Guest blog by Joanna Li, CPCC, ACC
A common struggle that many of my clients face is feeling as if they are “not enough.” It is a theme that I coach quite often, if not most often. These individuals are highly accomplished and competent, yet they are very much blind to their own brightness.
I get it. I also struggled with feeling like I was “not enough” for most of my life.
This feeling was triggered constantly, whether from something as trivial as losing a board game, to something as significant as being passed over for a promotion at work. My most immediate reaction was almost always,
“Why can’t I be better? What’s wrong with me?”
On top of this, when I accomplished something that was difficult and long sought after, I would briefly celebrate before plunging right into working towards my next milestone. I felt like I was never enough.
When I started my journey as a coach, I came across the concept of saboteurs (often referred to as inner critics). That was when I realized that my feeling “not enough” was the work of my saboteurs and was not coming from my true self.
Saboteurs are negative inner voices in the back of our minds that whisper:
“I can’t do this”,
“I’m never good enough”,
“I’m too old”,
“I’m too young”,
“I don’t deserve this”, etc.
They keep us playing small and from taking risks. What came as a relief for me was the realization that EVERYONE has saboteurs, even the most confident and successful people that I know.
The key is to find ways to manage them. You can take a free assessment by Positive Intelligence here to get a better sense of who your main saboteurs are.
Once you’ve identified your main saboteurs, here are a few tips on keeping them at bay:
Asking yourself four questions (adapted from The Work of Byron Katie)
Is this thought communicated by the saboteur true?
Can you absolutely know that it's true?
What happens when you believe it?
Who would you be without it?
Personify your saboteurs
Saboteurs are like monsters in the night.
They have the most power over you when you cannot see them. Shine a flashlight on them.
Picture what they look like and hear what they sound like. Be as specific as you can (mine is a creepy, hollow looking, small-statured, elf-like person, who wears a dark purple shirt and speaks with a whiny voice).
Once the saboteurs are brought to light, they are much easier to defeat.
Connect with your inner leader
Your inner leader is the archenemy of your saboteurs.
It is your sage, your visionary, and your inner authority, who has absolute confidence in you, loves you unconditionally, and fearlessly supports you.
When you are connected to your inner leader, you feel beautifully alive, in control, at peace, and at your full power.
You can do anything you set your mind to.
When you start to hear the voices of your saboteurs, tune into your inner leader instead. Feel its presence, embody its stance, and listen to what it has to say. You’d be surprised at how different the energy of the inner leader feels and what you are ready for.
Try one of these tactics and let me know how it works! I’d love to hear your feedback. What are some of your own ways that you’ve used to handle your saboteurs?
To hear more on this topic, tune into the CoachMe Vancouver Podcast (S01 Episode 10), where I jam with two other awesome coaches, Faris Khalifeh and Lara Marchionni Jones, on the feeling of “not enough” and all of our favourite strategies to overcome it.
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