A Day for 8: Life is Like a Game You Cannot Lose

So, for goodness sake, play the hand you’ve been dealt!

This posting started off as a contribution to Robert Hruzek’s writing challenge, What I Learned From”Metaphors for Life: Is Life Really a Bowl Full of Cherries?

I write about strengths management an awful lot; it is a key concept of the Managing with Aloha sensibility for worthwhile work, and a natural for Robert’s theme. Then a newspaper headline caught my eye, and my draft took a slight turn in another direction that is not totally in keeping with the fun and humor of the submissions that the very funny Robert Hruzek normally inspires! So Robert, if this is a stretch, you need not include it in your forum, and I will understand.

And dear readers, for another posting that is less of a Rosa Rant, check out Life is a Bowl of Lychee over at Joyful Jubilant Learning.

Strengths versus Weaknesses

Our strengths are those talents we have been born with.

Our weaknesses are those talents that we were NOT born with.

Working on our weaknesses can be a KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u thing [the value of excellence] where we strive to improve, learn, and get better. However working on our strengths, and honing those stellar talents which we already have, is where the majority of our efforts should be focused.

That’s what I mean by playing the hand you’ve been dealt: Chances are your weaknesses are someone’s else’s strengths; the dealer gave them those cards, and they’re now out of play as far as your hand is concerned.

Play the Hand you’ve been Dealt!

Play the hand you’ve been dealt is one of those metaphors I now take to mean;

Be you; the strong, innately talented, and thus inherently confident YOU.

Live contentedly, nay— excitedly with the gift of your strengths.

Capitalize on them.

Thrill to them.

Create your legacy with them.

Build them as you build your character, your values, your joy in everyday living.

Do so, and you will find that life is a winning proposition.

There is no one else like you on the face of this earth.

Show us what that looks like, sounds like, and feels like when we are in your company.

It really saddened me to see this headline in the newspaper the other day:


An online copy of the story is here.

I don’t want to hear all the put-downs, even when there are seemingly valid reasons for them. 2nd string, 40th string; I don’t buy ‘em, and I will debate you on those ‘seemingly valid’ reasons until I take my last breath.

Yes, I am a Hawai‘i girl who is proud of Colt Brennan’s U.H. Warrior history, but I can be objective and have shared other sides of his performances too. Something like this, where the put-downs are done by the guy’s own coach, and in public versus in private, are absolutely inexcusable. If I were this team owner, this coach would no longer be allowed to speak to the media, and chances are he would not be my head coach any longer. He would not be coaching at all. I may not know all the ins and outs of football, but I do know the difference between successful coaching and a disrespectful squashing of the victories of the people you are supposed to be mentoring and coaching.

I do know how little it takes to break someone’s spirit, and how irresponsible and just plain ignorant, arrogant, and mean it is when someone does so. As a business owner and coach, I also know how a lack of understanding with the people who are your “greatest asset” is going to sink your entire ROI-seeking enterprise, and make no doubt about it, professional football is a business. If your people do not have the spirit to be winners, you won’t be one either.

Are you a manager? Are you a coach?

Play the Hand you’ve been Dealt! Your cards take the form of your people’s talents.

Here is your best Gr8 Management 8 for commemorating today as the 8th day of the 8th month of the 8th year of the century we are defining. Before you can “pass go” however, take inventory of your beliefs, for you MUST believe your people have what it takes to succeed (trust me, they do.)

1. Discover what strengths each of the people you manage possess (it is not that hard; ask them, then ask them to show you by sharing them with you.)

2. Place people where they are called on to employ those strengths and capitalize on them (Jim Collins calls this putting the right people in the right seat on the right bus ”“ another great metaphor!)

3. Give people authority to completely own their responsibilities (kuleana). Without full authority, you end up without fully-owned decision-making.

4. Expect self-management (managers can’t do their magic when they are baby-sitting).

5. Expect self-leadership (in this definition of it, you’ll get a team player AND creative, innovative leaders who are chosen by their peers).

6. Never settle for mediocrity; champion excellence in every single thing you do, and every idea you speak of so people rise to the occasion.

7. Lead, mentor and coach. Harness energy and drive action. Do with, not for.

8. Foster sequential and consequential learning so people continue to grow (and you will too.)

Bring this toolbox of 8 to your management practice, and life and work will be like a joyful game you simply cannot lose.

Believe in the good in people, and do your part to help them succeed. Be their champion and celebrate their victories, large and small, with the unqualified joy they are so hoping to see you express.

You know what? You will enjoy your own life that way so much more too.


  1. says

    Rosa, this is so true, and I’m proud to include it in our list of entries. All authors are free to go in any direction they choose, of course, as long as it illustrates a lesson learned from life.
    Thanks for the thoughtful contribution to this month’s project!