“No,” I blurted, immediately wishing for a rewind button.

My co-facilitator had just given instructions, and I’d unintentionally blocked them, right in front of everyone—ugh! 😖

This isn’t the “yes, and” spirit I preach. Instead of embracing ideas, I rigidly clung to my version of how things should go, undermining my partner’s authority.

How mortifying…

Despite a quick apology, my perfectionism flared up. The combo of perfectionism and a deep need for connection can be tough.

When I’m afraid I’ve damaged a relationship, I have to be careful not to whip myself raw.

Enter another improv principle: celebrate mistakes as gifts.

In improv, we celebrate mistakes with a “clown bow” to take the charge off and encourage risk-taking without fear.

This involves throwing your hands in the air and crying out “Ta-da!” with great enthusiasm.

Improv isn’t about being clever; it’s about being present and real. Acknowledging imperfections is key; it allows creativity to flow without self-criticism.

Mistakes, in life or improv, are gifts. They’re not always comedic gold, but they’re rich. Being perfect doesn’t connect us; being human and imperfect does.

And guess what? If you want a team that is empowered to take risks and navigate uncertainty, the more you can make space to celebrate mistakes as gifts, the more psychologically safe everyone will feel. 

The best toolkit I’ve found for building those muscles? Improv.

Which is why it’s my toolkit of choice when working with leaders who want more adaptable, creative teams.

But these skillsets still take practice, and nobody’s perfect, as my recent gaffe shows!

Ta-da! Embracing my humanity along with everyone else.

Tech Leaders: Are you ready to harness the power of improv to help your team connect with powerful communication, so you can have more effective collaboration throughout and beyond your organization?

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