world of the unknown.

So how do we deal with this inevitable uncertainty?

The fact is, what happens doesn’t matter. We can’t control what others will do or say, but we can be prepared to respond to any scenario. Great improvisers do it by studying character and scene structures, remaining open and making choices.

Being great in your life means dealing with uncertainty in similar ways. Preparation and study will equip you with tools for success, but more importantly, with the confidence to know you can handle anything by calling on your training and knowledge. And while we already talked about remaining open to the process of life, it’s also important to be accepting of the chaos. When you can embrace the notion of uncertainty, you can stop fighting against it and get to work instead.

In improv, you make choices about your character, your location, and your relationship to others. Making a choice means committing to something and establishing truths upon which a scene can be built. In the real world, making choices is about establishing your personal truth and committing to it. When you feel secure in your beliefs and abilities, walking into the storm is far less intimidating.

The bottom line is, don’t spend your time seeking control. Instead, direct your energy toward readying yourself and getting comfortable with who you are. What was once chaos will quickly start to look like opportunity.

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