I am running around the oval the other day, it’s freezing cold, I’m puffing and I notice that my knee is twinging, but I am determined to achieve my 400 metre objective, my current personal best. As I start to puff and pant, I tell myself that the public commitment I made to run 5km by the end of December is now a really crazy idea! However, almost simultaneously, it occurs to me that having told people my goal, I will have to account for myself. It’s both scary and exciting and so I push on and achieve my objective for the day.
That is the nature of a big ‘game,’ a commitment that takes us outside our comfort zone. It’s all relative, of course. If you are a distance runner, a 5km objective will seem like child’s play for you, but given my current level of aerobic fitness it seems almost unattainable. Your comfort zone challenge may lie elsewhere, but you can apply the same principles. In my experience, this realm outside our comfort zone is where unexpected and surprising results occur, beyond what is predictable. The idea of creating a ‘game,’ with a specific and measurable result, is comparable to a game of sport. In the sporting analogy, the team members are playing a game they enjoy, whilst giving it everything they have got, to achieve their objective of winning. Interestingly, the commitment to my objective has me taking new actions and finding ways to expand my abilities that I would not ordinarily consider. Like training each day in the freezing cold, for example, or improving my running technique.
We have all experienced that moment of simultaneous terror and excitement when the full impact of the commitment we just made sinks in. Everyone who has been a parent knows that moment! People who have moved countries, or those of us who have taken on a big new role that stretches us have also experienced it. Thankfully, something kicks in, if we truly commit, that allows us to expand our capacity beyond what we thought was possible.
So commitment is one part of the equation, but so too, is inspiration. It needs to be a commitment to something that is important to us. They go hand in hand. For example, my end of year goal to be the fittest I have been in twenty years is important to me, and I have realized that whilst I am inspired by the goal, there was no ‘stake in the ground,’ that would get me into action. I decided that I needed to declare a stretch objective if I was going to get there. A BIG game!
So, if either inspiration or commitment is missing in some area of life that is important to you, then you may want to create a comfort zone challenge, a BIG game, to get you into action. The opportunity is to create something over the next few months that is both scary and exciting and has you on the hook because you have told people around you that is what you are up to. This is where the surprising results are achieved. If you play flat out, you literally won’t know yourself at the end of it. Feel free to declare what you are taking on. I will keep you posted on how I go with my BIG game!