037: First Improv Performance was Almost Her Last with Kymberlee WeilBy Arwen Becker | April 20, 2021
When Kymberlee Weil left the stage after her first improv performance, she told her comedy troop that she wouldn’t be back and apologized. She thought she bombed because even her best friend wasn’t laughing. When the night was over, she told her husband she was retiring from improv, and that comedy performance simply wasn’t for her.
Thankfully, her best friend assured her after the show that she was hilarious and she had nothing to worry about. That night, she learned an important lesson – you can’t control your audience’s face.
Since then, Kymberlee has trained hundreds of TEDx speakers, improv performers, and international speakers at StorytellingSchool.com, where she teaches people how to use high-stakes, short-form storytelling to expand their influence. She’s an NCAA Woman of the Year, a 4th degree black belt, an MBA, an author of multiple books, and the founder of an award-winning software development and licensing company.
Today, Kymberlee and Arwen discuss how improv can teach people how to power through failure, how the stories we tell ourselves impact who we are and who we become, and how the lessons Kymberlee learned in improv (and with her own coach) have helped her empower storytellers of all kinds.
Overcomer Playlist Recommendation
Pearls of Wisdom
- We can’t control our audience’s face or their reactions.
- We can always challenge ourselves to tell better stories. The more interesting the story is, the more fun it is not just to deliver it, but to hear it.
- Just do it, be it and don’t overthink it. Make a choice and own it.
- Appreciate your money and save it for a purpose.
Tweetables“Save that money because it can blossom into something much bigger than an earthworm.” - Kymberlee Weil Click To Tweet “The stories that we tell ourselves can be either dangerous or delicious. We get to choose.” - Kymberlee Weil Click To Tweet “When you’ve done the work, it should be instinctual.” - @LIFEwithArwen Click To Tweet “I've still got your back because I trust you, because I respect you, because I want you to be a stronger you, and I’ve got you.” - Kymberlee Weil Click To Tweet “Consistency over time equals results.” - Kymberlee Weil Click To Tweet “Making a choice is better than not making one at all.” - @LIFEwithArwen Click To Tweet “The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling.” - Cecil B. DeMille Click To Tweet
- She Handled It, So Can You!: An Inspiring and Empowering Financial Guide for Women
- Website: https://storytellingschool.com/
- Podcast: https://storytellingschool.com/podcast/
- IG: https://www.instagram.com/storytellingschool/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/storytellingschool/
- Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out by Mick Napier
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Connect with Arwen Becker
Arwen Becker: You know as I was thinking about this show and the topic that we are going to be talking about, I was thinking back to fourth grade. So, fourth grade, here we were, we were in music class, and we were told that all of us needed to try out for the musical. And the musical in fourth grade was called The Runaway Snowman. So, I did what any good introvert would do, I tried out to be in the choir. And so I sang with my little choir buddies, and my music teacher said, “You know, Arwen, that was really great. Can I just get you to read this dialog for me really quick?” And so, I read the dialog, and then she said, “Now the song that you were just singing, can I just get you to sing that by yourself for a moment?” And so, being the good compliant fourth grader that I was, I sang my little piece for her.
So, we all left music class. We came back two days later, and she handed us the cast list. It said Runaway Snowman at the top. It said the word cast, and then the first person on it was for the snowman, and my name was next to it. So, here I went from wanting to be in the choir to her now, assigning me the lead role in the fourth-grade play. So, I believed that maybe she knew something and I could possibly do this. So, I went forward with it. I did my practices, went on to the rehearsals, and then the day of the performance came. And I left school that day, and I went to gymnastics practice. That's what I was doing in fourth grade.
So, when I was there, I can so vividly remember, I was supposed to do a cartwheel and for some reason, midair, I decided to do a handspring, and it contorted my body, which caused me to land weird, which my big toe crumpled up underneath my foot, and my whole foot pressure came down on it, and it broke my big toe. Blood, it was so gross. And yet, in four hours, I had to be at my performance, and I was mortified, but the thought of quitting as much as I wanted to quit, I knew I couldn't. I had all these other kids that were relying on me. I didn't have an understudy, of course, and all the parents that were going to be there. And so, I had to do the real thing, I had to play hurt. And all the pictures from this performance, because I'm dancing and singing on the side of my foot with my sweet little Velcro sneakers that I had on.
And today's guest knows what it's like to come up to the edge at a live performance and want to quit, and when things just don't go according to plan. And so, who is this amazing woman that we're going to be talking to today? Well, the life path for Kymberlee Weil is described in two words of unlimited potential of possibility, crushing it. How else could one possibly explain a person who holds a distinction in an NCAA Woman of the Year, 4th degree black belt, MBA educated, author of multiple books, and founder of an award-winning software developing and licensing company.
She's also the winner of the Association for Women in Communications, Women of Achievement Award. She's the trainer of hundreds of TEDx speakers, improv performer, international speaker, and creator of StorytellingSchool.com that specializes in high-stakes, short-form storytelling to help people expand their influence. And we're only getting started. Kymberlee’s determination to defy her own barriers fused with this unique combination of storytelling, spontaneity, and strategy has resulted in a powerful communication approach that draws in the likes of CEOs, high net worth individuals and influencers all around the world.
Arwen Becker: Kymberlee, my friend, I am so excited to have you on the show today.
Kymberlee Weil: Darling, do go on, because it's amazing. Oh, it's so great to be here, especially with that intro.
Arwen Becker: Oh, well, I mean, you are a wealth of knowledge, a wealth of accomplishment, but yet still such a humble, amazing woman who wants to continue to help other people around you be better. And so, I was better even just the first moment that I met you because I was like, that woman, you just know that she's going somewhere, and I want to be in her sphere. So, I'm just so happy that you're sharing with us today.
Kymberlee Weil: Oh, well, it's an honor to be here, truly.
Arwen Becker: Thank you. Well, before we get started in this great story of yours that I'm super excited to hear, why don't you tell us what song you brought for our overcomer playlist, and why did you choose it?
Kymberlee Weil: Yes, deliciousness. Okay, look, if you only had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you’ve ever wanted, in one moment, could you capture it or just let it slip away? That is Eminem, Lose Yourself, and that is my power song that I play before this interview, before I'm going on stage, before I got a high stakes something or other, that's my go-to song.
Arwen Becker: Oh, I love that song, and it's not on my list, so I'm totally throwing that on there.
Kymberlee Weil: Great. Yes.
Arwen Becker: That’s going to be awesome. That's a good choice. Well, why…
Kymberlee Weil: Your blood responds to that song, I feel like. I mean, I can't not be just in state and ready to go.
Arwen Becker: Love it. Absolutely love it. Well, I am so excited to hear this story today. So, why don't you take us back to your first live improv? What happened?
Kymberlee Weil: Okay. So, I had heard that improv was a great idea for public speakers and for people who are on stage, great. And it terrified me because I'm the kind of person who, I like my script, I like to memorize my script, I like to know it all so that then I can bring it to life on stage, but this is comedy. Comedy, which I didn't ever think of myself as a particularly funny person. I'm driven, and I'm a lot of other things, but it's comedy without a net. So, you are on stage and in the spotlight with nothing, no script, no story, no nothing, except a gift from the audience, which is usually one word, and that's it.
So, I've been training in this and taking classes and going to school for about a year. And it's time for my first performance, first live performance. And I am so nervous, so nervous that I don't invite anyone to come see me perform. My parents are like, no, no, not allowed. My friends, no, I'm not going to invite anyone, colleagues, clients. No one was allowed, except my dear friend Steve from Baltimore. So, Steve from Baltimore happened to be in town. And I was like, okay, okay, I'll just invite Steve from Baltimore. He's a funny guy. So, this is going to be perfect because he'll give me that great energy, and everything's going to go fine.
So, backstage, and we're just about ready to go on. And I look out of the curtain, and there's Steve in the front row. So, he got a seat in the front row so I could see him. Everything's perfect. Okay, so curtain's up, and we go out and we do our first bit. And I look over at Steve, and Steve sitting in the chair like this. Okay, alright, well, that's not good, but that's okay, that's okay. We've got more time to do other bits. And so, the next time out that I go out, I jump out there, and we do our bit. And Steve’s sitting there, going, and I'm like, oh, God, oh, God. Not only am I embarrassing myself in front of Steve, my dear friend, I'm letting my whole troop down who's performing with me. And I'm terrible. And I'm just in my head, and in my head, I’m planning, this is the last time I'm ever going to step foot on. What the heck am I thinking? Who am I to think I'm funny to get out here, do this thing? I should go to what I know. And this is ridiculous.
And so, I start apologizing to people backstage. The show's not even over, and I'm apologizing. I'm like, you guys, I'm sorry, I'm not going to perform again. I'm not going to take you guys down. I'm so sorry. And people are like, what, what? And so, they're trying to perform. And I'm like taking people off, like in the curtain. No, don't worry, I'm not coming back. I'm not, I'm not, I'm not coming back. Until we finished that night, and after the performance, I grabbed my husband, and I was like, okay, Mark, this is it, this is it for me. I'm retiring. Like, this is it. Maybe I'll take some classes, but performing is not for me.
We found Steve in the crowd, and I went to Steve, I said, “I owe you one, and I'll never ask you to sit through a performance of mine like that again. And I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry, I wasted your time. So sorry I was so bad. I'm so sorry. I'm really, I just, huge apologies.” And so, Steve goes to me, what do you mean? You were hilarious. I was like, wait, what? I was hilarious. He's like, oh yeah. You had some really funny bits in that. What? He's like, yeah. Yeah, I liked it. You should do this again. Well, Steve is a criminal defense attorney from Baltimore, Maryland. And so, Steve's funny face is this. So, I had no idea that he was actually enjoying the performance, and there was only a crowd of a couple people, like it wasn't a big deal performance. So, it was just even a couple, like parents of the other performers, but still that for me, the stakes were so high. And this was something that I loved doing in class. I loved the adrenaline rush, like my sports background of getting on stage and being in that moment and spotlights and all of these things, except this was something totally out of my element.
And so, I learned that day two things, two very important things that have stayed with me for the rest of my improv career, but one is we can't control our audience’s face, very important.
Arwen Becker: That’s very true. That's a very good point.
Kymberlee Weil: Yes. And the other thing that I learned is the stories that we tell ourselves can be either dangerous or delicious, and we get to choose. And so, the story that I was telling myself backstage and telling myself and telling all my fellow players and my husband and everybody was that I'm terrible, I don't deserve to be here, I am less than, this was a terrible decision. And that was almost the last day I ever performed in my life, but thanks to Steve's encouragement, now I'm part of a troupe and we perform all the time. And improv has changed my life.
Arwen Becker: Wow. Do you think, I mean, if he would have told you, yeah, I mean, it was okay, and I thought, I mean, and had a different reaction, would that have been the end of it for you? Would you have taken that one reaction of one person and just said, it's not, I'm not doing this?
Kymberlee Weil: I might have, I might have, because…
Arwen Becker: What did your husband say? I mean, what was his reaction, even if Steve was there, right?
Kymberlee Weil: He was there. And I mean, he's the husband so it's like when you say, honey, how do I look? And, oh, you look great, you know that case. So, I appreciated his encouragement, but interestingly, Steve's opinion mattered more in that moment because I would expect my husband to support me and to say, oh, honey, you've got this, just keep trying, you'll get better or something like that, but the fact that Steve, who is he used to perform in comedy before in between being a criminal defense attorney, he actually performed and was on the circuit and stuff. So, for someone like that of his stature to give me permission to– which is weird, I believe, we shouldn't accept permission outside of ourselves. We need to, just so many lessons here, but it taught me to trust and to reframe my own view of myself and the limiting story that I had told myself.
Arwen Becker: Right. What do you think, because you had said that you didn't want anybody there, so why of the one person you did, did you have somebody who you had, I mean, was already at such a high level of their opinion would really matter, was that why? Or was he just happened to be in town? Or did you say that?
Kymberlee Weil: Well, he did happen to be in town, that was one, but that wasn't why I invited him. I thought that he would get it, because sometimes with improv, if you're sort of in it and you understand it and you know it, and especially as a fellow performer, it's even funnier to you because you're like, that was hard. What they just did, that was great. Like when you're just a normal audience member, you have high expectations, and you expect every single thing to be hilarious, where he, there was some give and take with him and just kind of knowing where I was and my first show that I just felt he was the perfect person.
Arwen Becker: Right. So, then he would have a greater appreciation because he knows how hard it is.
Kymberlee Weil: Yeah.
Arwen Becker: Yeah, no, I totally get it. And so, at what point did you finally start letting other people into your world?
Kymberlee Weil: Honestly, about a year. It took me…
Arwen Becker: I knew it. I’m so you, I totally get it.
Kymberlee Weil: And yes, and my family's so supportive and so amazing. And they’d say, “What are you doing?” I have a show tonight. Oh, can we come? No. Okay. And so, yeah. And honestly, even to this day, like certain performances, I won't invite people I know but yeah.
Arwen Becker: It is so hard. I mean, I think back to specifically the fifth seminar I ever gave. And this was not too long after I had met you, and I started my public speaking career in the beginning of 2017. I'd never done a seminar before. And I just remember that fifth one because I had become so up in my own head about impressing people or getting the words right and getting it in the right order. And it was all about me, I mean, it just became this, I was so up in my own head about it. And I just remember how devastating the end of that experience was. I made it all about my performance and me and my ego, and once I took that pressure off and just thought that thought process of what is it that my audience needs, it took so much of that weight off of me. And I know you've probably experienced that a little bit throughout your performance years.
Kymberlee Weil: Yes, and in improv, the more we think, the worse it will be. And that's a weird kind of concept, and it's the same in martial arts, too, when you're on the mat and you're in a knife fight and you're thinking, that's not a good choice because you're going to get cut or killed. You have to rely on your training and rely on what you've done behind the curtain or in the dojo in that case, so that you can really just channel and be in the moment and react and be present. And I think it's the same thing with speaking, too, and improv, performing and everything else. The more that we are in the moment, like this interview, we're in the moment, it's not scripted. We don't know exactly where it's going to go, but we are 100% present with each other, so we can feed off each other's energy and help the audience go through this hopefully amazing experience.
Arwen Becker: Right. And like, it's instinctual. So, when you've done the work, you practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, then it should be instinctual. So, I know, I can imagine improv, especially really helps with all forms of speaking, like what we're doing right here. I could do something really weird and just tell you to do something, and you be like, okay, I guess I'll do that.
Kymberlee Weil: And that's the beauty of improv. And that's why for me, the stakes were so high as far as quitting, not quitting, because I loved it in class, I loved the adrenaline rush, I loved the lessons I was learning that I was able to apply to my life, I loved being in the moment and getting used to failure, too. With improv, every bit is not going to go great. In any show, we're going to have bits that just slay, and others that are like, okay, and people forget those other ones. They lock on to the ones that are so great. And so, getting comfortable with failure, getting comfortable with accepting that it's not going to be perfect.
And honestly, with improv, the imperfections are where the funny is, the unexpected things that when someone makes a terrible mistake, you use that, even a mispronunciation of a word can be the most hilarious thing of a whole show because we just dig in on that. It's like a salt in the wound, if something happens, we're going there.
Arwen Becker: Can you remember any time that just stands out of something, like some experience of it just totally bombing? I mean, what does that like in improv? Is it just quiet or is it like, oooh? What does that look like typically?
Kymberlee Weil: What does it look like? What does it feel like? It feels like you want to shrink into a little tiny ball and disappear, because we know it, we can feed off the audience and even now, for the whole last year, we've been performing online, and you can tell when things are working or not working, and especially if there's a scene that's not going anywhere, we're like, come on, sound guy, like, cut us out, like, get us off here, because we don't do our own edits in the form that we do, but it feels terrible, I'll tell you. Terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible. And you know that there's something great on the other side of it. So, we always have something to look forward to. So, it can be the worst scene, the worst choice, terrible, terrible. And we know that the next scene might be the best thing of our lives.
Arwen Becker: Right. And I have to also imagine, though, just in doing multiple improvs, as you continue to do it more and more and more, you probably don't hang on to those moments where things didn't go “right” or well, or they didn't land well or whatever, and probably move past that mentally a lot more rapidly than you did initially. I mean, would there be like these hang-ons, like ah, like you kind of feel the feelings from the prior scene before you went into the next one and kind of have a harder time letting go of it, you know what I mean?
Kymberlee Weil: That is a muscle that we have to train hard on and continue to train hard on. One of my coaches says that he's got a 24-hour rule, and you're allowed to beat yourself up for 24 hours, and that's it. You've got to drop it after that. So, there's the legacy feeling about it. And again, as a recovering or ongoing recovering perfectionist, I tend to go to the negative and yeah, I might have had four scenes that just people are telling their friends about, but it's those two scenes that were terrible that I anchor on to. And I was like, oh, why did I say that? Why didn't I do that? I had the opportunity. I missed this game here.
And so, again, it's the stories that we tell ourselves in our minds. And so, I look at storytelling through three different lenses. It's the stories that we tell others, the stories that are told to us, and the stories that we tell ourselves. And that third piece, the stories that we tell ourselves, like I said earlier, can be very dangerous, when we stay and focus on that negative. So, it's a muscle to train out of. And during a show, it's the same thing, like we have to snap out of it. If you are thinking about the last scene that went terrible, it's going to ruin you for the rest of the show. And that's not fair to the audience, it's not fair to your fellow team members.
Arwen Becker: Right. And how have you personally really been able to help yourself get past that as a recovering perfectionist, as you say it? what are maybe some of the techniques that you have utilized over the years to help you get past failure more rapidly?
Kymberlee Weil: Yeah, well, a lot of the improv tools and techniques have helped me get through that failure piece. Boys, there's so many lessons here, but one that comes to mind right now is there's this thing in improv, if this is true, what else is true? And so, in a scene, if my scene partner comes in and says, “We're in the desert,” that is the reality, we have to accept that. In improv, there's another thing called “yes, and” So, if you're Improv 101, everybody learns “yes, and.” That's the first thing everybody learns across the world if you're training an improv. So, “yes, and” means acceptance, in addition. I accept what was just given to me, and I'm going to add value to it.
So, the “no, buts” are what we avoid. If someone says we're in the desert, and I say, no, we're not, we're on a spaceship, that might be funny in the moment, that the scene doesn't go anywhere, because now we're arguing, right? So, “yes, and” has become something I used in my life. You know, yes. It's great, by the way, in relationships because you can say, “Yes, honey, I understand the litter box is dirty, and you would be my hero if you were to clean it up for me.” You know, “yes, and.” So, I'm accepting it and adding to it, but back to this other idea, if this is true, what else is true? If someone comes on stage and says, “We're in the desert,” and I say, “Yes, and this is going to be the best place to get married.” I've added to that reality and moved the scene along, and I feel like we can do that in our challenges in life, too. Yes, I recognize that I just lost this business opportunity, and here's what I'm going to do about it, here's how I'm going to change next time, or if this is true, what else is true? Since I lost this, it frees me up. Maybe I have more time to create my online programmer, I have more time to do this, this, and that. So, it's all mindset.
Arwen Becker: Yeah. I didn't know that with a “yes, and” because that's something that my current speaking coaches or my keynote, that's what they utilize, too, as part of their mantra. And when I first met them, it was like this big “yes, and,” and I'm like, oh, I don't know what that means. I don’t know what that means, but yeah, I knew that the word “but” just wasn't something that entered into conversations. I remember, even when I first met them, they talked about how they use the “yes, and” with their children. “But” is not a form of a word that they typically use in their household. And I never really understood it because “but” does have a negative connotation to it. Well, I think it's what's contradictory or something, it's saying, no, I don't want to do that or whatever, right? You explain it better than I can.
Kymberlee Weil: It blocks us. So, when you say “no, but,” it's a blocking mechanism, and it's very challenging to get to collaboration from that point. So, it turns things into an argument, like do you want to go to– or if I would say, I want to go to the beach. No, but, then we're going to get sand in our feet. It's a blocking mechanism as opposed to if I used a “yes, and.” If someone said, I want to go to the beach. Yes, I understand you want to go to the beach because it's a beautiful day, and I'm not fond of getting sand in my feet. So, can we maybe walk along the beach and sort of walk on the beach? So, it's collaborative, it's acceptance. I accept your point of view and I'm going to add to it. I might have a different point of view, but we can come together as one.
Arwen Becker: That's really hard to do. I just heard you do, too, “yes, and” and trying to figure out how you were going to get the second part of the “and” to work with what the first piece was. That's a skill that you really have to work on utilizing and learning. That's not easy.
Kymberlee Weil: It's not, I will say that, but years to practice, and like anything, there's a big sign in my dojo where it says consistency over time equals results. And that's just it in so many things in our life, right? And so, the more that you train it, just another muscle, something else to train, it gets easier, and it becomes part of who you are. So, if I'm in a negotiation, I'm going to be using “yes, and.” If I'm talking to someone on the phone, “yes, and.” If I'm working on something for one of my clients, especially, let's say I'm giving feedback on a speech, and they might not have done a very good job, okay, so I could say, oh, no, you shouldn't do this, and that blocks them as opposed to I see you made an effort here, here, and here. And what I think can take it to the next level is this, this, and this.
Arwen Becker: Right. Oh, so good. Oh, my gosh. So good. I was thinking about you personally because you are such an accomplished, powerful, strong woman, which I would imagine throughout the years, you've maybe heard some things of being intimidating However, I want to know, with a woman as powerful as you are, who wants people around her to be stronger, and I know, talking face to face with a woman, when women support one another, what does that look like for you? And how does that feel?
Kymberlee Weil: In improv, we have something that we do every single time before we hit the stage, whether it's virtual stage or it's in person. When we used to be in person, what we would do is one at a time, look each other in the eyes, put our hand on each other's shoulder, and say, “I've got your back. I've got your back. I've got your back.” And virtually, we always, before we perform, say, “I've got your back” verbally and put it in the chat as well. And I feel like women supporting women, it is that I've got your back, and what that means to me is there's no judgment. And that is so hard, so hard to do, but I've got you. I've got you. Like you might make a mistake, you might do something I don't agree with, I've still got your back because I trust you, because I respect you, because I want you to be a stronger you, and I’ve got you.
And there's something just so nourishing when someone says, “I've got your back.” And I've taught this to a lot of people that I work with and students and adults and all kinds of different people and offering them to use this with their employees or use this in a corporate setting, use this on a strategic offsite, start off by saying, “I've got your back.” It feels so supportive, and I would love to see more women do that.
Arwen Becker: Yeah. Instead of the positioning and competing and judging, and so much that goes on in our society and think women are so naturally, they're nurturers, they want to give, a lot of times give to a fault and yet, so often reserve their comments of praise or encouragement because they think somehow it's taking something away from them, but there is something so powerful when women just like you, when you can stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder, say, “I got your back” and know that we are running our own race. And I appreciate that the word that you used was nourish. Oh, what a wonderful word, just warm and wonderful.
Kymberlee Weil: Yes. And we need more of that. I mean, the more that we are willing to connect and support and be there for one another, the farther faster we can all go. And I have dear friends that are in competitive positions and I have clients that are in competitive positions, and I've got all of their back because, again, this is a huge, huge, huge world with tons of opportunities for all of us. And the more that we collaborate, the more that we are there for one another, I just believe that the stronger we will all be.
Arwen Becker: Agreed. So agreed. So, when you look back on this wonderful improv experience that you've had throughout your life, first of all, how many years past that? When was that first time? And where are we now?
Kymberlee Weil: I'd have to look that up, but I believe we're at five years, I think, I'm five or six years. After a couple of years, everything kind of blends together. But yeah, it’s something like that.
Arwen Becker: Yeah. So, five years, and how many times throughout those years? I mean, were you doing this monthly? Or how often were you doing it?
Kymberlee Weil: Performing? Live?
Arwen Becker: Yeah.
Kymberlee Weil: So, we would perform twice. I was with a short form– there was a short-form improv performance twice a month, excuse me. And then, there was a long-form troupe that I was part of, and then we would perform separately on a different show. And then, now I'm part of a troupe as well that has shows every other week. So, yeah.
Arwen Becker: Got it.
Kymberlee Weil: So, now, we perform every…
Arwen Becker: So, a lot of practice, a lot of time to dance.
Kymberlee Weil: A lot.
Arwen Becker: A lot of getting up there, trying it again, trying it again, trying it again, learning, practicing, and doing. So, that's always just such an important component. I know it's hardwired into you that practice, practice, practice, practice, practice is definitely something to do, but that's how you get better at things. So, what were really the three things that you took away in looking back on that experience?
Kymberlee Weil: Wow, there's so much. To your practice, too, I want to also add, though, that we do have a coach. And so, we don't just sort of try to figure out, like, how are we doing? I don't know. So, we practice. These days, I'm practicing two nights a week and then two-week nights and then Sundays either are performance day or a dress rehearsal day, every Sunday. So, I'm kind of in it, it's really a part of me. I think so many lessons have come out of improv that have shaped who I am today and shaped my life. And one lesson one of my instructors taught me, and she's from L.A. and this was great. We were doing a scene. So, I'm in a class. We're doing a scene and in my scene, my character was having a drink. So, I was drinking. And she said, “Kymberlee, stop.” Okay, like right in the middle of the scene, she interrupted the scene. Okay, she said, “Make it more interesting.” Okay, I start wondering. She said, “Stop, Kymberlee, make it more interesting,” like, oh God, and she’s like, there, that's what I want.
And so, she said, “You have an opportunity in every scene and every bit of your life to make it more interesting.” And I have locked on to that concept, and so, I challenge myself all the time. So, how can I make, not only this scene more interesting, this interview, this interaction with a client, this first time I'm meeting someone for the first time, this story I'm working on, this, whatever it is, how can I make it more interesting? And I think that's a great lesson that all of us can challenge ourselves with, because the more interesting it is, not only the more fun it is to be the person delivering, but also the receiving end, too. So, we all want a life more interesting, don't we?
Arwen Becker: Right. Absolutely.
Kymberlee Weil: So, that's one that I kind of I lock on to. Let's see, another instructor of mine said, “Make a choice, then make it the right one.” And so, that lesson is about choosing, deciding, doing. So, first, just make a darn choice, like don't contemplate, oh, I could do this, or maybe this other thing, or I'm not sure, what about. Just make a choice, then make it the right one, justify that choice, do whatever you need to do to make sure that was your best choice. That was the choice. So, as far as waffling, it's death on stage if we waffle, like, oh, I don't have anything. Someone came out as a cowboy, and I don't know how– I don't know where to go with that, and I don't know. I don't have anything so you stay back and you don't enter the scene because your brain just doesn't have anything. So, her coaching is make a choice. Just do it, be it. Don't think, be it, and then justify, make it the right one. So, I love that as a life lesson.
Arwen Becker: So are my speaker coach, it's choose early, choose often, because it's the same thing, you don't want to get caught up in thinking, and is this the right one? Just make a choice and go with it and see what happens. I mean, obviously, an improv, like you're saying, and it has to be the right one, but choose early, choose often is just you're going to find out if it wasn't the right way to go, and then you just make a different choice, but making a choice is better than not making one at all. So, I like that.
Kymberlee Weil: Yes, yes, yes, yes. And one more that comes to mind comes from my coach, John, he's the coach of my troop right now. And he'll say, “I know you don't want to, but do it anyway.” So, whatever it is, like, I know you don't want to, do it anyway, and it's so simple, but it's such a good life reminder for us, like, oh, I don't want to write this proposal, but I know you don't want to, but do it anyway, because once you're done, you can onboard a new client and you can do that, so just do the thing.
Arwen Becker: Agreed. Very good. So, last three questions, rapid fire. Are you ready for this?
Kymberlee Weil: Okay.
Arwen Becker: Okay, here we go.
Kymberlee Weil: Alright.
Arwen Becker: So, the best piece of financial wisdom that you've been given.
Kymberlee Weil: Yes, yes. Okay, this came from my dad. So, my dad grew up on a farm in Illinois. And when my dad was a young boy, he would collect earthworms and sell them for a penny apiece.
Arwen Becker: Alright.
Kymberlee Weil: And so, he collected all these earthworms, and he had all these jars of earthworms. He’d sell them for a penny apiece. He collected all that money. When he moved out to California in 1964, he had a choice with his earthworm money. He could either buy what he calls a hot chick car or invest in a home, a rental home. So, he put a down payment on a house, a $17,000 house back in 1964, and that payment, instead of getting his car, ended up making him income. And then he invested in another house, another house, another house, all his rentals. And this really supported him his whole life
So, I think the lesson there is, I think it's a twofold, appreciate your money. Appreciate your money and save it for a purpose. And so, yeah, I think it's rapid fire. So, I could go on with stories, yeah, but save that money because it can blossom into something much bigger than an earthworm. Here you go.
Arwen Becker: Right, absolutely. Bigger than an earthworm. Got it. We're going to put that, that's going to be one of your tweets. Alright, and then a favorite book, and why?
Kymberlee Weil: Okay, so for everyone that's listening, if they're like, what is this improv thing? Like, can it really be so great? Yes, it can be so great. So, one of my favorite improv books I happen to have handy, because I refer to it a lot, is called Improvise by Mick Napier, Scene from the Inside Out. Now, Mick has a point of view, I'll just say that. So, he's going to give it to you straight, like he does not pull punches, this guy, but there are so many delicious lessons in this book and applications where you can kind of take in improv and apply it to your life as life lessons right away. So, a great, great resource.
Arwen Becker: Perfect. And then, finally, a favorite quote.
Kymberlee Weil: Yes, one of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Cecil B. DeMille. And Cecil B. DeMille tells us that the greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling.
Arwen Becker: Read it one more time. Give it to us one more time.
Kymberlee Weil: The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling.
Arwen Becker: Oh, I love it. I love it. Alright. So, how can listeners get a hold of you? Give us all the juicy details, anything on your website, any offerings, any books you've written, anything about you.
Kymberlee Weil: Yeah. Come visit me at StorytellingSchool.com. And I'm also at Storytelling School on Instagram and Facebook. I'm on Instagram every day. So, a lot of my activities is on Instagram. On my website, though, StorytellingSchool.com, I have a great resource that I think a lot of the listeners would find value in. It's an audio, it's free audio, and it teaches you how to be unforgettable and find those stories in an instant. So, you too can be an unforgettable storyteller in any situation.
Arwen Becker: I love it. And so, we can find that on your website?
Kymberlee Weil: Yep, right on the homepage of the website. Yeah, right there.
Arwen Becker: Perfect. And we'll make sure that we have a link in the show notes for that as well.
Kymberlee Weil: Yes. And I also have a podcast. Oh, my gosh. Like hello.
Arwen Becker: Yes, please. I know. The details.
Kymberlee Weil: Yes. So, Storytelling School, the podcast, is another way you can find me and follow me in. And I interview people from all over the world who have a perspective on story, storytelling, looking at stories through those three lenses that I talked about earlier. And so, that might be another great resource that's free and valuable to people.
Arwen Becker: And actually, I don't think I knew you had a podcast, so.
Kymberlee Weil: Oh, my gosh. You got to listen.
Arwen Becker: I know, because you're such a brilliant communicator, So, I'm super excited about plugging into it and talking about being on it as well. That'll be fun.
Kymberlee Weil: Yes. So, yeah, this just in, Arwen, will be a special guest coming up. And yes, it's going to be great. And when it comes down to it, I think that those who can hone their craft of storytelling really can affect change in our world. And that's my tagline for storytelling school, Tell Your Story, Change the World. And I've seen it happen.
Arwen Becker: Yep, and absolutely. Absolutely. Well, my friend, my dear, I'm so grateful that you took the time out of your schedule to come and share such a fun, interesting story with us, which I wouldn't have expected any less from you, but still, I just appreciate you. I appreciate your wisdom, I appreciate your sharing, and just who you've been to me as well. You're just such a tremendous rock that I can always feel the support and love from you, even from states away. So, thank you very much.
Kymberlee Weil: Yeah, you're amazing. You are the best. I love that you're doing this. I love that you're putting your podcast out for women across the globe, and men. I mean, there's so much value that you bring to the table, and your new book, which is incredible. Everyone should get a copy of your new book because, I mean, there's just so much wisdom in your writing, and yeah.
Arwen Becker: Thank you. And writing and story.
Kymberlee Weil: You’re changing the world, too, yeah.
Arwen Becker: That’s right. Changing the World One Woman at a Time, that's my tagline.
Kymberlee Weil: I love it.
Arwen Becker: So, alright, my dear, well, thank you so much for being on the show today.
Kymberlee Weil: My pleasure.
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