Posted by: smilecoach | October 30, 2007

The Sand Box

Not long ago I was leading a teleclass and the topic was creativity. From somewhere I got the wild idea that it would be great if everyone could remember how creative they were as children. I decided to use a game I played as a kid. I asked group to imagine that they were kids in a sand box. To kick-off the game I said, “I have a car that goes 200 mph.” One of the participants remembered how the game used to go and hesitantly said, “I have a car that goes 300 mph.” Then someone said with a bit more enthusiasm, “My car flies.” Which was immediately followed by an exclamation that,” My car flies and it can go to the moon.” Before the word ‘moon’ was even completed, the next person blurted, “I have car that goes all the way to Mars.”

After playing for just a few minutes everyone was laughing and any inhibitions they had about the game were gone. Very quickly and with only a small amount of encouragement, everyone’s imagination was running wild. The creativity of children was flowing through them.

I was almost afraid to halt the exercise people were having so much fun. I admit that I really enjoyed being back in that space where anything was possible, everyone was happy and no one made any disparaging comments about my crazy ideas.

That was just the first step of the exercise. For the second part I asked them to imagine that they were back in the sand box again, only this time let’s put that same kind of imagination to work on building your businesses as opposed to cars that can fly. Based on how well the first part had gone, I was sure we would go immediately into having a great time with this. To begin the process I stated, “My business has 50 people in it!” Unfortunately there was silence after I opened the game. It seemed that they had forgotten how to play in the sand box. After I gave one or two more examples of what they could possibly say that would top my opening salvo, one of the participants declared, “My business has 200 people in it.” Then someone added, “My business is international and I travel first class all of the time.” Yeah, we were off and creating again. Wrong. We quickly ground to a halt.

The adult fears had replaced the child like enthusiasm even though we were back in the sand box. We discussed fears for a few minutes then I pushed the group back into the game by saying, “My business has” and then I asked them to fill in the blank. We were able to once again get back to that unfettered creative space with everyone laughing and topping what the previous person had created.

The exercise was a success in many ways. The most important one for me was to see how wonderful it is to bring joy and laughter to learning. I thoroughly enjoyed being in the sand box again. A few years ago there was a book titled “Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. I think I will write one titled “Everything I needed to Know I Learned in the Sand Box.” That is your cue to exclaim, “I am going to write 5 books about the sand box!”

And we are off and playing again. I LOVE THE SANDBOX!!!

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Responses

  1. Why are we scared to be the people we want to be………….the role we can so easily play………where we can wake up every day and be our best………..do what we love and what comes naturally………..as I write this I hope I am listening!

  2. Wow..how I love you Frank..you oh so wise coach you. I have done the same exercise in my Life Purpose classes as people introduce themselves to the other class members; once before my “play ground meditation” and again afterward. The introduction of and expressions of who they are changes dramatically. Amazing..

    When I attended Ms. Campbell’s Kiddie Kindergarden, li’l Bobby Crimwall used to create a hill in the sandbox, climb to the top and beating his chest would proclaim: I’m Bobby Crimwall and I’m king of the world!!

    Hmmm….sounds like fun…let’s go..meet ya there…

  3. Loren I have no doubt that you are listening.

    Thanks Tuck for sharing your ‘sand box’ expereince both as a child and as a coach. Isn’t it amazing how the energy in us changes when we are ‘given’ permission to be ourselves. I would be excited to meet you in the ‘sand box’.

    I invite everyone who reads this to give yourself and ohters permission to play in a sand box today.

  4. hello there!
    This blog got me thinking about sandcastles which I love to build in a sandbox but even more at the beach! What a lot of fun building imaginary worlds can be. You can get lost in a world of creativity playing in the sand! I found this website that lets you build a castle online! Had to share it with you and your readers. have fun! Great creativity booster in the corporate world!

    http://www.virtualsandcastle.com/home/index.aspx


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