Recently I asked the question: What Happened to Your Fun? Perhaps you remember it as a painful, specific moment. It’s more likely, though, that you simply drifted away from those wonderful moments, as they grew increasingly overshadowed by the responsibility of careers, parenting … ‘life’!
You reach a point where fun is no longer spontaneous or automatic: it requires work (as if you didn’t have enough already!). This work, however, guides you into a gear that automatically moves you towards good moments: even when on the surface, it seems impossible.
Biologically, physiologically, psychologically (feel free to add your own ‘llys’: there are many), fun is essential. It’s intrinsic to our make-up as healthy individuals and sometimes just needs a little focus, to be found again.
1. Start with a List (Yes, another one). Write down the things – in no particular order – that feel like fun to you. This sounds trivial, but trust me and trust the process. Somewhere on that list of record profits for shareholders, dancing, children succeeding at school, warm puppies and a great putt on the 15th, you’ll find yourself smiling. This is your strongest message from you to you: where your bliss points are. They can range from the simple to the dramatic. The important part of this exercise is to remind yourself what fun feels like and to recognize where you find it.
2. Add to the list Examine a little more closely why these things bring you joy. Is there a pattern that shows you are happiest when you have alone-time? Or perhaps your fun is when you’re throwing off the CEO mantle and being spontaneous again. Recall other times in your life when you’ve been ‘in the zone’; unaware of time and space as you lost yourself in an activity or a moment. What were you doing?
The longer you spend thinking about this, the clearer the emerging formula will be and the more naturally you’ll recognize your joy triggers and be able to seek them out.
3. The tougher part is examining your Life-as-it-Is. How much of what you do each day, scores high on your good-feelings chart? Where and how could you introduce some of your sense of wonder and joy triggers, into things you don’t enjoy that much?
One of my more out-there business coaching clients, told me how joyful she feels when she hauls people out of their comfort zones. One evening, after a long day of conferences and negotiations, she managed to persuade a more serious colleague to stand in the car park with her, bend down and look at the moon upside down from between his legs, to see whether the new perspective would affect it’s perceived size. They ended up sitting on the floor laughing from the belly – even more so as other conference attendees walked to their cars with raised eyebrows.
Your fun needn’t be this dramatic. But I encourage you to step off your path of predictability and go in search of that irrepressible grin, the elusive belly-bubbling laughter, that warm blanket of contentment that settles on you when all is well in your world. The opportunities are there, waiting for you to recognize them.