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Machen MacDonald: How to bring your ‘A’ game all the time

In every area of life we are on a journey. Health, relationships, career, and financial are just a few of the obvious ones. The question to answer is, are you aware of the game within the journey and are you bringing your “A” game on a consistent basis?

I invite you to imagine what would be possible if you found a way to bring the best, wisest, most resourceful version of yourself to every situation in life. How would your life be improved if you consistently made better decisions and choices? What would life look like if you acted on those choices?

In the context of success and fulfillment the presupposition on any journey is to improve, grow, or develop as a person. The goal is to get to a place that is better than where you are currently. The Hero’s journey, as described by Joseph Campbell is that and bringing back your mental, emotional, and physical expansion to help grow your community in whatever form that may be.



There is a a six step process I’ve uncovered that unfolds in the lives of people that have developed the ability to bring their “A” game along their journey on a more consistent bases. It’s not to say that playing your “A” game will make you immune from defeat. It is to say that you can learn, grow, adapt, and better navigate the landscape of set backs, failure and letdowns.

No one is exempt from failure. In fact, the road to any success is paved with plenty of failure. Perhaps more than most people are willing to tolerate. Nobody want’s to experience loss. Nobody wants to feel embarrassed, humiliated, or ridiculed as a result.




The premise remains … successful people make it a habit of doing the things the failures are not willing to do. The question now is, are you willing to fail? If not, you don’t need to read any further. However, if you are willing to succeed and eat failure like energy bars on your way to success, then keep reading and I will share with you what I have found works to keep on keepin’ on to achieve your dreams.

In order to affect the change you want, you must align six “A’s” of your “A” Game.

Awareness – You either want more of something or less of something. Awareness is the current realization something is not as you would like it to be. You imagine if you had whatever that is, then life would be better.

It’s different for everybody. Be clear on what “It” is for you.

Make a list of the tings that need to change or improve in your business and life. Next, identify one item from your list and move on to A2.

Attitude – This is about getting clear and staying within your power. You are in your power when you operate from your collective knowledge and wisdom.

Regardless of your age, you have lived a life time. Your life time. Therefore, you are the authority of you. Being in your power is being authentic. Pure authenticity has no room for fear, angst, and doubt (fad) since they are by products of the success assassin’s efforts. Experiencing fad is part of the human condition. We all have to learn to dance with it. We must come to know it is there to serve us and not for us to wallow in and keep from living our lives and achieving our successes.

We always have the power to choose the healthiest perspective from which to operate. It is not about acquiescing to the fearful voice of “not enoughness” that can often times lead the charge. It is continually choosing the healthiest attitude.

Anticipation – We must learn to anticipate when and how the success assassin will show up. It hides in the dark recesses. It’s the critical voice that came into being to protect us from harm when we were young and is now the same voice that holds us back from growth and progress. It’s extremely clever and often disguised as us. And it’s not us.

Effectively anticipate and avoid being taken out by the assassin – First, from your A2 power centered attitude, imagine going out into your future and look back on today. Notice what you had to think, feel, and do in order to bring about the desired outcome you achieved.

Second, notice and allow in any thoughts and feelings of “fad” the success assassin generated. Remember, it’s going to show up and try to protect you from perceived harm. It can serve you however. It serves you in the same way feeling the heat of a hot stove gets you to pull your hand back.

During A3 is the time to anticipate when and how the assassin shows up so we can effectively spar with it and be prepared for when we meet it on the journey.

The amalgamated voices of the assassin come together to convince us we are not enough and to play it safe and avoid perceived risks.

In business, we know we need to make the cold calls, ask for referrals, join the networking group, and conduct the seminars to grow our business yet we have 46 really good reasons why we don’t have time to do what we know we must do to succeed at a higher level.

This is where you must learn to befriend the various success assassins. The voice that tells you your webinar presentation is NOT perfect yet, when in fact it’s plenty good enough, is simply trying to keep you safe from possible embarrassment. You can’t pay the mortgage by playing it safe. You have to play the “A” Game.

Next time that assassin shows up in some form of fear, angst, or doubt (fad) treat it like a cloud in the sky. The cloud may be in the shape of a threatening dragon. Just notice it and say, “Oh it’s you again rolling in.” Reassure yourself you have everything under control with your A2 Attitude. Notice the cloud changing it’s shape until it finally evaporates out of view because you have used the power of your wisdom like the sun to burn it away.

Action – Not much gets done without taking action. Based on the possible pernicious pitfalls you anticipate may surface, what is the wisdom you want to remember to call upon at the time the assassin starts lurking in the shadows? Remember, the assassin is not real and yet, can feel very real. Part of its mastery is convincing you it’s real and it knows better than you do. We must learn to shine the light of our collected wisdom to cancel out assassin.

Next, once we have washed out the assassin using our life’s wisdom, we must decide what is the next best action to take to keep us moving forward on our journey of success and commit to ourselves we will stay focused and be intentional taking that action. Action makes up 75% of Traction.

Acknowledgment – This is about validating and integrating the renewed knowing that we are powerful beyond measure just as we are.

Catch yourself becoming aware (A1 & A3) of the assassin sooner and sooner. Catch yourself choosing the best attitude (A2) from which to operate. Catch yourself coming up with inspiring choices, decisions sans fad. Catch yourself taking better and better action (A4). Notice what you learn about yourself . Notice what you learn about the situation. Notice the progress you make as a result of it all. Progress equals happiness.

Add these accumulated catches of wisdom to your collective power and keep carrying it forward.

Accountability – The more and more we come to trust our ability to make good decisions and take right actions, the more we progress along our path. We come to know we can count on ourselves to navigate our journey in a good and compelling way. This is about being accountable to ourselves and others for the greater good that our journey serves.

There will be plenty of opportunities to bring your “A” Game. Keep practicing and the success assassin will continually lose its power over you and you will step more fully into your personal power and true potential thereby accelerating your success and fulfillment.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at coach@probrilliance.com and 530-273-8000


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