Published monthly by Sharon Eakes, Hope Unlimited, LLC
FOCUS: Improvise!
Disciplines: Mental Models, Personal mastery, Systems Thinking

"Every day, whether we're aware of it or not, we improvise from the moment we wake up until we drift off to sleep."
Pamela Meyer

I like thinking of life as a constant improvisation, with different contexts and characters. We could view the little gifts life offers us at each turn as set-ups for improvisation: a broken furnace, a new friend, a sale on peaches, a conflict with a co-worker, a canceled event.

Performers in improvisational theater use a technique called 'Say "Yes, and...."' to create brilliant, collaborative scenes. The gist is to accept whatever is given, then add to it. So when we wake up and find our furnace broken, as we did on Saturday when it was 4 degrees outside, we could Say, "Yes, it's cold, AND how can we stay cozy while we get the furnace fixed?" When improvisers say "no" to what the moment offers, the creative-collaborative process stops dead in its tracks. Where we live, we might also freeze to death if we said "no" or denied we had a broken furnace.

In the spirit of 'Say "Yes, and...."', each of life's gifts is an opportunity. Meyer says, "It is not possible to avoid pain, however it is possible to avoid suffering. We suffer when we try to wrestle life to the ground and make it behave on our terms. We can live fulfilling, creative lives when we accept what we are given and build on it."

1. Treat life and work as constant improvisations and collaborations.
2. Practice 'Say "Yes, and....."'
3. If you don't like the scene you're creating, interrupt the system by adding new players, changing the context, your posture, your tone.
4. Let go, for just a moment, of your practical, rational brain and use trust and intuition.

If you treat life like an improvisational game, I promise you'll have less pain and more fun!

Because we are going on a cruise (yeah!) there won't be a telegathering this month. Instead I invite you to e-mail me descriptions of creative improvising you've done lately in your life. Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673) or e-mail I am a personal and professional coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone.

Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

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