By Jenna Knox | Director of strategic partnerships and development, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland

Comfortable Connie.

She likes to play it safe. Only raising her hand for the projects she knows she can manage.

Frequently muttering phrases such as "I'm not sure I'll have enough time for that" or "You think I'm the best person to lead what?"

Generally sticking to a one-drink limit at happy hour … although you sure would like to see her get crazy and order two.

Comfortable Connie is my saboteur.

While she's influenced my decision-making my entire life, we only just met during the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute's Calibrate Leadership Series workshop: Leading Self for Radical Growth.

Comfortable Connie is my inner critical voice. She has the best intentions -- to save me from embarrassment, heartbreak or failure. The thing is, she sometimes ends up crippling me.

We all have saboteurs, no matter our achievements, pay grade or job title.

Sarah Noll Wilson, Calibrate's facilitator, explained that our saboteurs don't show up if we are playing it safe. They only come out when we are taking a risk, trying something new or going big. And who doesn't want to go big?

So Sarah taught us how to manage our saboteurs.

Step One: Catch the saboteur. First, I drew Comfortable Connie – picture turtleneck, glasses, pursed lips and a furrowed brow. Then I named her (there were bonus points for alliteration). Finally, I brought her to life, officially recognizing her as separate from me.

Step Two: Tell the saboteur thank you. After all, she has only been trying to help me all these years!

Step Three: Be compassionate with yourself. Comfortable Connie may not be the part of me that I am most proud of, but she is a part of me. And that's OK.

My newfound relationship with my saboteur has allowed me to recognize her and work through her doubt. Yes, her voice may keep me from instantly shooting my hand up when it comes to advancement, leadership or recognition -- a confidence I so admire in others.

But it's for this reason that I don't want her to go too far. Comfortable Connie forces me to ask myself, "Is this really the best decision for me?" She provides me with a little pause in this fast-paced world.

And for the gift of thoughtful consideration, saboteur, I am grateful.

Jenna Knox is the director of strategic partnerships and development for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. When she's not working to create a community where every person has the opportunity to lead a healthy and meaningful life, she's involved with Lead Like a Lady, the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Most importantly, though, she's a proud wife and mother.