Three Secrets for Making “The Game” Possible

As I write this newsletter, we still have plenty of uncertainty about everything. One of my colleagues told me she had trouble getting her head “back in the game.” She had trouble starting her work. She had trouble finishing. She sees her list of things, and in her words, “I just want to start happy hour earlier.”

I’m not surprised. She’s not alone, either. I’ve heard from several people, all saying the same thing.

The problem is “the game” changes, depending where we are in the pandemic. Right now, the game is about staying alive and not overrunning our health services. The next step of the game is to start to reopen, redefining work, school, and play. The third step is to continue to create that new normal.

I’m accustomed to planning weeks or months worth of work, not years. Especially not years where I can’t see the end point. (It doesn’t matter if my end is wrong. Other than this time, I’ve always had a specific goal. Right now the goal is to stay alive. A good goal, but difficult to achieve based on only on my actions.)

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve redefined the game as more than just stay alive. I have many creation projects: books, workshops, and several other consulting offerings. I now have a variety of end points.

I didn’t find my endpoint when all this started. I got here by examining my business model and thinking about the intersection of what I wanted and what my clients might want. I might be wrong. That’s okay. I will have accomplished something.

My three secrets for “the game:”

Secret 1: Create some milestone.

You don’t have to know the “real” end to give yourself a goal. You don’t have to have a big goal. You can have a small goal.

I have daily goals for my steps, weekly goals for my writing words, and project goals for books. I feel differently about each goal. I walk for me. I write to know what I think. I write books because my readers need to know their options.

You’ll have your own goals. I do recommend you create daily, weekly, and longer milestones. Then, as you finish the daily goal, you feel better about the weekly goal. When you finish the weekly goal, you feel better about being able to meet the longer goal.

My goals help me feel good about each day, week, and milestone. I’m sure you don’t want my goals. Create your own goals. Make sure your goals are something you can see every day and make you feel good about yourself.

Secret 2: Start small, finish something, get feedback.

My goals are small—by design. I want to finish something, get some feedback and then return to make more progress. I give myself feedback about my steps and my word count. And, I have specific readers who offer me feedback on my writing. I can get feedback every day on my steps and words. I can get feedback as often as my readers can read for my books.

Secret 3: Collaborate with at least one other person.

Two great things occur when I collaborate with someone else: I stay focused on the work while we work together. And, the result is often better than I could have done myself. I feel great about both of these.

And, if I’m spiraling down, the other person can ask me questions to help me find my up. I can do the same for my collaborator. So, if you’re working alone, find something to work on with someone else. My collaborations tend to be writing or teaching. Yours might be cooking or knitting. Or something I can’t even imagine. I bet you have the same experience I do—it’s fun to work with someone else.

When I shared these secrets with my colleague, she laughed. She said, “They’re totally obvious. I knew that.”

Of course she did. You might, also. And, when we’re in chaos, we don’t always think as clearly as we might. That’s why I wrote this newsletter.

Did these secrets already occur to you? Have you used them somehow? Drop me a line and let me know how you’ve made them work for you.

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