Thursday, May 9, 2013

Have You Addressed Your Inner Saboteur?

After months of the 3 P's; persistence, polite and purposeful follow-up, you finally landed that coveted meeting with your ideal client that if you get the account, will make a great difference to your income, self-esteem and career trajectory.

You're a pro! You know what you need to do to prepare powerfully for your meeting. You know the basics, a good night's sleep, allowing enough time for transportation, a decent breakfast, and really reviewing your materials thoroughly, and clarifying your outcomes and desired results. Heck, you can write a book about it!

The next morning arrives, and you're all flummoxed. The alarm clock didn't go off (you forgot to check the a.m./p.m. button when you set it), your great charcoal slacks had a stain on it from who knows where, and the traffic is so bad; you are hoping to get there in time for the closing statements and handshakes. You are filled with frustration, shame, impatience and anger- mostly at yourself.

Your reputation to not only your clients but your colleagues is in jeopardy. How could you let this happen? You planned it all out. Guess What? So did your Inner Saboteur!

We hear a lot about sabotage in the workplace, or in our personal relationships, and while that's real and important, we really don't spend enough time to unpack the intricacies of our Inner Saboteur who's more in the driver's seat then we may realize. Perhaps we can fluctuate between excessive naval gazing and paralysis-analysis when it comes to exploring, why, when how, but we rarely make any headway in terms of dislodging that all-to-prevalent-hard-wiring that consistently undermines our efforts to move forward. 

No worries, there are some ways out! Here are five principles from my life coaching experiences that if you integrate into your life, will allow you to get to know your Inner Saboteur, but also let go of the negative and undermining pattern it has in your life.

1) Tell the Truth

Don't beat yourself up, but don't lie to yourself either, instead get real with the impact it has in your life. The truth will set you free. It will just irritate the hell out of you in the meantime. Let it do just that, so you can get real with both the general and nuanced ways it impacts your life. Write a truth list and get specific!

2) Move From Criticism to Curiosity

When we start to look at patterns in our life, people either go into beat up or denial, as stated above, never productive, and it keeps us further away from our goal. But when we adopt the spirit and curiosity of a child, "curious" of the pattern, from a fresh perspective, like the first time a child sees a new person or animal they've never seen before, they are infinitely fascinated by it, then you are in a place of openness and creativity imagination and most of all healing can start to take place. 

Even looking at your patterns and say, "I'm curious as to why I need to go to bed so late when day after day I know it leaves me exhausted and not on top of my game!" It starts to soften it a bit.

3) Give Language to Your Inner Saboteur

Recently, when I worked with my spiritual mentor to break the pattern around sabotage as it spoke to my self-care (running late, not enough sleep, eating on the run, and not exercising enough), Randy said, "Say I love to rebel." I looked at him cross-eyed because "consciously" I was very distraught by the behavior my Inner Rebel drove me to, so to think I liked even loved them, totally confronted me.

He went on to explain that since the pattern continues and produces unwanted results, it is unconscious versus conscience. I soon realized he was right, and decided to get to know this rebel by giving that part of me its voice.

Later that night, I was tired and really wanted an ice cream even though it's not good for my health or weight-loss goals, but instead of resisting or simply observing the impulse, I started stomping along the streets of NY (it was late, thankfully no one was on the street) and with fists in the air, started proclaiming, "I want ice cream. I want ice cream now. I want ice cream. I want ice cream now." It was actually magical.

As soon as I gave that part of me a voice, and the permission to rebel, and put it in my body, I no longer needed to eat the ice cream. A simple stamping of your foot and saying, "No!" or placing an imaginary person against a wall and saying, "I won't, and you can't make me," will open up the dialogue and move your behavior from unconscious to conscience.

4) Honor the Payoff You are Getting from Your Inner Saboteur

Even if that payoff  is outdated, we always get a payoff for every behavior we do. If you grew up in a toxic and emotional mine field family, the need to stay safe was a really smart thing to do for your survival. The problem was the only option to you at the time was to not express any needs and stay under the radar.

But guess what? You're 35 accomplished and have big dreams, and you're still fighting against the impulse that feels hard-wired into your survival to stay safe by not expressing your needs or fully going for your dreams, which is totally counter-productive because you are more interested in thriving than surviving. The need for safety will most likely always be there, so up-level that need for safety by creating advocates in your organizations, or a spiritual ritual that can ground you and connect you into your inner guidance.

5) Get Support and Be Patient

Patterns didn't evolve over night, and they won't be overridden that way either. Build a support team, whether it's a coach, a therapist, a support group or a team to really move your vision forward. Be transparent with them with where you are at, so they can support you in moving towards your goals and dreams. The brain is a living breathing organism, and like roads on the highway, we can build new tributaries of positive messaging and outcomes in our lives if we just stay the course.

Lois Barth is a Speaker, Coach and Motivational Expert, who works with groups and individuals to support them in thriving both personally and professionally. She is a regularly quoted expert in The Wall Street Journal, SELF, FITNESS, Weight Watchers and over a dozen national publications. She is a regular guest as the "Stress Less…Thrive More Lady" on CT Style TV(ABC Affiliate). Visit her website at