Are You Playing Your Biggest Game?

by Kevin MacDonald
Chapter Digest Article (June 1, 2005)

One of the most exciting parts of my job as the coach for CMAA is the fact that many of the people who book a coaching session with me are doing so because they want to play a bigger game. They want to expand their thinking, they want to challenge the status quo, and they want to be challenged to go beyond the level they are at in all areas of their lives. Imagine what it is like to work with people who want to be the best they can be, who want to explore possibilities that they haven’t seen as possible to this point and who want discover their gifts and really take them for a test drive.

Before I go further I would like you to think about the size of the game you are playing as a Club Manager, a Spouse, a Parent, a Chapter Leader and a Human Being. The interesting thing is that you get to play your game in any of these areas at the level you choose to play them. I am not trying to tell you that you should play them at a higher level, I am just trying to point out that whether you have done it consciously or not you have chosen the level that you are playing at.

Here are some symptoms of playing a smaller game than you are capable of. You might find yourself defending the status quo. You may be spending a lot of your energy analyzing what is wrong with the people who are questioning how you are doing. You may feel complacent about the way things are. You may be spending your time dealing with really small issues. You might be tolerant of the people you are leading when they play small. You may be thinking the way you have always thought. You may be spending very little time visioning, dreaming and planning and lots of time doing and putting out fires. You may be feeling an absence of passion and inspiration. You may be underpaid or underappreciated.

Why do we play small?

Sometimes it may feel that the people around us are satisfied with the game we are playing so that is good enough. It is comfortable. We know what it feels like to play the game at this level and we know we can do it. Some of us play small because we fear what it would be like to play the bigger game. Would I be good enough? What if I failed? What if I succeeded? Some people have been programmed by significant people in their lives that they will never play a very big game and they believe it. Some people don’t know there is a bigger game to be played.

If you subscribe to my monthly newsletter that is available though the coaching section of Clubnet you will know that I have been inspired this year by some young people that are playing a very big game. At the age of 12 Craig Kielburger saw an article in his local paper about a child laborer in Asia being murdered. After doing research he learned that in many third world countries children were being chained to looms and were working as slaves. He had a problem with that and told his parents that he needed to go to South East Asia and meet these kids. He wasn’t allowed to use public transit by himself so his parents said “no”. He wrote world agencies and arranged protection so he could go to meet these kids. He got a 25 year old university student to chaperone him on the trip and he went to some of the poorest countries in the world. When he got home he and his brother started an organization called “Free the Children”. That was 10 years ago. Craig is now 22 years old and a university student. His organization has freed over 1,000,000 children, built over 500 schools so kids can learn instead of work and he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times. That sounds like a pretty big game but the brothers also started an organization called Leaders Today which gives leadership training to over 250,000 high school aged kids in North America. They are developing leaders who can change the world.

Now back to us.

Are we playing the game we are capable of playing? As chapter leaders are we challenging our own thinking? Are we thinking big enough? Are we dreaming about what is possible? Are we innovating to do things that no other chapter has ever done? Are we challenging the people in our chapter to be very clear on what it is that they need? Are we doing things that go beyond our small community of managers and into the bigger community around us or into the large global community? Are we looking at other chapters to get inspiration about what is possible for our chapter? Are we looking at examples from outside club management to inspire ideas?

Can you imagine what could happen if you challenged yourself to raise your game in all areas of your life? What would it be like if you raised your game as a spouse? How would that impact your role as a chapter leader? What if you raised your game as a parent? What if you raised your game as manager and leader? What if you could inspire all of their staff to raise their game? What if your example inspired your members to raise their game? What if you raised the game you play as a human being?

Please encourage people in your chapter to contact me if they would like some support in raising any of their games.

Kevin MacDonald
Clarity Success Coaching
Contact Kevin by phone at 604-507-1288
Or send your question to him via email
[email protected]

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