How a busy, stressed-out dad got permission to chillax!

This “advice” for stressed out and busy parents is from another project called I Wanna Be Creative. That project is about creativity – but it certainly also relates to how to be a better and more engaged parent!

How can read the post below or jump to the I Wanna Be Creative project here:



It’s a super-stressful day.  I’m about to head of overseas for work (training in Singapore) and I have a gazillion things to do today.

A major priority: attend my son’s school concert today.

I was out of town for the last one and I am determined to get to be present at this concert – and this morning I need to buy a concert ticket.

I drop my son off at about 7:45 a.m. – but the lady with the tickets won’t be there until 8:30 a.m.

Usually I’d get frustrated at the delay (I’ve got things to do!) – but today, despite being a super-stressful day – I  choose to do something different.

I recline the seat in the car…open the sunroof…and chillax until the ticket lady arrives.

This was against my normally very busy and squeeze the most out of every second  and focussed nature but today I have permission to chillax!

Please let me explain.

One of the things I do to make money is to help organisations improve their writing – to help lawyers write in a more human and engaging way and to help other organisations write in a more precise way (like lawyers!)

It can be quite serious and sometimes “dry” work – so after I have done some more “serious” work, I reward myself with something energizing and inspiring like looking at video clips on creativity.

Yesterday, when I was finding out more about Marketing for Legal Firms, I found a video by an Australian creativity “pioneer” and expert – Gary Bertwhistle.

I had met Gary through my work with talkforce and I had trained in his fabulous and colourful Creative Space – The Ideas Vault. I hadn’t seen Gary in years – but my “reward” after the more serious work was to watch some Gary clips and to see what he was up to. He’s always doing something new and creative! (a Gary clip and link at the end of this post)

Anyway, a couple of things that stood out from the videos I watched were:

  1. Gary’s borrowing from Leonardo Da Vinci that – there is no room in a busy mind for Creativity.
  2. The fact that as we grow older we use less and less of our creative power. Our creativity doesn’t disappear – we just use it less. Your creativity is still there – you just need to access it. You are most creative when you are a kid.

So back to the story about chilling in the car.

Gary’s words gave me “permission” to just relax my busy mind and to do something child-like (gazing at the clouds rolling by) I know this may sound very arty-farty – but this is so cleansing and relaxing  – and ultimately effective in improving your performance (for those fixated on efficiency!)

My son Orlando came over to see what dad was doing still at the school. He came to see if I was feeling OK!

What was this unusual behaviour of Dad chilling and looking at the clouds rolling by?

Orlando jumped in and we chillaxed together – looking for shapes in the clouds!

What a great way to start the day!

I got the ticket to my son’s concert.

I cleansed my racing and stressed-out mind.

I came up with some solutions to problems bothering me.

I got to put Gary’s creative advice to the test – and it worked.

And I got inspiration for this (an many other posts!)

Gary was asked what his greatest secret to creativity and creative asset was. His answer – his tractor! He has a farm and he loves his quiet time just sitting on his tractor.

I contemplated what my creative asset was.

My answer: the gift of staying young at heart and my slowness to grow up!

(Talk about spinning a potential negative into a positive!)

Anyway, my suggestions for you

  1. If you get a delay – use the gift of time to chillax. Don’t just get even more busy and stressed doing some hard work. If you are able to – recline the seat, watch the clouds (if you have a sun roof) or listen to your favourite music.
  2. Reward yourself with a hit of something inspiring (and creative) as a break between the more serious work you have to do
  3. (If appropriate to you) Take time to watch the clouds with your kids. I also found out Gary has a book about Creativity and Parenthood – called My Dad’s Got Mojo.  (As you can imagine I was delighted to discover this and it’s on my reading list!)

Here are links to gary’s website with plenty of inspiring videos and podcasts.

Also, here’s a link to the clip that inspired me:

Here is another inspiring creativity clip. It’s not one of Gary’s – but it’s about how we need to tap back into our fearless creativity we had as kids!


About doubleshot media

Hi, I'm a lawyer turned journalist/speechwriter/presentation coach - combining business experience with personal passions for music and writing to blog about persuasion, retro, music, and even business lessons from theatre and performing
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