The Power of Play to Maximize Workplace Success - Gary Ware


Gary Ware

Maximize Workplace Success Through the Power of Play

Gary Ware is a creative catalyst and CEO of Breakthrough Play. His keynote will explore why playfulness is the missing ingredient in many organizations. He’ll share how you can create a culture of play across your teams to improve performance and retain top talent. You’ll also come away with fun activities that you can deploy to engage your teams as soon as you return to work.

Video Transcript

– [Announcer] Strategic Play Consultant and the Founder and CEO of Breakthrough Play, celebrated improv comedian, Gary Ware.

– Hello, hello, hello. How is everyone doing? Whoo! My name is Gary, and we are going to be talking about the P word. Ooh. We’ll talk more about that in a moment, and I know that I am the thing that is standing between you and lunch. And my wife told me, she said, “Don’t let them get hangry.” So I’m gonna do my best to keep this engaging and entertaining, so that you can get to lunch, you can connect with each other. But the point here is we’re gonna be talking about how we can use play and playfulness, yes, that P word, as a way to engage your team, be more creative, be more collaborative, and at the end of the day, be the best versions of yourself. And since I am a strategic play consultant, we are gonna be doing some activities and we’re gonna kick it off with an activity. And this activity is called True For Me. And how this works, I’m going to make a bunch of statements. If it happens to be true for you, just stand up or raise your hand, look around to the other folks who happen to also be standing, and then just have a quick seat. Can we do that? Thumbs up if that makes sense. Awesome. I knew this is an amazing crowd. So another thing, too. We don’t have any lie detectors or anything like that, so if you don’t want to disclose to your friends and colleagues that you are a day drinker, you don’t have to stand up. All right, cool. So, all right, we’re gonna get started. First question is, if this happens to be true for you, please stand up, you are a morning person. Ooh, look at our morning folks. And I think I saw a few of you at the gym this morning, so that’s awesome, have a seat, have a seat, that’s great. And I just learned this phrase just recently, and this is called a hummingbird. A hummingbird is the type of person that is not a morning person, they don’t like to get up early, and they end up probably falling asleep on the couch about like 7:00, 8:00, 9:00. If this happens to be you, please stand up. Where are our hummingbirds at? Right? And I bet you a number of them probably are parents. Okay, you can have a seat. Where are our night owls at? The folks that like to stay up late and whatnot. Awesome. Great, and I think I saw a few of you at the bar last night, I get it. Have a seat, have a seat. Few more things, few more things. Since we are in beautiful Phoenix, Arizona, are there any hikers out there? Any people that like to hike? If that’s true for you, stand up. Ooh. Nice! Great, cool, have a seat. How many of you are coffee drinkers? Oh, my God. It’s just about everyone. That’s amazing. Yes, right? All right, cool, have a seat, have a seat. Any folks prefer tea? Few. Okay, cool, have a seat. And here’s the thing. These aren’t definite like you have to put yourself in a box either-or. If you are sometimes a night night owl or a morning person, like, it’s all good, you can stand up for both. If you like coffee and tea, that’s cool too. Any folks, dog people, any folks that have dogs, love dogs, prefer dogs? Cool. Awesome. Cool. Have a seat. Where are my cat folks at? Awesome, cool, have a seat. And I’m curious. Anybody don’t like animals? Awesome. Thank you, all right, have a seat. Thank you for the four of you for your bravery, I appreciate that. Cool, give yourselves a round of applause, awesome. That activity is called True For Me. And how many of you, just show of hands, found that you learned something new about maybe some of your colleagues or friends, anyone? Cool. I did, I learned that most of you drink coffee. That is amazing. The hotel really appreciates that as well. And then probably the planners are like, “We need to make sure there’s coffee at the breaks.” So anywho, as I mentioned, my name is Gary Ware. I use the power of play and applied improvisation as a tool to help individuals in teams be creative, connect better, and at the end of the day, as I mentioned, be the best versions of yourself. Those things range from big stage presentations like this to little intimate team meetings and offsites. And this is not something that I set out to do. Matter of fact, my mom was just getting used to what I actually did for a living, and then I switched it up and then she’s like, “You do what now? You play and people pay you for that?” And I’m going to tell you about my story in just a moment. But prior to that, my background’s in marketing and communications. And for the longest time, my mom and my grandma thought I worked at Google. And she’s like, she would send me… She would call or text, she’s like, “Gary, I can’t find this thing on Google. Can you help me?” I’m like, “I don’t work at Google, Mom.” So anyways, so now they’re completely confused. But at the end of the day, the things that I do is help teams realize that when you create a space of belonging, people are able to perform at the best possible way. However, there are some things that are keeping us from doing that. A lot of it is conditioning. A lot of it’s that you probably heard it before. “Well, we’ve always done it this way.” And I’m gonna talk about how, if you switch your mindset, you can reap the benefits of play and playfulness. And the first thing to… So I’m first gonna talk about what keeps us from doing that; and then we’ll talk about, what is the benefits; and then we’re gonna do a few more activities; and then you get to go to lunch. And first we’re gonna do an activity is called Seeing Red. And what I’m gonna invite you all to do, this is a quiz. And I’ve heard this is super intelligent group, so you all are gonna do amazing. I like for you to just scan the room for everything, and you can look at folks in the room, you can look at… Everything is fair game. You are looking for red, beige, brown, and black. Anything, those colors, just burn that into your memory. I’m gonna give you about 10 seconds. Go ahead and start scanning around. All right, cool. So what’s gonna happen now. I’m gonna invite you to close your eyes and then just shout out all the things that you said that you saw that or those colors. So go ahead and do that now and then keep your eyes closed when you’re done. Go ahead, shout it out.

– [Audience] Exit sign.

– Exit sign, yep, cool. Y’all are doing amazing. I’m hearing all the beige, red, brown, and black things. All right, keep your eyes closed. Y’all are doing amazing, keep your eyes closed. So since you all scanned the room, you should have seen everything. Without guessing and with 100% certainty, name everything that you saw that is either blue, green, or teal. Oh, less people talking. Hmm. All right, cool. Open your eyes, look around, see what you missed. Believe it or not, for some of you, there’s someone at your table that is wearing blue and you completely missed it. And you may be wondering like, “What’s up with that?” ‘Cause as you noticed, you looked around the room. But here’s the thing. The things that you focus on, you see more of. That’s why. So I sort of primed your brains to only see those colors, and that’s how it is about the way that we work. We have been conditioned to work 40 hours a week, five days a week, and as communicators, I know you work more than that, I get it. And we’ve been doing that for such a long time. And again, when that’s all that you see, anything outside of that, you’re blind to. Our brains, believe it or not, are processing over 450,000 bits per second. And I don’t know how scientists figured that out, that measurement out, but because your brain is processing so much it needs to take shortcuts. And your brains are going to filter some things out and it will be as if it does not exist. And that’s one of the reasons that is keeping us from playing. So that’s the first barrier. The next one happens to be conditional. So we’re gonna do a riddle. And if someone happens to get this correct, I will give you a copy of my book. So just FYI, there’s some stakes. There’s some stakes to this. So the riddle was this. So there was a young guy who was about 20 to 24. He was just out of college. And he has the job interview of his life. And we all know that job interview, right? We were like, “We hope we get it,” ’cause we have to start paying our student loans back any moment now. So this is in New York, it’s with a big stock, a stock firm. And his dad is driving him to that interview and they pull up in the parking lot. Pulls up. Then the young man, his phone rings. He answers it. It’s the CEO of the company. Said, “Hey, good luck. Good luck today. I know you’re gonna do amazing, son.” He hangs up and he looks over to his dad. His dad gives him that wink and he gets out of the car. How can that be? Holy smokes! Oh, my god, all right, so I’m gonna have to give a few people copies of my book, but the correct… The CEO is the mom, and for those of you, round of applause. Awesome, cool, all right. The first person that I heard was over here. Who said it? It was over here. Yeah, yep, it was you. So come on up, you get my book. The other ones who said it, I’ll put my contact info on the board, like, email me. Come on up. Yeah, round of applause, awesome. What’s your name?

– Angela.

– Angela. Round of applause for Angela. There you go, you can go ahead and have a seat. You can email me, I’ll get you a copy of my book. For those of you who did not get it that quickly, it’s all good. It does not mean that you are not a nice person to realize that CEOs can be women. But I’ve done this riddle so many times and people are just… They’re just like, they can only, again, going back to the the Seeing Red activity, they can only see one thing. They’re like, “Oh, yeah. The dad was already in his office.” I’m like, “What? That’s very creative, but no, that’s not right.” And then they’ll even say, “Oh, he has two dads.” I’m like, “That’s great too.” Yeah, solely open for that. But for some reason, sometimes we have challenges seeing things outside of the norm. We’ve seen tons and tons of women CEOs. Matter of fact, I’m sure there’s probably some women CEOs in here, but when our brains are conditioned to see things, our biases get in the way, then we get overconfident, and it keeps us from being the best versions of ourselves. So, yeah. So those are the things that are keeping us from really seeing things differently. The other thing, and this is the big elephant in the room, is all about how we need to change the way that we see things. And I love this quote from Albert Einstein. “A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels,” as it pertains to the 40-hour work week. That first started becoming the norm with Henry Ford in his factories. Prior to that, most people worked six days a week, 12 hours a day, and he was finding that people in his factories were overly tired, they were getting hurt, there was more injuries. And so he petitioned that for the same amount of pay, that folks work 40 hours a week, or yeah, 40 hours a week, five days a week, which means that they got a day off, and essentially they got a raise. People thought he was crazy, and now this is the norm. And we, especially as communicators, we probably work way more than that because we have technology, we have super supercomputers in our pockets. We are ever so connected. However, we are burning ourselves out. And that’s the, again, the big elephant in the room that we need to address that just because we can work that much, should we work that much? And the pandemic really highlighted that. Burnout was a thing prior to the pandemic, but when everything was sort of isolated, we started to realize like, “Man, there should be a better way.” If you do a Google search, you’ll find all of these articles about folks quitting, highest levels of burnout that we’ve ever seen, and that’s resulting to a lot of things. First and foremost, this is a good stat from Business Insider. “95% of workforces thought about leaving their jobs over the last two years, and they cited burnout as one of the main reasons.” They would rather just leave their jobs with nothing else as a way to just alleviate the burnout that they are experiencing because they are working themselves way too much. Another one by Deloitte, “70% of employees feel that their company does not do enough to prevent or alleviate burnout.” It’s like, “Hey, you know what? We provide you with a job. Good luck.” Again, we need to change the way that we think if we want to rise to a new level. On the last one, a business survey that says, “97% of employees say that employers, they should be doing more to improve mental health of their employees.” If we want to be able to be more productive, if we want to collaborate better, we need to address the stressors that are keeping us from being the best version of ourselves. And so I’m gonna do an example in regards to burnout. When you, and I was the same way, you’re sort of like this can of sparkling water, right? When you first got into your job, you’re so bubbly, you’re so excited to be there, and you start pouring yourself into your job. “Yay, I’m working, I’m doing all these things!” And then you’re burnt out. But then what they say is like, “Oh, you should… Your job should give you more energy, right?” No. You’re spent. And that’s what we’re experiencing is that so many folks are putting their whole selves into their work and expecting the work to give them more sort of pleasure and stuff like that. And probably at first, it did, but the stress is too much. And so I’m gonna tell you a little bit about my story and how I rediscovered play. So as I mentioned, my background is in marketing and communications, and I found myself in my dream job. I was a director at one of the largest digital marketing agencies in the world. I had a staff of over 20. And I was like, “This is it.” So on paper, everything made sense. But I… In the beginning, yes, I saw work as play and it was a lot of fun. And then over time, I was staying later. Because my dad, growing up, he would say, “Hey, son, you can only play when the work is done.” Anyone else have their parents say that to them? Yeah. And so that was my ML, that’s how I operated, like, all right, cool. I wanted to play, I wanted to do all these fun things, I wanted to take vacations. I was making more money than I ever have been before. And I had decent PTO but I wasn’t using it because I felt like I needed to continue to work. Matter of fact, my to-do list was as long as a CVS receipt. And if you’ve ever been to CVS, that is a long to-do list. And I was like, “How can I tackle this as much as I can?” And I read this book, it’s called “Chief Joy Officer,” and this quote really hit me. “The systems you have in place are perfectly organized to produce the behaviors that you’re currently experiencing.” My boss would say, “Hey, Gary, you’re working a lot. You should take more time off.” But yet my boss wasn’t modeling the behavior either. My coworkers, we spent our time at lunch at our desk, working. And again, we have every intention. Like, we wanted to do the best that we can. And I learned that when that happens, you start to see the world a little bit differently. Your brain starts to see your inbox the same way it would see a saber-toothed tiger. This is very true. When you start to experience stress and those stressors start to show up in your body, those are the same parts of your brains that are lighting up as if you’re being chased by a saber-toothed tiger. The only difference is back then, the moment the stressor was gone, you just go back to what you were doing and everything was fine. But your inbox doesn’t go away. Those stressors still persist. And so we don’t release those stressors. And as a result, the stress piles up. And so I started seeing the world as a proving ground. And what I mean by proving ground, I started seeing people that were my colleagues as competitors, and I was mostly proving if I was honest to myself, that I was worthy. You know that whole impostor syndrome? And when you see the world as a proving ground, you can’t… allow yourself to be playful and play. And so one thing that changed everything for me was an improv class. Show of hands, how many people are familiar with improvisation? All right, great. Yay. All right, you claps on… Yeah, you can clap for improv. Awesome. There’s so many different types of improv. I did theatrical improv, but there’s jazz, that’s a form of improv. Hip hop, the things that you were doing yesterday with poet, that was improv-ish. But I went to that improv class, and it’s so funny, I didn’t do it as a, “Hey, I’m trying to have more fun,” and here’s a hobby. I did it to optimize my career. A mentor of mine said, “Hey, Gary, if you take an improv class, it will help you with your public speaking.” And being someone that hated Toastmasters, I was looking for anything. Anything that would get me away from Toastmasters. No offense to anyone who who loves Toastmasters, it just wasn’t my jam. So I signed up for this improv class. It was on a Monday, I remember it like it was yesterday because I almost didn’t go. I’m sitting at my desk and I’m… And we’ve all done this, right? Like, we’re calculating how long it’s gonna take to get there, and should we go or should we just continue to work? And I was like, “All right, if I leave now, I can avoid traffic and I can get there.” But it’s a Monday, and at the place where I work, Mondays were extremely busy with reporting. And I was like, “I don’t know, this class…” But then I was like, “I should go because my employer was paying for it,” because we had this professional development budget, and every year we had $1,000 to use on things that can help us with professional development. And they paid for this improv class. I’m like, “All right, I guess I gotta go.” So I went to this improv class. And for two hours, I was completely focused. For two hours, we played these silly games that made no sense whatsoever, but we started to become closer to each other. And it was amazing. I was so excited, so excited. Like, I went home to tell my wife about this improv thing that I just discovered, and she thought I was drunk. She’s like, “What? Have you been drinking?” I’m like, “No, no, no, honey, I haven’t been drinking. I was having fun.” I forgot about it. I forgot what fun was. But it was awesome. It sort of reminded me of recession, maybe recess when we were younger. Like we’d go out, and we’d just play, and we’d do nonsensical things, and we’d come back, and then we focus. That’s what it was like. That Tuesday was the best Tuesday I had in a long time. And I’ll tell you something. The work was still there, the client demands were still there, but I started to see the world differently. And then come Sunday, when most people were talking about the Sunday Scaries, I was excited because I had improv, and I liked it so much that I started to bring some of these activities to my team. And we started playing some of these things, which we’re gonna start to do in just a moment. We did some before meetings to get the edge off, to get us more focused. We did some on Fridays. We did some with clients in meetings. And we found that over time, our performance increased. And again, I didn’t know what I knew now, I just thought it would just… Just doing something just to do it. But there’s a lot of scientific research that shows when you get into that state, that state of play, especially with colleagues, you create high levels of psychological safety, and psychological safety is the belief that you can be yourself, and you can speak up, and you’re not gonna get ridiculed. That level of trust allows you to be more creative, especially in the face of the unknown. And so that just became the thing that I did. I became the improv guy. And I didn’t immediately quit my job and start doing what I’m doing now. I always felt like, all right, cool. I’m an agency guy. I’m like the digital Don Draper. And it wasn’t until another six years later when I had my own agency, and then me and my business partner had a big falling out. I was at a crossroads in my life and I realized that I needed to do something different because again, I knew all of the things that I should be doing. But yet, again, the way that our brains work is conditioning and whatnot. You just go back. And I decided, “You know what? I wanted to help people start to realize that there is more to life than just working yourself to the grave.” And so the anecdote to all of the challenges that we’re having, and there’s not gonna be any surprise for people who’ve been paying attention, the anecdote is play. Lot of benefits to engaging in playing playfulness at work. It reduces stress, improves attention, you can be more optimistic, you can be more resilient, stronger relationships, live longer, have more fun. Show of hands. Anyone would love to have some of these benefits? Anyone? All right, cool. Yeah, right? However, just by knowing these things, just by taking some notes, like, “Yes, play is great. I’m gonna show my boss this slide.” Just not gonna guarantee that you get them. But it does help you. A mentor of mine, Gwen Gordon, she said, “Play is a superfood of behavior.” Play is like kale, except it’s tastier. However, most adults, they think play is a waste of time. They think play is something that just kids do, even though we have decades of research to prove otherwise. And so to prove my point, I like to invite you to cross your arms in a way that feels normal and natural. Awesome, good job. Notice what hand’s on top and what hand’s on bottom. All right, now I’d like to invite you to cross it the opposite way. That feels weird, doesn’t it? Some of you’re still trying to figure out what hand goes where, it’s all good. All right, cross it the normal way. Some of you are like, “Oh, my God, thank you.” All right, try again. Cross it the opposite way. This is where people are confused. All right, put your hands down. Give yourselves a round of applause. You’re amazing. So the way that you cross it that is normal and natural, that is called your homeostasis. That is your default way of being. Our sort of default thought process is that play is something that just kids do. And then when I try to introduce this to adults, they’ll be like, “Oh my God, this feels longer.” And people are looking at me, “Oh, my God, I don’t wanna do it.” And then they go back to normal. However, you’ll notice that the more that you allow yourself to do it, the more comfortable it will become, and then it will just be just like your new homeostasis. However, you have to get over that initial dissonance. And I said, a wise person once said, “Adults are just kids who atrophied.” If you watch any child just in their natural element, they’re extremely playful. They know exactly what to do. I have two kids. I have a six-year-old and a 13-month-old, and they’re extremely playful. They teach me more about how to be even more playful. And if you have kids, you probably get it because there’ll be some time, I’m… Tired, right? My oldest is like, “Hey, dad. Hey, let’s play.” I’m like, “Fine, okay, what are we gonna play?” He’s like, “All right, cool, this is what we’re gonna do.” And he has this elaborate plan, and I’m like, “All right, cool, we’re gonna do this.” All right, cool, we got the Ninja Turtles, we got this. And I’m, like, I’m getting into it. And he’s like, “No, you’re playing wrong, dad.” I’m like, “Dude, seriously, you should take an improv class.” Anyways, you learn to listen better. Anyways, but as adults, we forget what it’s like. So that’s another reason that keeps us from playing, and play is also risky. When we engage in play, we are being our just unbounded, true selves. It’s very vulnerable. And so a lot of adults don’t want to experience that. They’d be like, “No, not at a conference where people know me.” But I’ll tell you this, that the risk… Like, the reward far outweighs the risk. And when you engage in playful activities, it means that you’re putting yourself out there. But when you put yourself out there, especially with your colleagues and people that you probably just met at a conference, your brain is producing these hormones. And the easy way to remember is DOSE, D-O-S-E. DOSE stands for dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. And those neurochemicals are the neurochemicals that are gonna help you be more creative, that are gonna help you trust one another, feel like you can trust one another, and feel like you belong. And at the end of the day, help you just relax. And that all comes from playing. And so we are going to do a few activities. We don’t have much time left. We’re gonna do a few activities to prove that point. Because if anyone’s seen “The Karate Kid,” learning is in the doing. Like I said, I could give you all these notes and stuff like that, and you can go back to doing what you’re doing, and then you’re gonna be like, “I don’t get it.” So we are going to experience it firsthand. Because what happens is when you learn something and then you immediately apply it, researchers calls this neurological and physiological linkage, and this will help you be able to apply it more effectively. So to make sure that we all have the best experience possible, there are few agreements. These agreements come from my over a decade and a half experience in improvisation. And this will help us have the best experience possible. The first one is surprise yourself. Some of these activities, you might’ve heard of, you might’ve done before. I invite you to see what happens if you just allow yourself to just openly play them. The next one is, “Yes, and…” This is something that if you know about improvisation, especially theatrical improvisation, that what that means is that you say, “Yes,” that means you accept the reality and then you build on it. Some of these activities gonna require you to play in like a small little group. So yes, we say, “Yes, and…” And this is a big one. How can we make everyone look and feel awesome? Some of these activities may seem like a competition. It’s not. I don’t have any more prizes, sorry. So what can you do to make the folks around you look and feel amazing? The next one is listen with curiosity and be present. I know we probably have so many things that are going through our brains, like to-do lists and emails and things that we probably should be doing, and the fact that we’re sitting here and we’re hungry. My invite to you is just allow yourself to just be here right now for the next 12 minutes and see what happens. And then serve the group. I might ask a few questions about like, “Hey, what’d you think? How was it?” I invite you to speak up if you have like a little, “Aha.” And this is a big one, especially with adults, find joy in mistakes. You probably haven’t played most of these activities. So if you make a mistake, we have a thing called a failure bow. We’re like, “Ta-da, yay, made a mistake, yay!” And I invite you to take these things back with you. Just because you made a mistake does not make you a failure. You are not a failure, you just happen to fail. And that’s how we learn. Again, remember kids. Kids make mistakes all the time and they get up and everything’s great. So, and then the last one, take care of yourself. So if we are like sort of moving a little bit and you have some mobility issues since… Yeah, take take care of yourself. Cool, can I get a thumbs up? Awesome, cool. So we are gonna get started, and they’re gonna start very simple, and then we’re gonna get maybe a little bit complex. Depends on how much time we have. All right, so we’re gonna play. Yay! All right, cool. So the first activity, and we can bring up the house lights now. The first activity that we’re gonna do is gonna require you to have a partner. And you’re gonna need a sheet of paper in front of you. So if you’re sitting at a table solo, you can look across, but just find a partner right now. Get your paper and your pen. All righty, then. And one other thing is… All right, shh. There are 300 of you and one of me. So if you hear me do this, that’s just your cue to just bring the volume down so we can move forward, just ’cause we don’t have a lot of time left. So what are you gonna do? You’re gonna have 30 seconds for this activity. With your pen and paper, I want you to draw your partner. Oh, my god. Oh, my God. I know, I get it, I get it. Do the best that you can. 30 seconds, ready, and go, draw your partner. Six, five, four, three, two, one. Pens down. Give yourselves a round of applause. Show your partner, show your partner. All right, shh, shh, shh. All right, show of hands. How many people found that challenging, anyone? Most of you? I get it. So funny. The moment I said, “Draw your partner,” I heard, “Oh, my god. Oh, my God.” And then when I said, “Show your partner,” there was so many apologies. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I am so sorry.” Again, that sort of thinking is going to keep us from being the best versions of ourselves. I didn’t say you had to be a Picasso, I just said, “Draw your partner.” When we were younger, NASA did a study and found that… They did a study with kindergartners, and they followed them this cohort all the way through year 18. So from five to 18. And they found that this cohort at age five had genius levels of creativity. And then come 13, something happened, I don’t know, puberty or stuff like that. But they started to get… They started to judge themselves, and then that number dwindled until by 18, only 3% of them had genius levels of creativity. And what happens is you start this dialogue in your head, “Oh, my gosh, I can’t draw. Oh, I’m not creative.” And that becomes your inner dialogue. And that’s so sad. And so this activity sort of proved that, but it’s all good. So in improv, we talk about letting go. In order to be able to co-create things on a stage without a script, we practice letting go. So we’re gonna do this one more time. You’re gonna have the same partner, you’re gonna have the same 30 seconds, except you’re gonna one switch to this activity. And we’re gonna see if there’s anything different that happens. You’re gonna do it with your eyes closed. All right, so draw your partner. 30 seconds, go. Yep, eyes closed, same partner. 10, 10 seconds. Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Pens down, eyes open, show your partner. Wow. Oh, my gosh. Wow. So, a few questions, few questions. How many people did that feel longer than 30 seconds? Anyone? So interesting. It’s still the same, I have a clock up here. So I timed it, it is 30 seconds, but it’s funny. So what ends up happening? If it was a smaller group, we’ll sort of talk it out. But I’ll just tell you what I typically hear. People typically say, and this is probably what’s going through your mind, they say, “Well, I was closing my eyes, so I just like… Whatever.” You lower the stakes. Anyone, is that you, right? It can’t be that good. I’m with my eyes closed. And so as a result, you’re more present, and time feels like, it’s just longer. You have the same 30 seconds, except you don’t have that inner dialogue just telling you, “You suck at this.” And how many people had more fun the second round, right? Again, we’re letting ourselves go. Give yourselves a round of applause. All right, yay! Awesome. All right, cool. So, in regards to play, play is not just a solo activity. Play is, especially in things that I do, is all about communicating in teams. And how many of you are in teams at your job, right? All right, a lot of you. So how many of you could be better communicators? All right, cool, awesome. So my invite to you, you’re gonna need the papers one more time, is to get a partner, and you’re not gonna have to draw each other, so it was all good. You can, for sake of time, you can stay with the same partner, you can get a new partner, but you’re gonna need a partner. And if you don’t have a partner, three sums are better than no sums so you can be in a group of three. And you’re going to need one sheet of paper between the two or three of you and one pen. So go ahead and figure that configuration out now. All right, awesome. Figure out the order, and if you need help, whoever is the tallest can go first and then whatever. So figure that out. Figure out who’s first, second. Or first, second, third. Figure that out now. All right, gimme a thumbs up if you figure that out, that order. All right, all of you, if you haven’t, you need to be a little bit faster. All right, cool. So, this is what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna only have about 45 seconds. Ooh, tiny. Your mission between the two or three of you, and this is silent. No pre-planning, no discussion, is to co-create the drawing of an animal. And this is how you’re gonna do it, one line at a time. So the first person’s just gonna draw a line, then pass the pen or pencil to the other person and you’re just gonna go back and forth, back and forth, and figure out what happens. Again, silent, you can probably giggle, I totally get it. But there’s no pre-planning. Go. Five, four, three, two, one, all right, pens down. Round of applause. Awesome, all right. Shh. How many of you, shh, shh, shh. How many of you actually drew something that could resemble an animal? Ooh! And if you didn’t, it’s all good. Ta-da! So typically what happens is we get this fighting. Like, in my head, we’re drawing a giraffe. I’m doing a frog. And you’re not giving up. And when it pertains to communication, communication is give and take. A mentor of mine said, “Sometimes you have to fly the kite, and sometimes you are the kite, and it just is what it is.” And so that was just, again, just two fun activities to showcase some of the things that you can learn by doing playful activities. Show of hands, how many of you had fun? Oh, my gosh, yay, wow. And our time is up. Those are, I know, I wish I could do more playful activities with all of you, but there’s gonna be more time to be playful after lunch. So I’m gonna wrap up a few things. So you remember… You remember our can, right? This was you, completely spent. But one of the cool things is once you start to play, you start to find out that you start to put yourself back together again. So much so that you are completely rejuvenated. So I would like to invite you to a few things. Hopefully, you start to see that by increasing and adding play and playfulness, you go from seeing the world as a proving ground to seeing the world as a playground of possibilities. And I’m gonna leave you with this quote. “When enough people raise play to the status that it deserves in our lives, we will find the world a better place.” So, cheers. Thank you so much.

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