I have a job that requires me to color, draw and daydream. I get to sketch out the wildest ideas I can conjure up, wash them in any color of the rainbow and present them to people who pay me money. Essentially my work is child’s play and last week I had a terrible time doing it.
I was blocked.
Nothing was coming out. Each time I sat to brainstorm, I was greeted with a blank sheet of paper and zero ideas. I was stressed that the ideas weren’t flowing. So I decided to take a walk. One of the routes I take is past a pre-school where there is always some group of children in constant play. I stopped and stared at them for a minute (probably to the chagrin of the attendants who probably just saw some weird dude staring at kids through a fence…). It occurred to me that every kid on the playground was doing one thing — playing with reckless abandon. So what they struck out. Who cared if they tripped and fell.
Their failures were just momentary setbacks — mere seconds in their lives before they found a new direction. There was no stress of failure but there was revelation in their success. And it struck me — I was blocking my success by being afraid of failing.
I needed to be honest with my reality that I could be wrong. I had to trust that the process I have been trained in will lead me to solid ideas that can be executed. Success isn’t the destination but if I didn’t get started with something, I let me fear win. An hour later I found myself at my desk with several really horrible ideas …. I mean simply horrible. As bad as I thought they were, they gave me a starting point and I did, finally reaching a design that was fun and reflective of the client.
Sometimes, we need to remember that we are our most honest when at play. So this week I challenge you to play like a child because you may just find yourself being an honest adult.