Receiving the gifts the Saboteur has to offer begins with recognizing that its appearance indicates that whatever we are engaged with contains the energy of powerful possibility. Typically we experience it as the opposite.
A hallmark and standard strategy of the Saboteur is to disguise perceived threats (possibility of change) with their opposite. You could be standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, but if you only face away from it, for all you know it doesn’t exist. It sounds stupidly simple, but it works. Also, remember: since it knows you extremely well, it will pick subjects and beliefs that you are highly susceptible to.
A second hallmark of the Saboteur: It uses strategies and content that will be persuasive to you. It uses what works.
- It will tell highly intelligent people they’re not smart enough.
- It will tell people with great enthusiasm and energy for their work that they lack passion.
- It will tell you things are going in the wrong direction or spinning out of control when they are actually going better than ever.
It will only use these, of course, if they are perspectives you are susceptible to. This is what allows us to decode its playbook.
To understand this we will have to explore the third definition of the Saboteur’s job, which I offered in the initial article on this subject, Say Hello to My Little Friend:
To collect information about where your blocks and breakdowns are, so you clarify what needs to be addressed in order for you to go to the next level.
I like to think of it as your personal Tiger team. These are the people you hire to test your security systems by trying to defeat them. If you’re the Department of Defense, the only way to know if your firewall and encryption are keeping all that info Top Secret is to get someone to try to hack into it.
So when you wonder why you haven’t been able to take your business to the next level, the Saboteur shows up and says,
“Since you asked, I’m going to show you that first you would have to let go of that limiting belief that things only get done right when you do them yourself. This works nicely with your tendency to over commit and then get overwhelmed when there’s too much on your plate.
“You may have noticed that your habitual response to the feeling of overwhelm is to become anxious and unclear, which diminishes the quality of your work and causes you to get even less done. This allows more work to pile up and creates a vicious circle.”
If we could hear this with clarity and detachment, we would realize the extraordinary value of this feedback. Unfortunately, most of the time our response is to feel criticized, attacked and demoralized.
The Saboteur is essentially neutral, and its purpose is to serve our highest interest; but the ego tends to take the message personally and either polarize against it, turning him into an enemy, or manipulate the information against us for its own protection.
Up until this point I’ve been talking in terms of the Saboteur trying to take away choice and hiding opportunities by naming them their opposite. This new definition now shows us that the true culprit is our struggling, insecure, mistrusting ego bending valuable information to suit its own agenda and using the Saboteur as the fall guy.
Now that we have a better understanding of who the Saboteur really is and the benefit it’s trying to offer us (and it only took five blog posts!), we can begin to look at how the playbook can be decoded.
Does this change how you see your Saboteur?