The Value of Improv

The Value of Improv

Are you the type of person who has to plan everything in advance? Or who has to have 100 questions answered before you can try something new? If so, you could be missing out on many great possibilities in life.

Key topics:

✔️ I can’t say I’ve ever dissected a frog outside of biology class, but I have definitely relied on the skills I learned in speech & drama class.
✔️ Being able to think on your feet isn’t important solely for actors or politicians.
✔️ No one is expecting you to win an Oscar, but you need to be able to say “yes” to new things without needing to think it over and rehearse for 2 weeks.
✔️ Sometimes, opportunity only knocks once. If you don’t answer the door, you’ll miss out.

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Transcription by


Hello, hello and welcome to today’s episode of the Causey Consulting podcast. I’m your host Sara Causey and I’m also the owner of Causey Consulting, which you can find online anytime at Causey You’re flying solo with me on today’s episode, I wanted to just record a quick informational segment about the importance of improv. Now you may be sitting there wondering, okay, but I thought improv was just for like stage actors and comedians, what does that have to do with me getting something that I can apply immediately in business or in life if I’m not a stand up comic or an aspiring actor? So I’ll ask you a few question. First, when you go on vacation, how much of the time do you plan out? And how much do you leave open for spontaneous activities? at work? Are you the kind of person who lives and dies by your calendar? If something unexpected pops up? Do you find yourself getting angry, frustrated, or having a panic attack? If you get invited to do something that you’ve never done before, to try a new food or to have to go to a concert to hear a band that you’ve never heard before? Do you feel excited? Maybe a bit nervous but open to the experience? Or do you just completely freak out and shut down? I like to call myself a recovering perfectionist. I used to worry about every jot and tittle and if something wasn’t right, in my mind, if it wasn’t perfect if it wasn’t just to the highest standard possible, I would get upset Sometimes I could carry emotions with me for days or weeks. I mean, I can think back to some times when I worried about mistakes that I made that were so minor, so silly, but yet I lost sleep over them. And I really thought everybody was judging me harshly in thinking that I was an idiot. And it just simply wasn’t true. Aside from causing anger and anxiety, it’s also suffocating. It’s not leaving any room for things to unfold. Wayne Dyer likes to talk about, let life unfold. When you’re planning out every moment of every day, you’re not open to something new. You’re really not letting life unfold. We tend to worry about shutting out negative experiences. Well, if I plan every moment, and I don’t try anything new, I don’t venture outside my comfort zone. Now I highly increase the odds that I’m going to be okay. If I can control everything and I can predict everything, then I’m going to be okay. I also really like Joe dispenza, his teachings about embracing the unknown. In order for something to show up That’s unexpected and cool and fun and different. You have to be open to the experience. How many times have you heard someone say, a check to showed up out of nowhere, I landed a new account. I had never even heard of someone called with a business proposal and it was awesome. These things really do happen. I can tell you plentiful stories of times where someone called me out of nowhere. I got an email out of nowhere. I had really beautiful opportunities that came together. And I had no idea they were on the way. I didn’t pre plan anything. I wasn’t expecting it. It was just something that was able to come to me spontaneously, because of my openness, my willingness to let life unfold. When I was in junior high in high school, I was active in speech, debate and drama. Because sometimes we tend to disparage the things that we were into as kids and think that those hobbies or those extracurricular activities don’t have any bearing on our adult life. And while it’s true that, you know, thinking back to biology class, having to dissect a frog, I have never done that in real adult life, nor would I ever want to or have any desire to. So I can’t say wholesale that everything that you do in school is something that’s going to be highly useful later. But I am very, very glad for the training that I had in speech, debate and drama. It absolutely has helped me. One of the things that I did was extemporaneous speaking. Now, if you’re not familiar with what that is, and it sounds like a big 10 Word is just a fancy way of being able to speak on the fly, you get a topic and you have five to 10 minutes to prepare some talking points or some ideas around it and then you go, you’re not taking it home and thinking it over planning something overnight or having to write an essay that’s due in a weak, you get your five to 10 minute window of time and then you have to just go. Some people think that you have to be a professional in order to be good at improv, or the improv is a skill that’s really only important for actors and stand up comedians. No one is expecting you to be the next Marlon Brando. They’re not thinking that you’re going to show up somewhere late, be a pain in the directors but have not memorized any lines and boom, nail a scene, win an Oscar for it and be totally amazeballs. The point is that you are being the best you that you can be and you’re having an open mind. towards new experiences. There are people I have invited to be on this podcast that were scared to death. Some of them wanted to have a whole list of questions sent to them. And you know, and it made me think of like scandal I was thinking of Cyrus Beene and Olivia Pope and like, well, we need to clear this with the chief of staff. First, you can’t just come in here and ask good questions to high officials. You got to lighten up. That’s another really important message that I want to deliver other than being willing to improv and think on your feet. Lighten up. If someone invites you to go to a restaurant that you’ve never tried before, be open to it. If you look at the menu, and you’re like, I don’t think I’m familiar with anything. Be open to a culinary adventure. Don’t just go there and order the chicken mcnuggets. If you’re on vacation, don’t feel that you have to put a stranglehold on the entire trip by planning and Pre planning and scheming every moment of every day that you’re going to be gone, build in some time to really relax and decompress and have an experience that wasn’t on the agenda that wasn’t wealth from four to five, we are going to do this activity from five to six, it will be this. No, that’s not a very fun and exciting way to live. If you’re not good at improv, and you’re listening to this thinking, you know, I would like to have more of that comfort. In my business. I’d love to be able to feel more at ease on phone calls, or on zoom meetings. I’d love to be able to go into a sales meeting or a business meeting and really know that whatever happens, whatever gets thrown at me, whatever topic comes up, I can handle it. I can think on my feet and it will all be okay. I can give you some tips that will help a number one, get out of your own Head, the more that you overthink and over plan, the more you’re headed for disaster. The second thing is, do not assume that everyone in the room or the person on the other end of the phone call or the zoom meeting is judging you. Humans are by nature, selfish creatures. We like to know what’s in it for us or we’re thinking about what’s going on in our own lives. You may be in a crowded room full of people, and they’re all thinking about what they’re going to do later, or who’s cooking pot roast or, you know, I’ve got to go pick up the dry cleaning before I get home. They’re not standing there sitting there judging you and thinking about Oh, she just mispronounce that word. Or Oh, she just sneezed in the middle of her speech. That was a naughty, I promise you that’s not what’s going on in the audience’s head. The third thing is, in order to get out of your own comfort zone, you have to be willing to feel the fear And do it anyway. If you’ve never read Susan Jeffers book, feel the fear and do it anyway, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy, it is well worth its weight in gold. It’s one thing to sit back and theorize about how it would be to step out of your comfort zone. And it really is good to visualize success. Just like an athlete planning to play a game or run a race. It does help to be able to see yourself crossing the finish line and imagining a positive outcome. But in the end, you have to actually do it. You can’t sit around thinking about it and playing it out in your head a million times over but then not actually following through with it. The best way to get out of your own comfort zone is to just do it. Sign up for an activity you’ve never tried. play a sport you’re not familiar with. Go to a restaurant, you’ve never been to an order something other than the hamburger or the chicken nuggets and try something some new things. If you’re at a party and you get introduced to someone new, instead of giving the normal elevator speech of will, here’s who I am. Here’s what I do for work. Who are you? What do you do for work? Oh, okay, great. Really try to engage in a conversation. Get into some interesting topics with that person and instead of listening with the intention to respond, or to just move the conversation along really actively listen with the intention of hearing the other person and see if you learn something new. If you enjoy today’s episode, which I hope you did, please share it. If you haven’t already, subscribe to this podcast and leave a review for us on iTunes. Bye for now.

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