Intentional Fun: Lessons I Learned While Raking Leaves

Courtesy of Robin S. Lake

If you are in New England you experience the yearly ritual of leaves changing signaling that Fall has arrived, and Winter is just around the corner.  The world around us comes alive with red, yellow, and orange painted across the landscape.  The beauty of the season is only surpassed by one thing: the fact you have to rake them all up after they fall.

Beauty aside, once those leaves decide to die and fall to the ground the work begins.  Once majestic in their beauty, the leaves transform into a thick brown mat that covers the earth. What was once breathtaking now just makes you breathe heavily while dragging their carcasses into the woods.

Over the years of raking up leaves, I have learned a few lessons that I wanted to share with you.

1.  Intentional Fun:  With all projects, work, or tasks we have a choice to make.  We can complain and slog through while doing the necessary job, or we can try something else: make the work fun.  

2.  Work is better and easier with others.  After spending hours raking and cleaning up each fall in solitude, it finally dawned on me.  This work would be easier if I could get others to help me.

3.  You bond with others over a shared task.  Working side-by-side with other people creates a relationship that has deeper roots, and creates a common memory of your efforts.

Putting this into practice is not hard.  Today is our third annual “Leaf Day” celebration.  A newly adopted and attended event where we (both family and friends) get together to rake, rake, and rake all of those leaves together.  It is not just a day of work, although the work can be hard.  We promote the event.  We talk about how much fun we will have, and augment the day with an amazing menu of hearty food, drinks and desserts to add to the day’s festivities.

Think about the next project or task you need to accomplish and how you can apply these same lessons.  Make the work intentionally fun, invite others, and build relationships together.  You may be surprised that the result is much greater than the work.

Now let’s get out there and rake some leaves!