Something I have noticed among high-achieving goal-setters like many of my clients is that there can be a sense of needing to achieve something in order to have fun. We tend to think that the fun comes later, but really, it should be the other way around.
I want to encourage you to consider your own life and the areas that you find less than enjoyable. Whether it’s a particularly hard time, a job that you don’t love, or your everyday life where you notice you’re not having much fun, ask yourself the question: how can this be more fun?
Join me this week as I explore the concept of having more fun and show you why you have the power to create more fun in your life. Having more fun will bring so much more value and enjoyment to your life, so I’m showing you how to change your view and train your brain to start finding new ways to create fun in anything you do.
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life Podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hello my friend. Welcome to the podcast. I want to start off by saying that if the sound is a little bit different today, it is because my podcast equipment and mic are in transit during our move. I’m recording this while we are staying at my in-laws, which is so amazing while all of our stuff gets shipped down to Charleston. So I know that my podcast production company is going to do their magic. I am on my coaching mic as I record this. You’ll still get amazing content, but if it sounds different that is why.
All right. Before we get into the fun of the episode and how to have more fun, I want to invite you over to nataliebacon.com/careers. We are hiring three positions right now. Even if you’re listening to this in the future, I want you to know that that is always where you’re going to be able to find the latest hiring opportunities.
Most likely they will be in some form of business operations. Kind of the back end of running an online business. Also for hiring coaches. If you are a coach who is certified at The Life Coach School, we’re always interested in hiring more coaches. So that’s really fun. My business is growing, and I love that we get to hire now.
All right. I hope you are enjoying your start to summer. This month in Grow You we are so focused on how to enjoy ourselves and our lives. I thought let’s do an episode about how to have more fun. Because what I notice, particularly with people who are, like me, high achieving goal setters, very future focused. There can be this sense that we need to achieve in order to have fun instead of the other way around.
This is something that I have been working on and will continue to work on. I think it’s some of the best work that I’ve ever done. So I want you to do it as well if you feel called to do so.
So if you think about any goal that you have. Like some of the common goals we set in Grow You would be losing weight or building a business or changing your relationship, having a better marriage. Something like that. Are you thinking about them very seriously, and is there this heaviness behind them? Or do you have like a lightness and a fun behind them? So just something to think about.
I want you to consider what fun even is. So I consider fun to be a feeling. It is that feeling that you experience, and it’s based on how you think about something. So this is really important. That nothing outside of you either is or isn’t fun.
I have some examples for you. I’ve talked about this before, but I love hip hop class. I always have. To me it is very fun. To others, maybe to you, you might think that this is sort of the worst exercise that you could possibly imagine. You would not describe it as fun. Same hip hop class. For one person it’s fun, for another person it’s not fun. What’s the difference, right?
Our difference is in how we are experiencing it. Our interpretation of it. Same thing with some things that I’ve changed with respect to fun. So, for me, boating used to be extremely fun. Now I like boating, but I have some more questions before I go on a boat. It’s a little less fun. Because as I get older, I find myself to be a little bit more motion sickness and nausea prone. I recently discovered paddle boarding, and I love it. I find that to be so fun. I want to do it more. Same thing with skiing.
Now other people might find boating, paddle boarding, skiing, any of those things either fun or not fun. It could be a totally different experience than the one that I’m having totally based on our interpretation of it. So the skiing isn’t fun or not fun. The paddle boarding isn’t fun or not fun. The boating isn’t fun or not fun. Boating just is, and we as the humans interpret it and experience it as either fun or not fun. There’s a whole wide range of emotions that we could experience when we’re doing any of these. Maybe there’s excitement in there as well.
But thinking about fun as it relates to activities, we tend to think that the activity is either fun or not fun. We don’t necessarily think that we’re the ones who bring the fun when in actuality that is what’s happening.
This is true also not just for the traditional activities that we do or don’t do for fun, but also for how we experience our jobs. I can tell you that I used to get stressed and feel like creating programs was this big undertaking. I would not have described it as fun. Now it is the most fun for me. I can create a program so fast. I love creating programs. I feel like it’s my creative outlet.
I have to really constrain myself, and that’s why I just have the two. I put all of the bonus programs inside of those two otherwise my business would be very scattered because I would just be creating programs because I love it so much. So I just create them inside there. But for you, if you have an online business, you might be thinking creating programs is not fun. What’s the difference there? It’s how we’re thinking about it.
For me right now in my business, I would say that where I have the least amount of fun is doing business operations. It’s just not very fun for me. It’s not very fun for me because of how I’m thinking about it. I’m thinking, “Oh my gosh. I’d rather be creating programs. I’d rather be recording this podcast. I’d rather be doing X, Y, Z because those things are more fun to me. I love the content creation and the visionary role and the marketing and sales and funnels and all of that fun stuff. That’s really fun for me.
Business operations I’m really good at, but it’s not fun for me. The reason is is because of how I’m thinking about it. Now when you discover something that’s either fun for you or not fun for you, you kind of have a couple options. You can just accept that you don’t want to interpret it as fun, or you can change your thoughts about it. Or you can do what I like to do, which is how can I make this more fun?
So in the example of doing business operations, I could coach myself and totally change my mindset around business operations. So much so that I could really fall in love and have fun with doing operations. But I don’t really want to do that. I know where I’m going with my business. I know that I want to hire more people. I know that I can’t wait for my first full time really big salaried six-figure position to be a director of operations. I’ve known that for the last year. To me, I would rather outsource that and hire that.
So it’s not that I need to fall in love with this role. What I can do is say okay, I’m doing a lot of the ops now. I have a team as well, and we have other people who help with operations. But since I’m sort of leading it, I can say alright, this isn’t forever. How can I make this more fun? So notice I’m not trying to just change my whole identity around it, but I’m just asking how can I make this more fun?
So if you’re in a job right now. I do this a lot with the creator program members who are building their businesses and so passionate about it. They have fun there. But in their full-time jobs, they haven’t quit yet. They’re not having fun there.
I want to encourage them always to ask themselves, “How can I have more fun in my day job?” And how that’s a worthy question to ask. Because you’re going to be there anyway, why not bring in a little more fun? Your brain will answer that question. How can I bring in more fun? How can I have more fun doing X, Y, Z?
So notice this about yourself when you’re about to do something that you traditionally just don’t enjoy, or you think is maybe a mundane task or something like that. Do you approach it with openness and this lightness where there’s an opportunity for a little fun? Or do you decide ahead of time that this is going to be terrible, right?
So part of this is getting to know yourself, which is why I love this topic so much this month. You want to learn what you naturally just enjoy. Do you believe that you can make anything fun? Even when something feels serious and is serious, can you bring a lightness to it and a fun to it? For me, things that naturally sort of spark some fun would be any sort of music. I think music can lift your energy almost instantly. Any sort of movement as well. For me it’s dance. I grew up dancing.
That was advice I got a long time ago. I don’t remember who it was from, but it was think about what you enjoyed doing when you were 10. Often whatever we did when we were younger is something that we would enjoy doing now. Now certainly if you played the piano and you hated it, you might not want to do that. But I danced growing up. So it’s not a surprise that I really enjoy that now.
So it’s getting to know yourself. Seeing how you can incorporate more activities that you naturally find fun into your life. But also changing how you’re thinking about the activities or the parts of your life that you don’t find fun. So, for me, maybe it’s some of the operations. But it could also be in your day-to-day life like cleaning house or doing dishes or making dinner, getting the kids ready for school.
If you ask yourself, “How can I add more fun?” And you really allow your brain to go to the place of giving you answers, you’re going to get so many more ideas than I could give you. Your brain will scan for ways that you could make it more fun. Like maybe you turn music on while you’re making dinner. Maybe there’s some sort of game that you play with your kids as they’re getting ready. My dad was always so, so good at this. Bringing like a lightness and a fun to anything and everything. I think it’s so admirable. I even want to cultivate it more as a self-identity.
So I’ve talked about this before. Your self-identity, like you’re just someone who fills in the blank. Sometimes we can use these as limiting beliefs like, “I’m just someone who is a procrastinator.” Maybe you don’t want to be a procrastinator. So we want to switch that. Think about for you what your self-identity is with respect to fun. Are you someone who just always has fun? My dad for sure had that self-identity. He was a dentist and took his life very seriously, and he could still bring that fun.
So for me, I think I’ve actually had the opposite self-identity. It was only recently that I brought awareness to this. Like oh yeah, I’m just someone who’s not that fun. Like what a horrible limiting belief to have? So first, of course, just allowing space for that, and just honoring your brain. Because your brain always has this good reason for doing what it does. So my brain picked up on lots of experiences and came up with that interpretation, but I don’t have to keep that. I can totally be someone who brings the fun.
Now, I’m not like a goofy person. I don’t really want to be. So I’m going to keep that. So I’m not going to go so far as to be the one probably like doing pranks or being really goofy. Like that’s not my personality and part of it that I want to change. But I’d love to just be someone that has a self-identity of just is fun like in my own way. What does that look like?
I remember even when my dad was really sick when he was passing away. On his deathbed in the hospital, he was still flirting with the nurses. It wasn’t like in a delusional ignoring the situation sort of way. But he just found moments to bring playfulness into that room. He’s always done that. I want to do more of that.
So I want to invite you to take a look at your self-identity around fun. Even when things are seemingly hard, like a health condition. Maybe being let go of a job. Or traditional things that we tend to have weighing on us and that we take very seriously, and we want to take very seriously. Can you still bring a little lightness to it and be someone who has a little fun with it?
I think it takes a little bit of abundance and the sort of knowing that there are always going to be problems. This is just the problem of the season. Then the next season there will be another problem. Because of that, you don’t have to worry about the future problems. You know you can always solve them just like you always have, and there is space to have fun along the way.
I think this also requires changing your worldview a little bit. That everything needs to be really serious and really intense. I think you’re like that high achiever, type-A person. You take in either your career or your personal life or your health or whatever area of your life really seriously, maybe all areas. It’s going to require a shift to this playfulness and lightness. I know you have it in you because you had it in you when you were a kid, which means it’s still in there somewhere.
You may have to cultivate it. It may feel a little silly at first because you may not be used to letting go and playing and doing movement or whatever it is that your brain comes up with for having more fun. I really want to encourage you to put your brain to work on that question. How can I make this more fun? Whether it’s a hard season, whether it’s a job that’s not your favorite, or whether it’s just your everyday life and you notice that you’re not feeling fun. That you’re looking outside of you for the fun.
I talked about this a little bit in the finding pleasure podcast episode where we don’t want to interpret fun or pleasure as something that comes from outside of us. So if you’re having a hard day and you want to interpret it as a hard day. If you sort of look to relieve yourself of that negative emotion by drinking a glass of wine or doing something that has a net negative consequence, I call that a false pleasure. There’s like the up and then there’s the down. There’s the dopamine hit, the amazing taste of the wine, and then there’s the next morning when you don’t feel so great.
What this is is a little bit different. It’s sort of getting out ahead of it. It’s before the day starts saying, “Okay how can I have a little more fun with this? How can I make this a little more fun? Yes, I’m going to be doing some house chores or whatever else it is that I normally think is kind of mundane. How can I bring in some more fun?” So you see the difference there? It’s not sort of an escape of negative emotion, but instead how can I just bring in some of that lightness, playfulness, and fun into what I’m already going to be doing.
The older I get, the more I sort of create my life and achieve, the more I see how much fun matters. I think there is this sense that we think that the fun can wait or that the fun is on the other side. I experienced this, and I know that this is not true.
So if you are pursuing a goal. You know you want to lose weight, or you want to build your business, or you want to get married or any other big goal that you have. If you are thinking that the fun comes when you achieve it, you are going to be really, really let down. You’ll keep chasing the next goal to try to find the fun because you’re missing that you actually create the fun. That your brain creates the fun.
So I think fun matters so much more than we give it credit just traditionally. I think in the U.S. we’re very achievement oriented. I love that. I do love achieving. I love a good goal, but I think that we missed the other part of it. I’ve talked about this in the last couple of episodes as well. But in this episode, putting a little different spin on it with the specific emotion of fun. There’s a little bit of joy and a little bit of excitement in fun. It’s light and it’s play. I just want to invite you to consider it as something that is important. It’s not just for kids.
I think it can be one of the most important things because we’re going to have challenges and problems and hard seasons. Even just regular seasons that aren’t necessarily hard, but it’s just the daily life where we’re working on something. We aren’t always on vacation. So what you want to do is for your normal sort of week, bring in that fun. Start looking for the fun.
I think our brains are not trained to do this, most people’s. I think most people’s brains are on default looking for sort of what’s wrong. Especially me as an attorney. I think my brother is like this as well. So I see physicians like this where part of your professional training is to look for what’s wrong.
So in my case, it’s reading briefs or documents and looking for what’s missing and trying to find the missing thing. That’s why I can edit really well. That’s why I can do operations really well because I can always scan for what’s wrong. That’s really useful at work. Same thing with being a physician. My brother can diagnose really well, and that’s a really important skill.
What happens is we sort of take that skill outside of work and don’t turn it off. So our brains on default will be looking for, “Okay, what’s wrong here?” That is one of the fastest ways to take away the fun. So we have to focus on like those different hats. Think of the alter ego podcast where we talked about putting on a different hat for every role. So you might want to have that hat on where you’re scanning for what’s wrong if you are looking at lab results.
But if you are hanging out with your family and it’s a Saturday or you are going to your friend’s baby shower, you probably don’t want the hat on of, “I should be scanning for what’s wrong.” You want the hat on of, “I’m someone that always brings your fun.” Have that be your self-identity.
I think that, for me, I know this is something that I’ve gotten better at. With the self-identity part, I’m going to even cultivate it more in the next year or so. I want to encourage you to do the same, or at least invite you to do that if it’s something you are interested in. The same is true when you’re working on a goal. It doesn’t have to be so serious and intense. You can still be really committed to it and have fun.
So a lot of times people think that if you’re having fun, you’re not taking it seriously. I totally disagree. I think you can be committed to your work, to whatever you’re doing in your personal life, and you can have fun. Right? So finding that middle ground where it’s not so serious and intense and there’s no fun, but also not on the other extreme where it’s all fun to the extreme that you’re not doing what you need to be doing. Right? I think of that more as like immaturity, not necessarily fun. In the middle, I think that’s where the fun is.
So just be curious about fun and that emotion. Do you know what it feels like in your body? Are you comfortable having fun? When’s the last time you had like a lot of fun? When is it most easy for you to have the most fun? Right? So, for me, I know that if I go to a dance class, my brain easily finds fun. But if I’m doing business operations, that’s when I need to remind myself thoughts like how can I make this more fun? It really does work.
So whether it’s an activity that you want to do more of or it’s something that you’re working on that you don’t naturally enjoy, you can always find the fun. I think that there’s no downside to it. I love to think of my dad being so sick and finding the fun. Like just to live like that makes life so much more enjoyable. I think why not?
So if there is an area of your life where you’re taking it really seriously and finding the energy to be really tense and sort of the opposite of fun. Also if you are a bit of an overachiever driven person that tends to look for what’s wrong, I want you to think about the value that having more fun will bring to your life. Because I think it’s so much more valuable than I ever thought before. You only get this one life. None of us get out alive. So why not have a little bit more fun? So ask yourself today and every day, “How can this be more fun?” All right my friend. I will talk with you next week.
If you loved this podcast, you’re going to love Grow You. Grow You is my virtual life coaching program where I take everything on the podcast to the next level. I invite you to join our amazing community of women and moms and deepen your own personal development. Head on over to nataliebacon.com/coaching to learn more.
Thank you for listening to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. Subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episode sent directly to you.
To learn more about designing your dream life visit nataliebacon.com.