Confronting the Uncomfortable

I’ve been constantly reminded of the need to understand our limits. As a diabetic, for example, I have to listen to what my body is telling me all the time. If my blood sugar is calling for me to tweak my schedule, I must listen and adapt. When you are aware of the signals, no matter your specific situation, you will know what to do—and that’s true whether you’re trying to pick up on the messages that your body is sending you or on the messages that an audience is sending you. It is the awareness itself that plays a major role in reducing stress.

Improvisation and awareness has helped me manage stress so that I can take better care of myself – allowing me to better respond and plan my next step. The skills of improv clearly are a strength in times of crisis. As you listen, assess, and adapt to each scenario presented to you, you can more effectively overcome anything. And, as you do it more and more, you become confident that you are indeed able to deal with a situation. As a result, your confidence increases…while your stress decreases.

If you understand that you can control how your body reacts to a medical condition, then you should also be able to understand that you can control feelings of anxiety when confronted with a new and uncomfortable situation. We all have found ourselves facing appearances we might prefer to avoid, whether we’re called into the office or hauled into court or going on a job interview or delivering a speech. Again, you have the power to silence that inner critic’s prognostications of impending failure. Tell yourself, “Yes, this feels difficult for me, and I can do it.”

We must do a lot of things that we don’t want to tackle. Those tasks become much harder if we cop a bad attitude. “I hate talking to people and networking” will defeat any chance of doing well at such activities. There is a huge difference between “I will do the best I can” and “This is going to fail.” If you adopt a better attitude, one that doesn’t broadcast defeat, you might actually find that you are doing pretty well. You can feel good about your accomplishment.

Whether your stress results from a physical condition or something else, so much depends on your ability to perceive things positively. Either you win, or you let the stress win. Your choice.

Learn more about how improv principles can improve your career by taking the Yes, And Challenge. Sign-up at and share your experience on Twitter and Facebook using #YesAndChallenge.



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