You are not your job. You are not your body. You are not your personality. You are not your beliefs. You are not your thoughts. You are not your act.
If I could grant a magic power to the world, that would be the ability to clearly hear our inner voices and graciously juggle with them in a way that propels us forward instead of keeping us stuck.
Working with myself and with my clients made me more aware of how important it is to become aware and to separate ourselves from our saboteur voices that make us preserve the status quo under the lie that they actually protect us from harm. While it might be so to some extent, at least from an intention perspective, they actually block the aliveness in our lives and prevent us from changing.
Very often we identify with these voices and even wear them with pride - I’m a perfectionist. I’m a hyper achiever….
We forget who we are when at our best or at least when not loaded with all the extra noise and we constantly get in our way. And it’s no surprise that if we keep doing what we’re doing, we keep getting what we’re getting.
But let’s start with the beginning.
Wait, whaaat? Internal voices???
What are are the saboteurs?
A metaphor I heard in coaching explaining the sabotaging patterns we all have was that the saboteurs are like those friends who always give us poor advice keeping us from the life we want. I loved it since it explains in a more digestible manner the definition of saboteurs being automatic and habitual mind patterns that work against our best interest.
Some of the most frequent sabotaging patterns I noticed are the pleasing, the perfectionistic and the restless ones.
The pleasing pattern starts with the strong need to be liked and accepted by helping, pleasing and rescuing others. It prioritises the need of others ahead of our own needs resulting in burnout and resentment.
The perfectionist pattern causes ongoing anxiety and frustration, self doubt and resignation in others. It blocks people from starting what they want if they cannot do it perfectly. One is never ready enough for going into uncharted territories.
The restless pattern comes with a constant need for doing and an anxiety from being present, preventing the focus on issues that truly matter and from taking ownership on what needs changing.
Oh, I've almost forgot the victim pattern - I’m not enough, not worthy… or the avoidant one, pushing us to binge and all sorts of addictive patterns.
Discover your saboteurs
If you want to know who works against you from your ‘inner board of directors’, you can take Shirzad Chamine’s assessment here: https://assessment.positiveintelligence.com/saboteur/instructions
Read more and debug yourself on your own
Two of the books I’ve read about saboteurs are:
Positive intelligence: why only 20% of teams and individuals achieve their true potential, by Shirzad Chamine
Taming your gremlin, by Rick Carson
They both contain great insights about our unhelpful patterns and useful strategies to overcome the negative effect they have in our lives.
Make your life easier
You might already be aware of your sabotaging patterns and how they hold you down in your life. Maybe you’ve tried working with yourself but with not much effectiveness.
I invite you to give coaching a try. Most of the coaches, if not all, have sample sessions where you can explore this and see if such a process can create value in your transformation journey. I believe it can. Can I help?