Struggling vs Playing – how much are you doing of either?


‘Oh goodness, this is so hard!’

‘ I can’t do it!’

‘How come I can’t do it?’

Struggling. It’s just not nice, is it?  When you try so, so hard, doing everything right (apparently) and still you don’t get the results you want. And it’s not fair, either – after all that hard work, why isn’t it working?  You can’t understand it, and maybe you go back over what you’ve done, trying to work out (there’s that word ‘trying’ again), wanting to know what went wrong, how you can learn from it.

Or maybe you just give up.

Or worse, decide there must be something wrong with you, something lacking, as everyone else seems to be able to do it OK.

This used to be me, this last one. I was sure that everyone else had ‘it’ (sometimes I still fall into that trap J), that there was something I just wasn’t getting that would mean I would suddenly be catapulted into the world of stardom.

So here’s a thing.

  • What about if there isn’t an ‘it’ to get?
  • What about if you are perfectly fine exactly the way you are?
  • What about if the way your business is going is acceptable?  (Not brilliant, not terrible, just acceptable?)

Just imagine into any one of these for a moment.  Go a bit deeper.

If there isn’t an ‘it’ to get, and deep down you know you’ve got all the knowledge or education you need, what stops you from putting what you already know into action?

If you can drop into the place of being fine the way you are, what happens?  Sense of relief? Apprehension? A feeling of being able to breathe again?

If you entertain the idea that your business is just fine the way it is, if you could accept that concept, just for fun, how would it feel and what would you be doing next?

Lots of questions today – and here’s another one:

What about if life is a great big game and your business is just a smaller game within the big one? 

Are you having fun playing it?  Where does struggle fit in?  Playing a game doesn’t usually involve struggle – there might be some time needed to be spent learning how the game works; you might need to make some mistakes in order to find out what works best and what doesn’t; but if it’s game, then surely the whole point of playing a game is to enjoy it?

(OK, I know some people think games are only about winning and losing, but I’m talking about the process of the game at the moment. The trouble with winning is there’s always an end point, and where do you go from there then?)

Next time you find yourself sitting at your desk struggling, or find yourself trying hard to ‘get it right’, just consider the idea that you are actually playing a game.

Ask yourself: on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is fully enjoying myself, am I having fun here?

If you get less than a 7, then stop playing that game – start another instead, called cooking a meal, going for a walk, playing with the kids, taking a bath, writing or drawing something. Anything – and remember that’s a game too!

You’ll recognize this from kids playing imaginary games together – when they get fed up with one game, they invent another. Sitting on the beach last summer, I watched 3 young boys having great fun playing with an old surfboard in the sand, making a dam-like construction against the waves.  It was never going to work of course and they would have known that too, but it didn’t stop them having fun – and when they got fed up with that version, they invented another variation, using the board to ski up and down in the shallows.  They moved seamlessly from one form of playing to another.

You can do that too, if you consider that life is a game, business is one version of it and everything else you do is part of the game too.

Bring this aspect to your work today and watch what happens. But whatever you do, have fun doing it!

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