Jeff Harry: Leave "Your Serious Grownup" Behind and Heal Your Burnt Out Brain Through Play
Updated: Mar 16
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“When was the last time you were bored?” asks Jeff Harry, Founder of Rediscover Your Play, in our discussion about self-soothing. Nowadays, we are constantly surrounded by screens and stimulation, which can often serve as a mechanism of avoidance. By never turning away from our phones, shutting off Netflix or allowing ourselves to experience true boredom, we can hide from our emotions. But while this technique may feel temporarily comforting, it ultimately prevents us from confronting, overcoming, and accepting ourselves in our most authentic form.
For a long time, Jeff himself was using a similar method of escapism to ignore his burnout. But after years of working on the campaign trail with long hours, unending urgency and little sense of purpose, Jeff finally decided to switch paths. Now, Jeff combines positive psychology and play to help individuals and companies tap into their true selves in order to feel their happiest and most fulfilled. His primary areas of focus include: dealing with toxicity in the workplace, addressing office politics, playing with your inner critic, helping your staff rediscover their flow, and navigating these uncertain times through play.
Tune into this week’s episode of FRIED. The Burnout Podcast for an in-depth and animated conversation about toxic positivity, faux authenticity and the difference between your rational and intuitive mind. Learn why Jeff has a name for his inner critic (it’s Gargamel, in case you were wondering) and why you don’t have to do it all to find healing, happiness and purpose. Sometimes, you just have to play.
“Burnout, at its deepest level, is the sum total of hundreds and thousands of tiny betrayals of purpose.” (6:25-6:36)
“This is why I talk a lot about play: I feel like everyone’s already playing at work, meaning they’re showing up and being a certain character, right? ‘I’m a senior manager. I know what I’m talking about, blah, blah blah’...right? And it’s just like, it’s exhausting when you have to carry that. That’s why we’re burnt out because we’re being someone else.” (8:34-8:55)
“We have to understand what the inner critic is. It’s your rational mind; your inner critic lies in your prefrontal cortex and your rational mind is there to keep you alive. That’s it! It’s there to keep you alive! So why do we go to it and be like, ‘Hey, should I take this risk?’ Because, guess what? Your rational mind’s gonna be like, ‘No, you should binge watch Netflix and stay under your duvet for the rest of your life.’” (18:06-18:30)
“What positive psychology is is just simply studying what’s right with people and recognizing that other people matter….But it’s also about accepting all of the emotions that are happening and having you feel the whole emotion instead of denying that. Because when you’re denying it, you’re actually denying a part of how you should be living.” (26:37-27:02)
“People pleasing is actually not people pleasing; it’s people manipulating. You are trying to manipulate people to like you, so then you’re going out of your way to help somebody….[even though] they never asked for your help. You’re giving them all this stuff, and then finally when you ask them for help, they don’t help you. And you’re like, ‘Oh my goodness, I can’t believe after everything I’ve done.’ It’s just like, they never asked.” (39:23-39:52)
“When you allow yourself to get quiet, and you then play, then you realize what’s actually driving you. Most of the time, we don’t allow ourselves to get bored because we don’t want to hear those thoughts. We don’t want to know what’s actually driving us. We want to believe that we’re the hero in our own story and we keep the noise constantly on.” (44:25-44:48)
“We have to be cultivating not just like our bank accounts, but also cultivating the community that’s going to watch out for us because that also really helps with our own mental health. And I don’t think we invest enough in that and invest enough in our community connections. Because studies find that people that live the longest have really strong relationships, really deep connections.” (52:09-52:32)
If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today: bit.ly/callcait