I remember that when I was young my brother and I would pull out as many blankets as we could and start “building.” We’d drape them over and piece of furniture we could find and make our fort. Some forts were small, but most were massive and seemed to fill the entire room. We’d bring in various toys, create some scenario from our minds and then play for hours and hours.
We didn’t have the ability to look things up on the Internet back then. We relied only on our imagination. That didn’t limit us at all. Whenever we built forts, we’d come up with something completely new. We’d make up names of characters and incredible lands that never existed in “real life.”
Back then the majority of our day involved our imagination and creativity. I’m sure there were times we were bored, but I don’t remember many. Please note that this isn’t some rant about the “good old days” or how kids were more free thinking because we didn’t have the same technology kids have today. It is, however, a yearning for the days when I relied more of my imagination than I do today.
Imagination and creativity is stymied in today’s organizations because we don’t view those facets as “work.” We think that anything that takes away from traditional approaches to production is inefficient. There are calls for innovation which usually lead to random retreats to get the juices flowing and break away from the daily routine. We only look to tap into people’s creative potential when something is critically wrong or stuck.
My kids made blanket forts when they were young, and now that they are entering the workforce. I’m concerned that they too will fall into the trap of the mundane daily grind. That’s sad to me and it needs to change.
This past weekend, I was reminded about the joy of a blanket fort !! The ironic thing about this experience was that it didn’t involve kids at all. I made a trip to the SHRM headquarters to meet with the great folks who helped me publish my book – HR on Purpose !! The reason for the trip was another surreal opportunity. I went to do an audio recording of the book which will be on Audible in the future. I was geeked to have this chance, and couldn’t believe it was happening.
Where does the blanket fort come into the picture? Take a look at my recording “studio.” The staff at SHRM took a soundproof room and set up this makeshift wonder out of blankets !! I had someone apologize that there wasn’t something more “professional to make the recording. I told them that the studio couldn’t have been more perfect.
I sat in a chair in front of a microphone with headphones on and began reading. Six hours later we finished and everyone was spent. We had time to share stories in between chapters, laugh a ton and also each of us reminisced about the blanket forts we all had made when we were young.
This week step back and reignite your imagination. Take some time to find the joy and creativity that you used to enjoy. See how you can make this a regular occurrence once again. See how many ideas are just waiting to be let loose. Build a “blanket fort” at work. It’s sure to be fun, and I know that you’re looking for a way to break out of your rut !!