Move Your Pieces to the Center

 by Michael Whitehouse, The Guy Who Knows A Guy

I am a very simple chess player. I learned one axiom to guide my strategy, and it doesn’t win many tournaments, but it has worked very well in life and business. Even a little chess can make a big difference in life.

My axiom is that I want as much flexibility as possible. In chess, I never learned to anticipate my opponents moves, so I want as many options as possible. In life, you can never fully anticipate the future so I am well prepared.

I try to get my pawns up, my knights and bishops out to the center, and my rooks uncovered if I can.

If 2020 were a chess game, it would be a game of Nightmare Chess. The moves were unexpected, and the rules kept changing, yet I was able to adapt and thrive because I kept my pieces in the center of the board and my options open.

I had the opportunity to study karate at a great local dojo. Through it I learned key lessons on discipline and dramatically improved my endurance and energy. I didn’t know what that would do for me, but it put another piece in the middle of the board.

My wife started a diet which involved juicing in the morning. I joined her because it seemed like it might be another piece on the board. Four months later, I’m still doing it, and that combined with exercise has given me more energy to deal with whatever comes.

I met a business coach who offered to teach me some marketing strategies for coaches even though I wasn’t working as a professional coach at the time. I wasn’t sure how I’d best deploy those skills, but I took them because it opened up another set of moves in the future.

These are just three examples. Without having a firm plan, in July I put some of those strategies to work to try my hand at a coaching business. Two months later, I had signed up 7 clients. Some of those clients saw immediate improvement in their lives and business.

As I grow my programs and my business, I continue to look for opportunities to expand my options. Long term planning has never been my strong suit, but 2020 has shown us that adaptability is at least as important.

When a client comes to me who cannot afford my programs, I look for where opportunities may exist. Two such clients are now my apprentices, working for me by editing the revised edition of my book, promoting my workshops, and performing other key tasks in exchange for training. Even a client who cannot afford to pay can present an opportunity if you have a mindset to see it.

I never know where my next opportunity will come from, so I stay open to all of them. If somebody wants to meet to network, I’ll take a half hour call with them just to see what they have to say. One such call resulted in the opportunity to write this guest article on this highly prestigious blog.

If someone asks me to listen to a business idea or even a pitch, I’ll do it if I have time. More often than not, it doesn’t turn into much, but it only takes one great opportunity to open doors and change my life.

Too many people go through life jealously guarding their time, rejecting opportunities for fear of what might happen. I choose to embrace opportunities for fear of what I might miss.

I encourage you to open yourself to possibilities. Take that meeting. Take that course. Work with a coach. Take a chess class. Do whatever in your life will move another piece to the middle of the board. Give yourself options. You may lose a piece or two, but you can only win if you’re in a position to act when opportunity presents itself.