The Improv Life: Show Up Emotionally

Going to show up emotionally more and more in 2022.

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.

#improv #clown #leadership #emotions #showup #performance #artist #writer #teacher #coach #life #theater #director #eq #emotions #leadership #emotionalintelligence #growth #feelings

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The Improv Life: Why Bits are Important to Friendship

The Improv Life: Why Bits are Important to Friendship

I had this job once where no one did bits. I’m not kidding. I would throw a great line just waiting to be riffed on, and the potential bit would die on the vine.

Or some body would unknowingly deliver a great premise just asking to be tossed around a circle and have every possible joke made about it. But it would just become nothing.

Hanging out with comedians and writers had spoiled me. Everything was a bit, a run of jokes to see who could come up with the funniest line. I mean not everything was a bit, but the possibility to see the humor in every situation and riff on it was always on the table.

Nor did they understand the concept of bits. I tried teaching them, but they never understood. It’s not that you need your co-workers to be good at bits; it’s that bits make life fun. They inject humor into any situation that otherwise would’ve been boring and absent of meaning.

Not that every situation must be a bit. And living in a constant state of bitiness can be exhausting. You’re always on (or feel like you have to) and you feel like you can’t be your honest self for a moment.

But not doing bits at all. Damn. That’s a hard one. What they don’t tell you is that a bit is a shortcut to friendship. If you can do bits with someone, you can also be honest and real with them when you need to be.

Friendship isn’t always about making each other laugh. It’s also supporting each other during the different movements in the opera that is life. Sometimes you need someone to laugh with; other times you need someone to hug you while your world falls apart. And if you can do bits with someone, you know you can shed tears with them too. That’s why bits are important – it’s a way to find real friends.

Shout out to all the friends I made throughout the years because they were good at bits.

#bits #improv #comedy #friendship #community #relationships 

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The Improv Life: The Biggest Benefits of Keeping an Improv Blog

The Improv Life: The Biggest Benefits of Keeping an Improv Blog

I’ve been blogging about my improv journey for almost 7 years. Here’s what I’ve learned after all that time.

1. I’d be lying if I remember every improv show, every set. What I remember most are moments and lessons – this blog is a way to record those moments and lessons.

2. You can be really affected by a class, show, or lesson, but it’s easy to forget it. Insights are transient. They arrive, blow your mind, and then they’re gone.

2a. Writing them down will make sure you retain some part of it.

2b. Plus, you can share your insights with the larger community and put some good out there.

2c. General rule for putting good out there: just do it, then do it again when you can, and repeat. Under no circumstances expect anything in return.

2d. Also, my insights are valid. Not saying they’re all game changers, but imposter syndrome will trick you into thinking that your experience has nothing of value to share with the world.

2e. My experience has value, so does yours.

3. Besides blogging about my insights, I also write about my journey.

3a. The specific is the universal. Meaning, I hope you can relate to parts of my highly specified, very personal journey.

3b. The more personal, the more people can connect to it. (That’s a rule applicable to most writing).

4. There are things in this journey that surround improv, things that happen off stage – rehearsals, team dinners, karaoke nights, driving up to the Clubhouse with Frankie Estrella, doing bits and talking wrestling the whole time. These and more are part of the journey, and they leave me affected, my art as well. It’s all connected I guess.

5. This blog, therefore, is a notebook to jot down my insights before I lose them, and a journal to archive important moments of my journey.

6. Basically, this blog is for me, to chronicle my journey, where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and what I’ve learned.

6a. That’s a great reason to start a blog.

7. I encourage you to chronicle your journey as well.

See you next time,

Fernando

#improv #impro #writer #lessons #notebook #journal #diary #insights #teacher #director #wisdim

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