Think back to when you were a child. You’re outside, the sun is shining on your face, the wind blowing through your hair, and you can hear the other kids shouting while you’re running around playing without a care in the world. Playing tag, scuffing you’re knees, getting messy. This was a time in our lives when nothing else mattered except the here and now.
Now ask yourself—what happened to that pure and genuine child-like energy throughout the years? What happened to the days when it was okay to say whatever was on your mind, get hurt, and follow your heart’s desires? When did we start telling ourselves it was not acceptable to play anymore?
We’re not saying you need to walk out of the office right now and kick a ball to play—although certainly don’t rule that out. Play is about being engaged with others, being spontaneous, being creative, taking risks. It is aliveness through a relationship with yourself and others. Play provides an opportunity to learn and grow. It is completely engaging in the here-and-now with whatever you are doing. It’s seeing how far you’re willing to go with someone and how much they’re willing to play back with you. It’s taking risks and getting hurt, but cleaning yourself off and getting back into the game.
Many of us believe there is a time for work and a completely separate time for play. But if we find ways to play in all areas of our life, whether at work or at home, we will touch and be touched more by the people in our lives and experience a greater level of satisfaction…and results. You might play by risking and being more genuine in a relationship, by giving someone feedback, or by asking for support—really being in the moment to see what can come of it.
Pick a time today—a normal time in your everyday routine—and see how you can have fun with it, engage with it, or turn it into play. Need to work with a team on a project? Engage more fully and see how you can look at it differently, think more creatively, play more in relationship. See what comes out of your mouth that is not rehearsed, edited, or scripted. Doing your emails? Engage in the process and make it play, rather than something to get over with. Cleaning the toilet bowl? Have fun with the swirls. Making dinner? Make it playful. Engage fully. It may turn into a totally different experience.
Watch Year of Transformation Student Conor McCann talk about how his assignment of play affected the relationship with himself and his friends.
Remember, all the world is your playground.