Game Changers

Game Changers 150 150 admin

I was recently invited to be interviewed for the Global “Game Changers” Summit along with 107 other leading experts in their field.  As I was reflecting on what it takes to “change the game”, it hit me that while many leaders are concerned about how to change the game, more often, it is the game that changes us.  In fact, before we can even begin to think about changing the game, we must first stop and ask ourselves, “what game am I playing here?” and secondly, “how is this game shaping the way I show up and the actions I take?”

A very relatable example is having an argument in an intimate relationship – when in the  argument, what game are we playing?  Is it the game of being right, of having the other see that they were in the wrong?  Is it about proving that I am enough or that I am not dumb?  What if you were in that moment aware of the game you were attempting to win at and changed the game – changed the game in a way that changed you in that moment – like a game of acceptance and understanding or of curiosity and exploration – or a game of authentic self-discovery and love?  You change the game, and the game instantly changes you – your actions and your presence will shift so fast.

This morning, one of my seasoned executive coaching clients was concerned about someone else taking credit for his idea.  That is a very common frustrating occurrence to many of us beginning in grade school and continuing throughout our life as a source of frustration.  As we began to inquire into the game he was playing, he realized this was a very familiar game for him called “being better”.  Someone else taking credit for his work was a threat to winning his game.  He realized this game was quite familiar and he had developed offensive tactics and defensive plays to win this game back in high school that he was still employing today. Upon realizing the game he was playing, he realized that winning this game was not fulfilling who he was really committed to being as a leader; and that while proper credit for proper work was important to him, the game of “being better” was not.  When he changed his game to one of servant leadership and powerful partnerships, he was able to effectively discuss the importance of acknowledgement in service of uplifting each other and create a whole new authenticity in his relationship with his colleague.

As in this example, once we identify the game we are playing, we can go even further to ask ourselves such questions as, “what are the rules of this game?”, “how am I keeping score?”, “is this game serving the person I am committed to being”, “where did I learn to play this game?”,  “how long and where else do I play this game?”.  Such questions can begin to illuminate what is running us in the background.  Only then, when we see the game we are playing, can we choose to create and play a different game, both in our personal lives and as a global leader in a time of accelerating complexity and change.

Change the game, and the game changes you.

As a leader, what game will you create that is worthy of the person you have become in life? What could you gain by allowing such a game to change you?