Did you know you have a saboteur? Get yours handled and your business will move ahead in leaps and bounds!

overcoming saboteur


A reader writes: I feel I could be achieving so much more in life. I tend to focus on my weaknesses and failures, and have always got reasons why I can’t do something. It’s almost as if I have an internal saboteur holding me back. Help!


Everyone has a saboteur. Its purpose is to resist change, there by keeping you safe whilst at the same time ensuring that you are missing out on some of the upsides of business success


Saboteur-like behaviour comes in various guises, and it is important to simply notice these behaviours. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Procrastination – especially putting off the difficult stuff, not going for something in case you fail, lack of confidence, inertia, apathy, expecting disappointment, being distracted, feeling confused.
  • Putting others first: not asking for support, not saying “no”.
  • Doing too much: being driven, getting overwhelmed, poor time management.
  • Not believing in yourself: letting people dominate
  • Needing to be perfect
  • Beating yourself up: negative self talk
  • Being impulsive, giving up too soon.

The list goes on…


If you recognise some of these behaviours in yourself, don’t despair! There are many ways to disarm your saboteur.


Start by making your saboteur your friend. Accept these behaviours as normal. You may even be able to laugh at them.  Next set an intention of being willing and open to change


Tune into your saboteur and have a conversation with him, her or it. You do this by writing (using your non-dominant hand for the saboteur), have a direct conversation in your imagination, or you can do chair work (whereby you become the saboteur in chair one, and then yourself in chair two, and keep switching chairs as necessary).


Start by finding out his name, or does he identify himself by his behaviour e.g. victim (“Help me!”), or rescuer (“I’ll look after you”!).  You can ask questions such as

  • What are you here for?
  • What are the positive payoffs of your behaviours?
  • What shall I do?


When you have the answers – take the necessary action. If you don’t get any specific answers, a guess will often be bang on!


Fran’s story illustrates how this can work.  Fran started a new consultancy contract which she enjoyed – but there was too much work and tight deadlines.  Before long she had put on a huge amount of weight. When she asked her saboteur what this was all about – the answer came back. She was given a bigger body so she would feel more powerful, and so that she could register her discontent. All she needed to do was to say no to excess work, insist on reasonable deadlines, explain why this was beneficial for her employers and they would respect her and her weight would drop off again. She put this into action, and her weight did drop off.


When you have your answers, say “thank-you” to your saboteur. Surround this part of yourself with understanding, compassion, caring and love. Start practising positive self talk and/or use affirmations from now-on. Use these processes, whenever you need to. I promise you, they work!


Negative self-thoughts often are a real problem when it comes to Mastering the Inner game; I hope this article helps you get motivated and achieve success when it comes to learning how to be a business owner.



How do you deal with your inner saboteur? Share your tips.


This article was written by Karen Skehel