No Fax/No Fun! Perspectives on Fun

A few notable observations about fun:

You know how you remember certain defining conversations in your life? Those conversations, sometimes short ones, that were a turning point. I can remember one about fun that totally was an impetus for change.

I was a VP of Marketing for the retail division of a large international company and our real estate (shopping center) division had been bought out/merged/name changed/management changed, oh about 5 times in 5 years. We were having one of those emergency "morale is really low and what are we going to do about it" meetings with all the department heads.

After we had gone around the table and heard each departments tales of woe and suggestions, our valiant CEO said, "Hey guys, c'mon, we just need to have some fun!"

I remember my chin dropping. Anger rising. And, these brilliant words coming from my mouth. "You want me to have fun. My fax machine doesn't work and you want me to have fun."

Next, I can remember vividly having this outer body experience. My self went out of my body and just stared back at this woman who just said this....No Fax/No Fun. I was disgusted at what I saw. Who was this woman sitting here? I knew that wasn't the real me. Just to add some context and create an excuse for my comment: back in "those days" all our ad approvals and proofing were done via fax so it was a pretty crucial machine for the job. But still....No Fax/No Fun? What had my life come to?

I know our CEO, who was quite a visionary (ie: really out there ideas and was wonderfully savvy at not getting bogged down in fax support issues - which is truly a strength of a visionary). I really don't know if he ever got that it wasn't about the fax machine. The No Fax/No Fun was a sign of something much bigger going on within the corporate framework. A 'walking dead" person syndrome that I experienced much of my last year in corporate.

It was shortly after that conversation that I hired my first coach to help me figure out what I wanted to do with my life and to help me get rid of my scarlet letter/logo "No Fax/No Fun"! And, I am proud to say that within a couple of years I launched Joyful Marketing whose tagline was (and still is) "Make your marketing easy, natural & fun!"

What I also learned is that one of my highest values is what I call - "Nicholas' tire swing laugh". The unabandaned laughter of a child being swung crazily on a tire swing from a big huge tree. I am sure that was why I was so angey - my fun value was getting squashed!

What I have also learned (and I had to break down some old thoughts and habits) is that we truly are at choice. We can go through life, work on a project, be a parent and we get to choose how we want to be. We can chose fun.

Recently, another "fun" telltale moment came up. I volunteer for an organization where we are really growing and putting lots of systems and templates into place for the ease of future volunteer teams. Well the process of "creating systems and templates" was becoming pretty stressful and heated. It was starting to remind me of my corporate "No fax/No fun" days. I ended up sending an email reminding everyone of what we were really doing. It wasn't about the systems and the work today. It was about the legacy we are creating for future teams to have confidence, joy and ease in their work. AND, we are at choice about HOW WE BE as we do this work. I then shared a favorite fun motivational video with the team called "Eight Principles" - which is all about remembering and choosing to cultivate fun and how it adds to our life & creativity. It was a good reminder for me.

My last note about about fun is from last Friday, I thought my 4 year old needed some extra tlc. He had been acting up quite a bit lately and so we took our time getting into school. I invited him to sit with me and watch this same video - "Eight Principles". As all the colors flashed, and words bounced and music played, I read the words. He enjoyed counting the numbers and watching for the next one to appear. He particuarly liked the principle about "break the rules - they're all made up anyway". Hmm, I think he's taken that one to heart!

Later in the car, on the detoured way to get a donut before school, I said, "Wasn't that video on the computer fun?" And, from the truthful honesty of a 4 year old. "No, no really." I said, "Well, it was kind of crazy, right?" And my wise son said, "Yeah, kind of crazy but not really fun." I am reminded of the perspective shift we go through of what's fun from 4 to 40! It's kind of sad!
And, we are always at choice!

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Laura West is an award-winning entrepreneur, and president and founder of the Center for Joyful Business. As a certified business coach, author and speaker, she helps thousands of women entrepreneurs create successful businesses filled with passion, purpose and prosperity. She is known for making marketing simple and fun for passion-based business owners. She is also the author and creator of Joyful Business Guide™ Home Study System, and she is author of the upcoming book, Awakening Your Inner Business Goddess. She is also the Fresh Entrepreneur Expert at Ladies Who and creator of their Fresh Entrepreneur workshop and workbook program.

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