I grew up in a house with a thirteen-inch black and white television that pulled in two and a half channels. Screen time was not a big part of my childhood. As a teen, though, I discovered via the local Laundromat and at my friend’s house that I had an affinity for a certain video game: Ms. Pac Man.
The goal of the game was to eat up all the little dots before the ghosts ate you. In each of the four corners of the screen, there were larger dots. Once consumed, the ghosts turned blue and Ms. Pac Man was invincible, free to eat up all the ghosts and the dots, and even some bonus fruit on her way.
I found myself thinking about Ms. Pac Man again today. When we grow into something new, take on a challenge that we’ve never done before, or push past the limits that we set for ourselves, a whole variety of ghosts show up in the process and threaten to eat us up. One, loud, “I’m not good enough to do this!” or “Nah, this idea will never work,” is enough to end many of the games we play in life. Ms. Pac Man headed to the corners of the screen to find her power pellets.
We, too, can reach out for the support we need. One coach, mentor, or colleague saying, “You CAN do this and I’ll be here cheering you on while you do!” is enough to give us the extra steam we need to turn around, head back out of the corner, and start gobbling up the ghosts. Okay, sure, they may come back for the next game, but the more practice we have playing the game, the more skilled we are in turning the tides and chomping them to bits before they eat us up.
The next time you find yourself starting to take action and getting stopped, indulge in a quick round of Ms. Pac Man online. Envision those ghosts being your barriers and blocks and limiting self-beliefs. Then get back to work. Chomp, chomp.