Get the 3-Day Weekend Entrepreneur's Book of Wisdom & Learn a Simple Path to a Better Life

Feb. 26, 2021

077 - Play Your Way To a 4-Day Work Week with Jeff Harry

Stop taking work & life so seriously, and start having more fun. Jeff shares how to escape the limited fixed mindset and embrace a growth mindset, so you can embrace and capitalize on the opportunities around you.

Stop taking work & life so seriously, and start having more fun. Jeff shares how to escape the limited fixed mindset and embrace a growth mindset, so you can embrace and capitalize on the opportunities around you.



Jeff Harry shows individuals and companies how to tap into their true selves, to feel their happiest and most fulfilled — all by playing.

Jeff has worked with Google, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon, and Facebook, helping their staff to infuse more play into the day-to-day.

Jeff is an international speaker who has presented at conferences such as INBOUND, SXSW, and Australia’s Pausefest, showing audiences how major issues in the workplace can be solved using play.

Jeff was selected by Engagedly as one of the Top 100 HR Influencers of 2020 and one of the Top HR Influencers to Watch By BambooHR for his organizational development work around addressing toxicity in the workplace. His play work has been mostly recently been featured in the NY Times Times Article: How To Add More Play To Your Grown-Up Life - Even Now ( His work has also been seen on AJ+, SoulPancake, the SF Chronicle, and CNN.

While we spend most of our time pretending to be important, serious grownups, it's when we let go of that facade and just play, that the real magic happens. Fully embracing your own nerdy genius — whatever that is — gives you the power to make a difference and change lives.

Jeff believes that we already have many of the answers we seek, and by simply unleashing our inner child, we can find our purpose and, in turn, help to create a better world.










So this kind of ties in with the a live quote by Howard Thurman, right, 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.

Right. So how how do you come more alive? Welcome to the 4-Day Work Week Entrepreneur Podcast, My man Jeff Harry with me today, we're going to talk about how we can help you make more money and less time doing the things you do best while you play your way to fun and enjoy your work, your life and everything about it. So I'm pleased today. So honored to have on Jeff Harry. And Jeff is. Awesome energy, awesome dude, we've connected a lot of things and he helps people rediscover their childlike qualities, their play, and bring that in their work to do awesome things.

And I'm going to read your bio and a little bit, but I want to just start with that. And so, dude, welcome. Thanks for coming out and thank you for being here.


Wade, you do not understand how amazing.

I don't think your listeners realize that's Wade. That is Wade. You didn't hire somebody that's Wade. And then there's Naples, Florida Wade. But there's also Trinny Wade. And it's so amazing because I have Caribbean like to hear this because it's so accurate. It's just utterly amazing.

Yeah, that's right. I'm so happy. I forgot that everybody's watching the video of this.


So those you on the video saw me do this on the audio. That's me. So the original entry or intro that is me. I'm Trinidadian by birth parents. Some of my Trinidadian friends think it's a horrible attempt at a trade accident was meant to be Trinidadian, but I had to make it a little more Jamaican because it's a little more so. And you kind of start with you kind of fast. So I had to kind of slow it down a little bit and make sure people can understand it because it would make sense.


So. So, yeah.


All right. So Jeff Harry shows individuals and companies how to tap into their true selves to feel their happiest and most fulfilled, all by plane. He's worked with Google, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon and Facebook, helping their staff to infuse more play into the day to day. And that's one of the main reasons. Very exciting. This is just not he's not out there. He's this is real stuff he's doing and bringing in some insights that people aren't aren't normally having.


Jefferson International speakers presented at conferences such as Inbound SSW and Australia's Podfest showing audiences how major issues in the workplace can be solved using play. He was selected by engagingly as one of the top 100 HRR influencers of Twenty Twenty and one of the top HRO influencers to watch by Bambu for his organizational development work around addressing toxicity in the workplace. His player has been most recently featured in the New York Times article How to Add More Played Your Grown Up Life Even Now, and his work has been also seen on AJ Plus.


So Pancake, S.F. Chronicle and CNN what we spend most of our time pretending to be important, serious grown ups.


Oh gosh, yes. It's when we let go of that facade and just play that the real magic happens. Fully embracing your own nerdy genius, whatever that is, gives you the power to make a difference and change lives. Jeff believes we already have many of the answers we seek, and by simply unleashing our inner child, we can find our purpose and in turn help to create a better world. Thanks so much for joining me today. Thanks for having me.


One of the things that I asked you about was what is it that you do? Because, of course, a lot of people can see the bow tie for those who are listening to the podcast, just weren't a stellar bow tie right now.


And people can sometimes when they hear, oh, this is one of those consultants or coaches who can tell us to play and and blah, blah, blah.


And when I asked you, what would you want to talk about, you said you want to help people find their flow and really engage play more so that they can enjoy life more, enjoy what they're doing more. How do you help people do that? And how did you get started with that? Where did this all come from? Sure.


So I'll start. There is I saw the movie Big when I was in third grade with Tom Hanks.


And in that movie he is playing with Toys for a living.


And when I saw that, I was like, oh, that's what I'm going to do for the rest of my life. That's a given. So I started writing toy companies in fifth grade and I just didn't stop. I was spamming toy companies with my word processor letters before spamming was a thing. I think they thought I was a grown adult instead of a child because I would keep sending them the six page letters, you know, and it eventually led me to work for the toy industry.


And I hated it, you know? And it's like, have you ever pursued something and got something that you thought you wanted? Like you got the result that you wanted only to be disappointed because it wasn't anything of what you thought it would be.


Right. So I had that where the toy industry was not play. It was not fun. You know, they might as well have been selling microwaves, you know, for all all intensive purposes. So I left New York where I was came to the Bay Area, and I I bumped into an organization that only had seven staffers, but they were teaching kids engineering with Lego.


And I basically helped them grow their business to like four hundred people. And we grew one of the largest Lego STEM education organizations like in the country. But we did it all by playing, by just kind of making it up as we went along. No business plan. We picked cities that we thought were fun. We knew we'd be like we'd be like New York. Definitely Austin. Yes, Boysie. Maybe later, you know. But they apparently is a little bit better now.


But, you know, like, we were just making it up when we'd meet all these other arts producers or businesses that were doing the same. So we got the attention of Silicon Valley because our organization was getting so big and we were in the Bay Area and they'd be like, hey, do you do team building events? And be like, yeah, of course, of course we didn't. But we just say yes to whatever. We'll figure it up as we, you know, as we go along.


And I realized as I was running a lot of these sessions for them, they wanted creativity, they wanted collaboration, they wanted connection. But. They weren't willing to address the hard questions to do it right. Like, how do you create a safe space where people can take risks? How do you create a less toxic workspace? How do you create a more inclusive workplace? How does inner critic play into this? How do you cut through all the office politic B.S. that's there?


You know, because like the meeting before the meeting. In the meeting. After the meeting. So I created Rediscover Your Play as a way to tackle really important issues in the workplace using play.


That's awesome, and, you know, it's funny you say that you talk about the meeting before the meeting, the meeting, after the meeting, I'm having flashbacks and I have worked at good companies.


I love them all where I worked. I'm blessed where I have worked before I became an entrepreneur.


But just all of the all the other stuff. And the other thing is I look at my entrepreneurial journey and I made it up as I went along and I was just talking with a friend who's going to be on another episode. And we were talking about. This idea that. We sometimes look for what it's supposed to look like, an even crazier some of us that are by many other people's standards, very successful where entrepreneurs were doing their thing, we have our own business still looking at the people say, well, no, wait, I'm supposed to do it this way.


It's supposed to look a certain way.


And like you said, that or that adults or that inner critic comes out and part of you almost wants to say, what? Are you serious? I've worked my tail off for this are something unique. And then if you're not careful, your friends can hear you Wade you're serious, you work from home. You've been on it for 20 years. You're doing you want on Fridays and you are grateful. And it's because it's not a grateful thing. It's not a gratitude thing.


It's generally the self doubt, like, OK, am I not doing this well enough? And meanwhile, other people look at me like, yeah, you're OK. And what are you doing next? I don't know. And yet I got here by not knowing. I got here by being open and intuition, trusting the universe, trusting God. I believe there's God, not some. You don't have to. I believe things kind of randomly happen and you can or they can happen in a beautiful way if you're open.


And and there's just so much to that that I see that a lot of people are forgetting. And especially when things get fearful, like with covid or different things going on, people kind of pull back. And it's I don't know, this is exactly when we need you to be more open and more willing to to see things in a different way, if that makes sense. Yes, absolutely.


Preach, Wade, preach. No, this is like it's the play oriented growth mindset, right? Because when you have the fixed mindset, you are constantly focused on one result. And the reason why so many people have been disappointed with a lot of twenty twenty separate from the politics and everything like that.


Like a lot of people have been disappointed about what they thought twenty twenty was going to be for them and what actually became right.


How many of your listeners thought twenty. Twenty was going to be my year. I wasn't going to get married this year. I've been open my business year. I'm going to travel the world this year.


I'm going to speak at fifty different conferences, like I keep hearing the story over and over again and they haven't let go of that expectation.


And expectations are the thief of joy. Right? So as long as you aren't allowing yourself to let go that fixed mindset, you are destroying any possibility of being present in the moment, playing in the moment and then seeing all of the opportunities that are in front of you.


Right. And I get it, like people are like, what do you mean, I should be playing during these uncertain times, it's just like this is how kids operate. They're much more resilient because when they fall down, they just get up again. They're just like, this is not that big of a deal, you know, while we, like, analyze it. Right. Like, imagine if a kid analyzed walking when they fell down.


Oh, why don't I fall down? Was it this car? You know, it was this sort of I slipped on.


I don't know if I should get up again, you know, just get back up, dude, and just do it.


And we, on the other hand, are like. We are so obsessed with both results and trying to impress people that, frankly, we will care about in a year, and it's just like, what are we doing trying to do that?


Right. Especially, you know, I don't know.


I was I was running this calculation recently. Like, most people are working 50 hour work weeks. They're working 50 weeks a year. That's twenty five hundred hours at work. You know, there's only eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours in a year. Total, total. So like one what is it, one fourth of your time, maybe more is taken up at work. And it's just like, dude. Imagine if you just work four days a week and you've got the same amount of work done, like, yeah, what are we doing that we are focused on trying to impress somebody that doesn't even have the same values as us, instead of just focusing on the work that we believe and doing it our way because it feels right to us.


Yeah, and that's I think that's so huge because a few reasons. One, the old saying, you know, if you can count on your hands, you have five good, true friends.


You know, that's a big deal or a group or a tribe of people. And so much of whether it's the social media or anything else not to blame it, but it leads us to quantify things, to measure things. And certainly quantification can be good when you say, hey, you're working twenty five hundred hours a year, what if you did less or work less? Could you still get the same result income wise in less time? Could you still achieve the same result?


Yeah, I think that's where numbers definitely serve us. And and but there are tool and you know, you just said a couple of things about, you know, expectations being the thief of joy.


And I'd never heard it said that way. But that's so true. And as somebody who's, again, parents from Trinidad Tobago, wife is from Peru, I've been blessed to grow up in the United States culture and in different cultures. I've lived in Peru. I've seen a lot of different things, traveled to India and have enough of a perspective at least to understand I'm ridiculously blessed financially, abundance, wise, infrastructure, safety, all those things. And this is where a lot of people, I think, make a mistake this to say, OK, therefore, Wade, you should be grateful and it becomes this almost ashamed thing or you're you're ungrateful.


If not, or God gave you this, you could say, well, no, because then again, the credit comes in once again saying, no, no, hold on. Let's just look at it from a different angle. Wade if if if you or in most of your maybe not most pronounced a lot of mountains, if you can even be listening to this, you're at least from a certain standpoint, more abundant than many people on the planet.


And even if you're open to this, you're probably creatively more abundant or open minded and to say, look, if you're expecting that something new is going to come in and that thing's going to make you happier. That's a tough one, because that's when you and I might look at somebody who's making like a movie star or an NBA star or an exact it's making 10 million a year and say, why don't make 10 million a year, a 50 million year, whatever it is.


But somewhere there's somebody else in Wade. That person has a house and clothing and water and shelter, and we're still happy, but they're not happy. That's kind of weird. And I know without going to Mother Teresa talked about the spiritual poverty of of of the Western world and at times of just people being so consumed with the physical and the material and the intellectual and the judging as opposed to bring in the heart and the spirit and leaving those out.


I think so much of this is a journey of us. It's not a battle. It's a journey of can we tap into our body, our heart, our mind and our spirit. Yes. We don't want to lose our mind and say, oh, we're just going to go play and not do anything. We're just going to work for days and hope stuff happens. No, we're still going to tap into the left brain, if you want to word it that way, or the you know, the intellectual dimension, the physical dimension, getting stuff done.


Yes. Has to be done past. I mean, you can't just go and wear a bow tie and and if nothing happens, people are going to be paying you. So there has to be an anchor to that. But to your point about the play, I just see it coming from a coaching standpoint. So much of coaching is about removing obstacles. And the premise of coaching is that most people, assuming they don't have some diagnosis psychologically they're not, which sometimes happens, but that most people are healthy, but they have obstacles.


We have to help them remove their obstacles. And if we can do that, they'll excel. And what I'm hearing you say is so much of this play is just getting out of our head, kind of like an athlete. Stop thinking about your free throws and just shoot your free throw. Stop thinking about obsessing about flow with the game. The best athletes people talk about when they were just flowing, Michael Jordan was just doing this and that guy came here and he just did this.


He wasn't thinking of how does that happen and how do you how can you tell when somebody stuck with that? And how can you what does it look like when the lights start to turn on for them? And how does that that play out for them?


So that's a great question. So there's so much in there. Right. There's first the idea of recognizing that the journey is going to provide you fulfillment like lifelong fulfillment. Right. But the result is only going to provide you fleeting happiness. So it's only going to be temporary. So and and time back into what you said of the spiritual, you know, like lacking. Right. I refer to it as affluent deadness. You know, I know a lot of I know a lot of rich people.


I know a lot of millionaires. Not that happy, just not that happy.


And I mean, these are people that can travel the world ten times over that had anything and can have anything they want and they are not that happy.


And and if you think about them, well, I see them on Instagram posting and they look happy. They're just like, yeah, I've talked to them after they do that post. Not very happy.


And it's because they either are comparing themselves to other people that have more money than them. Right. Or they're hoarding all their resources and they're so worried someone's going to steal it. Or the third and most mind boggling is they're bored but not bored in the good way, just bored. Like I thought I would have more joy and fulfillment when I got here. And it's just not that very exciting of a place. So you have this group that that is not happy promoting that they are when they are in.


And then you have all these other people that I like. I got to get up there and it's just like once you get up there, dude, it's just not it's not the glorious playground that you thought it would be. Right.


They've even done studies that whether you make seventy five thousand dollars a year or a million dollars a year, happiness levels are basically similar.


Right. So then tying into what you asked for was how do you get people in the state of flow? Right. We first have to break down what flow is right. There's there's I, I let me first define play. Play is anything, any joyful act you do where you fully present in the moment where you fallen in love with the process, where you forget about time. Right. No anxiety about the future, no regrets about the past fully in the moment.


And when that happens then you get into a state of flow and you know it because you don't like hours pass and you don't even know what you were doing. And you there's certain types of work. Marcus Buckingham refers to it as red thread work or or zone of genius work, as Gaye Hendrix says. But it's the work where you are are fully in your own genius.


You're fully creative. And the doctor of Flow, Doctor ChiX at Mehi. Talks about when you're in a flow state, what's happening is the difficulty of the task meets your skill level perfectly when the difficulty of the task doesn't meet your skill level. Let's say you don't have a lot of skills in it, a lot of anxiety when you have a lot of skill, but not a lot of difficulty. Very bored, right. That's what happens when you've been in a job for too long.


But there's a moment in flow when they meet together and you're reaching your full potential. And then what happens in your brain is your prefrontal cortex that has your inner critic in it. What actually happens when you're in that state of flow is it's what they refer to as transient hypo hyp know from tonality where a part of your prefrontal cortex actually shuts down and your inner critic shuts down your implicit mind.


Appears and you start thinking of stuff in a much more creative way and you start seeing all these opportunities that you couldn't see before and, you know, your brain, the synapses are sparking.


And then in addition to that, you become more curious and then you get this shot of dopamine because it's rewarding you for your curiosity and then you're just open to what is possible. And when we refer back to what you were saying with the basketball players, time slows down. When you're experiencing flow, your your ability to see things opens up and you almost again let go of the results.


So even if that basketball player is shooting, they're just enjoying the moment. They're enjoying the present. They don't even know how much they've scored. And by the end, they're like, what happened? They don't even know. And that is the type of work that I'm trying to get people.


That's awesome. And that's so many things you said, because I do participate in athletic events, almost call myself an athlete that I'm getting older.


But, you know, there's a certain thing I've told people that I've experienced over the years and I watch as my sons now picking up sports, my daughter's picking up sports and they really just want to enjoy the sport. I remember the first time my son played soccer. He just ran back and forth with the people, even kick the ball. I mean, he's like four years old at the time, but he was happy he was running with the people.


And of course, as he's gotten more, he's learned skills, but then also starts coming in to judgment. All the shot didn't go in these different things. And you get this inhibition, obviously, that's part of life. That's part of maturity. But at the same time, you know, to to want the shot to go in. But at the same time, there's this sense of OK, and I think this happens for people. I'm forty nine and we kind of joke when we play volleyball.


Nobody got injured.


Yeah, that's a good thing. And your expectations kind of go down a little bit. But we know we had fun, we got some good exercise and we more measure of was it did we play at a high level, did we as a group get to experience a high level of the sport? As opposed to did I win or did I lose? And of course, we all have our egos and we want to win and everybody wants it to be kind of like, what was this really, really great.


Came at the last second. I made the last second shot. You know, you can't have that if you do the math on that. Not everybody can do that all the time because somebody is going to lose in that.


And I think that's the problem with sports. It's that sense of, well, like you said, carrying it with you. What did I do? What did I do? I'm a Miami Heat fan. We just lost the finals to the Lakers a couple of days ago. We, by most accounts, weren't supposed to be there. And so it's all how you look at this.


So even as somebody who's watching it and, you know, the coach could have done this in to this like, no, no, no, we're like way ahead of where we were supposed to be. Right. And then there's actually this voice that's coming out and criticizing us. Are you kidding? We were supposed to be knocked out two rounds ago, and yet the critic is still like, yeah, but you see this, this, this, this, this.


And to your point, when we're just watching it, just enjoying it, whatever it is. And that's the part where I try to explain to people I can't explain how inspiration works. But as somebody who's written a number of books, most of when I go back, I really do look at them and like, wow, that's pretty good. And that's going to sound, I make sure to clarify this and don't even let the sentence end so nobody can take this out of context.


Not wow, Wade. You're so flippin brilliant like, wow, that's good. Who wrote that right. Who did that come from.


And I believe there's some sort of if you want to call it I'm releasing you're releasing your blocks. I believe there's God. I believe there's divine influence and that sort of stuff. And I don't believe that means everything I write is is accurate. But there's just something that things just kind of come together. Or again, maybe it's just that credit getting out of the way. And that feels so amazing that we say, OK, that feels like divine inspiration.


And certainly maybe it is or maybe it isn't. But something in there is something magical.


And to your point about being in the same job, my gosh, so many people and this is one of the core things I try to remind people when they say Wade, I want this 4-Day Work Week, OK, I want consistent, steady income, OK? And I want to have these three days off. Great. Are you prepared to be bored in your work? I don't know. What do you mean? Well, if you want consistent, steady income, you've now imposed a variable on this because there's a little bit of fear going on here that if things change, I might not be able to make the same amount of income.


And of course, you could make more. You could make less. And there's nothing wrong with that part of my business models of residual income model. But the stuff that makes you consistent, steady income is consistent, steady stuff.


It's not that exciting and no judgment because if you can say Wade, I've got a fulfilling enough and awesome enough life on the three days or on the evenings. A great and there's not I don't believe, at least in my experience, I've found any pattern that you have to do what you love to make a living or you don't. Some might make a good amount of money a short period of time. They've got great perspective. They go do their stuff so it can be done different ways.


But again, what's the expectation? As you said, the expectation is this is my job of making money. I'm going to fund. Great. It's just that some people I find aren't enjoying their job. They're making the money maybe that they want or they like you said that they think they should that they should make. And I forgot about that. Started the seventy five thousand income versus the million. How would a big deal it, you know, so many people over seventy five thousand if I get to one hundred thousand twenty five thousand and you say, oh, here's what I'm going to do.


You know, Jeff, since I hate my job so much, I'm going to go out on the weekend. I'm a spend so much money. OK, wait, so you're going to keep yourself trapped in this as opposed to what would be more logical? Yeah.


To say, OK, I'm going to put aside I'm going to live off a thirty thousand year. This job sucks, but I'm going to play it out for two to three years and I'm going to get my living expenses in half and I'm going to buy me three years of freedom. OK, yes. You know, very different view. Well, what that brings up for me is I think of the book, Your Money or your life, I forgot who the author was on it, but she was saying where she noticed that a lot of people were not taking in consideration the cost for having a job that they hate.


How much money do you spend on happy hours? How much money do you spend on your therapist? How much commuting time do you take? How much money do you spend on your outfits to look good for your job that you hate?


You know, so she put in all those costs and then said, how much are you actually making when you cut that down? Because, like, if you're going to happy hours every other day just to deal with a dude that's like a 10, 20 thousand dollar happy hour or thing, possibly at the end of the year, know?


So you just have to think about that of like what is actual success, what is actual fulfillment.


Right. Know, and then tying back into I love that you talked about the Miami Heat. Right. Like tying back into like just enjoying what is actually happening in the moment.


They should have never gone to where they went and they were far exceeding, you know, but they were also letting go of the result, you know, letting go and just seeing what might happen. One of the best gifts a parent can do for their kid that plays sports is to ask them about the process of the game and not the result of the game.


Don't ask them what the score was at the end of the game. Don't ask them how much they scored. Don't ask them like did they what did they get from it?


Because, like, the more you ask that, the more you're supporting that results oriented part. And you have to remember why that kid joined it in the first place. I had two nephews that are national taekwondo champions, but by the end of it, they hated it. They just hated it because it was so results oriented. And if no one did, if no one had been focused so much on results for them, they probably would have went for longer because they would have just enjoyed the process of it.


So we also have to be careful of not just living vicariously through our kids, but also putting that pressure on them, as well as putting that pressure on ourselves. Right. And then this ties into the inner critic part, which is really important, especially if you're trying to move from a five day to a four day work week, is you really have to start being aware of when your inner critic pops up.


And I wrote a whole workshop on this where I have people literally write down what their inner critic says, write down what their critic looks like, what it sounds like, and then I have the name, their inner critic minus Gargamel, so that every time Gargamel shows up, I will text my friends or I will write an email or I'll write it down in my journal, whatever works.


But once you write down what your inner critic is saying and you look at that list, you realize like now I'm not a loser, now I'm not going to ever be successful.


You start looking and you're just like, none of this is true. This is my third grade self talking or this is Chad from high school talking while I am I listening to this person. And then once you're able to do that, you're able to let go of that noise and recognize what is dope about you. But as long as you don't address that inner critic, it's going to keep popping up and it's going to keep shaping your day. And one challenge I put on to your listeners is just to see just for one day, see how much you can recognize your inner critic, because you'll be amazed how much it currently controls your day.


Wow, that's that's so huge, I just think of what you're saying, and I always try to tie this into something, people can put their their their calculator on. So I'll first go to that Partan. And so, first of all, I love your money, your life. I forgot. I always tell people, you know, if you buy something that you didn't use, you threw away that money. But I forgot about if you're having to basically somewhat self medicate or self adjust to a job that there is little time cost of that there's a money cost to that because you have to earn the money.


When you talk about the critic, I think of that ALDERETE have mine named and I actually got an expletive in the name, so I can't say it at the moment. But what I do, because that's what I get told from this guy. And I just think of basically what it is.


It's like basically that someone just says, does that like, no, you're done. You're like you're totally cut out.


I got to do this. Fighting against refocussed. Oh, I'd love my camera. So what I've got to do is I've got to now get this thing, this voice, this thing to get back out of my way. And we will see if this resets it here. There we go. No, that was brilliant. Wait and see. He just jumps right in room.


So for those who we might have to edit this, I'm not sure we'll see. But I'm gonna keep going. Maybe they'll adjust. But in all of that, we'll have the situation where I'm throwing on this. I'm not in this random and random thought midway. But what about this obligation? What about this idea? What about this thing you have to do? And you're like, well, I didn't have to do a while ago. Why don't you do that now?


Oh, you do. You've got to think about that. And if you don't and just it'd be no different than if somebody from your work came out in front of you and sat in front of and said, I'm going to sit at your desk and just talk to you for five minutes about random stuff like like the guy the copy guy making copies.


I just come in and he's totally shut you down. You're like, OK, I'm trying to get worked as a may, not your diet.


So for those you all have, I just had to restart my video because my clever thing have put my hand in front to stop it. Actually stop me.


Even then, my my critic that I just named, I was just getting in and then and and mind you, we have to also explore where does this inner critic come from.


Right. First off, our brains are designed to have a negativity bias. Right. Because our brains are there to protect us. You know, the lizard brain, you've heard it so many times. You know, it's trying to protect us from the tiger. There are no tigers, but we still have this inner critic. But then in addition to that, and this is part of the reason why a lot of people feel like they don't play enough is we have to we have to remember that.


By the time we reach our teens, we have heard, at least I think it's sometimes even much higher than this, but at least forty thousand knows in your in your lifetime, by the time you reach your teens, in addition to that, you have been should on should the as I expressed by your parents, by your teachers, by any adult, that's like you should do this, you should major in this, you should do this job, you should just putting all of their own anxiety on top of that.


And then in addition to that, while you've been in school, you have to you've been has to ask permission to do anything.


And then in addition to all of that, any time you are yourself, you're told that you're being too silly to mischievous or just too much. Right. So we just keep hearing all of that.


So no wonder we're in this position now where we're like, well, what should I do? You know, what's the right way of doing it? You're like looking for somebody to tell you what to do when, frankly, you know better than anyone else. And if these covid times have told us anything is most people have no idea what they're doing. None of us really know what we're doing, which is just go along. Right. We're just making it up.


We're just trying to navigate.


And anyone that claims they know what to do during this pandemic is lying because they weren't around in nineteen eighteen, you know, they just didn't run a business in 1918. So they themselves are trying to figure it out. So don't beat yourself up that you don't have all the right answers. And frankly, instead help yourself by first calming yourself, because a lot of times in order to play you first have to sue. Right. You have to learn to soothe yourself.


That's why you have your best ideas in the shower or when you're walking or doing something else that really comes you down.


Right. And know that you learn how to soothe yourself from the person that took care of you the most. So if they had a lot of anxiety, you're taking on that historical trauma. So you first have to learn how to calm and soothe yourself. And then what you kind of said, where you then you get bored, you allow yourself to get bored, which means you got to put down the social media for a little bit, stop binge watching Netflix.


Guess what? I do that as well.


So I hear you, but you just allow yourself for the hour or so to get bored, because if you think about when you were a kid, your best ideas came. When you were bored, you had to get that bored.


Also, some of your most dangerous ideas came then. But it was just, you know, but those were the times.


And then when that inner child, that inner curiosity, not critic, but curiosity comes up, it is like write that blog post, you know, figure out how to do this 4-Day Work Week like run the numbers of the 4-Day Work Week.


Think about how long it will take you to to leave your job and how much money you need to take so that you can go to a 4-Day Work Week follow that inner curiosity and see where that takes you.


And I guarantee you it's going to find you in a closer state to finding your flow than if you don't. That's awesome.


And one of the things you said that really someone popped up to me, you're talking about, you know, all these people and I've heard the concept of people shooting on us. You should do this. You should do that. And one of the things that just became apparent because I'm thinking now, rather than from the standpoint of the child as a parent. One of the toughest things for my children or anybody's children to grasp is and then also, of course, as children to our parents.


This is a person if it's if if we believe our parents love us and are looking out for us, it's even tougher because usually it's their fears. It's not that they're trying to tell us where you're bad. You're they're literally they've got these fears. If you do this, this bad thing will happen. So I'm going to tell you this thing. And it's not a lie. It's their truth. They believe.


And it's you know, I look at this with so many things like how can I honor what I've been taught and given by my parents and, you know, keep the stuff that that works or works for me or seems to be true and let go some other stuff.


And sometimes it's so hard because there's a part of me that says, but but my mom taught me that or my dad taught me that. And we have to remember, OK, so at a certain age, we realize that our parents actually can make mistakes. And that's, you know, when we're young kids.


Before that, we didn't realize that at another point, you know, maybe gets clouded with, you know, they got out of this or I got out of this. But ultimately, they don't know everything. If they did right, they'd literally I mean, if one of your parents is literally doing just about everything they want, they're completely happy. This, that and the other, then maybe you are off. But most of us and even then we're all human.


We all have our issues. And just to say and even if they are, that's their path of what they want to be doing.


And we're so concerned at times with other people are thinking what other people are doing because we're thinking, well, wait, do they have it better? Am I missing out on something, this informal thing? Yeah. Instead of like, no, I'm right here. And just one more time to go back in the Miami Heat thing. That's what was so joyful about watching them play basketball. And before I was a Heat fan, I was Lakers fan and LeBron helped us win a title.


So I've got no I love this game.


But there was something about this like when we were still here, the late I was like that was just so it was so hard to go for the Lakers. And I know they've worked hard. They deserve it. But just to see these guys, they're like, oh, my gosh, this is this is happening here. This is amazing.


Wow. That to me is where you saw that child likeness come out in them. Whereas when you're the favorite people talk about this in sports all the time, can you handle the pressure of being the favorite where you're expected?


And if you you're no lose, you're supposed to win. And, you know, and if you win, you're supposed to win.


And if you lose Iowa, you really screwed that up like, all right, how am I supposed you've already taken the joy out of it. What about where I get to to ascend to it? Nope. You're supposed to already be there. And if you mess it up and for any of us who've done any sort of level of success, which is chances are most of people are listening this because you're probably somebody who aspires to grow. If you're listening to a podcast like this or watching a video like this, you say, well, I, I, I aspire to grow.


And I'm still going to make mistakes and how do I deal with that, because I have people looking up to me and then now they're counting on me and now I'm right back in that position of my parents. Do I be honest and say, no, I don't have all my stuff together? Gosh, such a nice truth. If we could just all say that to each other.


And so I got this just right. I do. It's all going to be OK.


Oh, come on, man. Let's let's stop. Detested each other. It's exactly. We're outworking ourselves for overworking ourselves, for over kicking ourselves, trying to keep up with this and. Yeah.


So just know and what I love about that is like I always ask people who are you trying to impress, who are you trying to impress, like in high school who were trying to impress the cool kids a year later we didn't care who they were like who are you trying to impress now? Your boss you're trying to impress like your neighbor. Like if it's not someone important in your life, why are you trying to impress them? And what was so powerful and amazing about those Miami Heat, they weren't trying to impress anybody.


They were just trying to impress themselves. They were just so happy of just like, yeah, let's see what else is going to happen. Oh, a rookie just scored almost 40 points. Well, you know, because he wasn't trying to impress and he was just like, I'm just going to go do me.


And I think that is some like the most powerful advice that I've heard from anyone is just do you and if you don't know what that means, figure out what it means to do you.


Because if there's any amazing thing you can do for your kids, for all the parents that are listening.


It's to show up vulnerably and pursue the things that you love so they can see you taking risks, that he can see you not knowing what you're doing, but you're figuring it out because kids focus more on actions than words. And if you're constantly telling them what they're supposed to do instead of doing what you want them to do, then you're you know, they're not going to believe you.


Right. And unless, like, if you just are to simply explore. What had happens if you are the lawnmower parent or the helicopter parent, right, like there's been a lot of studies done by NASA recently where they found that creative genius in kids is that 98 percent when they're at when they're three, by the time they're like 10, it's around 40 percent. By the time they were in their 16, 17, it's down to 30. By the time they're adults, it's down to like 10 or less.


And NASA is trying to hire these people.


But when they hire them, then they realize they don't have the creativity. Why don't they have the creativity? Because they weren't able to fail their kid parents and let them fail enough. The parents didn't let them take enough risks. You know, Randy Pausch in the last lecture at MIT, professor that was dying of cancer, did his last lecture. And he goes, you know what my parents allowed me to do right on my walls? They allowed me to explore my curiosities, like allow your kids to fail and then talk about the process of it and make failure not seem like the end of the world, you know, and instead just another part of the learning process, the whole fail faster, succeed sooner reality and just see where that takes you, because then imagine if your kid is not scared of failing anymore, then they're going to do such amazing things that you couldn't even possibly imagine if you're willing to give them the freedom to play in that way.


Absolutely. So I was asked to share with me a couple of things that I know or they know that they could share. It would be awesome. And one of the things you talked about when you and I were talking to preinterview was the idea that we're closer to what we want than we could imagine. We simply have to let go of our old story of ourselves, who we are or what we are to get there. Do me a favor. I confess.


Explain that to a left brain person, if you don't mind, because I know right now there's a lot of people, the people. That's so right now. I'm imagining that right now there's a lot of people like, OK, I get this and then there's good people saying, yeah, but this still sounds kind of airy fairy. How do you explain that to somebody in a more traditionally concrete way? I would say what what is your current look life look like, right, OK.


I work I work 50 hours a week and. And why do you do what you do? Are you are you fulfilled? Not not happy. Because happy is fleeting. But are you fulfilled? Is this bring you, joy, for you to work this amount of time? Like, is this well, why why did you do this in the first place? And then you just start to look back? Well, you know, I got this tech job because my parents, you know, I wanted to go into acting or I wanted to go into this more creative aspect.


But, you know, my parents wanted me to get a real job. So I got this accounting job. And then from this accounting job that I went to this other company and then they told me, this tech company is better. So I work for this tech company now. So. So let let me get this straight. You've been listening to other people's advice telling you what to do, but none of the advice that you're following is anything that you actually want to do.


Then, like, that's where I would kind of backtrack and be like, what is that old story?


What is the story of, like, who you were when you were in high school or who you were and where you were in college? And do you need to be that person still? Are you able to let go of that because you're not going to be able to go to a 4-Day Work Week if you're not able to let go of like. The importance of working 50 hours a week, you know, so you have to, like, really challenge yourself, is this what I really want?


Is this actually bringing me the fulfillment that I desire? And if it's not, then let's ask a question of like, what are you willing to do to change that?


Yeah, I think that's so great, there's, you know, something I love the Wayne Dyer would say say he'd be talking to a doctor and the doctor would say they didn't, you know, they're 40 years old or 50 years old and they hate their job. And so he'll change jobs. So I can't do that. When I was 19, I said I was going to be a doctor. And he says, when you go to a 19 year old for career advice, there's no way you did.


You went to Nishino for career advice. They told me, Doctor. And you're willing you're unwilling to let go of this. And again, there's nothing right or wrong about being a doctor just in this case. That's not what that person wants. And I just think so often people you just go right back to the example you just given. They're like you've been listening to all these people and you went from sort of a, you know, a fearful, OK, you've got to find a steady, secure job.


OK, understood. We sometimes do that when you're younger and you've went to a slightly less unenjoyable job. So a slightly less unenjoyable job or a different unenjoyable job. And even that weather, if you want to call it your old story or even your old pattern, has that pattern worked for you? Yeah, that's sometimes one of the most annoying things to hit you in the face. But, you know, I don't know where I got this, but somewhere I got the idea.


Know, I guess it's sort of the flipside of the insanity definition of doing the same thing. Expecting different results is due to if I'm going to screw up, I'm going to screw up in a different way. It's creative. It's at least a bit like, well, that didn't work. It's going to be something not necessarily epic, not necessarily that involves the police or breaking laws.


But it's going to be something to say, OK, I today and this next thing I did and it's something way different. So I've now kind of tested a range. You're not why? I did a I did a slight version. I did capitalized and lowercase a then a different font. I did italicized a underlined a right. That was all. Hey no I did something completely different.


And what's interesting about that is like one of the most dangerous things for an American worker these days is comfortability being comfortable. Because when you're comfortable and I'm not saying comfortable and fulfilled, I'm saying just like when someone asks you how's work?


And you're like, yeah, you know, it's work.


You know, it's in you know how your you like that's man, you know, like you could binge watch your life away, you know, like, you know.


Do you want to do that. If you want you have more power to you enjoy Netflix for the next 40 years.


But if that is not going to provide you the fulfillment and happiness that you desire, you know, the joy that you desire, then you have to get slightly uncomfortable.


You have to start taking some risks. You know, you have to challenge yourself to fail, frankly, and be OK with it. And it's going to really suck when you fail. It's going to suck. Like I I helped invest in a cafe.


It was horrible. I lost so much money off that. But and if you told me like you like Jeff, why do you invest in a cafe? I don't know. It was a dumb idea. I get it now.


But because I did that, it emboldened me to then be like, well, I can't fail any worse than that. And I started reaching out to all these companies. And now I have all these relationships with these Fortune 500 companies like the Facebook's and the Amazons doing things I never thought possible because I was like I was willing to sit in the failure and be like, it's not going to crush me. It's not going to crush my soul. And I think a lot of times we think that I think of like my high school niece, that when I would talk to her and she'd be like, oh, my gosh, if I talk to that guy, I'm going to die.


And it's just like, yeah, a part of you is going to die. The old part of you that doesn't think you can talk to guys that you're attracted to. So each of us have that part of us that we have to let die in order for us to do the next cool, amazing thing. That's awesome. Yeah, and I think there's there's so much to that. If we just look at what makes us feel alive, there are very few things that are guaranteed by definition, like even when my kids would play video games and they'd start getting upset if they'd lose it, said, look, let's think this through.


Think of a game like Mario Brothers.


You know, you know the pattern. You learn the pattern after a while and then little it's the exact same pattern and then you get bored. On the other hand, you get a new version of it. You play a sports game. It's more just randomly organic and you lose. Well, again, where did you want that to be? There's got to be some sort of newness, some sort of novelty in it. Otherwise you're not going to enjoy it.


Something else. You mentioned your inner child has all the answers. And you simply need to play long enough for your inner child to discover them, sure. That explain that a little bit, if you don't mind. Yes.


So this kind of ties in with the live quote by Howard Thurman, right? 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.


Right. So how how do you come more alive? Well, my friend Lauren and I came up with this.


Your future is where your fun is workshop where we actually asked people what was the thing you love to do as a kid? What was the thing that you were so happy about that you forgot about time? In her case, she loved to play sardines, which is reverse, hide and seek.


It's absolutely amazing. And the reason why she loved it when you thought about it, she realized that it had creativity in it. It had connection, it had experimentation, it had collaboration. And we identified those as her play core values. Those are her play values. And then we looked at them and we're like, what is the work or the work you want to be doing that has the same play values?


There's a lot of what you did as a kid that either ties into the work you do now or ties into the work that you should be doing. And by should I mean should for yourself, whether it's the work that will make you most excited and joyful. Right. And that is the power of light when you're willing to show up like here. Perfect example. Wade is like, yeah, I'm doing a 4-Day Work Week. Well, you think you should do that, Wade?


Yeah, I'm going to do it just to see if it happens and then guess what? I'm going to make a podcast talking about the 4-Day Work Week.


Simply by Wade showing up and now telling the story and sharing the story and showing other people that other people have the same story that you successfully can live on for days of work a week, it gives permission for all these other people to show up in a way that they would otherwise never had showed up.


So by you showing up Wade, you give permission for others. And that is the ripple effect of everybody when they're willing to actually embrace the thing that makes them come alive and play more.


Absolutely. That's so awesome. First of all, thank you for that. And I forget that sometimes I remember the seven years I did not start my podcast. Funny how the critic works as opposed to the three years that I did. And to your point, well, a couple of things.


Number one, a couple more little negative thoughts. What I could have easily have this not happening right now.


And, you know, in my experience, we get we get second chances. We get another person says, hey, you were talking about that thing or something lands on her lap. So it's something that keeps coming back with Debbie Ford. I like to be loved about what you said about this play profile concept. You know, again, if you like doing these things when you were younger, for somebody again, who kind of gets caught up in assessments or skills or needs a more left brain approach, bottom line, most of us like doing stuff we're good at.


And, you know, and there's a correlation there. So if you can find the things that you like and correct me if I'm wrong on this, you're going to be more likely to be excited about doing those things no different than like, let's say, the sport that fits you or the musical instrument that fits you. And you're going to be more likely to get a positive feedback loop. Therefore, here's the part that's just just basic. If you wanna call it science or math or just you're going to spend more hours practicing.


So it's not a magical thing. It's not like, oh, because you found your unicorn a sport. Now you just become this magical person. Know anybody who's at a professional level. Sports has worked their tail off. Right. But did they get that positive feedback loop? Did it encourage them? Want to do more? And of course, it character mentors all the other variables, but when they're aligned, they're going to be much more likely.


The people say, wow, that's generally amazing what you do. Yeah, I think there's something that gosh, it's funny. You talk about your your niece. You think about. And this is so weird, but think about when the stereotype of. The insecure, let's say, girl or guy that criticizes another good looking, successful, insecure girl or guy, same gender, same like their competition, theoretically. And then you think about the person who that same group of people that's used to picking parts says, oh, but this person, you just can't hate them because they're so nice.


They're so this like it's almost like they're like mad like I'm so mad. I can hate you. You beast the millions of different weather starts would be I can't help you because you're so nice. Usually that person my experience really is genuinely focused on their craft because they're not like, hey, look at me, I'm beating you. Yes. It's no, I'm so here. And in fact, they're so geeking out over this and they're so into it that the other people kind of like, whoa, they just see something I don't.


And there's almost this sense of genuinely appreciation to say, wow, this person really geeks out about this. Yeah. And and they know more than I know. In fact, they kind of know more than I want to know, but yeah. Wow.


Look what's come from that. And so I think that's something that when you see and I see that with certain athletes and it's not a criticism because they all work hard, but you see the ones that they're just so again, they're playing there's that quality. And I think not only does it draw people to them, not only does it make them more inspiring and more fun to watch, but generally it's almost like you get to be part of the ride with them because you want to you want to root with them and you want to experience we're not sure what's going to happen next.


It's the hero's journey. It's the underdog story. And yet, hopefully we can create this where it's less of an underdog situation, where it's more of something that becomes commonplace. Yeah, it's like and I'm so grateful for the work that you're doing because some people need to have it shown to them. And my guess is a lot of people at least will say, well, gosh, if just been hired by these Fortune 500 companies, maybe there's something to this and not just one team.


It can be hard. Once as a consultant, did you get the repeat invited to come back?


And I think that's so awesome that you're able to share that and give that to people, because that's the part that I think. We can become so serious and again, expectations. Well, my job is supposed to be completely fulfilling the other extreme, it's supposed to be fulfilling and fun and awesome and no friction.


And everybody works to get along with me. They're all going to like me. They're all in my shoes.


And my hair is like, well, that's just that's like a pipe dream. That's that's that's right. The other the other extreme, which then sets you right back and forth. Oh, see, I told you work sucks. Oh, no, no.


You just you just kind of went the other way with it.


Kind of last question for you. How do you help people take a realistic approach to this that is grounded so that they're not just. Oh, well, you know, I heard this podcast with Wade, Jeff, so I quit my job. I'm working for days and I'm manufacturing legault boaties. Like I didn't say that I'll be the first to say test stuff out. There's a real word variable going on here, but still get a sense of where you're going.


How do you tell people that or what do you suggest people do as far as start? And you mentioned them talking and writing down what they hear, their inner critics saying or just noticing it. What else helps people get started on this journey?


So I think there's a few different things.


So there's first identifying and what Elizabeth Gilbert says, which I love, this is personal transformation doesn't happen until you get tired of your own B.S. So you first have to identify what is what is the B.S. You've been telling yourself, oh, I can start this business because I'm working so much. You know, mine was like, oh, I couldn't make videos of yours. You said earlier, like, oh, I can't start this podcast. Well, finally, when we get tired of our own B.S., then we're able to explore what's possible.




So then there's the part of, like, identifying what you're interested in. So figuring out what your play values are, tying it into the work that you actually want to explore. Right. Second is then following that inner curiosity, where is that possibly going to leave? Let me explore this to I like the blog, too. I like to make videos. Do it. What do I want to make? Like, whatever it is that you nerd out on, explore that more.


I respect anyone, the nerds out on something. Alan Watts says this all the time. If you're willing to do it longer than anyone else, someone is going to pay you for it because you're going to be the expert at it. That doesn't mean quit your job tomorrow, but just start experimenting with the time that you do have cut down on your amount of binge watching Netflix or social media scrolling, because that's not giving you the happiness that you're looking for the connection.


And just explore this a little bit more.


And then in addition to this, this is what I ask a lot of my clients do when they first start with me is reach out to your friends and you're going to ask them two questions.


One question is, what value do I bring to your life? Because a lot of times you don't know, like you don't even know what you do for them. Right. And then the second question I would ask them is, when have you seen me most alive? When have you seen me most playful, most present, most happy? What am I doing? And it could be like, well, you just love to nerd out on fixing vacuum cleaners.


Great. Dude, that's awesome. Start exploring that. Guess what? Dyson, the Dyson vacuum cleaner guy. He worked on his vacuum cleaner technology for six years in his basement, making zero dollars zero dollars while his wife, who was on a teacher's salary, basically funded them, he failed over six thousand five hundred times before he invented the Dyson vacuum cleaner.


Now he's a billionaire, right? But he nerd it out on it and he brought it out on it while he was doing other jobs as well.


So, like, figure out what is realistic for you, but follow that curiosity. Don't dumb it down. Don't push it down, because it's just going to keep popping up. And the question I always have for people is like, why would you spend more time listening to your inner critic than your inner superhero? Right. And then the other part of like at the end of life, when people talk about regrets, people talk about working too much.


They talk about impressing people that they didn't want to impress.


And if you think about your most enjoyable moments in your life, their play moments, so why wouldn't you be trying to double down on finding more of those play moments? And that is what I do when I help my clients is like, let's create more play moments that are going to give you the the bravery to show up fully in this world.


That's awesome. Thank you for that. All right. So people who are looking to get started, they maybe want to learn a little bit more about you work, they connect with you. And what does it look like for them to perhaps either work with you or even just individuals or corporations? Sure.


So you can find me and rediscover your play. I make a lot of my ridiculous, stupid videos at Jeff Harry plays Jeff Harry r y play y. S. And if you come to the rediscover your play site, let's set up a call.


Let's just talk. And I have like a 20 minute discovery call where we just kind of find out where you stuck and where do you want to go.


And let's figure that out. And for companies, it I like to be like, what is your biggest pain point? Let's talk about it, the discovery call and let's see if we can solve it by using play.


Awesome. Thank you so much. So. Dude, this has been such a pleasure. So happy to have you out here today, I feel really at home talking with you. Sharon, Withings, this is Jeff is from the family, from the Caribbean.


So do I. Shared some connections there.


Hopefully gained a lot from what he shared with you. And as always, I look forward to helping you make more money and less time doing what you do best so you can better enjoy your family, your friends in your life. Thanks for listening.


Jeff HarryProfile Photo

Jeff Harry

International Positive Psychology Play Speaker

Jeff Harry shows individuals and companies how to tap into their true selves, to feel their happiest and most fulfilled — all by playing.

Jeff has worked with Google, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon, and Facebook, helping their staff to infuse more play into the day-to-day.

Jeff is an international speaker who has presented at conferences such as INBOUND, SXSW, and Australia’s Pausefest, showing audiences how major issues in the workplace can be solved using play.

Jeff was selected by Engagedly as one of the Top 100 HR Influencers of 2020 and one of the Top HR Influencers to Watch By BambooHR for his organizational development work around addressing toxicity in the workplace. His work has most recently been featured in the NY Times, Mashable, & Upworthy. He has also been featured on AJ+, SoulPancake, the SF Chronicle, and CNN. His work has also been seen on AJ+, SoulPancake, the SF Chronicle, and CNN.

While we spend most of our time pretending to be important, serious grownups, it's when we let go of that facade and just play, that the real magic happens. Fully embracing your own nerdy genius — whatever that is — gives you the power to make a difference and change lives.

Jeff believes that we already have many of the answers we seek, and by simply unleashing our inner child, we can find our purpose and, in turn, help to create a better world.