I love it when someone shares a story that illustrates the difference they are making in this world, especially when I may have inspired it to occur.
One such story was shared recently by Liz, one of my coaching clients. It captures the power of play and the transformative nature of experiential learning and having fun so well.
This Is Her Story
“For some months now, I’ve had Serious Fun sitting next to me on my desk. The other day a colleague, intrigued by the title and rubber chicken (featured on the cover,) picked it up to flick through.
Their initial reaction was that anything titled ‘serious fun’ couldn’t be much fun (note, they did acknowledge that they were in a cynical mood at the time.) Ironically, it became excellent fodder for some workplace banter about what ‘organised fun’ really is.
After last week’s coaching session, I sent out an email to the team to share some of what I’m learning, so we all get to benefit from the professional development I’m gaining from you. In this email, I referenced the Count To Six activity (which you shared with me) and challenged the people in my team to try it, offering a prize to whoever could prove their mastery of the exercise first.
Later, a different colleague suggested we do something fun, and that we do ‘that thing’ I sent through in the email. So we assembled (after the necessary banter with the first colleague about how it couldn’t be fun now that it had been organised) and I stepped everyone through the exercise – right arm, then left arm, and then… it happened.
There came that moment when ‘the magic’ of the experience took over as people tried to count to six while wrestling with both arms at the same time. I’m sure you know it well. So. Much. Fun.
I enjoyed watching my team have a go, particularly the colleague who spoke out about organised fun because he looked like he was having the most fun of all. Fully engrossed in the mental gymnastics of the activity.
It was a lovely reminder to put trust in the magic, even in the face of scepticism.
Thanks for sharing, Mark…”
So, What Happened?
First, thank you Liz for sharing your story.
It’s a wonderful example of trusting the process as much as the benefits of engaging our groups in play. In the same way, you cannot learn to swim by reading the lessons from a book, at some point, you just have to get wet.
Of course, the million-dollar question is this: How do you invite your group to be willing to step outside their comfort zone and give something a go? How does one release the power of fun?
It is clear to me that Liz picked her moment. She read the room and, encouraged by her group, lead them to a place they were willing to go. What’s not so obvious though, are her decisions to subtly cultivate an environment for play.
For example, her invitation for the team to play a game and choosing to leave a copy of her Serious Fun book for all to see. I also think her choice to share what she is learning from her coaching sessions with her team also makes a difference because it says “Hey, I think this works and I want to share it with you, too.”
If you’re interested to discuss what a coaching package could do for you, perhaps to unlock the power of fun for your groups, click the link below.