Categories
Business

How to be a good manager & the qualities of a good leader

The Brain, Self Sabotage and Leadership

 

I was listening to a CEO the other day relaying some behavioural problems from one of his directors, which was causing a down turn in productivity. Not good, but why on earth would someone begin to sabotage themselves and their position within a company?

Perhaps the answer comes from Jeff Hawkins who suggests that the brain is a pattern recognition machine through his memory-prediction framework theory. It would appear that the brain, according to the researcher, is a “future predicting state machine, similar in principle to feed-forward error-correcting state machines.”

 

So, what has this got to do with self-sabotaging behaviour in the work place?

 

Well, the CEO has some big plans for the future of the organisation and he hasn’t shared this with anyone else, yet. The brain of his director maybe picking up on this pattern breach, at a below conscious level, subsequently creating a lack of certainty within the director. This could lead to performance problems, as the brain is a state dependant machine, which Hawkins suggests governs the behaviour of an organism.  Brains require moment-to-moment updates of patterns that are predictable and therefore the system is able to perform effectively with less stress.

The answer to self sabotage, therefore, lies with the CEO clarifying where the company is going, which will allow all employees and stake holders to build patterns of certainty about their immediate futures. Without the ability to predict the future the brain has to expend more resources, in order to survive the on going situation. If this uncertainty persists a person’s behaviour could be impacted as the brain raises an error response, which Hedden, Garbrielli (2006) propose will cause one to concentrate on the error response instead of focusing on one’s goals.

 

How to overcome self-sabotage?

 

So, the simplest way to overcome self-sabotage in this instance is to share your strategy. Allow your people to know where you are heading and what that means for them too.

And the CEO has reported back to me that, after sharing his thoughts with the management team, they were all able to open up and pool ideas, together. The tensions that had been within the team, evaporated and the ‘troublesome’ director actually had some valid points that were incorporated into future plans.

 

References:

Hawkins, J. & Blakeslee, S. (2004). On Intelligence.Times Books.
Hedden, T., & Gabrieli, J. D. e. (2006). The ebb and flow of attention in the human brain. Nature Neuroscience, 9,863-865.

Categories
Relationships

Self Sabotage – Changing Your Relationship will Change Your Life

Self Sabotage – Change is not the enemy.

Do you promise to work on a failing relationship or walk out on it… and five weeks, five months, five years down the line, you are still with the same person, the same pain…  how many situations like this do you encounter daily, weekly, monthly, year in, year out. What is it in you that stops you from creating the change you want in your life, despite your very best intentions. Here is a shocking example of just what happens when you except the non acceptable…

One of the greatest challenges you face when it comes to overcoming self sabotage is “change” plain and simple. At a below conscious level your mind is designed to keep you comfortable and this invariably leads to you not wanting to change your eating habits, poor behaviours and even toxic relationships. Here is a cautionary tale of what happened to a woman who was in a self sabotage type of relationship.

A friend of mine called Stuart is a district judge and he told me about a woman who, after twenty years of marriage, filed for divorce. The woman told Stuart, who was a young lawyer at the time, that her husband had beaten her up every Friday night since they first got married. She said that he would return from the pub and promptly attack her. Stuart said that she had an unquestionable reason for divorcing him, but the woman said that that wasn’t the reason for her seeking a divorce. Believe it or not, what had triggered her into taking action was the fact that “recently he has started going out on a Saturday night and giving me the same treatment when he comes home and that won’t do at all!”

Wanting the world to stay the same can be self sabotaging 

The Friday night beatings were known and part of a familiar pattern, something she had learned to live with. The Saturday night beatings were different and a challenge to the status quo, finally bringing her out of her comfort zone. In the chaos and confusion that was created by this change, she found the wherewithal to make a positive transformation in her life and was able to access the many more, infinite possibilities that existed outsider her abusive marriage. If only that lady knew what else is outside the box, she could have saved herself years and years of pain and misery. Some people would sooner die than change.

Opportunity, and lots of it, is just around the next bend if you are willing to go beyond your comfort zone and beyond self sabotage? The more you step outside the box, the more fear you face, the more opportunity you will encounter – and the more likely you’ll be to live the life you’ve always dreamed of!

The Saboteur Within is going to show you how to stop self sabotage; break out of your box, tear down those walls, and to conquer the fear that’s been holding you back. So far you’ve been outnumbered. The conscious mind is the tip of the iceberg; it accounts for about 5% of your daily thoughts. The other 95%?  That’s your entire unconscious mind; that’s all you hear, all day long, telling you “no” instead of “yes” and “don’t” instead of “do.” Taking control at this level of consciousness means that you can stop self sabotage now.

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Transformational

A One Word Transformation

The Doctor and the Bridge…

or a One Word Transformation

Here is another simple example that never made it into “The Saboteur Within” and yet the client had tried for years to resolve her problem to no avail.

A Medical Doctor called me up a while back to ask if I could work with her fear of driving over a bridge. She lived on one side of the river Tyne and worked in the hospital just 10 minutes away by car, over the bridge, but since she had a morbid fear of travelling over bridges she would take the long drive to work via the tunnel, adding an extra hour each way to her journey!

When the doctor arrived I asked her what her presenting problem was and she said “I have a fear of driving over a bridge”, “Hmmm!” I said “so have I” The doctor glared at me in and growled “So, how are you going to help me then?” I gave a very puzzled look, back to her and said “ I would have thought that everyone is terrified at the thought of going over a bridge, but I am okay with the thought of going across one!

The Doctor was expressionless for a moment and then burst into laughter, we had a little chat about this and that and she left. About an hour later she called to say that she had driven over several bridges and was cured!

How did it work?

  • Picture a bridge inside your mind
  • Imagine going over it
  • Now imagine going across it
  • For some people there is no difference but for others over means off the edge, whilst across has the other end connected

Sometimes the one right word or phrase is all it takes to transform your map of the world…

Categories
Health

The Saboteur Within Your Appetite

The secret eating spell….

This is one of my client’s who didn’t make it into the book ‘The Saboteur Within’ but was a very interesting and brief  case study.

I was asked by a daughter if I could work with her mother to eat, the mother let’s call her Mary, had had an operation and although it was successful, Mary had lost her appetite and was becoming very weak and every one was concerned for her.

Mary was in a memorial hospice (cancer patient) and I agreed to do a small scale laughter workshop for the patients, knowing that Mary would be in attendance. When I saw her for the first time I thought “what a wonderful old lady” she was just lovely, the kind of person who captures the term grandma J

The challenge for me was how to engage Mary in a way that could encourage her to eat and to live, as the twinkle in her eye had gone out.

So, at the end of the workshop I was packing my things and about to leave, when it came to me, I told the group that I would come back and do another workshop in a months time as they had been such a good audience, then I invited all of them except for Mary, to join in with my Quiz!

The Quiz would be one small puzzle that I would require the answer to in a month, when I came back and then I left quickly, so as not to get caught up in the argument that was about to happen J

Mary’s daughter wasn’t happy Mary was annoyed in fact I think everyone was angry with me J

Anyway a month passed and I went back to the hospice and standing in the door way was a very stern looking Mary.

“Why didn’t you let me have a go at your quiz?” she barked

“What quiz?” I pretended not to remember

“You know what quiz! Anyway the answer is “8” it’s been going through my mind all month “8”, “8” so, there’s your answer” she snapped at me in a rather indignant manner.

Mary had regained her appetite during the last month and was eating well and I chuckled with her that “I was only teasing “

What was the quiz?

The quiz was simply “What is between 7 and 9?” now what was this going to do?

  • Engage Mary by discounting her from the quiz
  • Engage Mary’s family on a common purpose “hate me”
  • This new common purpose stops them pestering Mary to eat
  • Mary has fire in her belly and she needs to get her strength up to face me
  • Mary’s mind continues to process “8” or is “ate”
  • “ate” is the past tense of having eaten, which presupposes that one has
  • Mary was now eating naturally and food wasn’t the enemy, I was J

There are lots of examples like this one in my no1 international best selling book “The Saboteur Within” and I am available to talk on the subject of self-sabotage and all things unconscious, so contact me and let’s help you, your friends, your family and even your business to be free of self sabotage.

Categories
Business

Work Life Balance May be Easier Than You Think

Many philosophers have written about the nature of ‘reality’ Carl Jung theorised that you must maintain a relationship between the conscious and unconscious processes of the mind, in order that your psyche may be enriched. Jung believed that without this communication, unconscious processes cold become weak and even threaten the personality, from his map of the world, Jung realised that the reality you perceived equalled the reality that you projected.  In other words life is what you make it.

DeLoache (2004) established Dual Representational Theory, which shows that a person has the ‘ability to attribute characteristics and meanings to things that don’t actually possess them’ in other words by imagining ones own reality, you can make anything ‘real’

Morgan (2006) who had created a detailed number of metaphoric viewpoints of an organisation, which if you were to implement within your own organisation, you might glean more information about organisational change and how it effects people. Morgan’s methodology being the way you think about your organisation will define how you act within it. Morgan believed that the tacit knowledge of top performing leaders and managers came from their ‘subconscious’ ability to create metaphors of the organisation and act accordingly in line with this mental map

So, your perceived metaphor of your organisation might be supporting you and encouraging you to succeed but what if isn’t?

What if it’s like ‘a battlefield’

‘a fight’

‘a war zone’

Can you see how that ‘reality’ might be impacting upon your unconscious processes?

 

When the world-renowned leadership and change guru at Harvard Business School John Kotter (2006) wrote  ‘Eight Steps to effective organisational change’, he plainly and simply, captured the complexities of organisational change and laid out a process for any leader or organisation to follow. He simplified the process in his metaphorical published piece, “Our Iceberg Is Melting” a fable about penguins. Perhaps by utilising the metaphor Kotter was better able to get his fundamental change process message out to millions of people around the planet.

Morgan (2006) has created a detailed number of metaphoric viewpoints of an organisation which when you apply them to your organisation, may help your own internal landscape to shift. Morgan’s methodology being the way you think about your organisation will define how you act within it. He believed that the tacit knowledge of top performing leaders and managers came from their ‘subconscious’ ability to create metaphors of the organisation and act accordingly in line with this mental map.

So, are your current metaphors helping you at work or in life?

What are you waiting for?

Your perception is all that there is and all that there ever will be…

 

References

DeLoache, JD (2004). Becoming symbol-minded Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8(2): pp. 66-70

Kotter, J.P (2006). Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions . Harvard: Macmillan.

Morgan, G (1986). Images of Organization. 2nd ed. London: Sage Publications. pp.3,337

Personality and Personal Growth (6th ed.)
Frager, R., & Fadiman, J. (2005). New York: Pearson
Prentice Hall pg. 56:

Categories
Health

Self Sabotaging Your Health and Fitness

Are You Self Sabotaging Your Health and Fitness?

I’d like to tell you about a good friend of mine who runs a gym. He is always amazed at the clients who come in and sign-up for a three-year membership. Why? Because after three weeks about 75% of them stop coming altogether. And after about three months, he’s down to about 4% of those original members. He calls it “sleeping” money because he doesn’t have to do anything about it after the initial two- to three-week flurry is over except sleep and watch the money come in. You might be wondering about his moral obligations, but after thirty years in the health and fitness industry, he knows that no matter what he does; personal training, one to one, telephoning you to encourage you to come along, he’s tried them all! He knows the age old saying is true, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”. So, here he is today having to accept money for a service that he knows he won’t be able to deliver because his new clients will sabotage themselves. “Every now and again someone just gets it! And they transform their life.” He says, “If I could bottle what they have, I could change the world!” Well reader, here is your bottle, drink deeply.

Just consider for a moment why in the world anyone would join a gym and immediately sign up for a three-year membership? It’s human nature, of course. We’re so excited about losing weight, about shaping up, about changing our lives, that if one year is good, then two years is better; and if two years is better, then three years is best! The only problem is; our motivation to change rarely lasts three weeks, let alone three years.

When’s the most popular time to sell a three-year gym membership? January, of course! After all, it’s the time for New Year’s resolutions, for doing what we know is best for our mind, body, and soul.

It’s also the time when our conscious mind is strongest. After all, we’re fresh from a solid week of holiday eating; we’re lazy from the winter weather, and soft from taking it too easy for too long. What’s more, we consciously know that if we don’t make some kind of healthy change in the beginning of the year, we’re likely not to make it anytime this year.

So, it’s off to the gym we go, fighting the first of the year crowds and burning our bodies sore until we drop from exhaustion back home on the couch. We can keep it up for another few days perhaps, burning a hole in our new tracksuits and wearing down our spiffy new training shoes and then… and then… reality hits.

     The Self Sabotage voice starts creeping into our heads again, telling us:

 

“This’ll never work!”

“You’re not cut out for this!”

“You don’t belong here!”

“You’re too old!”

“Let’s go back home and have some tea!”

“I’m too busy at work/with the kids”

 

You know that voice, don’t you? It’s the sound you’ve been hearing all your life. Often you want to change, to grow, to learn, to reach, and to stretch. And what happens? You get all excited about that new gym membership, that new class, that new boyfriend or girlfriend, that new job, and your conscious mind takes over, for a day or two at least.

Then the voice creeps in, sabotaging all your plans, making you feel weak, insecure, ineffective, and out of place. You fight it for as long as you can, struggling against your nature to succeed until, eventually, it wins out, as it always must – the little voice “wins” and that is that. No more gym, no more track suit, no more trainers. Until next January, that is; and the cycle starts all over again.

Self Sabotage is Driven by Your Emotions

Well, I’m here to tell you that that tiny little voice has a name: your unconscious mind (your very own Saboteur Within). And if that tiny little voice sounds anxious, envious, unhappy, or any other emotion, that’s because… it is your emotions!

Your unconscious wants your life to remain on whatever course you are currently travelling on, always travelling along the path of least resistance, believing that you are perfect just the way you are! So the more you try to change, the more opposition you will encounter. And you are up against your most powerful ally.

How has your Saboteur become so powerful? It’s because your unconscious mind is like a wall that’s been built up brick by brick, minute by minute, month by month, year after year – for decades. It doesn’t matter if you’re 15 years old, your unconscious mind has spent the entire time crafting a careful universe where every hope, dream, desire, pain, anguish, and fear have laid the foundations of your beliefs and values. These “beliefs” and “values” then become the solid bricks with which your unconscious mind builds the very wall that you will one day find yourself trapped inside.

And the older you get, the higher the wall; and the harder it becomes to change… well… anything! However, cheer up! Please, remember that no matter how difficult it might seem to overcome your beliefs and values, you do rule over your universe and your unconscious is always ready to replace tough old bricks for flexible new ones.

Categories
Relationships

To Mother or to Smother?

“I can’t live if living is without you!” there is a song around here somewhere ☺ Think about those words for a moment, what happens if you don’t feel the same way? Or if you would to break up, spend time on your own, or simply breathe. Do you feel you are suffocating within your relationship? Then there may be a “Smother” present.

A “Smother” has very low self-worth and low self–esteem. Giving over his or her whole life for the other person. Though you might think I am about to bash mothers now, you would be wrong, because a Smother can be of either sex. One just has to be willing to believe that one can not live or even breath without thinking about the other, whilst never allowing the other to be anything else than perfect.

It may sound pretty good at first to have a slave at your beck and call and some people survive quite well on this relationship but is it really healthy to breast feed a forty year old? Or to wipe their backside??

Look around you more and more people are handing their lives over to prescription drugs every day, in order to get through life. Just under 46.7 million prescriptions for antidepressants were dispensed in 2011, a rise of 3.9 million on 2010. How depressing must it be then, to have someone jump out in front of you every time you feel like taking a risk, only to supress your thoughts of going out and grabbing a big chunk of life?

This can be a very unconscious process by the way; your mind might just be running an all encompassing pattern of motherhood which causes you to always put yourself second and sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of your child/partner.

This is no picnic for you if you are the one being smothered and you want to be free, because your smother will lay huge guilt trips on you. “oh it’s alright, don’t mind me, and all that I have done for you! Just leave me here alone”. Yes, if this pattern fits, then you will be able to feel the guilt choking you! ☺

So if you are a  “Smother” please seek help and begin to live your own life. You will begin to feel better about yourself and the people that you love will be allowed to love you back, without feeling that they have to!

If you are being smothered then help the other person to get help don’t try this one yourself as there can be a number of issues beneath the surface, just remember love is the driver for this behaviour.

Love lives inside of you and not within someone or something else xxx

Categories
Health

Could you be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

If you are a care-giver, therapist, health professional or you work in an environment where there are a lot of negative emotions, you might not be surprised to learn that you could be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)  or to put it another way Compassion Fatigue.

According to Susanne Babbel, Ph.D., MFT, “the helpers symptoms, frequently unnoticed, may range from psychological issues such as dissociation, anger, anxiety, sleep disturbances, nightmares, to feeling powerless. However, professionals may also experience physical symptoms such as nausea, headaches, general constriction, bodily temperature changes, dizziness, fainting spells, and impaired hearing. All important warning signals for the caregiver that need to be addressed or otherwise might lead to health issues or burnout.” Highlitghting that you do not need to be a soldier to suffer from (PTSD).

Authors and researchers Babette Rothschild hypothesizes that it is the unconscious empathy, the empathy outside awareness and control that might interfere with the well being of the caregiver. Maybe this can give us further insight into (PTSD). When they read the client examples put forward in The Saboteur Within, they will find even more evidence to support their claims.

The great Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky, believed that thought and talk, although they have different roots, they converge when we are children and every aspect of our cultural development appears twice, first on a social level, between people (interpsychological), and then inside ones self (intrapsychological). In a nutshell what he means is, all the higher psychological functions originate as actual relations between human individuals. If Vygotsky is right, then is it any wonder that Compassion Fatigue happens outside of our conscious awareness?

The key to overcoming (PTSD) , therefore, would appear for you to transform the meaning of what you are doing on a day to day basis and remembering who you are at an identity level. It may sound simple but all to often when the unconscious mind gets involved with new learnings, it can become automated, so we would seek to re-engage you to you, yourself, your mind, body and spirit.

Are you a Carer or Health Facilitator? Here is the link to Psychology Today

Categories
Relationships

When is a woman not a woman? When she’s a wife…

I have been reading this article from the New York Times magazine about what does it mean to be a good wife and it got me wondering, perhaps the reasons the author has put forward go even deeper. What if a girl, called Mary, in todays modern world has grown up with a bad mother role model, which may then lend itself to a bad wife role model. All of this happens as Mary is growing up and for the main it goes on at an unconscious level.

Now Mary is on boyfriend 527 and counting as she doesn’t want to commit to a relationship that means marriage, because that means she becomes a “wife” which her unconscious mind is geared to preventing her from doing, as it is associated with pain, misery and hurt.

On the other hand Mary might still be in her first relationship and keeping her partner on the line for 20 years or more, until the partner leaves out of desperation, or forces Mary into getting married, Ouch! Mary might go ahead with the wedding but become increasingly uncomfortable with the relationship and not know why? Unconsciously Mary has become the very thing that she promised she would never be “a wife” so the marriage can be doomed to failure because Mary hasn’t worked with transforming how she can still be herself and that “wife” doesn’t mean imprisonment, or does it?

I have met countless examples of this over the years and it’s an all to common phenomena. Perhaps you know of a couple who have been going out together for years and yet as soon as they got married they split up within a year or so.
If you suffer from this too, you might want to make a list of what “wife” means to you and then ask your partner and friends to make a list also, you will be quite fascinated with the results, I am sure.

Drop me an email with your thoughts please on what wife means to you, change the word to husband and you get a similar result ☺

Categories
Business

Self Sabotage – Do You Self Sabotage Your Own Success

“Procrastination is the fear of success.”

 Denis Waitley

What are you prepared to lose?

For you, success means fulfillment, contentment, happiness and pride. But for your unconscious mind, success means that one area it’s charged with avoiding at all times and at all costs: change!

So, how does The Fear of Success work? Well, in order for you to self sabotage your own success, your inner saboteur will scare the “bejesus” out of you, it will run a series of movies inside your mind showing you many examples of how you will fail to retain your success once you have achieved it.

It’s a little like playing “king of the hill.” According to the Saboteur Within, the minute you get to the top, someone – maybe even yourself – or something will find a way to knock you back down the hill again. Hence it will flood your mind with images of how you will fail to handle the extra responsibility or additional attention that accompanies your success.

Just as your success motivated you to reach the top, the fear of staying there will become a preoccupation; thanks to the unconscious mind. In order that you may remain “safe” in your carefully constructed world, your Saboteur may convince you so strongly of your inability to handle success that you don’t even try to attain your goal in the first place. Whether it’s a new relationship, a job, losing weight, deciding to study and get a better education, or whatever your definition of success might be, thanks to the Fear of Success you might be too afraid to reach for your own dreams.

 Self Sabotage Your Own Success

The inevitable result is that, sadly, the Fear of Success can force you to let these wonderful chances slip through your fingers. If you succumb to the Fear of Success, you will lead an unfulfilled existence, as your Saboteur convinces you that under-achieving is the safe, comfortable and stress free way to be, why put yourself to all of that trouble and worry when you are unlikely to succeed, you won’t be able to handle it, or people will think you have got above yourself.  These are the type of messages and internal arguments your Saboteur will use against your conscious mind to keep you within the safe and predictable confines of your comfort zone.

 You never notice Self Sabotage until it’s to late

When Susan came to my office that day in January, she was desperate to resolve her “sabotaging ways,” as she put it. Susan’s presenting problem was that she had had several careers during her working life, none of which had made her wealthy, stating that she “always had enough, but never more than enough” and all of her careers had systematically ended when she was offered promotions and much greater financial rewards. In other words, whenever she was given the opportunity to be successful, she would screw it up!

Now, here she was at age fifty-five, divorced, and determined that she could make good. Susan’s urgency for the session was because she had been offered a “get rich quick” scam – I mean, scheme (honest!) – she had found it on the internet and the promise that was being made by their sales pitch was that this scheme would deliver abundance and ultimately, “More than enough.” The problem was, as she saw it, “her Saboteur was talking her out of this plan she had to become successful.”

This seemed the most opportune time for her, as her company was offering her another promotion with all the usual trappings. Susan had been there many times before and she wasn’t about to screw up yet another promotion. This time she wanted to break loose of the vicious circle she believed that she was trapped inside, take a risk and reap the rewards promised by the scheme/scam. There was no way that Susan was going to prevent herself from having financial abundance and happiness this time!

“Now to fund the scheme,” Susan explained. “Rather than accept the promotion that is on offer, I can take voluntary redundancy from my job, and that will give me the cash lump sum I need to buy into the scheme. I don’t mind leaving as I am being pressured into taking this promotion and I’m really reluctant to do that, because I will be required to study for an additional qualification, which will mean putting my life on hold for six months while I take the exams that are necessary, and I want everything now!”

I pieced together Susan’s life beginning with her family. She was the youngest of six children; she had passed her “11-plus,” which allowed her free entry to private education, where in her final year she flunked out of school. I will get deeper into the unconscious patterns another time, but for now let’s simply say that Susan was afraid of being successful because she thought that she would be an outside, to the rest of her family, the odd one out with the spotlight clearly shining on her, and highlighting the fact that she was ‘different’.

You see, when Susan flunked out of school, it was because being one of six kids, and suddenly propelled out of her home environment, she never felt that her family was behind her. Yes, when she first got her scholarship it was exciting and everybody talked about it when it was news, but now, four years on, Susan was fast becoming a “cuckoo” in not only her school, but also her family’s nest. It seemed that she didn’t feel at home in either place.

Her Saboteur mounted a double-pronged attack. In order that Susan could remain within the status quo of her family, where nobody had excelled academically in the past, her personal Saboteur Within filled her mind full of thoughts, like, “Who do you think you are?”, “Nobody likes a clever clogs!”, “You talk too posh”, “You’re not one of us anymore!” and on and on, making Susan feel out of place in her own home. Whilst at school the posh, fee-paying students made fun of her less than posh accent and made cruel remarks about the part of town that she lived in. Eventually, Susan cracked under the pressure of feeling like a cuckoo in her family’s nest and she quit the school, as success meant that she would remain an outcast.

“So Susan here we are,” I finally said to her. “Forty years on, only six months, and one exam to allow you to be successful and have financial freedom.” Susan nodded uncertainly before I added, “Or, we work on what you’ve asked me and I encourage you to throw it all away and gamble your hard earned savings and your redundancy payment on a scheme that, if it fails, leaves you jobless and broke! It sounds to me like your Saboteur has brought you here to continue an old pattern.” Susan’s face was crestfallen; she’d never heard it put in such blunt terms before! “Let’s examine the two scenarios in front of you,” I said calmly. “In the first one you gain financial freedom and status, which will allow you extra cash to put into schemes, yes?” Susan nodded. “And the second will have your whole family talking about you and worrying as they have done many times before, hmmm! It sounds like there is a Saboteur at work somewhere,” I smiled.

Susan took a deep breath and admitted, “The truth is, I’ve taken that exam three times and failed every time! I don’t know what it is! I can do the job standing on my head. All of the other exams to get me to this level I got straight A’s but this one… I just go blank when I sit down to take it.”

After her confession, Susan sighed heavily. I told Susan about Jonathon Livingstone Seagull, how even as a seagull he had ambition and how his flock was very uncomfortable with his dreams and aspirations. In order to achieve his goals and fulfill his true potential, he had to overcome the worries and concerns that his friends and family raised, not only in an effort to keep him safe from, but also trying to ensure he didn’t show them up to be lacking in courage and imagination. Jonathon Livingston Seagull is a terrific book by Richard Bach. It is packed full of wisdom and will only take you a couple of hours to read.

An Explanation of Self Sabotage

Then, in laymen’s terms, I explained that the Saboteur was preventing Susan from getting what she wanted because it would mean that she was successful. The status that went with it would change this duckling into a swan and her Saboteur had filled her mind full of thoughts that boiled down to, “You’re not worthy!”

Tears welled in Susan’s eyes as she stared off into space, running through all of her past examples, where the finishing line was within her grasp and she failed to take the final steps.

Susan was a smart woman and she sat there open mouthed as the realisation of how her Saboteur had been playing her, her whole life long, but not this day. Her lips came together with a resolute pout and a solid determination concretised her as she said, “Today is the day that I turn my life around!”

As we worked through the coming months, with her fear of success long gone, Susan effortlessly passed her exam and was very comfortable with her new company director status.