As a workshop facilitator, comic educator and coach, I devote a great deal of time and energy to the “performance of appreciation” because appreciating others is not something that “comes naturally” to most of us. We live in a culture that is increasingly focused on rancor and critiques, with a media establishment that insists on constantly highlighting our differences, rather than celebrating our shared humanity. All of this means that we have to work that much harder to appreciate each other.
One of the many things that I love about improvisation is that there is no such thing as “getting it right” or “getting it wrong.” Through the simple rules of improvisation we listen to each other and we build with whatever “offers” we are given. A safe and creative space is built through the acceptance and appreciation of others and what they have to give. In this space people can step out of their comfort zones to perform in new ways. In this improvisational environment people make discoveries, grow, and develop in unexpected ways.
As a leader, I take seriously my own performance of “yes, and.” I accept all “offers” from the people I am working with without judgment. Leadership means figuring out how to build with what you’ve got.
Appreciation is a key component to building the environment needed in order for people to take risks, collaborate, build with our differences, create something new, and innovate.
We don’t have to agree, but we do need to appreciate the other person’s point of view. In this way, we perform as radical humanists.
What an amazing tool we have in the simple act of appreciating others! Perhaps we don’t appreciate that enough.