The Curious Coach Podcast

Episode 046:
Mini: Scrabble

This week I noticed a things whilst playing Scrabble – well, the smartphone version called Words With Friends.  That lead me to ponder some interesting questions…

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Audio Version


Hello and welcome to this weekly mini-episode of the Curious Coach podcast.  This week’s episode was inspired by the board game scrabble!  Hopefully you know the one I’m talking about – it’s the one where you try to make words and score points based on the characters and bonus squares.  Of course, I don’t actually play the board game rather it’s a smart phone version called Words With Friends.

Anyway,  there’s two things I’ve recently noticed about scrabble that seemed relevant to this podcast.  Firstly, I used to always try to make the longest word possible.  Of course, if you manage to use all your tiles in one go, you get extra points but sadly, that doesn’t happen very often. But by trying to make long words all the time, you end up spreading your tiles all over the board which opens up more opportunities for your opponent.  And Also, by focusing on long words, you can sometimes miss opportunities to score a lot of points simply using one or two tiles.  A simple two letter word might happen to fall on a triple letter square and maybe combine with squares to make multiple words – suddenly, those two simple tiles might be scoring you 30 points.

The other thing I noticed, is the what happens around the triple word squares.  There’s only four of these squares – so when you see a chance to land a word on them, you really don’t want to miss the opportunity.  However, I recently spent ages trying to figure out a word that would fall vertically from one of these squares that I was completely blinkered the fact that I could also play a word horizontally from the same place and land on a different triple word square – I was so blinkered and focused I forget to step back and look around.

So, why am I talking about Scrabble? Well, when I take these scrabble realisations and apply to them to life, it brings up some pretty interesting questions.

Firstly – are you always focused on trying to go-big all the time.  Yes, big opportunities will happen, and when they do, you should jump at them.  But don’t forget about those smaller and potentially impactful opportunities too.  In reality, there will be more smaller opportunities, which, over time, can compound and turn into something really significant.  By having a clear focus on what you’re trying to achieve, you can then start to notice those smaller opportunities. You’ll also be more targeted in your approach and, just like in scrabble, you’ll avoid spreading yourself too thin. Rather, you’ll be able to build on what’s there already.

And just like those shiny triple word squares, what’s distracting you, holding your focus – perhaps preventing you from taking a step back and looking for alternatives or seeing the bigger picture?  Sometimes we can be so focused, we can miss the other, fairly obvious things that are right in front of us.

Anyway, that’s it for this week. Be curious about what’s potentially distracting, and also about noticing those small things that might compound to make something pretty amazing. I hope you have some fun reflecting and I’d love to hear how you got on, or what you noticed during the week – or, even if you want to play a game of Words With Friends! So please don’t hesitate to get in touch by sending me an email to [email protected]and that’s stephen with a p.h.  Full details of this and all the other episodes can be found on my website at

Thanks for listening and until next week, don’t forget – stay curious!