When I leave my home in Japan to go to work in the morning, I say, “itekimasu”, I’m going.
My partner, Hitoshi sees me off at the door, gives me a kiss and tells me “itte rashai”, please go and come back.
He adds something else too, “have fun”. That’s right, he tells me to have fun.
Although I have heard this from him a million times, I love hearing this. It makes me think about my day and it slows me down [which is a good thing].
I might be going to meet a tough consulting client, or going to give a speech that I have rehearsed for hours, or going to do the umpteenth revision on a chapter in my book, but but when he says “have fun” to me, I just feel so happy. It’s a reminder to me to make work fun.
No matter what I plan to do, no matter how difficult the situation, I promise to Hitoshi and myself that I will make fun a priority.
For some people, the words “work” and “fun” never seem to go together. I see the people headed to work on the train and they don’t look like a happy bunch. But think about it, you spend so much time at work, why not make it fun?
I always have told my students to have fun.
I tell my coaching and consulting clients the same thing. Their reaction is sometimes “what”, or “yes, sure, ok?” But after a while, they do make fun a priority for the work they do.
What would it take for you to make fun a reasonable objective for the day? What would it take for you to change the way for you to think about work? If you thought about it as fun, couldn’t you take some actions to make it fun?
Maybe you’re under pressure to sell 5,000 gallons more of paint thinner, or you have to say something to a colleague who is late with a report?
Couldn’t you make it fun? Think of selling as a game you will share with clients. Think of a fun way to ask for the report
Make it your intention to fun today and every day at work.
Shinobu Namae is the chef at the Michelin starred restaurant L’Effervesence in Tokyo. I love the food there and I love talking with the chef. When you finish your meal at L’Effervesence, Namae-san will come around to your table say hello, thank you for coming, and find out how you liked the meal.
When I last visited, I asked him if it was tough running this restaurant that is a destination for global foodies, he told me: it’s tough and it’s fun.”He tells me, “I even dream about what may be possible with food. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love it. If it stops being fun, I’ll do something else.”
Why shouldn’t you have fun at work? Life is too short not to enjoy what you do.
The American painter Robert Henri once said:
“You should paint like a man coming over the top of the hill singing.”
William Zinsser says this kind of enjoyment is “a crucial ingredient in writing.”
Your work should be the same.