I was invited to give a talk last week for an event in Zug. I carefully prepared some stories and personal anecdotes, some informative and inspiring tidbits of information, and a little advice with the audience members in mind.
Just before I got up to speak, the president gave me the most wonderful and complimentary introduction I’ve ever had. That was unexpected, so much so that it blew me over!
To put it graphically, my dragon (saboteur) harrumphed and screeched upon hearing those “undeserved” words of praise about me as it angrily thrashed about, and then, with one swift movement of its long jagged tail promptly knocked me off my feet!
If you were there that evening, perhaps you sensed my dragon lashing about in the room or perceived my moment of struggle. Needless to say, I lost my bearings. Needless to say, I lost my grounding and my mental clarity too.
The audience was waiting for me to speak. I had to act quickly, but the words that came out of my mouth were not the ones I had chosen to speak, and the tone and quality of voice wasn’t mine! It was the voice of someone who just got knocked down by a vicious dragon.
After about 20 seconds (which felt like half an hour), my inner voice spoke to me. It said just two words, “Begin again”.
In that instant I took a deep breath, took my attention away from the pain I was feeling from my saboteur’s blow, looked to my audience, and said “I’m sorry, I lost my train of thought and I’d like to get it back again.”
I acknowledged the dragon in the room and swiftly brought my attention back to the individuals sitting in front of me, and what I had come to tell them. I began again…
This time I found my voice and my words, and was able to connect with the audience members. My dragon left the room because of my resolve to persevere. I also received some wonderful feedback from audience members that evening, who really appreciated my talk.
We all have a saboteur or inner critic. The saboteur is an archetype or psychological pattern derived from historical figures, such as the Mother, Child, Trickster, Servant, as identified by Carl Jung, who maintained that these archetypes are a part of the “collective unconscious”.
The saboteur is a survival archetype, one that we all have. While the actions and words spoken by the saboteur may seem downright cruel, and it will do anything to get our attention(!), its purpose is not to sabotage us.
According to Caroline Myss:
It’s purpose is to help you learn the many ways in which you undermine, or betray, yourself…The saboteur’s fears are all related to low self-esteem that causes you to make choices that block your own empowerment and success.
If my dragon holds a key to unlocking my own power and success, then I must continue to face it and make it my ally.
What I learned from my dragon (saboteur):
I must learn to accept big complements wholeheartedly with gratitude, and not shy away from them. I must honour my knowledge and experience as a speaker and know that I am more than enough. I must remember that in case of a mistake, I can come back to my breath and begin again. I must value and cherish my capacity to move and inspire people with my words and my voice!
Now it’s your turn!
Instead of feeling wounded and embarrassed by your saboteur, consider its actions and words carefully. If looked at objectively and with curiosity, you just might discover a key to unlocking your power.
Questions for Reflection, Discussion or Journaling
- How conscious are you of your saboteur?
- Are you able to recognise other peoples’ saboteur?
- If your saboteur were a physical being, what would it look and sound like?
- What things does it do and say?
- What’s your saboteur trying to teach you?
- In what ways do you undermine your own success?
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