Work It Out Playfully

Road and trees

Pleasure not coercion

The autumn winds rattled the tree outside Mike’s window, trying to wrench off the last few leaves. Mike sighed, turning back to his desk. He’d been asked to give a presentation on his work with the coach and was tallying up all the changes he’d made this year. He was going to show them his wheel of life, before and after, as a way of illustrating the changes he’d made.

It was ironic, he’d had a glowing performance review but he was actually working fewer hours and was at home far more than he’d ever been. He was taking on less too. It was going to be hard to explain all this. What is the real change I’ve made? He began to make a list:

  • I’m much more choosy about what I say yes to but what I do say yes to I deliver as promised
  • I concentrate on the type of work that plays to my real strengths
  • It no longer feels like work, most of the time it feels natural and easy
  • And somehow all of this adds up to me working much less and delivering far more

The most surprising thing though is that I’m still here. All that work on figuring out what I really wanted has helped me make some small changes that have made all the difference. Work feels like play again. He clicked on the archive folder and found the email that John had sent him after their last meeting:


It’s been a pleasure working with you and I’m looking forward to our review in six months.

You might like to think about not becoming too attached to the outcome of finding out what you want. I know this is surprising but bear with me a moment. If you take it too seriously, you may block yourself and find it hard to understand your true desires because of the obligation you feel to work it out. So what should you do now? In a word, play.

  • Play with starting small – make it a daily habit to have an outcome for all the small things in your life.
  • Play with thinking about what you don’t want and then playfully ask ‘What do I want instead?’
  • Turn clutter busting into a game.
  • Play with making up wishes. Be outrageous. Then see how willing you are to actually work out all the steps.
  • Play with scoring your life. Make up an ideal wheel of life and pin it to your wall.
  • Play with all the things, people, places and contribution that you want to touch before you die
  • Play with what your senses tell you. Be sensual. See if you can spend a weekend satisfying each of your senses with the most sensual thing you can think of.
  • Play with what makes you joyful or has brought you joy in the past. The surest direction for your future is to follow your joy.

What I’m saying here is be lighthearted, uncritical and open minded with yourself without the pressure to come up with an answer.  You may find that the answer just pops up while you are playing. Or it may not. It may involve some hard critical and analytical thinking but if it does then all that playing has given you a lot more raw material to sift through.

Have fun knowing what you want, all the best.


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