The Power of Play to Grow Your Business
Building your business is not an easy endeavour.
You are busy at it even when you are at rest. The development of something truly worthwhile is all-consuming. Think of children. Nurturing those tiny bodies and minds to be grown, good people is exhausting, important and it never lets up.
But, just like raising kids, the full commitment it takes to keep everything in motion for your business requires rest. Not sleeping. Sleeping needs to happen as well. I mean real rest. The R&R kind of rest that only removing yourself from the situation can give you.
I recently spent a couple of glorious days with friends out skiing. We laughed, ate, skied, shopped and talked about everything and anything. Instead of feeling guilty about not working I gave myself permission to play. In playing, I rested.
You see, playing is just as important as working. We need to treat ourselves to a time out on occasion to recharge our batteries. Stepping away from parenting, for example, doesn’t mean that the responsibilities have stopped. It gives you pause to be able to bring your whole self back to the job at hand and remind you of the joy that it brings you.
Here’s why you need to break for fun:
1. Take Control of Your Day
Fun and play give you and any staff you manage control of the day. It allows everyone to fully show up for work and not find themselves so distracted that they are no longer present in the world. Imagine the monotony of a job that provides a paycheque but no fun.
2. Build Relationships
Fun builds relationships with customers by connecting with them on a personal level. Personal connections allow you to really understand your clients’ needs and know what product of yours best suits their growing business. Building staff relationships does the same thing. By having fun, you are connecting with people on a level that generates trust and support.
3. Working to a Higher Purpose
Finally, by giving yourself time for joy, you breathe life and flow into your daily purpose. It amazes me how a few laughs and a brain break, or maybe even meditation, makes work feel so much more important and worthwhile. Knowing that you give yourself and your staff permission to be themselves, have fun and play allows you all to stay in an optimal state of working.
Remember, all work and no play makes for long days.
Play at Work
A client of mine recently relayed a story that illustrates the point I am trying to make beautifully. She was one of the founding members of the Culture Club for the organization she worked for and, as such, planned corporate events that had fun built in. The employees enjoyed each others’ company and helped out whenever they could when at work. They had after-work socials, in-work karaoke, costume contests and game shows. It was a great place to work.
Creativity flew like sparks and the entrepreneurial spirit was alive. Business was booming and everyone was proud to work there.
Cut to this same client returning to work after her maternity leave. The culture of fun had shifted to heads-down work with many catalysts for this change. The creativity was totally sucked out of the organization. Nobody went for long lunches to discuss exciting business growth ideas or even their latest trips with the family.
Employees held on to projects tightly to get credit for successes instead of working with others to build something even bigger. Business was sliding and people were being laid off or leaving.
You can see how play in the workplace fostered inspiration, excitement and passion and how eliminating fun stopped employees from fully caring about company success in this case. What used to be fun, became just a job. My client didn’t last long in this stifling environment before she left to build something fun for herself.
So, Are You Having Fun Yet?
Now extrapolate that to your week. Is fun built in? Even the driest of subject matter can lend itself to a moment of silly in the day. You don’t need an office of people to plan an afternoon fun break. Reward yourself regularly for getting the business of business done. Maybe you will take a walk, play a game, search YouTube or do a cartwheel. If it feels fun, do it as your reward for a job well done. My own reward is Netflix. I watch with great satisfaction when the work is complete and I can feel good about my accomplishments.
I challenge you to build play into your life. Start with something easy, but fun needs to be present in all your life’s pursuits. If you can, plan a weekend away from the phone, the email and the stress of building an empire. Play daily and weekly to clear your head and bring you back to joy and for the ability to bring all that you need to work. Your vulnerability, your creativity and your passion are bubbling under the surface waiting for this breathing room to grow. Tickle it and let it out.