Welcome to One Word Suggestion.
Most people think improv is just for comedy or maybe jazz. But, really, it’s a tool for life. In each three minute episode of this series I use a single word, suggested by you, as a leaping off point to explore how having an improvisational mindset will help you perform at a higher level, both personally and professionally, whether you have a career on or off the stage.
This week’s word “courage” was suggested by Martine.
However old you are right now, that’s how many years things in your life things have been at least mostly OK.
Or, as Mel Bernstein says in the movie Scarface, “every day above ground is a good day.”
But for those of you out there who feel like a lack of courage is holding you back from living the truly good days you wish for, I’m here to tell you, fear is an illusion.
In life or on stage, unless you’re face to face with a grizzly bear, or in Tony Montana’s case, the DEA, one-hundred percent of fear is in your head.
Most fears are a combination of limiting beliefs you inherited from your parents, your culture, or maybe your religion. And unless you’re super self aware, you might struggle to identify those negative beliefs, let alone connect them to a lack of courage.
So how can you create courage? Part of the answer is to have faith. In yourself, in your tribe, in the world — however hard that can be some days.
Martin Luther King said,
“faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
And sometimes, that courageous first step can be as simple as bravely saying “yes.”
People who say “no” to things live life in the comfort of their own safety and security. People who courageously say “yes,” live lives filled with glorious adventure.
So you have a choice. You can choose courage over comfort. You can say “yes.”
If you’re struggling, try what Dale Carnegie suggests in his famous book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” Ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? If you can accept the worst, then you’ve got everything to gain by trying to improve from there.
Any emotions that get in the way and make it hard for you to say “yes” aren’t necessarily negative or positive, they are either empowering or disempowering, and as you develop awareness of them, that awareness will give you choice, and choice gives you freedom.
Kim Quindlan writes on the Thought Catalog blog, “the moment someone decides to step out of the box is the moment when everything suddenly becomes really interesting. So if you’re drowning in the never-ending monotony of your own life, try mixing things up for a change. Do something exciting, inspiring, or educational that you wouldn’t normally do.”
I would add, do something courageous. In episode eight of this series, (the word was “Fear,”) I said “if something scares you, go towards it. That’s where the learning lives.” And I meant it.
And don’t worry about being perfect. As John Assaraf says, if you’re “interested or committed to achieving your dreams, choose progress over perfection and G-O-Y-A.” (That’s his acronym for “get off your ass.”
When it comes to personal growth and organisational improvement, there are limitless opportunities for learning. For saying “yes.” and being courageous.
So that’s my take on “courage” Thanks for the great suggestion Martine
If you want to suggest a word for next week, or add your perspective, drop me a note in the comments or in a review. I’m making one of these every week, for a year, so definitely subscribe, like, share, and all that jazz.
Or better yet, listen to the podcast.
And in the meantime, if you’re interested in improv for personal growth, professional achievement, or just for fun, my suggestion is to get yourself into an improv class or book a corporate training workshop for your team.
You can learn all about LMA’s programs at www.lma.training