I am a HUGE goof – I love to laugh, play pranks, play games, ask silly questions, and overall just enjoy the child-like awe and wonder of being alive.
My sense of humour might not suit everyone, but it sure keeps me and my inner child enormously entertained.
Lately, though, I haven’t been feeling in alignment with that joy, not in the way that I truly want to.
I’ve felt a bit like I was going through the motions of living, enjoying snippets here and there, but not feeling altogether satisfied with the big picture.
I came to discover that a huge part of this was related to the fact that I wasn’t honouring the goofy side of me in everything I do, including my business. I was buying into old idea that things have to be presented in a certain way; that when you’re working, people expect you to put on your professional hat and be serious.
Well, some people do, but if I ask myself honestly, ‘are they really the ones I want to work with,’ I hear a resounding NO. And is losing a few followers or potential clients the end of the world when I think about the joy my work could bring? No way.
For years, I worked in service jobs, chugging away at the dollars for hours thing, and I thought it was the jobs that sucked my soul. Turns out, it was the way I approached the concept of work that sucks my soul.
And yet there are some divine examples of people who go to work every day and live their truth in a big, bright way.
Two of them are Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Fallon, comedians turned talk show hosts, who epitomise the idea of having fun at work.
I remember when Ellen DeGeneres first came on the scene, back when she was interviewed by Johnny Carson. I thought she was one of the funniest people I’d ever seen, and a part of me realised it’s because we share that goofy sense of humour. I Love Ellen!
And then there’s Jimmy Fallon, who I’ve discovered more recently, while trawling YouTube for something to make me laugh. Well, it worked – I found some clips from the Tonight Show that had me giggling hysterically. Always a good sign.
One thing these two comics have in common is their love of fun, and they seem to enjoy more than anything spreading it around. It’s like their purpose is to light up the room with laughter and joy, and you can see it in everything they do.
Ellen enters the set dancing, and engages her audience with snippets of hilarity right from the start. She pranks her guests and audience regularly, even extending that practice to potential employees during the interview process, like this:
(Ellen conducting Job Interviews from YouTube)
Jimmy plays games with his guests, ranging from the fairly tame Charades and Pictionary to the hilarious (and my favourites) egg Russian roulette and water wars, like this:
(Egg Russian Roulette with Jimmy Fallon and edward Norton from YouTube)
He invites members of the audience to take their place alongside celebrity guests, forging a connection and offering an opportunity to be a part of the fun for a few minutes.
What these two wonderful, delightful people do, is bring their inner children to work with them every day, and let them set the agenda. Even ‘serious’ interviews don’t follow a protocol of questions all relating to the person’s latest job, they can take twists and turns and draw the audience down roads they never imagined.
They’re showing us what’s possible when you eschew the ‘rules of engagement’ that exist for the workplace.
They smile because they’re genuinely happy, not because it’s on the menu or in the job description.
They invite people into their joy to connect on a deep and intimate level that doesn’t feel painful or uncomfortable.
They make light of things that we all take too seriously, offering a fresh perspective on existing understandings of ‘reality’ and pervasive fearful thinking.
It’s way too easy to lose sight of your inner child or the laughter that lives in your heart, especially given what the media presents to us. Yet it’s in losing sight of it that we are more inclined to believe the external reflections.
It’s taken me a while to understand just what’s been out of whack in my own life, until I recently was guided to a meditation with my inner child. I’d met her before, and I thought I was honouring her needs, but I wasn’t really giving her the space to create she truly desires.
Her playful side has taken a back seat since she was a young girl and my Dad died. She became a mother to our Mom and siblings, meaning she had to grow up pretty damn fast.
Since then, it’s been a series of relationships, jobs, educational opportunities, etc that have kept her sort of sitting there patiently in the background, waiting for her turn to play.
I’ve been trying to align my business partly with suggestions and experiences of other people who are in the same or similar industries. But they’re not me, and while I know that there is some amazing advice out there, it has taken me further from my inner alignment.
It’s Jimmy and Ellen that bring me back.
There’s absolutely no reason I can’t base my business on their model instead: invite people to play with me, and give them a joyful, fun, hilarious experience they’re unlikely to forget in a hurry.
That’s not to say that I don’t take my work seriously – I do, and I’m really good at what I do. It’s just that it doesn’t have to feel so serious, like it’s a duty or a reason to not be playing. The two are not mutually exclusive. I can still do my thing, just in a way that feels light and easy.
And so, I’m taking a month off from my business to write, and to realign with the little girl inside me who has some fantastic ideas she’d like to share. We’re looking at it as a fun family vacation. Luckily the place I’m housesitting has a fantastic little cabin in the back that will be ideal for a writing retreat. It’s her turn, at last, for her voice to be heard.
What does this mean for The Power of Change? I have no idea, but I’m excited to find out. It suits the nature of the site perfectly, being about change and all. I have a feeling there’ll be a lot more laughter and a lot more animals involved, but that’s all I’m saying for now.