\ Playing Harder | Christina Brandt

Christina Brandt

Sunday, February 5th, 2023 | Making "What's Next?" What Matters ™

Playing Harder

I’m writing this in the living room of the house in which I grew up. Having temporarily moved in to help my mother with post-surgery rehab, I find myself revisiting old summertime rituals. If you’ve been following me on Facebook lately, you know I’ve bought a hula hoop, run through a sprinkler, hung laundry on a clothesline and have eaten a lot of watermelon. I kid you not – the ice cream truck drove by about ten minutes ago and it was all I could do not to run after it.

While it’s lovely to revisit childhood traditions, I’m not getting much work done. I tell myself it’s because I’m cooking, cleaning, running Mom back and forth to physical therapy appointments and doing laundry. But it’s not, really. There are plenty of schedule gaps where the chores have been done and Mom wants for nothing.

So what gives? Why am I not squeezing in more time catching up on business reading, blogging, clearing out old emails, or creating new programs and offerings? I blame it on The Battle In My Head.

The Battle goes like this: “You should work harder,” says the Judgy Tyrant who’s all business and spends her life wagging her finger in disapproval. “You should play harder,” says the watermelon- and sprinkler-loving kid in me. These days, I’m letting the kid win. Sure there’s the occasional thought that I’m a total slacker and I’ll starve to death, but it passes oh-so-quickly.

It wasn’t always that way. Before I made a decision to honor what feels right, right down to my bones, I used to do a lot of things because “that’s the way you’re supposed to do it,” or “because it makes good business sense,” or “because it’s logical.” And I often found myself in situations where I wasn’t engaged, had nothing to offer and was bored silly.

Forcing yourself to follow others’ rules, to work when there’s just no mojo to be found, is just plain dumb. Playing is what keeps us creative. I’ve learned that if I can’t easily find an answer to some question, it’s time to set the question aside and play a bit. Our bodies learn and create better when we’re moving. Hula hooping, even as badly as I do it, is a way to stimulate the right side of my brain.

I often tell clients to make stuff. Any kind of stuff – placemats, finger paintings, potholders, watercolors – will do. Creating helps them access wisdom they’re not tapping into now. By doing the unexpected thing, eventually something jogs loose in one’s brain. Ideas will come. And if you don’t believe me, how ’bout Albert Einstein?   He said “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

So, if you’re feeling stuck, unsure of what to do next, I highly recommend a run through the sprinkler.

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