Thursday, September 20, 2012

Getting Lost in a Good Book



Play is serious business.
-Kevin Carroll

Today is a special edition of Time Travel Tuesday on Thursday. I am spending every spare moment today reading The Red Rubber Ball at Work, by Kevin Carroll. Carroll’s message is play is serious business.

As I curl up with an iced coffee and get lost in the pages, it transports me back to day’s when I had nothing urgent requiring my time. When my biggest decision was where to read: bed, couch, shady tree or pool. As an adult, there never seems to be quite enough time for reading just for fun. Although it remains at the top of my vacation to do list. Funny, how I have been conditioned to fly somewhere else just to go somewhere else in my mind. Not today though. 

I prefer non-fiction. Biographies are my favorite. I especially enjoy stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. This book is not about Kevin Carroll’s life story, but it was inspired by it. Carroll spoke at a corporate retreat last week that my husband attended. He came out bouncing a red rubber ball while sharing a deeply personal story about a childhood lost. Kevin Carroll's Story Kevin’s drug addicted parents abandoned him at the age of 6. Angry and scared, he eventually found solace on the playground. After working in the NBA and for Nike, he now inspires others to make the connection between play and their life’s passion. He challenges people by asking: What is your red rubber ball? Are you chasing it or is it long forgotten collecting dust in some dark closet?

The book is not just about Kevin chasing his dream to inspire others to play. It is about all sorts of other dreamers and doers who have blurred the lines between what they enjoyed imagining as children and what drives them professionally. The book is really about how work and play can be the same thing when you identify your passion and purpose. Each interview asks the person to finish the sentence play is........

creating imaginary worlds
pushing boundaries
creating joy for others
skill and instinct
tinkering
bringing people together
problem solving
resourcefulness
everything
embracing the unexpected

The list goes on and on. Each chapter is focused on different career virtues like leadership, innovation, teamwork and curiosity. I admit I skipped ahead to curiosity first since this is my month to focus on childlike curiosity. Some of the contributors to the curiosity chapter are: Tipping Point Author Malcolm Gladwell, Alchemist Author Paulo Coelho and Redball Project Artist Kurt Perschke. For example, Malcolm Gladwell likened his love of building with legos to constructing a story, chapter by chapter. Really must go now....writing today is taking too much time away from my more serious endeavor.

How will you finish the sentence? Play is.......................

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