Here in the town of Guanajuato, Mexico, a center for colonial silver mining and an identified UNESCO World Heritage site, you see and feel the palpable energy, vibrancy, and joie de vivre everywhere. The plazas at the heart of this charming town teem with the sights and sounds of laughter from children playing, friendly banter between people, lovers entwined, and merchants hawking their wares from portable kiosks. Even the colors, bright vibrant yellows, blues, purples, reds and greens, are a constant riotous display.
It’s not just the colors of the houses, inside and out, pottery, and clothing; it’s the decorative flourishes. In particular, there are hanging flags everywhere one looks. After research, I learned they’re called papel picado, or perforated paper. The literal translation is “pecked” paper. They are brightly colored, stenciled with figures or symbols appropriate to various seasonal celebrations. They are strung between buildings on the main streets, placed in homes such as ours where a string of them is hanging in our bedroom, or used for more mundane day-to-day purposes such as placemats.
The other day, as we were walking down the street, I felt the flags beckoning me to have fun and enjoy their free floating spirits. It was like a call to inject color and fun into my walk, day and life.
Years ago when I use to lead multiple development teams, early on I would ask team members what they thought our team purpose was. It was a technique to ensure everyone understood the reasons we were meeting, what was expected from the leadership team that formed our group, and to openly discuss any secondary issues. Inevitably someone would state, “I think one of our sub-purposes should be to have fun. When you have fun, working together becomes that much more enjoyable.” Everyone always agreed, and then looked to me for direction. My comment back, “Totally agree. I’ll be in charge of ensuring we hit our goals. Who’s in charge of ensuring we have fun?” Several people would then take this role on. Activities such as special lunches, celebratory outings, and team “fun dates” were planned and incorporated.It was like a call to inject color and fun into my life. #ClearPathForward #Women #Over50 #Color#Transition #Joy Click To Tweet
As I gazed at the papel picado in Guanajuato I realized that color and fun have to be injected into each person’s life. And, unlike when I assigned people to accomplish it for work teams, we are each responsible for this task. So what does it look like to inject color into your life?
- Literally, take time to smell the roses. When you’re on a walk and you pass some beautiful growing flowers, activate your senses by taking time to smell them. The sense of smell is powerful, and when you consciously activate it, you trigger olfactory enhancement which is proven to boost physical and mental well-being.
- Create opportunities to celebrate small wins and milestones. While this happens often in work settings, it seems to get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday. Decide upfront what you’re going to do to celebrate small wins. As an example, plan a celebratory lunch with friends when you reach a financial milestone.
- Plan and take outings close to home. I’m not talking big vacations or travels, but a one-day outing to another city you haven’t visited. And if planning feels too onerous, then just go! Give yourself a window of time to explore, follow winding paths, stop off at interesting sights, and just revel in the wonder around you.
Action: Identify what your opportunities are to inject color into your life. Make it happen TODAY. Life is just too short to not enjoy each passing moment.
Kathy Hart’s driving passion is human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women in midlife (ages 40 – 65) with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org. The choice is yours!
Services that Kathy offers:
- 1:1 coaching to support the next journey into your midlife transition
- Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
- Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
- Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance