5 Things to Help Manage the Post-CWC Crash

credit: Gary Singh, Metro

 

I was laying in bed at 1:45 am on Sunday night (so, Monday morning) and that is when I finally burst into tears. A lot was going through my mind.

 

[I was overwhelmed with seeing CWC reach new depths of how it connected people. Floored thinking about how it felt to run out onto the field to start that final match. My brain was on fire with the many conversations I’d had that week where I connected on topics I’m passionate about. Thinking about the Boston team and how much I love us. My mind was racing thinking about everything I needed to get done as soon as I got back home in Boston. I was overwhelmed by kind and encouraging words given to me throughout the week. Frustrated that there were some folks I still didn’t get to meet or connect with. Missing people I really care about that I only get to see once a year. Sad about the ones that weren’t able to make it. Overwhelmed thinking about all the new things I learned about that I wanted to now do, but where was I going to find the time. Excited to bring home new stuff I picked up in workshops.]

 

It was a lot. And these are only 45% of my thoughts. the other 55% I’m still trying to unpack, like seeing ComedySportz merchandise for toddlers and feeling 80 more emotions that I didn’t know existed. My super hero power? Kind of Tearing Up in the Merchandise Room.

 
The purpose of this post is to provide some extra tools on the belt for anyone returning from the ComedySportz World Championship (CWC) that is jumping back into everyday life again and possibly feeling the “Post CWC Crash.”

I have experienced and still observe that Crash, so here are some additional notes I’ve pulled together, based on my own observations, practices, and learnings.

5 Things to Help Manage the Post-CWC Crash

1. “Yes, And” Those Emotions

While commonly applied to improv scenes or positive challenges/opportunities, I’ve been exploring the use of “Yes, And” for emotional and mental health. Consider this:

  • In an improv scene, if you’re in a house and your scene partner drives a race car into the kitchen, that’s the new reality, and off you go into your scene, curiously exploring the reality, rather than ignoring the offer and creating a frustrating scenario to work with
  • In a day, if you feel overwhelmed/sad/joyful/anxious, that’s the new reality, and off I go into exploring the emotion and paying attention to what my brain is asking of me, curiously exploring the reality, rather than ignoring the signals and creating a frustrating space to exist or grow in

“Yes, And,” distilled down to its core parts, is simply embracing the reality and moving forward.  Acknowledging and approaching things with curiosity vs. Ignoring and Judging things produces different outcomes.  

So an exercise in “Yes, And” here could be something as simple as jotting down some words of what you’re feeling, just so you can practice acknowledging those feelings and emotions.

2. Give Some Gratitude

Jumping back into a full Monday of work can be an uncomfortable jolt after a week of being surrounded by 275 CSz Family members. This is when I look to the core values CSz is built on. Of the 4 CSz Worldwide core values (Collaboration, Inspiration, Gratitude & Fun), Gratitude is probably my most favorite. In a workshop in 2013, I remember Matt Elwell said so simply, “to live a life of gratitude means that you believe you can always learn something.” That frame of thinking resonated with me. Exercising gratitude is absolutely a muscle that can get stronger as you work on it. Your brain can learn to scan for it. Some things I’ve done post-CWC or have heard were done:

  • Thank a co-worker for something they managed for you while you took your time off to attend CWC. I really appreciated that my co-workers at my then previous company were supportive in something as simple as NOT emailing me with things that weren’t emergencies. It’s subtle, but important to me – it felt like they respected my time, allowing me to stay present this year (which makes for a happier teammate at work, in my opinion)
  • Did your co-workers let the ball drop while you were gone and now you’re digging yourself out of your email inbox? Internally thank them for teaching you how you can best support your next teammate that goes on vacation, by learning what not to do.
  • Thank your city’s ComedySportz teammates for performing an awesome home match while your team represented at CWC.
  • Seek out a pen pal buddy you met at CWC and drop an occasional card in the mail throughout the year. Mail can be a day brightener.
  • Thank a workshop teacher for a specific takeaway you found valuable in their workshop.
  • Thank a workshop student for something they brought to your course – this could be an observation, a specific energy or presence you appreciated, or question they asked that you had never considered before.
  • Thank the coffee shop person for helping you struggle bus through a Monday after a week of messed up sleepytime!

I’m a big fan of practicing gratitude often.

While we do not have a choice in the external happenings, the choice to seek out gratitude and uncover a learning lesson is. You have everything to Gain, and the opportunity to re-frame.

3. Pick an Intention

Identify 1-3 goals you want to actively work on in the next year. Whether it’s in your matches, weekly practice, or your own development as a ComedySportz player and CSz teammate.  

An activity-based goal can help focus your mind and get your actions on track to grow from all the cool things you picked up at CWC. Some I’ve done in the past:

    • Pick 10 games my city plays often and get my explanations down to fewer than 3 sentences (so I can ref stronger!)
    • Freestyle rap in the car for at least 15 minutes of my commute (so I stop shying away from musical/rap games)
    • Read my emails out loud in an accent I’ve been meaning to work on – free practice on something I already have to do for the day
    • Grab dinner with a teammate at least once a month before a match (to get to know our team more)

4. Drink Up/Eat Up

Drink some water. Eat some vegetables. From experience, I know my sleeping and eating schedule gets all wack-a-doo. It’s all connected (gut health, brain health, physical, mental, emotional) and a system that relies on each other to function optimally, so I try to get my nutrition and hydration back up to speed ASAP. Sugar and alcohol messes with emotions and immunity, so just by incorporating water to keep things moving makes a world of difference.

If you want tips on how to get more water into your day and make it a habit, read this blog post.

5. Explore opportunities to recreate the spirit of CWC in your own team.

The plane ride home had me thinking about how I have largely (unconsciously, over the years) framed CWC as an escape island. And it is magical – there is no denying that. But now I find myself increasingly chewing on how I can shift my thinking of it being a once a year thing we all escape to and are missing, to being something that influences a year round attitude that can be experienced at any level. Everyone is empowered to do this.

Often times it’s the anticipation and goal we’re focused on. I’m of the mindset that every day can feel like Championship because the Why of it can be the backbone for anything we do with our own teams. Common themes I’ve observed:

  • Leading with positivity and enthusiasm. I’ve felt like, in the CWC environment, we’re pre-motivated and pre-disposed to approach someone with the assumption of being met with positivity and genuineness – I think it’s especially important to note that this seems to apply to someone you’ve never met before. It’s funny how that name lanyard instantly provokes an expectation of positive interaction, regardless of familiarity.
  • Being open to learning from everyone. Workshops, conversations on the walks back to the hotel where you learn about someone’s unique passion in a particular topic, collectively watching each match – CWC sets the tone for players that every player and city has something unique they bring to the table, regardless of years logged and where they studied.
  • Being respectful, supportive and celebratory of differences. This year’s LGBTQ++ fundraiser match, the Pride march in Indy in 2016, the Persons with Disabilities match led by Konstantine Anthony, the discussions around representation being key to the positive change we seek, the voice of the D&I committee – these are all great examples of the impact that spirit and attitude has on our actions.
  • Being together. Just spending time together is valuable. CSz is unique in the way that we are a family across the globe, and that’s absolutely true in our own individual cities.

If we take these themes and apply them to our own cities, what does that look like? It could mean initiating a “shout out” round after every match (San Antonio does this, I believe) or establishing that the first Tuesday of every month, players get together for dinner and hang out time (San Jose has had this tradition for 10 + years, fairly consistently). Maybe it’s picking one diversity topic your city would like to learn more about and doing a 5-bullet email to the team with a link on how to learn more. Sky’s the limit.

Momentum (from CWC) doesn’t have to come to a slow and grinding halt, just because your name lanyard is off. While it is easy to notice the stark differences and think wistfully, it’s infinitely more productive and advantageous to identify the opportunities –  in everyday life and in your own team – to lead with these themes and let them influence your decision making. You have every choice at your fingertips to continue the spirit of CWC forward.

Lastly:

I’m going to continue to explore these themes in writing, so if you ever want to discuss or pose more topics to visit, leave a comment or shoot me an email.

Thank you for an epic Championship, San Jose. You captured the spirit of it perfectly. Cheers to these next 12 months as we love the hell out of our teams and ramp up to CWC 2018 in Los Angeles!

[This post is updated from its original I wrote in 2016]

I’d Like to Say I Did It On Purpose

team_danraj last practice

CSz San Jose

Every Tuesday night is all company practice night for the CSz San Jose team – it’s our weekly 2-hour meet to work on improv skills, concepts, and hone our craft. It’s been that way for as long as I’ve been with the team and much, much longer before that. Tuesdays have been, for the most part, off limits for 13+ years for me now.

Last night just happened to be a last practice for one of our players, Danraj. Every week, after practice is over, maybe a few folks will linger – typically only for a quick collaboration about side projects, because it’s late and families are waiting, responsibilities are hovering, and bedtimes are approaching.

As we broke for the evening, I realized the buzz in the room wasn’t just louder than usual – it was deafening. It was well after quittin’ time for this group, and there was a hum in the air – talking, laughing, catching up, hugs. Read more