Leadership Thoughts


Attacking Your Goals Like a Chess Player

When it comes to forming plans and making decisions, we learn to abide by what logic dictates and our analysis supports.  In the beginning, middle, and end, all the answers are before us, in the positions of pieces, in the rules of the game, on the moves we make.  ~ excerpt from the book Every Move Must Have A Purpose by Bruce Pandolfini


The quote for our motivation this week comes from a book about chess.  Apparently, our parents have been teaching us about chess as much as they’ve been teaching us about the game of poker our entire lives.  I remember the lessons about not wearing my emotions on my sleeve, keeping my inner thoughts and feelings close to my heart until it was time to reveal them, and not letting everyone know what I’m thinking.  I also remember my mom talking about not distracting myself with worrying about what others will think or say about me and focusing more on my job rather than those around me.

At some point, I had to realize that if I stayed focused on the job at hand and channeled my energy towards my goal rather than the opinion of others, I would accomplish more with fewer headaches.  My grades improved in school when I stopped caring about what the person next to me got on their paper.  My career exploded when I stopped caring about the position and titles of my peers and focused on how I become the best at the position I held.  I became a better father when I removed the distraction of comparing myself to the other dads at the park and focused on my own relationship with my kids.  It leaves me wondering why I never picked up the actual game of chess a long time ago.

My challenge to you this week is write down one personal goal you have that you believe is influenced by the behavior of others.  Examine the opportunities for you to meet this goal without soliciting the feedback, validation, or approval of someone else.  Commit to completing two key projects this week without seeking recognition or reward.

Unlike poker which relies on the ability to read faces and interpret body language, attack your goal with the mindset of a chess player examining the pieces on the board, not the opponent.  Making assumptions about what you think you see and hear from others could cost you the game.


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