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  • emma3423

Come and play...

A serious of silly photos of Emma: I'm posing in the middle of an ice cream cone, wearing a superhero mask, and feathered outfit, a lamshade over my head and then I'm making a funny face in front of a scary statue
In case we're unclear about the message here: I'm playful

When was the last time you let yourself play? Messy, chaotic, unplanned fun.

I found myself considering this as it’s the first International Day of Play today, organized by the UN. As the kid in the very cute video says: aside from just being fun, “play helps bring us together, helps us understand each other better. It makes us stronger, teaches us how to be a team and helps us discover our hidden talents”.

How do we make time for play in our working lives? Aside from the odd LEGO-fueled Agile workshop, sadly there often don’t seem to be enough opportunities for play office – limiting our access to the skills and opportunities that the UN’s #InternationalDayofPlay is emphasising.

One of my favourite elements of the Barefoot Coaching course was Transactional Analysis. The wonderful Sarah Lowes (she/her) introduced us to Functional Fluency, a development of the original Ego states model that TA is based on. I was really struck by the positive aspects of the ‘free child’ state (bottom right hand corner of the FF model). Previously, when I’ve been taught about Transactional Analysis, it was all about keeping away from the ‘negative’ behaviours of the ‘controlling parent’ or ‘rebellious child’ and moving firmly to the adult space.

Why was I so struck by the idea that there were positive elements of the ‘free child’? If you’ve worked with / met me, you’ll understand. One of my core values is ‘fun’. I giggle. I make jokes. This hasn’t always worked out well for me, but fun is what brings us together, builds bonds and breaks down barriers.

Sarah Lowes talked about the value of having one foot in ‘Adult’ while exploring other states with your other foot – Jenga anyone??

Free child or ‘expressing my own self’ is where self-care happens, authenticity, creativity, where you’re able to express your wants and needs. I was drawn to the creativity of PR agencies for many years, my Consultancy now enables me to flex my creativity regularly for clients: facilitation is essentially my invitation to your free child to ‘come and play’, create with me, let’s see where we go?

So I’m embracing my free child – today and as many days as I can manage. The mole in me (one for another newsletter!) will readily embrace opportunities for deep thought at times and life delivers plenty of time for sadness and reflection, but making time for fun, creativity and collaboration will forever be part of my professional being (and I hope my kids will continue to make it part of my home life too – no matter how tired I am at 6am on a Sunday morning!).

Want to offer your team development opportunities while breaking down barriers and building your team culture? Drop me a message on LinkedIn.

The UN is inviting us all to play and to make time and space for more children across the globe to have the opportunity to play today. Here’s the Call To Action.


What am I dancing to? While I fully back my former client Outward Bound’s call for more of them, dropping my 11 y/o off for a residential school trip sent me into a bit of a parenting tailspin, so Big Moon’s Here is Everything is on repeat.

Not necessarily a dance-track, but the BBC World Service’s Dear Daughter podcast is bringing me a lot of joy right now.

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