Career Freedom – Playing To Win

Career Freedom in it’s most basic form is exercising your power to choose, what you do, when you do it, and how you go about doing it. Many like to take the position that they do not have a choice when it comes to their career, that they are some sort of trap because of financial, family or other reasons. They are still making a choice to put whatever it is over the choice concern their work. The key to freedom here is being aware of where you have choices that you previously did not see, and perhaps making different choices.

Career like almost any other endeavor in life, can be looked at as a game. Most people are in career games they did not consciously choose ,or chose for the wrong reasons. Everyone in their family is a doctor, so they became one; or they chose if because it was lucrative, or for one of many other reasons.

They are playing the game of wealth, status, and prestige. A game that has been handed to them. Unfortunately this is a game that relatively few people win. If everyone could win that wouldn’t be very much fun. It is no surprise that so many people suffer from work related stress illness, ranging from discontentment to hatred ,or even depression over their work.

People feel trapped to some degree; they don’t see they can make the decision to start playing a different game. Choosing the game you are in, and what you are playing for is a huge responsibility, it would mean freedom. Pursuing what you want, not what your parents want for you, teachers think is best for you, or the media suggests you should want. In the end this is the only type of game worth playing, a game whose outcome is intrinsically important to the individual playing it.

As in traditional games, not only does winning have to be important to you, but playing well does too. While winning is much more fun, you can still do really well, play great, and not have the highest score. I wouldn’t mind the payout the losing team at the Super Bowl or World Series receives.

Playing to win requires perseverance, courage, and heart, which you can only sustain when something is intrinsically important to you, it connects to who you are at your essence;

  • An athlete is willing to endure hours of practice and injury because their game is important to them.
  • An actor goes through thousands of rejections because it is important enough to them.
  • Doctors are willing to take someone else’s life in their hands, because it is the game they are meant to be in.

So how does one figure this out. I have had clients that figured it out in a couple of weeks and others have taken longer. The process of discovering can be played like a game as well. Before you can even name the game, consider what winning looks like? If you were looking back one year from now, and your situation was perfect what would it be like? What would it feel like? How would you know that you were winning your career game?

What would have to happen for you to win?

Taking this on is not for everyone. It requires a strong commitment and can be challenging at times. After all it were too easy, that wouldn’t be a game worth playing. If you take this path, there will be lots of distractions and pressure to play a game someone else thinks you should play, a game that seems like it has an easy pay off, although it will be on someone else’s terms.

Consider this quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 18th Century German Poet: “Concerning acts of initiative there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius power and magic in it.”

About allan

Allan Fried is a New York City based Life & Career Coach specializing in working with people who want meaning in their careers. Having been an executive at a major entertainment company, COO at an early state digital media company, and owned his own business, he has powerful insights on what it takes to find and excel at work you love. He has been described by his clients as talented, Zen-like, insightful, and passionate. His client’s success can be attributed to his intuitive talent in guiding clients to uncover and reveal what is truly important to them. Allan has over 20 years experience as an executive and entrepreneur in the entertainment industry. He spent the bulk of his career at BMG as Vice-President International, where he worked on developing the careers of recording artists. In these positions he learned a lot about using one’s unique talents and gifts to pursue success. He has also been heavily involved in his community through involvement with Make-A-Wish Foundation, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Empire State Pride Agenda, Habitat for Humanity, and several other community initiatives

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