Has the world gone mad?
Maybe I’m behind on the times, or just plain over the hill, but this catching Pokemon business is a THING. People are out catching Pokemon, running around parks like mad people. But that’s the thing about it… PEOPLE. People are leaving their homes to meet up with strangers to play this game. Did you know Pokemon Go is overtaking Tinder in some dating circles? It’s madness and I don’t get it.
But if you know me, you know I can’t leave well enough alone. While I am sincerely anti-Pokemon Go, I am so damn curious why there are grown adults scaling walls and hiding in bushes to capture these virtual beasts. In the fairness to the sport of Pokemon hunting and my friends who play it, I felt it necessary to spare some time to investigate its benefits from a coaching perspective.
Pokemon Go: A Business Coach’s Perspective
1. Pokemon Go hunting enforces presence to nature.
It’s hard to believe that having your shnozz glued to your cell phone would evoke presence, but it’s true what they say. Whatever you can conceive, you can achieve! While running all over the city, trying to catch your Bulbasaurs, you are more likely to explore places you may never have been. You will take routes you’ve never taken, and notice elements that are foreign to you. In essence, the more Pokemon you chase, the further you move outside of your comfort zone, all while using the familiar methodology of a childhood game. Genius!
2. Chasing Pokemon enforces presence to people.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen some pretty hardcore Pokemon Go Hunters. What struck me the hardest is the way people are emerging from their Squirtle shells. Children and adults alike are jumping in at the deep end to have conversations with strangers, regardless of age, gender or social status.
The mutuality and unseen benefit of Pokemon Go is that is starts conversations at a deeper level. MAJOR CONVERSATION GOALS! So often we get stuck in the “Hi, how are you?” and small talk that we never make it to the juicy stardust part of the conversation — the place where we are both on the same side of something.
Pokemon chasers are so engulfed in their virtual world that they drop their self-doubt and jump right in: “where’s the nearest Poke-stop?!” and a deeper conversation may ensure; even an exchange of numbers! What I’m saying is, walking around with a phone in your hands on a mission to catch a Pikachu automatically levels you up to intermediate conversationalist. No small talk required.
3. Pokemon Go sparks creativity and childhood wonder
Let’s be serious for a second. Pikachu is adorbs, right? Running around chasing Pokemon or even just chasing friends is like dipping your face in a pool of nostalgia, right? That’s nostalgia and it’s a powerful tool in coaching. In coaching, we ask clients to take on a previous perspective and sometimes that involves reflection and introspection. “What would your inner child tell you to do?”
Nostalgia unearths creativity and all the virtual kawaii can easily ignite creativity. Depending on what state the person is in, a mist of nostalgia can sooth and relax an individual, or it can jolt them to connect the dots of a problem they have been trying so desperately to solve.
What I’m saying here is temporarily stepping away from adulting can afford you the mental and physical space to take a a refreshed perspective on an old situation: “Maybe I don’t need to run full force towards my business goals; maybe there’s value in meandering and following intuition’s trail as though it were a Charmander.
Chasing Pokemon invites you to creatively shift your perspective from preventability to possibility.
4. No judgement zone
Let’s evaluate what grown adults are doing when they chase Pokemon: they’re chasing imagination. They’re yelling out to their friends to meet them at the next Poke-stop, and they’re virtual-battling other adults in broad daylight. It’s clearly a no-judgement zone for anyone involved in said battles; and anyone watching from afar is no concern for the rewards of leveling up your Pokemon Trainer.
Catching Pokemon creates a non-threatening situation in which children and adults alike can indulge in play. In coaching, play is a HUGE element of what we do with our clients. As a success coach, I ask clients to close their eyes, to move around the room, to use their imagination and visualize their situations in an intangible way. I invite them to play and humour me as we move through the conversation.
What I’m asking my clients to do is connect their intellect to their hearts. In doing so, I discover an entry way to break down mental barriers and release new cognitive abilities to use towards creation and integration. It’s no different to chasing Pokemon. We indulge in our imagination to be creative and innovative with how we interact with our world.
5. It’s a friction-less experience
At the 2011 F8 Developers Conference, Mark Zuckerberg is infamously quoted as saying that Facebook was moving towards “real-time serendipity in a friction-less experience”. I strongly believe this is what Pokemon Go is doing for its players. The game itself is capitalizing on the serendipitous appearance of Pokemon.
In coaching, we look for these moments of serendipity to facilitate a friction-less coaching conversation. We want to you to experience all facets of life in order to grow — including the discomfort, but we also want our clients to experience ease and serenity.
Like Pokemon Hunting, coaching is real-time serendipity and facilitates a friction-less solutions — at least some of the time.
So, maybe there’s value to Pokemon Go?
Maybe I’m just missing the boat on the next way for me to be my very best, like no one ever has! But maybe there’s value to this new craze of Pokemon Go Hunting. Children and adults are engaging in more social interactions and there are distinct reports that it is alleviating social anxiety.
In the end, Pokemon Go inspires and invites people to share in a common experience and facilitate person-to-person contact in a way that virtual games never have. There is immense value in people leaving the comforts of their own home to engage in new experiences.
Ultimately, where we depart from the norm is where we grow.
And that’s our ultimate hope.