The Game of Life
Over the course of 25 years, I’ve had the unique opportunity to interview over 12,000 job applicants and speak with well over 100,000 business leaders around the country.
Here’s what stood out…
Everyone is playing the same game. We’re playing the “game of life” and we all know that life is constantly going to throw us surprises, challenges, opportunities, curveballs and new adventures (aka… “Transformative Moments”).
As I met with people, it dawned on me that everyone faces Transformative Moments which we define as those big moments that we believe will impact our life forever going forward.
I learned quickly that everyone is “dealing with something” at any given point and time. It may be a family matter, a business matter, a personal matter, or some other issue that has come up. That’s the game of life that we’re all playing.
Two Paths to Consider:
As I sat in the 1,000’s of interviews and conversations with people around the country, I noticed that there were really two distinct paths people take when faced with a Transformative Moment.
The first path consisted of behaviors that were reflective of “Fear, Isolation and Control”. These individuals often felt they were the victim of whatever Transformative Moment was going on in their life. They often seemed stuck and seemed to go in circles with similar issues coming up for them over and over.
The second path consisted of behaviors that were reflective of “Self-Awareness, Accountability and Connection”. These individuals seemed to take responsibility for whatever it was they were dealing with and seemed to have the confidence that they would move through whatever obstacles were in their way. They seemed future focused.
What will Your World look like in 5 Years?
Out of curiosity, I would ask people in these interviews or conversations “what will your world look like in 5 years”?
Nobody knows the answer to this question exactly… but as you can imagine, those that were going along the first path usually had a very vague answer or a cloudy idea of what they wanted their world to look like. In many cases, they were just along for the ride.
Those that seemed to be headed down the second path consistently had a much stronger ability to articulate what they wanted their world to look like in 5 years. They had a focus and an intent to succeed (however they were defining success for themselves). As you can imagine, it was much easier to help these people with whatever assistance they were requesting.
What is a Vision:
A Vision is the Big Picture. It’s what you imagine your world to look like in the future. It’s the future version of whatever it is that you are building towards right now. It’s your inspiration.
As humans, we are wired to build and create. When we lose sight of what it is we are building for ourselves and the life we are creating for ourselves, we tend to go down the path of being a victim of circumstance and we end up living in a reactive world versus proactively creating our world.
Leaders understand that you must have a Vision. Leaders understand that personal accountability starts with having a Vision for yourself.
Why having a Vision is Important?
As a leader, you are going to need to make decisions both for yourself and your team.
Fun Fact: The average adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions per day. In contrast, young children make about 3,000 decisions per day. We make about 227 decisions each day on just food alone according to researchers at Cornell University (Wansink and Sobal, 2007).
The Vision that you define for yourself empowers you to recognize opportunities and to make choices necessary to achieve your Vision. An organized Vision empowers you to proactively #CreateYourWorld and manage the noise around you.
Vision on a Global Scale
On a global scale, there are about 7.5 billion people on the planet playing the game of life, yet no two people are the same and no two people are playing the game the same way.
When observing and considering the two paths that people generally take, it’s usually obvious that those who chose path 2 and demonstrate personally accountable behaviors are the same people that appear to be the happiest, the most content and the most likely to achieve their Vision for success despite what the game of life throws at them.
Happiness comes in the journey and the pursuit of a Vision. Knowing that you are working towards something every day reinforces that every step and decision you make has purpose. Living a life with intent and purpose is the happiest and most rewarding life you can create for yourself.
Take Time to Understand the Vision of Others
It takes a team to win the game and nobody achieves their Vision alone. Taking the time to understand the Vision of others empowers you to position yourself to help. The more you help others along the path to their Vision, the more others are likely to help you in return. It’s the simple concept of the more you give, the more you get. Ask questions, listen and take the time to understand the Vision of those around you. You will find that you often have more in common than initially perceived.
Here's a Fun Exercise
Set a timer on your phone. Take 10 minutes and just think about this question…
“What do you want your world to look like in 5 years?”
Don't think about "How" it's going to play out. Just focus on "What" you want your world to look like.
Once you’ve given this 10 minutes of critical thought and focus, then write down 10 Bullet Points (just a few words for each) that describe your Vision and what you want your world to look like in 5 years. What does success look like for YOU?
Vision + A RoadMap = Success
A Vision is just part of your roadmap to success but it’s a critical component. Your Vision is your North Star. It’s your definition of what success looks like for you and your roadmap is your plan for bringing that Vision to reality.
As a leader, we need to establish a Vision of where we are leading our team whether it's a team of one (you) or a team of many. Leaders understand that they need to start with defining their Vision of what success looks like before they build their road map.
In future blogs, we’ll discuss building a roadmap for making your Vision a reality.