You’ve lay on the proverbial bed of nails.
You have walked the miles.
You have sweated blood.
But still, you feel inauthentic when you finally taste the fruits of your labor. You start to expect things to go wrong when you have just started seeing your success.
‘I am not good enough.’
‘What if it all comes crumbling down?’
‘What if I…’
Self-sabotage. This is a set of behaviors or thoughts that become obstacles to your success and long standing goals.
Why do we get in our own way? Why are we so afraid of success, after working so hard to achieve it? Even if you haven’t yet attained the success you yearn for, some behaviors and thoughts could actually be keeping you from getting there.
I’ve written this article primarily because I actually hold a Masters degree in self sabotage. Okay, well, maybe not an actual Masters degree but it’s been a running theme through my entire life, up to 2009 when I got unstuck for good, that is.
Here are 3 common reasons why entrepreneurs self-sabotage and what to do to get out of your own way:
People who are afraid of risks are also afraid of moving forward. Excuse-giving is the number one manifestation of self-sabotage or fear of success.
It’s the economy, it’s your present environment, you just need to take one more class to improve your skills, it’s just that you do not have enough resources… and the list goes on.
No matter how ‘valid’ these excuses may look like, they are just your way of not wanting to move forward.
What to do:
Courage. If you are truly convinced ‘why’ you need to do something, you will choose to be courageous enough, bold enough to press ahead with it.
Whether that’s a business venture or pressing on with a demanding workout routine, you need to muster enough courage to replace the excuses. Consider your why, and remember it daily. It will give you the strength to push through.
Sometimes, when we are just at the verge of success or right in the middle of it, we tend to do ‘stupid things’, make silly mistakes that could revert or taint the achievements made so far.
Yes, you love what success brings: financial security, a great network of peers, comfort and even freedom.
But, then again, you think, “Being in the limelight can be intimidating- people will watch my every move, some will criticize me, I may have a lot of demands and responsibilities placed on my shoulders.”
I’ll say it – this was me when moving from a relatively ‘behind the scenes’ corporate job to one that is pretty public. I’m really not a public person and I don’t enjoy the ‘spot-light’ like some do, but I understand that it’s part of the job. There are also substantially more benefits than negatives to the path I’ve chosen as a career.
What to do:
You already know that success, whether that’s in your business, relationships, or health is a good thing; it’s better than the opposite of it. If you have been able to attain it, then you do have the capacity to handle all the responsibilities that come with it. In addition, when success comes calling you will be criticized. It happens to everybody and usually when this starts to happen its a sign that you are doing something right.
Does the thought of progress, achievement, success freak you out?
Many times we get in our own way for fear of being seen as different, of losing our authenticity and getting away from our roots.
It’s as though you do not want to let go of the unfit self, the writer who is languishing in poverty, the entrepreneur who is struggling to make ends meet.
What to do:
Here’s a truth you must be bold enough to confront: Success will change your circumstances; your old situations will likely melt away but this doesn’t mean that you have to lose your authentic self just because you have publicly gained success and acknowledgement.
In any event, you are you, and whatever you choose to do in your career, business or life generally doesn’t define you.
Perfectionists and high achievers are especially prone to self-sabotage.
Your need to get it right is commendable. But, are you hiding behind your perfectionism to avoid completing that project or finally shipping out that product? I’ve certainly done it. In the early stages of my business I re-recorded an entire months worth of training just because I didn’t think it was good enough. I recorded a website welcome video over 22 times! Yes, I told you this was my speciality subject area.
If you want to see the results of your work, you need to put it out there.”
No amount of additional last minute touches will make your product better than it presently is.
What to do:
Just ship it. If you have done most of what is required to be done, then it is time to put it out there and then learn how to improve from other people’s feedback. If it doesn’t feel like your best work, revise it at a later stage. Or, improve when you move on to the next product. Nothing you ever produce will ever be perfect. You are not perfect. I’m not perfect. The world is not perfect. But, in some way, it all seems to work out okay. Just ship it!
Being your own worst enemy is worse than having someone else keep you from your goals and aspirations. However, the best part is that you are in control. Breaking from the habit of self-sabotage certainly requires you to decide to be courageous and bold enough to put aside the excuses. It also helps to be keenly aware of your own defeating thoughts and have the guts to press on anyway. Life passes by in the blink of an eye, don’t miss the enjoyment of living it to the full.
Remember you are an incredible person and are hugely valued in this world. Don’t let anybody take that away from you, especially yourself.
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