On a recent drive, I listened to Brene Brown’s Power of Vulnerability workshop which included her 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living. One of the guideposts that gave me pause was: Cultivate Play and Rest — and Let Go of Exhaustion and Productivity as a Status Symbol.

I have had several conversations about how people wear “too much to do” like a badge of honor, but I previously had not considered the role of true play toward our well being. It’s not enough just to give up exhaustion and constant being-on-the-go, but Brene cites the work of Stuart Brown about the value of actual play. His definition: “play is time spent without purpose, time we don’t want to end and where we lose the hyper-sense of self-consciousness.”

And when you really think about it, not much people do these days falls into that category. Kids are in organized activities. Families go on structured vacations. Even adults join clubs and organizations for social time, rather than engaging in silliness or putzing around at something just for the fun of it.

Brene notes a simple tactic that can help us shift the focus away from productivity to play. Instead of automatically asking people: “What do you do?” she advocates starting with “What do you love to do?” as a way to decouple self-worth and productivity.

Think about what you love to do, and then make some time in your life to actually do it. The time you spend truly playing can be the most productive thing you can do for your well being in the long run.

The Power of Vulnerability: Teaching on Authenticity, Connection and Courage by Brene Brown, 2013

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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