Business Failure. Those two ominous words that plague the nightmares of every entrepreneur, young and old. The ever-present possibility of the professional “face plant” motivates us to keep driving, keep pushing, keep learning…but keep playing?
When Somer and I joined forces in professional partnership back in 2014, we very quickly saw how our friendship morphed into a constant business meeting. There was so much to do and the stakes felt so high, every spare minute we had away from our children was dedicated to developing our business. Every conversation centered around our perpetual to do list, go to market strategies and future plans. We were laser beam focused on avoiding business failure.
And you know what? We kind of stopped having fun for awhile there. We almost forget how to be friends. Why? Because all work and no play causes that one big terror that we’re all trying to avoid. Business failure. Play is a pivotal part of professional and personal success. We must laugh, shake off the stress and settle back into that excitement that fueled the entrepreneurial fire in the first place!
So how do you build play time into your business partnership? It’s not as easy as you think! The “Let’s grab dinner!” plan quickly stumbles into a working meal. The “Happy Hour Date!” often slides into a professional woe-fest. Here are a few tips and tricks to making sure your play time stays play time!
- Invite others. It’s hard for conversation to wander towards business when other friends are present that would feel left out of that chitter chatter. Shake things up and bring an extra pal or two to make sure you leave the job at home and just get social! Somer and I almost always invite one other person when we head out to eat. It allows us to make time for those people most important to us and we end up spending our time laughing and sharing, instead of working and grinding.
- Make it about somebody else. The very best way to stop making the conversation about “you” is to focus your energy entirely on serving someone else’s needs! Consider volunteering together at a local shelter, soup kitchen or getting together with friends to stuff gently used purses with toiletries and goodies like we did with our local Modern Femme™ crew. Service projects open our hearts to the needs of others, minimize our focus on our own selfish needs and allow us to focus outwardly, giving back as a team.
- Go big or go home. Sometimes you just need to kick your own butt to get your mind off the busyness of business. Go for a run, take a kickboxing class…break a sweat and challenge yourselves physically! Somer and I are already bonded on a professional level (and of course a personal one). When we dig into something that physically challenges us, we discover a whole new level of how committed we are to supporting each other through our individual and shared obstacles.
Most recently, Somer and I took a drive up to Williamsburg to visit our friends at Go Ape! Treetop Adventure Course at Freedom Park. There’s something incredibly powerful about getting outside, climbing a tree and taking a leap of faith as you navigate ziplines and obstacles. Our first experience with climbing had been back in October with our local Modern Femme™ group at The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium. I’ll be totally honest. I was not looking forward to it. Nature “isn’t my thing,” and I find myself getting a little nervous when it comes to facing physical challenges in front of my peers. Now…I’m hooked. I love it. Every minute! Every bruise! Every sore muscle!
Our friends at Go Ape! did not disappoint. It was a beautiful day and we were itching to climb, get a great workout in and focus our minds on what was directly in front of us instead of going back and forth over the many million things we need to get done before the May convention (Do you have your ticket yet?! Discount codes expire on April 15th!).
At first, we wondered whether the courses would challenge us as much as we were hoping, but it only took a few stretches to see “oh heck yeah” we were working hard! This course really challenged our upper body strength, and as we tired more and more, we had to rely more and more on each other to cheer each other on our climbs back up to the platform after a tough rope net hit or swinging loop traverse. It allowed us to verbalize when we needed help and also gave us the opportunity to put the other person’s needs before our own. Needless to say, after some really demanding climbs, a few hilarious rides into the mulch and maybe even a few perfectly executed profanities…well, work was the last thing on our minds!
When was the last time you did something with your business partner just for fun? How do you carve play time into a dynamic professional relationship?