There is a part of us that seems bent on making comparisons between ourselves and others, or between ourselves and an imagined other. I hear it from all of my coaching clients. It sounds something like this:
* "Other people my age have achieved these goals. I’ll never get there.”
* “Other people are much better at this than I am.”
* “Other people’s contributions are far more important than mine.”
Making comparisons is the classic work of what coaching calls the Saboteur. It is the voice that tells us we’re not good enough, we’re too much, we’re incapable, and especially, we don’t measure up to others. Many of us spend our lives listening to it not realizing there’s a deeper truth.
The Saboteur is always wrong, but it’s sly enough to cling to and invert a deeply held desire or belief. The coaching process can help expose this sabotage for what it really is. Let’s decode the statements above.
Saboteur: Other people my age have achieved these goals. I’ll never get there.
Possible Truth: These are goals that I want to and I can attain. I have not attained them thus far because I was following the path I needed to take to arrive at this present, perfect moment.
Saboteur: Other people are better at this than I am.
Possible Truth: I have far more talent in this area than I give myself credit for. It’s important to me to do my best in whatever I take on. I want to succeed here.
Saboteur: Other people’s contributions are far more important than mine.
Possible Truth: I have a very important contribution to make, and I want it to be valued and have impact.
As these three examples illustrate, the Saboteur often masks and distorts something that we value. It leaves us feeling less than or demoralized about the very things we want most in life.
It is said that the Saboteur cannot be coached, but it can be neutralized. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself when the Saboteur asserts itself:
* If you were being patient with yourself, how would you view this experience?
* How would someone from the outside see it?
* What is the real truth of the matter?
By getting in the habit of questioning your Saboteur, you’ll begin to understand how it creates roadblocks to achieving the very things that are most important to you. In this way, you can act as your own life coach. And soon enough you might just free yourself of destructive, irrelevant comparisons.
© 2008 Raymond L. Rigoglioso