Keep Things Fun
Point to Ponder:
Where in your life are you having fun and where in you life do you need to have more fun?
During July, while leading two back-to-back iGnite Escapes in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and having the time of my life, I had an epiphany: throughout the past several months my 'fun' core value was violated. This probably sounds whacky, so let me explain. Several years ago through the professional coaching of iGnite member Martha Lynn Mangum, I learned my core values. They are: fun, humility, authenticity, family, hard work, impact, and gratitude.
Determining my core values was very liberating! Knowing them has given me a greater sense of self, helped me understand why I operate the way I do, as well as why certain things bother me. So, in Jackson Hole, while I was constantly laughing with amazing women, horseback riding with real cowboys, hiking amongst gorgeous scenery, white-water rafting with bald eagles, biking with buffalo in sight, speeding down the Alpine slide and country western dancing til 1:00 a.m, my fun core value was on fire. I felt more free than I felt in months. I even commented several times that Jackson Hole was my “happy place” and if I didn’t have a husband and children to go back to, I’d probably stay.
You might be thinking that stepping away from mom and life duties, being in nature with constant laughter, girlfriends and exercise had a little something to do with it, and yes, I would agree. After all, to take a break from “adulting” is why we all choose and need to getaway, however for me, it was more than that. What I realized was since Russell, my husband, lost his job in late February, life had become heavy and there was constant tension in our marriage. Needless to say, fun was lacking. And, even when I was having fun with friends, at work or with our children, the burden of him not having a job, his damaged ego and grim outlook had taken its toll. Beyond that, every conversation was worse-case scenario, so much that he had us moving in with my parents (if I could insert an emoji it would be the eye-rolling one). I want to preface that I love my parents immensely and if we had to move into them that certainly wouldn't be the horrible. They are wonderful but that’s a very un-fun thought and conversation to have.
I could certainly respect and understand where he was coming from, as he was just trying to protect and take care of our family, but I simply saw our life and future differently. He had a gloom and doom outlook (a man without a job is terrible!), while I saw the situation as a bump in the road with something better around the bend. Thankfully and starting in July, Russell was offered a great job with an excellent organization, however he was not starting at the top and there was a salary discrepancy, so the stressful, pessimistic and fearful conversations continued.
While in Jackson Hole my spirit lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, which was when it became apparent that the reason I felt so amazing was because I wasn’t having continual heavy conversations and arguments, and I wasn’t having to keep my once optimistic husband lifted up, seeing the light and keeping the faith. Instead, I was having whole-hearted fun!
What I’m not eluding to is that life must always be fun, because that’s not realistic and nor is it possible. Life is life and it always comes with rolling peaks and valleys, however for me and all people, incorporating regular fun into our life is essential, even when life is heavy. In fact, that’s when fun becomes even more necessary.
Not only is having fun one of my personal core values, but it’s also an iGnite core value and iGnite’s #21 Fundamental: Keep Things Fun- Don’t take yourself too seriously, Fun and laughter help us keep perspective. They renew our spirit, keep us energized and help us think more clearly.
October is iGnite’s birthday month and as a result we’ll be celebrating 11 years of fun! But in addition to having fun in iGnite, I encourage you to examine your life, your relationships, your career and daily commitments that you’ve said “yes” to and ask yourself if you are having fun? If you aren’t, that’s your queue and opportunity to have a conversation, re-evaluate, make some changes and incorporate fun where un-fun is prevailing. Life cannot be all work and no play. Like everything, there must be a healthy balance or else our spirit light becomes dimmed, shining isn’t possible and our opportunity to effectively serve our families, our community and those we work with is diminished.
In closing, upon realizing that I needed more fun in our marriage and home life, I opened the “fun door” conversation with Russell. Ugh! Conflict. Another un-fun thing, but the conversation was great. He was receptive and our marriage is feeling more light and fun these days. Interestedly though and as you might except, fun for two people never looks the same. Fun for me is laughing, dancing, playing, being creative and productive, being with family and friends, meeting new people and being adventurous. On the other hand for Russell, fun is having a job and making money so he can provide for his family. It was at that moment that I had another epiphany: Ah! So this is marriage and life. 13 years into it I’m kind of figuring out how it works. Love, conflict, frustration, conversation, compromise, forgiveness and fun. Repeat…...
Examine your life, your relationships, your career and daily commitments that you’ve said “yes” to and ask yourself if you are having fun? If you aren’t, that’s your queue and opportunity to have a conversation, re-evaluate, make some changes and incorporate fun where un-fun is prevailing.