When I first started writing the Rest Easy Power Pack for SuperBetter, a couple of things happened. First, I started using the word super as an adverb way too much. I found myself saying things like, I’m working on the supercool game developed by this super awesome woman who had, like, a superbad concussion that wasn’t getting any better.â€ My friends, I’m sure, were super excited about my new verbal tic.
The other, less irritating, thing that happened is that I started to see Bad Guys, Power Ups, and Epic Wins everywhere I looked.
You have to understand that I’m not a gamer, and I accepted the job of preparing a Power Pack with a little trepidation. I’m a personal coach, and while I know a lot about how to work with insomnia and anxiety, I wasn’t sure I’d have the vocabulary or mindset necessary to translate those concepts into a game. My gaming experience is limited to Hungry, Hungry Hippo, Monopoly, and a couple years of Super Mario Brothers as a child. I never got very good, and my poor princess would probably never have been freed from her captors had my father not taken an unexpected interest in the game and spent the majority of his evening hours fighting on her behalf.
I had a great time pulling together the research for the science card and laying out the structure of the Power Pack. I began to struggle, however, when I started writing the quests. I wanted to give everyone all the information they might need, and I thought the 1000 character limit was holding me back. Still, I recognized that sometimes less is more, so I stuck with it, and about midway through I hit my stride. And thatâ€™s when it started happening.
I was leading a workshop on Slowing Down While Keeping Up, designed to help busy people bring more fun, joy, and meaning to their commitments and responsibilities. So many people run from one thing to the next and feel like theres not enough time and energy not to mention satisfaction in their lives. Through small group exercises and discussion, the workshop helps participants discover a sense of abundance and learn how to find fulfillment by focusing on what’s most important to them. As we were discussing what stands in the way of slowing down and doing only what feeds our souls, it occurred to me that what we were really talking about were Bad Guys. I’ve long recognized that habits, false beliefs, conflicting intentions, and misguided strategies get in our way when we’re trying to make a change or do things differently, but Iâ€™d never thought of them as Bad Guys before. Something about calling them that made me laugh and took some of the sting out of their bite and the wind out of their sails.
That’s important and can create a powerful shift for a client as they adopt a new attitude about what’s getting in their way: â€œThat? Oh no, that’s not an insurmountable challenge. That’s just one of my Bad Guys rearing its ugly head again. This one is my belief that I have to do everything perfectly. It’s old and confused and can’t get its facts straight. Pay it no mind.
Soon it wasn’t just Bad Guys that I saw. Before long I started seeing Power Ups and Epic Wins as well. My clients often have a hard time making time for things that feel indulgent but give them the energy they need to learn something new or tackle challenging work. I started thinking about the practices I’d been giving to nurture and re-energize them as Power Ups. And while I’ve long known that celebrating success is important, calling progress an Epic Win adds a bit more levity and power to the celebration.
The point is, I gained a lot from starting to see life more as a game. Coaching and SuperBetter share a lot in common, not least of which is their premise that we are all powerful, creative, and intelligent creatures with the ability to heal ourselves and make positive changes in our lives. The process of healing and growth is even richer and more rewarding if we’re able to draw on our innate ability to play, use our imaginations, and see ourselves as the heroes of our story. Working on the Power Pack for SuperBetter helped me find new ways of doing all of those things.
I’m grateful to SuperBetter for opening my eyes to the power of gaming. I’m excited to see how the game develops and what new possibilities it brings to the fields of health, wellness, and healing. The whole thing is dare I say it? superpromising.
Meredith Walters works with people to help them achieve great things with time, energy, and satisfaction to spare. Through coaching and workshops, she’s helped people get in touch with what they’re really wanting; bring more meaning and fulfillment into their lives; find freedom from anxiety and self doubt; and rest more easily. More on her work as well as additional resources can be found at http://meredithwalters.com.