Ep #183: Why Play is Required for Success in Business

You’ve been withholding the very thing that makes you creative and motivated and ready for growth for years … and this is your invitation to STOP that right now.

This week, I am tackling the notion that you have to work hard, then play hard. And instead, why playing MORE is actually required for success in your business.

From the patriarchal roots of this idea, how it’s hurting so many of us not just in life coaching business, and how to incorporate more play into your life and your business right now.

I’ve got the questions to answer that help to you find what it looks like for you so you’ll be more creative, more productive, and … sell more coaching. You can stop suffering for your success.

The doors to Free to Paid Coach are officially open! If you’re ready to learn the foundational concepts of confidence that get you from being a free coach to a paid coach who makes six figures and beyond, join us right now! 

What You’ll Learn:
  • Why the biggest top coaches need you be dependent on them
  • Why you need to find the coach who nurtures you to need YOU not them
  • Why you want to be the star in your own damn show
  • Why suffering is optional and playing all the way to success is required
  • Create your own dopamine menu – the apps, the main dish, specials, and what’s for dessert?
Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:
Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 183 of The Confident Coaches Podcast. The one where you start playing more to sell more.

Welcome to The Confident Coaches Podcast, a place for creating the self-confidence you need to do your best work as a life coach. If you want to bring more boldness, more resilience, and more joy to your work, this is the place for you. I’m Amy Latta, let’s dive in.

This episode, this episode has been one of the most fun ones I’ve ever created. It was a bit of a mind-blower for me to create it. And this is a super necessary conversation about how we’ve been outsourcing and holding our dopamine hostage and why for many of us, maybe most of us. This is a business killer.

So no matter if you’re brand new, if you are in the, you know, that scaling or that growth area, that scaling like, if you’re growing your business, if you’re scaling your business no matter what level of success or not success that you have had, this episode is an eye opener for me. I’m a coach who’s created, you know, well over a million dollars in coaching revenue who made multiple six figures a year, I’ve learned so much.

There were a lot of roads that led me here. But the easiest place to start this conversation is why the phrase work hard, play hard, has sucked every time I ever heard it. I can’t remember exactly when I first heard it, but for sure, my first ten years post-university in the corporate world.

Work hard, play hard was a mantra that I heard. And I never liked it, but I had no idea why. Like, I didn’t like get into life coaching until I was thirty-eight, thirty-nine years old. So I had no idea in my twenties. I didn’t understand what life coaching was in my twenties. And I didn’t understand why I kept bumping up against work hard, play hard. Because all I heard, was hard, play hard. All I hear is hard.

My friends, I don’t like it. I also didn’t know in my twenties that I had ADHD, So, like, we’re not going to, like, totally dive into that, but ADHD does come into this conversation even though that’s not necessarily the focus of it. But work hard, play hard. Like, not only is it just hard the only thing that I hear, but it’s clear in that phrase that you’re play is an earned thing.

We’re going to work hard, and then we’re going to play hard. And we’re going to keep rotating between the two, but the play hard is always coming after the work hard, as opposed to play just being a part of your life and who you are.

And when I’ve had this conversation with clients in Free to Paid Coach and Path to 100k, even in one-to-one coaching. The first thing that I will hear is the fear that if play doesn’t come after work, they’ll never work. That inherently is bullshit, but it is so ingrained that if we play before work or as a part of work, we won’t be as productive even though science is otherwise. And I had to be honest with you. I don’t love that work hard, play hard has become a big part of the self-help life coaching world.

Like, isn’t life coaching where we dismantle beliefs like this? Not reinforce them. Like, isn’t this what we do challenge rules, understand why we follow them, understand what motivates us. It just seems so counterintuitive to me. And the bottom line is, it’s like, I don’t like it now. I didn’t like it then. And it’s really funny.

So I was watching Firefly Lane on Netflix because I read the books. It’s a series on Netflix that’s based on novels that I read like ten years ago. And there’s the scene that the series takes place in the seventies, eighties, and nineties. Like, it spans four decades. Okay? So there’s this scene from I believe it was the late eighties.

This scene was being shown in the late eighties where both a man and a woman are trying to run an expose on the discrepancy between men and women getting hired. And so they’re both applying for the same job. And the boss is kind of a smarmy sales guy and he’s clearly misogynistic and trivializes the woman applicant over the less qualified male applicant and he keeps reiterating the idea of like, we work hard to play hard around here. 

I was like, see, there it is. That’s why I hate it. It’s misogynistic. It’s so many things. It’s patriarchal. It’s hierarchical. It’s misogynistic. Like, it’s always rubbed me wrong, but it really wasn’t until I sat permitting a life coaching world. Did I ask why does this bother me so much?

And what’s the other focus? Like, if we’re not working hard to play hard, then what should we be doing around here? And I just keep seeing the lines that keep directly going back to patriarchy and colonialism and oppression.

The withholding of reward for your hard work, and then I will give you the reward. And they are withholding their reward, they determine whether or not your work was good enough. They are the ones that are determining whether you work hard enough to decide whether you get to get the reward.

In the corporate modern world, you can work your ass off. But if you don’t hit the sales goals specified, you don’t get to go on the big trip like everybody else. You are not the determiner. I don’t know if I just made up that word. But the power lies in someone else, and it’s up to you to perform to a certain level. But they still get to decide where the bar is, and they get to move the bar if they want to. They get to you know, fudge around with the qualifications.

I’ve seen it. I saw it more than once. I saw it happen multiple times. You think you’re shooting for here. And then when you go and say, hey, why didn’t I get the thing? Suddenly the bar has moved. Saw it happen more than once and to me personally, to friends. It’s so it’s so prominent.

And then I really started to understand last fall when I visited Ireland last fall for two weeks, didn’t know I was going to get a history lesson and a lesson on, like, geopolitical oppression. I really just thought I was going to visit, like, where my ancestors came from.

Now, to be clear, I am a European Mut. I am mostly of Irish descent, but I’m also British and Scottish, and German. I think there might be a little Swedish thrown in there a little bit too. And a new vague history, but I didn’t truly understand the eight hundred years of angst between the British and the Irish. How Britain took Irish lands and many Irish people got their lands taken away from them only to become indentured servants on those lands. And I did write a couple of posts last fall where I was really processing and understanding. And this was on my personal Facebook page, where really processing and understanding for the first time the idea of colonialism and oppression of white people by white people.

Now as a white woman discussing oppression and colonialism, one hundred percent servitude of the Irish, is not the same as the human slave trade of black and brown people all over the world, much of which still exists today. My ancestors had the ability to leave. I don’t know how they did. They were not people of means, but they did have the ability to leave on their own accord and come to the US in the eighteen fifties.

So with much sensitivity and acknowledgment aging my personal privilege as a white woman in America. Any impression that exists for me today, is in my head. It’s not happening in the real world. And for anyone in this world, like literally for billions of people right now who do not have my privileges. This oppression on various levels still exists in reality. It’s their circumstance. It is not their thinking. I’m not the person to lead conversations on how colonialism hurts non-white people.

This conversation about what I learned when I was visiting Ireland and really understanding that eight hundred years of strife was merely to note the line between this withholding reward for work has lineage to oppressive patriarchal, hierarchical, colonialist ideas. And most of us are still living under that colonialist idea of working hard for someone else in hopes that they grace us with the gift of reward. Only now were the entrepreneurs, were the someone else, withholding it from ourselves, deciding that we have to hit x number, and x goal to take time off and to rest and to actually play and enjoy.

My diagnosed ADHD really helped me understand this on an entirely new level. Like, Okay. Here’s why I don’t like the idea of work hard, play hard, but here’s why it actually hurts you on so many levels. And this is where the conversation leads us to dopamine.

So dopamine can get a bad rap in the coaching world. That this idea is that we want to use our prefrontal cortex to make decisions and not let your brains incessant need desire for seeking dopamine to make decisions. And agreed, when it comes to writing an offer to your audience versus scrolling Instagram, you’re you are letting that need for that simple hit of dopamine to keep you scrolling instead of doing the work that you really need to do.

So many of us have been coached to outthink that need for dopamine. So like examples such as an urge jar where you learn to overcome the discomfort of wanting the quick hit, you click a pebble into the jar and that click of the pebble becomes a dopamine hit in and of itself. It’s like training a dog with a clicker. The clicker sounds become something that the dog associates with a reward. So like dopamine is not bad. Dopamine is a feel-good neurotransmitter. Dopamine promotes pleasure and learning and growth and motivation.

So let’s think about this. In this work hard, play hard mentality, coaching us to sit through the discomfort of the tasks so that we get the huge dopamine at the end of the task from the sense of accomplishment. And this isn’t necessarily bad, which I’m going to come back around, and this can work for a lot of people and for way more people I suspect. I don’t have scientific numbers on this, but I have a lot of anecdotal evidence. It’s holding our dopamine hostage.

The very thing we need for learning and motivation to do the task is being withheld from us until we do the task. And then when you factor in someone like me who naturally has a defect in their brain. I don’t even like to use the word defect I’m just wired differently, where I’m wired in such a way that dopamine is deficient inside my brain. My brain naturally has less dopamine than the gal sitting next to me.

And a side note– I want to be really clear. I’m using a ton of layman’s terms. I’m way oversimplifying what’s going on in the brain. This episode is about how to play more to sell more, not a dissertation on dopamine, neurotransmitters, and neuroscience. So please understand that caveat that there’s way more that goes into this than what we’re covering here, but it is super important. And so let’s recap here.

Work hard, play hard, with holds reward till the end. This can train your brain to become comfortable doing the uncomfortable. It can also make what you’re doing ten times harder. For me, I could sometimes overcome this and then sometimes not. And then when I’m getting ready to share with you how I actually, as I grew in my business, I kept making it harder and harder and harder. By continually eliminating my sources of dopamine, which I needed more of because of how I was wired.

And it makes so much sense, right? The same is ingrained in our culture. It’s all over the corporate world. Like, how your dopamine is being gatekept by the higher ups? This keeps you working for them instead of the joy of it. Like, when the joy of it, like, that’s what keeps you more half. Right? Like science shows us that we will get more done and have a higher quality of production when we are in the joy of it, in the happiness of it now, not later.

Like, this is like this is kind of like an idea of continually hanging the carrot in front of you until you get to the destination as opposed to allowing yourself to have a little carat a little bit along the way the whole time. One journey is way more enjoyable than the other, but in this like we don’t want to be run by our dopamine receptors at all. We want to like really be only making our decision and ideas coming from our prefrontal cortex and nothing else, this can be a business killer. And it was well on the way for me. For sure, and it might be for you too. So here’s where it gets super juicy, K?

If we are the source of our happiness, if we don’t need their reward, then we don’t need them, and that is dangerous to them.

And even in the life coaching world, the biggest top coaches want you to need them. They want you to keep renewing over and over again in convince you that you cannot achieve your goal unless you are working with them. And they’re going to give you the top honors award, the recognition. Make you a star in their world. Guys, top earner awards. That recognition is just another form of sugar and flour. It becomes about the win and to be seen in favor of their eyes.

And when you say, listen, I’m going to step away from that. Oh, if you leave, you’re just not dreaming big enough. You have too many thought errors. As opposed to No, I just want to be the star in my own damn show. And you want a coach who has your best interest in mind, not theirs. Who will nurture you in that in helping you find what motivates you, what spurs you, what helps you move forward? You want a coach who will coach you to not need them, but to need you. 

So what if … Now hear me out. What if we stop withholding dopamine? What if we actually fueled our days with dopamine on the front end? Now, there are a lot of ways you can do this, and we’ve all heard this– why you want to exercise first thing in the morning; go get that bright sunshine in the morning; meditate, or any other kind of mindfulness activity. Self-coach in the morning. Do all of your deep thinking in the morning. Access that part of your brain in the morning.

What if you need the motivation to be able to do those things? What if that’s not your source of motivation? Listen, I moved my body. I self-coached. I got good sleep. I feel like I’d spent years trying to get my sleep back in order. I eat super healthy meals. I’m like, guys, my supplement regimen is a little bit ridiculous. I’m on Rhodiola and the Ashwagandha and B12 and all of the other feel-goodness you can possibly imagine and still the more successful I got in the biz my business, the more of a struggle bus that it became.

So recently, I had my Free to Paid group create a dopamine menu for themselves. Now a dopamine menu is an ADHD tool that I’m bringing into the business even if you don’t have ADHD. And all the dopamine menu is a menu of what fuels dopamine for you so that you can use that dopamine to become more to spur your motivation, to spur your growth on the front end. I know. Like it makes so much sense. It makes so much sense.

Are you serious? I mean, we hear you got to do you in business. Nobody else can build a business for you. You got to do it your own way, but this is a way of examining what doing you really looks like. Like day to day and on a given Tuesday morning, what are you doing? What are you engaged in? That is you and no one else. So a dopamine menu, like, and the reason we call it a menu is because we’re going to borrow language from restaurant menus to categorize your activities. So you’re talking about appetizers. Advertisers are kind of quick hits of dopamine. Main entrees. Main entrees require a little bit more planning, but they give you a larger dose of dopamine.

Sides would be things that you can do or engage in alongside the work that you are doing. And desserts, which we would normally associate. Like, these are the things we would normally associate with dopamine that we would say, you know, if you’re engaged in one of these things, rolling on Facebook, watching Netflix or whatever, you know, we would distract you or encourage you not to engage in those things. Do those things instead of doing your work. But they aren’t actually bad things you just don’t want to be doing them. Like, if you’re supposed to be writing an email sequence, you don’t want to be scrolling on Instagram. So maybe you don’t want to go to the dessert of your dopamine menu? Maybe you want to go to the app part of your menu. Maybe you want to go to the appetizer part of your menu.

How do you create a “dopamenu?” Here are a couple of questions for you. First, what creates more energy in your day? And if you don’t know pay attention over the next week or so and just pay attention. What energizes you? What activities do you do that have nothing to do with your business that has everything to do with your business? Just in general, what energizes you? What brings you joy? What makes you happy? What do you do during the week? 

What do you know? And then, what are you doing that feels forced? What do you do? Because it seems to be a best practice that this coach or a thousand coaches or how many coaches have said that you need to do, but it feels forced on you. How can you accomplish the same thing with more energy or play? Or joy.

So some examples from mine. Okay? So I actually have like, I created a big dopamenu. I shared it with my people and Free to Paid Coach. And so I had things like my appetizer might be dancing around, taking a few deep breaths, stepping out into the sunshine. I might make take a coloring break or a small puzzle break, I might tackle some easy tasks with my favorite music playing. My entrées, again, are longer activities that require planning and time, but you get along you get the deeper dopamine hit like this might be working out or reading a book, you know, coaching sessions or long chats with friends, a date night, and again, these can be business activities. They can be personal activities. But you just kind of want to think about what activities would fall into these categories.

Side sides accompany your work. So for me, this is for short listening to music. Maybe there’s a comedian in the background. Quick texting with my business best sixty, you know, fun pieces, fun things in your office that other people might think are a little ridiculous. And then desserts, desserts, or really pretty simple to define. These are the things that give you dopamine hits that aren’t necessarily bad but do distract you from doing your business. So you, you know, you want to be mindful of overindulging. This is social media, movies, online shopping. Oh, I forgot about specials. Specials are like big activities that only happen occasionally, like maybe a long weekend away or you know, life coaching events or retreats or vacations.

This is not a comprehensive list. That’s not even everything I wrote down. If you want to say everything I wrote down, you have to go on a Free to Paid coach. But this is just a sampling of what we’re talking about that can be put on your dopamenu. Okay?

So here’s something really interesting as I was doing this work, as I was creating dopamine menus, I was First, again, I was doing it towards the idea of how I help my newly diagnosed ADHD, but then totally saw a correlation to this is we incorporate more play into your life, into your day so that you are more energized and motivated and more creative when you go to work. Like, are you working out because you’re supposed to or are you working out? Because it actually does spur your motivation and your creativity. For some people what naturally does that, yay, amazing. Keep doing it. Right? But for somebody else, maybe that’s not working for them. Why not incorporate some play on the front end of your business day. And this is where I this is as I was connecting these two ideas, a dopamine menu to help me with my ADHD symptoms. How do I teach people to play more to sell more?

This is when I really realized that being coached to spend the front part of my day in creativity mode. Like, start with creativity, then do your coaching sessions. It didn’t work for me. I didn’t understand why it didn’t work for me. Because I didn’t have the dopamine I needed as somebody who has an ADHD dopamine-deficient brain. That was a struggle bus. Then, here’s the here’s some of the kickers, guys. Oh my god. My brain. Oh my goodness. When I saw all of this.

So as I became more successful, how many times have you heard to outsource your administrative tasks? Like, every but, like, this is best practice across the board. If you want a self-concept of a CEO brain, you should not be spending your time doing things that you could hire out for much less money. This is like, how does CEO one zero one? Right? So giving all of my administrative and taskwork to a VA. Do you know what I was doing? I was giving away a lot of those simple tasks that give me short bursts of accomplishment in my ADHD-deficient brain. I was outsourcing it to somebody else and paying them for the privilege of it.

And to that point about spending your creative time upfront, and then, you know, do your super thinking on the front end of the day, and then do any of the other work? That goes along with, as I was growing and as I moved into a group coaching program, that was all about scaling, it was all about eliminating one on one for group coaching. You know, going from many hours a week to only two hours a week of coaching, but here’s that thing. When I’m coaching somebody one on one, this is dedicated time. I can only focus on the human in front of me because they’re literally on a Zoom screen staring at me. And it’s coaching, which is my favorite thing to do. And I feel more inspired, more motivated, more creative after coaching. So this whole thing where you should get rid of all of your administrative tasks, and you should drastically reduce the number of hours doing coaching, and you should do all your super thinking and CEO work on the front end, you should eat the frog first. Right? You should do the hardest thing first.

Didn’t work. For literally years. Years, years, years, years, years. If I can save one coach. If I can save one? Coach. Guys, oh my gosh. The emotions are coming.

For years, being coached or thinking that I had an I couldn’t let go of my inadequacy. I could not level up my self-consent that I had a belief problem. Didn’t have a belief problem. I had a dopamine problem. But the more I grew, I haven’t been coached every which way till Tuesday on my self-concept, on my belief, on my inadequacy We’re talking literally years of why I was still people pleasing, while I still doing all of these things, as I kept getting rid of everything that gave my brain dopamine. I think about that version of Amy that’s helped there. And I didn’t know and having a coach who could have just said, this doesn’t seem to be working for you. If you’re not doing anything wrong, and I’m not doing anything wrong. Let’s go explore why this isn’t working for you. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I still I’ve been processing through this for literally weeks, and I still get this emotional. Overall at that time that I thought that this was the problem, and it never was. So when I say play more, there’s a reason why. And I also want to be really clear. Okay. So, like, I didn’t have a belief in a self-consent problem, I just outsourced most of my dopamine.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t outsource your admin. Right? That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go from twenty calls a week to one group call. It doesn’t mean that that’s a bad idea for you. Goes back to the questions of, like, what creates more energy in your day? What brings you joy? What feels forced to you? Like, I figured it out pretty quickly, not pretty quickly. It literally took me years too. But by the time I was in the scaling rooms, I’d figured out that calendaring did not work for me. Right? But this is why you want to have the ability to identify these things for you. What fuels you? What feels forced? And your willingness to change your mind when you find out new information. Oh, I did this thing. I outsourced all of my admin. I find myself like keep going back to it and everybody else tells me why, like, oh, maybe I just need to make a different decision. So this doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to know for sure what you should and shouldn’t outsource. This has more to do with. If you find that you aren’t doing things that have given you joy, and you stop doing them, you can always bring them back.

This is really a conversation. Playing more, sell more is really a conversation about building trust in yourself that you really do know what’s best for you. K? This is what confident coaching really is It’s such a level of trust in yourself. And even better if you do it with a coach who’s not going to say, that’s not how we do it. We’re not going to coach on this thing again.

It’s not Play More, Sell More is not just a fun slogan. It’s literally years of realization that I’m coming to that pleasure and joy and fun, not only can but should fuel your business. That when you are the source of your own dopamine, you don’t need their recognition for that dopamine hit at the end because you’ve been providing it to yourself the entire time. And here’s the best news. You still get a dopamine hit of accomplishing the big thing at the end. We’re not eliminating that dopamine hit. We’re not eliminating that sense of accomplishment at all. Being a coach who accomplishes the impossible but how you get there doesn’t have to be an exercise and how terrible you’re willing to feel to get there. So the Free to Paid Coach site is getting a remodel. Can and creating your dopamine is just one of the things that I’m adding to the program after having a coach and Free to Paid Coach for over a year. And it’s going to be ready. We’ve got a tentative June date. Okay?

But this concept of play more, sell more, it’s not just going to hit free to paid coach, it’s going to hit every single element of coaching with me. So no matter where you are, in your business, incorporating more play, and now you know why you need to. Why do you now understand why you don’t have to re-withhold that from yourself and really understanding that playing more, starting your day, and incorporating it into your day allows you to be more productive, more motivated, and more creative than if you withhold it from yourself? And we can see where these routes come from, and we can just start questioning all of it. And here’s the best news. You don’t have to wait until June and August when all of this new work that I’ve really started to understand is fully flushed out in the programs to start coaching with me because if you join now, Free to Paid Coach.

If you join the mastermind Path to 100k, which is really it’s really more about path to profitability. Path to a 100k is way more about becoming a profitable coach, not just a 100k coach because you can make hundreds of thousand dollars and not have an ounce of income. I don’t want to create a mastermind where you’re not making money for yourself. So it’s really about a path to profitability. And then if you really want to become prosperous, if you really want to grow into prosperity, then you can work with me one-on-one also. And you do not have to wait until these until the technical work is all worked out, anybody joining in May is going to get Like in free pay coaching, you don’t get one on one coaching with me, but you’re going to get one on you’re going to get someone on one coaching with me, and you’re just going to get more one on one coaching with me. If you join one of the other programs.

Anybody signing up for coaching in May is going to get more time with me to help them figure out, like, these can be a strategy, this can be deep dive coaching, and it could be all about this concept here of how are you going to incorporate more play? How are you going to build a business that is more reflective of you than anything else? So now is the time to get in? Because this offer, it ain’t going to stick around. If you’re listening to this podcast episode months later, sorry, it’s probably not available right now. But all of the content is ready to go for you right now. K? So join in May 2023. You’re joining Free to Paid Coach, you’re going to get one on one coaching with me. It’s never been an offer that’s been on the table. And if you join my group program or one on one program, which already includes someone on one, you’re just going to get more of it. You’re going to get more of that time to incorporate more of these ideas for you in a way that you need it to happen. Alright, my friends. This is why we got to play more, to sell more.

It’s not just a fun slogan. It’s necessary. It’s imperative. This is how you are going to build a coaching business that lights your soul on fire because you actually enjoy doing it. I got a sign on my wall that says, we have fun in all that we do for literally years. Guys, I had no idea. I had no idea. How deep that philosophy ran. It’s not just a fun sign on my wall. It’s imperative to my growth. And I bet it’s imperative to yours.

I cannot wait to hear how you incorporate this work. If you are feeling this, tag me. Share with share this podcast. I am at I am Amy Latta. Share what you needed to hear today share with that coach that’s struggling right now. And I am so excited to see what you create in the world. Talk to you next week.

Coach, it’s time to sign your first free client, your first paid client, your next client, and to learn how to do it consistently and having a hell of a lot of fun along the way. This is exactly what you’re going to do in Free to Paid Coach. It’s the only program giving you step-by-step what to do to become a paid coach and step-by-step how to handle the roller coaster emotions that come with doing what you need to do to become a paid coach.

If you know you can’t not do this life coaching thing, but believing that you can do it, handling rejection and remembering how to do all of those things shuts you down, the Free to Paid Coach Community is waiting for you. Find everything that you’re looking for inside. It’s only $1,000. Payments are available, and then you’re in forever.

Visit www.amylatta.com/ftpc to join us right now. See you inside. Let’s get paid, coach.

Thanks so much for listening to The Confident Coaches Podcast. I invite you to learn more. Come visit me at amylatta.com and until next week, let’s go do epic stuff.

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