Monday, March 12, 2012

How Your Career Saboteur Operates - Second in a Series

You have decided that you want to start your own business.

Or you want to change careers.

Or perhaps you want to apply for a promotion you feel you "barely qualify" for, or even apply to your dream company.

Welcome to the land of the saboteur.

Last week's post asked you to think of one to three big, "dream-worthy" things that you have wanted to accomplish in your career but haven't been able to. If you haven't done this already, go back to it now and do it. You're going to need them going forward. Because today we are going to get intimate with your saboteur, rooting him/her out and connecting in a way that you haven't done so previously. But, right now, we need to learn about what the concept of resistance.

In his book Do the Work, Steven Pressfield speaks of resistance, ultimately confirming that "any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity" will be welcomed with resistance.

You know what I'm about to say: your saboteur is what generates the resistance. Because your saboteur only comes into play when you're dreaming big. It's not your saboteur that keeps you from eating a piece of rotten fruit that will make you ill or keeps you from jumping off of a 20-story building. You may think it is, but it isn't. The saboteur is different from your physical survival instinct. The latter keeps you from dying; the former keeps your dreams-and you-from living.

In order to build the resilience to counter your saboteur's resistance, you need to get to know him/her. This is our next assignment.

Assignment #2: How Your Saboteur Operates
At the top of a page, write one of your career dreams from the last assignment. Underneath that, note all of the saboteur-like statements that arise when reflecting on that dream: statements that undermine your power, want to keep you safe, discount your magnificence, and strive to keep you the same. Make the list as exhaustive as possible. Finally-after you have done this with all of your career dreams-answer these questions about your saboteur (note: this requires a modicum of creativity and playfulness; just go with it):

- What is your saboteur's name?
- What does your saboteur look like? Describe him/her physically.
- What does his/her voice sound like?
- Where does your saboteur live? Describe his/her home.
- When do you first remember your saboteur first communicating with you?
- How has your saboteur evolved over the years?
- Under what circumstances is your saboteur the loudest? The quietest?
- What can your saboteur claim credit for costing you in your life?
- What makes your saboteur as powerful has he/she is?

Next week: what to do about your career saboteur.

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