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Trevor E.S. Smith | Inside Out success

Published:Tuesday | January 10, 2017 | 12:00 AMTrevor E.S. Smith

What could make a late-blooming runner from a small island run faster than anyone has ever run?

What could cause a player to leave a championship-winning team to go home to a team and a region with a notoriously poor history of winning championships and, amazingly, deliver a championship?

What could cause an athlete in the middle of an injury-impacted season to declare that he will not be beaten by an athlete who was running fast times all season?

What could have got into the head of a prize fighter to enter the ring with a feared knockout artist and deliberately break the fundamental rule of not being caught on the ropes?

Success is brought about by a mix of factors - some external, some internal. Today, I want to focus on an internal factor that I will call the sense of knowing. I could call it 'belief', but I want to convey a deeper level of awareness.

There is no doubting here. Asafa Powell opened the door to Jamaican sprint success and is accepted as the 'sub-10 king'. Asafa knew that he could break the 100m world record.

LeBron James knew that he could lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to an unlikely NBA Championship.

Usain Bolt knew that he would continue his legacy and win, regardless of the results that Justin Gatlin was achieving on the circuit.

Muhammad Ali knew that he was at a place, mentally and physically, where he would neutralise the power of George Foreman and defeat him.

Despite being fired as a reporter for a lack of creativity, Walt Disney knew otherwise about himself, and the monuments to his creativity bear evidence to his sense of knowing.




What we hold to be true is perhaps the single most important determinant of how our lives are played out. What we believe and accept at our core influence our thoughts, hopes, fears and our actions.

Ali's 'I am the greatest' and Bolt's public 'legend' declaration go to the root of what drives inside-out success.

I suggest that it is that initial knowing that provides the drive to work harder and smarter which, in turn, fuels confidence and success.




As a child, I imagined performing to a stadium filled with fans. Is dreaming different from knowing?

Visualisation (sophisticated daydreaming) is a powerful driver of success. The New Scientist reports on an experiment conducted by Guang Yue, an exercise physiologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio. It found that the volunteers who visualised exercising showed a 13.5 per cent increase in strength after a few weeks, and maintained that gain for three months after the training stopped.

Structured visualisation works. However, it is more than daydreaming; and the sense of knowing is different from fantasising.

Knowing brings with it actions that support the fact. Knowing that 'I am the greatest' means that I have put in the gym/roadwork and mental conditioning that reflects greatness.

Knowing that I am a legend automatically translates into committing to the conditioning that protects that status.

Knowing that I can break the world record means that I go into the starting blocks with a body-and-mind combination that has not yet been achieved by others.

Knowing that I can break the championship drought means that I have inspired management to pull together viable talent; that I have inspired my teammates to play beyond expectations; and that I commit to doing whatever it takes personally to make it happen.




There are a lot of factors that contribute to success. However, a powerful driver is a sense of knowing. What you hold to be true about yourself and your situation goes to the core of how your life will unfold. Change your beliefs about yourself and your situation to unlock greater success.

Now enrolling for the Internal Coach Federation and Society for Human Resource Management-accredited Certified Behavioural Coach programme. Email:

- Trevor E. S. Smith is a behaviour modification coach with the Success with People Academy, home of the Certified Behavioural Coach programme that is accredited by the International Coach Federation and the Society for Human Resource Management. Email: