Better performance, less effort

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Something to pay attention to wherever you are and whatever you are doing

Its August as I write this so you may be on holiday at the moment. For some of you (myself included) its business as usual. I have an exercise for you that will effortlessly improve your results, wherever you are at the moment.

But first, a little background

I have a friend who is a business coach and uses a 1-10 scale so his clients can express their mood ie today my mood is a ten (brilliant) or a three (cack). I have always liked it although I never used the tool or developed something similar.

The reason for this is that our state of mind is more complicated than a number can express.

When I turn up to coach a client I don’t know what their state of mind will be. But I know you will show up in one of two core states;

Inhibited – The dictionary definition of inhibited is ‘unable to act in a relaxed and natural way because of self-consciousness or mental restraint’. This ‘nails it for me. Often something has happened in your business or life and your reaction to it creates an inhibited state of mind. This ‘dirt on your lens’ makes everything sticky, difficult and your reactions can include frustration, introspection, even anger. Little can be achieved from this place so my coaching goal is to create a shift and move you to the other state.


Excited – I love the physics dictionary definition for this word – ‘in an energy state higher than the normal or grounded state’. Bang on!!! When you are in this place you are positive and the world around you feels full of possibility. It’s a place from which genuine progress can be made. When you are in this state my goal is to translate the state into positive actions that move you and your business forward.

Now of course this is not binary. Its not an on and off switch, it’s a scale with extremes at either end and, from moment to moment, your state can move around.

So the goal of coaching is to get you to spend as much of your time in the excited state. This is also why people become ‘addicted’ to coaching. The coach mysteriously raises your spirits and lets you see the world afresh (perhaps a bit like a narcotic) and it lasts for a while, hopefully until the coach comes back to top your excitement and motivation up. Yet this excited state is your default setting, the grounded version of you.


In fact, when you are in anything other than an expansive, excited state about your business and your life something is interfering with you accessing your very best performance. My goal in coaching is not to put you ‘in-state’. It is to create self-awareness, self-assurance and self-sustainability in you, so you can manage your own state. This allows you to adapt, roll with the punches and keep on relentlessly showing up as you progress towards your vision.

No matter how much it looks like it the situations themselves are not the cause of your excited or inhibited state. It is your thinking about the situation that creates the feelings that shape your state. This is a key distinction and the ability to manage your own state is grounded in insightfully seeing this. Your performance will effortlessly improve and your experience of your working day will shift dramatically when you take control of your reaction to your state of mind

If you want to improve your performance and sense of wellbeing then begin to notice the shifts in your internal states, and the thinking that attends them

If you want to try this for yourself then why not do a thought experiment this week.

Every day for one week take a minute every two hours or so to jot down a couple of sentences. Characterize your state through that period as positive or negative, note the things that appeared to shift your state (in the positive or negative direction).

What happened to make you feel inhibited? Was it the customer complaint, a problem with an employee or just getting out of bed on the wrong side?

Conversely what put you in an excited state? Was it the trip to the gym, something you read or some good news?

At the end of the week think about the ratio of time you spend in an excited vs inhibited state. Pay attention to the situations that pull you in and out of the two states. Now here is the magic bit

Ask yourself ‘what is about my thinking in different situations that creates the shift?’

This language is carefully structured and very deliberate. If it was specific situations that caused our states to shift we would all be affected in an identical way by the same situations. But we aren’t. Our reactions to situations are driven by our personal perception and thinking.

When you begin to see how this works you’ll notice how much more often it is possible to operate from an excited bias irrespective of what is happening around you. This is the state from which powerhouse performance is achieved.

If you want to share the results with me send me an email ( with a summary of your results and I’ll help you interpret what is going on