Quit trying so hard.

Note: I'm trying out something new, and providing a short audio file for our blog posts as well, based on some feedback we've received.  If you'd like to hear that audio recording, you can do so below.  You can download the file directly here. http://www.evergrowthcoaching.com/Podcast%20Files/Evergrowth%20Coaching%20-%20Quit%20Trying%20So%20Hard.m4a

 

I've been doing some things lately.  Some of those things include tennis lessons, piano lessons, and improv classes.

Improv classes have been a real treat.  First, because they're taught by the inimitable Dave Morris.  Second, because improv is basically just playing games with people, which is obviously a lot of fun.  Third, because improv and being coached have a lot in common.

My friends and family always told me I would be good at comedy.  I have a natural wit (it's part of my essence).  I love making people laugh.  I love making myself laugh.  (Have you ever laughed at your own joke because it was genuinely funny to you?  I love those moments).

The thing I discovered very quickly in improv is that trying to be funny kills the game you're playing.  Improv isn't about arriving at a certain goal.  There's nothing to arrive at — there's only the journey.  (starting to see some similarities?).

So sometimes, I would think a little bit and come up with a particularly funny response, but then it would kill the direction we were going in.  Other times, I'd get stuck, trying to think of something funny to say, instead of just allowing whatever was there to show up.  As soon as we're trying to do something, it gets in the flow of being ourselves.  We're putting our doing in front of our being.

It's not just trying to be funny that is problematic.  It's trying, period.  Of course, you need to show up and make an effort, but for those of you geared the same away, it's the significance we place on our own performance (and then the insane amount of pressure and trying we heap on top of that) that gums us up.

So quit trying so hard.

I noticed this recently on the squash court.  When I'm playing out there and having fun, I just do what seems there is to do.  But as soon as I see someone watching me, I get into my head.  I start trying to perform.  I start trying to make my shots look really good.  I start getting embarrassed when they don't look really good.

Maybe my shots look good, or maybe they suck; and, maybe my contribution to the game we're playing in improv turns out to be really funny, or maybe it's really creepy.  What matters isn't either of those things — all that really matters is playing the game.

I'm starting to see that life isn't really any different.  The only real job any of us have is to be ourselves, around whatever is showing up.  We can change our circumstances, but that isn't really stepping in to the growth that is available for ourselves.  It's just avoiding what we can't currently be with. I could stop playing on squash courts that have visible walls, but that's not going to create anything new for me.

That's it today. My desire to perform and be inspiring is kicking in and it wants me to write more, better, and more inspiring.  In service of honouring what I'm writing about, I'm choosing instead to set that down and trust that this is sufficient.

What are you taking away from this?