Work Life Play With Aaron Mchugh



Work Life Play where we are on a hunt to discovering sustainable rhythms. Be adventurous. Live curiously. Find work you love. Learn to play and Get outside everyday.


  • A good story is not a straight line

    25/11/2021 Duración: 06min

    Friends, today I wanna talk about how zigzag lines make for a better story. So, good story is not a straight line I heard a friend say just recently. And it really arrested my attention mostly because I wish it wasn't true. Intellectually I know this idea, like, it makes sense. Like when you listen to the arc of a story, the hero's journey, all of that is like, oh, of course, a hero wants something. They have to go through some challenge and obstacle to overcome, to become someone different, to then arrive at the other side and, [vocalization]. However, living that is really challenging for us. I remember the reason this really hit home for me recently is decades ago in the beginning, I really wanted to be a mountain guide. And I was working in outdoor retail and was apprenticing as a guide under a guide service and just couldn't wait to be like, that was gonna be my career. And then I would be out exploring the rugged blank spots on the map. And really at the time I just had a lot of internal grapple when th

  • The Integrity of Yes and NO

    25/11/2021 Duración: 06min

    Friends, this is Aaron, and I've been thinking. I've been thinking about the slippery slope, the slippery slope humans, as leaders, we find ourselves in a place progressively over time far from where we intended to be or accidentally just waking up one day and finding that we're in a place that no longer looks familiar or is no longer desirable. I've found myself on that slope many time. I just had a conversation with a friend this morning, and he was stating, after a year of really intentional work and changes in family, moved into a new home, found himself in a place of work rhythms, lifestyle rhythms that were unfamiliar and undesirable. Really not a place, like, "Why am I doing this? How did I get here?" And it's really helpful to know and have the awareness to start with. "Huh. This isn't working." Paying attention...what I talk about often is the dashboard lights of your life, and they start going off. For me, sometimes it happens in sleep where I notice, boy, I'm sure up a lot at 1 to 2:30 in t

  • To Be Lists

    25/11/2021 Duración: 03min

    Friends, this is Aaron. And I've been thinking. I've been thinking about to-do lists versus to-be lists. One of my mentors these last few years introduced me to the idea of a to-be list. I really shook my head at first. Like you mean like to be, as in like to be and to not be? What do you mean, to be? Well, she went on to talk about how each of us have, like, a to-do list, you know, shit-we've-got-to-get-done list, things that we want to make a difference in, things we need to accomplish, deadlines, timelines, deliverables. Great. But have we ever, have I, have you ever stopped to start with a daily to-be list? I kid you not, I remember months ago, I wrote down in the morning my to-be list. I wanna be patient, I wanna be open, I wanna be a non-reactive presence. And within 2 hours, maybe it was 60 minutes, it was short, I found myself with a client live and the client on the other end of Zoom, we were in a breakout room and we were doing this game, I pushed on the wrong tile button on this maze experience tha

  • Ten years of living forward

    25/11/2021 Duración: 07min

    Today I want to share something more intimate with you about pain and living forward. Earlier this year, my family and I we honored the 10-year anniversary of our daughter Hadley's passing and her death in 2011. And I found myself for a couple months, just feeling the... I don't even know if weight is the right word, but just the honoring of the reality of learning to live each of us individually and collectively as a family how to live forward. How to actually move forward. And it's definitely become easier by the year but doesn't mean the the pain or the loss is not there. It's just a new way of learning to live holding both joy and pain at the same time. So I wanna share with you a poem that I wrote. Her birthday is upcoming. This month I always tend to be reflective as well. And our holiday seasons are always bookended by her birthday and then her anniversary of her passing. I'll share the poem with you now and then reflect on it a little bit with you, 10 years living forward,   "Ten rings later in the oa

  • Pierce the veneer of outside things

    25/11/2021 Duración: 02min

    Friends, today what's on my mind is piercing the veneer of outside things. Ernest Shackleton, infamous Antarctic explorer, at the turn of the century, the 19th century, did this expedition in Antarctica. His men famously were trapped in the sea ice over 23 months, they found their way back home, each of them living. And in his memoirs, he wrote called "South,“ I'll share with you, two sentences. "We had pierced the veneer of outside things. We had reached the naked soul of men." I find this particular piece, the veneer, this... I remember in shop class as a kid in high school adding like a coating of veneer, a lacquer on top of whatever it was, we were creating. So veneer can be like a barrier, right? It could be thin, could be thick, could be many-layered, but how do we pierce the veneer of outside things? And I find often in our world that we live in, this modern world, the veneer of outside things exist in polished half-truths, phrases that I don't love like, "Oh, how you doing?" "Oh, I'm great. So busy, s

  • Dream bigger dreams

    25/11/2021 Duración: 02min

    Friends, I've been thinking, I've been thinking about dreaming bigger dreams. A friend of mine sent me a poem in the mail, a prayer over the summer. I've kept, keep going back and rereading these lines. And it reads, "Disturb me, Lord, when I am too well, pleased with myself, when my dreams have come true, because I have dreamed too little." So as I asked myself and wonder about these lines, what are my new dreams? Not the old, the vintage ones of yesteryear. What are the bashful whispers? The ones too big to say out loud. What if we whispered them with intuition? With heart, without knowing how? What if we speak it into the reality of the world as our prayer? We take it as a cue of the opening line of, "Disturb me Lord, when I am too well, pleased with myself, when my dreams have come true, because I have dreamed too little." Friends, danger is calling, danger is for good. Speak those dreams, those whispers, and let's begin to live into the questions of how might we bring bigger dreams to life? Friends, this

  • The world needs more wholehearted humans

    25/11/2021 Duración: 04min

    Friends, I've been thinking about what does the world really need? Our world is pretty complex, complicated place these days, no matter what part of the globe you live on. And I've been thinking about how what the world really needs is more wholehearted humans. Two quotes to get us started. Parker Palmer. "I wanted more than a job. I wanted deeper congruence between my inner and outer life." Congruence in that is about the who I am. My friend calls it a plum line, between who I am, what I think, feel and do, and they're all lined up. So let me read it again to you. "I wanted more than a job. I wanted deeper congruence between my inner and outer life." Second quote, Andrew Bennett. The longest journey you will ever take. "The longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart." So friends, if we desire more than just a job, our vocational experience and existence becoming more than just showing up with our butt in a chair, all present for roll call. If we desire our neighborhoods

  • The Economy of Presence

    25/11/2021 Duración: 03min

    Friends, I've been thinking about an idea that David Whyte wrote about. He titled it "The Economy of Presence." And he told the story in his book about this old sheepdog, Cymro in the Welsh countryside, and this dog, older of the bunch with limp, had a blind eye. He talked about how one ear's flopped over, one ear that's up is raised and black. And he had this what he titled as "The Economy of Presence," that he could stand... He could do the job with the lightest touch, he writes. He knew the pivotal places to stand. And he told the story about how the young sheepdogs would run up and back, lots of noise, lots of activity, lots of energy expended, in order to get the sheep to move where they wanted them to go. Contrast that with the older, wiser, somewhat haggard, Cymro, through his economy of presence, knowing the pivotal places to stand, said he could do it with the lightest touch, the pivotal places to do the job with the lightest touch. So he could lean, he could move ahead, he could tilt, he could stand

  • Developing an everyday muscle

    25/11/2021 Duración: 07min

    Today I've been thinking about developing an everyday muscle. I've been 600 days and counting now in this life experiment. So it feels like it's time to share it with you. So I've always wanted to be more consistent. Like, I would call like stone colds just steady. The person who like, skips all of the fussing and excuses, mini-dramas for why I do or don't do things consistently. And the truth is I've always probably found ways to overcome a lack of consistency by just, you know, fits and starts, or like, talent, you know, I could like delay, you know, if it's a deadline or whatever it may be. In that spirit, I've always wanted to be the guy who would just show up, do the work and kind of enough said. Instead, I've been the guy in the past with lengthy explanations mostly to myself. So at the beginning of the pandemic, I decided to run a life experiment and it was inspired by two things I wanna tell you about. And that's my son and his now six years of sobriety and the work of James Clear, he wrote a book cal

  • Write it by hand instead

    25/11/2021 Duración: 03min

    Friends, I've been thinking about writing it down by hand instead. In this world of digital texts, instant messages, DMs, emails, screenshots, emojis, and all kinds of other stuff that I don't even know what they are. What if we took out a piece of paper, a pen, tear out a page in a magazine. Locate your favorite stationery, go to a card store and buy a card. And what if you...I use maps all the time. I use maps from wilderness places I've been, national parks that I visit, I keep all those maps and use them, and hand write down your thoughts, your appreciations, your birthday wishes, and goodbyes. Years ago, a friend of ours shared his homemade birthday card with me and he said, I make all of my cards. I remember just thinking, what? You do what? Like, that's cool. As a result, I don't know that I've actually purchased a birthday card since. Even started, I bought this little digital printer where it prints your photos from your phone in little like sticker size, little like two by twos with a sticky back. S

  • This is something I can't NOT DO

    25/11/2021 Duración: 04min

    Friends, I've been thinking, what can you not not do? Parker Palmer writes, "Vocation at its deepest level. This is something I can't not do, for reasons I'm unable to explain to anyone else, and don't fully understand myself, that that are nonetheless compelling." I love that. Such a generous, expansive invitation for us to consider, what can we not do? I can't help myself. What's the thing you find yourself thinking, exploring, without prompt or obligation? A friend of mine recently told me that he cannot not photograph bacteria. Like what? Come again. He was telling me about how he, my friend Rob, he discovered these galaxies in this like do it yourself home petri dishes. And he was literally like unable to stop himself. So he documented his work in a children's book for his daughter. How fantastic is that? So where are we compelled for reasons we do not understand even to ourself? What I love about this is that we get absolved of the necessity to explain. We don't need to attempt to explain why it's sensi

  • Doing the creative best with your own life

    25/11/2021 Duración: 06min

    Friends, I've been thinking about the words of Saint Paul. He wrote this simple couple sentences that I've been meditating on for the last year and revisiting. He writes, "Make a careful exploration, make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." I found that, what is that? Four sentences? Five sentences? Incredibly disruptive, incredibly expansive, incredibly life-giving. And what I found is, even the first few lines, words, make a careful exploration of who you are. Wow, careful, explore. This question of, "Well, who am I? Like, who am I made to be?" I believe we are intimately designed and created and so in that, we don't come with a operator's manual. It's like when you buy a new TV or computer, you get the user guide. Well, there isn't one specifically for each one of us, we have to dis

  • The Training Lab of Life with Flamenco Dancer Ana Lucia Jardim # 203

    22/12/2020 Duración: 07min

    In today's episode, I want you to meet my friend and Flamenco dancer Ana Lucia Jardim. I want to share with you a tiny moment when she and her trio shared the beautiful art of Flamenco with a room full of work colleagues in San Francisco. I knew this was a moment to savor, so I pulled out my phone, recorded the audio of their music, singing and dancing, and a year later, reflected together, and here's what she shared. Special thanks and acknowledgement to singer, Roberto Zamora and David McLean Flamenco Guitarist and Composer, Todd Anderson our producer and Ana Lucia Jardim our wise guide. I'm signing-off here for this year to resume again in early 2021. To all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday. Keep going. You can do this. Aaron

  • Two Decades of Showing Up Everyday with Hollywood Writer, Producer and Director Scott Teems #202

    05/12/2020 Duración: 41min

    In the last person standing town, Scott Teems makes his home in Los Angeles, with a passion for telling stories through film. As a Hollywood and television writer and director, Scott Teems shares with us today on Work Life Play, the importance of showing up every day and why you need someone in your corner who believes in you.We talk about his life as a Hollywood and television writer and director, why most people quit sooner (and don’t go the distance), the supporting people, namely his wife TJ, and properly calibrated expectations to pursue big dreams. Scott brings us in close to educating us about how a film comes together from casting, location scouting, screenwriting, editing, and securing funding for a movie. Watch for Scott Teem’s upcoming Big screen studio works Halloween Kills (sequel to Halloween releasing the Fall of 2021. He wrote Firestarter, Stephen King adaptation, starring Zac Efron which begins shooting in 2021 releasing in 2022.  Also check out THE QUARRY, You can watch the trailer here an

  • Audacious & Without Apology with Podcaster and Cancer Rebel Matthew Zachary #201

    20/11/2020 Duración: 32min

    Matthew Zachary is my guest today for the audacious role he plays in the fight against cancer. Personally, this topic is significant to me. For most of the past two years, I’ve invested my client work energy supporting a major pharmaceutical organization as they re-imagine, re-engineer their approach to cure cancer and extend the lives of patients. Matthew’s founded Stupid Cancer, a brain cancer survivor himself, Newsweek calls him a Cancer Rebel, Deepak Chopra says he’s a Peace healer. Now his podcast, Out of Patients-sorting out the BS in healthcare through raw conversations about patient advocacy. I dedicate this episode to Peb and Bill, my friends. May you keep going further.

  • Tiny Moments-Big Ideas: Your Life Doesn't Need To Go On Hold #200

    13/11/2020 Duración: 07min

    Years ago, I believed that my "real life" went on pause when my responsibilities took over. For instance, when I traveled for work, my "life" was paused while I fulfilled my work duty. This limiting mindset, the lenses through which I interpreted my life, informed my narrow experience of my life. Everything was in a container. Open this container when I "Work," this container when I "Play." This old mindset prevailed when traveling for work; I believed that I was away from my "real life," The trip was a necessary interruption, but inconveniently pausing my experience of living my life. I now believe that I choose to live my life regardless of where I find myself in context and geography. It is all one beautifully integrated creation of my Work Life Play. In today's episode, another from the archives a few years back, I started running small experiments, fully living my life as I desired wherever I found myself, despite the context and limitations. The big unlock was that my life no longer needed to go on hold

  • Tiny Moments Big Ideas: What Are You Afraid To Try? #199

    30/10/2020 Duración: 07min

    In this Tiny Moment, Big Idea I ask the question "What are you afraid to try?" I recorded this episode five years ago immediately after we sold everything we owned and rebooted our lives. Many people said, "I wish I could do that." Which begs the question, "what are you afraid to try or do?" Maybe that informs what you might need to consider? Keep going,  Aaron

  • Higher Power Nudges with Holden McHugh #198

    23/10/2020 Duración: 49min

    My interview today is with my son Holden. Sober five years. Wise. Gracious, and he’s teaching me a lot about the power of building an everyday muscle. He talks about how he makes decisions waiting for nudges from “Higher Power” and his brave beginnings of sobriety.

  • Tiny Moments: Are We Out of the Woods #197

    16/10/2020 Duración: 07min

    Today’s episode is a tiny moment with a big idea. Three years ago this month, I left my fifteen-year-long career in Software, stepped down as an executive, forfeited stock options, and embarked on a quest, a mission, to align the work I do every day with the person I’d become. I jumped in our 74 VW Bus and headed west to honor the beginning of this big transition in my life. Here’s what I captured then, not knowing what would unfold. 20/20 vision is easier to find when looking into the rearview mirror—but challenging when we’re in the beginning or middle of significant transitions, living with uncertainty and great frontier of the unknown.

  • In the Shadows with Author Ryan Miller #196

    09/10/2020 Duración: 29min

    My friend Ryan Miller is fierce with questions. Questions about love, questions about life and story, and power and shadows. The question we came together around in this episode is what is happening in our culture’s shadows today. In the movie The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey, said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.” Ryan Miller’s new fictional story, Insipid, questions it all-good and evil, what is real and what is not. Dark and bright, join us.

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