Has your business or life made you forget how to have fun?
This doesn’t happen all at once, but it happens to most driven men at some point in their life.
I’m a genuinely fun-loving person, and that has helped balance out the stoic nature of my business partner Bill. But I haven’t always been able to keep up my playful nature.
Let me tell you about when fun slipped out of my life and why I realized I needed to reclaim it.
Life takes the fun out of you
I lost my first wife, Leigh, to cancer in 2006.
The three years of treatment prior to that was rough, to put it mildly.
After chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy, I hadn’t heard my sweet “Boo” laugh in months.
And seeing the agonizing changes of her treatment wasn’t much easier on me.
But one day, I heard my dear sweetheart laughing—absolutely belly laughing—from the next room.
Music from my “Sunshine.”
I dropped what I was doing and ran to see what had cheered my wife up for the first time in a long time.
America’s Funniest Home Videos was playing on the TV.
We watched that together almost every day until she died.
Business makes you forget how to have fun
After Leigh passed away, I trudged on with my life.
To help myself forget, I drowned myself in busywork at the office and endured boredom when I came home. I didn’t know how to have more fun.
Then a friend, Rose Marie Perla, changed my life with a single question. She asked me what I do for fun.
Fun-loving me couldn’t come up with anything better than, “Well, I work out a lot.”
I just wasn’t enjoying life! I’d forgotten how to have fun, even.
She called me on it, telling me working out isn’t fun.
Couldn’t argue with that.
I kept digging, but came up empty.
At that point, Rose gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten and I want to pass it on to you:
Until you get some fun in your life, nothing else is going to work. Until you get some fun in your life, nothing else is going to work.
Until you get some fun in your life, nothing else is going to work.
What a slap in the face!
That summer, I fixed my problem. Since I was self-employed, I let freedom and fun back into my life.
If I woke up and didn’t want to go to work, I didn’t go to work. I’d go out to eat, go see a movie or go out on a date with somebody.
I injected three months of finding fun things to do back in my life.
It was the best thing I could have done.
I blossomed that summer. Fun injected life back into me.
How to have more fun
I know not every man has the freedom to leave work at will to find fun.
But I’ve developed some strategies that will show you how to have more fun.
When you’ve forgotten how to have fun, laugh more.
When you’re having fun, you can’t keep laughter in.
For me, hole-in-the-wall restaurants bring my joy to the surface. Any pains I feel from business or life slip away when I’ve found a place I enjoy with people I love.
What makes you laugh? Whatever it is – do it more.
And if you can’t do those things, I want you to literally practice laughing.
Don’t be afraid to get a little silly doing this. Look yourself in the mirror and laugh at yourself.
For Leigh and I, practice came from watching America’s Funniest Home Videos.
And we really needed the practice.
For you it could be YouTube or Internet memes or anything else that makes you belly laugh.
Whatever the case, make a nurturing list—a list of 5-10 things that fill you up so full that you can’t keep your laughter in even if you try.
As William James said, “We don’t laugh because we are happy. We are happy because we laugh.”
When you feel too old for fun
Some people talk themselves into feeling old, and are shocked or even disapproving when they see other people having fun. Mindless, laughter-filled fun.
1. Stop taking yourself so seriously
Stop taking yourself so seriously. Laugh at yourself. You don’t have to be the guy looking at people having fun disapprovingly. Instead, be the guy who doesn’t care what others think and is willing to have fun.
Business has a way of beating this mentality into men. They reason that for other people to take them seriously, they have to take themselves seriously.
People open up to real people, not machines who can do no wrong. To supermen. No, you need to show that you are human and people will respect you for it. And they’ll still do business with you.
2. Forget what others think
There’s a Ted Talk that shows a movement happening in three minutes. A dancing mob forms around one shirtless guy dancing goofily on a hillside.
Either be that guy, or be the first follower of that guy who’s willing to have fun. That’ll make you feel a lot younger.
Seriously don’t be so self-conscious. You’re only a bit player in everyone else’s play.
Some people will like you for having fun. Others won’t.
Do you even want to know or impress the people who don’t?
For me, this moment came when I gave myself permission to skip work and have fun. A younger version of myself would have worried what clients or employees thought of me for doing that.
But I knew I needed it to improve my life.
3. Live and learn creatively
Creativity brings out youthfulness.
A recent podcast interviewee taught me another fountain of youth—which is just a fountain of joy as people understand it.
Learn outside your bubble. Whether you’re an engineer, writer or business coach, it’s easy to corral your knowledge and silo what you learn.
You reason that people only need you to excel within the walls of what you do.
Forget that mentality.
My podcast guest was in a learning bubble and then he went to Africa, where his bubble popped.
Learning outside his profession and outside his comfort zone sent his energy levels through the roof.
I picked up a guitar about 10 years ago and was surprised by the vitality that came into my life when I started to learn something so far outside my knowledge base in a fully committed way.
4. Hang out with younger people
Last of all, if you feel so old you can’t have fun, spend time with people who are younger than you.
There’s nothing that can make you feel so alive as being with people who are alive. Who let life, joy and laughter flow through them.
I’ve learned that through this business. Most of my clients are 20 or 30 years younger than me.
So helping them really pushes my business partner Bill and I to stay young.
After all—if you’re the sum of the five people you hang out with most, you might get a little younger if you have a few years on those five people.
When you feel boring or bored with life
Life doesn’t get boring—you do. Being a boring person is never something you decide to do. Instead, it creeps up on you.
You wake up, do your morning routine, go to work, come home, eat dinner, get kids bathed and ready for bed.
Life can be a grind.
And worse, any bad habits or addictions (workaholics, anyone?) can dull your ability to enjoy life. Even doing things you love can feel hollow if bad habits have crept into your life.
If you feel boring or bored with life, break from your routines and bad habits.
I had to go big on this and have an entire summer filled with freedom and fun.
I want to offer you a better way sooner.
Most of the men we work with are addicted to work, and that makes them less fun and less available to the family and friends they love.
At the same time, most men don’t have the ability to walk out on work to take the afternoon off and recharge at will like I did.
One of our clients, Adam, reached this point where work had eaten the fun right out of him. He was a successful man who didn’t feel successful because he never had time or energy left for fun.
We showed him through Freedom Boot Camp how to whittle down his to-do list to a must-do list. With that knowledge, fun came back into his life.
“I have more clarity and control,” Adam said. “I am more compassionate, present and available at home. I can live spontaneously and still get things done at work. I feel exuberant.”
Soon after he wrote this, he sent us a to-do list while on an unplugged vacation in Costa Rica. It had three items on it:
- Get ice
- Find fruit truck
- Rent a surfboard
Doesn’t that sound fun?
Freedom? Meet fun:
You can have results like Adam. Exuberance in your daily life. Unplugged vacations you can be proud of. Complete freedom to live the life you want to live.
It all starts with a free 30-minute video session with me or my business partner Robert. These Freedom Breakthrough Sessions will help you free up your time so you can free up your happiness.
These aren’t for everyone. Low achievers need not apply. But if you have unrealized potential, we’ll help you live it.
For free. There’s nothing to lose.