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Do you remember how much you used to love playing when you were a kid? Hide and seek, cowboys and Indians, Monopoly, Super Mario Brothers…whatever it was you were into, you probably threw yourself into it wholeheartedly. Creativity and imagination were one of the biggest priorities of your day and you judged the day by how much fun you had. What happened to those days? Most of us “grew up” and that sense of fun pretty much went away. Sure, we might break it back out when we have small kids or when we gather with friends for a game night, but for the most part, “playing” has been something we’ve been told we need to grow out of. Guess what? You’ve been sold a bill of goods. As an independent financial advisor, not only do you have the freedom to set aside time for play, but you need to do just that to be at your best. Here’s why.

It Will Help You Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries with your clients is a vital part of your business and your sanity! If you continually answer work calls at 9 pm or rush into the office on a Sunday morning to put out a client fire, your business will run you instead of the other way around. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with shutting your work phone off and setting an ‘out of office’ notification on your emails so you can reserve some time for play and relaxation. In fact, it’s necessary. Your clients will learn that if they need your help, they have to ask at reasonable times of the work week and it allows you to take uninterrupted time for yourself and your family.

It Will Make You More Relaxed and Flexible

It’s very difficult to maintain flexibility and emotional agility when you’re stressed to the max. That’s what happens to advisors who never take time to enjoy life and those things and people who bring them joy. One of the keys to success is being able to respond to whatever life throws at you with a good attitude and a commitment to finding the best solution. That’s very difficult to do when you’re overworked and exhausted.

It Will Improve Your Work Life Balance

Financial planners who follow blind tradition may think they need to be in the office until seven at night and every weekend to get ahead. This is just silly. If you work efficiently, you can get done what needs to be done in a regular 40-hour work week (or less) and reserve the rest of your time for your family, friends, hobbies, or adventures. Financial advisors who achieve a balance between work, family, and recreation are the most successful because they’re relaxed, able to respond to events as they occur, and understand priorities.

Ways to Play

Hopefully I’ve convinced you that play is important. But for some of you, it’s probably been so long since you’ve played that you don’t even know how to do it anymore! If you fall into that group, let me make some suggestions:

Play with your kids  If you have younger kids or grandkids, you’ve got an instant passport to play. Try just hanging out with them and seeing what comes up. If they’re really young, they’ll probably invent some cool game for the two of you to play. If they’re older, they might want to play a board or video game. Go with the flow and try to match their level of enthusiasm and immersion.

Play in your hobby  Do you have a favorite hobby? It could be woodworking, writing poetry, hiking, or anything that calms you down and brings you enjoyment. This is the perfect place for you to “play”. Though hiking up a rocky hill or scribbling in your notebook might not feel like play, it’s the adult equivalent of running around after your friends, pretending you’re the sheriff and need to round them up for robbing the saloon.

Play through games  I always feel sorry for adults who say they don’t like games. I mean, come on! There’s just nothing like losing yourself in a heated game of pool or getting to know new friends better by playing trivia or charades. If you don’t like games, it might be because you just haven’t found the right ones. Strategy games, word games, card games…there are so many options out there now that it’s unlikely you won’t find something you enjoy.

 

When you reserve time and really cultivate a sense of play in your life, you’ll get better and better at it. You’ll regain some of the zest for life you had as a kid, and it will improve every area of your life. Have questions and about how to incorporate play in your life? Please leave them below.