How My First Report Card Created Three Powerful Saboteurs
And what Mickey knew all along. Let me explain…
I grew up in a very loving home. My mom and dad only wanted the best for me. But when I received my first report card, my dad’s reaction to it had a lasting impact on me. And he did this with the best of intentions.
I enjoyed going to school and was so happy to be in first grade like the other big kids on my block. I loved my teacher, I loved making new friends, I loved learning. School was fun!
My mom had gone to her first parent teacher conference and brought home my report card. I remember sitting at the kitchen table when she handed the report card over to my dad. He took one look at it (which was all B’s) and said “In this household, we only get A’s. And I will pay you $1 for each “A” you bring home.” I got $.50/week for allowance so this was a serious windfall.
At the time, I didn’t exactly know what grades were, but I figured it out quickly. From that point on, I proceeded to get mostly A’s in all of my classes all the way through graduate school.
That brief evaluation of my first report card was the moment a few Saboteurs were born inside my head.
- The HyperAchiever
- The Perfectionist aka the Stickler
- The Pleaser
I also learned how high performance was rewarded with money.
How Exactly Did Those Saboteurs Have Such A Lasting Effect and Become So Powerful?
When we are born up until about age 7 our minds are downloading the software of how to navigate the world. The software is the beliefs and rules of society that we are born into. These beliefs allow us to function in society and more importantly how to function in our family. We are completely reliant upon our family for survival. We do what we need to have the protection and care of our family.
I like to think of the Saboteurs (or limiting beliefs) as devils whispering in my ear on one side of my shoulder.
I navigated my world with these beliefs – long after I left home, long after these beliefs stopped serving me. I had Saboteur software programmed into me and it was toxic. The Saboteurs were so toxic, for so long, that I finally manifested a heart attack because I could never live up to what they wanted.
The stress was my perception of all my shortcomings. Saboteurs were questioning and casting doubt in my head. Yelling at me if I didn’t perform. These were the continual questions I asked myself.
- Did I hit my goal? Why not?
- Did I do it right?
- Did I do enough so that others will like me?
- Am I enough?
This line of questioning is placing “conditions” on love and acceptance. And very, very difficult to live up to.
I survived my heart attack experience. My father wasn’t so lucky. He died of a heart attack when I was only 20. I’m guessing that he believed as an immigrant you have to work hard to get ahead and that you have to be exceptional. And that there never was enough time to do everything that needed doing. His operating system of beliefs didn’t serve him either.
It’s not easy to rewrite our internal software programming – especially on our own because we can’t see the programming we’ve been living with.
Having a heart attack forced me to evaluate what was working in my life and what wasn’t. I was determined to get to the root cause of the stress that I carried. I went on a journey of self-discovery.
I enrolled and became certified in various coaching programs. With the help of other coaches, I become aware of the Saboteurs, the lies they tell, and disempowering beliefs that don’t serve. But I also discovered that I had Sages on my other shoulder. I couldn’t ever seem to hear their whispers because the Saboteurs were so loud. Thankfully I hear them now.
Meet My Most Powerful Sage
I’d like to introduce you to one of my sages – my Inner Child. Her super power is compassion – for myself, for others, and for the situations we find ourselves in.
This is me at five. I’m getting ready for a ballet recital. When I look at my picture I see Joy, Presence, and Beauty – of the world and of myself. Life is GRAND! That is my True Essence.
The qualities of my Inner Child never change. She is still here inside of me – she never left. Knowing this, why would I ever talk to her with cruelty, anger or disappointment if I didn’t meet the standards my Saboteurs set?
I know which voices I’m listening to by how I’m feeling. If I feel a negative emotion, I know I am being hijacked by Saboteurs. Negative emotions aren’t all bad – they serve as warnings to recenter. It’s kind of like touching a hot stove. You feel the heat but immediately withdraw. If you continue in negativity it’s like not taking your hand off of the hot stove and you get burned.
If I’m feeling positive emotions, I know I’m listening to my Sages. They make me smarter and happier – I can see more possibilities, I’m more creative, and people like me more. They bring out the best in me.
Now this is where Mickey comes in.
My Dog Mickey Sees My Inner Child
He sees my Sage powers. And even if I slip up and get hijacked by my Saboteurs, he never forgets my True Essence.
I’m stepping into the greatness that he knew was there all along. That I am the most wonderful, amazing, awesome person in the world – and he loves and accepts me just the way I am.
If you don’t have a dog to convince you of your greatness, know that I believe in your greatness. You’re amazing! A snowflake! You’re a gift to this world! You are a Divine Creation of God and God doesn’t make mistakes. But you may have forgotten this like I did.
I navigate more and more with my Sage powers. This is also the work I do. I guide clients to identify and transform toxic beliefs.
If you’re listening more to your Saboteurs than Sages, I can help you discover your own magnificence. I have a proven mental fitness plan to shift them from negativity towards positivity. Isn’t that how you want to live your life? Life is short. Make the most of it.
Here is a link if you’d like to discover what your saboteurs are. It’s a 10 min assessment based on lots of research.
If you want to know more about your saboteurs, I invite you to set up a discovery call with me. Schedule it right here. I’d love see if we are a fit.
Thanks so much for such an engaging post. When I read it, I too travelled back to my childhood and remembered those times when I was less than what was expected. And I also had a glimmer of how my childhood “failures” still bleed negatively into my life. My dog, Tulip, also loves my True essence. This week I’ll try to use Tulip’s unwavering adoration of me to remind myself how wonderful my inner child is.
Thanks for sharing. Yes our fur babies love us no matter what.