Before beginning my internship at improve it!, I thought improv was strictly part of the comedy world. I had seen a few shows and thought they were funny, but that was all I knew about it. Joining the improve it! team made me realize that using improv and saying “Yes, And” is an invaluable skill for life in general. This realization was even more apparent after I participated in the business improv workshop last month.
The day of the workshop, I was so nervous about being in front of so many professionals and saying my ideas out loud. My mind was racing over what I would say, mentally preparing for the worst, and trying to figure out where the nearest escape route was in case things went south. At some point in the night, however, I stopped being afraid of what could go wrong and started living in the moment. Yes, that’s cheesy, but it’s true! I stopped wondering if everyone in the room was judging me and realized that everyone was having fun. More importantly, everyone was sharing ideas and supporting each other. Now, I’m a big Amy Poehler fan like the rest of the planet, and I saw a video clip of her giving a speech at Variety’s Power of Women awards. At one point she says something so profound that I think about it almost every day, “I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people any more that judge, or talk, or talk about what people do. I want to be around people who dream, and support, and do things.”
Doing the improv workshop taught me to recognize someone else’s idea and support them by adding on to it. It’s not a crazy concept when you think about it, of course we should support each other and invest in one another. The improve it! internal team shares this mindset. Erin and Allie are two of the most intelligent, creative, hilarious, and hardworking individuals I have ever met. But what I admire most about these two powerhouse ladies is their support and appreciation. I have never left the office feeling like I wasn’t contributing to the big picture or that my effort or ideas were being ignored. Through this experience, I have been challenged to be more confident in my ideas, to grow my professional skills, and to “be more comfortable with the uncomfortable,” as Erin likes to put it. I am so proud to be on this team and to be involved in a movement that encourages lifting others up rather than breaking them down. Even after my time at improve it! is over (*I’m not crying, you’re crying), I know that I will continue to practice the art of “Yes, And,” striving to be a more adaptable, supportive, and positive resource to those around me.