Jacqueline Kabat is a powerful, funny, unique woman.  Having just completed her one-year blog challenge, “365 Day Blog Entry Challenge of Cosmic Angst Through the Eyes of Comedic Insight,” she is a force of creativity, humor and integrity.   She has been involved in all aspects of stand-up comedy, improvisation and sketch writing since 1997,  studying with some of the biggest names in comedy, performing on some of most revered stages, and leading corporate team-building workshops and wellness weekends based on the principals of improv comedy.  Because she is a fearless teacher, we asked her to fill out the Thrivival Questionnaire.

What does “thriving” mean to you?

Thriving is directly related to owning your passion, the confidence to carve your own path and keeping your sense of humor. Laughing at our mistakes is an immediate remedy for self criticism. I also feel maintaining a deep empathy for others and yourself is a crucial quality. Making the effort to resonate with others keeps us grounded, selfless and humble. Thriving is the payback we get by tapping into our emotional intelligence to be sensitivity, genuine and patient with ourselves and the world around us.

What do you do on a regular basis in an effort to thrive?

Writing. I’m not only speaking about my 365 day blog entry challenge. If I say, think, see, hear or feel anything that makes me take pause…I know it’s worth holding onto. It might serve me creatively in five minutes or 5 years. I trust that what’s reaching me on any level is absolutely connected to my passion.

In what ways have you gone from survival mode to thrivival mode?

I started to embrace that “my think outside of the box” wiring. On the last day of my blog I wrote, “Upon review of blogs past… there were days that not only was I out of the box… I was miles away from the box. Or kilometers if I lived in Europe.”  My readers were appreciating and finding humor in the way I was procession everyday trial and tribulations. This support allowed my writing to develop because I had the confidence that my big, perplexing and amusing choices were resonating with my readers. And myself.

What are some things that get in the way of your efforts to thrive?

Being involved in so many aspects of comedy (performing, writing and teaching) has the potential to feel overwhelming and leave me scattered. The year long blog challenge kept me working, focused and curious. Committing to write everyday forced me to be accountable to my readers. To myself.  My life on an “unconventional path” used to make me overly sensitive to what others thought about me. Upon reflection, I’ve come to realize that I am ultimately judging myself and creating a self sabotaging and debilitating occurrence that will undoubtedly put a halt to my focus, passion and creativity.

5) If you feel low, how do you boost your level of thriving?

Shifting self-critical thoughts is the first step because one negative idea has the capacity to turn into an 8-lane highway if we allow it be all-consuming. It’s unbelievable how unkind we can be to ourselves. I would never treat anyone the way I treat myself at times. I have a very thin veil around me and tend to absorb people’s energy very easily. This has been a great challenge when in the company of people who see themselves as victims…but has also served as a powerful healing tool. When life appears to working against me. I try my best to surround myself with positive people with giving, authentic and loving energy. This seems to clear the negative emotions that could hold me back from success. I also suggest that diving into some creative endeavor can shift a mood quite fast by keeping us present. I’ve discovered that there is some wisdom to simply approaching fear, shaking hands with it and than transmuting the (real or perceived) fear into any medium of art. I generally process hardship into some form of comedy.

6) Is there someone whose efforts to thrive you really admire?  Who and why?

My students. As a comedy improv teacher, I am aware that most of my students haven’t played since they were children. Watching them to step out of their comfort zone and unreleased all fear and inhibitions never seizes to inspire me. They are constantly reminding me that although there are times we feel off-centered and unsure, there is the potential for us to thrive and become alive by simply getting up, doing something, trying it out, making mistakes, playing,  laughing and trying it once again. Teachers teach what they need to learn.

Read other responses to the Thrivival Questionnaire here.