What's in a Name? Beyond the Game: Creative Ways to Describe Who You Are Matters!

What's in a Name? Beyond the Game: Creative Ways to Describe Who You Are Matters!

A game? Really? How does that work?

The importance of play is a trendy topic, with advocates stating that creating fun and social experiences for people facilitates learning, the generation of new ideas and increased follow-through on action and exploration plans.

At OneLifeTools, we have a game. But we don’t always call it that. We often describe our Who You Are Matters! tool as a guided self-discovery experience. Lately, we've been explaining it as a clarification experience, at the intersection of work and life.

When people use this tool, we see and hear about the benefits again and again. With so many applications and places to play, we're bound to encounter some resistance to the word 'game'.

Read on for the two most common reasons why people don't like that word, how we counteract their hesitation, and a handy list of alternatives. 

Useful or frivolous?

Most people that walk into a room and see the game boards set up are excited and happy. They pick up the Firekeeper’s stick and start asking questions. Some people love the idea of a game. They think about their past positive experiences with friends and family, the rush of winning, the cooperation and laughter.

Others view the idea of play as a silly, frivolous concept. If it’s "just a game", how do you invite people to try Who You Are Matters! and treat it as a beneficial and useful tool? 

Here, we talk about the substantial take-away of the Guidebook and Clarification Statement. We explain that players walk away with this personalized summary, in professional language, that corrals the discoveries they generate during the game.

We also reference the Inspired Action part of the game. People expand on a possibility that they have chosen, and they get feedback and suggestions from their fellow players about taking action - even small steps - towards exploring that possibility. 

Competitive or collaborative?

Back in our Who You Are Matters! game room, you’ll notice there are other people that hang back when they see the boards. There can be resistance to play. Some people have had negative experiences: a very competitive sibling that always cheated at games, for example, or a fear of reading aloud in front of groups.

How do you overcome this apprehension and put people at ease?

Here, we let everyone know that this is a guided experience, with positive, structured peer feedback. We often let people know that if they choose not to share, that’s ok and expected, and the value of the game is not diminished if you’re not a Chatty Cathy.

In the first few minutes of play, we highlight that this experience is collaborative, not competitive, and that everyone wins when we come together and share our stories.

It’s also great to point out that the game is structured so that stories and reflections are limited to about 30 seconds. The time flies by and there's no risk of oversharing.

Beyond the game 

Through our own game plays and our Community of Practice, we have collected this list of phrases and ideas that you can use to go beyond the game and introduce this tool to diverse groups of clients, students, alumni and employees.

  • professional & personal discovery experience
  • guided career discovery experience
  • clarification experience, at the intersection of work and life
  • a 60 minutes (or 2-hour) shortcut to finding meaningful work
  • facilitated career discovery experience
  • guided intentional conversations
  • professional and personal development
  • employee development and team building
  • self-discovery and self-awareness tools
  • career management in the workplace
  • concentrated dose of career clarity
  • group career discovery with peer feedback
  • guided clarification experience leading toward meaningful work
  • fun yet structured, social yet guided experience, disguised as a game
  • any useful phrase followed by the words 'disguised as a game' 
How are you going beyond the game? How do you talk about Who You Are Matters! when you're introducing it to people? Share your tips with us below in the comments, or connect with us on Twitter.


May 25, 2020 • Posted by susan mulholland

THanks for this blog Ali – found it really useful!

Aug 26, 2019 • Posted by Sally Gelardin

Allie, you mentioned two terms that deserve clarification: (1) game and (2) career.

(1) Game

You identified many tools that the game uses that support us to live in the present, such as personal and career discovery; guided, intentional conversations (social/professional interactions); fun, yet meaningful.

William Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.” In other words, we are all playing the game of life.

Alan Watts said, “We have a whole system of preparation of the child for life which always is preparation and never actually gets there”….“Making plans for the future is of use only to people who are capable of living completely in the present.”

In any environment (work, home, community,…), the more we live in the present (experience life through our multi-senses), the better we are able to play the game of life and make plans for the future. The Who You Are MATTERS! Game contains many tools that appeal to the multi-senses.

(2) Career

Career is life, not just earning a living It can be paid or unpaid. It is meaningful.

The origin of “career” is Latin “:carrus,” a wheeled vehicle. In mid 16th century, the French “carriers,” denoted a road or racecourse. Career can be compared to “careening” down a race course. A career advisor is like a cart that carries its passengers down a rocky road, not sure where the road is leading to, with many possible directions.

Career has the same roots as caregiver or “carer.” We are career advisors because we want to learn more about our own career/life development . We are caregivers because we want to learn more about being cared for. If we think of our passengers in the cart as our career partners or care partners, then we become aware that we are in this ever evolving game of life together and can learn from each other.

Over 20 years ago, Anna Miler Tiedeman changed the word “career” to “lifecareer” and “careering.” She viewed career choice as a process defined by the individual that can change and develop over time.

Whatever we call The Who You Are MATTERS! Game, it is a beautifully designed process to support our career/life development. Like life, the game, itself, can evolve over time.

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