We are all in the business of selling ourselves. What sells is not just the product or service, it is the person standing behind it. People connect with you first. And if they like you they will use every justification to do business with you.
Does having fun make you successful?
The more fun you have in your life, the more attractive and successful you will become. You smile more, have more energy and you magically attract good things and good people into your life. People are naturally attracted to the smiling, enthusiastic person in the room. Be that person and you will attract more customers. It’s that simple. Trust me, I know. I have built the entire MSA National business on this fun mindset. Without fun, a KPI is met, a box is ticked and another dull day goes by without empathy and connection with the customer.
With fun, everyone is excited to be at work (we even have to force people to go home at the end of the day), emails are written with smiley faces, phone calls are filled with laughter, and settlements are completed with purpose. Yes, fun is important, at home and in business.
So why isn’t everyone having fun?
Most people have lost the ability to have fun. Or worse still, have the wrong idea on what fun is.
Fun is NOT getting drunk on a Friday night.
Fun is NOT watching TV or surfing the internet.
Fun is NOT attracting likes on Facebook.
Fun is NOT in the next new car or pair of shoes you buy.
Fun is NOT found in walking around a shopping centre.
What kills fun?
As children, having fun comes naturally and easily. Making friends and being funny was a daily joy. But then as school, parents and even religious institutions start to inﬂuence our belief systems, we start to do things to please others and spend precious energy worrying about what they think. We stop smiling as much and taking ourselves too seriously.
We are told to sit still for long periods, follow orders, and conform. We are asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, instead of “How would you like to help others and contribute to society”. Then as we become adults we start watching the news and learning fear.
We learn to complain. We start to blame. We focus on fault. We become cynical, even miserable or at best, mediocre.
Most of all, we stop scheduling time to have fun as we focus more and more on the material world. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with owning things, as long as those things don’t start to own you.
Do you need to be happy to have fun?
Yes and no. Being happy makes having fun easier but having fun also makes you happy.
Being unhappy or in a bad mood is a signal from your body and mind that you need to change something in your life.
You need to change your thinking, change your diet/lifestyle or even change the people you hang out with. These changes require effort and time. Having fun should not wait for those changes to happen.
So the shortcut is to force yourself to do fun things so you can be happy in that moment. Most of us don’t feel like having fun when we are in a bad mood, but that is when we need it the most. So you need to force yourself to get up and get out.
So how do you have fun?
1. Turn your frown upside down and for God’s sake change your posture. Your body language has a huge impact on your mindset (and vice versa). I make a point of laughing out loud every day. There is a lot of research on this subject but my favourite layman’s talk is by Amy Cuddy on TED, (with over 14 million views) titled “Your body language may shape who you are”.
2. Watch and listen to comedy movies and stand-up. Scientists have shown that doing this makes you a funnier person, which puts you in the mood to have fun. It also makes you smarter, which is an added bonus. I personally watch a short comedy skit every night as part of my nightly routine. My favourites are Arj Barker, Kitty Flanagan, Jim Jefferies and Russell Peters.
3. Surprise your family and friends. Be a prankster and do the unexpected. Go home at the end of the day with a bunch of balloons for the kids. Print your favourite funny family photos and stick them in the most unusual places.
My daughter Amelia taught me this. She transposed her mum’s face on an image of the Mona Lisa and stuck it on the inside of the pantry cupboard, wardrobe, etc. You should have heard the cackles every time a door opened!
This went on for days.
4. Surprise your customers and/or staff. I have coached a few mortgage brokers on how to have fun with customers on the phone and in person. And it works! Instant rapport. Turn up to an appointment with a box of chocolates or a funny book or movie tickets. Be thoughtful. Your choice depends on what info they give you over the phone before the appointment.
Make sure you make the customers feel like its obligation free. It’s all in the delivery. Please email me and I will forward you a list of what else you can do and how this works best.
At MSA we constantly surprise our team with fun and unexpected things. One day we filled the breakout room with delicious treats in a Willy Wonka theme and we had Adriano Zumbo deliver them. The vibe in the office was electric with smiles and selfies. We are all big kids in a candy store waiting to come out!
5. Use fun emoji’s and be funny with your emails and texts. This does not make you unprofessional as long as this fun approach is coupled with displays of competence. Fun communications just make you more human and interesting and people will be genuinely intrigued to meet you in person. With one client I coached, we simply made her voice mail message more fun and customer referrals increased significantly. She became known as the fun mortgage broker who also knew her stuff! With another client, we changed his email auto-response and the rapport with customers increased dramatically! He started getting more appointments.
Here are some ways I have fun:
1. Organise a cards night with whisky, cigars or whatever turns you on.
2. Go on a country drive on weekends with a cavalcade of cars.
3. Pretend you are a tourist and/or put on an accent for the day. My daughter loves this.
4. Go to the farmers market or better still, go fruit picking at a farm.
5. Invite your neighbours over. Especially the weird ones haha.
6. Host a movie night with popcorn and ice cream.
7. Share your bucket list with others and talk about what each means to you.
8. Go through your old photos and relive stories. This does not mean you live in the past.
Rather, it inspires future adventures.
9. Go on a bike ride. The wind in your hair makes you smile.
10. Go bowling or better still, play lawn bowls.
11. Take turns cooking. Boys cooking for the girls always ends in laughter.
12. Go to the park and on the swing set with your kids.
13. Play board games and charades.
14. Tell or read your kids stories at bedtime.
15. Play backyard cricket or touch footy.
16. Attend a seminar with colleagues – yes learning should be fun.
17. Organise a surprise party for a friend or family member.
18. Go dancing! My wife’s favourite.
Do you notice how all of the above do not require much, if any, money? Did you also notice that all of the above is best enjoyed with friends? Life is boring without friendships.
Some measure their wealth by their bank account. I measure it by the quality of my friendships, which includes my own family and my work colleagues. So how many close friends do you have? Do you hang out with people that make you laugh? These are the most important questions you should first ask yourself. Making friends with the right people is your first step to having fun.
How do you have fun? I’d love to hear from you: [email protected]