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*[Newsletter Series (#5)]

We’re all in it together - this whole life thing. And with that, comes a certain degree of responsibility to uphold one another; to converge and create together for the sake of our shared livelihood. And yet sometimes, that takes work. Particularly now, with the barrage of digital dopamine hits that check our “connection” box, but often leave us lonely or misunderstood.

Now, more than ever, we need to stay engaged - with each other, with our environment, with the moves of our policy-makers and our government, with our own needs. The trick of course, is to find the midpoint between being a disillusioned ostrich with our heads in the sand and an over-vigilant meerkat.

The secret sauce to healthy engagement? Receiving.

Let me explain.

We all have our stories. The ones we’ve built or the ones fed to us from family, our cultures and traditions, societal institutions. They can be weighty and burdensome sometimes, sure, but they are our stories and we’ll do whatever it takes to tell them. We’re often convinced our perspectives and opinions should be louder than others’ and we grasp and push to make sure they’re heard.

It happens all the time:

- In social settings: while we wait for our friend to finish whatever she’s saying so we can get our point in before the next guy. She’s telling the group about her latest run in with her ex-boyfriend at the grocery store and all you can hear is “blah, blah, blah”, because you’re on deck for your own boy trouble story and it’s going to be...amazing.

- At work: we’ve done a ton of research, prepping for the product brainstorming meeting with our team. This is huge. Profits are down and the boss is pushing us to get innovative and scrappy. It’s our big chance to shine, with all the ideas we have! But when we bulldoze our teammates for the sake of brandishing our own story badge, the group dynamic sours a bit and the meeting time runs out. We miss a huge opportunity to collaborate with all the smart people we work with and further risk bringing something amazing to market.

In performance, improvisers excel at engagement through this balance of giving and receiving. Some call it “shared control”, and when it’s in play, scenes unfold beautifully. Player A enters a scene with Player B, offers her a name and a scenario they can work with. Player B receives what’s been gifted to her by saying “yes!” and the storyline builds from there.

On the flip side, if Players A and B are out of sync (ruled by their own egos), or Player B insists she hold onto whatever storyline she thinks is funny just because it’s hers - things can fall apart quickly.

Yes, we’re all in this together, and staying engaged is the key; giving and receiving with shared control and a whole lot of respect and integrity. Just think of the awesome life performances we can bring to the world, when we practice this.

And who knows? We might learn a thing or two and change the world together. I mean, crazier things have been done.

Thanks again, all you life players, for joining me in these explorations. Please feel free to share any insights, comments or questions on my website here. I’d love to hear from you.

Next week, we will dive into Non-Judgemental, in the Aliveness concept. Until,’s to thriving unscripted!

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