Wanna give your eyes a break? Listen here
When I was a kid I loved to draw.

I loved drawing Archie style comics. I would draw cartoon versions of my friends and family. I could spend hours drawing and coloring these characters. I didn’t often share them, that felt too vulnerable. They were just really fun for me to create. To me this was play.

In my last post, we explored showing up authentically at work. Now, let's dive deeper into how we can rediscover our authenticity through play. Because the two are closely connected.

Authenticity requires we drop our guards, and you know what helps with that? PLAY! Play provides a path that guides us towards authenticity. The result is us showing up as our true selves.

As I grew up I started to keep things to myself, like my cartoons. I unconsciously built an armor to protect myself from criticism and judgement.

Some ways we typically hide our authenticity include:
  • Staying silent
  • Overthinking
  • Perfectionism
  • People Pleasing
  • Dreaming small, or not at all
  • Numbing
  • Being overly judgmental
  • Cynical distrust of others
We often wear this invisible armor so closely that we disconnect from our true selves. Beneath this armor lies the child-like qualities of joy, creativity, imagination, enthusiasm, and curiosity. To rediscover these qualities, we must dare to remove our armor, embracing vulnerability in its place.

Looking back, I hid my authenticity by putting on an armor of being silent and only reaching for things that were a sure thing. Years later, to shed that armor I decided to pursue a big dream that required me to be bold and outspoken: I submitted a pitch to be a TEDx speaker. And guess what?Embracing my authentic self worked out!

Imagine how things might change if YOU embraced your authentic self too! Here are three things that will help you rediscover your most playful and authentic self.

1. There’s no wrong way to play.

Maybe drawing wasn’t your thing, but most of us can start to remember where we easily found the fun in an activity. This was play, but so is…
  • Getting lost in a story
  • Taking something apart to understand how it works
  • Exploring new places
  • Singing
  • And so on…
There are as many ways to play as there are unique humans on earth. The first step to embracing playfulness is allowing yourself to just have fun. Basically, don't stress about what others might think or expect, just enjoy the moment.

🎬 TAKE ACTION: Play the simple “Tell Me A Story” game to practice letting go of expectations and being more playful in the moment. Follow this game link to play online.

2. Play is a shortcut to authenticity

Plato once said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

Thinking about how you used to play is a clue into who you were before you felt the world tell you that you have to be someone different. And by rediscovering our authentic playfulness, we can be better leaders and make work more real and enjoyable.

🎬 TAKE ACTION: Write down activities that bring you joy and feel like playtime. If you're having difficulty, consider this question: "What enjoyable activities do I engage in that don't necessarily have a goal or purpose?"

3. Inviting your authentic playfulness to work.

When we reconnect with our playful side, we open up a world of creativity and happiness. It helps us to let our guard down and form real connections. This isn't just something we do for fun - it also makes us better leaders and makes work more enjoyable and genuine.

🎬 TAKE ACTION: Now that you have an idea of how you play. Brainstorm how to bring this playful energy into your work week, and schedule 20 minutes on the calendar to do it.

When we bring our authentic selves to work and practice playful leadership, the work place is more real and enjoyable, for everyone.

Now, I'm being true to myself and bringing a playful attitude to all parts of my work. One way I do this? I add my own cartoon drawings to my website and materials for clients! Is this the usual way of business? No, but being usual isn't really me anyway! 😜

If you're looking for ways to incorporate more play into your leadership and work style, I am offering a free strategy kickoff for managers. Let's strategize and brainstorm how you can bring your unique playful energy into your leadership role.

Until next time, stay playful leader!
Betsaida LeBron
ImprovEQ CEO

P.S. I'd love to hear from you! What did you learn? Any topic ideas for next time? Don't be shy, say hi!

Feeling drained, overwhelmed, or stuck with work or your team? 

Don't worry, you're not alone! Let's tackle it together with a free strategy kickoff.
In this 30-minute chat, we'll focus on you and your leadership challenges. Let's chat, brainstorm, and find ways to inject more creativity, connection, and confidence into how you work or lead.

Learn more at www.improvEQ.com


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