I got to play, last night, and I feel amazing, this morning.
I’m taking an improv class, you see, and so had the opportunity to be silly and fail joyously for two hours alongside the collection of goofballs I call classmates.
For me—almost 60 years old, if it matters—play is about freedom. Freedom from the pressure to succeed. Or perhaps put a better way, it is freedom to fail spectacularly, knowing that it simply does not matter.
Play is not just something confined to childhood. It can be participation in sport. It can be sharing a laugh with good friends. It can be singing—aloud or to yourself—on your ride to work.
Play can be the work itself or how you get the work done. And *shock/horror* play can be a meeting at work. (Honest. You should see the antics of a meeting at Nicholas Lemon Productions/NLP.)
Everyone has deadlines, disasters, and deliverables, and you can be very “professional” in your approach. It is the safe approach, the comfortable approach, the expected approach. And it produces safe, comfortable, and expected solutions.
But what if you took a playful approach?
By providing you and your coworkers the room to experiment and fail, success is still available to you. Play is more likely to produce an innovative solution, however, whether incrementally or wholesale. As any child would tell you—if it was remotely important to them—play brings novelty.
Play also offers the opportunity—brace yourself—to enjoy the workplace and to make the workplace more enjoyable.
Play engages people who might not see certain tasks as their responsibility. Play empowers people to contribute where they might previously have felt unwelcomed. Play begets playfulness.
Play isn’t just something for company retreats or picnics. Play isn’t just something for an HR workshop. (These are both good entry points, and NLP can help you there, he suggests playfully.) Play can be every day because even when it isn’t an activity, it is an attitude.
At least play with the idea and consider the possibilities. Or give NLP a shout. We’re always up to play.
In the meantime, I present to you with the playful insanity of The Savannah Bananas!