My (almost) 3-year old loves to make inferences, to guess why something is happening the way it’s happening. And his younger brother gets equally excited to hear all the ideas and to jump in when he can.
For example, our dog could start barking. It immediately results in a flurry of questions about why she’s barking so I’ll turn the question around: “Why do you guys think she’s barking?” Their eyes light up – especially my 3-year old who is so excited to share his ideas with me – and the reasons come pouring out.
“Maybe there’s another dog out there! Maybe it’s a cat? Maybe it’s the wild turkeys again! Maybe it’s nothing… she barks at nothing sometimes. Is it a truck? A car? Did a tree fall down…?”
Regardless of the question, the ideas go on and on until he either finds one that suits him or he and his brother end in a fit of giggles.
They love this “game” so much, I created the “Imagine Game.” The rules are simple: notice something about your surroundings and ask why it is the way it is.
Why do you think that dump truck drove by so fast?
Why do you think it’s so windy?
What do you think we’ll find over there?
It’s a fun game that gets the kids’ creative juices flowing and gives me a little insight into what they’re thinking and feeling that day.
But it’s more than just a fun game to play with my kids. It got me thinking about our behavior as adults. Why don’t we play the “Imagine Game” when we grow up? Because we spend most of our time in habit and react mode. We’re so busy moving through the motions of the day that we forget to make time to notice what’s happening right in front of us, to give it some thought and see where those thoughts take us. It might end nowhere; it also might lead to an idea or thought that may otherwise have been unreached.
Imagine is one of the coaching tools we use at The Forte Factor to encourage our clients to take a step beyond their limits for just a moment to imagine the achievement of a goal or what could be possible.
By allowing yourself to imagine and hold a different outcome in your view, you open up possibilities that a mind in react mode can’t access.
Taking a few minutes of the day to imagine something without restrictions can not only get the creative juices flowing, but it also allows you to see what could be. And you just may discover that your first step to reaching your goal(s) is to imagine getting there.
Take five minutes today to notice something about your world and imagine why it is like it is. What’s the weather like? What is traffic like? What do you hear when you stop and notice? Pick something and focus on it. Ask yourself why it is the way it is. Allow yourself to imagine the scenario playing out.
Now, think of a goal you’ve set for yourself. Imagine yourself achieving that goal. What does success look like to you? How did you get there? Use this exercise if you find yourself getting stuck and needing an extra push to keep working toward your goal(s).
Find three places to use the Imagination Game in work or life this week. See how things change.
Consider reading Be On the Disengagement Hunt