Within all of us, both the sage and the saboteur exist. Business strategist Tony Robbins does a great job of explaining how these manifest:
“Saboteurs are the set of mind patterns that govern your every move. They automatically influence your beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors, and they are steering you in the wrong direction — that is, you’re sabotaging yourself…The sage is your infinite wisdom and it’s the good part of this equation. When your sage is activated, you’re operating from another part of the brain. It guides you to your deepest insight. It helps you make good decisions; it is balanced and does not involve the ego.”
Your inner sage and saboteur act as cycles of decision. We can become either the saboteur (victim) or the sage (owner). The sage or wisdom-filled parts of ourselves lead us to recognize, own, self-examine and take action. The saboteur wants us to deny, blame, rationalize, resist, and ultimately hide. Hiding always seems like the easier option because you do not have to face whatever is challenging you, but this means no self-examination or subsequent growth.
Shirzad Chamine, an author and past CEO of one of the largest executive coaching companies, wrote a book on Positive Intelligence. He describes it as the difference between your mind serving you instead of sabotaging you. Chamine’s research reveals that teams working to strengthen their PQ perform 30-35% better on average and report being far happier and less stressed. I recommend reading more into Chamine’s philosophy and taking the PQ test on his website.
Questioning Your Inner Self
The big difference between the saboteur and sage might sound as simple as having a positive outlook. However, two steps make this more difficult: one, recognizing when the saboteur has taken over, and two, consistently intervening saboteur behavior and pivoting to sage-like actions. This is where self-awareness and internal intentions become your tools and sidekicks.
Pause and ask yourself questions to pinpoint what has gone wrong or right in a situation. When is my saboteur triggered? When am I able to be more reflective on my choices?
Our inner sage gives us deeper insight where the saboteur creates a clouded view where there will only be regression. Once triggered, we all have a choice to show up with the sage power or sabotage our situation.
I ask you to create awareness around your choices. Recognize and bring attention to how you instinctually react and where your actions could be more sage and insightful. The ultimate leadership skill is recognizing where you went wrong and shifting your behavior in the future. It is also the hardest part of being a leader, but the tool that will pay off the most.
“Your mind is your best friend, but it is also your very worst enemy.”
~ Shirzad Chamine
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