The Inner Game Of Business

There is a direct correlation between the inner game and the outer game.

The outer game is all about practicing all those shots, getting your forehand right, your backhand right and your services and all the rest of it, and in practice conditions everybody masters it as a function of constant practice.

But the inner game sabotages the player, that when required to persevere with your strategy you suddenly pivot.

When required to pivot you keep on persevering.

A friend of mine, his daughter was a professional tennis player and she was being trained in the US, and in her practice sessions, she was absolutely brilliant.

But she was not able to win most of the matches.

She was referred to me.

He said, “Hey, listen, can you work with her for a little while?” And I said, “Sure.”

We started long distance conference call, it was just basically talking to her and listening.

And what I found is some amazing things.

One of the things I found is that when she goes to play, she’s usually up against somebody who’s from that vicinity.

And she comes from India, so she does not have too many friends and well-wishers.

In the stadium when the match is being played out, the entire crowd keeps on cheering the opponent and they keep on cheering the opponent when the opponent makes a point and they keep on jeering her when she loses the point.

With the result she used to get very very distracted and she lost her balance.

Now I’m trying to figure out how do I get her to go past this.

I gave her an assignment and I told her, “Look, when I give you this assignment, you are going to get extremely upset with me. You’re going to get bored, but I want you to do it and I trust you will do it because you are a player of that level.”

She said, “Sure, give me any assignment, I’ll do it.”

I said, “Okay, download this song, this nursery rhyme on Old MacDonald had a farm Ee i ee io, and keep listening to it, morning, afternoon, evening and every time you listen to it listen to it five times. And then let’s meet after 20 days. Just do this for 20 days.”

Now, you can imagine what kind of wrath and anger must have developed in her that I’m asking her to do this silly exercise.

At the end of 20 days, when we got on to the call, she had a real angry wooden face.

I was expecting something like that.

And then I asked her, “How did you enjoy your assignment?” She said, “I hated it.”

“Did you do it?” She said, “|I had to do it because I promised I would do it, so I did it. I hated it. Please don’t give me such assignments.”

I said, “All right. Thank you. Now, no more that assignment.” “Now, let’s imagine that you have gone on to a farm and there are 20 ducks there. Now, for the next two minutes I want you to stand looking at those ducks and those ducks are going quack quack quack quack quack. Now, stand for two minutes on this call and I’ll keep quiet.”

“Imagine you’re in front of those ducks and you keep looking at them with great interest, put all your focus, all your energy, oh quack quack, nicer quack, oh! quack, oh! brown duck quack, oh! white duck, quack. Just be that interested.”

Now, you can imagine that here is a girl who’s been tortured for 20 days with old MacDonald song, quack quack here and quack quack there and now I’m giving her this assignment on the call.

At the end of two minutes, she was like livid.

She says, “What is the purpose of it? What happened you’re not able to – I am bored to death with them.”

I said, “All right. The next match you’re going to play, when is that? She said, “Three days from today.”

I said, “Here’s what I want you to do.”

“When you start the next match, look at all the people sitting in the stands and keep looking them up and down, except that call them ducks, ducks ducks ducks ducks and then you play the match and you tell me what happens.”

She won that match and next day she was so excited.

I said, “What happened.”

She said, “I called them ducks.”

I said, “Then what happened.”

“I was no longer distracted.”

“I don’t know what happened.”

I said, “Yeah, you are sick to death with the ducks quacking when you call them ducks they were quacking, cheering her, jeering you, cheering her, jeering you, that’s like quack quack quack quack quack quack quack quack. And you’re not going to pay any attention to them anymore.”

This is how I got her past her inner game block and she was able to prevail because she is really really prepared.

She is a very good player.

There is something in your inner game that is distracting you, disturbing you, and not allowing you to take that call.

And this is one of the reasons why 95% of CEOs fail to grow their businesses.

That their inner game distracts them in match conditions.

Video reference number: 022021