“You grow up the day you have the first real laugh – at yourself.”
~Ethel Barrymore

I don’t know about you, but I take myself way, way too seriously at times. If I’m not acutely focused on all the things that are happening to and around me (and how to make them go the way I want them to) then I’m critically concentrating on how to be better, improve myself, live more of what I teach…the list goes on. I can be seriously determined and single-minded – to the point of my distraction and the irritation of others.

I notice the same approach in those around me. It makes sense. From the moment we enter this world it revolves around us, at least in our own minds. We are the center of our universe and everything, but everything, is translated through our filter of needs, wants, perceptions, and memories. My clients understandably take themselves, their organizations and lives, and their issues very seriously. My colleagues “know” that the happenings of their lives are essential and significant. Nobody can take themselves more seriously than my six-year-old son.

All this self-seriousness yields its damage. We get worry lines, gain weight, lose friends, lose business, and lose arguments – all from taking ourselves way too seriously. On the other side, I have seen laughter at oneself – what I call “self-laughter” – ease tensions and resolve issues. Self-laughter brings lightness into situations and relationships, thereby allowing for better resolutions and interactions. Self-laughter somehow makes my life easier. Self-laughter makes burdens easier to bear and solutions easier to find. Self-laughter helps those around me feel more comfortable with me and become more willing to partner with me. Self-laughter helps me grow up and see that the world does not revolve around me…at least not completely.

What is really, really funny about you and/or your situation? Find something about yourself to laugh at – and laugh hard.

Where are you taking yourself too seriously? Where could you laugh at yourself?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in finding what’s funny about you, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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