When I attended the Applied Improvisation Network’s World Conference in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of meeting Patricia Madson, retired director of Stanford University’s theater department. She so inspired me I bought a copy of her book, Improv Wisdom. (You should too.) My next several blog posts are going to feature lessons I learned from this marvelous work. Today’s is based on her third maxim, “just show up.”
“How often we avoid showing up for the things we need to do in life. Procrastination, laziness, fears – it’s easy to find a reason for not going . . . Prerequisites such as motivation, desire, and warm, fuzzy feelings aren’t necessary. It is a con to imagine you must have these to get going.”
When I read these words, it made me think of an important project I had been working on. It was very important and somewhat out of my comfort zone. I had started it, and it had sat, unfinished and waiting, in a file in my computer, waiting for. . . I don’t know what. Inspiration?
Improvisers don’t have the luxury of waiting. When you have to go on stage, you have to go on stage. If you wait for inspiration, or until you are sure you can do something clever, you won’t go on. Just show up and do it.
OK Patricia. I did it. I put your book down, went to my office, opened the dreaded project that had been waiting for weeks, and produced a quality work in just under two hours!
What are you waiting for? What unfinished or even un-started project is waiting for inspiration or the “right moment,” or a warm, fuzzy feeling? Just show up and, (much as I hate quoting Larry the Cable Guy) Git ‘er done.