Someone once asked me “When can we finish solving this problem and start having some fun?” Astonished, I asked him, “Isn’t solving this problem fun?”
In another situation, we were directed "no matter what you do, make it fun!" My colleague suggested, "Let's do a focus group, figure out a solution and plan, then we can figure out how to make it fun." I replied, "How about we make it all fun? Starting with the focus group!" And we did.
If we delay having fun until we’ve done our “work”, we may never get to the fun. Why not make everything fun? You might say something like, “Well meetings aren’t fun.” And I ask, “Have you tried playing music?”
Why can’t every part of your day have the potential to be enjoyable?
Sitting on the pickup line for your child’s school? FUN!
Commuting on the train/highway / in traffic? FUN!
Meeting with your boss? FUN. FUN. FUN.
Why are these things fun? Because whatever is NOT fun, is exactly the thing that’s going to make it fun! How does this work? The key is to get curious.
Let’s take the dreadful meeting as an example.
You have this meeting every week and it’s boring. Everyone talks, no one listens, you check out and start playing Candy Crush on your phone. (no, that doesn’t count as fun) When you get curious about why the meeting is dreadful, the meeting will be more interesting. What can you get curious about in this meeting?
Could it have to do with language? Map out the dialogue and look for stuck patterns. Call out one of these patterns and see what happens.
Could it be people’s behavior? Pick 2 behaviors that are contributing to the suckiness of this meeting, and brainstorm creative ways to respond to them, then experiment with those responses and see if any of them work.
Could it be you? Introspect on your contribution to the meeting. Is there anything you can do differently to shift the space?
What is driving the jerk in this meeting to act like this? What are they afraid of?
Who is having great meetings? Wonder what they are doing differently. Go ask for help from someone who leads great meetings.
Turning something boring or painful into something to be solved, adds a dimension of intrigue.
The Challenge: I challenge you this week to find something you dread and spend 10 minutes getting curious about it. What different lenses have could use to view the issue? Is there someone you have written off as a jerk that you might get curious about?
Try it out and let us know what happens!