February 20, 2023

All Work & No Play Makes You Unhappy AF – S5 EP002

If you spend all your time working, providing for your family, doing everything for everyone else, and never taking any time for yourself… I guarantee you will reach a point where you burnout, start hating life, or possibly even wipeout with depression. (Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.)

Life is meant to involve play and fun. We are meant to ENJOY life as well as work. Work to live, not live to work, yeah? Nearly every client of mine started off with NO joy, play or fun in their life. And it was a major problem.

But when I challenged them about this, and they started prioritising play, making time for enjoyment for its own sake, and GODS FORBID actually putting themselves first occasionally…. THAT is when things really started to shift.

They started smiling more, being more present and less resentful with their family and at work, and finding something to look forward to each day or week.

I don’t care what you do. Bird watching? Flying? Making model tanks out of plastic? Cataloguing worms? Who cares. What matters is you HAVE FUN in your life.

And if you can’t even comprehend what play it fun looks like but you KNOW something has to change, book me for a 1hr Breakthrough Call today. I have a couple spots on my calendar and I promise the time and money you invest will change your life.

Book and pay online – link in bio or here: https://israelsmith.com/shop/breakthrough/
Once you’ve paid I’ll get you on my calendar ASAP.

Let me know how you enjoy this episode, and if you want support, book me for a clarity call here:

With love and gratitude,
Israel. xo



WORK WITH ME – Israel Smith – Mindset & Performance Coach.
I help successful high-achievers (like YOU!) enjoy a happier, more fulfilling, purposeful life.

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Welcome to the Illuminating Lives podcast. I’m Israel Smith mindset and performance coach for successful high achievers. Just like you, we want more meaning and purpose in your life without the stress, burnout and overwork. I’ll share how you can make simple changes to your mindset, habits and choices to stop those racing thoughts or angry outbursts and create more time, more energy, more balance, and a lighter, calmer head and heart.

This podcast is for you. If you’re ready to learn how to thrive in our uncertain world. Prioritize your own well-being and mental health. Improve your relationships with your partner and kids. Rediscover some fun, and just get back on track to living your best life every day. I’m stoked that you’re here.

All right. Welcome back to the Illuminating Lives podcast with Israel High. This time around, let’s see if I can get the video to work. I’m looking right at my computer. It’s telling me I’m recording everything. Looks like it’s a green light. Last time I tried this, it was an epic fail. And so I decided to put a little video up saying, Guess what?

The video didn’t work. Anyway. Welcome back. Good to be back on deck today. Let’s talk about all work and no play makes you unhappy as if. All right, you know what I’m trying to say? Everything I have learned in my work as a coach, everything I have learned about well-being and about what makes us tick as humans has led me to understand that we must not let it be nice.

If we must have joy and play in our life every single week. Maybe not every day, although every day is awesome. But like regularly, we need joy and play in our life.

And I put it to you that if you do not have joy and play in your life as a regular feature, you’re going to get burnt out, you’re going to get resentful, you’re going to get upset, you’re going to get maybe super tired or, you know, if you’re the sort of person that is like constantly working, like working all the time to provide for your family, putting everybody else’s needs before your own, taking no time for yourself, all of these things, if this is you, if I’m describing you, then I want to put it to you that you are on the fast track to burnout, to wiping out with potentially even depression.

Here’s why. Play and joy is essential. We need play and joy in our life. But I’m not just going to state that I want to actually dig into a few things that I’ve uncovered as I’ve been researching this.

And before I do, we’re going to just do a quick definition of what play and what joy actually is and then explore why it’s so important to prioritize in our life. So first up, play, it’s a verb, it’s a doing word. It’s about action. The first definition that I love says this to occupy oneself in an activity for diverse ocean amusement or recreation, diversion, amusement or recreation to occupy oneself in those things sounds good.

Second one To do something in sport that is not to be taken seriously. I love these things, right? Kids playing are not taking themselves seriously. Adults playing sport generally take themselves very seriously. If you are going out on a golf course and gotten really frustrated and angry and wanted to throw your clubs off a cliff. But the thing about play is that it’s meant to be a diversion.

It’s meant to be amusing or recreation. It’s meant to be fun. Okay. Now the second thing is about joy. Now, joy is a noun. It is a thing. Joy is defined as intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness. Can I just say, like the definition of joy brings me joy. Reading that out and thinking about what ecstatic and exultant happiness actually means it, it’s just awesome.

It’s such a beautiful power, almost like a physical, visceral kind of expression of what joy actually is. It’s about that those moments when we just get totally carried away with happiness, we just get totally swept away in the moment, having so much fun or feeling that rush. So now that we know play and joy is about happiness and about not taking selves too seriously and about amusement and diversion and occupying ourselves, here’s why.

Play in joy is so important for our well-being. So important for a good life. For a great life. The science studies to back this up. I actually have a bunch of resources on my computer that kind of go into this. I researched this recently for a presentation I did for my old alma mater. The University of New South Wales.

Play lifts our stress. It recharges and refreshes us. It restores optimism, it changes our perspective, it renews neural pathways, it boosts creativity, it increases health and happiness, builds flexibility and adaptation. We are present in the moment and we feel free, joyful and uplifted, like, Are you for real? Who doesn’t want more of that in their life? Right? Play and joy are literally essential ingredients to us living a good, fulfilling life as humans.

This is not a word of a lie. Science backs it up. This is the real deal. Now, do I need to tell you what some examples of play are? I think I will. And here’s why. I work with a lot of men. A lot of these men come to me at a point in their life where they’re just cooked, they’re done.

Life is making no sense. They feel like they’re at the end of their tether. They feel like something has got to give and they’re concerned that they’re completely screwing everything up or that they are ruining their children, that their marriage is nearly on the rocks, that their business has taken over their life and is no fun, and they just want to throw it all away.

Right. This is really common. It’s like a common thread with some of the a lot of the male clients that I’ve worked with as a coach. And in fact, it’s not surprising to me that this is exactly where this journey began for me. I was that guy. I was completely burnt out. I was working seven days a week, my marriage was struggling.

I was being a terrible father and I was literally at the end, I had no idea what to do other than I wanted to throw my business away and just go work like a self stacking kind of job somewhere that just didn’t require anything of me other than to turn up and do what I was told. I know what this feels like and the guys that I’ve worked with have no fun, no joy, no play in their life.

For a lot of them, the concept of that is just so foreign. It’s so unfamiliar. They have no idea what to do to introduce that back into their life. Right. And I can say when I was at the bottom of that metaphorical pit, when I was stuck down a B hole going, What do I even do? How do I get out of this?

I had no idea what it meant to experience, play and joy and fun and to prioritize those things in my life. That took time, right? And the thing about my coaching work, it’s a long term commitment and investment because we didn’t get where we are overnight. It’s not going to magically change overnight as much as we want it to.

There are things we need to learn about ourselves. There are changes we need to make, there are habits we need to build, and these things take time. Anyway, moving on to make it simple, here are some examples of what play looks like games, right? That could be anything from like playing Battleship with your kids to like a video game you love or a card game that you used to play when you’re at uni or college or on a sport like basketball game or a game of handball or like, who knows?

But games are great. One arts and crafts are a great way of playing. You could start with something as simple as those adult coloring books where you just get like a, you know, a 499 pack of colored pencils and one of those grown up coloring books. So just Google a few things and download them and print them and just sit there and coloring and just express yourself that way.

Just do something mindful that is purely for its own sake or crafting like making something for the house, making something for gift. Hobbies are a great one. I have an enormous passion for surfing. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that before. Of course I’ve mentioned that before. If you’ve listened to more than one episode of this podcast, I’m probably sure I’ve spoken about surfing at some point.

Surfing is a hobby of mine. It is an absolute passion and it’s something that I love that not only gives me a sense of joy and fun and play, but also keeps me fit and connects me with nature. So it’s like a two or a34. One other sports, right? Like if you are a golfer or if you play tennis socially or if you play a team sport like basketball.

I mentioned any of those things, leisure activities going out fishing, sitting by the beach, going on bush walks. All of these things are great examples of play, and they can be a wonderful, wonderful source of joy and fun and play in our life. It doesn’t need to be competitive. It doesn’t need to be serious. In fact, according to the definition, it shouldn’t be serious.

But it is vital. It is critically, crucially important that we have these things in our life right now. I just want to recap some of the key benefits here and just really get you to think about this lifting, stress, recharging and refreshing us, restoring our optimism, changing our perspective, boosting our creativity, increasing our health and happiness. All of these things are ingredients for a great life.

All of these things help us lift ourselves from where we currently are to the next level. Now, here’s the other thing about play and joy. Have you ever had an experience of, say, planning like a weekend away, whether you’re a kid or as an adult? Like, okay, Friday afternoon after school or after work, we’re going away for the weekend and it becomes this anticipation becomes something to look forward to the activities in our life that we build around play and joy and fun are like that.

They become something we can look forward to. They become something we can anticipate. And the building of that anticipation is actually a huge boost to our dopamine, which is our motivation or chemical that gets us moving right. Anticipation is a massive factor in dopamine production. And in fact, the anticipation of something like this can be a huge source of joy as well.

Excitement about a holiday that I have coming up keeps me enthusiastic about the fact that maybe I’m doing some tough things in life or in work in my company, right, in my day to day, week to week existence as an entrepreneur and a small business owner, it’s not all easy. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows, right? Rainbows, rainbows.

It’s not always sunshine and lollipops. However, having things to look forward to and to me this includes prioritizing time to go for surf, prioritizing time to watch a cool TV show with the kids making time to spend in my garage doing some timber or woodworking. I’ve started making surfboards out of timber, which has been such a fun process, you know, And I’ve actually now put my very first board in the water and surfed it, and there’s actually nothing quite like surfing a surfboard that you made yourself with your own two hands.

So that experience for me is just elevated this whole place enjoy thing to a whole new level. This is the I’m frothing about this subject, right? In case it’s not evident, play is like one of the most important things, but I don’t want you just to take it from me. I want to talk to you not in specifics, but just in generalities about some of the clients I’ve worked with.

When these clients have started with me, we do a bit of an audit of life. There’s not a whole lot of fun, there’s not a whole lot of joy, and there’s certainly really very little play because they’re so focused on providing for the family, doing all the things they’re responsible for, and being the typical man, the typical, you know, provider protector kind of role that we get stereotypically shunted into that they don’t believe either that they are allowed to take time for themselves.

They don’t feel they’re worthy of taking time for themselves. They just feel like they don’t even know what they would do if they had time for themselves. And so if that’s you be completely normal firstly. And secondly, there is hope here. Now, these guys, when I’ve said, okay, so what do you do for fun? They kind of look at me cross-eyed.

They’re like, Huh? What do you mean, fun? I go to work, I provide for my family. I come home, I take care of all the things my family need for me. I maybe scratch out a bit of time to sleep. I scroll a bit of social media, I watch TV now and then. That’s about it. But the thing about the activities that they do in their leisure time is that those activities are more numbing than they are sources of play and of joy.

Drinking beer, watching sport on TV, scrolling social media, watching endless amounts of crap shows on Netflix. Those sorts of behaviors are more aligned with numbing than they are with an actual conscious choice of joy and play and numbing behaviors are about avoidance. They’re about I’m not getting my needs met and I want to numb how uncomfortable and awkward that feels.

Or I have nothing left in the tank right now and I just need to take my mind off how utterly spent I feel all of the time. Now, again, been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. This is made 12 years ago. When I first was diagnosed depression. I was staying up late watching all sorts of shit television, eating far too much chocolate, drinking, alternating between beer and coffee, depending on what time of day it was.

And there wasn’t a whole lot in my days or my weeks that brought me joy and fun for its own sake. I might get out for surf once a week maybe, but that was really stressed because I was working so much and some of what I used to call play or fun was like training, like a madman for a marathon or for triathlons.

And all those things were actually just serving to exhaust me more than uplift and enrich me and recharge me. Seeing this in my clients prompts me to ask the question, Where is your fun? Where is your play, where’s your joy? And there are some clients who go, Oh yeah, I remember that I used to do this, this and this.

And there are other clients that go, you know, I actually don’t remember any time in my life where I’ve really prioritized having fun and being playful. Now, whether that’s from a case of the nature of their upbringing or trauma or whatever, it’s not important for the purposes of this discussion. What is important is to recognize that only when I challenged these men to proactively do the uncomfortable work of thinking about what might be fun, what might be enjoyable for me to do just for its own sake, where can I prioritize myself?

Where can I put me first? Just for this little stretch of like an hour or two in a week? That experience is like so confronting for a lot of them. I need to start even further back and go, okay, let’s just start with what you might be curious about. What do you want to learn more about?

Is it space? Is it How do they screenprint t shirts? Is it what does it look like to learn how to play a musical instrument like whatever it is? What are you curious about? What makes you get interested? What perks up your attention or pique your interest? Start there and follow your curiosity. My experience of building surfboards started with a curiosity.

I had always been fascinated by the idea of constructing a surfboard, and I initially thought I was going to do it out of foam and fiberglass the way they all are made. Typically, until I learned about this guy who makes them out of timber and I went through I’ve not long tried making successful. He actually made some pieces of simple bedside tables like furniture for the higher then I thought of woodworking plus surfing.

That might be a cool little intersection. So I got curious and I bought a course and learned it and honestly, man, it is so, so much fun and so enriching and such a joy in my life that I look forward to each week when I have my time allocated to do this. But for a lot of my clients, that’s just totally beyond right.

They need to start at first principles. What am I interested in? What am I curious about? And it’s an uncomfortable conversation because they realize that so much of their attention has been focused on family obligations, responsibilities, work, money, mortgage stress. You know, all of these things that actually look at what might be fun, what might be interesting, what might be a leisure activity that exists purely for its own sake.

It’s like another planet or another country. It’s just completely foreign. So starting there and then delving gently into what did you do when you were a kid for fun? What games did you used to play? What cartoons did you watch? What toys did you have? Oh, used to make models. Oh, I was always fascinated by flying or I actually used to be a pilot or I’ve always been really interested in technology and gadgets and stuff.

And so now maybe I’m just interested in learning how to build a gadget of my own and like, do the little smoldering and build a circuit board or something like that. Doesn’t matter. Go birdwatching, watch trains, you know, go for bush walks, whatever, doesn’t matter. But find something that can be uplifting and nourishing and exciting for you and make that a playful, joyful source of fun in your life.

That’s a massive, massive piece of creating a great life. Because what is life for, if not to have a bit of fun with it, Right? We’re all headed for the same ultimate destination. We’re all going to check out of this adventure at some point. For all you know, whatever your faith or belief system is about what happens when we die, we’re all going to die at some point.

Unavoidable. Inevitable. So don’t you think we might as well have a bit of fun over here? When I have coached my clients on this, when they have really gotten clear that they need to have some play in their life and then started taking steps toward that game changer like such a source of shift in their experience of life.

It’s been the almost like the pivotal catalyst point at which things really start to move and life starts to just get immeasurably better. So important. All right, I’m going to stop frothing about this. I want to wrap up this episode. We’ve been going for a while now. What’s that, 20 minutes or so I want to say thank you so much for your attention and for your kind words.

I want to say thank you for listening. And I want to say, if you are one of those men or women who have no idea what play looks like, can’t comprehend the notion of fun or joy in your life. If things are just ridiculously hard and stressful and if it’s just outrageously beyond your concept to be able to take time for yourself, I want you to book in only to book in a discovery clarity call with me or even better book and pay for a breakthrough coaching session with me where I will give you actual coaching and get you moving.

Get your feet on the path, help you discover some things that you can explore, help you make some breakthroughs and some shifts in your thinking so you can get moving towards a life that really lights you up. And that’s what this podcast is all about illuminating lives, lives, that line us up from the inside, lives that feel like we are just a beacon.

Like we on fire, like we’re a lighthouse. Okay, That’s what this is all about. Thank you for being here. Jump into my DMS, send me an email, look in the show notes for links and things about my website. If you’re interested in that breakthrough session, check it out through my website or send me an email if you just want to book in and have a conversation about what coaching might look like before you ready to commit, do that as well.

Just either way, I encourage you strongly get in touch with me and let’s help this play. Joy fun Come to life. Get you out of that rut where all work and no play makes Johnny or Johnny a dull person. Lots of love too. You have an amazing day wherever you are. And I will see you on the next episode.

Thank you so much for joining me on this episode. Since you’re still listening, you’re probably the kind of person who loves to get the most out of everything in life. So let’s have a conversation about that. I want to invite you to book in a 30 minute clarity session with me where we can talk about what you want, what’s in the way, and what the next steps look like.

Plus, we can also have a chat about how I work and if we’re the right fit to work together. So take a minute now jump over to my website at Israel Smith dot com slash coach me and grab a spot on my calendar. Let me help you get the most out of your life, your work and your relationships in the first place to start is with a clarity session.

That’s Israel Smith dot com slash coach me I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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