It’s Your Move…
Some of you may be aware that I have been dabbling in stand up comedy recently. How this happened is a bit of a mystery, its almost as if one night I found myself standing in front of a bunch of strangers, in a small room up over a bar, trying to make them laugh. Some people’s definition of hell, no doubt – and probably mine, not too long ago.
As I write this I am thinking about the comedy slot I am doing tonight in the Bankers pub in Dublin for the first time. I have no idea what to expect and am tending towards mild panic every-time I focus on just how bad tonight could go. Of course, how I focus on or think about tonight (or any other thing in life) is up to me, my attitude towards it is my choice. A part of me would like to say “feck it, I will stay at home and relax, watch TV and have a beer, I deserve it..”, but a deeper aspect of me knows this is something I want to do, it is part of a bigger plan, a bigger picture which I have going forward, it is short term pain for long term gain.
And if tonight does go badly then I still have a choice as to how to respond to that. I could quit and say this is not for me or I could look at what I could do differently for next time, learn from it and move on. If it goes well I still have the choice of continuing and developing new material or deciding I have proven I can do it and now on to new things (in other words run while I can!).
Tonight will happen regardless and how I respond to the evening as it unfolds will determine my experience of it. How I respond (not react) in each moment is where my choice operates, this is where I make my move in response to what is happening.
So in life it is always our next move – how we respond to what is happening, the quality of the move we make, determines our experience of life.
Another example is John who worked in finance and hated his boss. They would argue daily and John invariably came out the worst for it. He wanted to quit but was afraid to as the job market offered nothing for his qualifications and he had significant financial commitments. Work was for him a living stressful hell.
Part of John’s challenge was to change how he was responding to his boss in some way so that a new outcome or result would develop. He needed to see that his boss was not the real problem. After-all, the boss was another person who was just doing what he does, John had no control over the boss. What John realised he could do was choose to respond in a different way, he choose a new move. Instead of always reacting to the smart comments and sarcastic remarks his boss flung at him John picked a new response – he made a different move in his communication with the boss – he did not fight or argue back, he actually asked questions and really listened to what the boss was saying to him and very quickly the boss noticed this change in response from John, which forced him to respond in a different way, to make a new move. Gradually both of them were listening to each other and actually communicating effectively.
This did not happen over night, but it did change quickly and all because John could see that each move he made in response to what his boss did determined the next move from the boss – how we respond or the moves we consciously make in life are setting us up for success or pain. When we can see this clearly happening in our daily encounters with others we can change relationships dramatically with just a few simple new moves, just like a great game of chess.
Whatever your issue is at the moment, look at the usual moves you have made in relation to it, see if you could choose new moves and transform or even resolve the issue in the process. After-all, when we change how we relate to any issue we change the issue.
So regarding the anxiety I feel about tonight, I can choose a different move and see tonight as intense fun and a challenge to learn more about the skill of performing….wish me luck!