The Power of Play

What does it mean to play? Play is defined by the dictionary as engaging in an activity for the purpose of enjoyment and recreation versus having a practical and serious purpose.

Do you remember how you loved to unwind as a kid?

As a mom and business owner, I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes that there were more hours in a day. With your never-ending to-do list, ask yourself this: When was the last time you had some fun? If you can’t remember the answer, let me refresh your memory as to why this needs to be on your radar. 

Over the years I have experienced so many personal and professional benefits from scheduling time to play with my kids and friends (yup, I play with other adults)

Listening to my urge to play pulled me out of a dark place and re-energized my life.

In December 2009, I lost my best friend and biggest cheerleader to cancer. My mom’s death was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. I shut down socially because talking about her made it real and painful. After two years of living without my spark for life, I felt this overwhelming urge to get my girlfriends together to play with me. We had adventures doing activities like pole dancing, axe throwing, circus school, and more. That’s when the Kick-Ass Ladies group was born and when I truly realized the value of play.

Let’s explore some of the specific benefits:

  • Play away your stress

Dr. Bowen White, MD and a board member for the National Institute for Play, a nonprofit organization that gathers research on play, declares that it is an effective tool for stress management. When we engage in play and have fun, our dopamine (chemicals in our brains that make us feel good) increases and our blood pressure decreases.

Any stress I’m experiencing before I start hanging out with my friends quickly or take part in my fave sport, volleyball, disappears when I’m in the moment. Playing recharges my batteries so that I am energized for my family and business.     

  • Increase your effectiveness at work

Not only does play make people more productive, but it also tends to improve their work performance. This is according to Dr. White, who also consults with companies to help them create healthy work environments. He finds that it sparks creativity and creative problem-solving.

I have found that it ignites my creativity. For example, after winning a speech competition, I celebrated by spraying myself with champagne. It was so FUN that I hosted an event for almost 50 women where we all sprayed each other with champagne like we were a professional sports team.

  • Fosters Connection

I bring hundreds of women together to have playful adventures and often times they don’t know each other. Their feedback is that these activities help them bond and connect with other attendees with ease. Dr. White adds that when we let our guard down, it’s easier to connect with people. None of us were taking ourselves too seriously while spraying each other with champagne, but we sure felt a fun connection to one another.       

If your mind isn’t filled with ways you can have some fun, here are some ideas:

  • Think about what fun means to you
  • What did you love to do for fun as a kid and how you can bring that into your life?
  • Join a friend or group to play with and experiment until you find your play sweet spot 

Play is not simply the actions we take, but it’s also a way of being. I am passionate about sharing the benefits of play and getting people to partake in it with me because it transformed my life. I hope that life becomes your playground if it isn’t already.   

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Overwhelmed by the transition to entrepreneurship?

I’ve been there. When I left the corporate and small business worlds to start my own business, I didn’t know what I was in for. I saw other women living lives that I wanted to be mine, and wondered, “How are they doing it?” Knowing something had to give, I totally changed the way I’m running and building my business.

As a mother, blogger, mentor, speaker and business owner, I am used to balancing the demands of many roles. It is hard to “do it all,” and I have learned how to adjust to those expectations. Stick with me and you’ll be diving into your business with fresh eyes and a growth-centered mindset faster than you ever imagined!

It all came to a head in the Fall of 2015. With my daughter’s autism diagnosis and my postpartum depression following my son’s birth, my Spring/Summer that year had been pretty rough. I was feeling pretty kicked around — to say the least. As I was crawling out of the dark and twisty places life had cornered me in that year, I knew that everything had changed.

For many reasons, I couldn’t go back to my corporate life. One of the biggest reasons was that my perspective on how I was going to live my life had changed. A shift had happened. My time away from my children was going to be spent doing things that I was passionate about. Doing things that got me pumped about life. In May of 2016, I went out on my own and started my business. It was great. I was finally doing things that had me pumped about my time away from my kids. I had the flexibility to spend more time with them. At the end of the day, I had the energy to work in my household and my marriage.

But, while I was living my passion and excited about my life again, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Previously, I was a teacher, a sales professional, marketing leader and client services manager. By setting clear objectives, I succeeded in each role, even though they were in different industries.

But being an entrepreneur was a whole new world. I felt the loneliness. I had self-doubt. I didn’t know where to start…and I wasn’t the only one in this boat.

Whether I’m out speaking to a room full of female entrepreneurs or leading a workshop, one of the things that I hear over and over again from these amazing women is how great it is to be out from behind their desks and surrounded by a group of like-minded women. And as our conversation continues, it becomes clear that they are looking for a tribe of women that they can connect and collaborate with regularly in an environment that is welcoming, encouraging and safe enough to let their walls down and share. I needed a community like this too. One that encourages fellow members as they conquer fears, overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams. A tribe that leaves me with a new comfort level and the confidence I’m craving to expand my growth and limits — both personally and professionally.

And most importantly, I wanted a place that would offer me more than inspiration. One that would give me the actionable advice, education and mentorship, support and accountability that we all need.

And from these conversations and my own needs, Fempire Builders was born.

You see, it’s not just me. And it’s not just you. We are not alone. And when we come together, it’s a powerful thing. With the Fempire Builders community supporting me and holding me accountable, I have experienced the business growth that previously I had only dreamed about.

Just as it has been for other Fempire Builders, it will be the same for you, too. Wait and see!