As a young child, I doubt you ever said to yourself: “I really need to buckle down on this sand castle if I want to get anywhere in life.”
No. We built sand castles for the sheer joy of it.
My brother and I could engross ourselves for hours on the banks of the St. Croix river. He would build the channels, I would pour in the water. Together, we would watch 2 hours worth of sand structures dissolve in 15-seconds. Sheer joy.
Many of my clients, myself included, use our craft diligently in our day-to-day lives as builders, consultants, strategists, writers or marketers. We’re used to putting a price on our trade and translating hours into dollars. We create to build a business, a home, or a brand. This is good. It’s important to work in your gifts and talents and be paid in exchange. Or to be recognized for what you contribute.
It’s’ when all of our creative energy is spent under the intention of reward that we can find ourselves uninspired. We become blocked creatively. And this lackluster feeling permeates all areas of our life, even our work.
One of my favorite challenges to give myself or a client is to practice the art of play. I typically suggest about 3 hours/ week doing something that brings you joy, without the expectation of reward. Art for the sake of art.
Sometimes that means dusting off the ol’ sketchbook, filling the wheelbarrow or furnishing wind chimes out of materials you can find in your garage. Whatever does the trick for you.
The art of play can have tremendous benefits:
- It takes us out of our head (which is often the area most of us over exercise)
- We let go of the need to be perfect, releasing the expectations we place on ourselves and others
- We feel good (which turns out is one of the quickest ways to create positive movement in all areas of our life)
- And it gives us something to talk about that doesn’t have to do with earnings or expenses (because chances are, your business is only that interesting to you)
When we create space for ourselves to play, we open ourselves up to new ideas, inspiration and possibilities.
And this is its own reward.