Do You Know What Your Interference Is?

One of the “aha moments’ in my career was when I read the work of Timothy Gallwey and his “Inner Game” series. Gallwey posed the following equation:

P = p – i

Performance = potential – interference.

When I recognised and understood this equation, it was quite a revelation. I recognised that as individuals we all have potential, but we all have very different interference which gets in the way of us reaching and realising that potential. It was the new found understanding that without interference, our performance would just equal our potential.

So how do we maximise our potential and minimise our interference?

Part of the answer to this question is to ask yourself, “What is your inner game?”

What’s stopping us could be our lack of necessary skills, drive or motivation, confidence in self, fear as well as over-confidence and not being grounded enough in the present.

If we care to reflect, we would discover that we often stand in our own way with self-limiting, even sabotaging, more often than not unconscious behaviours.

What’s needed to get ourselves out of our own way? Building self-awareness will allow us to become more grounded, build compassion for ourselves and others so that we can be more comfortable in our own skins and more able to appreciate and empathise with others. We can then be more grateful for all the things in our life so we can replace our negative self-communication with more positive self-talk.

Identifying the interference in a particular situation will not only help us to understand our behaviours but also the subconscious thoughts that drive us. It allows us to take responsibility in making conscious choices in thoughts that can drive our desired behaviour. In order to confront the truth and not skirt around short term uncomfortableness we need to be brave, honest with ourselves and be willing to take responsibility for our actions. With practice, we can realise our potential with ease and grace.

Consider …. What are the obstacles holding you back (creating interference) in life, at work, or with your organisation that usurps your potential and prevents the performance you are truly capable of?

Interference can be in all shapes and forms including: lack of knowledge, personal bias, a bad boss, or your own procrastination.

What’s nice about this equation is that it breaks the common problem “I just can’t seem to get this done” into three chunks:

Chunk 1 – Performance – The “this”…. The goal, objective.

Chunk 2 – Potential – what am I capable of

Chunk 3 – Interference – barriers, blockades, obstructions

The solution to a problem lies in either modifying potential or eliminating interference…. If there are no obstacles, you’ll know that you need to improve skills……. So your solution could be found through learning.

If you know how to do it, but are somehow blocked…… Your solution will be in managing obstacles… either tearing them down, going around, cutting through, etc.

In sport, a referee helps balance out any advantages a team may get illegally interfering with an opponent. So what happens when there is no referee? What happens when the interference occurs in your own mind? What happens when your own thoughts get in the way, distract you and impede you from reaching your goals? Is there a referee to blow the whistle and make it right?

If you are not master of your thoughts, then who is? The answer is the thought habits (mental roadways) that have been previously created in your mind. Our brains love to create roadmaps that develop and become deeply entrenched over time. Sometimes they are purposefully created and other times they are created without our conscious knowledge.

Consider a first simple step. Write down the interference currently impacting on your ability to reach your maximum potential and performance. Consider both your internal and your external interference. Now, what action could you take?

Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner.  Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, behaviour and wellbeing.  You can find her at or