Last month I spent a weekend talking with a group of smart women about business-y things.
Unsurprisingly, we spent a lot of time talking about our priorities. There’s always more to do than the time to do it in, so how do we decide where to focus our time and energy?
One boss lady shared a bit of advice that helped her prioritize where she spent her time on social media and it was this: chase the fun.
She explained: you can’t possibly engage thoughtfully with Facebook, and Pinterest, and Twitter, AND Instagram (not to mention Snapchat, Periscope, and the various new tools popping up every day). So pick one, and make it the one you enjoy the most. That fun factor is a good sign that you find it interesting enough to do it well.
She was talking about social media, but since that weekend, I’ve been dispensing that same advice on a regular basis, and it’s not in reference to instagram.
When people ask me about a choice they have to make (and hurray for choices!—not everyone is so lucky) I find myself telling them to chase the fun as they decide: the friend who has a brand new baby and two rare hours to herself and is baffled by how to spend it. The reader who wants to start a blog but isn’t sure what topic to focus on. The lawyer who emails me about wanting to quit law and write instead but isn’t sure what those first baby steps look like. My kid who needs to choose a topic for a research project.
Chase the fun doesn’t mean telling your boss to shove it and booking that flight to Jamaica, or leaving your homework unfinished. It doesn’t mean blowing the work off when it gets hard.
It means giving the preferential option to the choice that lights you up inside. It means finding the work that makes more of you. (Maybe it only makes a little bit more of you. Some days instead of chasing the work that makes more of you, your best option is the work that depletes you a little bit less.)
Chasing the fun doesn’t mean it’s not work, or that it’s not hard. It doesn’t mean you’re not scratching and clawing and gritting your teeth sometimes. But if you’re going to work hard, you’d just as soon be working on this, whatever this is.
I just finished reading the new Rob Bell book How to Be Here, and he puts a different spin on the concept. When you’re not sure exactly what to do next, which path to take, he says, Follow your curiosity. Whether you’re planning your whole life or just your afternoon, pay attention to what interests you. What problems do you find compelling? What issues make you stop and take notice? Pay attention to that.
This isn’t your permission slip to spend the day googling news on the Gilmore Girls reunion. It IS an invitation to keep an eye on what fires you up as you move through the world.
To those looking for the next step—for your project, your afternoon, or the rest of your life: chase the fun. Follow your curiosity. And take the next step.
What has chasing the fun looked like for you? When you followed your curiosity, where did it lead you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, as well as any pithy advice YOU take to heart, in comments.
P.S. You may also like: The work that makes more of you, and a little about my struggles with being the boss lady. And I’m 80% sure the women I have to thank for this good advice are Emily Freeman and Annie Downs (who even has a new-ish podcast called That Sounds Fun!). They are smart, savvy women: go check them out.