Here’s an example of how I apply the Solution Focused Approach to my everyday life:
One of my favourite pastimes is playing a tabletop miniatures game called ‘X-Wing’, based on the space combat dog fighting scenes in the Star Wars movies.
Next weekend, I’m taking part in ‘UKTC’ – the X-Wing UK team championship.
My best hopes from writing this blog post are to be as prepared as I can be come next weekend, so that I get the most from the experience that I can, and also so that my teammates and opponents on the day are also getting as much as they can out of it, where I have any influence over that. In other words, I’d like to be at my best.
As tabletop games go, X-Wing is an extremely well-designed game; fun, easy to pick up, hard to master. But the main factor players often talk about as to why they enjoy it so much is the community that exists around it. There is a mutual recognition amongst players that everyone is doing this for fun, so there’s a catchphrase that we all use to remind ourselves and each other of this; “fly casual”.
‘Fly casual’ is basically a way of saying “be sporting”, with a nod to the Star Wars saga (bonus points to anyone who can tell me the character who says it, plus the movie and the scene they say it in!). Actually, it may be more than that. It also encapsulates “remember why we’re all doing this” *, alongside the commitment to show respect, play fair according to the rules, be gracious in defeat and considerate in celebrating victory.
‘At my best’ therefore, also translates as ‘fly casual’
So when might I notice that I’m flying casual?
I can picture myself in a moment, at the start of a match, shaking hands with my opponent, with a smile on my face, saying “good luck”. I’ll feel proud at my conduct in that moment, and for anyone watching who knows me fairly well, they’ll recognise the little signs that I’m enjoying myself, being at my most relaxed and friendly (flying casual), such as the way my shoulders are down, my eyes are shining and I’m continuing to smile calmly.
My opponent might then notice the way I genuinely congratulate them, sharing in their sense of accomplishment, when they pull off an awesome move to destroy one of my ships. The difference this might make to them would be that they would most likely continue to enjoy playing this game. I’ll know that this is happening from signs such as the way they also smile calmly, and chat in a friendly way as we play. The difference this might make for me is to feel increasingly ‘in the moment’. Feeling like right here, right now, there’s nowhere I’d rather be. This might then help me stay focused and undistracted on my next move. I’ll be confident of finding a way to ‘stay on target’ (bonus points for that one too!) towards the possibility of winning the game.
My main objective here is to have a great day out with my friends, doing something I love, meeting other people with shared interests. I’m aware this is also a competition, however, and I don’t want to let my team down. Instead, I’d like us all to come away feeling satisfied that we all did the best we could, as well as being proud of our conduct.
So what’s the first small step I might take towards this happening?
I’ll find some time to put some practice in this week. I have other responsibilities and a busy schedule, so I’ll take the opportunity to practice flying casual even when I’m doing something completely unconnected with playing X-Wing.
Let me see now…
I’m dropping my wife off at the train station this afternoon. I’ll wish her a safe journey with genuine hope for her trip to go as well as possible. This’ll be similar to the way I’ll be in the moments I’ll wish my opponents and teammates good luck next weekend. Again, I’ll be smiling calmly with shining eyes, and probably slouching!
Also, I can reflect.
I’d ideally like to win at least one game next weekend. When I think back to the games I’ve won, I can I ask myself how I did that. The more detail I can recall about how I did that the better. I’ll take some time to do that over the next week too.
None of us can predict the future. I can ask myself the question, that even if for some reason (say, illness or unexpected circumstances) I don’t end up going, how might I still remain at my best, flying casual, through the adjustment to changing circumstances?
Whatever happens, I know I can continue to fly casual throughout the future, whatever it holds. I know what flying casual looks and feels like. I know how I’ve done it before. I know what the noticeable signs will be that I’m continuing to do it.
I’ve got this!
Fly Casual 😊
*One of my teammates recently wrote an excellent blog post about exactly this, which you can read here: https://zombiesquadron.net/2018/09/25/x-wing-a-personal-introspective-on-why-i-play/