Do Something With Your Life (Why Not Improv?)

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I love talking to people, but starting conversations can be weird. I never know what to say or which questions I should ask. I don’t think I’m alone on this one since most everyone starts off those forced interactions with our girlfriend’s friend’s husbands with, “so what do you do?”

I think we’ve all asked and answered that question enough. It’s time for something new. My friend, and master networker, Wesley Hoffman, recommends asking “what do you do?” (for fun) over “what do you do?” (for work). But the wall I constantly hit is that half of the world doesn’t actually do much of anything outside of what they do for work. There’s nothing they’re passionate about. Just the usual hanging out with friends, Game of Thrones, checking Facebook.

Their answers ends up being nothing more than one, elongated “uhhhh.”

I have a full-time job. I know it’s hard to get away from work when email syncs to your phone and your boss knows how to text. And I know you probably have a partner, and maybe kids, a house, and a yard to maintain. I know you need some time alone on the couch to battle some griffons and wraiths in the Witcher 3. Lord knows I do.

But you have to do something with your life that gets you away from your office, off of the couch, and out into the world. Your answer to, “what do you do for fun?” can’t be the Tina groan.

I know I’m preaching to the choir. Most of you are passionate about improv. It’s something to look forward to after a long day of work on a lazy Sunday. It’s an important “third space” where we can escape from stress, express ourselves, and replenish our creativity energy.

When we let the 12-hour work day become the norm, only to go home, cook, clean, sleep, and repeat, we stop living and start sleepwalking. And sometimes, that seems easier than the alternative when we’re stuck in the zombie cycle.

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Sometimes, I take improv too seriously. It can be a beast that requires constant feeding – more teams, better time slots, new coaching responsibilities. In those times, I have to step back and remind myself that the goal isn’t to make millions and rise to the top. That’s what work is for. Improv is something I’m passionate about. It’s something I truly enjoy. It’s an escape from the everyday.

We need improv in our lives…or if not improv, something like it. A hobby we can be passionate about. A group of people who share our passion. And if nothing else, an interesting response to the question, “so, what do you like to do?”

Header photo credit: Julia Madras

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