Review the Game Film

I always said I never wanted to be the guy who said things like “back in the old days”, but bear with me here.

Back in the old days, if your favourite hockey team didn’t play a very good first period, you knew the coaching staff would spend intermission reviewing plays from the last 20 minutes – and making adjustments for the team to implement when they get back on the ice.

Nowadays, the turnaround time is a lot faster. As soon as a player hits the bench, he’s looking at a tablet with a recording of a play he ran mere seconds earlier. He’s reviewing what’s working and what’s not, and instantly making adjustments for when he goes back on the ice in two minutes.

In hockey, the practice of reviewing the game film has evolved with the times – and it’s practically second nature.

In life, not so much.

A lot of my clients are sports fans. They watch SportsCenter and enjoy watching all the best plays of the game – and the bloopers, too. I like to ask them: “what were your highlights this week? What were your bloopers?”

It turns out it’s a lot easier to review your favourite hockey team’s recent performance than to reflect on your own.

But what I want to know is this: if we sent a film crew to follow you around all day, what would we learn? Would we see you going into yet another one of those Zoom meetings that nobody likes but nobody wants to say anything about? How many hours would go by just watching you answer email after email on your phone? Where would we find ourselves groaning, saying, “Oh god, when he does this, everything goes downhill”?

It’s high time we start reviewing the game film in our own lives. And I’m not talking about the kind of annual review you might experience in a traditional workplace (a ridiculous ritual that so many companies insist on repeating… like, sure, neither of us can remember what we had for breakfast yesterday, but let’s talk about everything that happened in the last 12 months.)

To effectively review the game film of your own life, the key is to do it every week. All it takes is asking yourself three questions – which can be answered individually or as a team:

  1. What went well this week? (it’s important to capture the wins, even in our toughest weeks)
  2. What didn’t go so well this week (or what were the challenges of this week)?
  3. What’s one thing you will do differently next week?



Without regular reflection on what’s working (and what isn’t), the mind will keep doing what it’s always done. We will keep repeating our old habits unless we pause and ask ourselves why we started doing them in the first place – and more importantly, whether or not they’re continuing to serve us.

So many of my best practices today came from reviewing my own game film. For example, whenever possible, I try and turn an email into a phone-call. This is a rule I created for myself after noticing that, whenever I responded to a query via text or email, a lot would get lost in translation. In reviewing my game film, I realized that a five-minute phone call can quickly bring much needed clarity to both parties, saving me a lot of time and effort in the long run.

Another adjustment I made – and that many of my clients have made – involves keeping some pretty serious boundaries around phone use, particularly first thing in the morning. In reviewing my game film, I noticed I was repeatedly and rapidly losing control of my calendar when I reached for my phone immediately after waking up. So, I made it a rule not to look at my phone for the first few hours of my day – and the change has done wonders for my daily schedule.

All of this – and much more – wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t started asking myself those three simple questions. The people playing at the highest level – those who are really seeing progress in their lives – ask themselves these same questions every week. Do you?

Takeaway Tip:

Start reviewing your game film – ASAP. By yourself or with your team, answer the following questions:

  1. What went well this week?
  2. What didn’t go so well this week?
  3. What’s one thing you will do differently next week?

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