June 2012
Vol 5, Issue 6
Creative Coaching Group
 the Creative Coaching Group newsletter

Dear ,

Texas hold'em poker night

Last month I got together with a group of friends for my first-ever night of poker. Texas hold'em was the game and the entry fee was $20 each. Winner would take home a grand pot of $160!  It was a fun night of laughter, wine, and cards.

The evening gave me some great insights and got me thinking about the very appropriate lessons about success that one can learn from playing poker. (And some very personal insights about how I "play" the game! Yes, I  lost my $20 with my some risky bets near the end of the game) 

Read my feature article below to see how you might play differently for even greater success in life. 



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Jan Carley  BA,CEC,PCC,

Your Possibility Coach   Creative Coaching Group

604 873-1763  e: jan@creativecoachinggroup.com   

Feature Article: What Texas hold'em taught me about Success

poker chipsI was recently introduced to a very popular game of poker called "Texas hold'em" in a low stakes friendly game with a bunch of novices on a Saturday night. As the game transpired, the personalities of the players came through in different ways. I found myself, when faced with possibility of losing the big pot, playing very aggressively and opening up the high-betting rounds. The experience was revealing, and taught me a lot about what helps one achieve success. Of course, in cards, there is always an element of luck...and yes, I lost my $20...! What do they say? Unlucky in cards, lucky in love? Hmm...


5 Lessons I learned about Success from Playing Poker 


1/ You can't win if you don't play

To actually play the game of poker requires you to gamble. You are required to place a bet if you want to play. You must commit, and in the game of poker, you are committing money in the form of chips that you "ante in".  


Just like life - there is no way you achieve "x", unless you are willing to work towards it. My favorite expression, made famous by the Punk Rock Band D.O.A. is "Talk - Action = Zero." No amount of wishing or hoping will get you what you want. After visualizing, and planning, you have to take action if you want to achieve your goals. You have to be willing to play the game.


Reflection question: 1/ Is there any area of your life in which you have been hesitant, or fearful to jump in and play the game? Is there any area of your life in which you have been stalled or have done a lot of talking, but have not yet acted? Where have you been holding back? Relationships? Business? Health?  


Action point: What one small action could you accomplish today in your hold-back area to get you into the game again?


2/ Play the player, not the game

The rules of the game are important guidelines, but each poker game is different depending on the players.  You must allow for the nuances and impact of the individuality of your fellow players and their influence on the outcome.

To succeed, remember, when developing your action plan, to keep it flexible, with room to shift and change and adapt to your changing environment. Everything is not a cookie-cutter prescription. It is critical that no matter what the game, to stay in the moment and assess your situation, the players, and the environment and use your creativity to make your own decisions to shift as appropriate in the moment.


Reflection Question: Think of a situation, or a project that didn't go the way you expected it to. Did you flex yourself and go with the flow? Or did you resist and get frustrated?   What might have happened if you thought about "playing the player" and accepting and then adapting to the situation?


Action point: When you find yourself getting anxious, or annoyed because something is not going the way you expected it to, take a breath and intentionally embrace the situation as a learning opportunity.


3/ Folding does not mean failure

In poker, when you decide you don't want to play a hand any more, you "fold". Based on the cards you have, the betting of the other players, and the statistical probability of your winning the hand, you decide when the best time to fold will be. You get yourself out of the game on purpose so you don't lose any more money. Folding is not failure; it is part of the game. Another hand will soon be dealt and the game will continue.


Sometimes, in life, you need to fold. When something isn't working out, you may need to cut your losses and get out. Think of that as being part of the game. Not a failure. It is simply an opening for an opportunity to play a new hand and to embrace a new adventure that will come around soon.


Reflection Question: When do you fold? At the first hint of adversity? Or do you stick it out come hell or high water? How does each of those approaches hurt or help you in life?


Action Point: Low risk-takers - Next time you are tempted to throw in the towel, consider experimenting with staying in for another hand. Notice what happens when you do that.   High risk-takers - Consider folding or changing paths before the situation becomes a win or lose-all situations. What is the upshot or the downside of folding before a crisis sets in?


4/ If you wanna win big, you gotta risk big

risking it all In poker, like anything in life, you have to take a risk to get the big prize. Robert F. Kennedy was quoted as saying: "Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly." If you are going to go down, why not go down in flames?  


Reflection question: Think of your current goals in any area of your life. What would playing bigger look like? What would you need to be able to be brave enough to risk that expanded step?


Action Point: Take a risk today. Maybe that's something small, like going outside your routine and shaking things up a bit. Maybe it's something bigger like enrolling in that yoga class you have always wanted to try.   Maybe it's huge for you - like telling your loved one your dream of retiring in Costa Rica. Go ahead. Take a risk... Feeling queasy just thinking about that? Remember, the bigger the dream, the bigger the self-doubt.


5/Trust your gut and believe in yourself

Think you have a good hand? Are others betting wildly, making you doubt yourself? Just like life, what is most important if you think you are on the right track is to stay with your convictions, believe in and trust yourself. No matter what is happening around you.

And, as evidenced in our friendly poker game, the others are often bluffing. Have the courage of your convictions.


Reflection Question: Remember a time you second-guessed yourself and bowed to the weight of opposition. How did it feel?


Action Point: When you feel doubt about a decision begin to needle into your brain, respect yourself by affirming your intelligence in making your original decision. Your decision is the right decision for you. 

Lightbulb of the Month

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"Take risks; if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise." - Author unknown

No-risk July Coaching Special - It's time to get in the game!

Are you ready for a calculated risk? Coaching with Jan is a sure bet if you are ready for CLARITY, FOCUS, ACTION and RESULTS. Here's a special package to convince you to jump in July! 


The SURE BET July Coaching package with Jan 

 a 3 week intensive with followup one month later

Week #1  Clarification and Focus: What game do you want to play?

Week  #2  In the Game: Getting started

Week # 3  Upping the Ante: Going further


3 weeks intensive July 9-30  -

One (1 hour) session per week, by phone, skype or in person 

plus Follow up session: scheduled between Sept 3-8 


Contact Jan to place your SURE BET now!  Jan@creativecoachinggroup.com

About Jan Carley

Jan Carley is a Professional Certified Executive Coach credentialed with the International Coach Federation. Her com­pany, Creative Coaching Group, specializes in working with high-achieving individuals and teams to expand their possibilities, leverage their strengths, increase their capacity and focus their energies to leverage transformational success. Jan lives in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and is available for individual and team coaching, workshops, and speaking engagements worldwide. ICF logo

Contact Jan at 604 873-1763  email: jan@creativecoachinggroup.com


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Jan's popular book,
Harmony from the Inside Out - Creating and Living your Performance Potential is available for sale online at www.harmonyfromtheinsideout.com (Kindle format on sale through www.amazon.com
Also on sale in Vancouver, BC Canada: at Odin Books, W. Broadway at Spruce and Hager Books, West 41st in Kerrisdale.
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