Our true potential lies within our own shadows.
Following our dreams and living an authentic creative life is one of the most challenging and incredible rides you will ever take your whole Self on. It's magic, enchanted, and flows from deep within your soul, one moment it can feel like your spirit is soaring with eagles and everything is flowing as you always wished it would ... and then in the blink of an eye it can have you tumbling out of the sky and crashing down onto the valley floor, and as you roll round hitting the rocks, you are left feeling battered, bruised and quite frankly, a mess, wondering how the hell you got here.
Getting back up can feel like one hell of a challenge, and as for flying again ...
Then there's those of us who haven't even dared to try ruffling our feathers, let alone feel the beating of our wings. We can feel lost and so desperately alone, lacking a sense of belonging, unsure why you are even here or which direction you want to go in the first place. It can leave you feeling empty, have you hiding in a corner, feeling like an imposter afraid to share your (he)art, (after all that's what real art is isn't it?) your authenticity. Following your dreams, your creative call, can be one of the most debilitating journeys when your inner conversation tells you you're not good enough, your creations aren't good enough and no-one wants what you've got anyway.
It can leave you feeling unmotivated, resentful, diconnected, like there's no point in even trying as your talent never gets the recognition it deserves and your creative genius never gets to shine the way you know it deserves too, wants too, has too if you want to make it work and make those dreams happen that live inside of you.
And goddam that comparison thief for stealing that last bit of joy... don't even get me started on vulnerability.
You are not alone
You really aren't ...
Ground breaking research with over 500,000 students in 50 countries including Stanford students, Top Athletes, CEO's and Executives found 10 well disguised saboteurs. These saboteurs impact not just who we are, they impact our creative performance and the success of our creative practice.
Saboteur is the term used to describe our negative mental and emotional patterns when we make decisions.
Our saboteurs are who we are in our reactive state. We know when they are present as life feels like we are pushing up hill rather than that pull that comes with going in the right direction. We display blame and apathy as we become a passenger of our lives rather than directing it. We don't take action and if we do, it's for all the wrong reasons. We are always right from our saboteurs perspective - with a very black and white outlook on whatever opportunity we are being presented with. At it's worst The Saboteur shuts down our creative spirit, our life force energy, and we survive in life rather than thrive.
The Saboteur perspective holds us in a reactive state, causing significant damage to our authentic creative Self, our dreams, our relationships with others and our professional lives, it can have us falling out of love with our businesses and giving up on our dreams and if left undetected - we live our whole lives through the distorted lens of The Saboteurs and the limitations they place on us.
The Saboteurs hide us from the power and the magic of our Authentic Creative Self, holding us back from our true potential, and we become our own worst enemy.
When we explore our Saboteurs from the perspective of our growth we see the opportunities each of our Saboteurs have to gift us. As we begin to understand those gifts, we recognise that the path to our Creative Self, our potential, our dreams and aspirations - lies in the shadows that these saboteurs cast over us.
Without a deep understanding of our saboteurs and a strategy of how to deal with them, we struggle to know how to stay in creative flow - the state in which we reach our potential and grow, and are stuck consciously or unconsciously in a state of creative block.
The Saboteurs are how we stand in our own way.
The Judge Saboteur is the ringleader of all saboteur behaviors. Its role is to exaggerate the negative and assume the worst, triggering a fight, flight or freeze response, activating our accomplice saboteurs to join in its dance, keeping us in a state of fear.
The Judge shows up in your life in three ways - how you judge your Self, others and your circumstances and impacts how we live our lives, run our businesses and our authentic creative expression.
The Procrastinator (or The Avoider) saboteur does everything it can to stay away from difficult and unpleasant tasks. It over emphasizing positivity out of a need to avoid the discomfort of challenging situations or conflict. This Procrastinator - the bane of most creatives lives, has trouble saying no and downplays the importance of real problems and tries its hardest to deflect others.
THE SCATTERED CREATIVE
The Scattered Creative is just that - this saboteur has our creative focus, energy and passion scattered all over the place. It loves to start new projects and keeps us distracted from the fullness of our creative genius by constantly seeking new stimulation - it will have us digging 100 wells 10ft deep and never hitting water rather than staying the course of one well, digging 100ft and reaching gold.
The Perfectionist saboteur (also known as The Stickler) is our Inner Creators worst enemy. Whilst becoming a master of our artistry stretches and grows our talent, perfectionism see's us over creating and labeling what we create as not good enough, or worse still, not even trying. This saboteur despises failure and believes that if you can't do something properly not to bother doing it at all - blocking our innate talent and disrupting the state of our creative flow.
In its indirect attempt to gain acceptance The Pleaser often loses sight of his or her own needs.The Pleaser will sell its soul to the devil to be liked. Creatively The Pleaser wants to fit in, constantly seeking others approval of their work, this silences their authentic creative self, never standing out from the crowd and being seen, heard and acknowledged for their true self, which often leaves The Pleaser feeling lost and empty but not knowing why.
The Victim Saboteur limits our creative success by always focusing on the problem and never a solution. I'm not good enough to do this, I don't have enough ..., I can't do that because, no-one understands me, I wish someone would rescue me - I just want to do the creative stuff - if only someone else would come along and do all the other bits for me. Who wants to listen to me anyway? The Victim Saboteur moves from one drama to another and can often find themselves in toxic situations and environments and caught up in gossip.
The Controller has a strong need to control and take charge, with a very black and white view point - its either 'my way or the high way'. Whilst The Controller undoubtedly gets stuff done and comes alive when achieving the impossible, it limits creative flow through its inability to co-create or see past its own limitations. One of the biggest areas of creative growth for The Controller is to open up to others ideas and not close the innovation process down because of an 'I'm right' mentality and needs to learn to move from a no but to a yes and mindset.
THE HYPER ACHIEVER
You may have achieved a lot already, you may on paper read as everything success should look like, you have the awards, you've achieved great things, you set goals and smash them, anything you put your mind too you know you can achieve ... and yet you never feel like you are there yet, that no matter how hard you try that something you can't quite put your finger on is always missing ... and so you keep on trying, striving to feed that yearning for more, never really knowing or understanding what that more looks or feels like - and for whatever reason, you just don't have enough, feel enough. Fed by the burning desire to reach your potential, you keep on going chasing the illusive dream that never seems to arrive.
THE HYPER RATIONAL
The Hyper-rational saboteur displays an active and intense mind. Intellect and intense focus are talents that this saboteur hides behind. The Hyper-Rational saboteurs creative experience becomes text book rather than experiential, hanging its values on knowledge and insight, it rarely embodies the wisdom of its learning from the richness of experiencing knowledge in action. Whilst the Hyper-Rational maybe intellectually superior, its emotional and creative intelligence are low.
THE HYPER VIGILANT
Living life in a constant state of fearing what might go wrong, The Hyper-Vigilant saboteur creates intense anxiety around all the what if's - focusing on the dangers in any situation, never resting from being alert too or alerting others of, the possibilities of that danger or any difficulties it believes are on the horizon or in the present moment. This saboteur wastes its own energy focusing unwarranted vigilance on circumstance or situation, with its fear mongering creating a heavy energy that can drag both the Creative Self and the energy of others around it down.