• Performance Coach: Learn to stop doing what gets in your own way

    by  • March 11, 2014 • Coaching series, Transform your life


    Coach: Do you try too hard to get what you want? Do you want it too much? Do you worry too much about it? Or about not getting it? Does this stop you from thinking clearly? Or from using the skills you need to get it?

    Michael: Yes this happens to me. It’s a kind of catch-22. I can see that it makes the things I really want very hard to get. Would wanting it less really help me?

    Coach: The trick is how you deal with wanting something. You can learn to do it without letting your desires and anxiety get in your way. They can hold you back. Or you can get them to work with rather than against you.

    Michael: How can I learn to do that?

    Postpone your worries about your performance

    Coach: Write down your worries about your performance. Just make a list of all the things you are concerned about. And then set a time and a place to work on this list of items.

    Michael: By doing that I defer all the things I am worried about. And then I can deal with them at some time in the future.

    Coach: That is it. At that future time work through each of the issues. And write down the outcome for each one of them.

    Michael: Okay I think I can do that alright. And of course knowing that I’m going to deal with my worries in this way at a later date frees me up to focus all my energies on doing what I want to do now.

    Coach: Yes just to put off worrying in the knowledge that you can return to it later. And this leaves you free to use all your natural skills and abilities to achieve a high level of performance.

    Michael: I am keen to learn how to put my anxiety off till later. And to learn how to free myself up to focus on my performance.

    Then learn to work like writers do

    Coach: Think of your task as a first draft. Put any concern you have about it out of your head. Work on your first attempt. Get it as right as possible just like a writer does with his or her first draft.

    Michael: In a lot of cases my first draft would be a plan.

    Coach: What I am suggesting is more than a plan. It’s about having a first shot at doing the actual task. Just like a writer writes a first draft.

    Michael: Some tasks don’t lend themselves to that approach. Like for example selling an idea to my boss.

    Coach: You can simulate it. Rehearse it by playing both parts. What you would say. Following with what he or she might say. Then work your way though it step by step.

    Michael: Okay. I see what you mean. It is a more proactive way than just planning it.

    Coach: Recording it on a dictaphone will allow you to spot the strengths and weaknesses of your case. And how you can listen to it and work to improve it for the second take.

    Michael: This could be very difficult and confusing.

    Coach: See it as a first draft. One based on your current level of knowledge. Just put your first thoughts on record. Then see where and how you can improve it and be more convincing.

    Michael: Okay I can see how that would work. How it gets me into action. How I can learn from it. And improve it for the next draft.

    Coach: Like a writer you can do as many drafts as you need. As long as add value to each draft you do. Until you get it just right.

    Michael: Thanks Coach I now see how I can use this idea. To overcome the inaction that my worries can cause. To put them to one side and work step by step to up my performance to a level that will get me what I want.




    Robert Leahy: Worry Postponement

    Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.


    We can use positive psychology to improve how we live our lives. So I love to share my understanding of it with others. To help them grow and flourish as I have. The posts on this blog set out to do just that. You need a lot of skill to make a relationship a happy one. So I write about relationship skills. Skills you can learn how to use in your own relationship. To keep it in good shape. To solve problems that may arise in it. And to improve the quality of your relationship. To make both of you happy.