Dale has been invited to make an important sales presentation. Normally he is very confident about his skills and his ability to get results. This time for some reason he finds himself worrying about how this prospective client will respond to him. His track record feels less impressive than usual, and he notices doubts about his talent starting to creep into his thoughts.
When assessing whether you are engaged in self-sabotage, one of the fundamental questions is always:
“Is this block/fear legitimate, or am I creating or using a situation to impede myself?”
Even if you’re making up a problem, it can still feel serious and real. How do you tell the difference?
Dale is facing possibility, and there are two basic outcomes – success and failure. He can benefit or damage his business. In this case both possibilities are real.
However, the question ISN’T: is there any good reason to make the presentation? Dale is doubting himself not the event.
The question also ISN’T: am I a fraud with no resume and no talent who might be setting himself up for embarrassment?
Dale has done this kind of thing before with consistently good results, which makes it all the more peculiar that he has such powerful reservations.
What really tells me that Dale is involved in self-sabotage is the lack of balance. He should be able to connect to the potential for a positive outcome, since even he knows, intellectually, that it exists. Then he could more accurately weigh the two possibilities. If at that point the potential for damage still seemed prohibitive, he might rethink his choice to participate.
The fact that he is only able to see half of the equation shows that his unconscious intention is to discourage himself, as opposed to making the best choice.
It is the equivalent of looking at a half-moon and doubting the existence of the part you cannot see even though you know it’s there.
Dale’s inner Saboteur has manipulated his perception of the situation in order to create a state of irrational fear and make him susceptible to thoughts he might not normally entertain. It knows how hard it is for him to recover once the situation has been contaminated with negative energy, which will cause Dale to, in a sense “forget who he is.”
Now that Dale has recognized that his struggle is an illusion created by the Saboteur, he can take steps to deal with it because he has answered the first question: Are my fears and doubts valid in this case?
How do you fact-check your self-doubts? Leave me a comment below.