When I first started working in theater, a friend of mine shared with me the 'Rule of Three.'
You can only accept an acting job that is offered if you have two out of these three components:
1. It's people you want to work with,
2. It's a role or words you want to say,
3. The money is really good.
With these three components in mind (People, Words and Money) you can then measure each new project against this yardstick to see if it is a good fit for you. If you end up taking on a project with only one of these components, the end result is that you feel used and not creatively challenged. It leaves you resentful about the project and spinning your wheels.
When I have spoken to groups about the Rule of Three, I encourage people to create their own. What are the three things that you need in order to be productive at work? Perhaps:
1. The right people,
2. The resources to accomplish the project,
3. The desire to create something important.
Whatever your three are - spend a few minutes asking yourself 'what is necessary for me to feel fulfilled?' Is the money enough, or do I need something else? And if so, then what is that thing, or multiple things, that will make the project something you believe in working on?
The rule of three provides you with clarity to know that when you take on a job, client, or project, you KNOW you will do your best. You have actively made that choice, rather than having the choice made for you.
And if you are given a project to accomplish, figure out how to make it something that works for your measurement tool. Ask to have the project goals altered, or to work with the people you want to work with, or to get paid more to accomplish the goal.
When you are motivated to do your best, and because you have made the choice that this is the right thing to do based on your needs, then you have already found a big part of success.
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Many people look at the theatrical work that my company does onstage and they say "it's amazing that this is unscripted!" Or more often it is "So, what part was scripted, and what part was improvised..."
The idea that things are constantly being created in the spot using a few simple rules is mind boggling, and somewhat impossible for people to believe.
The truth is - Improvisation is an act of constant innovation. We take what the audience gives us and create a theatrical work that amazes, engages and involves the audience as active participants in the process. The audience leaves the theater knowing they had a part in the end product that was created.
Wouldn't that be great for your business? If each employee left with the thought that they were a part of the whole, that they had an amount of control over the larger piece that has been created?
These rules for engagement in improvisational theater cross over to any phase of work, to any industry. They can help shape how your company operates, giving each of your employees the chance to leave each day feeling like they are a part of the larger organization.
These tenets: Being willing to play, finding the drive / commitment in what you do, listening and building on offers with your team; these are all skills that we strive for in our organizations.
So why would people look at Improv and say 'what can you teach me about business?'
The answer is: a lot.