When I was a kid I spent many a Saturday at my dad’s office. I remember the smell of freshly printed paper and the “cool” factor of being downtown, but most of all I remember the toys.
Now I’m not talking about a cheap toy chest in the corner. I’m talking about classic cars, the working 1950’s jukebox, and the pinball machine. I’m talking about wind up toys, Jenga, and miniature basketball hoops.
No, my dad didn’t own a toy factory. He wasn’t Willy Wonka. He ran various creative agencies – but the type of work he did at the office isn’t important. What’s important is the sense of wonder it inspired.
Sure, I was an easily entertained kid, but what has stuck with me is the idea of keeping that childlike perspective in order to make our work meaningful. We can’t expect our businesses or our work to have personality if we don’t put any of ourselves into it. Our real selves. Our fun-loving 8-year-old selves that like to race remote control cars and play with Legos and let our imagination run wild.
Great work requires a sense of wonder. Things get boring when we keep doing the same things over and over again without any release. We start to take ourselves too seriously. We lose track of why we love what we do.
I’ve definitely fallen into this trap, but I’m purposeful about finding opportunities to infuse some wonder into the work I do. I challenge you to do the same. If that means bringing toys to your next staff meeting – all the better!
To quote Michael Jordan, one of my favorite theologians: “Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.”