Work's a Game, baby!

With the Olympics just weeks away I am thinking about Sport today…

Specifically, Sport at work and recognising those challenging people, those difficult tasks, that tough environment is your opportunity to create joy, to reframe the “stress” these situations can bring into something more “fun” and the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.

Life isn’t easy and our work, where we spend more than half our waking lives, throws up challenges daily, so the trick to staying happy at work whilst succeeding, is to treat the things you think will be difficult, as Sport…

Let me explain the Jac Phillips Sport analogy.

When we “play” sport, we are using our physical ability and mental skills (strategy, anticipation, response) to compete, while providing entertainment - to ourselves, to our team mates and to spectators. And it’s the “entertainment” component I want you to stay focused on.

We also must train. We try to be prepared for Sport so we stay fit, we practise and we think through the strategy. We also reflect afterwards - what did we do well? What do we need to improve? We learn and grow. And the most important part of all this is…we have fun. We enjoy ourselves, because if we stop having fun, then chances are, we stop playing.

So next time you are entering a work situation (your “court” or “field”) that has you anxious, think how you can turn this into Sport and entertain yourself and potentially your competitors and other spectators.

Try the following:

  1. Set your mind to be positive - approach with a smile on your face and try to be relaxed. Use humour, it’s a wonderful diffuser.
  1. Prepare so you anticipate responses and outcomes, this puts you in control. And if you can’t be prepared then take particular notice of no.3!
  1. Own the situation by doing more active listening, less speaking. This ensures you don’t come across as defensive and allows you to analyse the conversation in your mind later.
  1. Reflect on what is being said and what are the learnings from this. What can you use from the conversation to be better?
  1. Thank your competitors! It’s respectful, it’s gracious and it demonstrates a mature and professional player… because it’s ALL just a game, unless you’re curing cancer, or COVID at your work.

If you can’t be the smartest person in the situation, then aim to be the funniest. It takes intelligence to create humour and those who bring light and laughter to work, are those we always remember, and want to be around.

So are you ready to go play some work Sport? Please let me know how you score ;-)

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