Caveat: I am not a gamer but friends who are have confirmed that what I’m going to say here makes sense.
One of my posts for the Careers Cafe at University Affairs compared life to a video game.
Video game developers write stories in a different way to novelists. Their stories need to be flexible and respond to the decisions the player makes at each stage of the game.
Each career decision you make takes you to a new “level” with things to learn, relationships to build, experience, skills and knowledge to collect. You will use all of those things to make decisions that will take you somewhere else.
Like a video game, you pass through some levels relatively easily and quickly, while others take longer to figure out.
Go read the whole thing. I can wait.
A few people reacted a bit badly to that, telling me that they always end up dead in those video games. And that you don’t get more than one life in real life.
This stumped me for a bit. But then Pace Smith came to the rescue!!! (Pace is a gamer and has a more than rudimentary grasp on these things.)
As I understand it, “Dead” in a video game is more like “Well, that didn’t work out.” in real life. So you really do get more than one life. Or, as Pace puts it, there is always a way forward.
In a video game, when you come across a wall that’s too high for you to jump over, there’s always a way forward.
Maybe you can dig a tunnel. Maybe there’s a secret door. Maybe you can get a boost from something else in the room.
Try everything you can think of, and a few more things to boot. Don’t give up.
Sometimes the way forward is roundabout, like “come back later when you have the jump boots,” but the jump boots always exist and it’s always possible for you to get them – some way or another.
Again, go read the whole thing.
Why am I talking about this?
Although I don’t play video games this metaphor tells you pretty much everything you need to know about how I do what I do.
I genuinely believe there is always a way forward. Neither the destination or the way may be what you thought they were going to be but if you are stuck and frustrated, I can guarantee you that there is both a forward and a way to get there.
What I do is help you figure out what those are.
Sometimes that looks like a boost to get over the wall. Sometimes it looks like asking you whether you need to get over this wall at all. Sometimes it’s about helping you find the jump boots.
Edited 25 October 2018.