Why We Need a Whole Heart| My talk from my book release #177

Aaron McHugh

 
 

Usually, I wouldn’t write an introduction to a podcast episode that I am the “guest” or the speaker. But hey, this is the best talk I’ve ever given at my new book launch party on February 1st, Fire Your Boss: Discover Work Your Love Without Quitting Your Job, What makes that accurate? Ninety of some of my favorite humans on the planet were in the room transferred to me through osmosis, and I gained strength as the evening unfolded. Which meant I spoke with boldness and brightness that I long to embody daily. The second and equally equitable, I love people. Deeply. I love the hearts, minds, and lives of people in the daily context of the world of work. My big heart and my decades of living on the front-lines of enterprise corroborate my assignment as a watchman to our hearts arousing at work.

About My new book Fire Your Boss

Making a ruckus at work is going to require a whole heart. Let me show you how to become wholehearted. Fire Your Boss is available wherever you buy books.

Fire Your Boss isn’t what you think. Even if you think you know, it’s still beyond what you imagine. Summed up in a few words, it’s about how happiness and contentment are an inside job.

The best way to introduce you to my book is to share messages I’ve received from readers.

“The book is incredible.  I’m not done yet because I keep looping back- it’s that good.  What a gift.  Thank you.”

-Miriam

“Just finished your book. What a gift. What an incredible, incredible gift. Total mind blower that I will re-read again and again and again. Having someone impart guidance and experiences from a journey that hits so close to home is something that is not of this world.”

-Jared

Me-Aaron McHugh

A few things you may not know about me.

-I’m incredibly competitive, with myself.

-I witnessed the first Space Shuttle landing in 1981, but impaired by the hairy tank-topped armpit of the man next to me.

-My superpower is to motivate other people to do the impossible (or seemingly).

-My wife of twenty-six years is still hot in my eyes.

-My dad was a pastor when I was nine.

-I drink black coffee in a French Press. Don’t own a gun and used to be a Rush Limbaugh listener in college. I’m still repenting.

Transcription of the talk I gave at my book launch party on Feb 1st.

Aaron:

Welcome. Welcome, welcome, welcome.

Very fun. So I have a few thoughts and then we’ll kind of begin the evening. So first of all, thank you for helping me, us stop down and celebrate. And there’s a lot of things in life that we spend time, money, energy on that don’t amount to very much. And there’s a few things like being with people, connecting human to human, these deeper, purposeful, meaningful things that we do that are easy to skip by. So we wanted to in the spirit of celebrating, say, Hey look, I did this. And so, so, so many of you in this room are part of how and part of you have contributed to the person that I’ve become.

I’ll just start with a couple of thank you’s. My wife, Leith here wouldn’t happen. No way without her. There are many, many, many, and I won’t go through all of them. I just want to highlight one other that you should know is that Alex Field, raise your hand here in the back. So Alex is my book agent and it would not have happened without you.

Aaron:

Quick story. So Alex literally fired his boss and left publishing to go start his own agency and so we met, this is two plus years ago and had a conversation and he had read a previous version, a manifesto version that I’d written, eight years ago or something, and what he had asked was, he said, do you have more stories to tell because there’s a book in here somewhere, but this isn’t it and I, I can help you if you can find more stories. And what was really interesting is when I actually went down in my office to start writing the book, I looked at this blinking cursor and was really troubled, honestly by the fact that everything I had done previous, I thought I could just cut and paste and kind of pull forward and say, Oh, well that’s what I had to say. Then. So now apply it to this next, the new version.

Aaron:

None of it worked because the journey that I was on, I didn’t realize how much I had transformed, how much had changed and how much of the ideas that I was entrusted with 10 years ago. Really, it took 10 years to distill. And one of the things I learned about myself is that I’m a marinator. And what I mean by that is like slum, a slow cook Crock-Pot when it comes to ideas. And it really bums me out sometimes seeing, Oh my gosh, it took me 10 years to write a book and so-and-so over here, they’ve done seven books in 10 years. And I realized, Oh wow, that’s so-and-so game’s not very helpful. So what’s true for me is that I distilled like a good whiskey, a book that I’m really proud of that took me 10 years. So what I would like to do this evening is invite you into the ideas in the book.

Aaron:

And so what I would like to do is to begin with a question, what brings you life? Why is that important? We’re going to talk about purpose tonight we’re going to talk about meaning this book that’s titled fire your boss. It actually has very little to do with a boss and work. And it has everything to do with that question, which is how, how can we find more life so that we can be connected so that we can actually do work? We believe in one of my favorite Proverbs over here is above all else, guard your heart for it’s the wellspring of life. I started carrying that in my wallet in high school. I think I was maybe 15 I had no idea what it meant. And what I realize now is so much of the message in the book that I feel deeply passionate about is that it all starts here.

Aaron:

I read this quote recently about how the longest journey is the 18 inches from the head to the heart. And my hope is that tonight I will have an opportunity to facilitate and invite you into closing a little bit more of that gap. And yes, it’s about work and yes, it’s about jobs and context, but really the reason that that’s so important to me is that there’s a season in our life where that’s where we spend so much of our life and most of my life I spend there. And so I just found that this recurring theme was how do we begin to engage the work that we’re doing every day, the context that we’re finding ourselves in, in a way that can be life giving and hopeful. And in the book, what you’ll see in the beginning, the first couple of chapters, there’s this story of right now statistically about two thirds of the American workforce is actively disengaged, which is really another word for saying hopeless and without heart.

Aaron:

Lot of people interacting together on the ideas in my new book Fire Your Boss. This one was about Who did you want to be when you grew up? What did you want to do? What difference did you want to make in the world?

Their heart is not engaged in what they do. So if you’re building widgets, computers, teaching students, you’re a rock climbing guide, you’re a financial planner, your fill in the blank, whatever you do, if your heart’s not engaged. And what really troubled and ached me is that for the last, I don’t even know, 15-20 years, I’ve spent time in other companies, offices starring eyeballed eyeball to people, and I would see these eyeballs and I just saw despair and I was like; this is not okay. This is not okay. We cannot live like this. Because then the problem is everything else in our life begins to fade. And the dull gray of our life is what takes over. It’s not okay. That’s not what we’re made for. That’s not what we’re here to do. We’re here to co-create and design something. And my favorite part is like, you’re the only you there will ever be ever come on. That is outrageous.

Aaron:

And what we drift to is Netflix binge watching. And I was at Costco like an hour and a half ago and I was depressed. I just thought, I can’t believe. And I thought, Oh, hold on, I remember where I’m headed. Right? So I get a chance to tell a room full of people that there’s more than just all you can eat and all you can buy and all you can watch. So that’s what we’re here to do tonight together is we’re going to go after some more of the other of the stuff that actually would fill up your cup and ignite your heart in ways in whatever spectrum of life that you’re in, whatever season of life you’re in. And again, if you, if you use zero in on this as a career story, then that’s all it will be for you. But if you zoom out with me and we look at it as a how do I get more of my life back story, then there’s a whole lot more. So I’d like to read a couple pieces. Then I’ll turn a question back to you like we did when we opened up. I want to start with the intro and just give you a little context of my heart’s behind who I wrote this for and what I hope will happen. I interact with a lot of people

Aaron:

That I see as not sure they can keep going. The versions of that, what that looks like is phrases like, thank God it’s Friday hump day Wednesdays, keep your head down your butt up. And I just found over and over and over that is my fellow comrades and humans. I just couldn’t, I couldn’t stand by and do nothing. And so for me, this book is my full swing at there’s another way and I have found that way really challenging to find my place to today. It was not easy and I hope that what you’ll find in the book is that lots of stories about how that is true, but it was worth it.

Aaron:

You’re worth it. Your worth showing up to your life in your work with a full heart. And it ain’t going to come free. So you’re going to have to, we’re going to have to find a way to make it important.

Aaron:

The introduction, this is the third time I’ve written this book. The first version was a rant I’ve contemplated quitting and not finishing this version of thousand times, but I knew you were out there waiting for a lifeline. The work you do every day is meant to make a lasting dent in the universe, but some of you don’t believe it anymore and your heart is growing weary. I suspect you picked up this book because of the polarizing title and you’re banking on me giving some silver bullet advice on how to rid yourself of a boss forever. Sorry, pal. But this isn’t a book about becoming an entrepreneur or about how to retire early. I’m offering alchemy.

Aaron:

Introduction excerpt from Fire Your Boss, Post Hill Press
“This is a book about how in the day in and day out of going to work, you can learn to create irrefutable value in every workplace, regardless of the circumstances. And if we attempt to tackle our career challenges head on, Albert Einstein promises, no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. But if we take a personal transformation approach about becoming the kind of person who can move from fear to freedom, blame to accountability, disengaged to engaged, powerless to empowered, compartmentalized to wholehearted and rule follower to heretic, well then everything can be different. Fire your boss is a new liberated way of working where we learn to lead and manage ourselves, mature into wholehearted humans and transform our work organizations from the inside out. True career. Liberation is an inside job. Always together we’re starting a revolution, a gathering of ruckus, making brave souls who share a conviction about the importance of doing work we love while engaging our whole heart, body, mind, and soul. In other words, we want it all. We’re about to embark on a journey, a road less traveled to confront the root causes, fueling our workplace unrest. But full disclosure, it isn’t going to be what you think. This is not a revolution with pitchforks and torches. As I said, this is an inside job. Ready? Let’s go.”

Aaron:

From the chapter titled Your Verse to Contribute.

Yeah, I want it. I want to hear from you. So what does that bring up in you agency? What else? I’m ready. Ice. All right. One heretic Recruit. We got any more? Do you guys know? Do you guys know the hero’s journey you ever heard of that Joseph Campbell? Quick picture of it is the star Wars story. The original Luke Skywalker wanted to fight Darth Vader. And so this idea of like a hero wants something. In Luke Skywalker’s case, he wanted to go up against Darth Vader, but he had to go meet Yoda to learn how to become a Jedi. And so there’s this idea of one of these drawings I have over here in the corner is this transformational journey. And this idea of transformation is the, we have to enter into the things that are the unknown places in our lives in order to grapple with and discover what’s actually in the way so that we can then show up and actually engage the things that we’re most passionate about.

Aaron:

And what happens is in the hero’s journey, this, this is the arc of the book of how I wrote it, is that it’s very intentional that each chapter hangs off of this idea. And what it starts with is just awareness, becoming aware. I got out of the car the other day, I was in Southern California and I opened the car door and big what’s the word? Like waft, like a big smell of eucalyptus trees came in and I was like, Whoa, Whoa, like fully aware, like a fully awake, alive aware. Well, in order for us to get to these deepest parts of our, what are holding us back, these blind spots in our lives, we have to start with awareness. So I want to take you into a chapter and it’s off of this poem over here from Walt Whitman. I’ll read it to you here in a second.

Aaron:

[Excerpt from Fire Your Boss, Post Hill Press] “It’s titled your verse to contribute the question. Oh me so sad. Recurring. What? Good. Amid these, Oh me. Oh, life answer that you were here. That life exists and identity that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse,” Walt Whitman, You are meant to rule the world. Okay, maybe not the entire worlds, but you’re meant to leave a lasting Mark on the world by contributing your verse to the ongoing play. Whitman’s poem reminds us that we have a choice. Either we engage our lives with Gusto or we muddle through. Make no mistake. The invitation is for you to show up to your life, your work and your relationships, convinced that you have a vital role to play. Recently Leith and I attended an outdoor wedding at 8,000 feet above sea level in the steam engine, Western town of hot sulfur Springs, Colorado. After the vows were exchanged, the music cranked up and the kids migrated onto the makeshift dance floor covering over the wild Prairie grass.

Aaron:

“A dozen kids accepted the invitation will be to the DJ. In one six-year-old girl had moves like Beyoncé, another little girl dashed out of the tent, then returning wearing her brand-new astronaut jumpsuit with NASA patches and an aviator cap. Ms. NASA’s mom reported yesterday was her birthday and she wanted an astronaut uniform. She wants to be an astronaut. Little kids usually have a pretty good grasp on their desires and on simple questions like what’s most important to you and what do you want to be when you grow up? Little miss NASA went on to tell me about our dreams of attending space camp when she turns 13 her eyes sparkled as she told me about her dreams of space travel when she gets big. My inner eight-year-old, that little eight year old girl helped remind me that every one of us started with a dream.”

Aaron:

“Maybe it was a dream of becoming a nurse, a TV screenwriter, an aviation engineer, an astronaut, or a lion Tamer in West Africa. For some, it might’ve even been curing disease or stopping bad guys or becoming a mom and raising healthy children. I think back to when I was eight I wanted to be a Marine biologist. I wanted to like be like the red beany wearing jock Cousteau, working with dolphins, diving the deep oceans in a submarine in search of hidden treasure when I was eight. I also love riding my hammy down BMX bike. My brother and I shout out in the back and I would ride around town dumpster diving to collect aluminum cans. The stench filled the trash didn’t bother us. Our town had a recycling program that paid a nickel rebate for reclaimed aluminum cans and a whole dime for glass Coke bottle with our black hefty trash bags full.”

Aaron:

“We’d peddled a NOLs grocery store, collect our reward and buy a box of crunch and munch caramel cone in hopes of winning the jackpot prize, a full size Pac-Man arcade game. The dream of playing Pac-Man without ever again having to pay a quarter for three lives if the arcade kept us pushing through trashy, it was the motivation for our adventure. When I was eight I loved adventure and being part of a big quest. Even something as silly as winning full size arcade game. Today. I’m not a Marine biologists, but I’m still holding out hope for the day. I swim with wild dolphins and sleep in a submarine. These childhood stories serve as anchors reminding me of what makes my heart come alive. What was true about me then remains true about me today. Mythic and specific truth. I’m willing to wager there was a good beginning to your career.”

Aaron:

“In the beginning you had a dream, a vision, a target to aim toward. Your future was so bright before your life and career got complicated. Before obligations got in the way, you had a dream that made your eyes sparkle. You had no concept of adult vocabulary like reality and financial, like little miss NASA. You were convinced that you had a necessary role to play in the world averse to contribute. Whom did you want to become? What difference did you want to make? Whom did you want to help? What changes were you destined to bring? So when I was young and when I dreamed of becoming, doing or changing, what was it? Our eight year old. So maybe that’s 10 or 12 for you, whatever the range is, but I call it my inner eight-year-old is a guide that I’ve brought back into my life. And what I mean by that is I found in life that I stopped listening to that young place in me that was happy to go through trash heaps on Saturdays for a nickel at a time for the adventure of just, just because, and those adult vocabulary words like financial security and responsibility and all those things I found started really running my life and I allowed that to happen.”

These are illustrations that I created for the book, but didn’t make it in time for the publication deadline. I put them on display as an art display like you would see deleted scenes as part of a movie. I love how they illustrate the big ideas on the book in simple visuals.

Aaron:

“And so by re-integrating this younger part of me and holding it really loosely has really enabled for me back to the beginning of how do I become more wholehearted. So that it’s been a critical piece for me. So I want to share a little bit more in that chapter with you about how that began to come to life and how easy it is for us to lose the trail. Your eight year old self is the best guide for your career fulfillment. I know some of you don’t believe me or you scoffed at the idea of your inner eight year old running your life, but let me introduce you to a concept that will help you as you interact with the ideas in this book. Mythic truth and specific truth. Mythic truth is a way of thinking with a degree of magic and mystery injected into our lives and our interpretations and our mindsets.”

Aaron:

“Specific truth is fact based, linear and rooted in cause and effect. The challenge is that specific truth limits our magical thinking by demanding that a truth be explicitly factual or accurate, allowing your idealistic, whimsical, sparkly I’d sold to be your guide is a mythic truth. Now, in my late forties I see clearly how much effort and time I put into thwarting the leadership of my young guy by assuming that mythic kids advice was too risky. You didn’t follow. That’s not practical. They’ll never understand. You need to grow up and do what’s needed. It doesn’t matter if you like it or not. Specifically, I’m not suggesting that we ignore work ethic and responsibility to do what’s necessary. What I’m talking about concurrently holding mythic truth in one hand and specific truth in the other to create a dualism truth. 25 years ago, shortly after marrying my wife, I had a conversation with my father in law who call him Phil with a college degree in a baby face.”

Aaron:

“I sat across the lunch table from him facing the topic of how are you going to provide for my daughter, my wife, 26 years now forward. Yeah, right, and I had just moved to Colorado with no savings or promising career. We just finished volunteering all summer for a young life camp, taking high school kids backpacking from Phil’s viewpoints. Our choices probably appeared financially irresponsible and dreaming. I did land a minimum wage job selling tents and backpacks at a local outdoor retailer, but as questions regarding provision were fair and valid, my father in laws, the real salt of the earth kind of guy. He worked in the coal mines of Pennsylvania during the 1940s he built his family’s home one paycheck at a time. They didn’t have enough money to insulate the walls before moving in, so they kept warm by stacking blankets and sharing beds. I’m confident I didn’t wield my response to his question with the maturity that I would today. Nonetheless, here’s what my young guide said. I want them to provide but not work so much that I’m always away from my family all the time. Understandably, Phil’s gruff response was something along the lines of, you better get over yourself and do whatever is necessary.”

Aaron:

“Whether you like it or not, doesn’t come easy. Embedded in my response was this tension of mythic truth and specific truth. I did need to provide financially for my family regardless of how long or how hard I had to work. What neither of us knew at the time was that my verse two contributes. My dent in the world lies within the tension of work life balance. Even then, I agreed with his specific truth, but mythically I’ve always believed there’s a narrow path to be sought and found where work life, relationships, and play can coexist in a sustainable rhythm concurrently. The mythic truth I was attempting to convey was that I love my wife and I want to be with her and my future kids. I don’t want to work so much that I never enjoy the people I love most. I also need to enjoy the work I do every day so that my heart doesn’t shrivel up and die.” [Excerpt from Fire Your Boss, Post Hill Press]

Aaron:

Can I get an amen to that? Come on. How many of you have faced days where you’ve thought your heart might shrivel up and die? How many of you are facing those days today? Yeah. Your heart is essential. It’s a real challenge that when we find ourselves in circumstances, in life, in work, in relationships where our heart begins to atrophy and dry up like a raisin, I can’t do it because then other parts of us begin to die and maybe not die all at once, but like death by a thousand paper cuts. It’s still death. It just takes a long time,

Aaron:

Not me.

Aaron:

This me and you-What we’re doing here is too important to roll over and play dead white knuckle our way to the finish line. Atrophy. Shutdown,

Aaron:

Not on my watch.

Aaron:

[Excerpt from Fire Your Boss, Post Hill Press] “Back then I sensed a vague, if undefined notion of those two truths that they could coexist. Today I become the kind of person who can wheel the duality of holding a mythic truth while stewarding the necessity of specific truth. I can buckle down and do what’s needed and simultaneously steward mythic truths that transcend my specific circumstances and seasons of life. Admittedly, it’s taken years of effort, trial, air, triumph, failure and experience to live consistently in the balance and most days I’m still far from where I hope to be someday. For you, my friends, be aware that developing this skill of calibrating your career and daily work of balancing mythic truth and specific truth isn’t simple or easy. I think it’s a lot like mastering the art of fly fishing.”

Aaron:

“After 10 years of working in the rivers and creeks of Colorado and Utah, I can usually catch at least one fish during each outing. My brother always catches more. By the way, I still aspire to be the kind of artists displayed by Brad Pitt’s character in the movie a river runs through. It gives me over that shadow casting. Turned out he didn’t catch a lot of fish when your lines in the air, all the but it looked pretty. But I’m decades away from reliably interpreting and intuitively reading the water and understanding which flies optimal for the conditions, season and water flow. What worked great last week, 30 miles downriver can prove ineffective on a perfect weather day, perplexing as it can be. Fly fishing. Another brother from another mother requires a similar depth of adaptability and willingness to embrace mystery. Norman MacLean, the godfather of fly fishing literature said it best. My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe, to him all good things, trout as well as eternal salvation come by. Grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.” [Excerpt from Fire Your Boss, Post Hill Press]

Aaron:

A full crew of our neighbors and friends came out to celebrate with us. Thanks y’all.

So welcome to my book. Welcome to the invitation to find more life. Wherever you find yourself today, whatever the story is, whatever the highs and the lows and the victories, whatever the timeline starts today. And for those of you that know me and us, our family, well you should know our life is not been easy. If you don’t know you’ll find that out here. But I am not here telling you about how I crushed it and I’m retired and I fly fish all the time. I am not telling you about the slam dunk easy marriage that I have a beautiful woman that I’m married to, but we have had some thin moments,

Aaron:

Right?

Aaron:

And there’s a long list of challenges and obstacles that we’ve faced in such a way that at the bottom of the transformation U, I live there a lot and actually I sign up for it now. I sign up for,

Aaron:

Yeah, let’s see where this goes.

Aaron:

This friction is actually producing in me and I’ve found way more joy and way more freedom when I realize that happiness and joy is an inside job and I spent so many years trying to manage my externals and I was exhausted, depleted, and on the sidelines of life.

Aaron:

Can I read one more for ya? All right. This one’s called the power play. [Excerpt from Fire Your Boss, Post Hill Press] “Ralph Waldo Emerson said, it is a happy talent to know how to play. When do you just play Sam’s question? Caught me off guard. Sam was my new friends and Aloha ambassador who just moments before I’d witnessed me flip my one-man Outrigger canoes repeatedly. He had graciously offered helpful advice like try EEZ and then silence to allow me some room to figure out that more muscle wasn’t the answer. After a few more tries, we left the shoreline of the napping sea turtles to paddle into cacao Bay in search of a Sandy point to start our fitness routine onshore, running barefoot in the golden sand between pushups and lunges. Sam dropped that question. When do you leave your watch at home and run just for fun? When do you just play between flipping the canoe and the lunges?

Aaron:

I was feeling quite shaky. Maybe that’s why he chose to ask. When he did, he knew my defenses were weak and you might get an honest answer. Although Sam and I had just met, he knew my story. He’d met my daughter Hadley, and he seemed to appreciate all the stress I was attempting to manage in my life. He saw how I use physical fitness as my release valve to siphon off the built up pressure. Having spent his career developing vacation homes along the koala coast for clients with last names like Dell and Schwab. Sam knew one when he saw one, one being someone who didn’t know how to play in the wake of his question, I honestly had no idea what he was talking about.

Aaron:

My answer never. Child’s play.

Aaron:

We have to let go of exhaustion. Busy-Ness and productivity is status, symbols and measures of self-worth. We are impressing. No one

Aaron:

Says Brene Brown.

Aaron:

Allow me to channel my inner Aloha Sam and ask you, when do you just play?

My lovely wife on my right, Leith McHugh and Cherie Snyder, epitome of wellness (both of them). Thanks for your support lovely ladies.

Aaron:

When do you leave the watch literal or figurative behinds and do something simply for the joy of it. If you like me back then have no idea what I’m talking about, then it’s highly likely that your life is over programs. Over-Scheduled and everything is either a competition or a checklist of efficiency or some toxic cocktail of both. If so, that’s perfect. I’m here to help. I’m intentional these days about asking people that question, when do you just play? And the two most popular answers I get are one when I’m on vacation or two, never. I don’t fault anyone for those answers. They’re fair. If you recall, never was my answer. I gave to Aloha Sam. I was truly perplexed by the idea of playing as a grown man. I needed some help interpreting what it means to play as an adult because if I’m honest, I believe that play was for children.

Aaron:

Thus the phrase child’s play as kids, we played, you know, like Tonka trucks and running through the woods, playing games like capture the flag, but in a strange twist on an old Bible verse, when I became a man, I put away those childish things. As an adult, I was more about achieving life goals. Of course, if anyone pressed me on the question, I’d respond with stories of climbing mountains or doing triathlons. I assume that because I exercise daily and occasionally came home bloody and muddy, that must mean I was playing. Yes, those were in our healthy outlets for adventure and physical fitness. But here’s the subtle little secret. When I engaged in them, I was always measuring my performance, always keeping score and that’s not playing. In 1938 Dutch cultural historian Johann wrote about the importance of play in culture play is the free activity standing quite consciously outside ordinary life as being not serious but at the same time absorbing the player intensely and utterly. It is an activity connected with no material interest and no profit can be gained. I’ll spare you Johannes sociologist, dark jargon simplified. He says play as having two key qualities. One, no one’s keeping score and two, we engage in an activity for just enjoyment and no other game.

Aaron:

Back to the time on the big Island, my family were on vacation for three weeks, which became my detox from my addiction, to stress and busyness. While there I received an invitation to join a mixed bag of men from billionaire residents to Kona locals for something they called run the rock we assembled on the beach, grabbed paddleboards and jumped on a five man Outrigger canoe and splashed our way to a nearby Cove for their ritual. Here’s how run the rock goes. I partnered up with a guy and then I dive down, pick up a lava rock, run along the ocean floor when I’m out of gas, I’d resurface and then my buddy would dive down and take his turn and I mean like run on the bottom of the ocean. It was an absolute monster. I later learned that running the rock as a regular aspect of lifeguard and big wave surfer training, but I have to confess that in these moments without a watch, void of any sense of competition, deep in the ocean, blue Sam’s question clicked and I thought, I feel like I’m eight years old again, free from any responsibility and fully alive down here. Totally enjoying this experience.

Aaron:

Hey Sam, look at me. I’m playing months later back on the mainland at work in my office attempting to live with the run the rock spirit. A spark ignited. I think I’ll become a smoker, so it makes me so happy that you laugh at that. Stay with me here. Okay. My reality was this, I couldn’t seem to find any time during the day to play. Every minute of my Workday was scheduled with calls and meetings like yours are. However, I noticed the smokers each possessed a free hall pass of permission to run outside for 10 or 15 minutes multiple times per day. No one gave them a stink-eye hell, they’re even laws to protect them. In that realization, my idea was born. Why don’t I act like I’m a smoker and turn those Workday smoke breaks into playful moments. Instead, remember I warned you about the necessity of holding unorthodox ideas. I’m just saying armed with nothing more than courage in a big lighter from 7-11 I started using my smoke breaks to go to my truck in the parking lot and fire up my small portable backpacking stove and for what reason to brew up a hot cup of coffee on my tailgate. I had no intention of becoming a smoker. I just wanted an excuse to catch my breath, enjoy a few moments of not keeping score and enter into the spirit of play.” [Excerpt from Fire Your Boss, Post Hill Press]