• Rob Balaam

Our Saboteurs Hold us Back

What is your inner voice? Is it kind, positive, and supportive, or does it get you when you are down? When you are alone, what are the thoughts you have about yourself?

Take a minute and consider what thoughts pop up when you are thinking about yourself? Are your thoughts supportive, or are they critical of yourself?

If you are like most people, you think things about yourself that you would never tolerate from a friend! I call these negative voices, Saboteurs because they hold us back and try to undo our work to be productive and successful.

Our inner Saboteurs are the heart of the imposter syndrome that at least 70% of us experience. Even when we are successful, these negative thoughts make us doubt what we are capable of and make us question our self-worth. Becoming aware and challenging these Saboteurs will help us live a happier and a more successful life!

Here are five strategies to help you challenge your Saboteurs.

#1: Develop ways to be mindful in stressful situations

Start to pay attention to your inner monologue and become aware when you tend to go negative and what triggers those thoughts. Developing some practices around mindfulness will support you in becoming aware when negative thoughts are taking over. Mindfulness is the first step in interrupting those Saboteur thoughts.

Many of us have mindful practices already. Here, I am talking about developing practices in the moment of stress. It is when you are feeling the stress that a mindful exercise will support you in staying calm and remaining aware of your internal voice. Activating the calm part of your brain in the right moment will assist you in a stressful situation.

Exercise: At the moment you recognize negative emotions, stress or anticipating those feelings, slowly rub your index finger against your thumb so that you can feel the individual ridges of your fingerprint or feel your feet on the ground, becoming aware of how they feel, even wiggling your toes. Connect to the sensation of your feet flat on the floor. Do either of these or both for 10 seconds to help you become more grounded and interrupt the negative thought pattern.

Try it! At first, it might feel odd, but keep it up. There is neuroscience that I won't go into here. Ask me if you want to know the neuroscience.

#2 Notice your Saboteurs so that you can Interrupt them.

Often when a negative thought loop starts, we let it take over. There can be value in acknowledging a negative feeling, but there is limited benefit in allowing that feeling to move in and set up house.

Once the negative thoughts come in, notice them-acknowledge them. Maybe register them as feedback? Be curious about the Saboteur, but do not let them move in! Feelings are real; they just might not be accurate!

#3 Learn Who is the Saboteur in your Head

We all have an inner critical voice in our heads. Most likely, they were installed in our operating system when we were young. And they are not all the same. In my coaching, I use the system designed by Shirzad Chamine, writer of the best-selling book, Positive Intelligence. He identifies ten unique Saboteurs.

Find out what your own set of saboteurs are and be aware of the special voice they bring to your inner critic. We are all ruled by our saboteurs until we know what they are and where they are. If we can identify the Saboteur, then we know how to work with it.

Note: If you would like to take a free assessment, contact me! I am more than happy to provide a free 30-minute coaching session around your unique set of saboteurs.

#4 Access and Listen to Your Inner Sage

While we all have saboteurs, we also have Inner Sages. Instead of believing your Saboteurs negative limiting believes, open up to the powers your inner Sage can offer. We all have the inner Sage in our brains. When we access the Sage, we access the powers of empathy, innovation, navigating, exploration, and decisive actions. The Sage provides a more positive view. We can see life as a gift and opportunity. The Sage is where gratitude lives.

#5 Take Baby Steps but Start

Tackling our negative self-talk can be daunting. It is easy to be swept away by our Saboteurs. Mastering our saboteurs takes many small steps to get where we want to go. The most crucial step is the first step. We all have Saboteurs. Saboteurs are part of the human condition, but they do not have to define it. When you decide to take on your Saboteurs, be gentle and kind to yourself, and keep on going!

Becoming aware of your Saboteurs and learning how to access our Sage allows us to be productive, successful, and enjoy life. If you are interested in taking the free Saboteur Assessment or in a free 30-minute session to explore this topic and you, contact me at Rob@Robbalaam.com.





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