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Want 10x results? Step Into Play

Updated: Jan 2, 2020

I recently heard about an experiment involving kindergartners and MBA graduates. The two groups were given Popsicle sticks and adhesive and were invited to build as tall a tower as possible in one hour.

The MBA graduates discussed who was in charge and various strategies they might employ . . . for 59 minutes. In the last minute they built the tower and it toppled.

The kindergartners dove right in from the word “Go!” and started building.

It fell over.

They built again.

It fell over and they built again . . . over and over . . .

And as they played, they were learning.

In the end, they built a tower that was 10x taller than the MBA grads’ tower!

10x results!

The kindergartners naturally played and accepted failure an essential part of the process. We learn as we go. We can’t truly discover until we dive in. The kiddos also demonstrated resilience, bouncing back quickly after each failure.

As adults, we’ve been through experiences where it’s not been safe to fail. In response, we construct an inner critic to protect ourselves. (Our critic of others often comes along for the ride.) In my workshops I invite participants to turn down the volume of their inner/outer critic during our time together and see what happens.

Together we build a safe container to play in, which helps us to more easily reinterpret failure, build resilience, and silence our inner critic. When we find ourselves connected and supported, our body remembers: I can trust my team. I can trust myself. We are rewriting our bodies’ visceral memory.

Try this: Take a morning or afternoon this week to notice your inner critic and write down what you are believing.

Then write down the opposite and experiment with believing it.

* * *

Wanna Play this Winter?

When you feel included and engaged, do you do a better job?  Do you think teams in which people work well together produce much better results? -

If you want to do some serious diving into meaningful learning with a playful spirit, come to the Northwest Liberating Structures Immersion on January 31 and February 7 in Bellingham, WA. Come for both Fridays! Or just one! I'm co-facilitating it with my fantastic colleagues, Art Sherwood and Kristine Baker.

visit the global site at

and visit our local site to learn more and to register.

Bellingham is an hour from Mount Baker and even closer to the San Juan Islands.

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