+44(0)7483 235068 suzanne@theinnerpotential.com

What’s Stopping Us?

When we’re working on an important goal and it’s not going as we’d like it to, it can feel as if something’s getting in our way.

Progress can slow and stop, and before we know it, we’re stuck.

But we don’t know what’s causing the problem.

We hear about procrastination, overthinking, imposter syndrome, the inner critic – maybe it’s those things.

Or to use Positive Intelligence’s words for these ideas, maybe it’s our Judge and the Judge’s accomplices, the Saboteurs.

Our Inner Saboteurs

The Saboteurs are the automatic patterns that our brains have developed to survive physical & emotional perceived threats.

The saboteurs are wired in when we are born and / or built on during childhood.

By the time we’re adults they form our strengths. We don’t need their protection any more, but when they are taken too far (as they often are in adulthood) they dictate and contaminate our thinking.

Most people don’t know they exist. But everyone has some, in their own unique combination – their  “comfort zone”.

And they can sabotage our happiness, our attempts to change habits, our self-development efforts.

Our Judge

The Judge is the master saboteur.

We all have a Judge, and depending on the individual, that Judge can be mild mannered, downright evil or anything in between.

The Judge:
📣  Judges us
📣  Judges others
📣  Judges situations

We all need judgement to be able to go about our daily lives – we need it.

But, the origin of the Judge is the SURVIVAL brain that triggers our Fight / Flight / Freeze response.

This is the primitive and ancient part of the brain that prevented early man in his cave from being attacked and eaten by sabre toothed tigers.

It protects us.

We’re no longer in danger of our lives every day from wild animals. But the brain doesn’t know that and it reacts to the threats we see today in exactly the same way: to protect us.

Daily threats can generate a stress response, like:

🔥  Feeling anxious in response to criticism

🔥  Seeing our competitors doing really well and feeling a bit of “comparisonitis”

🔥  Taking the plunge to make our business case, at the Board Meeting

When the thinking of the Judge is mainly negative, this is where it has gone too far.

The Judge embodies our shame, anxiety, stress, anger, guilt – many of our negative emotions.

So what do we do about this?

Growing Our Mental Fitness Muscles

To change this state of affairs, we need to open up some new ways of working for our brains.

We strengthen our ability to notice the Saboteurs in action and see their lies to us.

We weaken our Judge and other Saboteurs by switching away from them and diverting our thinking to the other more logical side of our brain.

And employ our Sage powers instead – which reside in the right side of our brains as positive forces. These forces use our strengths as our deeper, wiser powers.

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, including empathy, gratitude, curiosity, innovation and calm, clear-headed action.

This region holds our creativity and big picture awareness of what is important and the best course of action.

Activating our Sage results in release of endorphins – countering the negative impacts of stress-induced cortisol.

The Positive Intelligence Programme
All these benefits can be the outcome of the 8-week Positive Intelligence course, run by The Inner Potential.

During this programme, participants learn about their individual saboteurs, they learn to notice when they are experiencing them and they learn powerful techniques to build their mental muscles and re-wire their thinking.

This programme can be life-changing!

See this page on our website for more information: Positive Intelligence Programme


If you found this article helpful and want to know more about how coaching can help leaders in your organisation to overcome their inner saboteurs, then do get in touch.

You can send a DM on LinkedIn or email me: suzanne@theinnerpotential.com



Get in touch

Contact Suzanne Pullen +44(0)7483 235068 if you wish to discuss this post or any of the services The Inner Potential has to offer