When my children were little, one of my favorite activities was to sit in the next room, just out of view, and listen to them play. The conversa- tions they had were simply unbelievable. They would concoct elaborate storylines, invent new worlds, and defy the laws of physics as a matter of course. There were no limits on their creativity, because they were simply playing. There were no stakes.
When was the last time you truly just played with your work? I mean with no pressure on yourself to get it right, no one judging you, and no stakes. The strange irony is that much of our best work results from moments of serendipity sourced in playful creativity, then at some point, we turn it all into very serious business, we pile pressure onto our- selves expecting to get it right from the very start, and we leave no room for inefficiency and error. And in so doing, we shut down access to the parts of our minds that could truly provide the breakthroughs we crave.
Take a bit of time today—even just fifteen minutes—to play with an idea, a concept, or a project. Just sketch something. Play around with words. Make it fun, and lower the inhibitions.
Your breakthrough idea will often come when you lower inhibi- tions and simply play with your work.
How can you engage in some workrelated play today?