Canoe Talk 5 – How Can I Approach My Business More Playfully?

Canoe Talks is a video series of unconventional wisdom in an unconventional setting designed for mindful change-makers – entrepreneurs, creatives, leaders, business owners, and professionals.

Strategist, teacher, and author of TRACKING WONDER Jeffrey Davis responds personally to questions raised by a reader and Tracking Wonder Community member.

Tracking Wonder reader Tim Sheppard of the U.K. asks this question:

“How can we become playful enough to remove roadblocks to developing our business?” 

There are no easy answers to this very rich question. No doubt when your business isn’t getting traction, when other circumstances are disrupting the economy or our own health, our spirit can feel defeated and our minds rigid.

We can forget the very sensibilities that make our thinking more flexible and open us up to possibilities again.

Not to be too Zen here, but I invite you to try something that the likes of Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and numerous fulfilled innovators I’ve studied, interviewed, and worked with have done.

Perhaps you can become playful enough by becoming more of yourself.

Here’s what I mean.

First, define a business problem or question specifically. How can you reach your ideal customers more directly?  How could you innovate a new offer or product?  How could you simplify your business and gain a greater return?

Then, give some typical grown-up attention to it. Analyze. Top-of-mind writing. Flow-charts. Whatever your conventional approach to analyzing business problems.

Then step away from it.

Ask yourself, who have I always been since a boy when I felt free and alive without regard for reward?  

What activities was I naturally drawn to as a boy that lit up, that activated a distinct part of my character? 

Were you bicycling over ramps? Inventing or making things? Directing other people in your games or theatrical productions? Trying to improve your skateboarding skills? Creating your own getaway forts or caves? 

When you look at that boy with appreciation, you will recognize that he has an innate genius – whether others recognized it at the time or not.

What adjectives would you use to describe that young genius at his best in those moments?

Creative – resourceful – caring – curious – inventive – fierce? Just choose 3.

Now ask yourself, what activities today can you engage in that will activate similar qualities in you?  That will bring your innate genius alive? That will activate your genius?

Do that. And do it again.

Then, with those genius qualities present, approach your business situation with that genius outlook. 

Keep playing with and living the business question.

What business opportunities, offers, or priorities could activate your genius? 

How could you bring those genius character strengths to whatever challenges arise?

If you foster a relationship with your young genius every day for the next 3 weeks minimum, you will discover answers to your own beautiful questions.

This response might sound wholly impractical, but in my book TRACKING WONDER, you can learn how other fulfilled innovators have done just this very thing.

Thanks, Tim, for asking your question and living the question.

Be well, and thanks for running with me.

Ask Jeffrey your own Canoe Talk question.

Ask Jeffrey your own Canoe Talk question here.

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  1. I just signed up my young genius to do this with me for the next three works. It will make Labor Day far more enlivened and she’s been dying to be given more time and voice. It is really the most authentic way to be in whatever our work, basking in the wonder of all our young geniuses have to contribute. Thanks for the canoe moments! Ice skating moments coming up in a few months?