It's 2014 and according to the Small Business Administration there are over 23 million small businesses in the United States. From my perspective that's 23 million people who were once kids with big dreams that turned those dreams into realities. BRAVO! Now, can you stop acting like an overstressed, life out of balance, raving maniac and start enjoying the fruits of your dreams come alive before you kill yourself? Be a kid again for crying out loud.
Think back to when you wanted to be a Doctor, Nurse, Fireman, Wall Street Tycoon, whatever it was. Did those thoughts stress you out? Heck no, because it was all about play time and none of it was real. So what would be different now that work is real, if you turned your work into playtime?
Envision waking up, excited to don your Super Entrepreneur Cape, ready to go make the same difference in the world as you did when you were 5 years old. No worries about profitability, margins, and layoffs. Imagine what the results of your next annual physical might reveal?
YOU: "So doc, anything to be concerned about?"
DOC: "Well I'm just concerned that it looks like you're having to much fun in your life which means I might be out of a job soon because you're in perfect health!"
I realize there was just a collective scream throughout the medical community with that last sentence, but I can't help it if turning your work into play heals the wounds of unhealthy living. The reality is, if we don't learn how to cure our own stress as business owners and entrepreneurs, nobody else is going to do it for us. In fact my mentor coach Michael Port gave me some very sage advice. "What's happening in your business is a direct reflection of what's happening in your personal life and vice-a-versus!" Of course the little kid business guy in me started stomping his feet and shouting, "That's not true. That's just not true!" Then the grown up businessman inside me said, "Listen to what the man said my child. He does not tell a lie."
The real conundrum is about to rear it's ugly head. If all these ideals are true, and by allowing ourselves to revert to being a kid again while running our businesses like adults, then why aren't we willing to take the leap of faith and reap the benefits. Plain and simple, we've been brainwashed into believing "To be an adult you have to act, live, and work like adult." Don't twist my words. There's nothing wrong with having a solid, adult-mannered, work ethic. That is until it gets in the way of being a creative visionary. You know the one who starts to hate their business; the same business that you've busted your assets for to make a success. How do I know this to be true? Because I'm right there with you and ready to play again and enjoy my business, which doesn't mean willy-nilly and anything goes. Don't forget it's a business, but remember it's supposed to be fun too. So how am I doing this?
For starters, I'm taking a minimum of 10 minutes a day to do something fun during my work day - take a walk, read a comic book, watch You Tube Videos for fun, build a Play Doh snake, start up an impromptu game of tag with the cats - anything that reminds me to be a kid again, if only for a few moments.
Now let's talk meditation and Yoga. These two tools have become as important to me as drinking water, eating healthy food, and getting a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day. Without my quiet mediation (slowing down the mind chatter) and Yoga (any form of stretching will do) I'd be a frickin' entrepreneurial lunatic. Of course those two words - meditation and yoga - could be sending some of you running quickly in retreat. They're not new agey, dreadlocks wearing, incense burning practices. They can be, but not necessary. Simply pausing for quiet time and doing some stretching puts you on the path to being your own version of a meditating yogi entrepreneur.
You may be thinking, "That all sounds well and good but, what if I really need a big dose of ACT LIKE A KID AGAIN?" Well then I suggest you join me doing something really fun like Summer Camp For Adults, brought to you by Jonathan Fields of The Good Life Project. That's where I'll be in September and I can't wait to report back how I feel as a business owner after spending 3.5 days with a bunch of other grownups making Smores on a bonfire, performing random acts of silliness, and discovering why mindfulness is hot! Yep, I'm shedding the 12-16 hour-a-day, entrepreneurial garb that is Rick the life strategist, author, professional speaker, and going for the retro clad Hang Ten shorts and terry cloth shirt look. Ok, maybe not to that extreme, because buying three days worth of retro clothes would cost more than the whole camp! The point is I'm not going to an industry conference, or networking event. Instead I'm going to Keep On Truckin' towards a new sense and sensibility
To bring a deeper level of contentment, happiness, and joy into our businesses doesn't always mean higher profits and being a market leader. Often, all it takes is stepping back to be a kid again and have fun in your business!