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Sometimes you just need to play the game...

This week, I attended my son's chess club orientation.  He's in 1st grade and it was his first experience with the game.Chess

Now... I'm not going to lie...  the thought of teaching a group of 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders how to play chess is a bit scary, but... a couple of brave parents took the job and started working with the kids to explain how it all worked.

One parent started by reviewing the rules

He did a great job of explaining how the various pieces moved.  He showed the kids how some moved forward, some moved to the side and some could go anywhere they darn well pleased. 

For a while, the kids stayed with him... grasping at the rules and logistics.  But then, you could tell... they started to get lost in everything there was to understand. 

So another parent came from the back of the room and simply said, "Maybe we should just have everybody try to play the game?" 

You could tell the first parent was relieved by the suggestion and the kids launched into experimenting with the various pieces. 

As you can imagine, they devoured the game. 

Some kids were laughing.  Some stared at the board with the intensity of a Russian Chess Champion. 

Most made mistakes as they played... but they were learning as they went.  It was fun.  It was an adventure.

Then it struck me.  Sometimes we are just like these kids.  Right?

We get a new idea or get struck by something we want to try and we dive into the rules and the regulations.  Right?  It's not a bad thing.  Many times, it's the smart thing to do.

Maybe it's an idea for a new product. 

It would make sense to research the rules around that.  It would also make sense to do some research and check out the markets, competitors and opportunities.  Right?

Or maybe you're thinking about a new job

It would be important to check into things before making a leap.  You know.  Read about the industry.  Talk to people who are doing it.  Find out more.  Dig in.

BUT... just like kids getting lost in the rules of chess... sometimes we get stuck there.  Don't we?  Our eyes glaze over and the idea dies on the vine. 

Sound familiar?

Well sometimes you may just need to "try to play the game." 

Maybe you shouldn't spend thousands on equipment for your new product right away, but maybe you could find someone to help you make a prototype to test with people.

Maybe you shouldn't march in and quit your job today, but maybe there's someone you could to spend time with that's doing exactly what you want to be doing.  Maybe you could spend a day shadowing them to experiment and see if you really connect.

What do you think?

Okay, so here's my suggestion after watching the kids learn how to play chess and after coaching hundreds of people over the past few years:  Figure out a way to "play" today. 

Try something.  Have some fun.  Limit the risks.  But get out there and play the game.

Sure... just like my 1st grader... you will make some mistakes.  But isn't that one of the best ways to really learn? 

So... What are you going to try today?

Click "comments" and join in the conversation.

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon


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Mitch, Which school?

Our guys are in the West Des Moines school system. We love it.

I know that a number of the elementary schools have chess clubs too.

Thanks for checking in!

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