A few months ago I was invited to attend an event for women entrepreneurs in Karachi with The Impov Jam. Before you ask: No, Improv “Jam” is not something edible that resembles marmalade or even an informal music get together. The Improv Jam is the name of a Improv Troupe in Pakistan. A group of adults who have real-jobs by the day but by night get together to perform “improvisation.” A type of theatre art where the the plot, characters and dialogue of a game, scene or story are made up in the moment and on the spot. (I will let you Google and check this out for yourself).
I will have to admit, I was was a little reluctant to attend. Not because it did not look like fun- but because the event was packaged as a networking event for women entrepreneurs and being a rather serious person and someone who takes pride in being a professional- (don’t blame me- I was raised by strong women who attended Convent schools and was taught from early on in life- to always think, act and speak like a lady) I was apprehensive about attending.
Lucky for me, I have managed to make friends with other women business owners who are totally different than me and they convinced me to tag along. Still unsure, I decided to attend but made it clear that I would only sit towards the back as my Google search had suggested that Improv Performances often takes direction from audience member and the last thing I wanted to do was be summoned to making a public spectacle of myself.
As the event started- I realized that the other women were very happy to be there. The energy was high, the mood was relaxed (many women admit that they hardly take time out for themselves- especially on a Friday evening) and the actors/artist/performers seemed to be ‘real.’ I’m not sure what I was expecting to have found but to my surprise the cast seemed to be genuine and fun-loving people who had the same issues and inhibitions as everyone else (including me).
I don’t have the words to express how wonderful the night turned out to be. And I don’t think I can do justice to the show and would urge you to look up The Improv Jam and attend a show for yourself to really understand what they are all about- but I will tell you what I learned that night about being an entrepreneur.
- Do not take thyself so seriously (you are not the center of the universe, things happened before you, they will happen after you and as bad as a situation seems in that moment- it too will pass). Learn to laugh. To laugh in good times and bad. To find laughter in difficult situations. And most of all- to laugh at yourself
- Plan B and C and XYZ all come with being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is all about finding solutions to problems. There are no manuals on how to run our businesses and there are no resources and armies to fight our battles for us or to get us out of situations. Running a business is about thinking on one’s feet. As great as a plan may be- it is only a plan and there are many other letters in the alphabet. Entrepreneurship is about resilience and grit. t is all about learning to improvise and working around obstacles and paving new ways forward.
- Uncertainty is okay. Confession: I am writing this but not practicing this (yet) but I do ‘get’ that we will not and do not always have all of the answers. And that is okay. I witnessed the beauty of being in the moment and being able to operate without a script. Yes this is the most difficult of the three lessons but one that I am working on. (This was also the most important lesson for me too).
As for Friday nights- they are getting much better. Who knew that letting go was so powerful.
Hint Hint: womenX participant and educator from Cohort 3