By: Abi Humayun

Have you seen ‘Bill Murray Stories’ yet? Being well aware of the innate coolness of Bill Murray as a spreader of joy, on a recent flight back from the States I decided to give it a watch. It is a budget documentary that brings to life some of Bill Murray’s random actions through the eyes of the people who have experienced them.

These actions include:
-Turning up at a student house party in St Andrews, Scotland and upon witnessing the state of the kitchen getting stuck into the washing up.
-Walking past a group of friends playing baseball in a park and joining in.
-Crashing a stag do and offering life advice to the groom-to-be

And my personal favourite…
-When taking a cab, he found out that his taxi driver played the saxophone, but was frustrated because he couldn’t find the time to practice due to his long shifts. Bill Murray asked the driver where his saxophone was. “In the trunk” was the response. At which point Murray said, “OK, you grab your sax, and I’ll drive”. They were together for around 3 hours even stopping off on the journey to play some impromptu songs to a gathered audience. What an amazing experience for that taxi driver!

Given that people these days are all about experiencing things, and in fact, my business is all about creating meaningful experiences which help people feel more connected to the company they work for, it got me thinking that there is plenty we could take from Bill Murray’s life ethos. Here are the key things that resonated with me and some thoughts on how we can all apply them at work to make happier experiences for our people:

1. Don’t fear fear, enjoy it
How many times have you felt timid, afraid or downright scared to get stuck into something? Perhaps you were fearful of making a fool of yourself, getting it wrong or not sure where to start. But the truth is that fear is only an inhibitor in our own minds. By helping your people to enjoy the challenge of stepping out of their comfort zone and by recognising their worries, you can help them to start enjoying the accomplishment that this enables.

2. Make stories
Don’t just focus on storytelling within your organisation, how about putting emphasis on “story making” where people share experiences and create memories?

3. Spread joy
Give people (or allow yourself) the freedom to spread joy in some shape or form. The idea here is for it not to be pre-prescribed or operated within a framework, but to recognise the need for spontaneity in work as well as outside it. Spontaneous behaviours are proven to improve creativity, agility, reduce stress and boost feelings of happiness. What’s not to love?!

4. Live in the moment
There is a massive buzz around mindfulness these days, and rightly so, but it’s easy to band around and not so easy to consistently do (see the link to some tips to help with this at the bottom of this blog) , especially when we have deadlines looming and pre-determined commitments. However, living in the moment can be beneficial to not just your mental wellbeing but also to areas of your work. Big projects feel less scary when you are in the moment and focusing on it task by task, you can learn new skills better as you apply yourself more thoroughly to just one thing, and you get more enjoyment from your day as the world feels more playful.

5. Focus on what matters
I’m sure we have all been in a position where work is piling up, and the stress levels are rising fast. In these moments it is easy to lose perspective. Losing perspective is ultimately detrimental to you, your team and your work. A healthy reality check every now and then could be what you or your team need. Perhaps consider a lunchtime meditation or yoga session, checking out a new art gallery or just going for a walk.

As promised in point 4, here are some tips for living in the moment taken from Psychology Today: CLICK HERE

Thanks Bill Murray for the inspiration!

Categories: Thought Leadership