Groan! Looking at my office, I knew it was time to do some filing and organizing. Little foothills of paper dotted my desk and the top of my filing cabinet, leading to larger mountains of files. As much as I wanted to clear my space, I just didn’t feel like doing this task. It didn’t feel like it was going to be fun or joyful.
As someone who coaches/teaches healers about how to create prosperous, fulfilling businesses with ease and joy, I was very aware that I needed to be compassionate with myself and, at the same time, “put into practice what I preach”. So, the heartshift for me was how to make this task enjoyable and playful.
Once I allowed myself to fully feel and embrace that feeling of inner resistance and dread of organizing my office, I was more amenable to making this task playful and, even, fun. I did this by blasting some upbeat music and moving my body, while doing my filing.
What I’ve learned is that bringing the emotion of play into those business tasks I resist doing, makes all the difference in the world to my experience of those activities and increases the likelihood that I will complete them…and, with ease and joy. I’ve also discovered that there are ways of “jumpstarting” that play emotion, no matter what the seemingly onerous or intimidating task may be.
The Opposite of Play is Not Work
“We can enjoy our work. We can have fun. We can discover how to find as much joy as we do when involved in any project, as much joy as we did when we were a kid making paper airplanes and flying them from the roof.”
Stuart Brown, M.D.
Play: How It Shapes the Brain,
Opens the Imagination,
and Invigorates the Soul
One of the reasons some aspects of our work may seem, frankly, like “work” — fraught with a sense of struggle and effort – is that in our society, most of us carry a dualistic mindset about play and work. Yet, play and work are not diametric opposites.
Psychiatrist and author Stuart Brown believes that play at work is essential. In his book, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, he asserts that play is crucial to brain development, mastery of our “craft”, problem-solving, creativity and innovation – all things that are beneficial to our work.
Beyond these “practical” and, somewhat, measurable work benefits, the inner benefit of feeling joy in what we’re doing cannot necessarily be quantified, but is equally, if not more, valuable. Stuart says that, “Joy is our birthright, and is intrinsic to our essential design.” What I get from this statement is that cultivating joy, through play, will bring us back to our natural way of being. So, becoming more natural (i.e., “playful”) in all areas of our work will not only benefit our businesses, but will take us back home to the Truth of who we are.
Play Fosters Inspired Action Rather Than Motivated Action
Play is a state of mind and emotion, rather than an activity. When we have evoked that playful mindset/heartset, our actions become more joyful and inspired, no matter what we’re doing.
The word “inspiration” comes from the Latin root, “spirare”, which means spirit. Dictionaries define inspiration as “to infuse with an encouraging or exalting influence; to animate; stimulation by Divinity, genius, an idea or a passion; a Divine influence upon human beings.” Inspired action occurs as a result of the sense of joy and connection to our natural state of being, our Divinity, that is stimulated by a playful state of mind and heart.
Motivated action does not have that same sense of play and joy behind it, because it comes from a place of fear and disconnection and the belief that you can’t or aren’t supposed to have fun doing certain activities. Actions feel heavy, distrusting and anxious, like you’re pushing against something, pushing to complete something or pushing to make something happen.
Tips to Bring More Play Into Your Work , So You Can Take Inspired Action
Everybody has resistance to different business tasks; what is naturally enjoyable for one person is a dreaded activity for another. For example, when clients first start working with me, some dread doing certain marketing and selling activities, whereas, others find those activities to be truly enjoyable and fun.
While, eventually, you may be able to hire and delegate most tasks to others that you don’t naturally enjoy doing, you may not be in that position yet. Right now, there may be business activities that don’t, automatically, induce an emotional state of play for you.
Thankfully, you can jumpstart that play emotion. Here’s a process to help you do so:
1. Take your focus off any goal you’ve attached to the task at hand.
2. Go inside and sense what the resistant feeling is associated with doing this task. For example, it could be fear, anxiety, insecurity, overwhelm, boredom, etc. Move fully into the feeling: turn toward the feeling and embrace it. This will allow it to start shifting.
3. Identify what you want to feel about this activity instead. For example, “I want to feel like this activity is fun, easy and enjoyable.”
4. Find a way of mentally reframing what you are actually doing when you undertake this activity, in such a way that it allows the feelings of fun, ease and joy to arise. For example, with client attraction activities, you could see them as ways to just “party”, have fun and get to know other people. Or you could see an organizational activity as a game.
5. Incorporate anything that will stimulate more of a sense of lightheartedness, play and joy into the activity. For example, depending on the activity, you can play music and dance while doing it. Or, you can imagine that you’re in The Amazing Race and that you have to complete your task properly and quickly, in order to win the million dollars. Use your imagination.
6. Undertake this activity, and play with reckless abandon!
Cultivating an inner state of play is as important as the actual actions we take to build prosperous, fulfilling businesses that serve others and the world. It brings ease and joy to the process and might be the most important “work” we will ever do.
In The Prosperous Healer’s Path™ Business Success Private Coaching Program and The Prosperous Healer’s Path™ Business Success Group Coaching Program, I teach participants how to use effective business building strategies in ways that feel easy, joyful, playful and fun, so they can take inspired action and create thriving healing businesses that serve others and the world.
© Copyright 2012 Mary C. Davis, ANAM TURAS. All rights reserved.
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