What can we learn by understanding our “Inner Saboteur” better?  

I recently appeared as a guest on the Profitable Joyful Consulting Podcast. To get you in the mood, I decided to focus this piece on one of the central components of our relationship with the Saboteur. 

If you’re looking to better understand why and how you might be engaged in self-sabotage, I recommend you consider the issue of Choice.  

I think it helps to see the “Inner Saboteur” the way we do the “Inner Child” – an aspect of us that we often misunderstand and struggle with, but which ultimately has much to teach us.  

When we are squaring off against the Saboteur, one of the central themes is almost always about the relationship between choice and empowerment. To put it another way: The Saboteur primarily defeats us by creating the perception, real or imagined, that you do not have the choice to realize your goals.   

We experience the Saboteur when it’s in the way of the changes we’re trying to create. Its job is to, one way or another, replace your options with obstacles. The Saboteur wins when you no longer see the possibility of effective action.

  • You do not have the extra time to write that book.
  • You are not capable of having a healthy relationship.
  • You’re not ready to expand your business.
  • You can’t trust others to support and assist you.

It has prevented change by removing choice.  

What I’m suggesting is that you look at the area where you feel stuck or thwarted. Look at the choice points – the actions you did or didn’t take to get where you are, and the actions you would need to be able to take to get to where you want to be. Ask yourself if the obstacles you met were real or perceived.  

Remember, whatever argument you used to create this impasse was designed to seem persuasive, so it’s going to feel very real, while also pointing to a part of you that could possibly use further investigation and more imagination. “I’m not ready” or “I always end up having to do everything” might not turn out to be facts. Your Saboteur is there to point out where the breakdowns occur, even if they’re well disguised, so it helps to be open-minded.  

If you conclude that the obstacle is legit, you might consider whether the situation in general contains aspects that are intended to cause you to fail. So maybe you sincerely do not have time to write that book – you can take a look at whether your circumstances are unconsciously designed to eat up your time.  

This is an example of restoring choices you weren’t aware of. What choices would create time? Do you carry beliefs about time that don’t serve you? Now you get to re-examine the possibility of delegating, creating better support systems, or finding avenues for passive income.  

You might also want to play with choices you wouldn’t ordinarily consider. You can fantasize about choices you wish you had, or imagine how things might be different if you made a really risky or unconventional choice. The point isn’t necessarily to get you to do something bold, it’s to bring some fresh energy into the situation and open up a sense of possibility. Options you wouldn’t have considered before might convert to “why not?” status.  

In each case you’re looking to re-energize the connection between choice and empowerment, restoring the power of your choices and your power to make choices.  

If your spirit is prompting you to have a conversation about the power of choice, I encourage you to get in touch with me.

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