Inspirational Poem - This is what I am working towards! You?

Man with Messy Hands Trying to Work

This quote or poem has always appealed to me. Perhaps because I have a strong value of play, perhaps because I love contradictions and challenge, and perhaps because from a very early age I have had a part of me screaming, "It doesn't have to be this way!" We can work hard AND have fun, we can create new rules, let's do things differently, let's BE different.

So, I'd love to know what you think. Does this poem appeal to you? Do you, like me, think that if people could do this they would be happier?

The person who is a master
in the art of living
makes little distinction between
their work and their play,
their labor and their leisure,
their mind and their body,
their education and their recreation,
their love and their religion.
They hardly know which is which.
They simply pursue their vision of
excellence and grace in whatever they do,
leaving others to decide whether
they are working or playing.
To them, they are always doing both.
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks

Please Note: I am not sure of the author - some references say it is from a Zen Buddhist text while others say the Pulitzer Prize winner, James A. Michener. However, it seems most likely that it is from a book published in 1932 (Education through Recreation) by a teacher and Unitarian minister called Lawrence Pearsall Jacks (usually cited as L. P. Jacks).


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Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

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Image of Man with Messy Hands Playing While Working by Alice Dietrich via Unsplash


  1. Patty

    I so agree. Sometimes I get caught up in deadlines and it can become work. Before I agree to doing a project, talk or presentation I ask myself if it will be fun. And if not, why not?


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