I had such a laugh when I recorded this show with Jeff Harry back in the solemn days of lockdown in 2020. It brought a breath of fresh air because Jeff is a play coach, and in a serious world, this is something we need to reconnect with.

So, as I needed to take some time out from editing this week, I thought it would be good bring a bit of playful energy your way with this re-launch.

If nothing else, the last two years have shown us that adulting can become overwhelming and we need to find a way to find opportunities to bring joy and inspiration back into the field.

In this conversation, the key point Jeff brings is that we need to bring humour and play back into adult life, particularly in the workplace. I hope you enjoy this conversation with Jeff Harry.

Jeff Harry’s Story

Play is something that most of us associate with childhood. As adults, we might play with children, but most people gave up playing when they hit puberty. But not today’s guest Jeff Harry, The Play Coach.

Do you give yourself permission to play?

It’s considered OK to play sports, cards or board games, but there are adult responsibilities, so it is mostly believed that there is no time for ‘child’s play’ in the adult world. There is a little light as the gaming industry has tapped into our desire to play and made it acceptable for adults to play online games. However, all of this play is still confined to our leisure time; the difference with children is that playing is their day job.   

But what if we have got it wrong. Should play be part of our day job as adults?

Jeff Harry shows individuals and companies how to tap into their true selves, to feel their happiest and most fulfilled — all by playing. When he saw the movie “Big” where Tom hanks got to play in a toy shop, thinking that was a job he wanted, he started writing to toy companies. In his words…

“I was spamming before spam was even a thing.”

Letters from a 9-year-old get treated as kind of nice but politely rejected. Not that it stopped him, he kept writing, and by the time he was 15, he got some advice to study mechanical engineering.

So, achieving the degree and got the job he had always wanted in toy company. However, it was not what he expected or wanted, because as he discovered, there was no play!

Time to Move On

There he was 25 and working in a cubicle, looking at a screen and writing reports about play. Then 9/11 happened and leaving New York seemed like a good option, so he quit. 

Moving to the San Francisco bay area, he got the perfect job building stuff with Lego, and over the next 12 years he turned it into the largest Lego inspired stem organisation with over 400 people doing creative stuff. 

Our conversation is the story of how Jeff took play into the business world. He has since 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 established international speaker.  He has been selected by BambooHR & Engagedly as one of the Top 100 HR Influencers of 2020, for his work in organisational development. 

“While we spend most of our time pretending to be important, serious grown-ups,
it’s when we let go of that facade and just play, that the real magic happens.”

It is a wonderful conversation; Jeff encourages us to embrace our nerdy genius, as it gives us the power to make a difference and change lives. He 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.

Jeff Harry’s Links:

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