Awareness is characterized by question and answer interaction between the facilitator and the participant. As the interaction proceeds, the facilitator writes phrases and thoughts on a blank sheet of paper, keeping similar ideas together in one of three columns. Possible starter questions include: “List three areas of interest, activity, and leisure,” and “What do you do to pass the time?” Participants typically talk about going to the movies, talking on the phone, and other tasks like reading. These responses are not the most useful in the process, but most participants can answer without thinking. The next question is thoughtful, “If you were waiting in a doctor’s office, what magazine would you read?” “What articles would you be drawn to and why?” “What, in the article, attracts your attention?”
Passion, as we discuss it, is hardwired, innate and tied to amorphous concepts of curiosity, personal satisfaction, and desire. In short, we assume that passion is tied to a participant’s interests. We further assume that people often use leisure time to explore their interests. Few people pick up a magazine in a doctor’s office and read articles that are of no interest to them. The facilitator can hypothesize about interests if he/she knows what information in the article peaks the interest of the participant. The awareness task seeks to provide a basis for one of the most important components of the Game Plan, the participant’s motivation for his/her interest, which we term the primary motivation.
Motivation is assessed further in Discover. A possible question would be, “What do you get out of the activities you participate in?” The facilitator engages the participant in a discussion of interests and chosen activities. The goal is to discover some possible reasons why the activities are important or useful to the participant. Most participants will first discuss how the activities benefit others. It is important to continue probing toward the benefit to the participant. The participant may not feel comfortable stating a personal benefit because it could be construed as selfish. A possible question to counteract this is, “Why do you choose this as opposed to another activity?”
This component of the Game Planning process is critically important because it forms the basis for supporting the subsequent component, triangulation. The guiding assumption, based in Rotter’s social learning theory of personality, is that one chooses certain activities because the outcomes of the behaviors are desired and expected (Rotter, 1972). In the Game Planning process this suggests that the participant has a desire and expectation of some outcome. Again, discovering this outcome potentially reveals a unique set of common features that are the source of satisfaction for many of the participant’s chosen activities.
If we extend this idea, it may be said that any activity (or career) would be desirable to the participant, but his/her primary motivation for the activity would not change. For example, a participant’s primary motivation for choosing an activity may be to gain an understanding of human nature to explain his or her failed relationships. The participant may choose a career as a pharmacist or a personal trainer, but the primary motivation (and perhaps the style of work interaction) remains whichever the career choice. As stated earlier, Game Planning is less about career identification, and more about discovering what makes the participant feel satisfied.