• Tim Wade

How a virus is changing the rules of the game of life

The game of life is about relationships. We finally have another opportunity to learn this in isolation and social distancing. The game of life is about love. We finally have another opportunity to learn this when loved ones by name become threatened and become loved by possible loss. The game of life isn’t about accumulating more and more money. We finally have another opportunity to learn this when it’s taken away from us and we get that it’s how we employ our money that’s important.

A reset of rules?

It struck me this morning that COVID19 is a global game reset. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to diminish the deadliness or fear or severity or urgency or suffering or inconvenience, it’s real. But I do mean to see the greater meaning and opportunity for us. For humanity. How is COVID19 hurting most people? It seems that social distancing, business closure and financial market collapses are making people realise some realities. It’s attacking relationships, loved ones and money.

Why attack relationships? Because we’re not valuing them.

Rule reset: A greater proportion of our time needs to be invested in being of service to others, at work, at home and in our community. In action: Forgo the constant focus on self unless that focus is to improve yourself for the greater service of others. The world got by before you were born. The world will get by after you die. So our purpose here must be to make a positive splash. To add to the canvas of life, not to take from it. To help positive progress, not to detract from it. To be a blessing, not a parasite. So how can you help others at work, at home and in your community? 1. Be care-filled. If you can avoid laying off people, avoid it. Look at the Southwest Airlines example post 9/11 when pilots and management took paycuts to keep everyone employed: it created one of the most loyal and customer-centric workforces in the industry once the downturn was over and it translated into significant profits. Protect your people over profits. This will pass. Ensure your business survives, yes, but be careful and care-filled. 2. If you’re working from home, or in small split teams, or even if you’re now out of work, use this time to invest in getting a promotion/payrise. As businesses are laying off people now, when this passes and business start frantically hiring again, they will need leaders to lead these new recruits. Prepare yourself to be that leader. Now is the most brilliant time to invest in your career. But advance with the right values, the right skills, and with strategies that work. And do it for an even greater reason: to earn more so you can also give more.

3. Serve as a volunteer in your community. It may only need to be for a couple of hours a month or a couple of hours a week. And if you’re already doing something, consider increasing that now. We’re now helping the government here in Singapore distribute hand sanitizers to residents. My grandmother used to help by counselling on crisis hotlines each week in Australia, and she inspired me to do the same on the same Lifeline hotline. And here in Singapore my mother-in-law volunteered for an astonishing 33 years in the Residents Committee of a heartland community. That in itself suggests how she really lived as the amazing woman she was. At her funeral last December, people shared stories of how she had helped them over the years, with local cleaners through to Government Ministers turning up to pay their respects. She gave of herself to create a better experience for people during their lives. She lived humbly but left an indelible impression upon people throughout her life and through her living. And her example is being followed by her daughter, my wife, who has joined the same Residents Committee, and even left a job of 18 years in the same company in private enterprise to join a government ministry so she could be employed in the direct service of better helping people. I think true legacy is not so much being remembered, but that others follow your example long after you’ve moved on, whether that’s moving on from life, or from an organisation or social circle. You’re looking how your energy, skills and effort that be put to best use with a portion of your time given. Try this for 6 weeks. So the action question here is: where can I help now? Then google them, contact them, and ask “how can I get involved for the next 6 weeks?” That not only gives you the guilt-free permission to end it if you want to (and then to start somewhere else for the next 6 weeks), but also the option to continue if you wish. I like having an end date so I’m not taken for granted and that I see it as a project I can focus on rather than get on automatic pilot that can sometimes turn into complacency. You’re looking for your passion project. Search. 4. If you’re running a business, use that as a vehicle to create more positive change in the world that impacts far beyond your economic purpose and geographic reach. Our example is what we do through our Wade Foundation but yours can be however you choose. My point is to do business for the provision that profit provides but also for a greater reason. Profit on purpose. The action question is: how can we make a greater impact with what we do right now? 5. Finally, be intentionally and habitually kind. Aim to do this at home as well as in the community. That age-old idea of performing random acts of kindness is awesome. In this age of self-centred social media, this would actually be a good one to promote.

You could make it a “#99DRAKchallenge” – a 99-day, random acts of kindness challenge. That way you mask tooting your own horn with the necessary accountability of fulfilling a challenge. So the only reason why you’re publishing such apparently self-promoting stuff is because of the challenge, and that you’re encouraging others to do it too. And you’d have to get creative to make each one more random than the last. You might even have to choose to publish just one of the many kind acts you performed in the day. And it kind of creates a kind of habit of kindness. The action question is: how can I be kind right now?

Why attack loved ones? Because we’re not connecting with them.

Rule reset: A greater proportion of our time nearby our loved ones needs to be spent actually connecting with them. In action: Determine a device down directive. At a certain time each evening, determine that it’s time to shift our eyes from screens to real people. Start with you first, even before declaring this as a rule for everybody. Then you’ll see how your example on screens has influenced others to be on theirs. And invite them to do what you’re doing rather than get annoyed that they’re on their screens. One way I do this at home is with board games. And while I love buying award-winning board games, one of the biggest eye-openers for me two weeks ago was when I decided to make a board game with my 4-year old daughter. And when my wife joined in then we were all involved. And when we finally played it, it was super fun, and together we discussed how to refine the playability to make it even better. The action question is: how can we better connect together right now?

My daughter Zoe helping make a board game at home
Zoe and I started making the Poot Poot game… we have a poo theme going…

Why attack money? Because we’re not giving it proper purpose.

Rule reset: A greater proportion of what we earn needs to be given away to help others. And give it in love. Forgo the extra luxury item and help someone out of poverty. In action: Forgo one unnecessary thing today, or forgo one unnecessary extra this month, or forgo one unnecessary upgrade for a year, and go for helping keep Cambodian school girls out of sex trafficking with Free To Shine. Or check out other worthy causes and projects on the B1G1.com platform and community of people and businesses actively making micro-impacts daily.

Next player?

It’s you. Roll the dice. Pick a card. Take some action. It’s your move. Share. Love. Share you. Love others. And help shift yourself and more others from inaction to being in action. Because it’s needed now more than ever. And that might be the bigger reason for this virus… to help us reset and get better.

Tim Wade is a leading change speaker who speaks at live and virtual conferences about change, leadership, motivation and impact.

Supporting worthy causes is part of what his organisation does as a result of clients hiring him to speak and train their staff.

That's how we change the world, together.

More about Tim at his website here.

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