With fewer deals to go around, many markets experiencing a downshift and more agents than ever, it makes business sense to reach for the fundamentals. That’s why at Inman, we’re going Back to Basics with curated throwbacks to some of our most-read stories as well as new insights from agents in the field — all culminating in Inman’s Playbook for the Fall Market, a two-day virtual event that you should make plans to attend.

If you’re an old-school fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, you’ll know just what I’m talking about when I say, “I’m so proud to see it.” It’s that moment when Mama Ru gives Season 6 contestant Trinity K. Bonet props for overcoming her inner saboteur, overcoming her long list of anxieties and excuses to turn in an utterly charming performance in the stand-up comedy challenge.

You may never have heard of an inner saboteur. You may have heard it called by some other name, like a negative voice in your head, self-sabotage or a generational curse. It may be a result of terrible things you were told as a child or your own personal traumatic experiences.

Your inner saboteur can cause you to actively choose to seek out things that are bad for you or not do things that are good for you. These things can be personal, professional or both. Maybe you

  • Lash out, lose your temper or continually stay in conflict with others
  • Engage in destructive or addictive behaviors, especially when things are otherwise going well for you 
  • Jump from job to job, town to town, relationship to relationship or brokerage to brokerage
  • Don’t practice daily self-care or seek medical help when needed
  • Don’t pursue career advancement when eligible or qualified (don’t get a broker’s license, pursue advanced training or certifications)
  • Don’t lead gen as needed or continually stay in crisis mode in your business
  • Keep making the same mistakes over and over with money, business or relationships

Often, folks who are victims of their inner saboteur lack self-awareness, or alternatively, they may be dealing with some unresolved problems from their past that are causing them to continue to act out unhealthy patterns of behavior over and over. 

For example, those who grew up in poverty may struggle with a poverty mindset, especially if they heard messages like, “We’re going to be out in the streets” or “You just can’t win.”

On Drag Race, many of the contestants have spent a lifetime being bullied because they are gay. Even after coming out as gay, many were not accepted within the gay community because, as drag queens, they were considered too effeminate or had a hard time fitting in with more mainstream parts of gay culture.

Because so many of the drag queens on the show are dealing with these issues, viewers have gotten a chance to hear RuPaul talk about how he has addressed them in his own life.

Here is some of his best advice for dealing with the inner saboteur. Put it to work when you find your own inner saboteur playing out and undermining your best efforts.

Stop looking outside for solutions to all of your problems

Until you get in touch with your inner saboteur, you’re constantly looking to place blame elsewhere. That may mean looking for the person or place or boss or whatever that’s ruining everything for you.

Alternatively, you may be seeking to deaden yourself so that you can drown out that voice, either with drugs or alcohol or distractions. That way you don’t have to deal with what’s really going on.

Instead, it’s important to take a moment, turn inward and listen to your inner saboteur. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to act on what it says, but you need to acknowledge it so that you’ll know how to proceed and so that it can feel heard.

Talk to your inner saboteur

Next, you’re going to say, “Thanks for sharing.” Then you’re going to do what you actually need to do. Something that’s healthy and better for you and aligned with your goals.

For example, if you grew up with people who constantly told you that you were no good and wouldn’t amount to anything, your inner saboteur may still be telling you that. Just to prove those people (and itself) correct, your inner saboteur may push you to act out in ways that undermine you and keep you from putting your best foot forward.

Thus, when you’re tempted to act illogically and against your best interests, say, “I hear you, and I know that you’re just repeating those old stories that [Insert Name] used to say. But those old stories are just old stories, and they don’t have any power over me anymore.”

Keep saying this, replacing that old negative message with new messages.

Reimagine yourself

Finally, take time frequently to visualize yourself as the real you, the you that you want to be. Drag is, after all, about transformation, and we are all capable of change at any point in our lives. Or, as RuPaul puts it, “We’re all born naked, and the rest is drag.”

If you have spent your life thinking small, you can think big. If you’ve lived with a poverty mindset, you can Think and Grow Rich. If you were brought up to think that people like you can’t accomplish anything, it’s time to reimagine your own self-image and rewrite your story —starting today.

After all, in the words of RuPaul, if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen?

Christy Murdock is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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