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If you’re not having fun what’s the point?

When I say words like business, leadership, entrepreneurship, what are some of the words or phrases that come to mind? You might be lured into some of the more common vernacular used to describe these areas, such as hustle, grind, risk, all-in, and the list goes on. I bet the word that doesn’t come to mind is “fun”. Why is that? Why are things that require so much effort, passion, and commitment not equated with fun? We spend most of our waking hours working but yet we’re not supposed to enjoy it? I call bullshit! 

Please don’t mistake my statements above to mean that I haven’t ever, or don’t often fall into the hustle and grind mindset. The one that says to me, “If you work harder than everyone else it’ll be okay.”, or “It’s not about fun, it’s about moving the needle.” No one is more familiar with those sentiments than me. But here’s what I’ve noticed, when I stop having fun, when I stop enjoying it, that needle that I’m focused on moving stops as well.

Now, I’m not saying that every day is supposed to be rainbows and butterflies. Not in the least. To do great things requires a level of effort over and above what most people are willing to give. In giving that level of effort day after day, there will be low points. There will be days and weeks when it feels like all you’re doing is shoveling shit, but amongst those tough days, I believe that there should be genuine joy. That you should enjoy the process, have fun with the people around you, laugh, joke, and poke fun at the sheer lunacy that is so often leadership and entrepreneurship. 

So this begs the question, how do we make fun the goal? How do we still do the hard work required complete with the late nights, early mornings, stress, and pressure all while enjoying ourselves? Let me walk you though a few areas that I think can help. 

Fall in love with the process.

The finish line is what gets all of the attention, but while it may be the shiny carrot on the end of the stick, it’s not the thing that keeps you in it. The finish line is always moving, ever changing, and if we put all of our hopes and dreams there it will only let us down. In order to keep fun at the forefront, you have to love the process. I mean really love it. You have to love learning, growing, adapting, being wrong, failing, and trust yourself and those around you enough through all of that to know that you’re heading in the right direction. In the end, the process is what you’ll always come back to.

Surround yourself with badasses. 

If you think about the fun times in your life, odds are you weren’t alone. Fun typically happens with groups. So then why do we try to do so much alone? Why when things get hard do we so often turn inward and retreat in an effort to outwork and out-think our problems? The answer to having fun is found in those you surround yourself with. Build a network that supports who you are and where you want to go. Find others that love the process as much as you do, and that will pick up the phone when you don’t know what the next step is supposed to be. You need people that can laugh, get pissed off, and problem solve with you. That’s where the fun lies. 

Don’t take yourself too seriously. 

In the world of talking heads where everyone reports to be making millions overnight thanks to their expertise and amazing ideas, it’s easy to think our role as leaders and entrepreneurs is more important than it really is. The truth of the matter is that so often we’ve chosen our path because we’re passionate. At our core, we’re individuals that saw that something wasn’t as good as it could be and we wanted to solve it in order to make it better for others. So while running businesses and leading great teams requires tremendous skill, vulnerability, and expertise, at our core I believe we’re just people that want to do something we believe in. There’s no more vulnerable position than that…

I want more people to have fun, plain and simple. Building and leading is a hard job, and it’s often one that requires more of us than we ever imagined. So, if we’re going to commit to something that’s damn near impossible, we should at least get the benefit of having fun in the process.

[Business & Life Reflections with Taylor Thomas]

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