Since The Race Driver Coach was launched I have had over 80 emails from drivers and team members who are living in a mental rut because they cannot seem to get what they want.
They know they are capable but they can’t seem to get there, something external or internal is holding them back.
Their problems came in many guises but when we peeled back the layers to reveal the true reasons for their paralysis we found that many of these people were simply stuck due to some kind of self-worth fear.
Who would have thought that so many of us find it difficult to resolve our problems because in doing so we threaten our identity and the way people see us.
They were either pushing things too hard because they desperately needed it to work out and in doing so they were screwing things up or they feared losing what they had already achieved so they didn't take any action at all.
The obsession with our own self-worth has a lot to answer for and today we will take a quick look at how this could be standing in your way right now.
The Self-Worth Problem
Like most of us, the people who sent me these emails for help have spent their lives attaching self-worth to their achievements, they have been brought up believing that love and appreciation is delivered to us when we accomplish things.
They have also learned that criticism, loss of love and loss of respect is coming our way if we do not achieve great things or if we mess up.
It is as if self-worth and significance is a real commodity nowadays, we either desperately want it or are afraid of losing it. It’s like currency.
Hence why people are happy being famous even though they have no talent or why people get so hung up on their job title. We have always needed to know where we stand in the pecking order but this is next level stuff.
This creates performance problems for drivers and team members because they are attaching too much self-worth to their results.
Your Self-Worth Goblin Is Born
The Self-Worth Goblin is a metaphorical creature who lives in your mind, you created your very own Goblin and formed its behaviour through the beliefs you installed as a child.
What you learnt, it learnt. What you saw and heard, it saw and heard. Your Goblin took everything in and made assumptions upon your early years which are some of the rules that run your mind. You and the people around you literally programmed your Goblin to see the world a certain way, you trained it.
There is an infrastructure within your brain that keeps you safe and the Goblin is a part of that operation, there are many other characters involved but the Goblin is at the foundation level. This sounds great but more often than not the beliefs we installed into our Goblin are often misinterpreted so he or she may give you an outlook that actually prevents you from getting what you most desire.
The Goblin lives in the part of the brain that controls your automatic responses so he or she is very dominant in your life and in your decisions.
The Programming of Your Goblin
To stay on subject of our need for self-worth let’s look how we programmed our Goblin to be so obsessed with significance.
Before I start I want to say that there are many exceptions for the way I am about to describe how we are brought up as children, some of us have a loving upbringing and some of us were bought up in violent surroundings, for the purpose of this blog I will focus on the most common way of bringing up a child….
As babies all we had to do was smile or say a word and our parents would go crazy, they would melt emotionally and give us tons of love.
When we first walked we would again see these adults praising us and giving us even more affection.
At this young age we began to link that when we achieve something we immediately get love and mass attention. It’s nice and we want more of it so we carry on playing this game, we get addicted to this.
However things start to change a little as we grow, in our early years of school we find out that this ‘Achievement = Love’ principle is a double edged sword. We now not only have to do more than the basics to gain the love from people (smiling and walking no longer cuts it) but we also find out that we actually seem to lose this love when we don’t achieve things.
If we come back from school with a big ‘A’ on our report card then we again see that love and get rewarded from our parents, they go round telling everyone how special we are and that we are ahead of other children our age. But if we come back from school with an ‘F’ on the report card then we get told off and punished in some way.
Another link is made and another belief is installed into your Goblin. It now can believe that you will lose love if you are seen to fail. Not all parents bring their kids up this way but it is seen a lot.
We can go on from there using the other kids at school as an example, they shout you down and torment you if you stand out in an uncool way or mess up publically, or they can hail you a hero and you will be Mr Popular if you win at something. The love / hate rules keep building up.
Love and connection are very important needs for humans, our brain is always seeking for this so over the years it builds up its own philosophy that will shape who you will become and how you will behave. It comes up with its own way of getting that love and connection whether it is a healthy way or not.
So your Goblin is using its beliefs to shape your outlook, in terms of how you perform and view life it often comes up with 3 philosophies. It needs love and connection so it figures out which of the following 3 options will best serve this:
Philosophy Option 1 – “I desperately need attention, I will achieve things and stand out in order to get it”
This person will do all they can to show what they have (possessions or achievements), will show their results and will constantly talk about themselves. They will tend to feel jealous of others who have bettered them in some way and will be forever looking for the next best thing to associate with.
Philosophy Option 2 – “I cannot bare to lose love through rejection so I will take less risks and play it safe”
A person who has this option as their primary outlook on life will not be comfortable in taking big risks, they fear failure because it will mean loss of love and respect. They hate looking stupid in front of people. They may still have big dreams but they will not leap when required, if they do leap then they will not go full out. Hesitation is also a trait.
Philosophy Option 3 – “Sod whether others praise me or not, I am on my own mission”
The person who has this outlook will often be a leader, they act on things when it feels right to them no matter what the masses are doing. This can be a very unpopular person but often if they persist people come round to their way of thinking and admire them. This is a rocky road outlook but often carves a great achiever.
We Mix, Match & Prioritize These Options
We actually adopt all of these options depending on our stage in life and what we are applying it to (and our current mood) but we will have one of them as our default. We will have an option that we use more than the others and one that we will usually go to first.
For example if you are predominantly Option 1 but you back that up with Option 2 then you will find yourself bragging about things you have done, you will talk a good game but when it comes to the crunch you will chicken out and get nervous when on the edge of victory or in a big moment.
You will talk yourself into fights that you are not equipped to win, this leads to a very unhappy person who will need to brag even more about other things.
You will want the attention you get for winning but you will also fear the “what if I screw this up again” voice that will distract you. You are torn and will find it hard to perform at the top of your game.
Meet Your Goblin!
The voice you hear at critical times is created by using the info that your Goblin gathered so it’s important to know which Philosophy Options you run by and the order of preference. Then you can start to understand why you do what you do.
Here are the examples of how your Goblin may be affecting you and what option they are using to view the world:
As a driver:
You attach too much emphasis on your results and this becomes your downfall (option 1)
You start to blame others when things don’t work out (option 1 & 2)
If you look down on your dash and know you are on a very quick lap you will start to overthink and brake too late for the next corner (option 2)
If you are in the lead of a race and are afraid of losing it you will start to watch your mirrors and end up driving desperately, and probably lose that position as a result (option 2)
You are purely focused on the process, your performance is key and then the result is just an outcome of you on that day (option 3)
You will be afraid of cold calling that prospective sponsor in fear of rejection (option 2)
If things are not going to plan then you will panic and make poor decisions (option 1)
You are never phased when you have a car in the mirrors (option 3)
As a team member:
You stay too quiet within the team and get overlooked (option 2)
You get too competitive with the other people in the team (option 1)
You will not go for that interview just in case you don’t get it (option 2)
You get stuck into any job, even if the car needs repairing but you are employed solely as an engineer (option 3)
You struggle to make instant decisions on race weekends (option 2)
You won’t listen to other people’s point of views and get angry when proven ‘wrong’ (option 1 & 2)
Remember that you will hold all these options within you and will use them all at some point but there will be a default one that you use more than the others. What’s yours like?
Dealing with Your Goblin
Once you understand how your Goblin is programmed and whether it is helping you or not then you can understand why you have been acting a certain way.
Take a look back at the past few months and revisit the moments when you didn’t perform as you should.
When you didn’t make the correct decisions in the important times and be honest enough to ask why you acted the way you did.
“Why didn’t I go for that interview?”
“Why did I get nervous when starting on pole position?”
“Why did I not go up to that girl that I fancied and let her go with that other guy?” ;-)
Once you get the past moment and have truly answered the question then you will know what option you were operating with.
Get to know it and over the next 2 weeks be an observer. Next time you are in a situation where your Goblin comes up just say “Ah there you are!”
Just observe and see how it works for now, understand what it is trying to achieve. After a while you can start to do a deal with your Goblin and reassure it that what you are about to do will more than fulfil your deepest need, much more than its old ways that is.
If you need help with this then get in touch and I will teach you the process because it will make this blog post far too long and needs to be tailored to you.
Once you know how to contain your Goblin you will be able to release yourself from the mental hell and be able to perform at your best. This is only a small part of the whole map around your mind but the Goblin is one of the key players, he or she was there at the beginning and is hard to shift if you do not contain its misleading ways.
Please excuse if I have skipped over some points because it is a very big subject but hopefully this gives you enough to start with so you can begin to ask better questions when you are in critical situations.
References: Prof Steve Peters
Photo: Flickr Commons