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Why it's worth it to play the long game.


Have you ever seen someone play the long game in a competitive experience? Rather than take the cheap shot or turn in their cards to get a few points here or there, they hold, watch, contemplate. Their goal is not for a quick win during the round but rather to win the entire game. I noticed the difference between the quick win and the long game a few weeks back with my niece as we played Clue with her for the first time. Each time she had eliminated a few categories from her score card she would rush to make a guess, which would be at least one item off, giving us other players helpful insight. Winning the game meant utilizing discovery questions from past plays in the right timing, or simply put, playing the long game.

What does it mean to play the long game with your career?

Psychologist, Dr. Allison McWIlliams wrote an article about playing the long game in our work in Psychology Today. In her article she says, “Playing the long game means taking the necessary steps, now, to set yourself up for long-term success. It means not sacrificing long-term gains for short-term wins. Unless something unexpected happens, you’re looking at anywhere from a 30-50 year career.”

While this is helpful insight, it is important to recognize that the US Bureau of Labor reports that on average people spend four years in the same job. This report came out two years ago at the early stage of the pandemic. We have now seen incredible amounts of movement in employment across the country and beyond, with new terms such as ‘The Great Resignation’ being coined. In my own university experience, a third of our employees are new within the last year.

How do we play the long game knowing our work will continue to change?

My answer might seem a little trite but stay with me. Activating your purpose will keep you aligned to accomplish your long-term mission.

Just think of the last time you really wanted something: a vacation, a raise, a degree, a child. There were practical things you did in your life toward accomplishing that dream. Planning, applying, rearranging finances and schedules. Our meaningful vision for our long-term future gave way to willing adaptation and even risk in our current circumstances. These changes brought us closer to our goals.

Our work is another product of living into our purpose long-term. We can strategically transition into a new role, job or career when we stay true to our calling. And, because we know we are living true to our purpose, we do not have to worry about whether or not we will ‘make it.’ We can risk and trust that we are being exactly who God has designed us to be.

If this sounds too simple or maybe too daunting, consider whether or not you are aligned with your purpose. Can you easily name why God put you on this earth? It’s not worth going through jobs and life not knowing, wondering about your particular mission.


A few reflection questions for you:

  • Can you easily name why God put you on this earth?
  • If your current employment ended tomorrow, would you still be living within your purpose?
  • What would it look like to strategically play the long game in your life calling?
  • How might you take the next step in achieving long-term success?  


Let's get you the support you need to stay clear and active in your long term purpose and mission. Our Life Calling Discovery course helps you clarify and activate your calling so you can thrive in all you are and do!

We coach you to clarify and activate your calling so you can thrive in all you are and do! Set up a discovery conversation with Trisha to get started.

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