This is a guest post from my friend and very talented colleague, Katie West.
You know the drill. Head down, nose to the grindstone, work first and play later. Sure, there is merit and reward in focus and drive. They are crucial skills that help us attain our goals. But what happens when we realize that our drive and determination have driven us right into the ground? It is hard to meet our goals or enjoy their achievement if we have been left so ragged by stress and exhaustion that we are barely standing, much less smiling and laughing.
By constantly prioritizing values that drain us, without re-supplying ourselves with values such as joy, play, and fun which serve to energize and rejuvenate us, it becomes increasingly harder to find the power necessary to make significant progress towards our goals.
One way to think of it is to imagine putting your hand very close in front of your face. It is hard to focus on our hand because of how close it is to our eyes. Now, move it out as far as your arm will reach. It becomes much easier to focus on it and discern the details of it, right? The importance of levity in our lives is that it provides that critical distance and perspective we need in order to view our experience. By placing emphasis on lightness, joy, and possibility in our lives, we are able to be more productive, creative, and energetic in our responses to our work and home lives.
Sometimes people still hold firmly to the notion that fun and levity prevent or slow down efficiency. Studies show that the opposite is true. Companies who value fun and play in the workplace, rank higher in surveys of workplace satisfaction. Also, the same companies repeatedly tend to be more successful in their overall goals.
Levity boosts our ability to think outside the box and be able to generate the innovative solutions necessary to solve a problem. We stand out from the crowd. It is an easy choice when we think about it: Either working with someone who complains, uses their intelligence to find flaws, and rarely smiles OR working alongside someone that readily shares their positive spirit, their zest for a particular project, or whose creative ideas inspire you.
How can we bring a little more levity and joy into our lives during such a challenging time in our society?
First step, we have to choose to bring this powerful energy into our lives and this means we are willing to seek it out in full confidence it will help us live our lives better, perform more optimally, and create a climate of wellness within us.
A couple of simple ideas for more joy, possibility, and lightness in our days:
Watch a movie that you find funny.
Practice laughing (it is okay if you are faking it-you still get the happy benefits) on your drive or walk to work by pretending you are listening to something funny on the radio or pretending you are on the phone having a funny conversation.
Call a friend and leave a laughing message on their voice mail and ask them to do the same.
Write 3 things you are grateful for each day.
What ways can you bring levity into your life?
Katie West is The Levity Coach. http://levitycoaching.com