Published: Apr 10, 2024
Written by: Kelsey

Break Free from Negativity: How to Overcome Your Inner Saboteurs

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Introduction to Saboteurs: What They Are and How They Operate

Saboteurs are the internal enemies that whisper words of doubt and criticism, feeding on our insecurities and fears, often rooted in early life experiences. Their primary goal? To keep us within our comfort zones, far away from perceived risks and, regrettably, away from potential growth and success. Identifying and understanding these saboteurs is crucial in disarming their influence in our lives.

The Judge

The Judge is considered the master saboteur and is present in everyone. It criticizes you, others, and your circumstances, often leading to stress, dissatisfaction, and a lack of compassion. The Judge is quick to point out shortcomings and slow to celebrate successes, keeping you trapped in a cycle of negativity.

The Accomplice Saboteurs

Accompanying the Judge are ten accomplice saboteurs, each with unique traits that can undermine our personal and professional growth:

  1. The Stickler: Perfectionism can lead to procrastination and lack of creativity due to fear of making mistakes.
  2. The Pleaser: Seeking acceptance and affection by helping, pleasing, or rescuing others, often at the cost of one’s needs and goals.
  3. The Hyper-Achiever: Depending on constant performance and achievement for self-respect and self-validation, leading to unsustainable workaholic tendencies.
  4. The Victim: Focused on internal feelings, particularly negative ones, to gain attention and affection, often resulting in a lack of empowerment and self-efficacy.
  5. The Hyper-Rational is an excessive focus on logical thinking, often at the expense of emotional connection and empathy, which can hinder relationships and teamwork.
  6. The Hyper-Vigilant: Constantly on the lookout for what could go wrong, leading to anxiety, stress, and a significant drain on energy.
  7. The Restless: They are always in search of the next thing or new experience, leading to a lack of fulfillment and difficulty focusing on current tasks or relationships.
  8. The Controller: An intense need to take charge and make things happen, often leading to stress for oneself and others and a failure to delegate or collaborate effectively.
  9. The Avoider: Focusing on the positive and pleasant to avoid complex tasks or confrontations, leading to unaddressed problems and conflicts.
  10. The Comparer: Constantly comparing oneself to others, leading to jealousy, envy, and a lack of intrinsic self-worth.

Each of these saboteurs operates by hijacking our thoughts and reactions to situations, steering us away from our true potential. In our personal lives, they can cause stress, anxiety, and unhappiness by undermining our relationships and self-esteem. Professionally, they can sabotage our success by impeding effective decision-making, creativity, and collaboration.

Understanding the traits and operations of these saboteurs is the first step towards disarming them. Awareness allows us to recognize when they are at play and begin countering their influence with the power of our Sage, the inherent source of wisdom, growth, and positive perspective within each of us.

In the coming sections, we’ll explore how to identify your dominant saboteurs and strategies for using mental fitness to counteract their effects, paving the way for a journey of inner strength and professional success.

The Impact of Saboteurs on Our Personal and Professional Lives

Saboteurs, with their insidious whispers and cunning strategies, affect our inner peace and have tangible effects on every aspect of our lives. Their influence can be far-reaching, affecting everything from our closest relationships to our career trajectories. Understanding the breadth of this impact is crucial for recognizing the importance of overcoming these internal adversaries.

Personal Impact

Strained Relationships: Saboteurs like the Pleaser or Controller can lead to patterns of behavior that strain relationships. For instance, the Pleaser might prioritize others’ needs to the detriment of their own, leading to resentment and burnout. In contrast, the Controller might push loved ones away with their need for dominance.

Diminished Self-Esteem: The Judge, constantly critiquing and comparing, can erode self-esteem, making one feel never good enough. This relentless self-criticism can lead to a lack of confidence and a reluctance to pursue new opportunities or relationships.

Hindered Personal Development: The Avoider might shun challenging situations crucial for growth. At the same time, the Hyper-Rational may dismiss emotional intelligence, an essential component of personal development. This avoidance of growth opportunities keeps us from realizing our full potential.

Professional Impact

Stifled Creativity: Stickler’s fear of making mistakes can quash creativity and innovation, which are crucial for problem-solving and advancement in today’s dynamic work environments. A workplace dominated by saboteurs like the Stickler becomes risk-averse and stagnant.

Reduced Productivity: The Restless saboteur constantly seeks new stimuli, often leading to multitasking and distraction, significantly reducing focus and productivity. Similarly, the Hyper-Vigilant’s stress about potential problems can consume one’s focus, leaving little energy for actual productive work.

Sabotaged Opportunities for Advancement: The Comparer can be particularly debilitating for female entrepreneurs, leading to constant self-doubt and underestimation of one’s capabilities. An absence of confidence or fear of failure may result in missed opportunities for leadership or innovation.

Impact on Leadership and Team Dynamics: Saboteurs like Hyper-Achiever and Controller can negatively impact leadership style and team dynamics. The relentless drive of the Hyper-Achiever might prioritize results over well-being, leading to burnout and disengagement among team members. The Controller’s need to dictate can stifle team initiative and creativity, preventing the development of a collaborative and empowering work culture.

The Cumulative Effect

The cumulative effect of saboteurs in our personal and professional lives can be profound. They limit our individual growth and happiness and affect our relationships, work satisfaction, and overall life satisfaction. Their presence can create a vicious cycle where the very efforts to avoid discomfort and failure directly lead to them. Recognizing and addressing these saboteurs is about individual well-being and creating healthier, more productive, and fulfilling lives and workplaces.

In the following sections, we’ll explore techniques for identifying your dominant saboteurs and strategies for using mental fitness to counteract their influences. Understanding and overcoming our saboteurs can unlock our full potential, foster stronger relationships, and achieve tremendous success in our personal and professional endeavours.

Techniques for Identifying Your Dominant Saboteurs and Strategies for Countering Them with Mental Fitness

Identifying and counteracting our inner saboteurs is a transformative journey toward inner strength and professional success. Mental Fitness provides a robust framework for this journey, offering techniques to uncover our saboteurs and strategies to develop our Sage powers.

Here’s how you can start this enlightening process:

Identifying Your Dominant Saboteurs

  1. Reflect on Triggers: Begin by reflecting on situations that trigger stress, anxiety, or negative emotions. What patterns emerge? Which saboteurs’ voices do you hear during these moments?
  2. Saboteur Assessment: As a PQCoach™ in our coaching program, it offers a Saboteur Assessment tool that can help you identify your primary saboteurs. This personalized assessment gives insight into how these saboteurs operate in your life.
  3. Journaling: Journaling your daily experiences with saboteurs can provide clarity. Note the circumstances, feelings, and thoughts that arise. Over time, you’ll see which saboteurs appear most frequently.

Strategies for Using Positive Intelligence™ to Counteract Saboteurs

Mental fitness is not just about identifying saboteurs; it’s about building the mental muscles to shift from saboteur to Sage thinking. Here are key strategies:

  1. PQ Reps: These are simple mindfulness exercises designed to weaken saboteurs by activating different regions of the brain associated with the Sage. Regular practice increases your mental fitness, making it easier to engage your Sage.
  2. Shift Your Perspective: When you catch a saboteur at work, consciously shift your perspective. Ask yourself, “What would my Sage say?” This helps in viewing the situation as an opportunity for growth and learning.
  3. Cultivate Self-Compassion: The Judge can be particularly harsh on ourselves. Counteract this by practicing self-compassion. Remind yourself of your humanity, efforts, and growth rather than focusing solely on flaws or mistakes.
  4. Engage Your Sage Powers: Develop and use your Sage’s five powers (Empathize, Explore, Innovate, Navigate, Activate) to approach challenges with curiosity, creativity, and calmness.

The Positive Intelligence™ Program: A Tool for Transformation

As a PQCoach™ of the mental fitness framework created by Shirzad Chamine, I’ve witnessed the profound impact it can have on individuals’ personal and professional lives. This program isn’t just about overcoming negative thoughts; it’s a comprehensive approach to enhancing emotional intelligence, resilience, and overall mental fitness.

Using this model, I work with clients to help them recognize their saboteurs, understand their effects, and develop strategies to activate their Sage. Whether it’s navigating career transitions, improving leadership skills, or enhancing personal relationships, Positive Intelligence™ provides the tools for success.

  • By embracing the principles of Positive Intelligence™, you’re not just combating saboteurs; you’re investing in a lifelong journey toward greater fulfillment, success, and well-being.

As we wrap up this week’s exploration of saboteurs, remember that identifying and overcoming these internal adversaries is a journey. It requires patience, practice, and persistence. But the rewards—increased resilience, personal empowerment, and professional success—are worth the effort. In our next post, we’ll explore the five Sage powers and how to use them to enhance innovation, clarity, and empowerment.

Join us as we continue to build our mental fitness and transform our challenges into our most significant opportunities.

Until next time, keep listening, keep learning, and let’s turn those saboteurs into stepping stones toward our success.

Chat soon,



Written by Kelsey Bornyk

My name is Kelsey Bornyk, and I am an artist, creator, chronic illness warrior, and coach who helps:

Guide female entrepreneurs to create calm, clarity and success in their business.

Transform challenges, break through barriers, and step into your power.

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