If you’ve practiced any improvisation for theater, comedy or other performing arts, you probably know that the number one rule is to always say yes. As I learned from the lovely and talented Jodie Meyn, who came to Circus Mojo this year to teach an improv series, this keeps the “conversation” going so that you leave your partner with an open direction to take.
When I learned this rule, I took it to heart and have since begun applying it to many areas of my life, but most notably, to my dance life. I’d like to include a shout-out here to Paul Miller for bringing Jodie in for the classes – even though I don’t plan on joining a comedy improv troupe tomorrow, the things that he and Jodie have taught me have affected my performances and relations in unexpected and positive ways.
It has been months since this series of classes took place, and having had some inevitable roller-coaster experiences (we wouldn’t have mountains without the valleys), I thought it was the right time to share my personal three reasons why you should always say yes.
To Let Others Know That You’re Interested
If you say no to any new opportunity, that contact person will be less likely to approach you again. By saying yes, you’re letting him/her know that you’re open to new possibilities; not just the one at hand, but also future opportunities. Paul also taught me that if you have to say no, at least follow it with something like, “but I can do this instead…” to keep the door open. I was recently invited to contribute to a respected online journal. I was honest in my response, in that yes, I’m interested, but that my writing experience is much stronger when it comes to performing arts and that I’d be happy to help in that way if possible. I left the door open.
To Create New Experiences
Each experience you have adds to your personal knowledge. Think about how much you learn each time you do something new – you can make new contacts, discover new music, get inspired by everything else going on…the possibilities here are endless. I’ve actually begun keeping a list of pros, cons, what I learned, and what I’ll do differently, after each gig (new and familiar).
To Build Your Résumé
Even if the experience turns out to be something that you swear you’ll never do again, just having done it can add to your résumé. I was hired a few years ago to dress as an Oompa Loompa and pass out body-building supplements at an after-party for an Arnold Schwarzenegger fitness expo in Columbus, Ohio. I probably won’t look into doing this on a regular basis, but it’s fun to be able to say that I did it once.
Personally, I believe that everything happens for a reason. You’ll find that every situation doesn’t work out in a best case scenario, but at least you can say that you gave it a chance.
Until next time,