Two weeks ago, I wrote a newsletter that was more personal than I realized. Responses have been incredibly supportive, and I thank you.

But, I hadn’t written it with the intent of such drama. Frankly, I’m a bit embarrassed.

After all, this is meant to be a newsletter about finding and engaging meaningful work and play, about finding a sense of play within our work so that it grows genuine, strong, and even enjoyable.

But that morning, I found myself unable to write. Nothing much in the way of writing was inspiring me. My “Post ideas” project sat there with a list of 205 thoughts, and they all looked “meh”.

My writing group colleague encouraged me to write about where I was.

“Don’t worry about the newsletter. Just write.”

And I did. Shortly afterward, perhaps a bit raw, I was able to write the newsletter.

It’s the same lesson I often teach, but I still need reminding.

I couldn’t write without me actually in it. And that’s where I was.

It’s certainly not “play” in the sense of fun. But it is play in the more important sense, that of the toddler deep in serious work, where there is a connection and flow between the internal world and their surroundings.

In order to connect to the external, I had to acknowledge where I was in the moment. Otherwise, any step forward would be a stumble, if not a face plant.

The same thing happens in our work, in our systems, and in our lives. If you look at your task system and it doesn’t align with where you are, even if you just wrote it last night, there is a sense of distance. There is a sense of “I don’t wanna” or similar. Without examining that feeling, knowing where you are, you might force yourself into a task, building resentment or find yourself procrastinating, calling yourself “lazy”.

If you, instead,…

1. Step up to the edge of the work

2. Maybe take a deep breath or two

3. Pay attention to where you are now

And only then

4. See where the work is, and

5. Consider what a next step might be, if you decide to take one.

…there is a greater chance of finding a flow for the work.