Serious Play and Playful Seriousness

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Sometimes I feel like I need to be serious to be taken seriously. I can do serious pretty well, but when I lose my playfulness, I also lose a certain amount of alignment. I lose perspective. I can’t keep my sense of humor intact.

I’ve always been afraid that if I led with my playfulness, my humor and fun, I wouldn’t be taken seriously. I would be dismissed as not worth the time of anyone who is part of serious business. After all, serious business is serious. It’s important. It’s very, very formal and straight-laced.

One of the wonderful things about using LEGO® bricks in my methodology is that I can be playful, and help other people be playful, while accomplishing serious goals. Thinking with one’s hands, hearing from everyone at the table, arriving at shared goals and a direction forward, is all scientific and serious and important. And it’s also a lot of fun!

When I called myself a Play Professional, I decided to lead with the fun. But serious business isn’t interested in fun for fun’s sake. That’s not work, that’s play. They’re opposites. (At least in the general understanding of things. I think the opposite of play is depression, not work. And work can be full of play.) So I’m finding ways to talk about the benefits – increased efficiency, decreased turnover, everyone on the same page, etc. But I find my serious mind taking over when I think about that, and soon I’m dull as dishwater.

I don’t have a pat answer for this. It’s a dance I’m doing -oops, too far over to serious, gotta go be silly. Oops, too silly, need to be serious for a moment. I’m always in danger of losing my playfulness in order to get serious work done with serious people. I’m afraid to let out my silliness in public – that’s not what grownups do. But I know when I stop laughing I also stop being present and aligned and able to help with my whole being.

So, for what it’s worth, I think it’s time to take a dance break. Time to practice new silly walks and doodle on my to-do list. Let’s not take life too seriously, okay? Are you with me?

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