Are you the one on the limb?
Self-sabotaging behaviors plague all of us at one time or another. Dieters do it by reaching for that box of Mother’s Day chocolates, bag of chips or the cookie jar. Fitness goals are self-sabotaged by rationalizing excuses to skip the gym. We’ve all done it.
“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the false story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” Jordan Belfort
Self- sabotage is not uncommon or truly unconscious, but it is extremely unproductive.
How Frequently Do We Engage in Self-Sabotage?
Frequently self-sabotage is not a conscious decision to engage in self-defeating behavior, it is an unconscious reaction to old programming. Determining the cause is the first step to stopping this unwanted and highly unproductive behavior.
A talkative mouse, a rat, and a small shrew were trapped in a flood, desperately clinging to the side of a lily pad – and sinking fast! A helpful owl came to their rescue, first telling the rat to clamp its teeth onto its talons as the owl flew to safety and then returning for the shrew, who received similar instructions. Finally, as the tides rose ever higher, the owl came back for our talkative mouse.
“You are rescued and will live!” said the owl. “But I’ve noticed you talk a lot. Promise me you’ll keep your mouth closed around my legs and on no account open it, or you’ll fall to your fate!”
“Of course!” said the mouse, who proceeded to clamp his mouth onto his feathered rescuer’s landing gear.
They took off and flew across the floods. The owl was about to land on some high ground, but the mouse decided he wanted to alight some other place to get dry.
“Not there…” shouted the mouse, but those were the last words he ever spoke as he fell into the swirling waters below.
How frequently are we opening our mouth or our minds to negative thoughts or self-defeating behavior?
What Causes Self-Sabotage?
It won’t work out anyway. Failure is a familiar feeling – a bad feeling but an all too familiar feeling to the point that it becomes an expectation. People stay in abusive personal or professional relationships; people stay in bad marriages; people stay in jobs they don’t like. Why do people tolerate negative situations? Sometimes it is rationalized that at least they know what to expect and there may be nothing better out there. How will you know if you don’t at least try?
This is too good to last. The unconscious need to be in control kicks in and they quit their job out of fear that they will be promoted and they will fail at the higher level position. How many times have you heard “Quit while you are ahead.” Is it a need to be in control or a fear of failing if they move upward?
What happens if I fail? Fear of failure kicks in when someone wants to start their own business but are afraid of failing as a business owner, so they stay in a job rather than step out of their comfort zone and test their abilities at building a successful business. They shortchange themselves and their future based on nothing more than self-defeating thoughts – self-sabotage.
I don’t deserve to be successful. Undeservability is a huge issue. Low self-esteem caused by negative programming as a child may still be plaguing many people in adulthood. It could be pressure caused by well-meaning adults who thought they were pushing you to do more and achieve more. This pressure to be perfect (and none of us are perfect 100% of the time) and falling short creates self-defeating thoughts; it manifests in a feeling of not achieving enough so success must not be deserved.
Bad habits. Over eating, chemical abuse, anger or negative self-talk can all be ways of temporarily masking low self-esteem. We know better but do it anyway. Self-sabotage.
Cures for Self-Sabotage
Awareness. You can’t cure what you don’t know exists. Forget about justifying, rationalizing or making excuses. Make a conscious decision to observe your thoughts and actions. When you catch yourself engaging in self-sabotage, pause what you are doing and think about why you are thinking or acting in that way. You can’t change something unless you notice what you are doing and attempt to determine why. This is not about blame; it is about stopping self-sabotage.
Success is Not All or Nothing. Building a successful business is a matter of placing ads which contain the right words to attract your target audience; ideally these ads are in the publications where your target audience is most likely to see them. In addition the unknown factor is timing the ads to appear at the moment when the target audience is most receptive to your message. Hitting 100% of those factors 100% of the time is not likely. Missing the timing occasionally does not mean failure; it may only mean a temporary delay. Success in writing and placing ads is not all or nothing; it may mean filling the prospect pipeline for later.
Cut Yourself Some Slack. Perfectionism is overrated. You are probably making a greater positive impression on people than you know. You are probably doing a better job than you give yourself credit for doing. Set a goal to better your best. It doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, it just means that you have to strive to constantly improve. A continual one percent improvement every three days is still 100% improvement in a year. Set a goal of 1% per day and you will be 365% better in a year.
Self-Sabotage is Self-Defeating
Be aware of what you are doing and why; why are you destroying yourself and your goal achievement. You deserve to be successful. You deserve to be building a successful business instead of being stuck in a dead end job with a boss who does not appreciate you. Success is not perfection; success is continually bettering your own best. Get out of your own way and achieve your goals. You can do it! Self-sabotage is for losers; you are a winner.
Are you seeking more success in your life and career? Inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation. www.Elaine4Success.com, www.Elaine4Success.com/contact, (reprint of an article written for Rod Davis)