Power Up a Creative Flow-State

| March 14, 2019

by Rob DiNinni

Where are we and where can we go? The skyline is the storyline. Architecture tells a story “one story” at a time. (OK, I couldn’t help myself.) It conveys messages, evokes emotion, and leaves an impression. That floored me!

Buildings tell stories from vision to creative design, foundation to rooftop garden, and people to imaginative meeting spaces (bagels and coffee optional). Overthinking choices and decisions can be detrimental to our creative flow. Think about it.

This wasn’t the case when we were children in our imaginative Lego building world where there were no limitations or fear. Then our inner critic revealed itself when we became adults judging and controlling us. Our inner critic is the loudest voice in every room and tweet online. Your inner critic deceives you. You buy into it. You’re unable to move forward while it’s hosting its own fear-based TED Talk. It expresses frustration, criticism, or disapproval about our decisions or actions. “Really, are you sure?” “Why didn’t you?” “You should of . . .” “What’s wrong with you?” or “How did you let this happen?” The inner critic is a vehicle for coping with fear, shame, and navigating the unknown. It gives us a false sense of control and stifles our ability to let go and profoundly engage our higher-self.

StageCoach Improv at play with participants from Edmunds.com.

Improv enables us to live in a judgment-free zone, build on what’s happening in the moment, and lovingly nudge our inner critic’s comparisons and judgments out of the way. It’s time for your inner critic to know it’s reign has ended. And scene!

Neuroscience of improv: When we let it all go and not judge any of our impulses, this allows for more self-expression to light up in our medial prefrontal cortex and silences the inner critic in our dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.


StageCoach Improv at play with participants from Hilton Back Bay

Awareness is the first step to identify and let go of our inner critic. Identify the cause of our vulnerability and acknowledge those feelings will initiate change and progress. Improv will clear out the inner critic and energize our forward momentum. It encourages us to listen with all our senses and build on each other’s ideas one moment at a time. We acknowledge without judgement, ego, or planning ahead. Onward and upward!

The tenet of improv is “Yes . . . and.” This principle provides a platform to share and build on ideas while eliminating judgment. Yes opens possibilities, while “no” or “but” shuts down collaboration and impedes progress. Leave the butts in the chair!

On-your-feet experiential learning while laughing helps us better navigate the unexpected by checking our egos at the door. Our intention should be to cultivate a strong sense of self-expression focusing on what matters the most in each and every moment. By completely surrendering to what’s happening and being aware of the environment and our emotional state, our chances of being deeply immersed in a flow-state (AKA being in the zone) increases — where performance, comedy, and creativity thrive.

When we live in a mental state of flow, every thought, word, and action feels effortless. Our talent shines and time does not exist. Flow can elevate performance in a variety of areas including learning, coaching, presenting, athletics, and artistic creativity. It’s about giving yourself permission to reach the roof top one floor at a time. When we trust ourselves and completely surrender to our authentic voice while muting the inner critic along the way, we will truly live in a flow-state.

Power up!


Rob DiNinni is principal and founder at StageCoach Improv, a Boston-based firm delivering dynamic and interactive improv for business, training, and entertainment nationwide.

Rob DiNinni is an actor, improviser, comedian, educator, writer, and coach with over 15 years of corporate experience as an esteemed business development, sales, and marketing professional in the IT industry. As a founding member of StageCoach Improv, he has performed and facilitated corporate improv training, leadership development, team building, sales is improv, conflict resolution, and interactive entertainment since 2004. He also works closely with executives, clinicians, and medical schools providing improv, leadership, and communication skills coaching as an actor and educator.

StageCoach Improv has customized a specific set of exercises and techniques employed by improvisational actors designed to enable sales professionals to confidently present ideas, create stories, evoke emotion, and build relationships.

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