In January of 2019, I started a personal New Year's resolution project. A project that completely shifted the trajectory of my life.
At the time I was working as the Director of Community and Culture at SPIN, the ping pong social club. My job was to create experiences at our clubs that honor but transcend ping pong. Moments that “surprised and delighted” our guests. Moments to participate in, share with other people, and rave about to anyone who wasn’t there to witness the magic. And it really was my dream job. I remember the moment when I pitched the role to our CEO the year before - explaining how we needed to have a plan to keep the quirkiness, weirdness, and the magic of our brand alive as we headed into our massive growth phase.
If we didn’t, we’d wind up like other chains that lost their vitality along the way: Sterile. Un-authentic.
So I was constantly brainstorming with my team on what was interesting, what was new, what other experiences were out there to learn from and incorporate into our plans. I was reading everything I could find. And we continued to come up with truly engaging, dynamic events and experiences for our guests to enjoy. Don’t get me wrong - a lot of the ideas got turned down for being “too this or too that” - but I’m used to that. Rejection comes with the territory of pushing people/companies/brands past their comfort zones.
But the real turning point in my creative strategies came after the development of that New Year’s Resolution in 2019. Because people, much like air, get stale when there's no movement or freshness. I found myself so wrapped up in my job that all I did was read, go to meeting after meeting, brainstorm, stay at work late, and try to recover from overworking. The reading part I'll always keep, but the balance part needed some adjusting. I wasn't experiencing anything new outside of the 12 people I interacted with everyday. The only fresh perspective I was getting was from the books and articles I was reading. I shudder to think - what if I hadn't even been doing that?
So no matter what was going on at work, I made the commitment to leave when I needed to IF I needed to, in order to breathe some fresh air into my life. Honestly I thought it would be a lot more difficult, but it was actually addicting once I built the habit and reaped the benefits. If nothing else, I would have something interesting to talk about the next day to those same 12 people. At least it was new.
And I did some amazing things, and some simple things, and some beautiful things, and some mind-bending things. The best part was I pushed MYSELF outside my own comfort zone in the same way that I am constantly doing to others. And I can tell you - It’s worth it. I also opened up to my friends and peers about my resolution, which flooded my inbox with incredible experiences that I wouldn’t (or couldn’t) have found otherwise. And this was ALL in the name of becoming a better contributor to my company.
But it became so much more than that. I realized how much richer my life was. How much more I had to contribute to conversations in group settings, in meetings, and really in everything. I was becoming more interesting, and therefore what I was putting out into the world was more engaging. You probably know people in your life that are like that. And while it comes naturally to some, it takes a bit of intention from others. So let’s put some intention behind it together.
For my own accountability to continue injecting freshness into my life, and maybe eventually to yours, I'd like to introduce Radical Afternoon: a comprehensive guide to becoming a more dynamic human.
What do I mean by dynamic?
A human that is positive in attitude and full of energy and new ideas.
So here's the plan:
- Step 1- Read more. A little bit about a lot (about 8 pages a day)
- Step 2️- Inject new experiences into your routine (once a week).
- Step 3️- Explore radical thoughts. Be bold and share them!
And alway use #radicalafternoonproject to share when we are doing ANY of these steps.
The ultimate goal is to find pleasure in growth and change, and this particular path has been the most enjoyable way to accomplish that for myself so far.
Whether you are here to freshen up your personal brand (just you), or you need some inspiration to become a better contributor at your job, or you’re a company leader looking to incorporate a new method of “shaking things up” your team, you’re in the right place.
🔙 🔛🔝 🔜
For more inspiring content, head to Stephanie Margalis' personal blog, Radical Afternoon