Last night, as I watched gFlorida Gulf Coast University defeat San Dieo State University to reach the “Sweet 16,” I felt some envy.
Was it because I wish I was young and shredded, like those players? Was it because I wish I could be a high-flying dunker, too? Was it because I wish I were playing in the Sweet 16?
No! All of those things are true to some extent, but that’s not why I was envious.
I was envious because it was so obvious that all the players on FGCU were having so much FUN.
It was written on every line on their faces. This was a serious team – God knows they’re getting their job done – but it was also a team that enjoyed itself.
I was envious because I feel like I don’t experience that kind of joy enough, anymore.
The other night I was at dinner with some friends – a doctor, a financier, some other professionals – and we fell into talking about how serious our lives have become. How, when you’re our age, life seems like one responsibility after another.
Watching FGCU play last night, I was reminded that fun and hard work and preparedness are not exclusive from each other. FGCU is a great example that you can do all those things.
See, as a CEO, manager and father, my responsibilities and obligations are my highest priorities. I attack them ruthlessly. But the trouble is, there are enough of them that I could work on them all day long, and never do anything else. Never have any fun.
It's funny - as an "adult," you spend a lot of time wondering what to do for stress in your life. You think about therapy, and exercise, and medication. But kids don't need to be reminded what to do for stress. That antidote comes to them automatically.
Watching FGCU reminded me that I have to schedule more fun for myself.
I spent last weekend visiting my son at the University of Michigan. One night, I played the drinking game “Quarters” and watched some NCAA games with him and his friends. I had a blast! I remembered that every night used to be like that, when I was my son’s age.
Of course, at my age now, I’m not gonna play drinking games every night.
But I can still afford to do something like that once in a while. To recharge my batteries. To de-stress a bit. To not have anything “going on” for a moment or two. To have fun. I mean, what is life about, if it's not enjoying yourself?
Going forward, I’m going to look at having a little fun as another responsibility of mine. Not something I can get to only after my other responsibilities are taken care of.
And I'm going to manage my employees with this in mind, as well. I have to make sure they're having fun together.
Show me a group of people that has fun together, and I'll show you a group of people that has affection for each other. That cares about each other. I'll show you a team.
The next time I find myself watching a team having as much fun as FGCU, I want to feel like a kindred spirit.
Like someone who knows that having fun is not a spare, bonus part of life. It's an integral part of life and it should be treated accordingly.