Put two men in bowties together to talk about the importance of rediscovering the importance of play and what could go wrong? Absolutely nothing as Tim and Jeff Harry take a fun and informative ride through why letting go and just being can make you not only happier but also a better boss and employee. You can listen to the episode or watch the video version below
Tim Kubiak 0:00
Thanks for listening to bow ties and business. I’m your host Tim Kubiak. today. We’re going to talk about rediscovering how and why we should play with Jeff Harry. Jeff shows individuals and companies how to tap into their true selves to fill their happiest, most fulfilled, all by playing. He’s worked with Google, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon and Facebook helping their staffs infuse more play into their day to day. Jeff is an international speaker who’s presented at conferences such as inbound South by Southwest, Australia’s pause Fest, and he shows audiences how major issues in the workplace can be solved by using play. He’s engaged as one of the top 100 influencers of 2020. And one of the top HR influencers to watch by bamboo HR, his organizational development work around addressing toxicity in the workplace. And play has been most recently featured in The New York Times article, we’ve got that in the link. So be sure to check that out as well. And with that, we’re gonna get right down to the episode. We’re gonna have a good time today, because it’s all about play. Jeff, thanks so much for being here. I love the bow tie. Welcome
to show. Can you introduce yourself to
Jeff Harry 1:15
Absolutely. My name is Jeff Harry. I’m a founder of rediscover your play, where we combine positive psychology and play to help teams solve their biggest issues.
Tim Kubiak 1:28
So what is positive psychology?
Jeff Harry 1:31
So I’m glad you asked that. So a lot of people have confused positive psychology with toxic positivity where you have to be happy all the time. But what positive psychology is, is it’s psychology that that was born out of Marty Seligman research. He was a psychologist that was constantly wondering why most of psychology had just been studying what was wrong with people. So about 30 years ago, he started doing research at University of Pennsylvania, with the whole idea of like, how do we move people instead, from depression to neutral? How do we move some of the people that are at neutral to flourishing? And that’s basically what he’s been researching since then. And positive psychology is basically studying, what do people do? Right? And how do we double down on that?
Tim Kubiak 2:25
How did you get in the business? Your business is about teaching adults to play again. Sure, that start for you. Yeah. So
Jeff Harry 2:32
the short answer, which is still somewhat long, is I started writing toy companies. After I saw the movie big with Tom Hanks. Back in the day, I saw that he became a toy designer. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, I got to do that. So started writing toy companies in fifth grade, kept doing that until I was encouraged to go into mechanical engineering, did that eventually got to the toy industry, and I just hated it. It just was. It was not fun. There was no play. There were kid no kids were high fiving you your there were no toys for you to play with. It was almost as if they were selling microwaves or anything for that matter. Um, so had my little quarterlife crisis moved to the Bay Area, was wondering what to do with my life and found an organization that was teaching kids engineering with Lego. And there just happened to be seven other nerdy dudes there. And then I helped grow the organization over the next I think, 15 years. And it went from seven people to 400 people, it became the largest Lego stem organization in the country. And while we were doing all this in Silicon Valley, um, a lot of companies in that area started paying attention to us and asked us like, do you do team building events? Do you do special events, all this stuff? And we’re like, sure. Yeah, of course, even though we didn’t, you know, we’re just making it up as we went along. And yeah, we started doing all this work with them. And I realized one of their biggest issues was they had, they talked about creativity, they talked about collaboration, they talked about thinking outside the box. But it wasn’t a very playful place, even at, you know, some of the top tech companies in the country. So I created a separate organization called rediscover your play, which was all about how do we tackle those main issues that they’re dealing with? in a fun way?
Tim Kubiak 4:31
Why do we stop playing?
Unknown Speaker 4:34
Jeff Harry 4:34
I always answer this with 40,000 knows. By the time you reach your teenage years, you’ve probably heard 40,000 knows and maybe seven to 8000 yeses. And then on top of that, you go to school where you’re asked to raise your hand all the time asked for permission, and then you’re should on all the time, like you should do this, you shouldn’t do that. And that just keeps happening. And and you just want to come form. So you, you, you know, you dive into the societal pressures and you’re like, Okay, I’ll just do what I’ve been told to do. And you forget who you are. And I don’t know, have you ever heard this from, you know, where it’s just like, Whoa, Tim, you’re, you’re really mischievious right now, or you’re being a bit too much right now, like, you hear that a lot when you’re a kid. So you kind of like, push down who you are. So like, that’s the way in which we’ve been trained. So it’s almost like one of the most rebellious revolutionary acts for you to be like, Hey, I’m gonna throw my bow tie on, I’m gonna be myself. I’m going to start this podcast, and I’m gonna be my full self, my full nerdy self. Um, so yeah,
Tim Kubiak 5:45
I actually have a theory. And I’ve had it for years, that nerds tend to be the most creative people, right? They have that outsider view. And like, if you get away with a bow tie, right, in life, in general, you’re already willing to stand out. But literally beyond the corporate culture, it’s always you know, and I spent enough time in the Bay Area, it’s always the engineers that aren’t worried about packaging the toy or packaging, the next great SAS app or whatever. They are the most playful, they’re the ones out joying things with their friends doing the theme parties, you know, doing cosplay going to Comic Con, stuff like that. They’re the ones that maintain their childlike wonder in a way? Yes, I think.
Jeff Harry 6:26
Yeah, absolutely. I completely agree with that. Because because they were always considered the outsiders, they were the outcasts all throughout, like junior high in high school. I have a whole story about that. And, and because of that, it’s like, it’s no different for them. No, like, well, I’ve always been nerdy. You know, I’ve always I’ve always loved Avengers. So I’m just going to start dressing up as one. So they’re all in and because they allow themselves to play in a lot of those nerdy ways that actually then ties in to how they get into flow with their work.
Tim Kubiak 7:01
Talk about that, because you hear flow a lot in athletics and things like that. But it can be, can it be a thing for normal people in their day to day life?
Jeff Harry 7:11
I mean, it absolutely. It absolutely is, because Marcus Buckingham talks a lot about this, he talks about it as read threadwork. I refer to it as the work where you forget about time, right? Your zone of genius work as gay Hendricks says, where you are just fully in flow. And what what do I mean by that, you know, positive psychologist, Dr. Chick sent me Hi, would talk about flow is when the difficulty of a task meets your child meets your skill level. So like, it’s something really hard that’s pushing you to the limit. And also, you are perfectly designed to now tackle this. So you, you fall into this mindset where everything slows down, you are not thinking about like the results, because you’re just fully in love with the process. And then you start to see so many more opportunities, because you are inflow, they found that through a lot of research that that was that NASA talks about this, like when you’re when you were three years old, your creativity levels read 98%, by the time you’re like 20, they’re down to like five 6%. But when you’re in that flow state, you’re able to see so many more opportunities. So if you’re a leader at an organization, you should be thinking about how do I get my staff, my employees more into their zone of genius and into their flow? Because that’s when they’re doing their best work. And that’s when they want to stay at your organization forever. Right? So it’s like, how do you create that atmosphere for them to get into that?
Tim Kubiak 8:52
There’s quarterly pressures yesterday in my world was with sales coaching insane, right? Everybody’s trying to close court was a number. How do you balance that inside of an organization? Yeah,
Jeff Harry 9:03
that’s a really good question. Um, I think what you have to do is you have to be focused on what is within your control, right? Like, I can’t control exactly what my sales numbers are. But I can control how many people I outreach to now how I go about doing that. I would work with the person that, you know, I would work with my staff to figure out like, how do we get there, but how do we get there in a way that fits best for you? So we’re still hitting certain goals, but we’re not so much fixated on how to get there. Because the problem with that is when you’re micromanaging someone and being like, you got to make X amount of cold calls per day, you got to send out X amount of emails this way, that that it it ruins the opportunity for them to see other ways in which they can do outreach in a creative way that fits them that fits their personality, right? You know, I get a surprising amount of business, doing like podcasts like, that doesn’t really make sense. Like, it doesn’t fit the mold, right? You know, we, we would do so many weird special events, sometimes for free. And then you know, and then all of a sudden, we would get a lot of like inquiries because we get pressed for it. So you’d have to like, you have to give your staff the freedom to play in the playground, while also being very clear that at the end of the day, we got to cover our numbers, right, we got to cover our, our expenses. So how do we do that? Give me many different ideas in which you can get there.
Tim Kubiak 10:46
So whether you’re the guy in the hoodie, or the girl on the hoodie in the Bay Area, sitting in front of their computer coding forever, or the button down and type in New York, right, with the Catholic school in the Wall Street, and you wake up one morning and realize, all you do is work, you’ve lost that creativity, you’ve lost that drive, where do you start, that’s, that’s a hard place to be, oh,
Jeff Harry 11:08
it’s a very hard place to be, especially when, you know, you bought into the culture, right? I speak a lot about this called a affluent deadness. It’s when it’s when you have it all, when you have a lot of stuff, but you just feel kind of dead inside, you know, like you have, you know, you have your house you have, you can go on like trips anywhere you want, you can buy basically whatever you want. But there’s still like this emptiness and a hole in you, because you really haven’t, like explored who you are, who’s your inner child. So I first start with talking to them about soothing. And what I mean by that is my play mentor, Gwen Gordon talks about how you can’t play until you learn how to calm and soothe yourself. And a lot of people adopt their nervous system from the person that took care of them the most, right? So they learn how to calm themselves from that person. So if that person had a lot of anxiety, and a lot of trauma, you’re actually adopting that, right. So that’s the first thing of like, how do I calm myself? Because you can’t play in an anxiety ridden state in a frustrated state. So that’s the first part of like, Okay, let me figure out how to do that what calms me down, right? Then after that, then I challenge people to get bored. And that means like, remove all the numbing devices, the binge watching Netflix, the social media, I’m not saying forever, I’m just saying for that day, you know, for that hour, just like, get to a point where you can get quiet enough, where you’re bored. And it’s weird as a play person to be talking about that. But think about when you were a kid, that’s when you came up with your best ideas, right? Some of also the most dangerous ideas, right? The most craziest ideas, but you’re like, I wouldn’t leave from this cliff. So this cliff, and everyone’s like, Yeah, do it. And you’re like, this is a horrible idea if I were to try it. But yeah, get bored, because that is when that inner curiosity and it’s going to show up as like a whisper, not in a, you know, in a loud screaming way. And it’s going to say something to you, like, write that blog, create that podcast, make that video, reach out to that person that you’ve been always wanting to reach out to, you know, leave the job you’re leaving to go to this other dream place that you’ve always wanted to, to start taking classes of something that you’ve been interested in for a while, like, listen to that inner curiosity, and then follow that, right. I think a lot of people are like, what’s your passion? You know, and Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how she’s, like, let go of that, because that’s a lot of pressure to have someone to be like, I need to know my passion in life forever. No, just follow that, that quiet curiosity, and see where that takes you while still doing the job, you know, the normal job that you’re doing, and then just see where, you know, the adventure takes you.
Tim Kubiak 14:02
So when you embrace your inner nerdiness, what do you do these days?
Unknown Speaker 14:05
Jeff Harry 14:06
so it’s interesting, I first love to answer this by saying, uh, Elizabeth Gilbert says, You don’t go through personal transformation until you get tired of your own Bs, right? And my bs was that I could I couldn’t make videos. I didn’t have time to make videos. I was so busy with my work. Bla Bla Bla COVID hits March, you know, we’re all stuck at home and it’s just like, Hey, you don’t have anything else to do, dude. Like it’s now or never. So I was called out on my own Bs, right? So I started making videos just like these really stupid one minute tik tok videos. I put them on Instagram and LinkedIn, what have you. And that has surprisingly been my new way of framing and my date. I start my day with play. I start my day by I’m making these dumb videos for no one else just for myself, right? And then it positively Prime’s my day to see other opportunities as play, right. And the flip side of that is when I’ve listened to the news to start my day, I know research says that you can be 20 to 40% less productive, when you listen to the news to begin their day, because it’s focused a lot on negativity. So then, of course, you look for negative patterns. So whenever I create a video, whenever I’m doing something stupid like that, at the beginning of my day, even though it has no productive value, it makes my entire day so much more productive.
Tim Kubiak 15:42
That’s interesting. In the play, the key takeaway I got from that was, you’re doing it for yourself, not for an outcome.
Jeff Harry 15:50
Exactly, exactly. And even the way in which I define play, is that it’s any joyful act like any joyful act, where you’re fully present in the moment, you almost forget about time, right? And you fall in love with the process, you’ve let go of the result. You don’t have anxiety about the future, you don’t have regrets about the past, you’re just fully there. And you know, you’ve had this because you’ve done this when like, you’re just like, wow, how much time has passed, right? Or like you’re just traveling, and you’re just saying yes, to all the opportunities that are in front of you. You felt it before so. So there are many ways in which you might already be playing that you don’t even realize it. It’s those times when you forget about time, and you are in love with the creative process.
Tim Kubiak 16:42
So there’s one of your things recently, and actually, it happened before I started prepping and met you for this conversation, where I was riding my bike in the neighborhood, because like everybody, I’m trying to stay fit or do this or drop five pounds or whatever. And my school district has gone to Wednesday’s everybody’s virtual Hmm. So I end up out at lunchtime on Wednesdays, and I’m going down a call to sack up the other side. And a group of kids asked me for one to race up the hill, it was the most fun I’d had maybe yours. And then I’m reading I think it was one of your blog posts. It’s like ride your bike for fun. I’m like, Oh, I just beat a bunch of 10 year olds up the only
Jeff Harry 17:20
Hill in the neighborhood. It was great. That is that that I think that’s what’s so amazing. I love that you shared that because because you are already in a place state you are already trying to play right? And then you were open to the opportunities of something just so ridiculous that you never planned right. And like you had that travel oriented, play oriented mindset, where you’re just open to all the possibilities. And that’s where I feel we miss out on that when we’re working. We miss out because we’re being so serious. We’re being so adults, right. And I think one of the biggest problems with adults is we’re so fixated on results, that expectations become the thief of joy, right? You know, and then we’re constantly disappointed, because we’re looking for that one result. And if we don’t get that one result, then we’re so angry at the world. And then we miss out on all the other possibilities.
And you on the other hand are like let’s go I’m about to race these guys. You know, and that was like, a great play moment.
And the thing I also say to people is just like, you know, your your, your life is made up of memorable, amazing moments. Most of those are play moments. So why wouldn’t you be striving to have more of those?
Tim Kubiak 18:39
So as you start to incorporate play in your work life and in your culture, how do you go from right, and I was the nerdy kid off in the corner with his books in his whatever and, you know, to playing with the other nerd so to speak. Right? So as an adult, you start to bring it in, you’re bringing this attitude in whether you’re doing it as an individual or as one of your clients at a company. How do you spread that?
Jeff Harry 19:03
I think the first part is, is figuring out where you can let go of results. There’s certain results you got to hit right you got to hit certain sales goals, you got to hit certain quarterly goals, but where are opportunities where you can give your staff the freedom to do something that might not be productive, in a sense, like, I don’t know why this person is doing this. But this actually helps them to get more into their flow. Google did this when they used to, and I don’t know if they’re still doing this where they give their staff time to work on projects that have nothing to do with their job, right. And whether something comes out of it or not. Just the freedom to give people time to play and experiment is really important. Because you you know we claim that we want people to take risks, right? We claim that we want them to be creative, but you have to look at yourself in your company in your organization and your team and be like, but am I creating the environment for them to actually believe that? Like, are my actions communicating that I’m How am I showing up fully present? I mean, I know, a team for a tech company, where they get together, I think, every few days just to have lunch, that’s it, and then just just talk and just hang out. And like, that’s just what they’re doing. And but it creates like this community atmosphere, even this virtual setting where there’s no pressure, and you’re not always talking about like work, and what’s the next outcome, but you’re just giving a safe space for people to be who they are.
Tim Kubiak 20:42
Nice. You work with companies. So if I’m running a company, and I’m looking at maybe trying to incorporate some things there to get the energy back to bring a different seventh culture to it? How, how did you reach out? How do you start that conversation?
Unknown Speaker 21:00
Um, yeah, a lot of
Jeff Harry 21:02
times when people or companies speak to me, they’re not looking for play. Right? They’re not they see it as frivolous, right? They see it. And you know, and I totally understand that, right. So a lot of the workshops that I create, you know, or collaborate with are ones that address specific pain points. So one of, you know, my signature workshops that I do with my friend, Gary, where is called How to deal with toxicity at work through play. The Can I swear on this? I don’t know if I can.
Tim Kubiak 21:34
Yeah, I do.
Jeff Harry 21:36
So, um, but the actual name of the workshop is called How to deal with a holes at work through play. And, you know, when we first created it, we were just doing it just as just for fun, right? It was just a joke. It was just like, yeah, let’s just see what happens. And then we applied to a bunch of conferences that I remember him being like, Hey, you know, we got into inbound. And I, and I had applied to so many conferences, so I didn’t know, you know, so I was like, What’s an inbound? And he’s like, Dude, it’s the largest marketing conference in the world. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, and then we got into South by Southwest. And then we got into Australia’s pause fest. So we were like, oh, there is a need, because there’s a lot of people that are dealing with toxic people, a holes at the workplace, how do we create an atmosphere where people can practice talking with their quote, unquote, a whole or quote, unquote, toxic person, and address that? So we made this workshop and it was like, and it was really well received. And companies were like, Oh, this is really important. You know, I’m doing a workshop next week with, I guess, the world’s largest HR virtual summit, run by bamboo HR called How to not be racist by accident at work, because a lot of people don’t are well on people, or how to how to yet not be racist that at work by accident, because a lot of people are not trying to be racist at work. But sometimes by accident, they don’t realize what they’re communicating. So I collaborated with my friend to Sean and, and we, we just created the workshop that we’re going to be hosting on October 8, right? Another one I deal with I do is how to play with your inner critic, because a lot of people have that real mean spirited voice that prevents them from being creative, right? Or another one is how do you deal with office politics, Bs? Because a lot of times we’re tiptoeing around what the actual issue is, how do you address that office politics, so you can get rid of that and focus on the work. So all the workshops that we create, or I create our ones around, let’s address the pain point. But let’s do it in a playful way, where you’re practicing how to have a hard conversation, where you’re practicing, putting getting taking yourself outside of your comfort zone, and then having a fun time doing it. So that you realize, Oh, it’s not that hard. This conversation is not that hard. And then you could actually go out there and have that conversation.
Tim Kubiak 24:10
So let’s talk about that inner critic one a little more. If that’s Oh, yeah. Right. Yeah. I think everybody has it, right. Mine tells me to go play loud, aggressive music and do stuff like that.
Jeff Harry 24:20
I’m sure that’s not your inner superhero, because that person sounds awesome, right?
Tim Kubiak 24:26
Yeah, no, it’s the critic. It’s like now you definitely need some Nine Inch Nails today to get through, right. So, but everybody has that inner critic and that inner voice?
Yeah. How do you manage that
self talk at a starting point, because a lot of times that voice is loud. It is the You can’t do this. You know, whatever kind of thing.
Jeff Harry 24:47
Yeah. So my friend Marsha, shunned or really put me on to this, um, it’s all about it’s all about naming your inner critic, right. So in my how to play with your inner critic workshop that I run I have people first write down all of the negative thoughts that that person, or that critic says. And as you write them down, you’re like, Man, this is really mean like, my best friend wouldn’t speak to me my way. Or my worst enemy wouldn’t speak to me that way, like, gosh, so you write down all and you can everyone can do this. It’s listening, you can write down all all of the thoughts, because a lot of times you don’t even know that it’s there, right? All of a sudden, you start feeling bad. You’re like, what am I feeling bad? So it’s all about awareness. So you first write down all of the negative thoughts that you’re hearing at that very moment in time, right? Second,
Unknown Speaker 25:38
Jeff Harry 25:39
I encourage people to actually think about what does their inner critic sound like? Right? And then after that, what is your inner critic look like? Does it look like your boss? Does it look like a combination of your parents? Does it look like that bully from fifth grade, whatever that character is, you start to form a character based off of what they sound like, what they look like, and what that what you wrote down, and then forth, then you finally name it. And mine is named garga. Mel. And once you name it, you are now taking power away from it, because it’s all about shining a light on your inner critic. So a lot of times gargamel will start talking to me be like, you don’t know what you’re talking about, er, you know, you’re a loser. You know, you’re not, you’re always gonna be alone. Like, whatever mean thing. It’s saying to be that day, right? And what I’ll do is I’ll either write down what garga, Mel’s saying, or I’ll text my friends and say, Hey, garga, Mel was saying this stuff to me right now. And they don’t even need to say anything back, because they know that I just need to express it. But once you shine a light on it, and, and call it out garga Mel or your inner critic starts to get quiet because it, it’s trying to get your attention. So you give it attention. You go, thank you, you know, thank you third grade self, because usually it’s some, you know, it’s a part of you from your childhood that’s trying to protect you and you go, thank you for showing up. I can’t get rid of you. There’s no way to get rid of you. But I can put you in the backseat, you don’t need to drive the car anymore. Fear doesn’t need to drive the car. And once you’re able to identify and acknowledge it, you’re able to quiet it down. So that is what I encourage people to do.
Tim Kubiak 27:18
That’s really great advice. Right? I mean, it’s three very straightforward, kind of, you got to do the work. But it’s three straightforward kind of things anybody can do.
Jeff Harry 27:27
And what’s cool is if you do it with your friends, and they do it back to you, then you have like some accountability on it. Right? And they’re like, man, I haven’t heard you text me about your inner critic, what’s been going on? And that person’s like, okay, you’re right. I haven’t, because it’s been showing up, but I feel bad texting you, you know, like, like, like, express it, like, share it. Because once you start to say the words, then you’re like, Am I done? No, I’m not dumb. You know, am I qualified to do this job? Yeah, I’m qualified to do this job. And here’s the other thing that’s really powerful about the inner critic part. Let’s go back to the how to deal with the toxic person, right? Why does that toxic person trigger you? They trigger you because they said something that your inner critic believes, right? So you’re at a meeting, and they’re like, Well, Jeff doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Or I don’t think that’s a really good idea, Jeff, you know, and they’re being super rude to you. If you’re able to address your inner critic and set that boundary, then you can turn to that toxic person that Chad in your life, and you can be like, Chad, that was super rude. Like, don’t talk to me that way, you know, ever again. And by simply doing that, not only are you now setting a boundary, so that toxic person can treat you that way anymore. They can’t bully you. But you’re also giving permission for everyone else that just saw that interaction to be like, yeah, Chad, I’m not gonna take that either. And then everyone starts to set boundaries. And then Chad has a really big challenge on his hand, will he continue to be in a hole? Or will he change his behavior? And then that also helps the entire community? So you dealing with your inner critic actually helps everyone else as well.
Tim Kubiak 29:12
So you touched on boundaries? I think that’s a big issue for a lot of people and they don’t even recognize it. Is that something you run into a lot in your work?
Jeff Harry 29:20
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Because I think, I think a lot of times, well, first off, how do you define boundaries, just so that we’re referencing it?
Tim Kubiak 29:29
So the answer is I’m terrible with boundaries right? side, I’m the guy that just goes from thing to thing to thing. And, you know, I don’t have good boundaries. And I I’m very open about the fact that I did a job for a company in the Bay Area for about 16 months, and the only boundary was I fell asleep every day. Everything else was all driven. So I’m terrible with boundaries. So
Jeff Harry 29:51
the so let me just be clear. So the way in which you interpret boundaries is meaning like you worked all the time because that’s what they want. Have you to do?
Tim Kubiak 30:00
Right? Yeah. And frankly, that’s what I couldn’t you
Unknown Speaker 30:03
know, and you couldn’t
Tim Kubiak 30:04
self define my value, but.
Jeff Harry 30:06
Right, right. And I think that’s really important. Because, especially, I mean, you speak on something that all of us feel right. When COVID hit, um, a lot of people were like, Well, I’m not productive. So is my self worth less? Right? Because I’m not being, you know, I’m not making as much money, you know, and you’re challenged, like, Am I tying myself worth to my productivity? So that’s the first thing we have to just identify and be like, how are you measuring your self worth? Right? And that’s for all of us. Like, like, I struggle with this a lot. You know, if I’m not making a lot of money, am I worth less? Does like, is that how, so really going back and redefining? Like, what? What is it that grounds you? And what routes you will, I think really help with setting boundaries, because then if someone takes their your job away, or someone takes away admiration, like they don’t give you praise, you’re like, well, I don’t actually need it. Because I know who I am. Right. So like, that’s the part that I think is, is really important. And because a company will just I mean, it’s a company is set up to squeeze as much out of you as possible, right? That’s what their job is. So so you have to figure out, what is it that you want to tolerate? And also, what is it? What type of lifestyle Do you want to do?
Unknown Speaker 31:28
Jeff Harry 31:29
I know a lot of entrepreneurs, I work with a lot of entrepreneurs, that actually left their corporate job where they’re working 6070 hours a week, only to now run a business where they’re working 70 to 80 hours a week, like they never changed their lifestyle, even though they wanted the freedom of working, you know, and being their own boss, but now they work even more. And it’s just like, you can take a day off, you can have a I know a guy that just does four days of work a week, like you have to figure out what is it that actually brings me happiness, value and fulfillment. And and be like, How can I do that, while also doing my job? Because I know no one is always doing 40 hours worth of focused work a week, many people are doing like 1617 hours of focused work, and then a lot of just like meandering and being like, let me go get coffee, and let me you know, like, because you’re just not as engaged in your work. And it’d be more important for you to be like, how do I get into my flow work? And then the work that I don’t like as much how do I do that as quickly as possible so I can get to my flow work?
Tim Kubiak 32:41
It’s so a couple of weeks ago, I saw an article based on I believe it was a Swedish study that said that they’ve studied productivity, and people that work four days a week, right, eight hours a day get way more done than the people that work 567 days a week, 1618 hours a day.
Jeff Harry 32:59
Absolutely. And what’s fascinating is in America, we work the most Yeah, but we are also some of the least productive, you know, I think of office space, when you know, the main characters like you know, maybe I do my 30 minutes to an hour of work a week tops, I’m here for 40 hours. But I’m not actually doing work most of the time. And I think in America, we have fallen in love with the idea of being busy, of being like, I’m so busy. Oh, I just got so much work on my plate. Oh, we got you know, I don’t have time to take two weeks, you don’t have time to take two weeks off? Really? Australia has four weeks minimum, Canada, I think has five or six weeks, when I travel around the world. And I and I meet people like how many weeks off? Do you have, we can even take two weeks off. Because we believe we always have to be busy. And I think we have to challenge that myth, because that is not helping us to be more productive. And it’s not actually helping our companies out more, you know, and it really has to be like asking yourself, when do I do my best work communicating that to your boss, if you have a boss or to yourself, if you are your own boss, and being like I’m, I’m going to do work my way. And then when I’m done, I’m done for the day. I’m not going to check my email. I’m not going to like wake up and the first thing I do is I start scrolling through my email. I’m going to do the things that bring me happiness and fulfillment that are not attached to my work.
Tim Kubiak 34:38
Yeah, email is the great killer of people in my opinion, right? It’s somebody else’s to do list is I’ve heard it said Oh, and I literally what? When I was in the corporate world, you had to be on time because somebody else needed something right now or the world was gonna end it. I was in tech. I wasn’t curing cancer. Yeah. You know, I wasn’t saving lives. You know, whoo, some, somebody’s computer might get hacked. Yeah.
Jeff Harry 35:03
And it happened. Right. And, and I love that you said even that you mentioned the cancer part because I have a friend who, um, you know, just got out of remission. And she remembers, I remember telling a story about how she came back to work. She just got, you know, just dealt with cancer. Um, she’s in one of her first meetings, and they’re talking about deadlines. And they’re like, you know, we got to do this or like, you know, the company, you know, is at risk of failing or a team’s at risk of failing, and they were so stressed out, and she’s looking around, she’s like,
Unknown Speaker 35:39
I almost died. Like,
Jeff Harry 35:40
what is everyone freaking out about? Like, like, the amount of importance we put on a certain deadline or on work that really is not that urgent, just calm down, man. Like, it’s just not that big of a deal. Like, let’s stop taking ourselves. So seriously.
Tim Kubiak 35:59
But But if we don’t put this new brochure out today? Nope, nobody’s gonna read it until the day we put it out. And the worldwide.
Jeff Harry 36:08
Like, if we don’t get this campaign out, like this campaign is gonna make or break this team. And it’s like, no, let’s, that’s your ego, like, let’s check what is actually real. And what’s your ego? If your company is about to go under? That’s one thing. But if you’re just talking about like not meeting a certain deadline, you really have to ask yourself, why First off, do you call it a deadline? That’s a little extreme, and then isn’t as important, right? Because I think when you set up these arbitrary deadlines, you create pressure, which causes anxiety, which then reduces someone’s ability to be creative, and think outside the box as you want them to, because the whole time you’re constantly screaming down their neck to be like, have you done it? Have you done it? Have you done it? And then you’re like, they can’t come up with new solutions that way? Yeah.
Tim Kubiak 37:00
Yeah. So a lot of my clients, it’s interesting, our privately owned businesses, sales channels for large tech companies, right reseller networks, it’s hysterical, because I’ll be with the large tech companies are like, oh, their lifestyle business? Well, you know, they make they made a half a million or a million dollars last year. And they work three and a half days a week. So
Unknown Speaker 37:20
Jeff Harry 37:23
I love that, because it’s really just challenging the myth of work, right? And how do you get work done. Um, and I really am, like, adamant about being like, the more you’re allowing yourself to play and find your flow state, the better work you are going to produce, which, frankly, is what the world needs right now. They don’t need another trinket, you know, they don’t need us to like pretend to make something just to make some money, but actually contributing some value to the world.
Tim Kubiak 37:56
That’s a key point, right? Because so much of today’s economy is actually driven on your activity, my activity, right will pick on social media, right? what we do to drive people so they can sell ads, sure, it drives stuff for us. But at the end of the day, we’re driving more value for other people. And we’re just the product.
Jeff Harry 38:13
Right, right. And then and it’s really the question of like, what value are you adding, I was listening to this Arthur the other day anon, who was saying how when he’s on planes, and he’s on planes all the time, he’ll talk to a lot of like, you know, Bob’s, like, there’s the standard guy. And they’ll, they’ll share what they’re doing or what product they’re making these like, I don’t see how that adds value to the world. Like, there’s just a lot of like, companies that are just selling just stuff, just more stuff. And I think it was the Dalai Lama was saying, it’s just like, we don’t need more stuff in the world. We don’t even need more innovators, more creative people, we just need more kind people in the world, right? We just need the ways in which to build more empathy and compassion for ourselves. Like that is going to actually impact the world more than the next new app that makes your life slightly easier.
Tim Kubiak 39:07
Yes, yeah. Yeah. And is happy to sell you more things along the way as your life. You were featured in The New York Times article, do you mind sharing a little bit about that? And what people can get if they go and send the show notes in the intro? So what people get if they go read
Jeff Harry 39:24
that? Yeah, so um, a friend of mine, Christine Wong, phenomenal. A writer who writes for all these different newspapers and magazines, reached out to me because she was like, you know, I feel like, we need to explore how we can add more play to grown up lifes even now. Right. And at first we I think their article first we talked about it back in 2019. And then we didn’t know if the article is going to actually come out but then eventually, it was revisited because of cold And it was just like, well, what should people do now, especially during quarantine. So I started to think about it more and was like, this is a great opportunity for a lot of people to redefine what they think is joy, not in their just in their life, but also at their work. Because you’re really challenged now to be like, do I like my work? Oh, I don’t know, if I liked my work. I actually liked seeing people every day and go into the office. Now that doesn’t exist. So what is the joy that I have? What is my red thread work? So the article explores a lot about what you can do as a grownup to incorporate more play into your life, right? Um, how can you like I run this workshop with my friend, Lauren Yee, where, where it’s called Your future is where your fun is. And what we ask people to do is we ask them first, what did you love to do as a kid? Like what was what are your favorite things to do as their kid and she talked about how she loves the play sardines, it’s reverse. It’s reverse, hide and seek, you should play it. It’s amazing. Like, like, every one person hides and then you if you find them, then you, you pack in like sardines. So all of a sudden, you have 10 people in one area trying to hide from everyone doing it, I did it with a bunch of other adults. And it was amazing. You can’t do it during right now because of distancing. But you know, so anyway, I asked her was like, why do you love? Why do you love that. And we broke down the play values of why she loved that she loved the creativity, she loved the collaboration of it, you know, she loved the connection of it. Okay. So then you identify something you did as a kid, you recognize what those play values are. And then you brainstorm with a bunch of your friends or whoever, and be like, well, what are things that exists now that fit those same values? And how can I do that now, right. And that is really exciting, especially if you’re brainstorming with a bunch of your friends, to be like, Man, these are the ways in which now I can play that incorporate creativity, collaboration and connection, you know, and then another thing that I encourage a lot of people to do is to reach out to your friends and ask them that question. Two questions, actually, to remind the mind, you of who you are, when you forget, I first love asking people like, What value do I bring to your life? Like, why are we friends? Like, what? What do I do for you? Right? And that’s really interesting, because a lot of times you don’t know what you contribute to your friend’s life. And then the second question I ask is like, when have you seen me most alive? When have you seen me most playful, most joyful? When was the last time you saw me doing that? And what was I doing? And when you hear those answers back, in addition to tying into your play values, you start to realize like, Oh, this is the way in which I play. I haven’t done that in a while. Let me figure out one way to do this. And let me ask my friends to help me do this, even if they have to do it virtually.
Tim Kubiak 43:02
Nice. In that virtual, it’s an interesting thing, right? Because we’re in a world that is virtual now. But I’ve lived in the Midwest for the last 18 years. And my business has been on both coasts. So I literally would wake up. And my joke was, I got on a plane to go see my friends, because none of my friends were here, right. And eventually, I found a place in my case, it was yoga studio, where I made friends and had a little bit of social circle locally. Right. Um, but it was interesting, because one of the things I realized is, my friends were everywhere, like some of my best friends were in the UK. And you know, other friends of mine are in Northern California people and getting them all together to do something unless you can find that conference. Right? Which is what I did, right? You’d see me five or six conferences a year, and it’s because my friends were there. Yeah, I did business. And there was all of that, but it was really about going out and just getting to be again.
Unknown Speaker 43:56
Yeah, yeah. And
Jeff Harry 43:58
I love that because I remember my friend Stephanie inspire me recently, where she travels all over the world, right? That’s what she does. She backpacks all over Europe, all over Asia everywhere, right? And she was just like, I can’t travel right now. What am I going to do? And then instead of feeling sorry for herself, she was just like, let me think of what it is that I love about travel. What I love about travel is meeting new people from other countries. So she started looking for a lot of travel networks like nomadic network and location, Indy and a bunch of these other places where people that also have the same values, and love travel we’re on and she would just stop hopping on these virtual calls every week. And that has given her not only connection, and this feeling of travel, but she’s now building all of these new relationships and friendships with people that when she’s ready to travel again, she can go do it. So like I think that’s a huge part of like, how to re reframe You know, when we’re feeling crappy about ourselves, what is possible in the world? And I say that when I challenge people when someone says, Oh, I had a bad day today, and it’s just like, well, actually based off the psychology, thoughts usually exists between nine seconds and 90 seconds, right? So what happened was, you had a bad moment. But then you played that bad moment in your head 1000 times. And then while you did that, you also looked for other bad moments throughout the day, and you framed it that wet day. And that’s why you felt like you had a bad day, right? But you could reframe that and just be like, when something really amazing happens. My friend Deseret taught me this, when something really amazing happens to her. She goes, how can it get any better than this? And by simply asking that question in a curious state, not in a wanting state, but in a curious state of like, how can it get any better than this? I’m talking to Tim on this podcast. How can it get any better than this? Well, I’m gonna make a really fun video right after this, how can it get any better than this? You know, look at us were rocking our bow ties, how can it get any better than this? Like, you know, like, you can just like build off of that momentum. And then all of a sudden, you have an amazing day. And you know, when you’ve had those amazing days, you know, especially when you travel, because you’re just saying yes to everything. And then all
of a sudden, you’re racing some 10 year olds and be like, this is amazing. Exactly. Yeah, I’m
Tim Kubiak 46:23
the old guy. I’ve won the uphill race. It’s, it doesn’t get better. Right.
Jeff, what did I ask you that? I
Unknown Speaker 46:32
Jeff Harry 46:38
I’m probably the lotto question. Probably the lottery ticket question. Okay, so, so remember goodwill hunting?
Unknown Speaker 46:47
Jeff Harry 46:48
So I always talk about this of like, I like the goodwill hunt, listeners, as well as goodwill hunt myself. And, and if you haven’t seen goodwill hunting, it’s about a genius, Matt Damon, you know, you know, he’s just genius, right? Um, and his best friend Ben Affleck is not, you know, he’s like, they’re, and they’re working at this construction site near the end of the movie. And Matt Damon doesn’t want to be a genius. He just wants to hang out with Ben. So he’s saying to him, he goes, you know, I’m gonna grow. Like, we’re gonna have kids together. We’re not together, but we’re going to have kids, and we’re going to watch them play baseball and fully feel like that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to be working construction here. And Ben Affleck looks at me and he goes, if I see you here in 20 years, I’m gonna kill you. He’s just like, What
Unknown Speaker 47:38
are you talking about?
Jeff Harry 47:39
This is like, you know, you have a gift. And this is like, What are you talking about, oh, I have this gift. I owe it to myself. And he’s like, No, you don’t owe it to yourself, you owe it to me. And you owe it to all these other guys that are here that would give anything, anything to have what you have, you’re sitting on a winning lottery ticket, and you’re too scared to cash it in. And the reality for a lot of us is that we are all sitting on winning lottery tickets, we’re sitting on something that we know, is our thing that some and might be multiple things that that are amazing. That actually if we pursued it would have a massive impact on this world. And there’s a quote that I love called don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs is for more people to come alive, someone is waiting for you to create that amazing thing. So that they can show up there waiting for you to fully show up so they can show up. But until that happens, until you’re brave enough. And by brave, I mean, like still scared, but willing to take the leap even though you’re scared and do the thing that you know, it’s calling you. that other person can show up. So that is the challenge that I have for your listeners is like, it’s time to show up. What are you going to do?
Tim Kubiak 49:06
That that is a great way to end it. What are they going to do? How are they going to show up? In How are they gonna have fun doing it? Right.
Unknown Speaker 49:14
Tim Kubiak 49:16
Jeff, thanks so much for your time today.
Jeff Harry 49:18
Absolutely. Thanks so much for the opportunity. This
Tim Kubiak 49:20
is really awesome. Yeah, this has been fun.