• Jennifer Willey

Play Like a Kid to Play Big In Your Career


Summer is the perfect time to prioritize fun in your life—if you are like me and live in a cold weather climate, nothing makes me happier than replacing my winter boots with flip-flops and my time shoveling snow with playing at the beach or backyard. And for those of you who are Moms, it can be such a gift to spend more time with your kids who aren’t as busy with the day-to-day routine of school and sports.


As the office empties out as your colleagues and client depart for their vacations, you will likely find that your calendar clears out and intensity slows down. That is why July is also the ideal time to invest in accelerating your professional journey, as well as your personal one. But since it’s summertime, you don’t need to make it so serious! In fact, you can find inspiration from child’s play to help you advance your career.


Here are a few ‘games’ you can play to fast-track your career:


Magic Wand/ Lamp:

Before my teenage son towered over me and had a voice deeper than my husband, he loved playing Imagination Games—he would rotate between being an evil king, a Coffeeshop owner (he made a killer invisible latte) and a magician. Anything is possible when you are a kid with just one wave of a magic wand.


Ask yourself, what would be YOUR wish? If you had the ability to make any of your professional dreams come true, what would you ask for? And hey, since a very popular Disney flick is in the theaters now that even gives you THREE wishes with a single rub of a magic lamp, go crazy and come up with your top 3. (Just don’t expect a genie to pop up and grant you your wishes—you will likely have to do the work yourself!) Take time to envision what would feel like a dream come true… and it is that much more likely to become a reality.


Magic 8 Ball:

Thank you Mattel for providing me with countless hours of fun asking my Magic 8 Ball questions. The truth is, every time I asked, I always KNEW what I wanted the answer to be. Sometimes I ‘lucked out’ and the blue dye would be replaced with the desired answers like “As I see it, yes, Most Likely, Outlook good, Yes, and Signs point to yes.” (Who didn’t feel like they got a punch to the gut when the dreaded ‘Outlook not so good’ turned up to a question when you wished for a positive affirmation?)


Now as an adult, you may feel uncertain about your future. Perhaps you are struggling with what step should come next in your career. If so, conjure up an imaginary Magic 8 Ball and figure out what question you would ask it. What answer would you hope for? Closing your eyes and imagining what you would wish for may get you one step closer to the path you want to be on.


Playing Grown Up:

For many of us, our most treasured school projects from grade school are those essays and pictures of who we would be when we grew up. (My sister’s wish of being a Dancing Dentist somehow didn’t materialize). My BFF Liz and I would ‘play grown up’ and imagine that we were celebrities who traveled exclusively via limo (I’ve never acted and can’t sing to save my life). The exercise of imagining your future when anything is possible is powerful. And boy, it seems like it will be an eternity before you are an adult… or possibly turn 30! I can’t imagine a kid today who didn’t have a strong sense of purpose as they imagined adulthood. (I just hope my son Carter doesn’t turn out like Hitler—his doppelganger from his artwork below!)


How about you? What did you dream about as a kid? Do your childhood aspirations point you in any new direction, now that you are ‘all grown up?’ If you could picture yourself 20 years in the future, and money, experience, accreditations or connections were not barriers, what would you imagine? (While you are at it, get out some construction paper and crayons and have a fun time drawing it too!)


Put on a Talent Show!

Talent Shows were the regular entertainment in our backyards as I was growing up with my BFF Lizzie and sister Tracy. Our relatives would shell out $0.25 a ticket for a front-row seat to our performances. They certainly got their money’s worth—our shows were filled with solos to Irene Cara’s “What a Feeling” from Flashdance, sing-alongs to the Grease Soundtrack and Knock-Knock Jokes from our Goofy’s Joke Book (am I dating myself? As a proud child of the 80’s, I hope so!). Nothing built our confidence more than a standing ovation from adults we admired and respected.


Why do we stop putting on shows to strut our stuff? How pumped would you feel if you and your friends and family cheered you on as you showcased YOUR unique talents? Maybe nowadays you might need to skip the splits (that’s how I tore my hamstring!) and focus on your killer comedic timing instead… but whatever you do, you’ll be rewarded with a big dose of confidence.


Don’t miss out on your chance this summer to play like a kid to play big in your career! Find time for fun, and you will feel fearless at work and in life.

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NAICS codes: 611430, 541612, 541611, 611699