I attended Break Out last month and it was so much fun! I walked away with one main thought – work and play don’t have to be separate concepts but when we’re at our best, work just feels like productive play ✌️

Play is the vital essence of life. It is what makes life lively
- Dr Stuart Brown, National Institute of Play
Lego Serious Play workshop with Ramon Marmolejos (KaosPilot)

We danced, played with lego, told stories and got uncomfortable – breaking out of our normal routine to explore our creative and playful selves. Here are a few things that stuck with me….

Do the Cha-Cha

Dara Simkin presented an alternative (a more responsible way) to this classic image of ‘getting out of your comfort zone’.

What often happens is we freak out and get overwhelmed by that huge leap and sometimes sprint right back to the comfort zone. Dara taught us an alternative approach to ‘responsibly get out of your comfort zone’ inspired by a well known dance around the world Cha-Cha 💃🏻.

You take one step forward and a tiny step back and a few more steps forward. The idea is that with every step you learn stuff along the way, experiment and build confidence one step at a time. Watch the dance here.

It’s the learning that really matters once we get through the mind chatter.
- Dara Simkin, Project Play
Do the Cha-Cha

Get out of your head

The concept of play means being so deeply engaged in an activity that you forget about your worries, you stop overthinking situations and time goes away. Doing improv last year helped me heaps as I went through a challenging season (read more about that here.)

The speed of fun is faster than our worries and louder than the voice of critics - Fabio Motta

Play looks different for each individual. Play could be being silly, creating new connections and having fun in a clowning workshop. But not all play has to be joyful exhibiting - it could be getting lost in a puzzle, a nerdy computer game or helping solve a problem.

Clowning workshop with Fabio

Dr Stuart Brown’s research shows that we all have different personalities of play we should embrace and make the time for. How are you carving out time to embrace your inner play and get lost in time?

Play Personalities 

Your beliefs have super powers

What gets in the way of play? Your beliefs. Beliefs are something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion. And they could be totally opposite to actual facts. This is something I had to push through when start up Harvey.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you’re right
- Henry Ford

Cassandra Goodman talked about the importance of laying a strong foundation core believes - 'I am worthy, valuable, loveable, safe.'

I like it.

Be your authentic self

I know it is possible for leaders to use their power and influence, their insight and compassion, to lead people back to an understanding of who we are as human beings, to create the conditions for our basic human qualities of generosity, contribution, community and love to be evoked no matter what. I can’t imagine a more important talk than to consciously choose who we want to be as a leader for this time.
- Margaret Wheatley

One of my highlights was hearing John Lydon (Managing Partner, McKinsey) share about his journey to arrive at his authentic self. Whilst taking on a global leadership position was the most sensible next step for his career, he was curious to explore the role businesses had to create positive change in the world. So he stepped out of the expected path to a complete unknown destination - extremely uncomfortable but  felt more right to him than going with the status quo. It takes courage to stay authentic to your true self, even if it means disappointing a few people (they probably don't matter enough anyway).

Dignity is the enemy of creativity.
- John Cassidy, Klutz Press

And if all else fails... when you’re feeling good. Confused. Sad.
Just DANCE the Cha-Cha!