Power Tool created by Sid Andruska
(Transformational Life Coaching, United States)
You’re next in line to take over this department. We have big plans for you…
Words a young executive longs to hear from a big boss at Corporate – and one of many promotions in my history of climbing the Ladder; another example of how I repeatedly sabotaged my authentic self. By accepting new positions, agreeing to the additional headaches, more people to manage, 50-65% travel, I exchanged my remaining passions and purpose in life for an impressive paycheck and ego- boosting status.
Except this time when I heard the sales pitch, something felt different. Big plans for me? Those words became the impetus of the storm that began brewing inside me. A tsunami of rage. An inescapable desire to save myself. A voice screaming Run! But I didn’t. I faced the most frightening decision of my life: To be kept by my corporate masters? Or become a superhero and save myself from the saboteur within — that voice like a termite, devouring the last morsel of my self-confidence. The alarm, always reminding me how lucky I am to have a job in this economy. And the sabotaging mantras of how could you ever leave corporate and start your own gig? You don’t have what it takes.
When I heard my inner Superhero at that moment, I realized I had been hearing her all along.
I knew when I heard “big plans for you” that a chemical reaction of fight or flight had set in – my heart raced in my throat. Blood rush to my head, like I stood up too quickly, although I was seated at the time. An anxiety bordering on insanity overwhelmed me; I broke out in a cold sweat. Was I in trouble? Or was I about to save myself from a passionless and purposeless life path?
OUR INNER SUPER TO THE RESCUE
Looking back, I now believe that rush of fear was my authentic voice screaming NO! And that voice came from my very own inner Superhero – a divine archetype of our soul that resides in the shadows of our psyche, waiting to rescue us from potentially toxic choices and behaviors. If we know how to channel it.
Our inner Superhero knows who we are, what we want and how to get it. It also knows what’s stopping us. And when you’re involved in an emotionally-charged or negative encounter as I was, you can call on your Superhero to emerge, confront and conquer the termite, or as I call it, our inner Saboteur – who likes to keep you imprisoned by fear and paralyzed by self doubt.
OUR INNER NEMESIS, THE SABOTEUR
The inner saboteur (maybe you’re familiar?) uses our fears to maintain and build new underlying beliefs — ones that prevent you from living an abundant, authentic life. In not confronting these fear-based beliefs, the inner Saboteur will make you forget your values, your personal ethics, passions and sense of purpose. The Saboteur believes you are not worthy of peace. Therefore its mission is to keep your soul in a perpetual state of unrest.
When I heard my inner Superhero at that moment, I realized I had heard her all along – during my entire corporate career. But never acknowledged he or listened to her. Why was I contemplating saying no to the Corporate offer? How could I give my boss the excuse of I’m starting my own enterprise and won’t be needing a cubicle anymore.
HEARING OUR SUPERHERO
At the time, I believed I was incapable of making it on my own without a corporate master. And I believed having your own gig meant you were lucky. And knew the right people. And back then, I believed I was one of the unlucky ones. And only knew folks who were like me: unworthy of happiness. I was voted: Most likely to choose the slowest line in the grocery store. (another underlying belief I held onto for years).
Like the analogy of Good vs. Evil, the Superhero and Saboteur oppose each other in characteristics, values and underlying beliefs. Both archetypes conjure different feelings. One generates empowering thoughts and actions. The other, not so much. In fact, the Saboteur conjures up voices from our past – parents, friends, enemies – who said something that reframed our perspective in a toxic way. The Saboteur is merciless in its memory of your every mistake and criticism received.
But once we know and are tuned in to our Superhero, reframing negative and limiting beliefs is simple. It becomes a matter of choice. In other words, choose to call on my Superhero and ignore my inner Saboteur.
But for the rest of us who never met or heard of our inner Superhero, we must first learn how to recognize her. Remember, she is always around, waiting to be called on.
In some cases she finds you first. Like with me, my Superhero made herself known quite literally with the physical panic, anxiety and the fear that if I said yes to the Big Corporate Offer, I was in BIG trouble -with my own life. So I finally listened. And that’s how I found her. Instead of resisting that inner authentic voice, I finally acknowledged it.
OUR SUPERHERO DEFINED
For clients who are new to the Superhero vs. Saboteur Power Tool, the best way to find and define their own inner Superhero is to begin with a list of their values. What does the client value? What are their core beliefs, ethics? Ensure that their core values truly resonate with them, and that their list contains no reference to an outside value (encouraged by a parent, friend or spouse). The client must love and own their values. Because the soul of their inner Superhero is the embodiment of those values.
Next, the client makes a list of their strengths. Encourage them to think of past situations where they surmounted obstacles, achieved a difficult goal, or changed their life for the better. The client’s strengths will be their Superpowers.
When I finally heard and listened to my Superhero, the following Superpower (my strengths) showed up instantly to defend my authentic voice — when I declined the offer (instead of obsessing for 48 hours over what to do), I used my Decisiveness Superpower to cut to the core and speak authentically, so that my Superhero could be heard. And I could stop wasting time and my life. The Saboteur never had a chance. Sure he tried daily, sometimes hourly, questioning my every decision, including walking away from a salary some would kill for. The Saboteur called me foolish. But my inner-Superhero values authenticity. So, I saved myself.
You can, too.
Practice Superhero vs. Saboteur in your own life! Share this power tool with clients who have a difficult time honoring themselves, recognizing their strengths and values and living authentically. Clients who are visual and kinesthetic (learn/feel as you go) learners will enjoy the process of creating their very own Superhero Archetype.
- Make a list of your core values. Be sure you love and own each value.
- What are your strengths (Superpowers)? List them.
- Based on the above info, can you identify a time /event when you heard your Superherocalling, but you didn’t listen? Why? What Superpowers (strengths) do you possess thatcould have helped defend your authentic voice? List all.
- Identify a negative underlying belief(s) you currently hold, and counteract it by listingone of your superpowers (strengths) that would defend your authentic voice. Remember, your authentic voice only holds on to beliefs that are good and pleasing to your soul.
- Visualize what your inner Superhero looks like: A better version of you? Or something more fantastical? The more visualization and emotion you can put towards personalizing your Superhero (values, strengths, characteristics, physical features), the more you will turn to her when the Saboteur pops up. And the more empowered you will become.
- I want get married, but I believe that most marriages end in divorce (negativeunderlying belief).
- My Superpower is optimism (strength).
- I will use that Superpower to deliver me from this belief.
- My Superhero looks like me physically, but more confidant, assertive and carriesa natural curiosity about so-called facts. And her optimism (strength) trumps the saboteur's old negative belief. I value loyalty, and I know there are others out there like me. So before resigning myself to bachelorette hood, as my own Superhero, I will stay positive, be curious and know that I am not alone in my desire for a lasting relationship.