12 Jan Manage your Saboteur by Finding your Sage
“I really think your talk on the Motorcycle Metaphor will resonate with our graduate students. There are leadership concepts in there that will help them with their next stage”, said Marie-Elaine, my contact at UQAM (Université de Québéc à Montréal).
“Can you do this talk in French?” she said.
Gulp!!! In the Province of Quebec, being able to work in both English and French has been a necessity over the past 20 years for me. Having meetings and conversing in French is one thing, getting up in front of group to share leadership concepts, personal stories and inspire a group of individuals that they are more powerful than they believe is something else!
Who am I to think that I can connect with these people? My French is definitely not good enough for an event like this. It’s better if I tell her right now that I can’t do it? It will save both of us from being embarrassed.
My Saboteurs have got a strangle hold on me. Those voices inside my head that tell me I’m not good enough, smart enough, fast enough, strong enough, or thorough enough. In this case, my saboteur is screaming that my French is not good enough. We all have these voices in our head that pick away at our confidence. It is a different voice for each of us and sometimes it even has a personality. The saboteur served a purpose earlier in our lives by keeping us safe and out of harms way. Unfortunately, as an adult, it often keeps us from achieving our goals
I recently finished a project with a pharmaceutical client where we had sales representatives practice selling their products in role plays. These scenarios are fertile ground for Saboteurs to appear as the representatives are under a lot of stress and feel like they are being evaluated or judged. The successful ones have learned to ignore their saboteur voices and listen to their Sage. The Sage voice is the voice that best represents who we really are. It’s the voice that says you are intelligent, experienced and can handle any situation. It’s the best version of ourselves.
In my coaching work with clients, we spend some time at the beginning to help them identify their Saboteurs and get in touch with their Sage. I use guided visualizations to pull out the characteristics of their Sage in order to combat the Saboteurs. When the client feels like they are stuck or doubting themselves, I bring up their Sage and ask the client what the Sage would say to them. It’s a technique that helps them get in touch with their true self and realize they capable is much more than their Saboteurs are telling them.
That’s what I have to do for this keynote in French. My Sage is called “The Old Spice Man” and it comes from a TV commercial 30 years ago.
Every person’s Sage comes from a different part of their life and can be represented is many different ways. Mine happens to be a character on a beach pulling a boat out of the water. When I asked my Sage what I thought I should do, he responded that same way he always does.
“You already know what you need to do, and you know that you can do it”. He has this confidence that he can handle anything and totally believes in me. If it sounds like I have a multiple personality disorder, I agree it might appear like that. In reality, my Sage was my nudge to get over my doubts of doing this keynote.
So, on Feb 19th, I will be doing my first Motorcycle Metaphor conference at UQAM in French. Wish me luck.