Laughter Thought Leader: Elaine Williams
Effective leadership using humor.
When I first moved to NYC and got sober at the same time (which I’d never recommend), I was intense. I felt like I had to make up for lost time.
“I’d go home and cry into my ice cream, swearing at everyone who told me I was funny.”
Every acting teacher, casting director, and agent told me I needed to lighten up. They’d say: “You’re funny; you’re just not fun to be around. You need to try stand-up comedy.” After the 89th person said the same thing, I took a comedy class. I bombed in class over and over. I’d go home and cry into my ice cream, swearing at everyone who told me I was funny.
It’s one thing to be funny in the moment or when you’re doing Neil Simon. It’s a whole other thing to be funny on demand. My plan was to just finish the damn class. I had no expectations for laughs at the comedy showcase.
When people began howling as I went through my dysfunctional family stuff, I had a light bulb moment. I was supposed to help people heal; people who maybe wouldn’t go to therapy but they’d go see comedy!
I didn’t realize it would help me heal too. The more I performed stand up comedy, the more I noticed how much I glowed after a set. As I trained myself to listen for the funny in everyday life, I laughed more. Even when I was having a bad day, I’d tell myself: “This will be funny in a few months.” It’s an amazing way to reframe anything!
I’ve been an entrepreneur for most of my life. I realized a few years ago that I needed to apply my “comedy” attitude towards myself and in my coaching and speaking business. I’d get super stressed out about the parts of my business where I had the least amount of experience: like managing other people and bookkeeping.
“I realized I needed to shift my intense energy or I was going to stay in the struggle and be stuck.”
Doing Stand-up Comedy:
When I approached these tasks with high anxiety, I’d hold my breath. And oxygen is pretty important for brain function, right? My tense approach only made things worse. Thank god for self-compassion, yoga, and humor. I realized I needed to shift my intense energy or I was going to stay in the struggle and be stuck.
Que: comedy and humor!
I knew if I could apply what I’d learned from lightening up when I started doing stand-up comedy to the parts of my biz where I was struggling. It would FREE me up.
I also noticed that many of my clients and colleagues were highly stressed over parts of their businesses too. I started using more humor in my teaching and realized that my students were retaining more of the challenging “tech” stuff.
Tips To Help You Laugh More:
According to research from institutions as serious as Wharton, MIT, and London Business School, every chuckle or guffaw brings with it a host of business benefits. Laughter relieves stress and boredom, boosts engagement and well-being, and spurs not only creativity and collaboration but also analytic precision and productivity.
Engaging students through humor makes complex topics stick. Even if you’re not ready to try to make others laugh, here are some tips to help YOU laugh more throughout your work day. If you must read or watch the news, do it in the middle of your day, not first thing in the morning or last thing before you go to bed.
Schedule 5 minutes per day to watch YouTube:
- Jim Gaffigan is funny and clean.
- Brian Reagan is funny and clean.
- Maria Baumford is quirky and kind.
- America’s Funniest Home Videos cracks me up every time.
Become a shepherd of funny for others, which will lift you up too:
- Pass on hilarious dog and cat videos to others, which I do nightly.
- Share memes with your tribe (Nothing political or religious though).
- Have a Humor Buddy who you call to check in with and share funny stories with.
“The only thing we can truly control is our response to what’s happening in our lives.”
Put Post-it® Notes in your work space that remind you to:
- Take three deep breaths(many of us hold our breath when we’re working).
- Drink water (most of us are dehydrated which affects our organs).
- Look for the funny in everyday life (the pain of today is the joke of tomorrow).
- Get up and move your body every hour: jump, walk around, do planks or push ups.
Take Back Your Power And Laugh:
We cannot control most of “life”. The only thing we can truly control is our response to what’s happening in our lives. So why not take back your power and laugh at whatever is stressing you out?! You’ll burn calories, raise the feel good chemicals in your brain, increase your oxygen intake and have a better, more productive attitude towards the tough stuff.
If you’d like to learn more about using humor in your business and life, I’m doing a very KUEL FREE virtual event on Thursday, October 13th and Jack Perez will be the headlining speaker because she is so much FUN!
Join Us For A Free Event To Help Lighten Up & Get Clients!
Effective Leadership Using Humor. It will be LIVE and interactive so bring a friend and be ready to take some notes and move your body.
Here’s the LINK: https://www.lightenupandgetclients.com/upgrade
Imagine having more energy, more productivity and a totally new approach to the not-so-fun parts of your business that most of us resist but need to get done. Can’t wait to see you there!
About the Author:
Elaine Williams is an award winning Video & Visibility Coach, Speaker, Best Selling Author and Comedian. Some of her credits: Saturday Night Live, America’s Got Talent, The New York Times, Hay House Radio & the Huffington Post.
Elaine’s clients have gone from never doing video/speaking live to having their own You Tube Channels, doing International Book Tours, and speaking for NASA.