Why inner game ISN’T everything

Thanks to Paul C. Hoffman, who inspired me with this excellent Facebook post.

As a NLPer I see and hear a lot of “do your inner work and the outer will take care of itself” type of advice.

I think it’s crap.

While inner game alone can dramatically change how you feel, it’s only when you change what you do that you start affecting other people and the world, and generating better real-world results. Inner game can help you act more easily and more effectively. But that only matters when you actually get off your butt and take action.

I know a bunch of people who have accomplished complex or challenging things. I’ve accomplished a few myself. In every single case, success took plenty of work and persistence… though often we found ways to make that “work” into fun. Nevertheless, success took time, effort, patience.

Thinking about success, hoping and wishing and dreaming and feeling, isn’t enough. Neither is luck. You have to do.

Fortunately, doing the work to achieve your dreams is one of the best ways to find blocks to progress so you can resolve them! If you just think about doing, you don’t get that real-world feedback that allows for effective course correction. It’s easy to pretend that everything will be all right (even if it won’t)… or build minor obstacles into show-stopping monsters.

To find blocks to progress, it’s often particularly useful to notice:

  1. Discrepancies between what you know needs to be done and what you actually do. These may indicate ineffective strategies, mental blocks, or internal conflict over achieving the goal.
  2. Discrepancies between what you want to produce or get, and what you actually produce or get. A lot of times better strategies, including better time management, will solve this kind of issue. You may need to acquire success skills in order to reach your goal or get there more easily. If you find you have one mental foot on the gas and the other on the brakes, NLP can usually help if it’s a simple issue. If the inner conflict is systemic, the technique in the book Immunity to Change may work better. (NLPers, if you don’t have this technique in your NLP toolkit, get the book and add it!)
  3. Internal resistance, loss of motivation. If it’s hard to get yourself to do something… do you have good strategies that make doing it easy, or is it currently set up to be a big hassle? Is it rewarding, or an opportunity for failure or frustration? Do you feel internally conflicted about going forward? Why?

Entrepreneurs know that having the best ideas on the planet gets you nothing. Zip. Nada. It’s doing the work to turn your dreams into reality that makes your dreams real.

Do your outer work, and you can build the life you want.

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