So, what do we mean by playing full-out? The way I see it, you always have three choices: 1) Play to win; 2) Play to lose; and 3) Play to “not” lose. Now, you may ask, aren’t “winning” and “not losing” the same thing? To which I would unequivocally answer: No way!
Not losing focuses you on the negative – what could go wrong or how you could fail. Because you’ve set that thought into your powerful mind, there’s a good chance for it to manifest. Not always easy to do, playing to win closes down any option but success. That’s why most people (those who also get mediocre results) play to “not lose”.
Their goal is to avoid fear or pain. They go to the edge of their comfort zone – and stop. Fear of rejection, failure, success, disapproval, not measuring up, being uncomfortable, making a mistake, getting hurt, or looking foolish stops them in their tracks. Anytime you hear yourself say “I can’t”, what you really mean is “I’m afraid”.
On the other hand, wildly successful people focus on winning. And, they’re scared all the time! Why? Because they know everything worth going after is outside their comfort zone. Every time you do something that causes you to gulp, you’re playing to win. That’s why I encourage you to face your fear and play full-out!
Opening to Future Possibilities
As you begin to question certain aspects of how you’ve handled life in the past, start to think about situations and people with whom you’ve always felt comfortable and how they may have inadvertently closed you off to new possibilities.
As you do, let me share an exercise from my coach training. What we call the “Future Self” is a guided visualization where you ‘meet’ yourself 20 years down the road. Even though we can’t actually have this experience together, if you reflect long enough, I’m certain you’ll get in touch with some of your true power through this focus.
Coming out of the visualization, my clients are often astounded to discover, “So, this is Who I Really Am? I can’t believe it.” Motivational guru Tony Robbins calls this Higher (Real) Self the “sleeping giant within”. Did you know you can access your own wise inner core whenever you want? All you have to do to connect is ask.
The Top Ten List
How lucky that each of us has a Future Self who’s only too happy to be consulted when needed. Believe in the wisdom of your Future Self, for he or she is you! Just because you can’t physically reach out to him or her doesn’t mean she or he isn’t with you 24 hours a day.
Imagine what would be possible if you were to use your True Self to design the life of your dreams. Here’s the great news! That’s what this month’s reflective questions are precisely meant to draw out of the deepest places in you:
- How would you describe your Future Self (looks, attitudes, behaviours)?
- In what part of the world and surroundings is she or he located?
- What kind of work are you doing in this future?
- What else do you “see” about your life 20 years from now?
- What do you need to know about your present circumstances and how those connect to the direction in which you’re travelling?
- What changes in attitudes, beliefs and values have occurred in you by the time two decades have passed?
- What is one insight your Future Self wants to impart today to help guide your efforts down the road?
- If there were a gift you Future Self would wish to offer you, what would it be?
- What practices can you undertake to regularly access your Future Self (hint: make time to tune in through techniques like journaling, relaxation, visualization)?
- How can you ensure that you design your future, not based on what you know in the past or present, but using the awareness you’ve now gained that comes from your wise and centered inner core?
As you responded to these inquiries, I sincerely hope you pictured a future large enough to accommodate who you’re becoming!
Besides any “meditative” practices in which you may now be impressed to engage to regularly connect to your Future Self, here’s a little “bonus” exercise. Identify 52 things that would be possible in your life if you were to step out of your current comfort zones. Go back over your list, grouping and sequencing similar items. The idea is to “schedule” one possibility per week into your calendar over the next year – making it your focus for seven days at a time. You may want to start with the easiest-to-implement actions first and work your way up to the more difficult or long-term. How does it feel as you stand in front of 52 new possibilities?