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Life Coaching The Self Using Improvisation

Updated on October 29, 2011
Me conducting rehearsals in Taiwan captured by Erwin Go
Me conducting rehearsals in Taiwan captured by Erwin Go

Life coaching the self is one good way of facing daily challenges. Improvising or creating things out of nothing used to be a natural part of us. As kids, creativity was the name of the game. It seemed however, that along the road to adulthood, we lost the energy to remain so, as we faced various "realities" of life. Soon we found ourselves living with a mindset that we were simply recipients of events happening in the world. Next thing we knew, we have become part of those believing we could NOT make a difference in the world.

I may be in the performing arts where creativity forms the backbone of the profession but believe me I too, fell into the same trap. For decades, I thought I was truly being creative until I realized I was limiting my creativity to the world of the arts. Thanks to books like Conversations with God, The Science of Getting Rich and The Secret which changed my mindset on several areas.

I have written several plays and songs about socio-cultural problems, socio-political issues and personal inner battles which advocated for change, but never wrote one to create a better life for me and my family. Not until now....and I would like you to be part of my next act - the making of a CREATOR or Life Coaching the Self Using Improvisation.

Ripplemaker in action (in red-right) performing in Taiwan
Ripplemaker in action (in red-right) performing in Taiwan

Life Coaching the Self Step 1: ACCEPT YOU ARE A CREATIVE BEING

We were born to create. Every time we make a choice, we are creating something. It may be a feeling, an action, a condition or situation but we are creating various responses to the choices we make. How we respond to the reaction of our decision creates more responses. This is the never ending system of creation.

This natural process alone proves we are creative beings. This being so, brings truth to the phrase "we create our own present condition" -- be it a pleasant one or not -- we actually created this scene for ourselves.

Shifting from a tragic scenario to a triumphant one, therefore, IS possible. The choice is yours to take. Now the next question is--how do we go about changing the scenario?

Conducting an improvisation exercise on movement during  the FTV Photographic & Video Commercial Modeling Workshop
Conducting an improvisation exercise on movement during the FTV Photographic & Video Commercial Modeling Workshop

Life Coaching the Self Step 2: TRY IMPROVISATION DAILY

Known as the Grandmother of Improvisation, Viola Spolin, developed theater games that help unlock an individual's capacity for creative self-expression. These games are easily modified to suit the needs of the participants. I have modified many of her games and incorporated them in my behavioral training workshops for corporate groups like teambuilding, customer service, marketing, trainer's training and the like. I have thus, made my own definition of improvisation. It is the ability to respond proactively to any situation, at anytime, in endless ways.

Here are some tips on how to apply Improvisation in daily life.

  1. Choose to work in any given situation. Many of us prefer to function better in certain conditions like " if only i had more money then I could be a better person" or "if only i had a computer then i could be a better student" or "if only he was more sensitive then i could be a better wife" etc... Make things happen. Act now and use your current situation as a jump off point to make your wish come true.

    You'd be in the process of becoming a better person if you choose to look for inventive ways of earning extra money. You could be on the way to becoming a better student if you choose to see lessons in daily events. You could be a better wife if you start seeing your husband's strengths instead of his weaknesses and maybe discover that he has been sensitive and expressed it in his way -- not in the manner you would. The possibilities are endless.

  2. Choose to find more ways than one. After trying once, many of us tend to give up easily and declare "it's hopeless"! Finding another way of approaching a problem is the best time to be creative. It's the best venue to explore ideas, conjure wild strategies and uncover the potentials in you. Choose to enjoy the exploration phase and add fun to the process

  3. Choose to enjoy the consequences of your choices. There's no catch here, it's a simple truth. As there are endless possibilities of achieving your desires, so too, are there endless possibilities of responses to your actions. The key here is to choose to see the positive aspect of these reactions. Learn from them, be inspired by them, be motivated by them, be encouraged by them and a better you evolves. Eventually, you would have achieved the habit of seeing things in a more positive light. The creation of a better you then becomes an endless journey!

Ripplemaker & I conducting an improvisation exercise
Ripplemaker & I conducting an improvisation exercise
Doing a CREATIVE pose in Taipei
Doing a CREATIVE pose in Taipei


SARE is an acroynm for Stimulus, Affect, Respond, Express --- the process of what happens in an improvisation exercise. I will attempt to tailor-fit this process and make it into a guide to becoming an exceptional CREATOR.

First let's redefine the terms.

Stimulus. This could actually be anything under the sun but, in this case, let this be the consequence of the choice you made.

Affect. This is the initial biological reaction of your system to the consequence.

Respond. This would be the manner in which you choose to respond to the consequence.

Express. This would be the chosen expression of your response to the consequence.

Now, let's see how we can make this work. Let's go back to the person who wanted more money in order to become a better person. Let's say, he did find innovative ways of earning money by becoming a member of hubpages! Grin. He readily signs up then attempts to write his very first artcle. Five hours past and not a single word written on the draft. After hours of choosing a subject, scanning through other hubs, checking on his knowledge of certain topics, he could not, for the life of him, find anything to write. How can SARE help him now?

Stimulus - He can choose to use the stimulus to motivate him.

Affect - He can choose to be aware of his feelings of frustation, and self-doubt and check how these feelings are affecting his body, his mind and his spirit.

Respond - He can choose to treat these internal reactions as his inspiration for the article.

Expression - He can choose to express these responses by coming up with an article entitled HOW TO OVERCOME FRUSTRATION.

Again, the possibilities are endless.

Be Happy! Be Creative! Start life coaching yourself using improvisation.

Daisy Ba-ad


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