“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”
~Dale Carnegie

The other day I was on the phone with a client. The first half of our call was focused on a team that they were leading that was not going well. I could hear the frustration in my client’s voice and sense her overwhelm.

We brainstormed, considered, and did our best to come up with ways she could effectively approach the situation and the team. (Well, she actually did all the work. I simply asked her questions and provided space for her to think. That’s what coaches generally do.) We got to a point and, when I asked her if she needed more on that topic, she replied that she was good and ready to go.

My client then brought me up to speed on another project she was heading at work, but this project was one that she enjoyed. That she had fun doing. I knew that because she had told me that in the past, and I also knew that because I could hear it in her voice. Her enthusiasm was practically flying through the phone, and I could, at times, barely get a word in edgewise because she was so excited and “jazzed.”

“Do you hear the difference in your voice and your energy?” I asked her. “Do you hear the power and passion you’re bringing to (and maybe getting from) this project?”

“Yes,” she answered me. “But that’s because this one is fun.”

“Hmmmm,” I pondered, out loud to her. “Maybe ‘fun’ is a key part. Maybe you can not only get more from something but also bring more to something when you’re having fun…and maybe we should look at the other situation and see if there’s a way to make that more fun…”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” my client countered. “How could that possibly be fun?”

“I don’t know,” I countered back. “How could it possibly be fun?” (As coaches we get to ask those sometimes obnoxious but yet powerful questions.)

My client paused. And paused some more. “Okay,” she started, “I get it. Maybe if there was a way to make it less onerous – and more fun – we might have a better result.”

At that point I didn’t know if there was a way for my client to make that situation and project less onerous and more fun. But I did know that bringing fun into something we’re dreading or hating can often boomerang us out of where and how we’re stuck. Something about fun often opens our minds to new possibilities and smooths the rough patches between us and other people. Laughter, diversion, and having a good time – even, or especially, with something that’s not really a good time, often brings out our best and brings us greater success (and more fun on the way).

Try it, and let us know what you find.

How have you brought fun to tough situations and how has it helped you?
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 having more fun, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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