This weekend I admitted to my husband that I didn’t want to play chess with him because I was pretty sure I would suck at it.
How about Scrabble? I’m good at Scrabble.
I hear myself saying the words and I know how they sound and I say them anyway. I mostly want to do things I’m good at so that I can feel sure and confident.
Doing things I could suck at? Not so much.
A game is supposed to be fun and in my book, winning equals fun.
When I get curious about this, I can see how this plays out in other areas of my life. In coaching my inclination is to stick with things I think I do well. When my boss asks me to do things outside of my comfort zone, my brain freaks out a little (OK, a lot).
It tells me that for sure she will see me sucking and she will fire me. It forgets that when you do something for the first time or the twentieth time, you’re supposed to suck. If I remembered that part, I could use what I learn from each experience to grow and evolve.
She doesn’t expect me to be perfect. I expect me to be perfect and that’s where my anxiety comes in and I stop having fun. The things she’s asked me to do has nothing to do with it.
I see this happen with my clients all the time. They think they should get their eating protocols right or process their emotions right on the very first try. When they don’t get it, they revert to what they do well – overeating to numb their feelings.
They miss the part where it’s OK to fail while they figure it out. They want to play to win every time.
When we only play to win, we miss the point.
The point is the learning and growing, not the winning.
Winning is just one of many bonuses for having done the work.