How are you playing

On the weekend I did some shopping, got a hair cut and caught up with a friend. After catching up on friend and family matters, we shared a little about our respective businesses. She told me about an exciting new venture she's planning and some of the 'cat and mousing' she's doing to get it off the ground. Laughing in response to her game reference, I heard myself ask 'so how are you going to play this one?'

When I asked this question, I was referring to her business goals and expecting responses around specific outcomes but instead she laughed and said, 'to win, of course!'

I laughed, but there was something about her answer that floored me. Sometimes when you ask a question and the answer isn't what you expect, you pay attention. This is what happened. My friend is playing to win, but how have I been playing (especially recently)? ... I know the answer to that one ... I've been playing to 'not lose'.

Playing to win, and playing to not lose are two different games!

Especially recently, I feel like I've been reactive instead of proactive, I've done too much second guessing and I've become increasingly wary of making the wrong decision or a big mistake. I feel like I'm constantly explaining myself to others, and I hate it. My position has become defense: to not lose. I've decided I need to change position in this game, and play offense: to win.

As I was thinking about defense and offense, I made the association to all those years I sat field side watching my son play soccer. I watched him many times fall and get back up again. Strategy, team work, all the training that goes into the game is what matters. Falling is OK, it's just a part of playing.

A number of blogs back I quoted Ophra Winfrey. I've never been much of a fan, more because I haven't paid attention than because of any other reason, but just recently her quotes seem to be popping up all over the place.

Not only do I like her quote about falling, I like this one:

Every time you state what you want or believe, you're the first to hear it. It's a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don't put a ceiling on yourself

Something quite profound has happened. I've changed position. I think I was putting a ceiling on myself. It's gone now, it's time to start kicking some goals.

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