This summer during my husband's annual financial advisor conference, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a very inspiring presentation by Kevin Carroll, noted author, speaker and founder of Katalyst. Carroll began the presentation with his quite touching and challenging childhood story, which included a scene when a red rubber ball served as an outlet, catalyst and ultimately inspired him to achieve well beyond what many in his tough circumstances would find nearly impossible to do. Before founding Katalyst, Carroll had a diverse career ranging from Air Force Language interpreter (he's fluent in five languages) to 76'ers Athletic Trainer to Creative Change Agent for Nike. He's a modern Renaissance man!
Throughout the hour, Carroll wove in the theme of PLAY into his message of how to grow competitive business advantage. In short, he advocates that embracing the spirit of play and creativity is a powerful way to maximize our potential and happiness both professionally and personally. That we must tap into these resources or risk losing ground over time.
While these concepts might seem contradictory in the workplace at first consideration, Carroll's message is indeed powerful. He argues that we lose much of the resilience and resourcefulness of youth as we a focus so seriously on careers. Over time, this loss brings about a degradation of our imaginations, which means we lose sight of the future possibilities while being bogged down by current circumstances.
As a small business owner who consults to and provides services to other, often small businesses, I acknowledge that it can be difficult to step outside of the day to day routine to imagine the future. And darn near impossible to go out and "play" when there's an urgency on the rise. The problem is, our careers and lives will always be filled with challenges, and if we don't step into replenishing activities, the well will eventually drain causing creativity to suffer. The simple act of playing with a beloved pet, taking a brisk walk through the fall leaves or sharing a meal with a close confidant reminds us of these necessary pleasures.
Carroll suggests we take at least one day a week to "look up" -- into this less known but full of possibilities place, and spend time imagining and building the future we desire. He advocates answering a short series of questions, which I've listed below, to guide these defined periods:
1. What inspires you?
2. What helps you put passion into action?
3. What replenishes you?
The idea is that by gaining self-awareness through writing these answers down, we can focus on both what we need to take our businesses to the next level, and how we can care for ourselves to ensure we have the creative spirit to do so.
Given the wind down of 2013, many of us are looking forward to what the future of 2014 will bring. I encourage you to spend some time thinking about how to incorporate play into your lives so that your imaginations can thrive and help take you and your business to a new level of performance and meaning.
Dixie Huey, Proprietor
PS - if you're like me and like receiving books as gifts during the holidays, check out this Carroll inspired reading list!
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