How Improv Taught Me to Chill Out About Failure

When I started an improv class 2 years ago, I was terrified. It wasn’t my first foray with improvisational comedy, either. In college, I auditioned for my university’s improv team and didn’t make the cut… all three times I auditioned.

I’ve always loved improv, but every time I tried to perform it myself, I failed miserably.

So, when my friend Jake told me that I should sign up for Improv 101 at the Sacramento Comedy Spot because it would make me a better writer, I got physically nauseous.

For me, improv meant failure, and I’d gotten really good at avoiding any activity that could lead to it.

**Flashback to when I was on the high school volleyball team and my frosh coach told me she wish she’d made cuts to the team so she could cut me from it. Yeah, I avoided sports after that.**

For some reason, though, I decided to follow my fear and signed up for the improv class that would change my life.

That’s hyperbolic, but I really think improv changed my life. Sure, it gave me a creative outlet and cool new friends, but it also taught me to chill out about failure.

As a beginner improviser, I’ve failed a lot. Maybe you’ve seen it! It’s not fun, but it’s changed the way I think about failure.

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Once you’ve failed a million times, one more failure doesn’t seem so bad and you learn to follow the fear.

Maybe at this point in your NoExNo journey, you feel like you have failed. So what? As Nerd King Chris Hardwick said, “No human ever became more interesting by not failing.”

The only failure you can commit during NoExNo is failing to learn from your mistakes.

How can you adjust your goal to be successful? If you didn’t meet your goal this time, what can you change about your habits to succeed next time?

It’s okay to fail. Sometimes it’s even fun.


Allison BakerAllison Baker is a content marketer, novice improviser, and expert bourbon connoisseur. She is the founder of No Excuses November and is a very skilled procrastinator.

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