Monday, April 15, 2013

Empower Yourself: Lesson #3 - The Games People Play

In this five-week series, we will look at what you can do to empower yourself and take control of your life. Remember, "If it's going to be, it's up to me!"

Games are often associated with kids. There are a number of games that adults play. Knowing how to play and develop a winning strategy is essential if you plan to win at the biggest game of all: The Game of Life.

Pass the Buck
Objective: Similar to the children's game of hot potato, the point of this game is to take a situation (the buck) that is difficult, touchy, or otherwise hard to handle and give it to someone else as quickly as possible.

Rules: Distance yourself from the buck being passed by saying how it isn't your problem or in your job description. If someone attempts to pass the buck to you, step back, let it fall and suggest the name of someone else who can pick it up. If you do get stuck with the buck, explain why you are passing it to the next person. Make sure to add why you aren't the one who should have it and why the other person should. Worse case scenario: cry or throw a tantrum while passing the buck (this will make it less likely that someone   else will pass the buck back to you later on).

Winning Strategy: If the buck truly belongs to you, own it, handle it, deal with it. If the buck belongs to someone else, pass it to them. Do not accept the buck if it isn't yours. If you start accepting it, the person who passed it to you will continue to pass other bucks your way. Stand up for yourself.

Head in the Sand
Objective: Avoid handling a problem by pretending it doesn't exist. Ignore it. Pretend like it doesn't exist.

Rules: Throw the bills away that are piling up, stop answering the phone, avoid the person you need to speak to or deal with. Find activities you enjoy more and indulge in those instead of dealing with the negative situation that needs your attention.

Worse Case Scenario: Drink heavily, spend a lot of money, engage in a lot of meaningless relationships, play a lot of video games, surf the net obsessively. Do anything you enjoy to excess in a vain attempt to pretend your problem doesn't exist.

Winning Strategy: Get some emotional support and begin to gather the details of the issue. Your support system is there to get you to take action and to be there for you if it gets overwhelming. Seek help. Is there a person in your circle who can help or is there a professional whose expertise can help. Work with these people to develop a step-by-step plan. Use your support system to begin tackling your plan one step at a time. You'll find the feelings of helplessness often subside when you begin taking some action towards solving your problem.

The Blame Game
Objective: This game is played after a mistake has been made. The goal is to find someone to blame for what went wrong. A second objective is to make this person look bad while making yourself look good (it helps if you paint yourself as the victim).

Rules: When looking for a scapegoat, it helps if you find someone who is also involved in the situation. If you can make the scapegoat or the others involved in the situation feel bad, it helps. They should feel bad for you and readily agree that you couldn't win. If you can make someone else look like the villain, even better.

Winning Strategy: Similar to Passing the Buck, if you deserve the blame, own it. Take it a step further by dissecting what went wrong and what you can do to prevent it from happening again. In other words, learn your lesson. If someone is passing the blame to you, do not accept it. Have as many facts, not feelings, as you can for why you are not going to own something that isn't yours. Explain what you are responsible for (and how you are handling your responsibilities) as well as what you aren't responsible for and why.

What other games do people play and what's your winning strategy?

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