Hiding Into Myself
The Improv Life: Showing Up Emotionally
One of my biggest flaws as a human is that I like to hide.
I’ll show up physically in a space, but I won’t show up emotionally.
And I’m pretty sure that’s the result of a traumatic childhood where I was forced to be in abusive spaces with no escape.
When you grow up like that, you learn to check out mentally and be present physically in order to get through an experience.
So I learned how to retreat into myself at a young age. And I’m still pretty good at it to this day.
Now it’s different though: I’m a leader and an artist, and showing up emotionally is part of the job.
For the most part I do, but every now and then, I don’t.
It’s usually because I’m tired (there’s definitely a relationship with physical energy and emotional energy).
Or maybe I got some stuff from personal life that is affecting my performance in these roles.
I mean, it can be a lot of things. Whatever the reason, people notice when you don’t show up emotionally. And they’ll get concerned, and want to help you (if you’re lucky).
The problem is this: emotions are contagious. The emotions you broadcast will be reflected back to you, and then be amplified collectively, affecting the emotional energy of the whole.
And me? I’m a walking power plant of emotion. I’ve always been that way. When I’m happy, people dig that and want more of it. When I’m angry, people get concerned.
Being a big guy also means that I have a bigger emotional broadcast signal – other people can tell how I feel.
Even when I think I’m hiding, I’m not; my emotional signal breaks through, and people want to find out what’s up.
I mean, we’re human. We evolved to read each other’s emotions. So much of being a human is being able to read someone emotionally and respond in a way that fits what you want out of that situation.
So why am I writing this? I’m trying to be more consistent in how I show up emotionally in 2022.
How am I going to do that though!? How am I going to meet this goal?
Here’s what I’m going to do to show up emotionally in 2022!
1). I’m going to monitor my physical energy and health. I’m going to take care of my body and get rest so that I have the physical energy required to show up in a space emotionally.
2). I’m going to check in with myself before I enter a space, and make sure I don’t bring in weird energy into a space that is really unresolved tension from some other aspect of my life.
Side note: Chad Damiani is really great on this. When you do one of his Catsby Workshops, part of the warmup is reminding yourself to show up 100% to the workshop and leave whatever baggage from the outside world behind.
3). I’m going to remind myself of the role that I’m entering a space in, and what expectations are put on me in this role, and how I can best deliver them.
4). I’m going to breath more. I’m going to have moments throughout the day where I just relax and do nothing. Being busy isn’t the same as being productive.
5). I’m going to remind myself that emotional energy is reflected back. Whatever I give will return to me. I’m going to be positive as much as I can.
6). I’m going to stay away from haters, energy vampires, toxic people, and people who don’t treat me with respect.
7). I’m going to say more. I’m not going to hold back. I’m going to share what I believe if I think it can help someone, even if it’s myself being forced to articulate an idea.
8). I’m going to say “No” when I need to. I’ve learned that showing up as a half version of yourself is risky, and that you don’t want to leave someone disappointed when they expected all of you to show up.
9). I’m not going to take life for granted. I’m going to appreciate every opportunity that comes my way, and recognize that every moment is special while fleeting.
10). Finally, I’m going to remind myself that when I show up emotionally I open up myself to receive more than I put in. Mutual vulnerability can lead to amazing things, and I can’t be afraid to take the first step.
There’s probably more I can do, but this seems like a good start.
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