You can design a Bigger Game

You can design a Bigger Game - bookIn 2015 I wrote a book – which came as an utter surprise to me! In fact, it came out of my own coaching homework… I was working on my own vision with my coach, and we designed a simple piece of homework: a phone interview with a colleague I like. I called him, we puzzled over some things together, and… next thing I knew I was pulling together this small self-coaching book, to share with him and other team and organisational coaches like him. It seemed somehow natural to call it:

You Can Design a Bigger Game

This theme’s inspired me since day one of Co-Active coach training in 2007. It has grown into a mantra for me, as I look around at the amazing human beings I work with. Here’s what I notice when I look around, and what drives me to do the deep personal-growth coaching work that I do:


You chafe at the way you see working people treated: they’re encouraged to follow instructions blindly, then told to collaborate – but incentivised to compete – and so they play the games they are handed. They’ve learned that it’s safer to “play small” – to colour within the lines, be cautious of new ideas, just “do the job” and don’t ask too many question.

You want to create different workplaces! You want to bring these people more room to breathe, new energy, pride in their work, and the joy of real teamwork… but it’ll require that they step outside their safety zone. You want to bring change, but you also know that you cannot change people – in fact, people hate to “be changed”. Check mate.


What you can change is yourself. Your impact in the world is enhanced, or limited, by your own inner state. You know this, and you probably have a tall stack of great personal and professional development books gathering dust somewhere, frowning at you as you do other urgent things. How can you design your own growth, when you’re so busy? Well… in the same way you’d recommend to your clients and colleagues! Aim for what’s important, take small, concrete steps, appreciate successes, reflect, learn, adapt. You don’t need to wait for “some day” – you can design an environment that fosters personal harmony now, and an approach to growth… and you needn’t commit to an elaborate program up front! Ignore all the check-lists and “should”s of the self-help gurus and design a mindset that supports your own style and creates learning naturally (and without the frowning books, if that helps :-)


So, why am I telling you this? Because my bigger game is to bring joy to the world of work! It’s such a big goal that the only way I see to get there is to foster a whole tribe of fiercely committed, joyful change agents! But as I look around, that isn’t always what I see.

As a change agent, your impact depends on not just your doing, but your BEING. You are smart, committed and you work hard … but your unspoken frustration, uncertainty and exhaustion also walk into the room when you visit clients. Do you demand courageous experiments while playing it safe yourself? Do you assure colleagues of success while doubting your ability to deliver it? Do you talk about “sustainable pace” while missing your kids’ events and burning out? Your own lack of congruence saps energy from the best of plans.

Why not design a game that has you waking up early on Monday morning, excited to create conversations that really change things for the people you care about? You can choose to live a rich, meaningful life, not just on weekends, but every day. It may not always be easy – but your heart will sing with the joy of taking care of what really matters to you.

This is where my Big Game depends on yours: we all win when you pursue your dreams and apply your unique strengths. Imagine the impact of arriving among your clients, focused, confident, and radiating compassion and health! Playing a Big Game shifts how you show up at home and at work, and magnifies your influence, because your hard work is accompanied by the silent invitation: “Joy is possible! Join me!”


Start by yourself, or pair up with a friend, locally or on the phone: then download my free self-coaching workbook, and reserve an hour for it on your calendar. Think of it as time at the spa for your heart. Use this time to begin making every-day choices that better embody your own character and deeply-held values.

If working alone isn’t your thing, I’d love to accompany your journey as your personal coach – supporting, inspiring and challenging you to play your bigger game. To let you see if we fit well together, there’s no charge and no sales pitch in the first hour, so if you’re curious don’t be shy! I’ve made it easy to see my availability and book online.

I look forward to making this journey with you, in whatever manner!


Deborah Hartmann Preuss, CPCC

content © 2016 Deborah Preuss, unless otherwise indicated.

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