I was looking at pre-schools recently for my daughter. I went to the big ones and the small ones. The ones that were all about playing and then learning, the ones that were all about learning and then playing. The one with the passionate leader, part educator, part mother hen, part organic gardner. The one with the dispassionate leader that complained throughout our meeting. All approaching the nurturing of young beings in different ways.

So of course I picked the pre-school that I would want to go to. The one with the toys that I want to play with, the school with the yard I want to play in, the one with the art studio that I want to spend the day in as much at 36 as I would at 3. I left thinking about how fun everything looked. The simple wooden toys, the light tables, the organic garden in full bloom, the treehouse. The glass jars lining the art studio filled with collected household items to be re-imagined by creative young minds particularly inspired me. I thought about them a few times and then I realized I have a set of similar glass jars on my vision board, the one I made for my business, the one I look at everyday in my office. I had an aha moment. I realized that I want to feel about my work the way I want my daughter to feel about her pre-school. Happy and excited to go to work. Inspired. Playful. Interacting with people that I love. Making neat things together.

I have a clear picture of what a great environment for growth, self expression, and learning looks like for my daughter. Now I’m working on making that for me. I never even thought I could or should do that. Why not?

What environment, what feeling, what activities do you like? Touch them, feel them, and remind yourself of them often, because knowing what you want your work to feel like, means you are taking the first step to making your work your playground.