Often, when I am working with clients, I aim to use simple, easy to implement, yet powerful tools. One of the tools that have served me well for many years is the Performance Equation, which is an iteration of a tool Timothy Gallway references in his best-selling book, ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’.

In essence, we have our performance, which can be from any area of our life. It might be an event you have entered from a sporting perspective; it might be a presentation you were asked to give by your boss or might even be whether you were successful in a recent job interview. Although entirely different in context, all these examples are all measurable by the outcome metric that is your objective performance on the day. If you have no psychological restrictions on the day of the event, you will perform equal to your maximum potential by default. If you have any psychological restrictions, these will subtract from your potential and reduce the measurable performance.

All we can ever hope for is to perform equal to our potential in whatever we do.  

So, what are some of these Psychological Restrictions I’m referring to? Well, it might not come as a surprise to you to find out there are a vast number of these restrictions, and we are all affected by them at different times, and in various areas of our life.

  • Poor Internal Dialogue
  • Self-Limiting Beliefs
  • Fear of Success
  • Fear of Failure
  • Mental Fatigue
  • Poor Rehearsal
  • Focus Loss / Concentration
  • Poor Sleep
  • Stress
  • Pressure Perception
  • Motivation Loss
  • Confidence Loss

Each one of these elements can be improved through the endeavour of practice, commitment and application. Consider all the times you have ‘been at your best’ in any context, what were you thinking at the time? Consider likewise, the times when you have not performed to the standard you would have liked, which elements of this equation were in play that day? Perhaps you lost your focus right at the critical moment you need to be laser-like? Maybe you were feeling stressed leading up to the event, and in turn, your sleep was severely reduced, leading to fatigue. What if it was a combination of poor internal dialogue that leads you to create the wrong mental pictures through visualisation. This leads to you executing your negative visualisation flawlessly.

Reflection: These elements can be developed and strengthened with the correct application and practice over time. What must happen before practice is undertaken though, is an awareness of which parts affect you most frequently and in what context. With this elevated awareness, you can apply yourself to addressing the underlying factors that feed these psychological restrictions. Gradual, constant, incremental improvements over time will erode the restrictions allowing you to fully actualise your potential on the day of the performance.

Author: Phil Quirk