February 3, 2020

Practicing your inner game

Practicing your inner game

I love the summer break for the random reflections that are only available when you stop for a few weeks. I’ve found my mind turning to what I do and don’t do at Yo&Co. And then as fate has it another gem from the gang at Farnam Street landed in my inbox overnight that helped me crystalise these musings.

I’m in the business of helping people play the ‘inner game’ that’s essential for them to be on their best game at work. This term comes from former tennis pro W. Timothy Gallwey and his book the Inner Game of Tennis. The concept is simple. Champions aren’t just the best at the skills of their craft. To top their game they also master control over their inner dialogue and how it impacts how they perform.

Managing negative self-talk is the first step but certainly not the last. It’s also about finding an ease with whatever you practice so that you can internalise the learning and create new grooves in your brain that makes any new habit natural.  

Training the inner critic so it’s not in survival mode opens the mind to create those new grooves. Gallwey incorporates that into his coaching technique by criticising and judging less and instead bringing a curious mind to observing what’s happening before picturing the desired outcome.

The inner game is at the heart of my Inside Out Inclusion model. By working with clients to tame their inner critic, they’re better able to internalise a range of proven mental models that help them value each other, effectively work together, make better decisions and continuously adapt and grow. Valuing and including different perspectives and people to create a high performing team is the endgame.

I use this model in executive offsites, strategy workshops and team-based programs and provide a range of materials that help them marinade in the ideas before, during and after the sessions. Here’s a link to a sample of some of this reading. Enjoy!

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