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How The Inner Game® changed Bill Gates’ life… and Tiffany Gaskell’s

Discover how The Inner Game® changed the lives of Founder of Microsoft Bill Gates and our Co-Founder Tiffany Gaskell.

– 6 mins read –

Bill Gates recently credited Tim Gallwey’sThe Inner Game of Tennis’ as one of his top 5 favourite books of all time. Taking learnings from the book with him during his time at Microsoft. 

As co-founders of Performance Consultants and long-term friends, Tim Gallwey and Tiffany Gaskell live and breathe The Inner Game® . Although, as Tiffany found out during a recent visit to Tim’s local golf club, it’s not easy to quieten critical “Self 1” and bring in wise “Self 2”.  

Tim’s The Inner Game series has recently joined the Performance Consultants family. Hugely fitting as it was the main source of inspiration behind our co-founder Sir John Whitmore’s creation of the modern-day coaching industry that we see in the world today.

Tiffany Gaskell experiences The Inner Game first-hand

Last month I finally made it on to the golf course with the legendary Tim Gallwey.  Tim is author of The Inner Game of Tennis and The Inner Game® series of books which have sold millions and been translated into over 20 languages. 

I have known Tim for years – Tim is a dear friend and our Co-Founder in the US.  His work was Sir John Whitmore’s inspiration for creating what is now a $7.5 billion global coaching industry. Being on the golf course with Tim was something I have wanted to do for ages but, somehow, he and I always ended up on a tennis court rather than a golf course. Well, I can tell you I wish I’d done it years ago!   

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The Inner Game® Equation in action

The Inner Game Formula

Tim’s genius is that he took human performance and created The Inner Game Equation: Performance = Potential – Interference. During my time on the golf course with Tim I saw all of this in action and experienced the wisdom of what Bill Gates calls “the best guide to getting out of your own way”.

We leave the house, saying goodbye to Barbara, Tim’s wife, promising to be back in time for the sumptuous dinner she has planned.  As we walk towards the course, before I even pick up a club, Tim starts raising my awareness of how present I am. “What do you notice as you walk?”. I had just arrived on a plane from Minneapolis, so I confess to being a bit “buzzy”. As I say that, I start to feel my feet on the ground and my breathing slow. I can sense my awareness and feeling of being present increasing. I look around us and start to drink in the beautiful autumn sight of the lake ahead surrounded by trees that are exploding in colour, and breathe. 

At the first hole, I do what I always do, a short backswing. I wait for the judgement . . . Tim merely says, “short backswing, good length, gives you great control.” I am like “Yeah!” and I feel my self-esteem growing. Tim didn’t condemn my shot like my other golfing friends who have nicknamed me “slap shot Tiff”.  

A couple of holes later, Tim says “Let the club do the work”. This sentence has a marvellous effect on me – until now, I notice I have been gripping the club. I think “I don’t have to do anything but swing the club”. Pow, onto the green. Easy. Somehow, that sentence is still reverberating around my life. Let the “fill-in-the-blank” do the work – there is a lot in that for me who used to be a banker and has a tendency to be a control freak. 

I have a golfing habit that is so irritating, and I haven’t been able to shake it: Pulling my head up. A couple of holes later, Tim calls it. I groan. He says, “Feel where the ball goes and tell me, don’t look”. So, I do that – not very well at first but this is something new that has me interested, actually fascinated. “Do I know where I hit the ball?” I ask myself – that is, after all, the whole point of golf. The rest of the afternoon, I enjoy working on this and use some other parts of me to play.

The secret to mastering The Inner Game theory

Reflecting on our time on the golf course as we sit down to Barbara’s amazing dinner, Tim says “Golf is all about feeling”.  Of course, we are back to the nub of it: Golf, like life, is all about The Inner Game® theory.   

At the end of my 9 holes with Tim Gallwey, I feel like I have a fresh glimpse into life, and that a world of possibilities is opening up, for my golf and also my life. The Inner Game Equation in action if you like – my interferences have decreased, my self-belief and potential are coming through and performance is improving.  As Bill Gates put it, The Inner Game® is truly profound.   

Thank you, Tim, for all you have done to pioneer the way forward for us. Your legacy is our work that we do in global organizations today, transforming the world of work for the better, for people, planet and prosperity.

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