How to Improve Your Own Performance
Updated: Mar 11, 2019
It can be tricky to know how to improve your own performance, whether it be at work or perhaps your life more generally. Identifying the key ‘interferences’ can be a great place to start.
Perhaps you are keen to make a good impression, or ambitious to develop your career further. Whatever the reason, many of us - at some point in our lives - decide we want to improve the way we do things. But how can we turn this motivation into a useful plan of action?
Perhaps a good place to start is by thinking about performance in relation to Timothy Gallwey’s simple, but useful equation:
Performance (P) = potential (p) - interferences (i)
At the level of the individual, this equation tells us is that we all have the potential to improve our performance, and that the way to achieve that is to reduce the number (and size) of our interferences.
So let’s explore our this equation at a personal level: what stops you achieving your personal best? Take a moment to reflect on it, and write some of your thoughts down.
Have a look at your list. There may well be some external factors, but don’t forget to think about the internal factors too. For instance, to what extent do your attitudes and beliefs support or hinder your ability to succeed? Do you have any habits that may now have become more of a hindrance than a help? What else gets in the way?
For each area of interference, now think about what you would like to be different. What would your new future to look like? We are going to call this your 'To Be' picture. Try and capture your To Be picture with as much detail as possible, tuning into your gut instincts and feelings. Don’t worry about how it can be achieved - that will come next; just focus more on what intuitively 'feels right'.
When you've done that, let's still thinking about how you can move an area of interference in the direction of your To Be picture. What ideas can you come up with? What can you personally pledge to do to close that gap?
At this point, it is also important to think about your sphere of control. Which interferences are within your control, and are arguably something you can do something about? And which interferences seem to be beyond your sphere of influence? You may need to challenge yourself around this (especially if you are experiencing a general feeling of powerlessness in your life at the moment). Try to get as many interferences within your sphere of control. If you believe something is out of your sphere of control, can you break it down any further? And is there anything you could do to helpfully minimise the full impact? For instance, is there anyone you could speak to, or a forum in which you could raise the issue?
Finally, consider what goals you could usefully set to reduce the negative impact of those interferences, and move towards your To Be picture. What steps could you consider to turn those goals into a reality? If elements aren’t officially in your sphere of influence, what you can conceivably do to positively influence those elements?
Hopefully you will now you have a plan of action! My final question is this: what are you going to commit to doing as your first step?