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Meet Kai Dickens of Playology in La Jolla

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kai Dickens.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
On June 22, I received one of the biggest wake-up calls of my life – my mother sadly informed me that my father had passed away early that morning (at the young age of 55). At that point in my life, I was working 70+ hour weeks month after month. Ultimately, what had once been my dream job as the director of a very large summer camp had left my passionateless, burnt out and over it from the long days. A conversation up my return from my fathers funeral opened my eyes to the true reality of how unhappy and unappreciated I felt working in my position. That day realizing life was really too short to be unhappy, I made the decision to walk away from a great job with amazing benefits and a nice paycheck to step into my life.

For the next year and a half, all I did was play and connect with friends. I was LIVING and LOVING life again. During this time, I noticed the more I played and included others, the happier everyone around me was becoming. Away from work, everyone was happy but as soon as the thought of going to work crossed their minds – worry and anxiety seemed to follow. Many of my friends were unhappy in their positions and were feeling drained from being overworked and unappreciated as well.

Knowing that I never wanted anyone else to feel the way I once did – I created PLAYOLOGY for the sole purpose of bringing adults back to play and happiness back to corporate culture.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The journey of an entrepreneur is definitely not for the faint of heart! Blood sweat and tears have been put into building this business. The road has not been easy by any means – but at the end of the day is anything worth it easy?!

My biggest struggle (or learning lesson) has been realizing that I need to do a much better job with branding and marketing! Having an idea is great. Planning for events is great! But both are much different than being able to fill your events and sell your products. I found out the hard way that I was not great at marketing and sales when my first try at a hosting a grown-up summer camp failed and I was left to cover an $8,000 invoice.

Let’s just say that was the best lesson in entrepreneurship that I have ever had! I learned SO many valuable things from that experience.

Please tell us about PLAYOLOGY.
PLAYOLOGY is specialized training and consulting firm. Our four areas are Culture Consulting, Leadership Development, Team Building and Millennial Engagement.

Most of us have heard the stat – 75% of people who quit don”t quit the job, they quit the boss or the culture. We work with companies and organizations to help them create amazing cultures for their teams, ensure those working for them are able to connect and to train those in leadership positions to be great leaders.

I believe there are quite a few things that separate us from others! First off – we focus specifically on culture and from looking through that lens we are able to help support a company in other areas. Secondly – our team building activities are not your typical old school activities – everything we do is high energy and fun which gives us a chance to bring out your childlike wonder. Third – we use PLAY as our vehicle for transformation. PLAY is our magic and gives us a chance to help create amazing experiences and memories for the teams that work with us!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory as a child would be anything that involves my Grama! She was the heart and soul of my life.

One particular one that is coming to mind right now is me playing basketball at the school that was down the street from her house. I had been down there all day with my friends. It was starting to get dark and the street lights were just about to come on. We were at the end of a game of 21 and I just needed 2 more points to win. I was trying to score before the street lights came on because in my house that was game over – street lights on meant I better be at the house.

Lost in the game – I was battling down there trying to score over two guys that were much taller than I. I had just started practicing this amazing spin move and I didn’t want to score on a regular jump shot. Then I hear my Grama calling my name – which meant that the street lights had just turned on and I was expected home. I knew I only had one more opportunity before I HAD to go, so I took the ball out to the top of the key and stared down my target, took two dribbles hard to the right and spun to the left. Took one dribble in, threw a ball fake and took it the rest of the way to the basket for the win! Then grabbed my ball and ran home.

When I got to the top – I was so excited to tell her about my win! The best part is she was just as happy for me that she forgot that I was late coming home!!!

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