Can fun save your life?

The set was on the second floor of the Mascot Hall of Fame and all was being readied for my HBO Real Sports segment. 

Mary Carillo would be interviewing me and I was thrilled to be working with her. I have been a fan of her work at HBO, as commentator for professional tennis and the Olympics. We had a lot in common. Mary and I both grew up in families where sport was our oxygen and competition was hard-wired in our brains. I was feeling a bit intimidated by this moment and I felt pressure to be a good interview. 

I sat down directly across from Mary, and suddenly realized I had no idea where this story was about to go. As the cameras rolled and said to myself, “Just answer the questions!” It was now in Mary’s hands.

I will be forever grateful for Mary Carillo and her team at HBO Real Sports for their creative talent and energy. They told my truth better than I could and, in a way, where anyone who watches, will see the true value of fun. 

I have told the story about the dark times in my life before. How those times pushed me down into a hopeless mental state and how the Phanatic actually saved my life. Being the Phanatic, for me at that time, was the power of distracting fun personified. 

As I spoke to Mary about that time in my life she asked, “You mean you were thinking of suicide?” I blurted out, “Yes, because hopelessness can make suicide seem like a reasonable option.” It was the first time I had acknowledged it to anyone directly let alone on a national broadcast. Up to that point I had danced all around it but never said the “s” word. Mary and her producers made my experience, through their story telling, a wonderful example of the fun we don’t know. 

My whole career has been framed by redefining fun. The fun that we all know and use for off time and vacation or as I like to say, “Known fun”, is appreciated but not valued. “Unknown fun” holds a force that can overcome life’s biggest challenges and build resiliency. 

It is a big leap for most of us to get there and requires time and effort like anything that has value in life. 

To demonstrate the gap between known and unknown fun all you have to do is ask, “How can fun save your life?” That question fosters a discussion about The Power of Fun.

Powerful Fun is a strategy about engineering the fun that you know, with intention, and create a daily force you can tap into anytime or anyplace. It is a strategy that can help you connect on a deeper emotional level to those you love, your coworkers and even your community and it is the same strategy that can save your life. 

It is a mind set shift and one that employs a different way of looking at something we disregarded throughout our lives. Is it time for you to move from your old path, change it up and move towards a new path? Hell yeah!

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