I have spent most of my professional career in front of customers in one form or another. In the ICU, it was the patient and their families, and in medical sales it was in front of the surgeons and hospital purchasing staff. I tried to be prepared, but inevitably I had to improvise a lot. When you are dealing with other people, you can’t anticipate everything. I found that the more relaxed the better I could think and talk at the same time. That is why I work with my sales clients on planning their sales call approach and questions ahead of time. That way they can free their minds to focus on the customer and learning about things that matter to them. They can then use this new-found insight when they need to invariably improvise.
It’s important to tap into the opportunities to boost our creativity and limit our connection to the outer world before the final product is finished. For a short time, I home schooled my younger daughter and part of the work we did together was to create a children’s book. It was a practice in improvisation and adherence to a fluid process of creation. She storyboarded the concept and shopped for scrapbooking supplies to create the images used in the book. The concept was based around gardening and time with her grandmother. It was a first for us both, but we didn’t let that slow us down or make us question our decisions, and that is the heart of improvising. Just go with it.
Life does not always allow time for us to plan. Can you make things up as you go along if you must? What are the non-negotiables when you’re in this circumstance?
Some of the best moments in life happen because of completely unintended and unplanned circumstances. Planning and scheduling is essential to manage our goals and help mitigate chaos, but too much can also dampen the small pleasures and any incidental success. If you constantly fly by the seat of your pants, then choose to adopt more planning. Perhaps you will even plan for your fun time. If you are a rigid planner that struggles with improvisation, then try relaxing and allow some unpredictability occasionally. Don’t skip or avoid your commitments to family and customers, but perhaps you will take an unplanned vacation and just see where you end up. There are several ways to embrace the principle of improvisation. Have fun with it.
This blog is part of a series from the book Discover Your Best Life by Mike Hintz. His personal, professional, and spiritual growth tools are also featured in Northlink Retreats. If this topic resonates with you consider reading the book or attending one of the upcoming retreats.