Winning at the Game of Life

What does it take to be a good poker player? That’s the question I asked my workshop attendees. The responses were:

  • Get a lucky hand
  • Know when to hold and when to fold
  • Know how to bluff

Just like poker, each of us is dealt a metaphorical hand at birth. You have been given a genetic set of signature strengths. It’s up to you to play the hand you’re dealt.

First, know your strengths.

Just like playing poker you need to understand the hand you’re dealt.

Here are four questions to help you identify your strengths (hand). Take a moment and write down your answers to these questions to better know your strengths cards.

  1. What successes, prizes or recognition have you received in the past? Maybe you were the chess champion, speech contest winner, or homecoming queen.
  2. What is an authentic, natural and gut reaction to you? Maybe you crack a joke and create laughter without a conscious thought or listen intently making people feel heard and loved. Either way, this strength is not hard for you. It flows naturally and effortlessly.
  3. What is invigorating, energizing, and exciting to you? When you’re reading, your mind comes alive, playing sports you soar with energy, or learning technology absolutely thrills you. These are key indicators of your strengths.
  4. What do you love to learn and look forward to doing in the future? My wife eagerly watches cooking channels and reads cooking magazines. My coaching client just enrolled in a filmmaking class because he loves making documentary movies. Another client can’t wait to get underneath the hood of his classic cars. Appreciate and accept your signature strengths. Learn to play the hand you’re dealt.

Second, know when to hold and when to fold.

Your area of greatest growth is in strengths not weaknesses. Part of that growth is knowing when to hold and play those strengths and knowing when to slow down and fold those strengths so they don’t derail you or hinder others.

One of my character strengths is zest. I was born with a bundle of energy. I wake up in the morning almost jumping out of bed ready to achieve and tackle the world. If you’ve heard me speak, you have felt my energy. However, I have to practice when to slow that energy down so I don’t overwhelm some people and I also need to practice turning that energy up when I need it to accomplish a task.

While in China I spoke for 5 days straight. One person said to me, “You have incredible mental and physical energy.”

I can hear you asking, “What if I’m dealt a bad hand?” That leads me to my next point.

Third, bluff your weaknesses.

We all have sluff cards we are dealt and we can use our strengths to overcome those weaknesses. One of my coaching clients struggles with communication with his team. He is an activator, which he calls WOT, wide open throttle, and he is strategic. He strategically created a discussion form with key questions and now is slowing down his activator strength to meet one on one on a monthly basis to dialogue with his employees. He feels more connected to his team and the door of communication is opening.

How could you use your strength(s) to bluff and overcome your weakness? Remember, play the hand you were dealt.

1 reply
  1. Becky
    Becky says:

    I tend to let my bravado overload my actual abilities, so I use my strength of WOO (Winning Others Over) to buy me some time until I can tap into my strength of Ideation to either figure a way out of the situation, or learn what I need to know to handle it. Great analogy with the poker hand!!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.