The inner game is a phrase I first came across after being introduced to the book by the same name by the author Timothy Gallwey. For those who know the book which is almost 40 years old you'll know its the presentation of the direct effect our thoughts and thinking can have on our external results. Timothy presents this in terms of Tennis and sport.
We can learn a great amount from sport and there are hundreds of books that talk about the mindset of champion sports stars. Why is there so little in sales or account management training on the inner game of performance? I've begun to look at this more closely and have connected with a good friend named Adrian Hales to explore the power of unlocking sales potential.
I don't believe sales people and account managers need more technique. Among the many things we know to be important we also need to spend time on how we cultivate the inner game. The ability to 'quiet the mind' as Timothy discusses as “Performance rarely equals potential,” Gallwey says. “A little self-doubt, an erroneous assumption, the fear of failure — that’s all it takes to greatly diminish performance.”
The inner game is the difference between being good to becoming great to being the best. How do we cultivate the inner game or what can be described as performance= Potential -Interference
I want to share three main ideas I personally received from reading the 'inner game' and other influencers. You may get some idea of how you can begin working on your inner game to maximise your performance, overcome self doubt and leverage your potential.
Idea number 1 - We need to balance the self doubt with self do
We all have self doubt at times in our life. No one is immune to it. Those most successful have mechanisms to deal with it. I wont go into those that may be negative or positive. What I will say is this. Take a step back and ask yourself the question. What one aspect in my work or life am I least confident in or don't believe fully I'm capable of doing?. This could be your core block. It's perfectly natural for us to feel incompetent in a task or challenged by an area of life. Regardless if we're good at it or not how we think about it makes a huge difference to our inner game. Instead of the limiting belief "i can't do this" what if you said "what would need to be true for me to be able to do this?" take 'doubt' and turn it into a 'do'. An action you can take which changes your inner mindset and trains your brain to experience your feelings and situations more positively.
Idea number 2 - Know your strengths
Sometimes all it takes is reminder of those things you do really well. You might be saying. There isn't really one thing I do really well. Lets take a different approach. Lets think of a time where you've had a big win in your life, a time when people have complimented you on a task or that behavioural assessment you took that shared some insight on your personal qualities. How we view who we are makes a difference to who we believe we could become. Just like the Roger Bannister we can actually visualise and actualise our own minute mile moments. Take a moment and look at your strengths and cultivate a daily habit of working on this and then finding ways to use this to deliver in better results and help others along the way. This will help to build your confidence as you affirm your own skills and help others in the process.
Idea number 3 -What we focus on daily makes a difference
Its said the average office worked is distracted every three minutes. How many of us can be honest and say. Yep I've probably spent a little too much time on Facebook, Cat Videos or just simply things that add nothing to the task I need to achieve. Our brain is constantly receiving input from our environment and deciding which one thing it should give the most attention too. A big part of our inner game is our ability to focus on what's most important and putting ourselves and our mind in an environment which is most conducive for success. Focus is finite so every moment counts. Be clear on whats most important to you and practice the discipline of saying no to those things that might keep you from achieving that important goal. The more focused you are on those things that mean the most the more positive and intentional action you'll take. That translates to a deeper sense of purpose and belief.
- What do you think of the inner game being taught specifically in sales?
- Do you agree with these three initial ideas?
- What things are missing or what might you add?
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