Ep #240: Game 1 vs Game 2

The Widowed Mom Podcast Krista St-Germain | Game 1 vs Game 2

Losing your person is a big deal, and it’s challenging to grapple with this new life you didn’t choose.

How can we appreciate this seismic shift that’s happened in our lives, and is it even possible?

Join me this week to learn what the metaphor of game 1 versus game 2 means, and why it’s a useful way to think about this next chapter of life you’re currently in.


Listen to the Full Episode:

If you want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to apply for Mom Goes On.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What the concept of game 1 versus game 2 means.
  • The value of recognizing you’re now in game 2.
  • How you’re coming into game 2 with a myriad of skills and lessons learned.


Featured on the Show:

  • Leave me a review in Apple Podcasts.
  • Interested in small-group coaching? Join us in Mom Goes On. Click here for details and next steps.
  • Join my free Facebook group, The Widowed Mom Podcast Community.
  • Follow me on Instagram!
  • If you are a Life Coach School certified coach, I’m working on an Advanced Certification in Grief and Post-Traumatic Growth Coaching just for you. If this sounds like something you would love, email us to let us know you want in on the interest list to be notified when it launches!
  • I send out several pick-me-up emails each week including announcements and details for free live coaching sessions. Enter your email in the pop-up on my home page to sign up.
  • The widows in my coaching program shared their advice and encouragement for new widows in this new book, Dear New Widow. Get your copy here!


Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 240, Game 1 vs Game 2.

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.

Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. So this one I’m recording a little bit in advance because we’re about to go into the holidays. If you’re listening to this on the day it releases, happy New Year, happy 2024. That feels really strange to say. I can’t tell you how my holidays went or my New Year is going because it hasn’t happened yet. But I do have something I’m really excited to talk to you about. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, this whole idea of game 1 vs game 2.

And my hope is that it’s going to be a really useful way for you to think about this next chapter of life. So I’m going to do this in two episodes. I’m going to do game 1 vs game 2. And then next week, another episode will come out and I’m going to talk about the mistakes, the top seven mistakes that I see us making when we’re playing game 2.

So first though today I just want to introduce you to the concept. And I want you to think about it between now and the time you listen to the next episode, the follow-up episode. So just imagine that life is a series of games. And for illustration purposes, we’re going to call the game that you were playing before your spouse, partner, person died, game 1. And game 1 had its own set of rules and its own set of challenges and its own way to win and its own set of players and it was its own unique experience.

But now you have been thrown into game 2, your person, partner, spouse died. You did not ask to be thrown into game 2, but nevertheless here you are. And so this metaphor is a way to kind of grapple with, to appreciate, to understand, to think about this seismic shift that has happened in our lives. The difference between game 1 and game 2 is a really big deal. So in game 1 you had a partner, you had shared responsibilities. You had a particular set of expectations about the way life was going to go. You had a particular identity or identities.

You had a very clear way of defining what winning looked like, probably, in game 1. And I bet because you were playing it for a while, you’re probably pretty confident about how to win game 1. You were pretty confident in your ability to play game 1, but game 2 is totally different. Game 2 has different players. There’s a whole new set of rules. Your sidekick player is not right there to play the game with you. There’s probably a lot more being asked of you in game 2. Things are all different in game 2. You don’t even know how to play game 2, maybe you’re learning. We’re all in different places.

And chances are high you don’t know how to win game 2. So I want to offer a few things today. The first being that just recognizing that you are in game 2 is valuable because when we recognize that we’re in a new game then we can give ourselves permission to feel what it’s like to be disoriented, to feel like we’re in a totally new space. And I think that’s important because we’re not learning to navigate life in the same game we were playing before. We’re learning to navigate life all over in many ways.

There aren’t many aspects of life that losing your spouse, your partner, your person doesn’t touch. It kind of touches everything to the point where I really want you to consider it’s a completely different game. And if we acknowledge that we’re in game 2 and no longer in game 1, then it can be easier to allow ourselves to begin again, to be patient with ourselves, to be kind, to ourselves, to not hold ourselves to the same rules, the same standards, the same ways of measuring success.

We can play game 2 completely differently than we played game 1, but first we have to acknowledge that we’re in game 2 and we’re not in game 1 anymore. So once we’ve acknowledged it and it’s okay if this takes time. It’s okay if you’re resisting this idea. Some of you are going to love it, some of you are going to hate it. It’s okay, just take what works, leave the rest. But I want you to ask yourself, once you’ve acknowledged, okay, yes, I’m in game 2. Here we are in game 2.

What new skills do I need to be successful in game 2? And remind yourself that there was a whole bunch of skills you had at the end of game 1 that you didn’t have at the beginning of game 1. There’s a whole bunch of skills that you learned because you were just in game 1 for the amount of time that you were. You learned a lot of things. So you’re not coming into game 2 with nothing.

You’re actually coming into game 2 with a lot, a lot of skills that you learned and also the ability to learn. And I bet you were probably pretty good at a lot of things in game 1 that are still applicable to game 2, but there will be new things as there are, new skills. Any time we play a new game, we have to learn new skills. So think about what those are, ask yourself, what are some of the skills, probably some you’ve already learned, if you’ve made your way to this podcast, by the way.

So it’s solo parenting, even if your kids are grown, you’re still parenting them. It’s managing finances differently. It’s running a residence by yourself. It’s making decisions differently without the person that you probably used to bounce them off of. It’s becoming socially comfortable in situations where you don’t have your person with you and maybe you’re the only widow. Maybe it’s traveling alone.

There are things you didn’t need in game 1, skills that you need in game 2, what are they? Do we know? Can we identify them? And then once you’ve thought about that, I want you to ask yourself, what kind of support do I want in game 2? Many of the people that you know are still playing game 1. You might be looking around, I feel like to go with the metaphor, I feel like when I started playing game too, I was like, hello, is anyone here? Where are the people who understand what this is like? Where are the people I can learn from?

Where are the people who know the rules of this game who can show me that I actually can win at this game? Where are the people who can give me examples and hope and possibility? And I really struggled to find them because so many of the people I knew, they were still playing game 1. And this is one of the reasons, by the way, I created a group coaching program eventually is because I want people to be able to find other game 2 players so that we can learn from each other and support one another and leverage each other.

That’s a huge portion of what Mom Goes On is about for me. But I want you to be asking yourself, who do I want to have as my support system in game 2? Who is my support squad going to be? Because I might need to find a new one. There might be some people I need to let go of. There might be some work that I need to do to go find more people. That could be more friends. That could be a therapist. That could be a different financial advisor. There are going to be lots of different people on your support squad but you might have to go searching for a community there.

And game 2 might be the game where you learn on a level you have never learned before, how to accept help, how to reach out and ask for help, and how to accept help. That may not be something you have done. Maybe game 1 it wasn’t that important and now in game 2 it is. And this might be the time where you seek support, receive support, experience support in a whole different way. So I want you to ask yourself that.

And then I want you to think about the possibility, and this is possibility, the possibility of post traumatic growth, post traumatic growth. It is not a should. It is not morally superior. It is not a have to. It is not a must. It is not something you need to do. It is not something you are a better human if you do. It is simply a possibility, an opportunity. Game 2 is an opportunity for post traumatic growth, for growth generally speaking.

Post traumatic growth, if that is not a term you are familiar with, it is a term that was coined in the mid-90s by a couple of researchers, Tedeschi and Calhoun were their names. They were noticing that widows in particular, some widows, were reporting a lower level of satisfaction with life after their loss and staying there. Some widows were reporting a lower level of satisfaction with life and then getting back to the level of satisfaction that they had before.

And then some widows, this other category. They weren’t just bouncing back to where they were before, they were actually bouncing forward to greater reported levels of satisfaction with life. And they found five domains. I believe it’s not limited to these five, but these are the five official domains of post traumatic growth. So appreciation for life, relationships with others, new possibilities in life, personal strength and spiritual change.

Since you are in game 2, post traumatic growth is an opportunity. And really all that means is there is nothing that can happen to us that we don’t have the opportunity to choose our response to. And one of our responses can be to decide what we want to make of what has happened and how we want to apply that information going forward. What do we want to make of it? What do we want to learn from it? How do we want to apply what we’ve learned, given what has happened?

Can we get clarity, a level of clarity that we maybe never have had before on what we value? Can we get clarity at a level that we’ve maybe never had before on who we want to be and what we want our relationships to look like and how we want to spend our days? If life is this precious, can we get super clear and intentional about how we live it? And decisions made from that place are something we can do if we want. Doesn’t make us better humans, doesn’t make us more evolved. It just means stuff happens and we get to decide what we want to make of it.

Also, by the way, choosing to grow, choosing to, whatever you choose in game 2 really, doesn’t mean anything about game 1. Doesn’t mean you asked for game 2. Doesn’t mean you didn’t want to be in game 1, but here you are in game 2. So post traumatic growth is an option.

So this is going to be a pretty short episode. I just want you to think about this. What if we looked at what has happened and the life we are living now as an entirely different game from the one we were playing before. What would be the advantage of that? Yes, life has taken an unexpected turn that we did not ask for. And yet it is still filled with potential and with possibility. And I love the idea of reminding myself that there are so many players that have come before us, so many players that have figured this game out. Does that mean it will be easy? No.

Does that mean we’re going to love every second of it? No. Does that mean sometimes we won’t still wish we were playing game 1? No. But can we win in game 2? Yes. Can we decide what winning looks like in game 2 and figure it out even with different rules and different players? Yes, we can. So consider that little switch for yourselves this week. What if game 2 is just a completely different game. And then next week I’m going to share with you the top seven mistakes that I see us making that really hold us back from what we want in game 2.

Alright, so that’s what I have for you this week. Remember, I love you, you’ve got this. Take care and I’ll see you next week, bye bye.

If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence. Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than what you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click Work With Me for details and next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.

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About your coach

I created a new life using small, manageable steps and techniques that made sense. The changes I experienced were so profound I became a Master Certified Life Coach and created a group coaching program for widows like us called Mom Goes On. It’s now my mission to show widowed moms exactly how to do what I’ve done and create a future they can look forward to.

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