When performers freeze in improv scenes it is often because they are rifling through a wealth of options in their mind and rejecting those options as boring or trite.  It may very well seem that way to the individual doing the evaluation, but they should remember, not everyone has the same set of experiences and history as they do.  What seems boring to them might be received as wonderfully surprising to everyone else.  


The same thing can happen at work, especially in creative fields.  Tasked with a new project, maybe to develop a new slogan for an advertising campaign or a new layout for a website, an individual might challenge themselves to come up with a real showstopper.  While they are busy rejecting every idea they have as too obvious, others will wonder what is taking so long.  Worse, others may start chewing on the problem themselves and coming up with their own ideas which they will then compare to whatever suggestions are eventually submitted.


But there is no need, either at work or on stage, to be someone other than you are.  Your ideas and your experiences got you to where you are today and they can take you farther if you rely on them.  REMEMBER, DON'T INVENT reminds us that we are good enough to be in the room and that others are counting on our full participation and need our input.  Sure, not everything we contribute will be a homerun, but we still need to take our at bats.

A close relative to REMEMBER, DON'T INVENT focuses on listening instead of remembering.  


LISTEN, DON'T INVENT advises us to stay present and open to the ideas of our colleagues.  Once again, the temptation to create an astonishing objet d'art can lure our head so high into the clouds that we can miss the gems being tossed at our feet by our coworkers.  By focusing on what our colleagues are suggesting and how to build on those ideas we can be confident that treasures aren't being discarded in exchange for pipe dreams.

Good exercises to bring up REMEMBER, DON'T INVENT include:

Good exercises to bring up LISTEN, DON'T INVENT include:

Terry Withers, 10.15.20