You may feel that you have moved beyond make-believe or pretending to be someone else (a superhero, pop-star, or even just a mum), but could this sort of play still be useful to you today? Could it actually improve your career prospects and even your relationships? Amazingly, it could - but we don’t mean it’s time to wear your pants over your trousers and look for a cape. No, you will need to adapt what you did as a child to suit a more grown-up adult life (unless you want to get a not-so-nice name for yourself!). In order to explain this, let’s first take a look back at the make-believe play you most-likely played as a child…
Think back to when you were at nursery or primary school, you may have played games where you pretended to be someone else. Maybe it was a character from the TV or a film, or perhaps it was just pretending to have a particular job. It could have been anything from a spy to a shop assistant, but whatever it was you were playing the game as if you were really that person. Not only were you enjoying pretending to be someone else, but you probably tried to take on the best parts of being that person while you played. Perhaps you were heroic or maybe you were just really good at your job – whatever it was you did, in a way you were looking up to someone as an example to follow.
That person may have been a ‘real’ (or imagined) person like Spiderman, or it may have been a general idea of a person – like a police officer. Either way the effect was the same – you played games where you acted as if you were someone else, and usually someone who you felt an admiration or affinity.
This is all well and good when you are in infants’ school, but how can you take this into your life today?
The solution is to find a mentor, someone to look up to, or, if you will, a ‘super-hero’ for your life now. In fact, why limit yourself to one? You didn’t when you were little – so why not choose several different people to guide you through different aspects of your life?
Your mentor could be someone you know, such as a more experienced member of staff at your work who is willing to take you under their wing, but it doesn’t have to be that obvious. If you can’t seem to find a mentor you can always pick one up off the shelf.
Perhaps you are interested in getting into a certain job – find someone who has been there before and read their story. Be inspired by what they did, and learn from their mistakes so you don’t make them yourself. Of course, everyone’s journey is different and sometimes you will need to fail in order to learn and succeed. Plus, you can’t expect to find a failsafe blueprint to follow to your dreams, but good advice never hurts and seeing how someone else got to where you want to be can be inspiring.
Of course, as we mentioned, your mentoring needn’t stop at work. You could find examples of people who can inspire you to have better relationships, create fascinating hobbies, or even go out there and make a difference in the world.
Find yourself some people to look up to, people to inspire you in areas of your own life, and then get out there and fulfil your potential.