The Ways We Sabotage Ourselves (The Voice, Part 2)

I wrote last week about that sabotaging voice inside your head. I attached a blog post by Cheryl Strayed (Dear Sugar) about a woman who was afraid she would get cancer because her parents had cancer. The story in her head was so clear that she decided not to have children because she did not want to put them through that. And she was writing to Sugar to ask if she should get married, if she should tell her fiancé what he might have to go through if she got cancer.

There are two basic ways this voice appears. The first is a storyline like the one above. It might sound like this:

  • I am going to mess up my kids and they will do drugs or need therapy because of me
  • I am going to end up homeless on the street
  • I am going to get fired
  • I am bad at relationships and will always be alone
  • And on
  • And on


The other ways is this.  Imagine that you take the orange juice out of the frig and you drop it on the floor.  Or that you miss a deadline at work.  What do you hear in your head?  Common answers:

  • That was stupid
  • I am stupid
  • I’ll never get anywhere being so clumsy or so lazy or unreliable
  • I can never do anything right
  • Etc.
  • Etc.


I will talk to you more next week about how to work with this voice.  For now, it is useful just to start to notice it.  And then we will learn to interrupt it. This week you should:

  1. Recognize you have a sabotaging voice.
  2. Recognize that it is not you, not your highest and best, intelligent self, but just a tape loop that runs in your head.
  3. Start to hear what it says.  We all have pretty familiar regular scripts that run.
  4. Stop it!


More on this next week.  But for now, let Bob Newhart help you with this last one:


About the Author

Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching professionals and leaders since early 2008. She runs Transformative Coaching Essentials, a coach training program that produces first rate Professional Coaches and "Coach-Style Leaders." She coaches individually and works with organizations to improve communication, time management, productivity and ultimately bring greater results.

Get Our Newsletter
Recent Posts

Coach Highlight – Tim Stephenson

CM: Why did you enter TCE? And/or, what did you want to get out of it? TS: I entered TCE because I wanted to learn how to be with people the way my coach, Cami, was with me. I saw the power in that relationship...

Read More


I am reading the book Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength and Happiness by Rick Hanson (also the author of Buddha’s Brain). I found a section I wanted to share, because it articulated something so powerful to me in getting what...

Read More
Coach Highlight - MK Chavez

Coach Highlight – MK Chavez

CM: Why did you enter TCE? And/or, what did you want to get out of it? MK: I stepped into the TCE journey seeking the foundational skills of coaching because I had a transformative experience in coaching (as a client), and I wanted to bring...

Read More
Be committed, but not attached

Be committed, but not attached

A long time ago, I heard this quote that really messed with my brain. Though I cannot find the source of this exact quote, there are many similar Buddhist tenets. It has really helped me get what I want in my life, though! “Be committed,...

Read More

Share this Post