Getting Back To Fun! How to refresh your business with a new perspective!
I have often looked for, but never quite found an opportunity to write about two of my favorite things: business + basketball, but tonight that ALL changes!
On Thursday, the Boston Celtics played their fifth game of the season against the Oklahoma City Thunder in OKC and it was miserably ugly. The C’s struggled hard in the first half, much the same way they struggled through preseason and the first four games of regular season. I don’t want to say that the media and fans were in an all out panic because Month 1 is a weird space for any kind of prediction to stick, but it was a bit confusing.
On paper the Celtics are an elite team with bench loads of talent. Most of the players now have deep playoff experience, and incredible hype lingering from last years eastern conference finals run in spite of injuries that sidelined some of their best players.
Now, with everyone healthy and with more experience the expectation for instant greatness was ridiculously, (some might argue) unrealistically high. Well, it turns out coming back from injury takes some finesse, and those few guys need time to find their rhythm, not to mention how to contribute to a team jam packed full of talent. It’s an odd problem to have. To put it simply, for any non-basketball person, a team usually has one or two great players and those players know their role is to dominate, but the Celtics have a whole roster of talent and they’re trying to find the best way to share.
The answer early on in OKC was clear: The Celtics still did not have their shit together regardless of who was on the team. They scored only 34 points before half time and trailed OKC by 16.
If you’re wondering when and where I’m going to talk about business- it’s coming real soon.
At half time Brad Stevens (basketball guru) and head coach needed to get his guys back on track, but what do you say to a team full of guys with all the talent in the world that are obviously a bit disappointed in themselves? The two words he chose changed the entire game. He told the team to do something very simple.
He told them to have fun.
The guys looked stiff, disconnected, and frustrated, so his suggestion makes a ton of sense! Brad essentially gave them permission to relax and enjoy themselves, which took lots of pressure off the outcome! The unnecessary pressure they were putting on themselves was obviously hindering not only their their moods and minds, but their production.
From a fan perspective it was fucking brilliant because not only did they find fun, and look worlds better, they also WON. Talk about flipping a switch.
From my business perspective there’s nothing more right in the world than to spread this message that you ABSOLUTELY can be, do, have allll of the things in fun if you’re willing. I might not know much about coaching basketball, but I’d say this is pretty rock solid coaching advice on any level and with any challenge.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying life and/or business is all butterflies and rainbows 24/7, but we do a pretty good job of making things more miserable and dramatic than they have to be. We also tend to heap on loads of responsibility and unnecessary pressure, and we look for validation in all the wrong places which can derail the fun-train rather quickly.
So if you’re still here wondering why fun is the magic ingredient here’s my short answer:
It drastically impacts and changes your critical thinking, and it radically improves your mood! Once you have permission to enjoy yourself- you’ve become unavailable for anything that isn’t enjoyable, which allows your decision making to be more about trusting your abilities, than questioning them, and it removes your attachment to the end result. Working in fun makes things easier with higher energy and focus, and easily dismisses anything that doesn’t serve you. The reward shifts from looking ahead to a certain pay off in either a win, or a sale, to just embracing and enjoying the present moment. This is why we so often say “don’t forget why you started”. You do this thing because you love it, and at one point it loved you too, right?!
So now is as good a time as any to ask: are you having fun?!
And if the answer is no, why not?!
Small business owners, just like basketball players tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves to produce, and when that production doesn’t show up instantly we tend to overthink, over act, and suddenly things are very not fun at all. The craziest part of this whole thing is that we hold the power to change that, and sometimes we lose track of the real pleasures that drove us to open up a business to begin with!
As a Celtics fan I hope this defines the season early in theory and in execution. I hope it stimulates and revives their spirit that seemed pretty defeated early on, and of course I hope it helps them win. This is a perfect example of why obsessing about how can derail even your most straight forward plans, and I hope fun helps each player spend less time worrying about “figuring things out” and more time trusting their talents.
I’ll try not to make this sound any more dramatic than I already have, so my point is “The fun season” could redefine their entire outlook which in turn could drastically improve their production while teaching us all to lighten the hell up a bit.
As a business coach I say go easy on yourself. I have often asked my clients is your business soul filling or soul draining? It’s been a long running joke among online business professionals that there’s this unavoidable emotional roller coaster that owning your own business can bring about, and it’s about time we address the elephant in the room that IS actually more avoidable than implied. It is our CHOICE to sit in self pity and negativity, and make things less fun than they already are. The option to rise above and transcend is always available. Part of owning a soul filling business is deliberately seeking fun even when we have every reason to curl up in the fetal position. Have more fun, allow the enjoyment and your love of it to be enough, and see all the different ideas and opportunities become more possible than ever before!