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“Chess is a matter of delicate judgement, knowing when to punch and how to duck.”
In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, a child prodigy hit the chess scene. Astounding long-time chess players and aficionados with incredible victories at just 13 and 14 years old, this soon-to-be grand master of the game went on to travel overseas to play a Russian for a match that went beyond the pieces on the board and became a symbol of one nation’s political conflict with another.
While you might think I’m talking about the new Netflix hit series, The Queen’s Gambit, in truth I’m reflecting on the life and times of chess phenom Bobby Fischer. His storied career was fraught with terrific success and abject failure, in part explained by his absolute obsession with the game, dismissing other societal norms and expectations as irrelevant. He was fond of saying, “Chess is life.” For a professional chess player, that makes immediate sense. Just as for a professional writer, writing is life.
And yet, there is deeper, more profound meaning to that statement.
In truth, I did just finish watching The Queen’s Gambit and it was an excellent portrayal of the chess world in the ’60’s, as well as a fascinating inspection of the dangers of fame and the pitfalls of addiction. In the limited series, Beth, a young orphan, is taught how to play chess at the age of nine and quickly realizes she has a natural gift for being able to imagine the pieces of the board, her moves, her opponent’s responses, and her potential counters. As she struggles with her personal demons, she likewise struggles to achieve greatness in a game that’s already merciless to men, virtually impregnable to women. The brief sequence of episodes deftly positions us as invested observers to Beth’s maturation as both a professional chess player and friend, and it’s emotionally rewarding.
A question that Stephanie Liu posed in our private mastermind group spurred this line of thinking for me. A theoretical exercise, she asked, if you were to go to sleep on December 31, 2020 and wake up and find that it’s now January 1 of the same year, giving you the entire year to do over while knowing everything that’s going to transpire, what would you do differently?
The first reaction is obviously to be horrified at the prospect of having to endure this year again, but if you remove the details of this particular year from the equation, and consider the question for any given year, what then?
If you had the last week or the last month or the last year to do over, while retaining knowledge of what’s to come, how would that change your decisions?
What would you do differently, if you could?
Consider your job or business. Think about the choices you’ve made and the ramifications of those choices.
This is the exercise of a brilliant chess player. Every match is played in real-time, and then replayed countless times in the imaginings of the players.They take the time to analyze every move that was made and consider whether their might have been more powerful plays – even when they won the match. And they do the same for other player’s matches as well. One of Fischer’s best selling books is a play-by-play recounting of his 60 best matches.
In The Queen’s Gambit we are given an insight into Beth’s mind with a visualization of her pieces. We see how she imagines a board reversed on the ceiling above her head, pieces flying back and forth from square to square as she relentlessly pursues every possible move and response. As she practices and studies, learning more sequences and styles of play, she is able to anticipate moves that will happen further and further ahead in the game.
We cannot redo even a minute of our lives, but through careful study and practice, we can more accurately anticipate the moves and opportunities that will be ahead of us!
Planning and research take time. Developing a winning strategy that is also designed to be flexible in response to crises and opportunities isn’t easy. Which is why few do it.
Yet this, as Stephanie would say, is the difference that makes a difference.
If your opponents in business – your competitors – aren’t investing in long term strategy and cannot see your end game, that gives you an incredible advantage. The kind of advantage that can overcome many weaknesses such as budget or not being first to market.
Take Agorapulse, for instance, where I’ve been working to develop influencer and brand relationships for years – a long term strategy and investment in relationship building which actually started years earlier. Today, we enjoy being the most highly recommended and beloved social media management tool on the market, despite not having the resources or early start of our competitors. 🧡
Today, you have an opportunity to map out a vision for yourself, whether personally or professionally. You have a chance to consider not just what you want to accomplish, but how your industry, potential customers, and the market at large may ebb and flow and how, no matter what, you will be positioned to take advantage.
It was Fischer who said, “Chess is a matter of delicate judgement, knowing when to punch and how to duck.” Students of the game know that once openings have passed and pieces have started to develop into each opponent’s territory, the time comes to carefully consider each move and subsequent moves. That sometimes means retreating pieces and, on occasion, even making valuable sacrifices. The key, of course, is to have the judgement and vision in place to know when to punch and how to duck.
Will you pour all your resources into making new sales, or will you invest in the long term growth of your brand positioning? How will you balance short term needs with long term ambitions?
Personally, I enjoy investing in creating content that I know will help develop my reputation and work to further my business goals for years. More than just blogging, I’m creating content that brings in the kind of traffic that I am targeting, helps develop those visitors into leads, and then works to convert those leads into sales.
For example, here’s a little behind the scenes… I’m in the process of positioning myself as an expert in influencer marketing and building brand programs. I am strategically positioning webinars, presentations, blog posts and other assets so that, in the near future, I will have established my authority and will be able to successfully monetize it. Just as I have in the past with blogging and content marketing. This is me anticipating multiple moves in advance and making sure my pieces are already positioned for the moment I’m ready to launch.
If you’d like to be able to do what I do… create content quickly and strategically… then I have a 10-course bootcamp that’s available for less than a hundred bucks. https://bloggingbrute.com/blogging-bootcamp/ For a fraction of what what it would cost to hire me for just an hour, you’ll get hours and hours of my intense training, additional resources, and private community where you can ask all the questions you wish.
Take advantage of this opportunity to position you and your business for success in the future!
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