Tag Archives: self

Common Ground


679-08425851

“Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.”

What do I have in common with my fiancé?

Well… we both love art. In fact, we met in an art class – over 30 years ago – back when we were both 15 year old infants. We have carried this love of art into our adulthood and we often visit museums together, talk about films and music, analyzing the artists’ intent, the message, the relevance, whether we relate to it, whether we plain old like it.

We are both news junkies and often discuss stories.

We play cards together.

We go for walks together.

We both have a similar sense of dark, biting humor.

We visit car shows and both dream of (and have started saving our pennies for) a Dodge SRT Hellcat Challenger in Plum Crazy Purple with Oracle Halo Lights (in either blue or white), Lambo doors, custom rims and an after market air intake.  (That being said, we’d also settle for a Charger. It depends on what is available when we have money.)

We dream of taking occasional road trips as this car will be our one large toy – in lieu of the stereotypical cabin or boat.

We are on the same page financially. We made plans and goals together and are equally committed to them.

We both put our kids first before anyone else except each other. And the thing is, neither of us can think of anything more fun or amazing or important than dropping our plans to get a visit from one of them – his or mine.

But really, it goes deeper than that.

When I reconnected with the beautiful soul I once called my friend who I soon will call my husband, I heard his story – over time – from our missing years. I came to understand that he values his needs, feelings and wants the same way he values other people’s needs, feelings and wants.  He does not feel guilty for his needs, feelings and wants and does not feel guilty for communicating what he wants or needs.  He respects my rights and recognizes and acknowledges them as being equally important to his own. He does not feel threatened because I have my own wants, needs, thoughts and feelings. He does not judge my (or anyone else’s) needs, wants, thoughts and feelings.

He is not afraid of losing my love, friendship or approval by expressing himself. He is the first to apologize if he has done something wrong or insensitive but… he does not apologize for things that are out of his control and out of his realm of responsibility. He decided long ago that he was not going to live life being angry or resentful.  He was not going to live a life filled with ‘what ifs.’ He is done with the facades and pretending. He is perfectly happy living life, content with how he was created, satisfied doing the very best that he can.

And… I love that about him.

My soul shouts, ‘Me, too!’

While it is a work in progress and he is a little farther along than I am, we are both done with being something we are not.

We are both happy and committed to being our individual selves.

We have both decided to ignore the noise of the world and to live authentically, true to ourselves – quietly – under our own terms.

And, we plan on doing this together the rest of our lives.

 

Advertisements

Yoga for Social Skills


Kelly Leonard The Second City

Yoga for Social Skills.

I did not coin the phrase. It was delivered by Kelly Leonard, Executive Vice President of The Second City. He said it in an interactive keynote speech at a conference I am attending. His bio says he has overseen productions featuring Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Jason Sudeikis, Keegan Michael Kay and more. And… as impressed as I was with who he has worked with, I was more impressed by what he had to say.

Over the years I have seen a lot of ‘Improv for Business’ type courses offered by a lot of organizations. Over the years I have always wanted to sign up for one. I mean… who doesn’t want to think faster on their feet and be funny!?

But… to be perfectly honest, I had a hard time justifying it. I had a hard time seeing a connection. Kelly Leonard and his colleague Robyn Scott put it out there.

“Improv is Yoga for social skills.”

“Improv is practice being unpracticed.”

And… they explained the science behind some of it.

Apparently, scientists have scanned the brains of people actively engaged in improv and… when we are improvising, activity is reduced in the part of the brain that regulates self-judgment and self-consciousness.

When our self-critical tendencies are reduced, we listen better. We engage more. We are less fearful of taking risks. We are more creative.

Who doesn’t want to think faster on their feet, be funny AND be a better listener who is more engaged, is more creative and isn’t afraid to take a necessary risk!?

THAT isn’t just for personal growth.

THAT has a business application.

They threw out some improv basics. I had heard them before.

My daughter has a degree in theatre and communication and often brought home improv as dinner games. Seriously. If you see me in a restaurant and eavesdrop on a conversation I am having with my son and daughter, you would likely be very confused. We play a lot of Garth. (Example: If Kelly Leonard was an un-bathed zoo animal, he would be Smelly Leopard. If Robyn Scott was a toilet paper thief, she would still be Robbin’ Scott. etc.)

We have conversations where every sentence has to start with the last word said by the other person. (Example: “I don’t know whether to choose the free-range duck burger or the chicken sandwich.” “Sand, which is used as filler in some foods, is not good to eat.” “Eat vegetables and meat and things that are good for you. Where did you here sand is used as filler?” “Filler article in The Onion. I’m sure it was a joke but it could be true even if it was printed in The Onion.” “Onion on the duck burger sounds lovely!”)

We have conversations where the first word of the first sentence in the conversation must start with the letter A. The second person to add to the conversation must start their sentence with the letter B and so on. (Example: “A Dodge SRT Challenger would be a really fun toy.” “Better than that would be a Dodge SRT Challenger Hellcat! They have 707 HP!” “Camaros look cooler.” “Dodge is a classic.” “Even though the insurance is astronomical, I want one, too!” “For sure!” etc.)

Anyway…. I have heard about and used the concept of “Yes… and” and other improv concepts / exercises. But I have not heard them explained like this and I have not used them as anything other than dinner entertainment.

Kelly Leonard and Robyn Scott explained that the concept of “Yes… and” is not just a way to keep a scene running. It is a way to say yes to a person – even if you ultimately have to say no to an idea.

When someone comes to you with an idea and you say no, you are holding up a giant stop sign. It feels frustrating – and personal – for the person who shared the idea. There is no interconnectivity in this type of exchange, no collaboration. The person with the idea has to do all the work and, after a while of having a stop sign shoved in their face, they are going to stop coming to you with ideas.

When someone comes to you with an idea and you respond with “Yes… but” it is a little passive aggressive. It seems like they are saying yes but then….. they smack you with a stop sign and hit you with a revision. It is frustrating, belittling and confusing.

When someone comes to you with an idea and you say “yes… and” they feel heard. You are acknowledging them and their idea and you are hitting the tennis ball back. You are offering a reflection, another idea, a concern but… you are interacting. You are saying yes to the person and interacting with the idea.

I love this. ❤

I also love the other sound bites – that are so much more than sound bites – that they offered.

“If it can’t be used for evil, it is not really a superpower.”

“Fight like you are right but listen like you are wrong.”

“A Team is NOT only as good as its weakest member. It is only as good as its ability to compensate for its weakest member.”

“We teach others how to treat us but you need to play the scene you are in – NOT the scene you want to be in.”

And of course, the best advice of all….

If you don’t take anything else home with you today, take these three things. 1. Listen 2. Say “Yes… and” and 3. Treat every person in your group as a member of your ensemble.

By the way, I was so impressed, I ordered Kelly Leonard’s book, “Yes… and: Lessons from the Second City.”

 

 

 

 

 

A Thousand Times Without Words


A couple - full clothed - snuggling in bed