I met Charlie Hoehn while he was rooming with Alexandra Liss in San Francisco during the production of the One Couch at a Time documentary. Charlie is a marketing guru and worked behind-the-scenes to get lots of eyeballs on our film. I was able to pick his brain over a few beers on more than one occasion, and each time I was left with the impression he was an incredibly hard working guy who knew exactly where he was going in life, and he had the chops to get there.
Fast forward about a year later, I was randomly listening to an NPR program and heard a familiar voice, “Hey, that’s Charlie on the radio!” To my surprise, the interview didn’t focus on his recent successes, but rather his bouts with severe anxiety and how he locked his bedroom door and worked himself into a nervous breakdown. “Who kicked the chair out from under Charlie?”
It all became clear soon after he made the announcement of “Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety”. The opening chapters explained why he moved away from (imho) the greatest city in the world and pushed the reset button (I’ll let you read it to find out why).
So what is this book about? Basically it says how, as adults, we’ve forgotten the importance of playfulness in life, and how detrimental it is to our work, creativity and even our health. Charlie’s story is a bit on the extreme side, but it is very easy to relate to once you read how he tells it.
I’ll admit, before reading this book, I wasn’t sure how much value I was going to take in because “I don’t have anxiety, and I know how to balance work and fun”, but Chapter 4 called me out on my creeping “life is serious” mentality, and I’ve been adjusting ever since. I can already see how I’m affecting people around me in a more positive way. I’m also on a countdown to get my work done each day so I can go outside and run around, lest my office be pregnant with me!
This book does not contain any information that unlocks the key to the universe or anything, it is more about building a path towards a simple but profound attitude adjustment in how to approach life.
I have never felt I was a stressed out person, but stress definitely likes to twist itself right up underneath my shoulder blades. Getting outside and playing more during the workweek has done wonders to loosen me up. I recommend this book to anyone who feels haunted by stress or anxiety, or maybe as a gift to someone else who is bringing stress into your life. Don’t take my word for it, even the great Tony Robbins gave Charlie a random salute for his work.
That’s about all there is to say. Now its time for me to go outside and enjoy some sunshine.
Charlie, I wish you great success with book. I’m looking forward to the sequel, “Play it Away 2: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems”.