We all do it. I used to self-sabotage all the time. I self-sabotaged relationships, business opportunities and even my physical and mental health. The weird thing was that I had no clue I was doing it. I was stuck in a vicious circle of controlling and self-destructive behavior and I didn’t know how to stop.
No matter how successful you are, at one time or another you’ll fall into the self-sabotage trap, and the price of admission is high.
- Your income will suffer.
- Your self-esteem will plummet.
- Your confidence will find new lows.
The end result? Frustration. Burnout. Resentment (of your clients or your business). And yes, even more self-sabotaging behaviors.
There are different reasons why people self-sabotage. I will give you my insights based on my experience. Relationships and business opportunities: feeling not good enough. I thought if I screw it up, it’s impossible to lower my self-worth even more. Health: familiarity and a sense of control. I didn’t know how to handle my depression and anxiety and instead of seeking help, I just kept going thinking that if I worked harder, I wouldn’t have time to be depressed. It also gave me a (fake) sense of control since I was frightened of what would happen if I stopped. It almost always comes back to not feeling good enough. So screwing it up feels better than confronting the actual problem.
This downward spiral can quickly turn devastating, but stopping it is easy when you learn to recognize the symptoms.
Did you mean to apply for that high-end coaching program but missed the deadline? Or maybe you were going to send a proposal to a potential new client, but waited too long? Or maybe you simply waited too long to take advantage of a sale price on a hot new app that everyone’s raving about.
These and other missed opportunities can often be blamed on simple procrastination, one of the most destructive habits we suffer from. Procrastination is what keeps us working late at night to make a deadline, costs us money in late fees, and even costs us business; believe me, this one has reared its ugly head in my life on many occasions.
If you’re prone to procrastination, try these techniques to put an end to it:
- Recognize your fear. What often keeps us stuck is simple fear. We’re afraid that even with that amazing coach we still won’t reach our goals, so we put off applying. We’re afraid we’ll look bad when compared to other proposals, so we just don’t send one. But if you want to be successful in business, you must learn to recognize and face your fears, then do the work anyway.
- Visualize the life and business you desire. Imagine what it will be like to have that amazing business you’ve been dreaming about. Picture your ideal workday, daydream about that fabulous vacation you’ll take, and imagine VIP days with your ideal client.
- Reward yourself. It’s okay to give yourself a little incentive for getting things done. Take yourself out to lunch; buy a new pair of shoes; take an afternoon off. Do what’s most likely to motivate you to power through your fears and take the next step.
Failing to Complete Your Projects
Be honest. How many half-written books, partially planned programs, and unfinished products are cluttering up your hard drive right now?
If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, the answer is probably several.
You started all of them with great enthusiasm. You planned out the modules or chapters, created the slide decks, and maybe even outlined the sales page. And then…you just stopped working on it.
Maybe you tell yourself that you’re too busy. Maybe you “need to do some more research.” Or maybe you simply lost interest. But the truth is, none of those are the real reason. For a lot of coaches, this self-sabotaging habit is actually a symptom of a lack of confidence, and it’s keeping you from the success you deserve.
Consider this: You cannot know the actual success rate of a program you’ve never finished, and you cannot improve upon something you’ve never completed. So rather than filling your hard drive with half-finished projects, power through and start releasing them—even if you believe they’re not perfect, and even if you think they’ll never sell.
How to Stop Self-Sabotaging
When I first realized my own self-sabotaging behaviors it was really eye-opening. I had to learn about acceptance and more importantly, I had to forgive myself for this behavior, which I think is crucial. My most important tip is “Don’t be mad at yourself”. Now you know better, you can start doing better. Start by realizing your self-sabotaging behavior. Forgive yourself. Ask yourself: How can I do better? The important thing is to be kind to yourself and have faith in your abilities. I saw a meme before that said:
I DIDN’T COME THIS FAR TO ONLY COME THIS FAR
Don’t be too hard on yourself. The fact that you are already thinking about making this change is one step in the right direction.
Let me know in the comments, do you self-sabotage? What would you like to change?