Life: the Strategy — and Not the Cool Board Game or Tasty Cereal

Strategy. It’s not a way by which everybody operates. Many people listen to their heart and feelings and let them lead the way, on some occasions “blindly” and routing them into painful waters. But for others, steps are taken methodically and with purpose, armed with intention and goals, and typically for those well-planned folks, this means a strategy is driving the bus.

We associate strategy with competitive things – business, sports, games, scoring that date with the hottie over your friend. (Yes, really important matters like these.) But have you ever really thought about your own strategy going about your day for other aspects of your life – your relationships, your diet and fitness routine, your hobbies, your knowledge and desire to grow it?

This week, I asked you to ponder that very subject with the question:
What is your life strategy – for work and play, for career and relationships? What is the basis by which you operate and why do you think it is so?

Just because I pose a question does not mean I have a readily available answer for myself. In fact, this week’s Kuhnspiration challenge question was one of the hardest ones for me to contemplate because it forced me to examine things that I simply do automatically. For once, I had to consciously examine what I’m doing and why.

Since this blog is all about getting creative in our lives, yes, but being honest about it, I have to respond to this question as honestly as possible, and I’m not very proud of the reality after further reflection. After serious pondering, I realized that my general life strategy is “don’t rock the boat.”

Sad, isn’t it?

I don’t like confrontation and I don’t like the pains of change and uncomfortable situations, so you know what? I don’t put myself there. If you don’t go out on a ledge with an idea or statement, you don’t have people come after you with inquisitions or negative feedback. And if you don’t take bold moves or switch things up when they need a fire lit under their ass, then guess what? You get more of the same and that means no change, no discomfort…and you know what else? No growth.

I’m depressing myself as I write this.

I am a wallflower, and I suppose that’s why I hide behind this keyboard. It’s safe. Or so it seems. Until I throw something out there…gulp…such as this insight, and then watch the ramifications unfold from being perhaps too truthful publicly.

My strategy is to stick my neck out just far enough to raise interest and educate myself, but not tooooo far enough that I’m lassoed into god-knows-what further involvement.

Honestly, the more I think about this, it’s a miracle I ever got married, because you would expect me to walk on eggshells in a relationship, too. Aah, but here’s where I’m different or perhaps naive or stupid, depending on your own perspective. When it comes to relationships, I am – how else could I word it and not paint as a vivid a picture as possible? – ahem, “balls to the wall,” is I believe the technical explanation. I will put myself out there, neck, arms, heart, torso – EVERYTHING – at the risk of it all being lopped off in one single slice. Why? Because when it comes to love and friendship, I’m a risk-taker, and boy, have I paid for that! Isn’t it strange how in one area of life we can be so bold and unafraid and yet in others, second-guess ourselves and hold back intentionally?

My worst nightmare is and has always been going to a networking event where I know absolutely nobody and am forced to – um – talk… to people!  GASP. My second worst nightmare, cold calling…on the phone, people! Oy. And don’t get me started on the frightening prospect of the something like Toastmasters. I would be found curled up in the fetal position hiding behind my bed (just in case you’re looking for me, should this happen anytime in the future).

Is it because I’m so horrible at talking with people? Well, no actually, I’m a pretty good conversationalist. Can I be compelling on the phone or by audio only? Sure, after all, I did spend much of my college years working on-air in radio and doing phone work in call centers, so I certainly know how to put on my best voice as much as the next speaker. And those rare occasions where I have spoken in front of groups, I’ve always gotten compliments. So I know it’s not lack of experience or ability but it’s simply fear. (I’ll let you play Dr. Frasier Crane and privately fill in which kind of fear on your own time.)

So this strategy of not making waves and not putting myself in vulnerable positions has given me one big benefit – no discomfort. But what has it cost? That’s hard to answer but I’m sure some missed opportunities along the way.

Paging a therapist. This is clearly something I need to examine further and take to a much more heady place that this blogger has no intention of going here (and you’re welcome). But I can tell you that my eyes are wide open more than ever before. And I guess this is a start.

When you stop and really think about your strategy and how you operate from day-to-day in your work and in your play or relationships, what trends do you notice about yourself? It might be a painful examination but one that could open your eyes and heart, as it has done for me.

To get to the crux of it, ask yourself sub-questions to prompt further discovery like – what kinds of people, places and things am I avoiding and why? What haven’t I learned even though I’ve said that I want to know it for a very long time? What haven’t I accomplished that I have always said I wanted to do, and what’s stopping me?

Consider taking a few moments to do this exercise for yourself. And kudos to you for being so brave and giving it a try.

Cheers to finding that daily spark in your life!
Chris

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