Inspire Improv & Coaching Inc

Transforming cultures through communication and connection.

Inspire Improv & Coaching

Filtering by Tag: confidence

Follow the Fear - how one word can make all the difference

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of speaking at the 2018 International TWA Conference in Ontario, Canada. The focus of my talk was, “Follow the fear,” Which is a concept that comes from improvisation, referring to our tendencies to second-guess our ideas and shut ourselves down, before we give that idea a chance to breathe. The concept of “Follow the fear,” encourages us to step into what it is that only we have to offer.

We understand that that the more afraid we are, the more important and brilliant those ideas are, and the more necessary it is to share those ideas or things that you feel need to be called out.

During the talk, I used one of my favorite exercises, One Word Story. It’s pretty self-explanatory, a group of people stand in a circle and tell a story together, one word at a time. It gives participants a chance to practice simply saying the first thing that comes to mind, without judging it. We also notice our natural tendencies to want to have the entire thing planned out ourselves, and spend time thinking about what we’re going to say, rather than being present and listening to our teammates.

The best part is leveraging the creativity of the entire group and creating something together, that we wouldn’t have come up with on our own.

While discussing these insights, a participant made another wonderful point. She said, “If any one of us weren’t here, the story would have been completely different.”

Yes! I wanted to cheer and jump up and down, but that would have been inappropriate.

Your unique insight, creativity and expertise is invaluable.

What are you holding back? Where are you second guessing yourself or keeping quiet because you don’t have every detail figured out yet? How could contributing your “one word” drastically change the story of your organization or your community?

I encourage you to “Follow the fear” and see where your “one word” takes you. I’d love to hear how it goes!

Four Things I Learned About Self-Worth From a Near-Mullet Experience

I’ve found myself in a styling chair on a stage, in front of an audience of fancy-pants, Los Angeles hairdressers. Describing what he’s planning to do to MY hair, the stylist, just uttered the words, “Hip mullet”. M-U-L-L-E-T! Business in front, party in the back MULLET!

Let’s back up for a moment. I’m a 20 something, struggling actor in LA and a friend calls saying that the studio across the street is putting on this huge hair styling class, being taught by someone of importance in the styling world. Their  model didn’t show up and they need someone ASAP and they’ll cut my hair however I want! My immediate thought, “Woohoo, a free haircut!” I hop in the car.

I’m having my makeup done when the stylist introduces himself and thanks me for coming on such short notice. I show him a picture of the style I’d like, and he agrees that it would be a great look. He’s happy to do it!

Fast forward 30 minutes, I’m in the chair, on stage, having had the rug pulled out from under me. What should I do? In this situation, my job is to stay quiet and simply be a body with a head of hair. But the stakes are too high. I cannot afford to walk out of there with a “hip mullet.” So, I speak up.

“Excuse me?” I say in a tentative voice, “That’s now what we discussed. Can we go with the style that you said you’d do backstage?”

Silence and a look.

“This brings up a great topic.” he says as he turns back to the crowd, “What do you do, when your client asks for a style that you know will not look good on them?”

I am FACING the audience trying to control the look on my face.

He turns back to me, “What if we cut it into the style I suggested and if, after that, you still want it cut your way, we’ll do that?” I agree.  

He gives me a mullet and it is terrifying.

“So! Do you still want me to cut it your way?” he dares me.

I muster all my strength, “Yup.” And with that I give my head to a person holding scissors, who I’ve clearly upset, in a room full of his peers.

He does a fantastic job and the stylists in the audience are invited up to look at the cut close up. A handful, out of earshot of him, whisper to me, “You did the right thing.”

Yes, this was a haircut, this was not life or death. But I did learn a few things.

1.     Just because someone is an expert in a certain area, does not mean that they are better than you or know what is best for you.

2.     Chances are, if you think something’s not right, others do too, they’re simply too afraid to speak up.

3.     There will always be critics and there will also be people on your side. You’re the one who has to look at yourself in the mirror the next day. Go with what feels right for you.

4.     There is no such thing as a “Hip Mullet.”

Ten years later, I’m a mom, wife and business owner. I face situations where the stakes are much higher, but these lessons have encouraged me to understand my worth and trust my gut through even the toughest of situations.