Rediscover Your Play with Jeff Harry

Jeff Harry Founder of Rediscover your Play

Dynamic leaders have the ability to find what is special about each individual they lead and help each other tap into their own strengths, as they try to accomplish a shared goal. Strong leaders also are able to balance both masculine and feminine leadership styles; being decisive, clear, and driven, while also being empathetic, collaborative, and playful.

Jeff Harry of Rediscover your Play, incorporates these traits into his leadership in a way that he is constantly aware of how he can bring the best of his abilities. Jeff believes that we do our best work when we can show up as ourselves and do the work that matters to us.

Jeff Harry helps companies and individuals to make their work more fulfilling, rediscover their joyful purpose, and all the while removing the obstacles in their way of success. Through Positive Psychology Play, this dynamic leader creates a safe space for teams and individuals to have those difficult conversations and address uncomfortable challenges in a play-oriented way.

A Progressive Leader 

Jeff’s earliest memory of being a leader is from his  teenage years, where he would create games in his basement. All the kids in the neighborhood knew that his house was where they could be the best part of themselves; be play-oriented, have fun, and stay true to their own personality. Jeff still practices the same method today in his positive psychology play work, wherein he provides a psychological space for employees to show up as how they truly are, even if just for a brief period of time.

As a child, Jeff was inspired by the movie ‘Big’ where Tom Hanks gets paid to play with toys for a living. He started writing to toy companies in the 5th grade and received a response during his sophomore year of high school telling him to pursue Mechanical Engineering. “Eventually, I got into the toy industry only to be disappointed as there was no play, no fun, no high fives, no time to play with toys, and no kids,” he recalled.

Becoming disillusioned, Jeff  left his dream industry feeling lost and moved from New York to Oakland. He found a LEGO-Inspired STEM Education job with 7 employees paying $150.00/week. He helped the business grow through a play-oriented perspective where they just experimented, made things up as they went along, embraced failures, and followed their curiosity.

Through this method, Jeff has today grown the organization to 400 employees over 16 years, introduced engineering to over 1 Million kids, and became the largest LEGO-inspired STEM Organization in the U.S.

Further, he led team building events for some of the top tech companies in the world for a decade and found that even though they spoke about innovation, disruption, and agility, they weren’t actually creating psychologically safe spaces for their staff to take risks and play.

This is what inspired him to create ‘Rediscover Your Play’ to tackle those hard conversations and address those major trust issues at work by using positive psychology and play. The mission of Rediscover Your Play is to help teams and organizations build psychologically safe workspaces using positive psychology and play by bringing shared humanity, empathy, and emotional intelligence back into the work world.

An Inspiring Journey

For Jeff, the journey has been a rollercoaster of trial and error. Looking back, he recognized that he needed to experience all of the failures in order to appreciate the successes. Thus, he doesn’t have many regrets, as in his opinion, pain and joy go hand in hand.

The only thing Jeff points out that he would have done differently is to start earlier. He helped grow an organization for someone else, building up their wealth, when he could have invested more into his own. “I didn’t think I was ready,” he explains.

Jeff says that his biggest roadblock has been himself. 80% of running a successful business is your mindset, blocking out that inner critic, and being your own biggest fan. “My biggest lesson is that the amount I charge has nothing to do with whether it is the right amount or not, but more so if I believe I deserve to be paid that much,” he added.

He further reminds us that none of us are really ready, so just go for it and see what happens. “Each of my failures led to me making bolder decisions that brought me some of my greatest successes.”

The worst that can happen is you fail, which in many ways is a blessing because you then realize how resilient you are and what you are actually capable of.

Advice for Young Leaders – Rediscover your Play

Jeff wants to remind young leaders and entrepreneurs that no one knows what they are doing. We are all making it up as we go along. Many people claim afterwards that their way is “the” way, but when they first started out, they were just as scared and as lost as you. They may have gotten lucky, or their way may have worked for them, but it may not be your path.

He advises to pave your own way, especially in this new and uncertain world. What worked pre-pandemic, may not work post-pandemic. He mentions that sure you can have mentors to learn from their mistakes, but don’t follow their script if it doesn’t feel right to you. You are your own expert in how you want to run your business.

Upcoming Endeavors 

Jeff assures that the future looks bright, productive, and busy. Much of his work is around building psychological safety within organizations, addressing toxicity at work, assisting staff in navigating difficult conversations, and helping companies figure out how to navigate the Great Resignation. All of these problems aren’t going away anytime soon and are likely to stay with a majority of industries. He is glad to be at the frontline helping in bringing shared humanity, empathy, and compassion through play back into the workplace so people can enjoy going back to work.

Visit the 100 Dynamic Leaders of the Year page.

Visit Jeff Harry’s Website.

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