Sacrificing your happiness now so you can enjoy some success in life probably doesn’t seem like such a bad deal. Your willingness to do what it takes can be viewed as the ‘price of admission’ and there is a sense of fairness to it. Achieving goals is almost always going to involve some type of sacrifice, but it doesn’t mean you have to become so obsessed with work that you can’t have fun. Warren Buffett talks about ‘tap-dancing to work’ because for him, success and fun go hand-in-hand – there is no real reason why this can’t be the same for every entrepreneur.
What Does It Mean To Say ‘Business Is Fun’?
“Business is more exciting than any game.”
Fun can be defined as pleasure, excitement, or enjoyment. If you enjoy what you are doing, it means that you are having fun. It doesn’t have to mean that you walk around with a permanent smile on your face. You also don’t have to turn your office into an amusement park in order for it to be a fun place to work. If you set up the conditions so that your employees are better able to enjoy what they are doing, you have done your bit to create a fun environment.
The opposite of a fun business environment would be one where people feel undervalued, over-stressed, and where there is a culture of fear. Instead of employees doing what they enjoy, the focus moves to doing enough to stay out of trouble. The boss can act like Captain Ahab on the search for Moby Dick because all that is important is hitting targets, and every day is to just be endured.
Business Should Be Fun
“There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.”
There can be a deep suspicion of fun in the business world. This is because of the strong association between this type of emotion and goofing off. The assumption is that making money is serious business, and if people expect work to be fun, they should join a circus. Too much laughter in the office is often viewed as an indication that not enough work is getting done. There is also the concern that if the boss is too fun-loving, employees with take advantage.
There is a difference between treating your business seriously and being serious. The main priority is getting jobs complete and approaching each task with grim determination doesn’t necessarily lead to better results. In fact, lack of fun at work can start to become a drain on your motivation, and it can also mean that members of your team have no passion for what they do. If you are going to be investing huge chunks of your time to a business venture, you are likely to achieve better results if this is powered by passion rather than a sense of obligation.
“Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.”
Henry David Thoreau
Introducing a bit more fun to the workplace can be a real game-changer. It means that employees get to feel more like a valued individual rather than a cog in an uncaring machine. A fun environment can increase productivity because it lifts people’s spirits and increases their overall energy levels. This more relaxed atmosphere can also improve communication and encourage creativity to blossom. It is also likely to improve attendance at work and reduce the number of days lost to sick leave. If employees dislike going to work, it is always going to be tempting to look for excuses not to turn up.
Goal Orientation Versus Process Orientation
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
If you view the process of achieving your goals as something to be endured, it can mean that life just becomes one long slog with only brief periods of happiness. This obsession with goals can mean that the good days are always going to be over the next mountain because as soon as you achieve one goal, you will become obsessed with achieving the next one.
This type of goal-orientation may allow you to achieve some great results, but it is doubtful that you’ll ever feel satisfied with your accomplishments. Once you get into the habit of seeing your happiness as some event in the future, it can make it hard to appreciate what you have now.
A process-orientation approach to entrepreneurship means you appreciate the journey as much as the destination. Building a business from nothing can be an amazing adventure, and it gives you a reason to hop out of bed each morning. Like Warren Buffett, you can tap-dance your way into work each morning. It means you are not waiting around for some special day when you can be happy.
Getting Paid For Doing Something You Love
“Do what you love and the money will follow.”
If you love what you do, it is going to mean that work is fun. It is something you’d probably want to do anyway, even if you weren’t getting paid, so each day can be exciting and rewarding. This passion is going to allow you to fully-commit to your business, and it can mean you achieve more than would ever possible if you were only concerned about success. Your passion is also likely to enthuse the people around you, so you get full-commitment from each member of your team. Work can become satisfying that you find it hard to pull yourself away from it.
Fun and enthusiasm usually go hand-in-hand. Working hard just to pay the bills, or because you fear becoming a failure, can keep you motivated in the short-term, but it is not likely to be sustainable. It can require too much effort and eventually lead to burnout. Enthusiasm can be like having access to an infinite pool of energy. When work doesn’t feel like work, it involves less of a drain on your mental and physical resources. Without this type of passion, it can all be a bit too overwhelming.
Getting The Balance Right Between Fun And Business
If running your business is fun, it can give you an edge because it means you are going to be so passionate and motivated. It also means that you are not going to be spending years waiting around for the ‘good days’. Creating a fun environment at work can also help you get the most out of your team, and it creates the right atmosphere for innovation and creativity. It makes sense to inject some fun into your work life, but there can be a danger in taking this too far.
In order to find success, you are probably going to have to regularly take action that is difficult and unpopular. This could involve stuff like firing friends, changing course, or taking huge risks that could jeopardize your business. There are times when the fun has to stop, and you need to develop the ability to switch to your ‘serious-side’ as the need arises. It’s also important that your team understands that being fun doesn’t mean that you are a pushover.