Ten Skill-Building Things I Learned from World of Warcraft

“All work and no play doesn’t just make Jill and Jack dull, it kills the potential of discovery, mastery, and openness to change and flexibility and it hinders in innovation and invention.

Jolie Godfrey

The gift of childhood

When we were children, we had no idea what we were good at. We just had an endless curiosity with the big question of “Why?”

We used games and playtime to ignite our creativity, spinning endless worlds, and countless possibilities.

As we tried new things, we found what we liked and didn’t like. What we were good at and what we weren’t. And then there were the things that took a lot of work to get good at, but it ignited something in us.


As adults, we get this notion that we can no longer play and experience new ways to be creative or expand our skills.

There are these social norms we hold to that shutdown pathways and options to try new things or forge new skills.

Learnings from Online Gaming

So this month, here is what I learned from my husband’s online gaming and how gamification can help the business world unlock countless skills and talents of its most important asset, its people.

My husband is an online gamer, World of Warcraft, and others that I can’t remember at this sitting. I was a harsh critic. Why would he want to sit in front of his computer and play this with people he only new online? What a waste of precious time.

The Ten

Being curious though, and wanting to understand his view, here is what I learned through observing him play:

  1. Collaboration: It takes a community of people from all walks of life to bring their skills and talents together to achieve their objective.
  2. Skill building: Each player has a core set of skills with their character that they have spent hours honing.
  3. Leadership: each mission has different leaders based on the objective. The team does best with self-empowerment.
  4. Encouragement: the dialogue in the team was positive, encouraging, and motivating, even when they didn’t win that battle.
  5. Resiliency: with a loss, they quickly regrouped and went back to planning using the lessons they learned.
  6. Feedback: part of the debrief was providing constructive feedback – “you did great X, next time, watch your flank and B help X on that flank with your tank.”
  7. Strategy and planning: once the mission was set, strategy and planning were shared by the group. All offered feedback and ideas. The team leader of the mission took in the input, and then a mission plan was set.
  8. Inclusion: the group was all ages, from around the world, and was the most inclusive cohesive team I had ever observed.
  9. Sense of belonging: the members were part of a guild. They had to be vetted to get in and were all proud to be part of the group.
  10. Purpose, mastery, autonomy: I saw Dan Pinks book Drive play out. They all had a purpose, mastery, and while in the game, enough autonomy with their characters to bring their best to the forefront.

I have reflected on the above numerous times. I learned a great deal from observing these raids. The friendships even transcended virtual, and we met many of the members over the years. They are all awesome people.

My husband not only continued to hone his existing skills, he learned new ones, like teaching and communicating in a more simplified (unscientific) way!

Final thoughts:

I have seen not only WOW in play but also gamification in the workplace. It helps forge teams, expand skills, and allows creativity to come to the forefront. It breaks down the stodgy barriers of adulting and brings in a vibrant color scheme of ideas.

Strive to bring fun to your day, learn new things, and remember to be a kid in how you experience the world while you shine brightly!

This was originally written for BJD Leadership Training & Team Development. October 2020. Views my own.

Follow me on:

Twitter: @SamanthaJohnson

LinkedIn: LinkedIn/in/samanthab2

Facebook: @loudlyImperfect

Five Ways We Can Take Time to See Others

“Just as ripples spread out when a pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching impacts”

Dalai Lama

Traveling again

I was traveling recently for work; I know rare these days, right?

Anyway, I had an experience that reminded me how important it is to take the time to see people and have an awareness of their needs.

I was seeking breakfast, and the only place open, given the restrictions, was a deli. I had finished my morning walk, and at 7 am, when they opened, promptly walked in, starving for food.

I had been to this deli the day before, so I knew what the options were and could order right away.

Observe and you will see

As I entered the young man operating the counter was halfway towards the drink machine, to get a cup of soda. When he saw me come, he immediately turned around and headed back. And I immediately said, please get your drink because I have to figure out what I want.

This young man was so relieved and happy, but he was also surprised that a customer would be accommodating.


He comes back, takes my order, and all I have is my phone, and they don’t take Apple Pay. He said, don’t worry about it, I got this for you.

Well, I thanked him but declined and said I could be right back with my credit card, just put the order on hold and I will be right back.

Behind me was a man, quite impatient, and I saw him roll his eyes at the blonde with no money. He started moving side to side. I didn’t let it phase me. I just finished my conversation, thanked the young man, and went to get my credit card.

When I returned and paid, he not only had my order in the works but when it was ready and I was over getting my coffee, he walked it over to me and said Ms. Samantha, I have your breakfast and gave me a big smile. I thanked him again and wished him a great day.

Another man standing next to me looked at me, surprised like he wanted to know why I was getting such treatment. He then started talking to me in a friendly way!

5 ways to make a difference to others

Here are five things that we can all do to slow down, observe others, and show compassion and kindness.

  1. Remember that you’re not the center of the universe. Your time is no more valuable than anyone else’s.
  2. See people, really see them. If they have a basic need, try to ensure that need is met, even if it is just being patient.
  3. We are all human and need to remember that the gift of our humanity is compassion and kindness
  4. It takes no extra time to be kind. This is a lesson my mum taught me and ingrained in me.
  5. Don’t be a jerk period. Don’t make someone else’s day crappy because of your attitude. It is easier to uplift others.

Slow it down

When we rush hither and yon, we miss the moments where compassion, patience, and kindness will have a ripple effect.

That young man was not a morning person, but he was working and trying to be. He was so courteous and reminded me of one of my nephews at his age. Just a young man, working at adulting 🤣

Final thoughts

Spend time thinking about the ripples you are creating in the world around you. Are they ripples that will be part of your legacy, your story that you’re proud of? Are you braving the world with compassion and kindness, or are you stomping through it like an ogre?

Light will always cast out the darkness, and darkness will always try to push out the light.

The world is in turmoil on so many levels, and it can be overwhelming as to what impact a single person can have.

I believe if enough individual send out positive ripples, we will cast out the creeping darkness and lift all humanity.

Keep Shining Brightly!


Views my own.

Follow me on:
Twitter: @SamanthaJohnson
LinkedIn: LinkedIn/in/samanthab2
Facebook: @loudlyImperfect

A Playful Heart Builds Equity

Our ability to reach unity and diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.

Mahatma Gandhi

When I was a child, my favorite doll was Barbie. She was so cool. She had a plane, a convertible, and a camper. My best friend, Darrin, played the part of Ken, my assistant.

Darrin and I would play for hours and hours, taking on adventures, jet setting around the world and flying down the street in the convertible. There was nothing that we could not do and accomplish.

Continue reading “A Playful Heart Builds Equity”

Five Ways to Become a Continuous Learner

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

Not So Long Ago…

I grew up with a rotary phone, a long cord, and an endless struggle with my parents and brother on who gets to use the phone and for how long.

By the time I got to college, we had this thing called a laptop that we had to use.

It was the size of a suitcase, heavy as a 50lb weight and closed shut like a clam.

Continue reading “Five Ways to Become a Continuous Learner”

Five ways to give yourself a break

Sometimes you gotta take a break from all the noise to appreciate the beauty of silence.

Robert Tew


I started my blog for many reasons. I love to write, I want to help others, I want to share my imperfect life as a way to show imperfection is more than ok, and it also renews my positivity.

Acknowledging when you need to pause

As I began to transition out of a company I have worked at for over 23 years, and started another job at a new company, I had to step back for a few weeks until I could find my new cadence.

Continue reading “Five ways to give yourself a break”
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