Quietly in the unspoken, unworded recesses of your mind lurks a not so dormant feeling, a sensation or a not yet articulated voice that has been delivering unhelpful propaganda messages to your conscious mind.

Like a scurrilous media campaign set on eroding a brand or a person, this inner, almost undetectable voice goes to work to shift attitudes and support.

When we are at the top, or even the middle of our game, we are enjoying success. We tune into and receive the positive feedback sent our way and the reward is further determination, confidence and self-belief.

But on those occasions when we are not ‘on our game’- in a new environment; engaging with challenging colleagues; being asked to be something outside of the norm; generally experiencing self-doubt -  is when  the propaganda messages from our Silent Saboteur are heard above the rest.

And the messages are familiar, and easy to start believing (the Silent Saboteur has been likely transmitting the same for years, based on some old situation or series of events where they may have applied). We succumb to the Saboteur’s media campaign and begin to behave and act consistently with those messages.

Surely now is the time to take action and rid yourself of this Silent Saboteur and begin redirecting their cunning communication channels onto more helpful strategies?

I was recently working with ‘Bob’ and he was caught in the middle of such a situation. His demeanour had shifted, his sense of purpose was drifting, his belief in making any progress out of the quagmire had all but gone. The steps we took are what I encourage you to take at the earliest opportunity when you detect your Silent Saboteur.

Pause, relax, sit calmly and write down (or tell a colleague) what those Silent Saboteur statements might be.

Bob’s included:

·         “Whatever I do, it’s not enough”

·         “I mustn’t sit still”

·         “I’m so annoyed with myself”

·         “I’m just not good enough”

After another pause I invited Bob to consider each again and state, honestly, if it was true. He agreed none were or that they were extremely debatable. This loosened his mind’s grip on the presumed truth and can do the same for you.

Next we flipped the statements around a few times and explored the truth of each flip and the  different feelings and subsequent thoughts that they ignited. Amongst other outcomes, Bob’s flips became:

·         “I’m doing enough”

·         “I need to sit still, it’s good for me”

·         “I’m pleased with my impact”

·         “What I do has impact”

Once Bob had chosen his best alternative messages I encouraged him to write them clearly and often- in notebooks, phones, screens, easy-to-find places - ready to switch to them when the last few Silent Saboteur campaigns hit his mind.

Whilst this may seem an obvious thing to do, the Silent Saboteur’s messages become so engrained and silently pervasive that people don’t ever take such clearing action steps. Do it NOW!

Good luck and keep it simple.


PS – Thanks Bob!

PPS – I’ll be at Edinburgh Airport WH Smith’s signing copies of “The ‘Keep It Simple’ Book” and “The Impact Code” on Thursday 21st December if you happen to be travelling through!