Power of Fun

Renewing Yourself - Work vs Play

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Renewing Yourself: Work vs. Play

Too much fun at work: That is something I rarely hear these days in my work coaching (www.moleadershipcoaching.com) people.  Yet, I wonder if we don’t discount the value of enjoyment for high performance on the job. There is power in play, even for the most serious of careers.

Studies show that play has a survival advantage in the wild. When young animals engage in rough and tumble play-fighting, they are learning skills and social rules. Those that play the most, grow more neurons, and have more robust mental as well as physical stamina.

Humans also benefit from play during their entire life span, not just as children and adolescents. In older adults, those who engage in the most cognitive activity (doing puzzles, reading, engaging in mentally challenging work) have a 63 percent lower chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease than the general population.

Adults who continue to explore and learn throughout life are less prone to dementia and less likely to get heart disease. The people who stay sharp and interesting as they age are the ones who continue to play and work.

When we stop playing, we stop growing, and we begin dying.

According to Stuart Brown, MD, author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul (Penguin Books, 2009), the opposite of work is not play. Play and work are mutually supportive. Yet most of us have learned to be serious when it comes to our careers. We squelch our natural drive to have fun.

Play is not the enemy of work, in fact, neither can thrive without the other. We need the newness of play, the sense of flow, imagination, and energy of being in the moment.

Creative play mirrors one of the grandest descriptions of God: The Creator.

We also need the sense of purpose in work: the economic stability it provides, the sense of meaning and competence. The quality that work and play have in common is creativity. In both we are creating new relationships, skills, and making things happen. Play outside of work impacts your effectiveness in work.

Often an overwhelming sense of responsibility and competitiveness can bury our inherent need for variety and challenge. If we deny our need to play, we will eventually fall to stress and burn-out. Recognizing our biological need for play can transform work and life. This is often the doorway to life-balance that many of my clients are seeking.

If life-balance, play or creativity are things that puzzle you, let’s connect.

My work solves the puzzles of leadership and is designed exclusively for every individual.

Play helps us deal with difficulties, handle challenges, tolerate routines and emotions such as boredom or frustration. Play provides a sense of expansiveness, promotes mastery, and is vital to the creative process.

Text me at 714-267-2818 to connect or email at marc@mocoach4ldrs.com

Renewing Yourself with PLAY

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The Power of Play

What ever happened to unbridled joy in our daily lives? Remember the fun of play we experienced as children? Maybe we need to renew ourselves and start playing more.

Nearly everyone starts out in life playing quite naturally, having fun with whatever’s available. We make up rules, invent games with playmates, fantasize and imagine mysteries and treasures.

Something happens as we become working adults: we shift our priorities into organized, competitive goal-directed activities. If an activity doesn’t teach us a skill, make us money, or further our social relationships, we don’t want to waste time being nonproductive.

Sometimes the sheer demands of daily living and family responsibilities seem to rob us of the ability to play.

“I have found that remembering what play is all about and making it part of our daily lives are probably the most important factors in being a fulfilled human being. The ability to play is critical not only to being happy, but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative, innovative person.” ~ Stuart Brown, MD, author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, Penguin Books, 2009.

Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, presents his ideas on this TED TV video: Play is More than Fun. Sprinkled with anecdotes demonstrating the play habits of subjects from polar bears to corporate CEOs, Brown promotes play at every age.

Dr. Brown offers this definition:

Play is an absorbing, apparently purposeless activity that provides enjoyment and a suspension of self-consciousness and sense of time. It is also self-motivating and makes you want to do it again.

We underestimate the power of play. Imagine a world without play – not only an absence of games or sports, but an absence of movies, arts, music, jokes, and dramatic stories. No day-dreaming, no teasing, no flirting. Play is what lifts people out of the routine of the mundane, and offers a means to find joy in even the little things.

As we step into 2019 remember that play stimulates creativity. As we explored in the last series on coaching, when we create a safe environment creativity flourishes. So, make sure your play is safe and remember that sarcasm is not safe.

Play, fun or entertainment historically may have carried a religious bent to it of being sinful. I believe God loves for us to play. He enjoys us as Our Heavenly Father. The reality is that play, fun and entertainment are of themselves neither good nor bad. I would lean towards Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”. Is our play pleasing to God? If so then I say more play, more better generating more creativity and reducing anxiety.

In my work coaching people (moleadershipcoaching.com) we discuss the importance of enjoyment and play. No matter the seriousness of your work, you need to find ways of renewing yourself through the power of play.