Do you ever talk to yourself? I do, all the time. The little voice in my head regularly let's me know whether I'm on-course, am doing a good job, or occasionally screams something unhelpful like "look, he's better than you!"
No I am not mad. Virtually everyone talks to themself and if you are asking yourself now whether you do, then clearly the answer is "Yes!"
So what's all this got to do with high performance? Well, according to Tim Gallway, one of the founding fathers of coaching and author of many books including 'The Inner Game of Tennis', it has everything to do with performance. He talks about us each having 2 'Selfs'; Self 1 is the 'teller' and Self 2 is the 'doer'.
When Self 1 is being unconstructive and unhelpful to Self 2, we doubt ourselves, we start to make mistakes and we prove Self 1 right. It becomes self-fulfilling. An example might be when you stand up in front of an audience and tell yourself "I've got nothing interesting to say" or "I'm not as good as the last speaker".
When Self 1 is giving constructive and helpful information to Self 2, we are encouraged to perform at our best. For example, when you tell yourself "your doing a good job, keep going" or, even better, when you don't tell yourself anything as you are simply getting on with the job without interruption.
A key to high performance is therefore to learn how to quieten Self 1, or at least have it say encourgaging things.
What are you saying to yourself right now?