Having been a serious person most of my life the topic of lightness of heart is of such high importance for me personally at this point, as well as being so important for cultivating a compelling and meaningful culture.
I’m learning that to deliver the really powerful messages, the important ones with far reaching effects, that too much all at once can be overwhelming and even off-putting for some. Even though the message is vital to current progress. Even though it’s true. Even though it’s necessary. Even still, the message can be resisted or rejected outright.
Lightness of heart, humor, and even downright silliness can serve as the elixir to resistance. Humor and silliness are disarming, yes, but more importantly they can help to place everything in proper perspective—that while there are always difficult jobs to be done and seemingly insurmountable challenges, the sun will still rise in the east the following morning, the rivers will still flow, and the sky will still show its beautiful hue of blue.
What’s more, our lives will still continue on in the face of any level of challenge and the worst that can happen is that we will learn and become wiser from having ridden the tide of mishap and calamity.
The Navajo people have a saying, “awk’hee jii naahasdzaa biikaa’gi” that translates to, “every day on this earth.” They use this phrase in songs and prayers. The phrase is so simple that it almost seems obvious, but there is an important wisdom contained in this simple phrase—that we are still here—every day on this earth—walking the road of life. And, isn’t that the point?
Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher is known for pulling such antics as hiding in an overhead bin on a flight to surprise flight attendants. Core value number three of Zappos.com is, “Create fun and a little weirdness.” Female prison guards in male prisons are known to be just as effective at maintaining order because they tend to have more well developed communications skills and utilize humor to disarm and diffuse situations.
In business and in culture we can be our own worst enemies if we take things too seriously. We need to have fun with people so they know we are real people, and if they know we are real people they will trust us more readily so that when we share the hard data, the sobering truth or the vital statistics, they will be more able to take it in stride and work with it, mold and process the message, and aspire to transcend.
Tip of the Week
For some this will be easy, for some not. If this sounds uncomfortable that means it’s exactly what you must do. Ready? Okay. Pick your moment, and be a goof ball.
Thank you to Whoosh Kaallii for part of the inspiration for this blog.
Thank you to Rolando Yellowhair for help with Navajo spelling.
Thank you to the ancestors for showing me what I most need to see at this time.