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Episode 103 of 135

Coach Aden Nepom on Communicating More Effectively: The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 103

station description Steve Brown believes you, the entrepreneur, are the invisible hero of today’s econo... read more
The ROI Online Podcast
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Duration: 49:02
Have you ever thought of improv theater as a team-building tool? You can learn to communicate, relate and create while having a great laugh. On this Feature Friday episode of the ROI Online Podcast, Steve talks with coach and trainer Aden Nepom about how you can start communicating more effectively,
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Have you ever thought of improv theater as a team-building tool? You can learn to communicate, relate and create while having a great laugh. On this Feature Friday episode of the ROI Online Podcast, Steve talks with coach and trainer Aden Nepom about how you can start communicating more effectively, using improv and other experimental methods in your company.Aden is a coach, trainer, facilitator, and TEDx Speaker. She helps people communicate more effectively and enjoy it. She’s also the president of Art of Change, which creates funny, authentic, and engaging programs for high-performing individuals and teams.If you think about it, we’re all kind of improvising every day in different ways. We make it all up as we go so, why not get good at it? Improv training helps speed up the process between the moment things show up in our minds and when they come out, a great tool to use when you’re in a collaborative work environment. Among other things, Aden and Steve discussed:Aden’s backstory and TEDx talk How improv applies to business situationsThe invisible rules in the workplaceWhat creating an open and safe work environment can do for your businessGetting out of the comfort zoneGood questions to ask yourself when you’re floundering Being where you are and where you can provide valueYou can learn more about Aden here: Aden on LinkedInRead the books mentioned in this podcast:The Golden Toilet by Steve BrownThinking of starting your own podcast? Buzzsprout’s secure and reliable posting allows you to publish podcasts online. Buzzsprout also includes full iTunes support, HTML5 players, show statistics, and WordPress plugins. Get started using this link to receive a $20 Amazon gift card and to help support our show!Support the show ($stevemfbrown)
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so the word passion and the word fulfilling her two different things. And I think that where I get energy from is overcoming challenges that give me a sense of accomplishment. And so, in our lives, when we say happy, you know, happy is relative happy. Your dog gets run over or something. You're not going to be happy that day, right? And and God forbid. But that's but life happens that way. So but overcoming the setback, overcoming the oh, my gosh, we have a lot of work here, but at the end of it, you're like, Look what we accomplished. Look what we did together. Look at the communications and the stupid taxes we eliminated from this process, right? That's fulfilling. And it gives you energy. And I think that's where your passion really comes from. A healthy way. Yeah, I would agree with that assessment. I think that makes a ton of sense. Um, yeah. I mean, when it comes to these things, I really do think starting small is a really good choice for most people. What are small things that you could do right now? I like to dream big. I like to dream into the future That isn't for everybody. Um, some people need to look at what's happening in this moment right now that I could be doing more of that. I could be doing less of, um, that I could stop doing all together that I could start doing right now. Um, and it doesn't have to be big, and it doesn't have to be lofty. So in my Ted talk for me, it was, um, at that time I was doing improv and what my dad asked me, and I asked people, You know these questions as well. What? What do you like about that? So that was the thing I was doing that was bringing me great joy and fulfillment. And the question was, What about that is bringing me joy and fulfillment. And it was that I was sharing a moment of joy with people that I was bringing smiles to people's faces, that I was getting this, like, wash of good energy back in return. And so, you know, identifying that that was what was fulfilling their open up. The possibility that I could get more fulfillment by doing more of whatever that was it was not obvious to me immediate in any kind of immediate way. Um, how to translate that into my career path. And I think it can be misleading to say that. Just do more of that, and you'll get there eventually. Um, and at the same time, Uh, I do advocate that. Just do more of that thing that is fulfilling, and you will get there eventually. There's this simultaneous holding on and letting go holding on and letting go. Um, that happens. It it sounds very woo. I probably should get into some kind of spiritual practice at some point, but, uh, it's like, you know, it's this weird, like balance. So, uh, hold on to what you're passionate about. Let go. It may never happen. Um uh, be open the possibility of something else. Um, but actually, it's this intentionality of of wanting to simply create more of that shared level of joy and thinking about how could I just do more of that? How could I serve people more? How can I bring greater joy to more people? And as I continued doing that, the doors just sort of open opened up around me. You have to be noticing more than improv practice to notice the offers that show up. Um and so instead of now, that thing where somebody would be like, um, you should be in a rock band, I'd be like, Okay, that sounds fun. Uh, instead of that, I now had my eyes open to something really specific, so people weren't always coming to me, saying you should do this next. In fact, that kind of stopped for a little bit. Instead, I started saying to myself, Oh, you should do this next. And then that would open another set of possibilities. Uh, they're just taking that focus from okay, I'm just gonna do what people tell me or what's expected of me, too. I want to create more of this, Colonel of whatever this is. It's going to be different for you. Um, yeah, and then looking for ways to do more of that. It's like you went from waiting to be picked to. I pick myself and the problem with people telling you what you should do is they don't understand your backstory or your deep. Why the thing that really drives you, they see on a role in a moment. You should. You know, I get told Steve, you should You should jump off a cliff, and I get told that often, right? They're they're not understanding my deeper motivations. That won't serve me, sir. I'm picturing those conversations happening, and it's actually events. Gonna buy you a drink, Steve. You should jump off, Cliff. But I'm sure that's now 18. No, no, I've heard that, too, but but it's funny, but I think that's where where there's a point in our lives when we go. Oh, I can I can actually decide to choose the direction I'm gonna go. I'm the one that sees my word. I should position myself in a place that that is fulfilling that Will will build upon my unique values, right. Instead of waiting for someone to I wish someone would just recognize how valuable I am and pick me. Oh, my God. Yes, you cannot. If somebody isn't recognizing your value, I stand by this so strongly. Uh, there are two things that are happening. One is you're not providing the amount of value. Think you think you're providing the possibility and you should be open to noticing that because, um, that the possibility that being said. If it's happening over and over and over again with that same person and you know you're providing value and you can quantify that you're providing value, you are in the wrong business relationship and you should move along. I have a lot of folks that I have spoken with and worked with over the years who are in the in Go nowhere positions who have been told, uh, mhm, no countless times to being able to move upward. Um, and rather than being guided along that path, we're being told what's needed there. Just like we just, uh, please just get out of my, uh, That's just not you're not working together in that relationship. It's not worth investing further in that know where you are valued and then provide value there. Amen, Sister.
What's the one question nobody ever asked that you wish they would that you could answer it. Oh, my God. Empire. Yeah, that's a great question that this, uh, sounds really good, but it's a really tough one to answer. Um, yeah. Uh Mm hmm. I feel like people ask me so many questions, and that's something I really enjoy doing. Answering them. So trying to think of a question people don't ask is a little challenging. Um, I do. I do wish that people would ask themselves questions more, and I also So this maybe isn't a question about what I wish people would ask me, but I wish that people would ask more questions of themselves. And the best question to ask yourself when you don't know what question to ask is what am I assuming right now? Great question. Explore that with with me. What? Yeah. So, uh, look, this is a great question in all kinds of contexts. Let's say you're having. Right now. I've been leading these free workshops called reason in an outraged world because I'm really passionate about having the difficult conversations that we need to move towards a better future. Um instead of having polarizing debate that leads us down a path of mutual destruction. And what am I assuming right now is an incredibly important question to ask yourself when you find yourself butting heads with somebody? If they are? If you're in a disagreement, ask yourself, What am I assuming right now? Well, some of the things that you might be assuming or about their intent that's good to notice. So you can assume something different, more helpful. Uh, some of what you're assuming is that they might be evil, which is rarely true. I'm not saying it's impossible. It's just statistically unlikely. Um, so you know, there's a lot of things there when it comes to, and I could go on about that we can dig into if you like, but I want to give you another example, which is when it comes to your personal path. Um, what am I assuming about me right now? It might be I'm not. I'm not capable of change. I'm not capable of doing better. I don't deserve success. Um, this is me forever and ever and always. And I can prove it. Those are still that's all assumption territory. So I think, What am I assuming right now is a really important question that you can ask yourself. I love that.
Mm, You're listening or you're watching a great conversation with Aidan Napalm. The art of change dot com is her company. She's of also does improv on Your Feet, improv for business. And she has this Ted talk that I really enjoyed. But in there you talk about Aidan fear and joy in this limbo in between. That's keeping you from going from fear to joy. Talk to us about that. Yeah, thanks for bringing that up. So I call it limbo, but it's really a place of comfort. Uh, it's a place of familiarity, comfort, maybe the wrong word, because it can be quite uncomfortable in that place. But what it is is when you are falling back on your patterns of behavior and habits of thought that no longer serve you well but continue to do them. That's how you end up in that place of limbo. You're afraid of doing things wrong, so you're not going towards the greater joy. And I want to be clear that when it comes to changing these things, it isn't always about, um, like when I work with my clients one on one. It isn't always about having a major career change in order to seek your greatest joy. It could be something really small. Like your communication with your teammates has sort of fallen into a pattern of habit and thoughts that don't serve that relationship Well, so you're not having an effective communication, and you may think that you know what it would take to get past that tough communication. But you're afraid to try it. So you keep doing the thing that isn't working because it's familiar. So in the Ted talk, I tell a very personal story about really a moment of career change for me. Um, but, uh, in this example, it still is the same thing. You want to take a moment and think about? Well, what are the moments that do work? What do I like about those? How can I do more of that? Um, and that's basically the gist of it. It's like in my story and my Ted talk. Um, I talked about a really difficult period in my life. Uh, and I was really unsure about how to get out of that, right? How to how to find a career. That was that I was passionate about. I was floundering I was doing like a million things, trying to find a fit. I was like running through the world in a way in that moment, like the little character in the Children's book being like, Are you my mommy? Are you my career path? Are you my career path? Uh, my passionate about this I don't even know, you know? So it's like it was a super confusing time. And, uh, luckily for me, I have a self help bestselling author father who applied some of his work with me. And the truth is, I grew up with these tools. But if you've ever hired a coach to help you through a decision, if you've ever worked with a mentor to boost your business, then you know that sometimes even though those answers are here all along inside, it does often take somebody to point some things out to you to really see them. And that was what my dad did for me. He was like, You just keep making safe choices. And if you want rewards, you have to take risks. And I was like, What are you talking about? I've been doing all these amazing things. I don't think you could call, um, you know, living a vaudeville style, life making safe choices. Um, and at the same time, he was absolutely right. The safe choice that I was making my habit of thought was if somebody said something was a good idea, I agreed to that. Somebody was like, You should do rock climbing. I was like, Cool. That sounds great. And then I became a rock labor. Somebody was like, You should learn how to play Guitar was like cool. So I learned to play guitar, and those things are cool, and I have no regrets about doing that. That's a really fun way to live life. But if you want to get any kind of, um, traction in anything, if you want to have more reward than simply posting, then you have to be a little more intentional.
Invisible Rules
happening. The other thing I want to mention is that there are a lot of things that we take for granted in terms of workplace behavior that we think are norms that aren't necessarily written in stone and and on your feet. We call those invisible rules and I think they're worth noticing. There are things that are, um, absolutely required for society to function like an invisible rule is that we're all going to put pants on when we meet in person. But, um, there, you know, and also some states have laws about that, but But in the workplace, there are invisible rules around. Um, if somebody has rejected your idea that you're gonna that you're going to fight for it and now you're going to spend all your time fighting for it rather than this idea that maybe if that idea has been rejected, it's okay to listen to the ideas that are gaining steam and just add to that, um, or the reverse might be true. Maybe your idea, um, does deserve a little bit of attention. But there's an invisible rule that says you can't say, Hey, wait a minute. You've discounted my idea. Let's take a moment and just explore it for a time limit. You know, like, let's have 30 seconds, and then you can reject my idea. So this idea that a fight has to be long this idea that, uh, you know, collaboration has to be painful. This there's all these things that are invisible rules that you've made up in your head basically, um, with the help of your peers. And it's worth examining those, uh, to see what you is worth keeping. Some of them are absolutely worth keeping. And what's worth rewriting? You know, those invisibles rules, they can penalize you socially if you don't follow them or you violate them. And yet they're unwritten, but they sure exist, and you sure can pay the penalty for violating them. Well, so that's interesting. So yes and no, both things are true. Um, it depends on what invisible rule we're talking about. Um, one of the things that has showed up in trainings with teams often is not the same rules. I'm trying to think of a really specific example. Um, but we'll, uh, get on your feet will sometimes run people through, um, what we call storyline to sort of get a sense of what they're process is from point A to point B on a project and what This is one of those places where invisible rules really shows up, because what will happen is what we're representing are the different parts of your process physically. So someone's got to stand up and say Okay, and then X happens. And then they're going to hold the physical line for where that happens, and then the next person is going to add a piece of the process. And what inevitably shows up is person A. Thanks X shows up here, but Person B is like That's not when that happens, that's supposed to happen way down here. And that's where invisible rules show up. Like for example, Um, check your assumptions. You're not allowed to check your assumptions, or you shouldn't ask for help. Those types of invisible rules are great to break. I call those stupid taxes. They're expensive taxes you pay like invisible, and they're just stupid. You imagine the employees that Okay, this is your you're getting ready to go to work the first day at your new job and in your head, you're going I'm going to be the best employee. I'm going to really make the best of this opportunity. I'm going to do great. And so you go in. And so what do you do? Your first? You're learning the lingo. You're learning the processes you like. You talked about your learning, the invisible rules and the first invisible rule. You run into that stupid. That doesn't make any sense. You think to yourself. Well, that's stupid. Why did Oh, I'm sorry. I was going to be a good employee. I don't want to say that. So you just accept it. But over time it wears you down and it kills your motivation. And it's like, How do you How do you want? Get these in open. Let's address them. Let's talk about them. Let's resolve this so that the culture becomes healthy and happy. The employees, like don't run into stupid taxes that are expensive
So I'm curious about improv. Yeah, I see folks that have taken improv and like they that makes them good on their feet. And I'm curious about how that applies in a business situation, because in a business situation, if you ever have a group of people that are like going is it okay that I behave this way? Is it okay if I color outside the lines? There's this guy. There's the safety that must exist in a culture for you to let yourself go and be creative and courageous and put yourself out there. And so what a wonderful thing about doing improv in business. But I can't imagine how to get people to finally warm up to it and step into it. It must be real challenge. Well, it's my colleague at Merlin works, Sheena. Merlin always says, In fact, I think this might be the catchphrase for her business. Um, you improvise every day, so why not get good at it? The truth is, everybody is making it up as we go. We really are, um, were colliding ideas. We don't this We don't have a script right now. You've asked me a question and I'm coming up with an answer in this moment. Um, some people, in part in my I'm having my morning coffee, Um, part of my, uh, whatever, but some people take longer to make it up, but they're still making it up. So somebody who's an internal processor, um, in that particular context, they're chewing on the thought before they spit it out. And that's but they're still making it up in here and then choosing whether or not to share. So it's it's still improv, even when it's on the inner planes. Um, what improv training helps with is speeding up the process between things showing up here and coming out here just speeds up the process. Um, there are some inherent behaviors that are really helpful when you're in a collaborative workspace. And, um, it's speeding up the process of listening, getting curious, noticing more so that when stuff shows up here outward that is connected to what's happening. Um, we don't want to just speed up you talking out loud all the time because if everybody's doing that 100% of the time and nobody is listening, then we're definitely not going to get anywhere collaboratively. So the process is speeding up that habit of I'm going to get really curious about what's happening. The other
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