Getting in Touch with Your Playful Side

Written by: Chloe Corona Cameron and Stephanie Andrews

Luis Serrano is the founder of Fundamentals of Play, an organization dedicated to hosting workshops for adults to connect with their more playful side in order to break down barriers and develop that motivational mindset. Fundamentals of Play believes that play is essential to our development, and incorporates positive psychology, play, and creativity all into one.

Journey: From Idea to Reality

After 12 years in retail marketing, Luis landed the job of a lifetime - a buyer at Target Canada. Unfortunately, after the company went under in Canada and closed all of its stores, Luis was left searching for a job.

That was only the beginning.

Misfortune after misfortune hit Luis. He was depressed, angry, and on his last leg. Finally, after receiving encouragement from his brother, Luis decided it was time to hire a life coach.  Without knowing it, Luis’ life was about go through a complete 180.

It was a long road ahead, but slowly, Luis found his road to recovery. He became invested and curious about positive psychology.

“I started researching it on my own… [It was about] doing things I loved again. So I started doing all kinds of hobbies I love, including sports, I went back to doing improv; and I just started to feel more like myself.”

With a new found love for all things play, Luis came up with an idea to help others in the corporate world.

“I’m a little silly and playful by nature, but I totally lost that, especially in the corporate world, where it felt like we wore these masks. So anyways, some inspiration hit me one day and I realized I wanted to combine those two elements and help other people in similar situations or heading towards similar situations, the same things that’s helped me. I’m so grateful that it happened or else everything after wouldn’t have happened. It forced me out of my job and set me on this journey, which I don’t even know where it’s going but it’s way more exciting. Scary and exciting. Happiest I’ve ever been by far.”

Today, Luis is the Founder and CEO of Fundamentals of Play, a company that runs corporate and community workshops to connect adults back to the creative roots they had as children. By bringing people together under a fun, safe environment, Luis stimulated team building and collaborative exercises.

Challenges & Failures

Luis’ has two main challenges so far. The first is simple - sales.

Getting in front of the right person within large corporations is extremely difficult. For Luis, it’s 90% of his time. Rather than discouraging him, Luis sees his challenges as motivation. Sales may be a learning curve, but Luis stays motivated by focusing on the excitement his vision brings.

Luis’ second challenge isn’t so black and white. Sales is hard - but rejection is harder.

“I always joke that I have to drink my own medicine because I teach a lot of stuff, but then I get stuck on it too. It's kind of like the fear of rejection and failure that pulls me back a lot of the time.”

Sometimes, fear is paralyzing. But at the end of the day, Luis knows that the value he is providing people is worth his internal battle. As soon as he steps into a room full of people ready to try his positive psychology methods, Luis remembers why he goes through the struggles of the startup grind. Immediately, it’s worth it.

Definition of Success

To Luis, the definition of success is to ‘evolve.’ He expands:

“Before, I think I would’ve just said ‘making lots of money and having a decent job.’ Now, I would say it’s being fulfilled, whatever that means to you. So whenever you’re home alone by yourself can you honestly reflect on your life and the progress you’re making... that was the biggest learning I’ve had…”

Values are Luis’ number one priority. Living in a way that makes him proud of how far he’s come.

“It’s a constant cycle of reinforcement for that so when you get to that point it's definitely success in the making. I don’t think you ever reach that definitive success, I think it’s the path of success.”

Key Takeaways (3 Pieces of Advice)

  1. Invest in yourself. Figure out what works for you and take whatever leap you need to keep yourself aligned with your values.
  2. Make sure you have the proper knowledge to execute on what you’re doing. There’s nothing worse than not being able to provide value to your customers because you haven’t done your homework.
  3. There’s never a right time to take the leap. Entrepreneurship is hard, but if you’re ready to start your own thing, you can’t hide behind a plan. What’s important is to get out there, try it out, and learn everything you can.
  4. Don’t give a fuck. As Luis puts it, “You need that mentality in order to succeed.” As an entrepreneur, be confident, and don’t let others sway your beliefs in what you are doing. Not everyone will support it, but the people who stick around are the ones you want to surround yourself with.

You can check out Fundamentals of Play HERE: https://www.fundamentalsofplay.ca/