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Posted By Ted Baumhauer

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Since early January I've been a part of the Village Idiots Improv here in Rochester, NY.  For the last 5 months I've been working at this about once a week in classes and rehearsals and doing shows. 

 After this amount of time I've come to a conclusion or two.  Number 1 this is really hard to do well.  And Number 2  I am not close to good at this at this point. 
I've come to an insight or two through this humbling experience.  One insight is that this learning experience is no different than any other one. At first you have no idea what you don’t know. That’s when you take on a new skill and figure you’ll get it in no time. Next you realize that you don’t know some very important information. Very humbling! It is easy to quit at this point because you don’t have too much invested in the learning. If you can keep pushing yourself out into that process you’ll come to a place where you begin to understand at least some of what you don’t know and maybe, just maybe, even begin to know what to do. 
It is that gap between beginning to know what to do and actually being able to do that I now find myself. There are many more skills of improv that I am clueless about, but the curtain is beginning to go up. That is an important part of the learning process for us to remember. It is frustrating to know you are clueless. We don’t like it and we will avoid looking stupid. As leaders, taking note of who leans into that uncomfortable stage and then helping them through it can make a tremendous difference in not only the skills and productivity of our teams but also the depth of trust and maturity of our teams. 
Who would you trust to lead you into a new area that you know nothing about and let yourself be completely vulnerable? That is risky! For a leader it ought to be quite humbling to think “they trust me enough to give up what they know to learn and do something new.” 
What new process or skill have you taken on recently at the risk of looking foolish? When and how do you exercise you risk muscle?  How can you help someone who is in the middle of learning and sturggling with what they don’t know or the realization they don’t have the skills yet?



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Ted Baumhauer


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