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Improv Techniques to Help You In Uncertain Times

Core principles from improv comedy to prepare you to adapt while smiling.

Life is filled with uncertainty. Though we cannot control what happens or doesn’t happen, we can control how we show up amidst chaos and uncertainty. These four principles, when practiced, prepare us to handle anything that comes our way. Say "yes, and." Take everything as a gift. Play the scene you’re in. If it feels weird, do it.

1. “Yes, and” is a fundamental principle of improv. It’s about acknowledging what is and building on it. How might saying “Yes, And” help you take action toward the changes you want to make and the goals you want to achieve?

2. Take Everything as a Gift — There are no mistakes, only gifts, and opportunities in improv. When practiced in life, this principle is about practicing an attitude of taking everything as a learning opportunity. When did something feel like a "mistake" but, upon further reflection, resulted in a learning opportunity or a gift?

3. Play the Scene You’re In — the best improv scenes are when we are incredibly present in what’s happening in the one we’re currently in (not the one we wish we were in). Reflect on when you were present, made contact, and actively listened. What did you learn from the experience? What gifts surfaced from your presence? How did it change the way you approach connection and collaboration?

4. If it feels weird, do it! — What got us here won’t get us there in life and work. To get new results, we need to make new choices. What if you were to practice not judging yourself or others today by letting go of your inner critic and just doing it? How would it make you feel? What might it open up for you?

Open Guide in

Mary Lemmer

Founder of Improve, Author, & Keynote Speaker
Mary Lemmer is an entrepreneur, improv comedian, author, startup advisor, philanthropist, and recovering venture capitalist. She’s the founder of Improve, which improves lives, teams, companies, & impact, using improv techniques supported by research. She gave the TED Talk “How improv can improve your leadership and life,” has spoken at global events, and worked with many companies around the world.

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