Fighting Your Fears Through Laughter

The late Dr. Martin de Maat had a profound impact on my life (I wrote about that here).
He was not only my professor and mentor, he was a close friend (Martin was even one of my wedding groomsmen!).
Dr. de Maat taught me so much not only about improvisational-comedy, but more importantly about the joy of doing life together:

"What happens... in being with each other in acceptance and Yes And-ing each other, is that you as an individual start to believe in yourself because you begin to see yourself in the others' eyes.

Your ensemble, your group, your team, your committee, is the one that's believing in you and you pull it together to do it for them.

You know, it's simply recognizing you're not alone. It's love and unconditional acceptance.

You put yourself in a place of support, unconditional acceptance and love for who you are, the way you are and your uniqueness, and what you do is grow. You surround yourself with people who are truly interested in you and listen to you, and you will grow.

And it doesn't take much to start advancing you, it doesn't take much of that support, it doesn't take much of that love and that care and you can do it. You can play act with people. You can be in a state of play together."

This is how comedians create new material.
Yes And leads to trust leads to contagious unity leads to childlike creativity.
It's how leaders might lead teams in the 21st Century.

Don't settle for the loneliness of leadership isolation.

Dream of and strive for a team of church leaders who are accepting of one another's uniquenesses.  After all, we each bring different strengths to the table.

I love what Martin would say about the group dynamics of creating comedy through Yes And:

"There's a lot of laughter that goes on. Since we're laughing together, we're true community. It's a very safe place to confront your fears. The minute somebody says, 'Perform!' your fear comes up..."

As we Yes And, may we as leaders embrace contagious unity and laughter.
By refusing to perform and instead choosing raw, authentic community, we may just lead at a higher, deeper, more spiritually-sensitive level than before...

Jonathan Herron

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