What if a time-out was a stop sign and had to be obeyed? Then, I’d have run the stop sign today, as I played hooky despite all the to do’s on my list, and I don’t feel guilty. What if you had a time out chair, where would you put it and how would you customize it for yourself or your organization?  Would you place a sign over it and let everyone know it was your time out chair, or would you prefer to keep it your own little secret?

My time-out chair – in this moment – would be pink and green, and made of marshmallow so I could jump on it. It would be a happy place – a little slice of joy. It wouldn’t have legs so it could roll, move, and bounce into all kinds of interesting places … reminds me of stories … they can take you to some amazing places can’t they?

My friend, Nancy, shared an article with me today about a chair on the side of Route 332 in Canandaigua, NY near the Thruway. It sits next to what looks like a utility pole and someone placed a time out sign above it. You can see a picture of it here.

I think if I made a time out chair for a little girl or boy, I’d never make it a place where they only go when someone else determines their behavior is unsatisfactory – it would be a place I’d want them to look forward to.

time-out-chair-with-eyes-img_2272-copy-2I decided this idea had legs and created my own make-shift time out chair this evening. I didn’t have a large marshmallow on hand, but it turns out when I blinked, my time out chair had a pair of eyes. I’m looking forward to seeing what playful adventures happen over the next week.

Play is an essential ingredient in personal leadership and in building self-awareness, connection and relationship. I’d love to hear what happens should any of you decide to install a time out chair in your home, office or in some other unusual place!

So, what if your time out chair was an ice cream cone, would you take one, two or three scoops and what would you choose to top it off with?

– Mary

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