Epic Win!

“What is all this talk about an epic win? Sounds great. What do you mean?”

Games are designed, often, to get you to the epic win! You defeat the monster at the end of the course. You built skills along the way and then proved you could use them against something big and atrocious. When you get through that big hurdle at the end, your face lights up. High fives all around. Major score!EpicWinFace

In the work world and in personal development, we often set only one threshold. Below that threshold is failure. Above it is success. In my coaching, I have had to break people of setting bold goals that would be epic wins who then chastise or even berate themselves for not achieving them. Effectively it is like shooting your aspirations in the foot.

I am particularly a fan of “Any (insert task to goal) I do AT ALL is an improvement on the (previous state) where I was before. Improvement is good.” This is a gentle, loving-yourself approach to getting stuff done. We have enough external pressure from the world. Give yourself some encouragement.

I do love bold goals. I love the audacity to think you can do something that seems impossible. Give me your BHAGs! However, I do not think it is useful or productive to then declare failure on what doesn’t achieve or surpass the epic goal. It doesn’t build energy. You defeat yourself.

If you want to achieve epic wins, design — like a game designer does — for early wins and ongoing learning. To build energy, focus on celebrating the victories all along the path and at each threshold crossed. This jazzes you up for the achieving the epic win!

Set up three goal layers:

  1. Minimum. What is the minimum viable? Below that threshold, it really is failure.
    • Failing to achieve the minimum means the experiment failed -> now do something else or approach it differently.
    • Succeeding here is like an early win.
  2. Success. What threshold would allow you to say you were successful?
    • Failing to achieve this means the experiment could be improved -> how will you make it better next round?
    • Succeeding here is victory! Good work. Design next round for bolder goal. Reflect on where you can improve for even better results.
  3. Epic Win!
    • Failing to achieve this means there is room for improvement, sure, but be proud of how well you did!
    • Succeeding here is ultimate victory. Shout from the rooftops, dance till you drop. Laugh out loud. Drink champagne. Consider yourself a graduate and master. And then go level-up.

Think about something like StartSomeGood. There is a minimum viable – the project doesn’t get funded if you don’t reach that goal. Then there is the goal – if you get that, you can do the project as you intended. And, if you raise more than that – wow, you just got a mandate to do more!


Ps. you probably do not want a picture of your face for the epic win. It is not the most beautiful face you make. However, it will make other people smile compulsively. Here is one of mine from my very first time sailing. It was glorious! See how wide the grin is!!!


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