Are you too serious?

I hate to say it but my husband was right. We were choosing a movie last Saturday night and I off course wanted to watch something deep. I choose the “Conspirator”, a film about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. My husband’s first response was “I want to watch something fun, why do all of your movies have to be so serious?” Though my “I was in a film major in college” wanted to jump and defend my excellent choice in films, on a very simple level I knew he was right.

When I was in a job I disliked I spent a lot of time focusing on the job. How was I going to leave? What else was I going to do? I spent very little time on fun because I was so busy figuring out my how. It left very little time for fun. Then I realized it was fun that was the key to figuring out what I really wanted to do. So I explored with anything that seemed fun. No outcome, no how. Just plain simple that looks fun to me. I just did it. And if it was no longer fun or didn’t feel right, I just stopped doing it. No judgment, I just moved on.

In the first few months after leaving my job and starting my own business I fell back into the serious mode. I thought I had to get really serious and work a lot to create what I wanted. The more I did that the more things didn’t work. I felt exhausted, overwhelmed and fearful. As soon as I allowed myself to do whatever I wanted to do in a way that felt good to me, everything felt easy again. And my business picked up immediately.

I can’t tell you how many of my clients are speechless when I ask them what they do for fun. They have valid complaints about their jobs, but their focus is so slanted towards what is wrong, that their bodies are reacting as well. From headaches to stomachaches to illnesses they can’t shake, it all comes down to holding such a heavy weight of pressure in their bodies. Once they start allowing some fun, their bodies begin to respond. They feel lighter and have more energy. This lighter feeling draws more happiness and fun, which allows their mind to relax. Then they actually begin to think differently. What seemed impossible now seems doable. They give themselves the freedom they need and their exterior begins to change.

I know what it feels like to be in a job where you are trapped at a desk and feel like you have very little freedom. But what I learned is that you can create the fun wherever you are in little ways. Surround your desk or work area with things that feel good to you like pictures or plants. At lunch, bring a book that you love and take a few minutes to read it. A friend of mine, who is a high level director by day and a writer by night, will spend her lunch break working on her novel. If you are not sure what you love, just make sure you do something to break the routine. Go for a short coffee break or walk. Whatever little bit of freedom you have at work use it as a time to incorporate who you are.

These suggestions may seem minor at first, but they make a big difference in changing your focus and helping your body to relax. In the long term they move you from the mind rut and towards a new way of being/thinking. Having fun really is the key to success.

P.S. And just because I love to tie everything up in a neat little bow (my former perfectionist still comes out, so I let her play), my hubby and I wound up watching a really funny movie in which we laughed and relaxed. It had been a hard week and stepping away from seriousness for a few hours was exactly the right thing to do. If it’s been a hard day or week, try going for something light, it makes a huge difference.

I’d love to hear about the ways you are adding fun in your life, feel free to share:)

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3 Comments on Are you too serious?

  1. excellent post – as usual. last night, a work night, i should have stayed at work late but a friend invited me out. normally i would have declined the invite for an evening out during the week, the weekdays are for work. but i remembered what Laura told me – break the routine, do something fun, even for a little bit, even for one evening. so i accepted the invitation. i had a great time and i feel relaxed and ready to work another couple of days before the weekend. i would normally be ready to hit something come hump day – thank you, Laura, for reminding us to have fun, to do what our bodies what us to do.

  2. Laura,

    I love this idea of incorporating fun into your life and into your workday where you can. I for one will do anything goofy to spice things up, help me let go and relax. Since I work from home I have complete freedom, but some of my favorite things include leaping – yes, literally leaping – around the house. It’s great exercise and it makes me laugh hysterically. I also like to go out back and swing on the swingset or grab my ipod and walk the dog. I have even been known to jump into the pool fully clothed – but only when it’s hot. ;-)

  3. I can totally be too serious. I’m taking a walk with a girl friend today. When I was working I would walk with a friend on a break or do yoga. I am also mindful of adding more fun and play to my days now that I am working from home with my own business. When I feel like I need to move my body I go outside and do some gardening. I’m also planning a play day tomorrow, starting with yoga class and visiting a friend and then doing anything that feels like fun and play.

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