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How to Identify your Saboteurs

So Who are the 'Fun Police'?

That was the question posed to me by my life coach, Anna. We were talking about our inner saboteurs and how they limit us in our daily lives, in the pursuit of our dreams, and in having fun!

I have a whole lot of them, and Anna challenged me to name them and -- over the next few articles I write specifically -- to identify what kinds of thoughts and feelings they create inside me. At first I resisted. I felt there were too many of them, and that it would take far too long for me to meet her challenge.

However, when I really looked at that resistance, I realized that those thoughts were the work of my saboteur called "Not fast enough!" Boy, has that one ever been around for a lo-o-o-ng time!

When I was a little girl, my dad used to walk with me everywhere -- we didn't have a car then, so walking was pretty much it for getting around. His legs were long and mine were short and I had to run to keep up with him. I remember wailing "Daddy, slow down; you're going too fast!"

But he never did. He was always in a hurry, and over the years -- growing up -- I learned to be the same. He used to tell me to 'use your head, instead of your feet', so I learned to be not only fast, but efficient.

I guess you might be wondering what all this has to do with 'fun'.

Hold your horses here, I promise to explore that with you.

But first, let me identify the words this inner voice uses when he talks to me and how that makes me feel.

Not fast enough feeds into that overall feeling of 'not good enough'. No doubt you're familiar with that one.

If you are at all like me, you're driven partly at least by the need to please others. As I grew up, I was always the 'good little girl', so I got lots of affirmations from my parents. This established a pattern for me that continued well into my adult life. Not getting affirmations, not being 'patted on the head' (both literally and figuratively) was an uncomfortable place for me to be.

So from an early age, I developed the radar to help me quickly know what behaviours, words, and actions would garner me the proverbial 'pat on the back'. In fact, I got very good at figuring out what other people would like, tried to anticipate their needs and fulfill them, often before they even asked.

My mom does this really well -- in fact, growing up I remember quite distinctly hoping I could be like her. I thought her to be the most considerate person in the world. Being considerate was an attribute I aspired to having.

As I became older, left the home, got a job, I cultivated this skill -- and was given projects to work on where this skill would serve both me and the company very well. I regularly brought my projects in ON TIME and UNDER BUDGET! You can guess that I was quite proud of my career accomplishments.

Now, ask me how much fun I had while working on a project.

The answer is 'None!'

I could glow in the praise immediately following a completed project, but soon after started searching for another, bigger challenge. All this in the name of getting more accolades.

What was critical for me was getting the job done and doing it faster, more effectively and more efficiently than anyone else.

Not that I needed all the praise just for me; no, I share the spotlight with my team and loved what they contributed. But I was so focused on deadlines that I often took work home, worked on weekends, blah, blah, blah -- you know the drill.

I was seldom available to go out socializing, to play with my kids, to have fun. No, no, no, no! This was important. Nothing else could ever take precedence.

As I look back on that now, I feel like a schmuck! (But I just bet that's another one of my sabatoeurs trying to have a party at my expense ... ha, ha). So enough for now. Coach Anna will be proud of me, don't you agree?

But stay tuned for more naming of the Fun Police -- you might meet someone you know!

About Author Linda Greven :

Linda has been coaching and counseling women and care-givers for over 5 years.&nbsp; She helps her clients root out the things that prevent them from including FUN in their everyday lives.&nbsp; After working with Linda, her clients regularly say that they sleep better, feel more alive and enjoy life more. You can book a free consultation with Linda by visiting <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

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Article Added on Friday, July 24, 2009
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