That’s me in the center. Last night. In my improv class. I could not believe how nervous and precarious I felt dropping into the Second City Chicago improv class I had signed up for.
I wanted to challenge myself and “walk my edge” in order to rearrange some of my Covid patterns. But I did not expect to feel myself shaking, ever so slightly, as I faced a Zoom class of 9 other beings and a well-known improv teacher. (What made me think I could join the advanced class?? I will not be as clever as them!! Exposed!)
While being challenged and vulnerable is partly what I wanted, I could also feel how much I wanted safety if I failed. It reminded me that this always a leader’s challenge: allow people to stretch into new zones and learn while having our encouragement, coaching, and support.
I had put myself into good hands with Second City Chicago. My first scene ~ being a “nerd” with a fellow improvisor who was 35 years younger than me ~ needed coaching intervention and then was a score. (“That was good satire!”) It gave me confidence to then be a sister stuck in a cabin with a Covid-positive sibling, and a granddaughter of a mischievous dying matriarch.
What I learned: taking risks is something we do only when we feel safe. And when we DO feel safe, I especially encourage women over 50 to experiment with new things. We’ve been programmed for so long with all the cultural “shoulds” ~ not to mention the standards of perfection to which we’ve been held (or demanded of ourselves!).
Experimenting and walking the edge is liberating when we’re hearing whispers of wanting to go for it.
(I’m applauding you already!)