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An Introvert Does Improv

Eight weeks ago I got a weird calendar invite. “Team Improv 2:30-5:30pm, for the next 7 Fridays.”

What. the. hell. is. this?

It slowly dawned on me that the unthinkable had happened… I had been selected for the next round of improv classes at the agency I work at.

The first group of 15 people had gone through the class a few weeks before so I knew that the possibility was always there but it was one of those “it can’t happen to me” things like getting a DUI or selected for jury duty.

The dread started to waft over me and my chest tightened and I immediately started brainstorming ways to get out of it.

But I realized before the first class that if that’s how I felt then its definitely something I needed to do.

Like Noah Kagan says, “If it’s uncomfortable, you’re growing.”

You’re probably thinking to yourself “improv with your co-workers sounds really awkward and uncomfortable and hilarious” and the answer is yes, all of those things.

But I’m super thankful for the people in my class, they were all awesome and supportive — and I only really knew one of them going in but now I’m closer to 14 new people.

It’s easy to get stuck in your department so it was great to meet new and different people. If you work at a large company, this will be one of the best things you take away.

What did I learn:

  • The things you fear (probably) aren’t that big of a deal: The whole day leading up to the first class all I could focus on was how nervous I was, how bad I was going to be etc. But 20 minutes into the class I realized that it wasn’t that bad and that I could actually do it.
  • Your comfort zone can be expanded: We all have our defined ‘comfort zones’ but the reality is that the more uncomfortable stuff you do the bigger your comfort zone becomes. It only gets easier to push yourself once you start.
  • How to really listen: You have to listen insanely closely to what others are saying so that you can pick up the story or skit wherever they left off. It’s insanely hard to turn off your internal chatter and be thinking of what to say next instead of listening to the person next to you, but if you don’t then the scene quickly makes no sense. — I think a lot of introverts tend to be in their own heads most of the time, even during conversations, which leads to you not really being present.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail: At first I was like crap, I have to be super funny all the time and nail every bit. But I realized its fine if you screw up, people will laugh anyway.
  • People can surprise you: I only kind of knew one person in the class going into it and I didn’t think much of them. But they turned out to be one of the funniest people in the class. I was shocked. Not only were they funny but really nice and just a great person. Don’t be so quick to judge people.

If the thought of taking an improv class scares you — then good, go sign up for one right now.

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