Performance = Potential – Interference, and enhanced by Honesty, Bravery, and Responsibility by Nicholas Wai

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Happy New Year!  It has been an interesting month coming off a busy November and December period.  With a bit more free time, I met up with a few friends and fellow coaches.  One of the highlights, and an eye-opening one, was a leadership workshop I was fortunate enough to sit-in on by a fellow coach and friend C.  Originally from Hong Kong, C has been a pioneer in coaching and training in China, with students in almost every city.  This particular workshop was organised by the continuing education department of a university, catering to senior managers in Chinese corporations in Shenzhen just north of Hong Kong. 

I have been on similar workshops before, but never have I witnessed such effective explanations and demonstrations of theoretical concepts, with most participants able to immediately understand and even self-reflect for transformational personal growth.  Yes, it was that amazing.  C takes her responsibility, as well as her students’ responsibility for learning and growth, very serious.  Holding honesty to be of utmost importance, both for herself and for her students, she would not let her students off easily, until a point has been fully taken on and learning has been made.  I admire that in her, and reflect on the several occasions where I have skirted around an issue to avoid uncomfortableness, thus robbing my client his/her growth opportunity.  What was important in making this work was her insistence on getting permission from her students to explore and drill every step of the way, without which I don’t believe it would have worked.  Thus, as part of my resolution for this year, I decided to take full responsibility for my own emotions and not unconsciously let others get me angry (prompted by story mentioned in last blog), while at the same time practice bravery and responsibility in helping my client learn and growth.

One of the concepts that was discussed came from Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Games of Tennis.  He proposed that performance (p) is equal to potential (P) minus interference (I), or p = P - I.  Without interference performance would equal potential but as we all know that’s not always the case.  What’s stopping us could be our lack of necessary skills, drive or motivation, confident enough in ourselves, fear, as well as being over-confident and not being grounded or in the present enough. 

If we care to reflect, we would discover that we often stand in our own way with self-limiting, even sabotaging, more often than not unconscious, behaviours.  What’s needed to get ourselves out of our own way is to meditate so we can be more grounded, build compassion for ourselves and others so we can be comfortable in our own skins and more able to appreciate and empathise with others, and be more grateful for all the good things in our life so we can replace our negative self-communications with positive ones. 

Identifying the interferences in a particular situation will not only help us and our clients better understand our behaviours but also the subconscious thoughts that drive them.  It also allows us and our clients to take responsibility in making conscious choices in thoughts that would drive desired behaviours.  In order to confront the truth and not skirt around short term uncomfortableness we will need to be brave, honest to ourselves and willing to take responsibility for our actions.  With constant practice we shall soon be able to realise our potential with ease and grace.

Nicholas WaiNWComment