Live Your Richest Life: Recognize Your Saboteurs

Live Your Richest Life: Recognize Your Saboteurs

Welcome to the second post in the Live Your Richest Life series!


This is an ongoing series that my friend and professional life coach, Ivy Petersen and I created with the hopes that everyone who reads it will feel inspired to live their richest life, no matter what their situation. Creating a rich life starts with the inside.

This time, I asked Ivy to help me figure out how to recognize our saboteurs – those little voices in our head that instruct us how to live and how to feel all day, everyday.

How do I know if I should listen to that voice or not? Isn’t that voice sometimes there to protect me from being hurt? Shouldn’t I listen to it?

Here’s Ivy’s response to my questions:

“The inquiry for this post is, how do you recognize your saboteurs? First and foremost it’s very important to understand that our saboteur strategies have been in place for a long, long time. That said, our ability to recognize them can be challenging as our saboteurs are very cunning by this point.

It is easy to rationalize the behavior because we have come to believe that this is just who we are. We get into a “comfort zone” like state, like being on autopilot, even when we’re exhibiting mild to severe dysfunction.

Our saboteurs thrive in the following scenarios and you can bet your bottom dollar that they are in full force and effect when:

~ We are in living in a state of fear and our lives are not actually in danger.

~ Our happiness is contingent upon other people, places and things (exterior vs interior validation).

~ We need to look good all the time. 

~ We always have to be right. 

~ We are living in the past. 

~ We are future tripping or fantasizing (not to be confused with visioning).

~ We are making assumptions.


For the purpose of further clarity, below are examples of two specific saboteur types and their affects. This will help you to ascertain when your own saboteurs get or have been triggered and provide potential areas to begin your inquiry.

We will start with The Judge as “It” is the most obvious character to pin down and every human being has one. The judge provides that which has commonly been accepted as “our conscience” or discernment. It provides us warning in the form of fear, shame and lack so as to keep us from stepping too far out of the ever-important comfort zone. Its rumblings usually begin with something like this:

 ~ You Should…

~ You Can’t…

~ You’re too this or that (old, slow, stupid, lazy, overweight, poor, ugly, etc.)

~ You’re not good enough.

~ Why did you do/say that?

~ How dare they/you! 

~ Don’t bother

Our judge also shows up in judgment of other people and circumstances. I refer to mine as “The Status Checker” that provides me with an immediate calculation as to where I fit in (worse than or better than). The Status Checked informs me as to exactly how to conduct myself, or instructs me to run and hide.

There are more subtle saboteurs with strategies also born of the ultimate need to be safe, but energetically feel even more like YOU. They generally present themselves to our consciousness as our “personality”.


For example, let’s talk about the beautiful and altruistic attribute of generosity. I would never suggest that this is a bad thing, however, there is a way in which our pleaser saboteur uses generosity as a strategy to be liked, creating a temporary feeling of safety.

The following fall under this category:

~Do you give out of obligation or guilt?

~Are there strings are attached to your giving? In other words, do you often feel resentful after giving of your resources, time and/or “love” without receiving what you would consider the right amount of recognition or reciprocity?

~Do you frequently say YES when you really mean NO?

~Do you believe that in order to be a GOOD person you must be a giver?

If you related to any or all of these, chances are high to without a doubt, that you also have a Pleaser saboteur lurking around your subconscious.

The bottom line here is this: If you are truly interested in creating the richest life possible, honesty in self-inquiry is necessary. Be willing to look at your motives and allow your discomfort to inform you. At this point, the work is only to observe. Don’t expect your life long strategies to be understood and healed before dinnertime.”

Some interesting food for thought, yes? How many of you notice that you do things you don’t want to do because you want to avoid being disliked? I sure do!

Maybe you put your dreams and desires on the back burner because you think you’re past your prime and they’re not worth pursuing?

Perhaps you’re waiting for the right moment to be happy, content and fulfilled – waiting for the kids to get out of college, waiting until you lose those 10 pounds, waiting for the future at the expense of the present.

These thoughts are our saboteurs hard at work, trying to protect us from being hurt and disappointed. But really what they are doing is stealing our joy and our authenticity.

In our last post, Ivy and I gave you a link to a self-assessment meant to help you identify which saboteurs were showing up for you the most. Here is that link again. I encourage you to take the test if you haven’t already and start recognizing which of your saboteurs are most strong. You don’t have to do anything about it now, just observe them in action.

If you are in the Bay Area, Ivy will be conducting a workshop that I attended several weeks ago, called “Turning Your Inner Critic into Your Co-Pilot…A Day of Discovery and Empowerment” on June 8th. Ivy also offers personal one-on-one coaching. Contact her at for more information.


She is offering $25 off the Early Bird price for readers of The Rich Life. Just enter “Richest Life” at checkout to claim your discount by June 2nd.

Ivy and I hope you’ve been finding the Live Your Richest Life series valuable. If you have any topics you’d like to see covered or questions, leave them in the comments or feel free to send a private email to Ivy or to me at


Make it a rich day!









  1. Deborah Barron
    May 13, 2014 / 10:08 am

    Spot-on, Ivy! The work you are doing with the saboteur is a sure-fire path to freedom and the essential work we are all being called to do in order to live the life we really came here to live. Beautiful message ladies. Thank you both for your commitment to sharing what it really means to live a “Rich Life”.

  2. May 13, 2014 / 10:50 am

    I’ve been enjoying these series a lot! Thank you, I look forward to more of them 🙂
    xx, Tiffany |

  3. May 13, 2014 / 2:05 pm

    Wonderful, wise post, Adrienne and Ivy, thank you. xo

  4. Kathy
    May 13, 2014 / 5:29 pm

    These posts are hard to comment on because they are so dense with such important material and it requires a lot of internal thought on my part for sure. But thank you both for this, it’s very clearly written and I’m looking forward to reading about how to silence or get past these saboteurs.

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