Journey of Three - Stefanel Castro

Gamification: the concept of including game-like elements to non-games in order to motivate participation and engagement. I know what this concept is now after having “googled” it and I have to say that I feel kind of deceived by the EDI team and the facilitators. For an entire day, I played a board game and ran around downtown Seattle (wearing a really stylish bandanna) geocaching! All fun and games…I thought! In reality, using these games as educational media, I learned about Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and was able to experience firsthand the power of behavioral adaptability for team bonding while trying to reach a goal. The audacity of these people to sneak in learning while I think I’m playing is preposterous ;)  

Now that I’m done with my rant, let’s talk about the learning…Our session started with a board game on EQ. The board game was an excellent vessel that progressively expanded on the concept of EQ and provided very helpful tools to improve our EQ. EQ has two major components to it: the “self” and the “social” sides. My main takeaway is that the key to EQ truly is knowledge, acceptance, and, more importantly, awareness of one’s thoughts, behaviors, biases, etc. Only when we truly know ourselves and understand how we think and what makes our emotions swing – self side – can we actually allow ourselves to not be reactionary but make conscious, rational decisions when interacting with others based on how a situation is developing – social side. Believe me, there are occasions where the Puerto Rican spice within me wants to come out. Having this knowledge and awareness gives me the power to control situations in a manner that leads to a more productive work environment and better relationships.   

After the board game, we went onto geocaching as a team. I will start by saying that The Lucky Siete (our team) came in second place, but the real win of the day was how much we learned through the execution of the game. If you have never geocached before, I’ll give you the scoop…You go around diverse locations looking for clues and completing challenges. Everything about the game promotes team building. Starting by defining goals, moving onto designating roles, continuing to strategic planning, and finally, when you think you have it all figured out, resorting to “on-the-spot” decision making, creates a setting where working as a team is the only option to succeed. It was amazing to witness how we fed off each other’s energy, and organically switched roles. Without knowing it, we capitalized on each other’s strengths and worked around our weaknesses. Meeting the goals we had set was the priority and we creatively came up with ways that maximized our chance of reaching them. The funny thing is that I am realizing more and more of what we actually did as I type this down, and to me, it is the perfect reminder of the following undeniable truth…When goals are clearly defined and a team is having fun, is committed and empowered, the team’s greatest potential is unleashed.

I am excited for what lies ahead and to continue to share my journey with you. Today, I’ll leave you with this final thought…let’s gamify our lives and go all in (specially our personal and professional development), new learning is at every corner waiting for OUR next move!