Have Fun. This is what we’ve heard since we were a kid. Somewhere along the way this advice has been lost. In our work culture today, it has become more about deadlines, hitting goals and success.
But when is fun discussed during staff meetings?
Even if a manager says to have fun with a project, do they really mean it?
My entire professional career, I’ve worked for baseball teams. My office is our baseball stadium. It’s amazing. And it very well could be the most fun place to work in the world.
But I take it for granted. It’s like having a house on the beach but never actually going to the beach.
While we’ve certainly had our share of fun throughout the years, it was still lacking.
And it was after reading a book that this became crystal clear. I learned that success breeds a desire for more success. That ends up being the fuel for everything. And what gets left behind is that important ingredient we call fun.
The book was Play it all Away by Charlie Hoehn. Throughout the book, he details his extreme cases of anxiety that he experienced as a workaholic. As a young man, he had amazing success working for some of the most brilliant entrepreneurs of our day including Tim Ferris and Rahmit Sahit. Then all of sudden he was burnt out, suffered severe panic attacks and hit rock bottom.
It was a book that provided his A-ha moment as well. He read the book, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown.
It changed his life. Shortly after, he was asked to grab a cup of coffee with a colleague and instead he suggested playing catch at the park. He started taking improv classes. He started going to the batting cages with friends. He began looking for ways to have fun and play every day.
And what happened, he immediately started losing his anxiety and his productivity increased dramatically.
This same idea is detailed in Shawn Achor’s Happiness Advantage. It’s not the success that will necessarily make you happy, it’s being happy that will make you more successful.
These ideas hit me like a ton of bricks. I immediately called my Dad and had him ship me my baseball gloves from when I was a kid. I called my wife and we discussed the times at work when we were happiest and most successful.
It was so clear. When we were coming up with crazy promotions, making fun videos, or pulling pranks on staff, we were having the most fun.
We weren’t focused on how much money we were bringing in or what we had to accomplish in the future.
We were just having fun. The kicker was that this fun was leading to more success. After playing around and laughing, we’d feel more energized and motivated.
We’d lose track of time and be present and in the moment.
During these times, it was never work. It was just fun.
So if you are struggling with this at your work, how do you make it happen?
You don’t need to bring in a ping pong table. Just start joking around with your colleagues, be sarcastic and fun with your emails, have inner office contests that have nothing to do with sales.
Having fun and playing was the most important thing in our lives as kids. It’s time we bring this back as adults.