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Overcome Negative Self-Perception by Tapping into Your Inner Game of Success
This article is inspired by Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Work.
The biggest obstacle we face as humans and entrepreneurs is a negative self-perception. It is how we perceive ourselves that determines how we perform in life and in business and gives us permission to choose what to do or not do.
Take note of this: Negative self-perception is a larger obstacle than money or timing.
We must improve and then fuel our positive self-perception
Even if we have limited resources and time, when we see ourselves as capable and worthy, we view every situation as an opportunity to rise to the challenge. Those challenges help us reach our potential. If we have a clear enough vision we are working towards, we will maximize two hours a week and use it to our advantage. If we believe we can change the world by writing, we will find the time to put those words on paper. If we think we can change the world by starting a non-profit, we will find the time to bring it to fruition.
Working on how we view ourselves is the key. Affirmations from others don’t permanently reframe how we think about ourselves. External voices can encourage us but that will only provide a temporary disposition. When we see ourselves as capable and powerful, we can live out the vision we see for ourselves with or without external motivation
We can change our self-perceptions
To change the negative thinking, we first need to understand the conflict of our Inner Game described by Timothy Gallwey author of The Inner Game of Work. Self-1 is the conscious mind, “the teller” who gives direction. Self-2 is “the doer,” the subconscious mind that completes the goals. Ninety-nine percent of our actions are controlled by Self-2.
The conflict arises when Self-1 doesn’t trust Self-2. It’s called self-sabotage for a reason. Our inner selves compete internally for control. Self-2 says it’s time to take action, but Self-1 says, “I don’t have enough time or resources. I’m not smart enough, etc.” This is why understanding and leaning into our Inner Game is so important! It is the key to improving our self-esteem.
Removing the interference will help us reach our peak performance
Timothy Gallwey articulated this so well when he broke it down in The Inner Game of Tennis. He described in four steps how we can change our self-perception.
4 Inner Game Steps to Overcome Negative Self-Perception
Step 1: Observe existing behavior BUT from a non-judgmental place.
Step 2: Picture a desired outcome, through mindfulness without fear and doubt, of your peak performance potential.
Step 3: Let it happen! Trust Self-2, the doer. When the doer and the teller trust each other, you will begin to succeed.
Step 4: Practice not judging yourself through all the steps. Calmly observe what you’ve been able to do.
- What obstacles did you run into?
- What recurring patterns or thoughts have been a part of success or failure?
- Address these from a position of development and growth and keep growing.
As entrepreneurs, we should focus on being courageous and giving ourselves permission to learn through failure. The Inner Game teaching is about learning how to live in the present. Rather than allowing the history of failure to influence our choices today, we must focus on the now, show up, and move forward. Michael Jordan missed many shots before he became “Air Jordan.” Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, but then returned and took that company further than anyone imagined. As entrepreneurs, we must have the resilience to keep moving forward.
The Inner Game formula: Performance = Potential – interference
As women, we wear so many hats. We show up in the world as career-driven women, entrepreneurs, wives, mothers, daughters, students, and friends, yet we can be filled with self-doubt or overly critical of ourselves because we can’t seem to juggle it all. The Inner Game can teach us how to navigate our inner ecosystem.
If we look at an area that is not going well, like family life, education, entrepreneurship, etc., we can identify the beliefs and interferences in each area. Interferences like procrastination, making excuses, overthinking, lack of patience, and discouragement chip away at our ability to reach peak performance. We don’t have to live with the negative results of those interferences. We can observe what is happening and make intentional changes that will eventually become part of our inner ecosystem.
For example, I had a child at 15. I can’t beat myself up over how I raised my first child or compare the teen mom I was to the mother I was at 26. I gave myself permission to see how I’d grown as a mother. Letting go of the interference helped me see clearly that I am worthy of the love of my children. This was a game-changer for me. Now, I am living in the present moment, not in my past mistakes. I have an interference-free mind because of my faith and these Inner Game principles.
When we change our negative self-perceptions, the result is inner stability
We can’t let our inner selves stop our outer selves. Where there is conflict there is chaos. When we can reduce or eliminate conflict, we will have more peace, and therefore productivity and progress that supports the type of success that we were always created to achieve.
Inner peace opens up opportunities for us. We can overcome anything and be more productive by showing up every day and being present. A lot of people don’t realize their dreams because they are holding themselves hostage to the last time they tried and didn’t succeed. The Inner Game gives us the freedom to start over, to try again. We are worth a million tries.
The bottom line with the Inner Game is this: if we want to increase our output (aka, our success), we need to ensure that our internal foundation is solid. An Inner Game is exactly the type of foundation that we need to build true and authentic success.
About the Author
Professional Title: CEO, Author
Bio: Octoryia Robinson is the Founder and CEO of Dream That Big Publishing, the author of Unraveled Potential, and the host of the podcast 7-Figure Authorpreneur. She serves as a consultant, success coach, philanthropist, motivational speaker, and nurturer of dreams. Octoryia is fully committed to helping people start up or start over, by realizing their worthiness and following their dreams. Octoryia’s goal is to help those who follow her to live, build, and value themselves both personally and professionally.
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