We all have it. That little voice in the back of our heads, barely audible, that chimes in the exact moment we get excited about doing something new, something that’s probably outside of our comfort zone. It says, oh you can’t do that. You’re not skilled enough. You don’t have the education. You want to what?! Follow your dream? Expand yourself in some way? I don’t think so!
And that voice, coaches call it the Saboteur. Pretty fitting in my opinion.
When I was first setting up the company my saboteur sounded something like “you can’t make a living from this”, “you’ll wind up broke in less than a year”, “you will never make it”. Even as recently as yesterday, I was having a conversation with my coach telling her all the reasons why I wasn’t going to take that next big step, even though it’s exactly what I want. She called me on it. I definitely didn’t particularly appreciate at the time; but it’s what I pay her for.
Why is this? Why does it have such a big impact? And, how can we make it work for us instead? Here some tips that have helped me multiple times on this journey.
- Acknowledge it’s presence. It does exist and everyone has one. However, you are not your saboteur.
- Understand its purpose. Your saboteur exists for a reason; it’s to keep you safe. It’s the one that says “don’t touch that” when you see something hot or the voice that comes up when you start dating someone that you “know” isn’t good for you. Deep down it really does care for you and it’s designed to keep you alive. However, simply “surviving” is much different than truly living.
- Personify it. Seriously. Give it a name. My Saboteurs name is Dolores. She nags, has Einstien-esque hair and crooked fingers. By personifying, you’re taking it one step further separating it from you. This may feel a bit like split-personalities (and I’m a Gemini, it comes with the territory). But I assure you, personifying your saboteur will not result in you being medicated… At least it hasn’t for me yet.
- Shed some light on the situation. Saboteurs like to live in the dark of our subconscious. It lives in the background like the soundtrack of a movie. It’s there, but you’re not 100% aware of it. What if you gave it a voice? What if you said out loud all the things it was saying? The most amazing thing happens when all of a sudden you turn up the volume and put a voice to those thoughts… They start to melt away.
- Have the courage to overcome. When I started writing down all the things Dolores said a couple things happened. First, I looked at my list and was overcome by emotion. If you’ve read any of my prior blog posts you understand this is pretty normal. But I had to fully embrace all those words and everything I was most afraid of. Not an easy thing to do. But as I sat with it a bit longer something else amazing happened. The super confident, courageous part of me started to rise up and totally discredit all those things on the paper in front of me. It said, “I can do this”, “I deserve this” and “I have everything inside of me I need to be successful”. I am enough.
So who are you? What are all the amazing qualities/skills/abilities/personality traits you do have?
Compiling this list is tough. Why? We spend far too much time listening to our saboteur and all the things we aren’t, we lose touch with all the amazing things we are.
The core of your being, your best self, knows better. It says- I am capable, I have the experience, I have everything inside of me I need in order to be successful. I am good enough, I am lovable, I am worthy.
When I ask people what is holding them back from that next step, 99% of the time the answer is “I’m scared”. Guess what, fear is actually a good thing. It’s a signal that says you’re heading into foreign territory. Fear is the boarder of the reality in which you’ve known. Of course you’re scared! If it wasn’t scary, it wouldn’t be worth it.
“Failure” (if you want to call it that) is the absolute best form of feedback. It took many hard lessons and ugly cries to realize this, but I’m serious. If you try something and it doesn’t work (after the initial sting is gone, Hagen Daas has never let me down) you say, ok, so that didn’t go as well as I had hoped. What about it didn’t work? The whole thing wasn’t a failure; there is always something within it (a choice, a behavior, an attitude) that didn’t work. You ask the right questions, you figure out what it is, and you try again.
And when the saboteur steps in and starts to shake your confidence, tell (insert name here) that while you appreciate them looking out for you, you deserve this, and you are enough.