Are We Having Fun Yet?

Life is Good

Are you having fun doing what you are doing? Too often folks associate “fun” with “lightweight” or "not earnest." We even throw around the word “serious” as if it is a compliment, as in, “She has a serious job.”

There are certainly times when humor and/or a lighthearted approach simply don’t feel appropriate, but my sense is that there are a lot of folks who are suffering from, well, a serious need of lightening up a bit. We need to make a habit of looking for more fun in our days—asking how we can “make it more fun,” or at least feel better in more life situations—especially at work. After all, are we more productive and of the most value to others when we are “grinding,” or when we are in in the midst of inspired action?

Certainly neuroscience supports this argument! In fact, this entry is an expansion on my comment responses to colleague, Jesse Lynn Stoner’s excellent post on rewiring your brain for leadership. Jesse’s advice includes guiding our thoughts toward the pleasant and the positive, especially during periods of high-demand on our personal resources.

This blog is focused on self-leadership, so let’s expand on our personal mental models of what is fun. My idea of fun includes inner life fun, and “inspired action” fun. A partial list…

Contributing real, unique value to a team: fun.

Keeping my emotional equilibrium in the midst of unplanned chaos (I win!): fun.

Staying authentic when it is tempting to alter my course for approval: fun.

Succeeding at focus in the midst of distraction: fun.

Dissolving a communication difficulty with a friend or colleague (feels great): fun.

Making a connection with someone when working on a challenging project together: fun.

Having a creative breakthrough: fun.

Having a personal breakthrough: fun.

Having the awareness/mindfulness to maintain a solution-based (not problem-based) focus: fun.

Reclaiming my authority from where I’ve given it away: fun.

As my ego becomes more transparent: fun.

Sensing a truth in a given situation/connection/relationship: fun.

Enhancing my range of sensitivity, perception, understanding: fun.

Increasing my competency: fun.

Discovering new interests: fun.

Achieving a personal best (especially if I had fun doing it): fun.

Enjoying the journey: fun.

Appreciating my customers, clients, creditors, employees, family and friends as often as I can: fun!

When something is in our best interest over time, does it make sense to nurture resistance to it? To go over and over it in our minds with dread? Or does it make more sense to find ways of at least making peace with it, and even looking for way to breath some fun into it?

Easier said than done? Of course. Worth the mental discipline to flip the switch and guide our thoughts toward what feels better. You bet. Success at this? Fun!

How can you expand on your mental model of fun? How can you, or how do you, breath more fun into what you do?

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