What do you think about when you hear the word “sabotage”? … Besides the very poor Arnold Schwarzenegger movie? Most of us probably think about covert operations having as main goal the demise of a government or some high-ranking official. We do not usually associate sabotage with our day to day interactions, although it is happening, and we almost never associate it with ourselves.
But self-sabotage is real and it is something that very few of us are aware of. According to a dictionary definition, “sabotage” is synonymous with “disable”, “vandalize” and “cripple”. And it is exactly what is happening with us when we fail to define and acknowledge our emotions and the power they have over us.
Psychologist Guy Winch talks about an experience he had when watching toddlers’ reactions playing with identical plastic toys. The idea was that, when the right button was pushed, the children would get the reward of a cute plush doggy popping out of the box. 3 babies – 3 different reactions – the same type of toy. One of them tried, did not succeed, then gave up and burst into tears, the second one, seeing the reaction of the first didn’t even try and started crying immediately and the third one tried everything she could think of and eventually succeeded and got her reward.
This is a story about different reactions to failure and challenges. We must understand the fact that the only thing that prevents us from succeeding is our mind, who sometimes is tricking us into believing that we cannot do certain things – “We all have a default set of feelings and beliefs that gets triggered whenever we encounter frustrations and setbacks”.
So what is triggering your internal Saboteur? What gets you to give up, or stay resilient? Do you have the Avoider as your Saboteur? If so, you do not like conflict and you would rather compromise on your own well being in order to keep your safe distance. But this will confine you to a comfort zone you will not be able to get out of.
Do you have the Controller as your Saboteur? Then your anxiety is coming from not being able to take charge in everything. You will want to do things yourself just because other will not do it as well. But how will this help you reach a leadership position, where you need delegation skills and trust?
We all have these saboteurs with us at all times. They are the ones that help us survive, but they can also be our downfalls, when we do not recognize their hold on us. There are ways in which we can exercise the mind muscle to control our immediate reactions and ultimately lead us to live a better and more fulfilling life.
In the end, it is all about balance and what better way to gain inner peace of mind than to know yourself and embrace your emotions.
PS: For an insight into your own Saboteurs, take the test here.
Author : Cristiana Stanciu, GRSC Director Eastern Europe and CIS, Oracle Romania