Episode No. 92
  •  August 11, 2022

Self Sabotage

Why We Get in Our Own Way, and How To Stop It

Two working women look in the distance as they consider self sabotage at work

Barriers to success exist everywhere, even inside your head! When you act, or fail to act, in your best interest, you’re actually sabotaging yourself. In this motivational podcast, we discover our very own saboteurs and the many ways to get them out of the driver’s seat.


Self – sabotage is where we undermine our own goals, values, wants and desires, either consciously or unconsciously. We act – or fail to act – based on a set of habits – in a way that is against our interests.  This episode was inspired by a friend, but it turns out we all have our own saboteur.

It turns out self-sabotage comes from the patterns and beliefs we developed in early childhood, and into our teens and early 20s, that are designed to help us make sense of the world, protect us from difficult feelings, help us develop…but these patterns may no longer serve us into adulthood.   Dealing with your saboteur requires that we raise our self-awareness.

Shirzad Charmine, through his work which he calls Positive Intelligence, offers a process to identify our saboteur and get her out of the driver’s seat of our brains.  He proposes we put our higher, wiser self in the driver’s seat – and he calls her our Sage.

Shirzad says there are thoughts and voices in our head that generate negative emotions when we handle life’s challenges. They exist in the brainstem, limbic system, and parts of the left brain and produce much of your stress, anxiety, self-doubt, anger, shame, guilt, frustration, and mind chatter. These negative emotions are only helpful for a second as they alert you to dangers or issues. However, staying in these  emotions hurts our ability to see clearly and choose the most impactful response. Our Saboteurs generate all our negative emotions, including stress, anxiety, self-doubt, anger, avoidance, procrastination, insensitivity or discontent. A bit of pain is good – it tells us something, but we are not meant to live there.

Our Sage lives in an entirely different region of our brain, the middle prefrontal cortex, “empathy circuitry”, and parts of the right brain. It generates positive emotions while handling life’s challenges. These include empathy, compassion, gratitude, curiosity, joy of creativity, and calm, clear-headed laser-focused action. This region is wired for creativity and big picture awareness of what is important and the best course of action.

TAKE THE TEST to discover your Saboteur and unseat her!!  Shirzad’s site also provides guidance on strategies we are using that do not work for us and will help get our Sage in the driver’s seat.  https://www.positiveintelligence.com/ . When we expose our Saboteur, it takes away the power of these not so useful beliefs and responses and allows us to make different choices.  Dealing with our Saboteur also requires us to have some empathy for ourselves, get curious, be creative, choose and move into action. 

Shirzad’s wish for us is that we rediscover our own amazing, wonderfulness – the essence of ourselves we were born with – and let that truth guide our beliefs, reactions and responses to achieve the magic of ease, meaning and joy.  We love this approach.

 More Good Reads:

How women self sabotage their career and how to deal with it?

The Nine Ways Women Self-Sabotage