Business is a serious thing, I won’t argue that. What’s also true is you don’t have to be serious all the time to be good in business. I’ll even go so far as to say, your business will benefit when you take time to play.
Yup. PLAY. How’s that for a business strategy?
Recently on one of my women’s coaching collective calls I challenged the group to incorporate 30 minutes of unplanned play into their day that took them outside their normal work environment…. Something that took them outdoors.
Make no mistake, these are focused, serious women in business who are wearing lots of hats and spinning lots of plates. So much so, that a previous call revealed high levels of stress on the part of every member of the group. That’s what inspired the challenge.
Knowing it would be a bit of a hard sell I incentivized them to participate… and to be fair… I was not excluded from the challenge. I, too, had a hard deadline and an overflowing datebook that day but I would lead by example. We couldn’t just talk about what we’d done we had to share photos of 5 different scenes as proof. There were lots of reasons why that day ESPECIALLY wasn’t the day anyone wanted to do this… bad weather, deadlines, meetings. And what I quickly learned, is they were also having a hard time even connecting with the thought of play… what could they do in 30 minutes.
So I started sharing super simple – some may say, silly -- ideas… jumping in mud puddles, going to the playground and hopping on a swing, taking a scenic nature walk using their imagination of what they would have done there as a kid…
With reluctance, each woman rose to the occasion of the challenge. And without exception, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Each story started about the same… they weren’t at all happy about it but the decided – albeit begrudgingly – to rise to the challenge. They were strictly going through the motions to meet the requirements as they started out. But within very little time, they found themselves loosening up and actually having fun. The tension in their body started to release. They were laughing. One even spoke of feeling a deep sense of reconnecting with herself and told that story through heart-felt tears.
Across the board, each women accomplished all their scheduled tasks for the day … and with more ease.
That’s not by accident. It’s by design. Stepping away – and especially when engage in play –allows us to gain perspective. In that space we can find solutions and allow our creativity to re-engage. We breathe more deeply which allows more oxygen to fill our bodies. There are both psychological and physiological benefits but none of that data is as convincing as experiencing it for yourself.
So today I’m extending an invitation to you. GO PLAY. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Skip down the street. Play a game of hopscotch. Run barefoot through the grass if you are lucky enough to live someplace where there is not snow. GO PLAY. Reconnect with your inner child… she knows how to simply have fun. If you’ve got an enormous amount of work to accomplish today, GO PLAY. The short break will make you more productive and focused when you return.
Business is serious. You don’t have to be.