Performance = Potential – Interference (P = P – I)
I came across this formula recently in Coaching for Performance – a solid read for any leader (which is really anyone). Timothy Gallwey wrote a book in the 70’s called “The Inner Game of Tennis” – I haven’t read it yet, but plan on it. Sir John Whitmore references Gallwey often in his book, “Coaching for Performance” and it’s a fascinating, simple formula. I’m six months into a new gig running a sales team. I had been a sole producer for many years so having the opportunity to lead a team has been nothing short of amazing. And, to learn about this formula is even more transformative.
I wanted to share this formula with you not just because of it’s simplicity, but because of it’s importance. Especially when it comes to sales and really knowledge workers in general, performing at a high level consistently is crucial. Much like an athlete, you experience ups and downs throughout your days and you really have to be focused and aware of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Let’s face it, you can be pretty average and get by. That’s no fun, though. What if you were truly performing at your optimal level. Well, increasing your Potential and reducing your Interference is key, as Gallwey states.
Potential – this is something we all have. Every day, every week, every month and every year, we have an opportunity to move toward our potential. You know that….I know that. The key to this formula, however, is the last piece – the I. Interference. We all have Interference throughout our lives and we must be aware of this first and foremost to be able to reduce it.
Interference comes in many forms. It can be that little voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough. It can be fear. It can be tangible things like social media addiction or even bad influences in your life (people, mindless TV, etc.). The list goes on and on. For me, it’s even something as basic as breathing. I tend to hold my breath at times and it leads to an increase in anxiety. I do it subconsciously and I have to be really intentional and remind myself to breathe deeply. When I do that, it always helps. I also think about times when I played sports at a high level and at a low level. When I found myself struggling on the field, it was very much because I had too much interference going on in my head and in my body.
So, my challenge to you is to think about what Interference you have in your life and in your work? Is it a nagging problem you are refusing to face? Is it a smart phone that you can’t put down? Is it a constant comparison to others that’s drowning you out? Seek out people and things (i.e. books) that help you move closer to your potential and minimize and/or weed out the things that will reduce the interference.