“What Did You Do for Fun Today?”
Ten years ago, I picked my son up from preschool and, per usual, asked him about his day. Normally, a happy, chatty kid, he didn’t hesitate to regale me with tales of story time, snack time, painting time, pee-in-your pants time. But then, suddenly, he stopped in his tracks, grabbed me by both hands, and stared into my eyes and ask, “Mommy, but what did YOU do for fun today?”
I smiled, laughed, and then started to answer. Except… no words came out of my mouth. I thought and I thought and I thought.
Answered e-mails? Productive, but not fun. Wrote a proposal? Exciting, but not fun. Signed a contract? Lucrative, but still not fun. The list went on. I loved my work, but even I had to admit that after founding and running the place for ten years, it was no longer fun.
I hung my head and I said, sheepishly, “Not much, my love. Not much.”
He just looked at me and said, “It’s no fun to have no fun.” Out of the mouths of babes, amiright?
One year later, I sat down with my business partner and told her that I was ready for an exit strategy.
That moment at preschool pickup was a Rubicon moment for me. So often we are told, “Work isn’t supposed to be fun. That’s why they call it work.” But, why does it have to be so?
Look, I’m no Willy Wonka expecting that I should get paid to play all day long. And yet, even Willy tells us that we can live in a world of pure imagination if we simply live in a world of our own creation. Want to be a dreamer? Be one. Want to change the world? Do it. Want to be truly free? Live in that space.
It starts by deciding what is fun for you.
Want to know what’s fun work for me? Having the very best of what I am capable of doing demanded to solve the problem at hand and being rewarded for it is a way that is meaningful to me. This is when I feel a sense of frictionless belonging, of purpose, of alignment and flow.
My superpower is to see the greatness in other people. Sometimes it’s a greatness that they’ve never seen in themselves. Sometimes it’s a greatness that they’ve seen in glimpses but never quite believed was real. But my superpower is to see it, and then show it to them in a way that they can also see it, and believe it, and act on it to make extraordinary things happen.
That preschool pick up conversation led to an exit strategy conversation which led to the eventual sale of my company to the incredible women who helped me build it. That was four years ago this week. I’ve been out here pedaling the greatness of others ever since. I do it from the stage in front of thousands of people, a terrifying and exciting high wire act each time. I do it on podcasts that when done well get played and replayed. I do it from the quiet of my keyboard when I get to dance with writing, my first love.
And, it’s damned fun.
So, what did you do for fun today?