Life is a Game Article by: Jim Rohrbach

And games are supposed to be fun!

“Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
Harvey MacKay

I realized early on I had a distaste for doing tasks I didn’t find fun, and didn’t want to buy into the common notion, “You have to do things you don’t like — that’s life.” I’ve always been one to “question authority,” or at least question the assumptions others put forward about “the way it is.” And I took on the challenge of figuring out how I was going to make a living doing only things that I wanted to do, and that I enjoyed, so that I could play every day. After all, life is a game. And games are supposed to be fun!

I began by taking a look at how I could turn my “work” into a game. I thought about my regular activities that bring me satisfaction and how I could translate them into my coaching practice. What I came up with:

Basketball I have been playing in pick-up basketball games for years, and still love mixing it up with the guys at the “Y.” The game instills many great skills, not just individual, but also in the areas of teamwork, situational awareness and quick decision making — perfect for leadership, and perfect for helping my clients. Keeping score is part of it — what game is fun if you don’t keep score? I always want my clients to be able to measure their improvements in our coaching relationship, including their bottom line.

Music A well kept secret is that I’m a reasonably competent rhythm guitarist who also can sing a bit. (Don’t worry — I won’t quit my day job …) Mostly self-taught, I learned guitar by playing along with Beatles, Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead records — remember them? I spent hours figuring out chord changes on each song, which has translated into my ability to hear the “music” of my clients when they speak. This also allows me to riff along with their ideas to create new “success songs” for them to sing.

Cooking I’ve been described as a good eater. (I like to say I’m like Will Rogers — I never met a pizza I didn’t like …) Because of that, I’ve become a pretty good cook. Some of my specialties are vegetarian chili with walnuts, home made pizza from scratch and guacamole, which complements my 100% agave tequila margaritas. Cooking involves following the right recipe to create a tasty dish, not unlike putting together the right “recipe” of assignments for my clients’ success.

Reading I used to rarely crack a book (ask my former high school teachers!), but over time I’ve become an avid reader. My learning goal is forty books a year, all non-fiction. I read biographies of great historical figures and successful business people, books on marketing, sales and other business-building techniques, and lately, ones on leadership. Not only do these books stimulate my mind, they provide the ideas my clients expect me to share so they can go to the next level.

I bring the qualities from these four areas every day to my coaching practice and, poof! I’m playing a game, not slaving away at job I hate.

Which begs the question: Am I a coach who also happens to like basketball, play guitar, cook meals and read books? OR, am I a hoop-shooting/rock-star/great chef/scholar who also happens to coach people? I believe I’m the latter, enjoying all of my pastimes regularly. (The delusion’s working for me, and seems to be working for my clients as well.)

Can you reframe your work into play in a similar manner? You certainly have my permission to do so. Then you can always have the right answer when you get the question about your career, “Havin’ fun yet?”

Success Skills Coach Jim Rohrbach, “The Personal Fitness Trainer for Your Business,” coaches business owners, entrepreneurs and sales professionals on growing their clientele. He has helped hundreds of individuals to achieve their goals since he developed his first coaching program in 1982. To arrange a Free Consultation with Jim, go to