Winning the Inner Game

Winning the Inner Game

The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.

W. Timothy Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance


As the new year approached, I began planting seeds for the new year. I made a note to myself, Winning the Inner Game would be my January message.

Isn’t the inner game the only game there is? No matter how well things are going in the various aspects of our lives, careers, relationships, family and health related matters, we all have that voice of judgment (VOJ) that drives us crazy. You know it—that inner critic that says in one way or the other, you aren’t good enough. And it keeps coming back for periodic visits.

Even if you are the President of the United States and one of the wealthiest people in the world, you still have to deal with that inner critic that says, “I’m not good enough.” And with some people that voice is really loud.

By the way, for those of you haven’t yet read The Soul of Uncertainty that is the basic premise…at some level from the time we are born until the time we leave this earth we are always in that question. Yet it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

That uncertainty is what drives us, consumes us, and perhaps takes us to the next level…so how do we tame that inner critic, that voice of judgment even if just for a little while?

Like the rose that Tim Gallwey refers to, we are constanty in the process of change and each moment is perfectly all right as it is.

Rather than resisting the process of change, embrace it as possibility, as opportunity, as adventure.

With that in mind, it’s important to begin each day with meditation. It connects you to your center and sets the tone for the day. And you do have the time…in my lawyer days, I meditated even when I had to be in court first thing in the morning.

Make the practice of gratitude, part of your morning practice. It shifts your focus from what you don’t like about your life, to what you do like about it. Researchers have documented the health benefits of gratitude such as lowering blood pressure and increasing your sense of well-being.

In 2000, when I transitioned from being a lawyer, I was very curious as to what life had in store for me. I couldn’t figure out what I was going to do next. And then a shift occurred. Rather than thinking about what I was going to do with the rest of my life, I focused on that day and each day became a lifetime in itself. That shift has led to a practice which has helped me greatly tame my VOJ.

In the mornings after my meditation practice, I would ask myself what the highlight of my day might be? Throughout the day I would be in that question, open to good occurring, even expecting it, even though I didn’t know what it might be.

The secret of this practice is to know that no matter what is going on, there always is a highlight. It might be a little thing that quite often we tend to overlook. Like many new habits, it takes practice initially, but over time will become part of your belief system that will lead to more optimism and taming your inner critic.

Your VOJ will never totally go away. When it rears its head, just notice it and give it a name, which helps you detach from it. I call mine Ralph.

Let me know what you discover, and if you have a strategy that works for you, I am curious to know what it is.

I invite you to share this blog with those in your circle.

In the meantime,

Embrace this Great Mystery, this Great Adventure, called, “Life,”




Mark Susnow is a life coach and strategist and thought-leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. A former trial attorney for 25 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation.

If you are curious to find out how Mark can make a difference in your life both personally and professionally, you are invited to contact him at 415.453.5016 or email him at

Find out about his new book,  The Soul of Uncertainty, a Fable for our Times. 


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“An unlikely hero meets a modern-day mystic, who entices him to step into the greater mystery of life. In reading this story you’ll feel called to do the very same thing.”
—JOHN GRAY, New York Times Best-selling Author of
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

“If spiritual intelligence appeared to you in human form, would you listen?
The Soul of Uncertainty lets you peek into that possibility to illuminate your
own soul‘s journey. —RAZ INGRASCI, Chairman, Hoffman Institute Intl.

“A revelation! A wake-up call! Most all of us are looking for deeper meaning. The Soul of Uncertainty lifts up the human spirit and becomes your guide on an empowering journey of self-discovery.”—TEMPLE HAYES, Difference-maker, Speaker, Author, When Did you Die?

Our hero, Buddy, is uncertain from beginning to end of his story about final answers to the perplexing problems of life.
He is all caught up in what Langston Hughes calls “the sweet flypaper of life.” He gets stuck in some bad situations and problems, but always at key moments in his life a friend or mentor shows up to free him, for the time being. What makes different from the many famous coming of age stories from David Copperfield and Huckleberry Finn to The Catcher in the Rye is that Buddy talks to us, his readers and asks us questions like “What if you could wake up every morning excited about beginning your day.”  —RUSSELL FANELLI, Amazon Vine

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