I just spent a weekend in Las Vegas with my husband’s company, celebrating a milestone. It’s a very interesting place. It is a fantasy land for adults, where people can feel rich, successful, important, sexy, tipsy, and without normal restrictions on their behavior. Instead of seeing Mickey Mouse or Lightening McQueen come to life, there are scantily clad women with drinks, and slot machines making kachinging noises that sound like money and magic.
I find it interesting that some people feel like they have to be in this sort of situation to be able to play. Inhibitions are lowered through drink, lack of sleep, and slogans like “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” so they can feel safe doing something different. The range of ways to play is pretty limited, though. Drink, sex, gambling, shopping, and watching shows are the primary options. We had a chance to go hiking in Red Rock Canyon, which is another form of play, and one I prefer. There is dancing and swimming available too, although these also lean towards the superficial.
What if all of these means of play are actually attempts to feel connected, heard, and valuable? What if all the showing off of skin and expensive clothes is a way to attract attention, if the sex is a way to make a real human connection, if the luxury is a way to feel important? And what if there are other ways to get there? Finding ways to actually talk with the people we interact with could help us feel connected. Hearing others and feeling heard happens not through being a high roller or sitting in a VIP box, but through the sort of play that levels the playing field and lets everyone learn about each other with curiosity and non-judgment. We feel important when our ideas are heard, valued, and used if they fit. Not just when we have marble floors and Egyptian cotton sheets.
My point is that bringing LEGO® Serious Play® to a group of people who work together can help everyone feel important, heard, connected, valued, valuable, and validated. Without the expense of a trip to Vegas, without losing money gambling, without throwing up from drinking, without seeing each other as flesh to buy and sell. And without needing to bracket it away so that it stays in Vegas. Play can be part of everything, connection can be renewed, communication improved, relationships grown, potential maximized.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the weekend away. It’s fun to go on vacation, and it’s fun to spend time with my husband without our kid around. The company threw a heckuva party Friday night, and then a heckuva party Saturday night, too. Given my design, the way I’m wired, I enjoyed the parts where I talked with people more than the parts where it was too loud to hear. I also enjoyed the creative and unexpected touches – the mermaid in the swimming pool, the monkey dressed like Elvis, the acrobats. But I’m glad that I don’t have to go to Vegas to feel connected, important, or creative, and I don’t have to leave that part of me there when I come home.