I grew up in a pretty serious household, where fun was not really embraced or encouraged, and frequently inappropriate in a “knock it off” or “quit goofing around” kind of way. We rarely broke out into spontaneous fun as a family, and unless I was playing by myself, on vacation, or at a friend’s house, my fun was structured or scheduled. Once in a blue moon, spontaneous fun could slip into our home, but it was more likely to be a strategically planned surprise party, or a hot air balloon ride at five in the morning after waiting six months for the weather conditions to be perfect.
(Go ahead and laugh at the pixie cut and the poor image quality. This was 1997 people. Nothing was digital or in high-definition… thank goodness!)
There was something about fun that made it feel like a dark cloud of guilt hovered nearby, ready to shut things down in case our intoxicating levels of joy reached dangerous heights. That’s not to say I didn’t have any fun growing up or that I endured a miserable childhood. I just didn’t have parents who had time or the desire to play games, or chase after me on playgrounds. They were busy being successful so that my brother and I could have the latest and greatest things that made us cool, and accepted, at school.
I was taught that life was pretty serious and I looked down upon anyone who goofed off. Serious, serious, serious. That’s why I was on the honor roll.
In my business, I’ve found a bigger, deeper lesson unfolding as I strive to enjoy what I do, find fulfillment in working with my clients, and help them make small changes in their businesses that have a big impact, all while laughing and having fun along the way.
Serious, serious, serious has been scratched out and replaced with fun, fun, fun.
There is so much to be serious about in life and I’m doing my best to inject business with less serious ways of achieving success and more ways of having fun while figuring out what works best for you in your business.
Kind of like when my high school science teacher brought in a container of liquid nitrogen and instantly turned a thawed hot dog into a frozen stick that shattered when you hit it with a hammer. (Anyone remember that? Here’s a video of Mr. Wizard and a student shattering a hot dog at 4:38: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wJAG7GcQEI)
Give me the magic formula!
As entrepreneurs, we want the magic formula to be given to us so that we can go through the motions, take the necessary action steps, and *POOF* become successful. After all, that’s what is seems like is happening to the “overnight success” stories shared by the media. What we often don’t see or hear about are the failures (experiments) those entrepreneurs tried before finding out what worked for them.
In April’s Real Simple magazine (ironically), there is a story featuring a lawyer, Mae Tai O’Malley, who started her own law firm for women with kids who needed flexible schedules. In it she says, “I started at a large, traditional law firm. Later I worked part-time for various technology companies. I got asked to do some work for Goggle in 2006. I had three kids at that point and couldn’t take on all the work, so I thought, I’ll just hire one other mom. In looking for that person, I met a number of attorneys. That was the start of Paragon.” She’s now got 70 employees. *POOF* Success!
Real simple, right? All fun and games.
I call bullshit.
While I love that she’s rocking it, finding life balance, and helping other moms have fulfilling careers, I’m annoyed that the article doesn’t mention any of her struggles, the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, or the fact that her ego was likely in the back seat telling her how awful she was, explaining how it wasn’t going to work out, and asking her who she was to be doing this work.
After you’ve been in business a few years(or a few hours, really), you know better. You quickly realize that the article might paint a picture of rainbows and butterflies, but her reality was closer to changing diapers and wiping spit-up off her favorite Armani suit as she passed the kids to her nanny and hoped her cell phone held enough charge to last through the meeting until she could found a place to plug it in.
Sadly, there is no magic formula, that’s not how it works, and our overblown expectations can often lead us down a trail of disappointment with a strong desire to give up our passions and get a J-O-B instead of struggling through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
We need to face the fact that owning our own business is more of a personal journey of growth than anything else.
It’s not about being serious, following some formula, and doing it alone for fear of showing weakness.
Entrepreneurship is about learning to trust our intuition, going after what we want, surrounding ourselves with the people who can help us get where we want to go, and seeking the help and guidance we need to get there… while having fun on the journey.
It’s about finding the clarity we need to move forward in our business instead of comparing ourselves to everyone around us and what we think we should be doing.
It’s about doing what works best for us to support our goals and learn the lessons we need to learn in this lifetime.
How can you have more fun in your business?
What can you do today to have more fun in your business?
Maybe you take a Friday off each month to enjoy a spa day with your best friend. Or you visit a new park each month with a good book and a sack lunch to explore your city and inhale fresh air. Maybe you do something that scares you and sign up to speak at an event you’ve never been to, or attend a conference that sounds cool. Maybe you have a dance party to celebrate every new client who hires you, every testimonial that comes in, or every time money enters your bank account.
If you like talking to people on the phone, maybe you invite people you network with to have a free call with you. Love food? Schedule a weekly lunch date at your favorite restaurants. If you like dogs, get out of the office and ask if someone wants to meet at a dog park to network. Sure it sounds crazy to do business at the dog park, but it would be memorable and could be fun.
Personally, I like talking with people about their businesses and the challenges they face so I invite them to hop on a free call with me. We get to know a bit more about each other, we share ideas, frequently figure out easy solutions to their most pressing issues, and some of them end up working with me or referring clients my way.
That’s my idea of fun.
It’s not about “making the sale” and “pressuring them to commit”.
It’s about making connections, being of service, and offering to help.
Once you figure that you, you’ll find that you’re having a lot more fun in your business.
What are you waiting for? Let’s have some fun!
Schedule a free clarity call with me here: http://simplifyyourmarketing.com/clarity/