Building from Nothing: Start Doing Something

One of the things I continue to struggle with when I perform with my student team is when to enter a scene.   My mind often suffers from “analysis paralysis” and can get locked up in thoughts trying to think of the right thing to say or do.  My teachers have always coached me to “just get in there and start doing something” and to “trust my instincts”     In improv, I learned to start by mirroring the actions of my scene partners or using their words and actions as gifts to take a quick moment to determine what I can add.  I am also getting better at throwing my own ideas out there as a means to get us started.   Sometimes this gives my partner a little more time to develop an idea or character. It doesn’t always have to be perfect, but in order to begin, you need to start somewhere.  

This has been something that has also crossed into my professional life.  I have a tendency toward perfectionism.  While I have a reputation for producing high quality, well-thought out deliverables, there are also times that this tendency delays progress or blocks a better solution.   As I have applied more of a “just do it” attitude, I share work in progress more for timely feedback as well as have more collaborative sessions.  The feedback has helped me to iterate through drafts more quickly keeping tighter alignment with my stakeholders and customers.     The collaborative sessions have had an even greater return.   Just the other day, I was working on a concept with a couple of my colleagues.  In just 45 minutes we developed a conceptual solution for a problem we have been facing.  We can now take that to our leadership to refine the draft to accelerate our progress.

Somewhere along my training journey I heard the expression “one plus one equals four” meaning our combined ideas can be greater than the sum of our individual ideas.   The combination of a great team with the willingness to put an idea out there as a starting point and working together to build something great.   In improv this means a fun scene that entertains the audience.   In my work life it means better business results.     

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