Practicing what I preach

“Happiness comes from the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, and what the world needs”….

On January 3rd 2012 I set off on an adventure, off into the world of following my passion and my purpose. This blog will document this journey along with useful tips and tricks in the world of professional development and Applied Improvisation. I’ll share some of what I’ve been working on and working towards. My intended audience is anyone interested in how experiential learning, play and Improvisation can aid adult learning and development. Maybe you are a prospective client, or a friend, or an Improviser. Maybe you are Oprah?? If so, Oprah let’s talk!

So how is the process going so far? I’d say so far it’s all very exciting, scary, invigorating, motivational, risky, freeing, and perfect. And, thanks for asking!

First, let me answer your questions (Mom).

Why this, and why now?

I have been on a lifelong search for passion and purpose, with an almost (ok, real) obsession towards finding it. I knew there could be a way to get paid to do what I love and to find a fulfilling job,career, calling. There were points where I thought I had it figured out, but it turns out I was confusing passion with a hobby, or purpose with ego.

But looking back and trying to connect the dots looking backwards (as Steve Jobs says), it all makes sense. This world combines social psychology, human behavior, play, humor, transformative learning, positive change, challenge, and business. It’s part coach, facilitator, writer, marketer, curious learner, cheerleader, funny person, and pure heart-felt passionate difference-maker.

And so, when I took my first Improv class in 2007 a new passion formed. I’m pretty good at finding passions, but some are fleeting (sorry, Acoustic Guitar, cooking and soda can top collecting from my childhood). This was a passion that aligned much more with who I am and who I hope to become. It brings me so much joy and challenge and ever-lasting learning opportunities.

How

I was fortunate enough to spend the last two years investing most of my spare time into becoming as close to an expert on this field as I could. I also happened to work in Learning and Development at a Fortune500 company. I poured myself into reading books, talking with pioneers in the field and starting on the path to this new career. It became my unofficial job. It didn’t feel as unnerving and painful like a career change could – but instead a melding of skills from jobs past, life experiences and loads of practice. I taught, gave presentations, and talked up total strangers. I experimented, documented and built up binders worth of information and research. I studied not just Applied Improv but adult learning theory, conflict resolution, leadership development, facilitation, and the list goes on. I wanted to be ready for when opportunities arose. I worked hard to gain credibility and a solid reputation. I looked before I leaped, you could say.

This practice and a career in this field constantly pushes me out of my comfort zone. In fact, I never thought I would take such a risk – but maybe that’s why I in fact, needed to. Things have a way of working out I believe. I’m learning to trust my gut, and stay focused on the goal…

What

What do I want to accomplish? In Improv we say –  set the target, stick to the basic rules and enjoy the journey. And that’s exactly what I hope to do. I’m searching for more opportunities to teach, facilitate, coach, present and train in adult learning arenas – whether that’s corporate environments, schools, professional organizations, etc. I want to infuse play back into our work, and to teach us to collaborate and communicate better.

Maybe it’s a full time job in People Operations, L&D or HR at a company, and maybe it will continue to be freelance work. I’m open to it all!

So… this is what it feels like to follow your passion. Day 12 and I’ve never been happier.

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