Winning the Inner Game

Lisa has worked at her company for more than four years and knows she does a great job. Her boss even tells her so. She’s wanted to ask for a raise for several months, but it just never seems like the right time to ask. At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself.

But could it really be that Lisa is afraid of rejection? Or on some level—perhaps a subconscious one—she doesn’t feel she “deserves” to get paid well for the work she does?

“In every human endeavor there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner,” says Tim Gallwey, author of The Inner Game of Work. “The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles. The inner game takes place within the mind and is played to overcome the self-imposed obstacles.”

You can try harder to change by taking more action in the “outside,” physical world. But if you’re powered by limiting beliefs and negative feelings, chances are you’re just going to go faster in the wrong direction.  Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) says “As he (she) thinketh in his (her) heart, so is he (she).”

So how do you effect real change, change that starts from within? The first step is to identify just what is holding you back. Some common internal roadblocks are:

  1. Fear. Probably the most popular culprit, the list of fears is endless. Whatever your fears may be, they prevent you, in some way, from experiencing your full potential.
  2. Thinking small. If you expect less, you get less. You have to think big and believe you can have success before you will actually experience it.
  3. Being out of balance. When we over focus on certain areas of our lives to the exclusion of others, we experience stress and incongruence. Creativity is then compromised.
  4. Lack of motivation. Without passion for what you’re doing (or at least a big payoff), it’s difficult to get moving in any direction.

Once you determine your specific roadblocks, it’s time to face them head on, reprogramming your beliefs and defining (or redefining) your life priorities and purpose.

  1. For navigating roadblocks, use practical strategies. For example, write a personal mission statement (as you would for a company) and then organizing your life around it. It is a written down statement of you life’s purpose.  Your mission statement will provide clarity and give you a sense of purpose. It defines who you are and how you will live.
  2. For the goals that seem impossible to accomplish, Barbara Sher, career counselor and best-selling author, suggests throwing an “idea party.” Get a group of people together and take turns throwing out your ideas and their obstacles—you’ll be surprised at some of the creative answers you’ll receive.

But whatever you do, keep looking inside. Take responsibility for what you create externally and work on winning the inner game. When you do, you’ll start winning in the outer world, too!


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Wallette V. McCall is an author, speaker, and life coach for women.  Wallette publishes the “Breakthrough to Change” monthly Ezine on how to thrive in the midst of change at:

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