You may be perfect for all I know. I’m not. I lose my keys, my patience, occasionally my mind, but generally not my sense of humor. For me humor is invaluable in building relationships, managing challenges, and even dealing with serious business. Humor makes you relatable. It tears down barriers and creates room for more honesty. I know of nothing that diffuses tension like humor.
I am deliberate about the humor in my trainings, presentations, writing and interactions. People are far more interested in learning when they’re having fun and it’s easier to talk about difficult content and reflect on our own shortcomings when we can laugh about it. But humor is also important in building business and personal relationships. All other things being equal, I want to work with people who know how to laugh and find joy in what they do. While I believe in high standards, intellectual rigor, the pursuit of excellence, and discipline, I see no reason why humor can’t have a place in serious work. I value humor no less than discipline because frankly discipline without humor is hard and difficult to sustain.
Play expands our minds and creates new opportunities. I know that when people laugh at work, they want to be at work. I know that my teenage sons appreciate my parenting and can receive direction when I add humor and love to hard lessons. I know that hard things are made bearable with humor.
I invite you to watch a video from a recent talk I did about why laughter is important. If you watch carefully, you’ll hear lots of serious and heavy truth in all that silliness. Even if the work you do is deadly serious, no, especially if it’s deadly serious, I hope you laugh when ever and where ever you can.