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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Karavattuveetil


This Thanksgiving Weekend, my family and I played CODENAMES. The objective of the game is for your team to determine secret words using your spymaster’s one-word clues before the other team deciphers their own. I was thinking that in many ways we are the spymasters of our own lives, providing clues to whomever we come into contact.

On any given day, we are saying and doing things that give people hints as to who we are. Certain spoken words and actions are better indicators than others, not completely telling but providing partial insight. Can we draw a conclusion based on those few clues? Probably not with 100% certainty. However, maybe as it pertains to a particular situation? For example, in days long ago, when you would walk into a store and a voice says, “Welcome to …” Initially, this sounded very inviting. Unfortunately, you were unable to locate the source of the voice. Once located, you realized that the person was not even looking in your direction. What does that say about the person? How about the organization they work for? This is how we go through life. Giving and receiving clues that impact future interaction choices.

In the CODENAMES game, results are not always positive. Team members may respond with a word that benefits the competition. Other words may be neutral, a point to neither team. However, those clues are also valuable in recognizing information that may not provide any immediate point value. Unfortunately, sometimes in our lives we may feel our efforts only provide neutral value, neither good nor bad. Everyone one of our activities provides value, the question is whether a little positive or negative. Even the simple task of grocery shopping is filled with opportunities to drop hints of who you are. Driving and stopping at both red lights and stop signs are positive for other traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular. While in the parking lot, letting someone else park in a closer spot or holding the door open for them is also positive. Seems like relatively neutral actions, but the choices are all in fact positive or negative, no matter how small.

On the other hand, and similar to the game, some things we say or do are game enders. Or at least significant relationship delayers. This could come in the form of an ill-prepared criticism, a break of confidentiality or infidelity. Different people will see these choices as small or large indicators of the individual as a whole. Your choice is in the controllable words and actions. Theirs is the choice of response.

Spymasters … we all are. Every day we watch to see what clues others drop. More critically, we are providing information, in the form of words and actions, as to who we are and what others can count on from us. Are people with whom we come into contact accurately assessing our value? Are we perceived positively, negatively, neutrally or as a relationship ender? Master the code and build relationships of mutual benefit.

Enjoy the journey!


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