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July 18, 2008

The Inner Game

I recently found myself floundering in a role, a hard one to be sure, with a difficult location and a repetitive workload. I like it, (a lot) but it was wearing me down and I hadn’t even realized it.

I was getting negative, snappy, and my game was a bit off. Once I worked this out I took some time (a few days) to sit with myself and work through this, reaffirming my commitment to the project and to producing the highest possible value.

This is the inner game for me. Making sure I am always up to par, always on my best, and always able to deliver beyond my current best if called upon to do so. That is a purely mental challenge, even if the physical element also plays a role.

The point is that others I have worked with in the past have lost this battle before they even knew they were fighting it.

I had a guy I decided to mentor for a while a few years ago. He had the presence of a ghost of a shadow, very little in terms of charisma, very poor confidence levels, and didn’t come from the type of background that generally can produce A grade consultants. (In my very humble view of it)

Regardless of all that he seemed to be technically adept, worked hard, and wanted to get ahead. He just couldn’t work out how. So in I strode, ego in hand to help this poor soul out.

Absolute disaster…

It cost me far too much in terms of personal effort, standing, and reputation. In fact it came close to derailing my own career. The guy had already beaten himself and I could not shake that.

For example, I sent him along to Toast Masters. (great association if you are not aware of it) I sincerely recommend that every consultant spend at least some time in the company of Toast masters. It is great stuff.

He went…once. Then hit me with a range of excuses as to why he no longer could continue. So the effort wasn’t there. I should have woken up then.

If someone has lost the Inner Game already, then there is often little that can be done except recommend they look elsewhere for work. (Sad but true)

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