Here’s yet another guest blog for your summer reading. This one is from Kate Deaton, a certified coach, friend, and colleague with a slightly different take on the Inner Critic voice than mine. Kate is writing a book about the Inner Saboteur and agreed to give us a taste of her work. Her contact information is at the bottom of the blog if you’d like to get in touch with her, or follow her musings!
“My boss-he doesn’t care about what I am doing- he just wants more. Even if it means I work late 4 days a week and take work home, it’s always MORE-MORE-MORE! If I didn’t count on that paycheck for my family, I would quit. I know I have my master’s but jobs in my field just don’t pay that well. I am lucky to have gotten this job.”
There is a saying that a complaint is simply a value that is being stomped on. Being expected to do more and more at work, beyond what can be delivered in a 50-hour work-week may stomp on quite a few values: family time, fairness, quality over quantity, being able to deliver good work…just possible examples. Yet do you notice that, in the first example, the worker ends by reminding themselves why to continue in that cycle? It is not that it is not true- most of us depend on our income for supporting ourselves and our family. Yet something else is true, too: We could be more satisfied, have more family time in other circumstances that might also support the value of family security. So what stops us from checking out those options?
“The devil we know is better than the devil we don’t.” That could have been written by our inner saboteur-that inner voice that creates seeds of doubt each time you try new behavior or have a thought about taking a stand for what you need. Have you noticed that voice sometimes? It is the one that tells you the safe way is the best, keeping the status quo is imperative. It may even go so far as ridiculing you for dreaming and planning, for taking steps toward something new. Here is another example:
People had always told Kim how good her work was on creating mosaic inlaid furniture. She had been encouraged for a few years to apply for a juried arts and crafts show in her community and she always laughed it off. “No one wants to pay for my work- it is best as a gift.” Finally, Kim was persuaded to try, and the first time she applied for the high quality, juried show, she was accepted. Kim sold well, got lots of compliments and 6 months’ worth of orders. Although this was what she loved to do, she refused to apply for more shows. “It is just a fluke that I got in. Sales won’t keep coming. I will just finish up these orders. I was lucky to get them.”
So what kept Kim from celebrating her success and reaching for more? The voice of her inner saboteur, telling her she was just lucky- nothing to count on.
Each time we challenge the status quo in our life, the voice can get stronger and meaner to match the level of threat to the norm. And the worse thing may be that the voice is cloaked to sound like our own voice or even the voice of our parents or people we love.
So how can we make changes and reach for more in our lives? A simple method is to become aware of when the inner saboteur shows up, what it sounds likes like, thank it for trying to keep you safe and then take the next right step. With some practice, you will be able to notice the trends of when your inner saboteur is going to get activated. Then you will be ready to avoid getting hijacked by the fearful thoughts, thank your inner voice for wanting your safety and take steps forward. It is a new dance. And a new dance that will create new neural pathways in your brain that support new options, rather than familiar behavior.
So what do you want? What small steps can you take toward your goals? Just be ready with some recognition, appreciation, and movement.
For other methods of recognizing and dealing with your inner saboteur, look for Kate’s upcoming book…….
Kate Deaton MS CPCC, Personal Leadership Coaching, (434)390-0105, Kdeatonleadership@gmail.com
Shell Tain, the Untangler