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The Inner Game Equation (And How Identifying Interferences Makes You a Better Business Owner)

You want your business to GROW! With the Inner Game Equation, that’s exactly what you’re going to achieve.

Have you heard of Timothy Gallwey?

A lot of people, myself included, call him the Godfather of Coaching. And his magnum opus in the coaching arena is a book called Inner Game. It’s in that book that he shared something that I find super valuable:

The Inner Game Equation. 

It goes like this:

Performance = Potential – Interference.

Now, Gallwey worked with tennis players. In applying this equation, he split a group of tennis players into two smaller groups. The first group worked on the fundamentals of the game, like their forehand, backhand, and footwork. The second group focused on what Gallwey calls the Inner Game. This group focused on the interferences that they had in their minds.

For example, you might have a tennis player who feels like they have a footwork problem. But instead of forcing them to do drills, Gallwey focused on the mental blocks in play. 

That player may have a coach who’s told them that they have lead feet. This creates nervous anxiety surrounding footwork in the player that makes them almost scared to do the drills. And when they’re playing, it could lead to stage fright and with the player messing up in this area.

But it’s not because they can’t move around the court as they need to.

It’s because they have this interference in their head that’s stopping them from doing something they can actually do.

You might have the same issue in your business.

A lot of the people I work with have some form of interference related to their Inner Game. And it’s this interference that often stops them from achieving their full potential.

In this article, I’m going to dig into some of those concepts a little more before introducing you to another amazing framework.

Awareness and Accountability

The Inner Game Equation comes down to identifying what somebody wants to do and what they’re capable of doing.

For example, I’m not going to tell anybody that I have the potential to be a doctor. And that’s not because I’m unable to learn what a doctor needs to know. Rather, it’s because I have no desire to be a doctor at all – that’s not where I want to go.

But let’s assume that you’re doing what you want to do. 

Identifying your interferences is what allows you to work on the inner ones that stop you from getting there. That’s because you’re able to work on the two elements of coaching once you discover your interferences:

  1. Awareness
  2. Accountability

You become aware of what’s going on in your head when you know your interferences. You can see the blockages that prevent you from achieving your potential. And once you’re aware of those things, you become accountable.

You know what you need to change.

You know what’s stopping you from achieving the level of performance that you’re capable of.

And now, it’s up to you to change how you think and how you do things to get rid of the interference.

Where Are Your Interferences and Potential?

How do you figure out what your interferences are?

Here’s an exercise that I recently did with a client that will help you figure it out. 

Start by creating a list of whatever potential you believe you have. In my client’s case, he has the potential to be an expert in recruiting for the technology niche. He also has the potential to become a thought leader in that niche through the publishing of great content.

So… What’s stopping him?

This is where you create a list of your interferences. 

My client spent a few years out of the recruiting niche. As a result, his interferences related to his fear that his skills weren’t relevant anymore. He worried about not having the appropriate level of competence, and the thought that he might seem unoriginal.

Ultimately, his interference came down to a fear of criticism from those already in the niche.

I want you to run the same exercise on yourself. 

What do you have the potential to be and what interferences stop you from realizing that potential?

Now, I’m going to introduce you to another equation that will help you reach your potential…

The G.R.O.W. Equation

In coaching, we use the G.R.O.W. equation to help with the above exercise. You may have several things that you could potentially be after all. But with G.R.O.W., you select one thing and then run it through the following four steps:

  1. Goal
  2. Reality
  3. Options
  4. Willingness

Let’s dig into each of these individually.

Step #1 – Goal

This is where you set the goal for the coaching that you’ll undertake to achieve your potential. This includes setting goals for both the long and short-term. Think of your short-term goals as the milestones that will help you reach the long-term goal.

Every goal that you set needs to follow the SMART formula:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Acceptable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

How do you set your goals?

There are several questions to ask yourself during this step that will help. Identify what’s most important to you and what achieving that thing will mean for your business. Also, ask yourself what you want to achieve and how you’ll know that you’ve reached your goal.

Step #2 – Reality

Once you have your goal, head back to your starting point. 

What does your current reality look like?

It’s here where you’ll identify the interferences that can stop you from reaching your potential. You’re essentially evaluating yourself to identify your obstacles.

This is an important phase because you can’t progress without knowing your starting point. 

Ask yourself what’s happening now and what effects these patterns have on you and your results. Have you already taken steps to start overcoming your interferences? If so, what were they and how well did they work?

The key here is to not get too wrapped up in your own story. You may end up spending weeks analyzing your interferences and negative patterns. Aim to get to the heart of the matter so you can summarize your current reality.

Step #3 – Options

You’ve figured out what you want and where you currently stand.

It’s at this point that you start working out your options. You’re looking at what’s possible for you in terms of actions you can take to achieve your potential.

Let’s take my client as an example. One of his options may be to start publishing regular content related to technology recruitment. This sets him up as a thought leader on the subject, which opens the door to other opportunities.

I recommend holding a brainstorming session here. Come up with every option you can think of and then weigh their pros and cons. Figure out what constraints you face and how each option could move you closer to your goals.

There are no bad ideas.

Step #4 – Willingness

This is where you commit yourself to the actions that you need to take. Essentially, you use this step to figure out if you have the will to do what you need to do to reach your potential.

Why is this so important?

If you don’t have the willingness, you’re working towards the wrong goals. You’ll end up losing your passion for the work sooner or later. And when that happens, you will become frustrated and struggle to motivate yourself.

You may even start to resent the work you’re doing and lose sight of the goals you want to achieve.

So here, you’re creating a concrete plan of action that you’re going to commit to.

Figure out what you’ll start doing now and what you need to do in the future. Lay it all out so you create a roadmap towards the long-term goal that you set in the first step. Identify any obstacles or interferences that could slow you down. 

You also need to build a way to motivate yourself into the plan. For example, you could create a reward system for achieving each of your short-term goals.

Create a Plan and Overcome Your Interferences

What do you have the potential to be in life and business?

Are you on your way to achieving that potential? 

Or do you have interferences in your Inner Game that hold you back?

These are all such important questions to ask because the answers reveal what you need to do to move forward. And when you have those answers, you move onto applying the G.R.O.W. equation so you can reach your potential.

What I want you to understand here is that where you are right now isn’t necessarily the limit of your capabilities. So many of my clients can achieve more once they recognize what’s stopping them.

You can do the same if you apply the ideas I’ve shared in this article.

And whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you make you and your team more productive in order to grow your business:

1. Join the Executing Executives Facebook Group and connect with other business owners who are strategizing to execute, too. It’s our new Facebook community where smart entrepreneurs learn to get more income, impact, and independence. — Click Here

2. Get 90-Minute Crash Course
I’m getting business owners together this month to map out a simple plan, so they can get you and your team executing productively in 30-days. — Click here for the details, and register if it looks useful to you.

3. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your business to the next stratosphere… Just reply to this message and put “Private” in the subject line… Tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

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