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Self sabotage. You know what that is, right? When you want to change really bad. And you know what needs to get done in order to change. But, instead of doing what needs to get done, you do the opposite. Or nothing at all.
Here’s an example: You find out there’s a position open at work that you’re qualified for and it would be a promotion. You need to reach out to your boss to tell her you want to be considered for this.You figure…you’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and you’ll maybe send her an email at the end of the day. Next thing you know you’ve procrastinated all week and now it’s Friday, the last day to submit your interest. And then it's 5:00 and everyone is going home…
So, why, why, why do we do this? I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve worked with that have had a homework assignment (that THEY have assigned themselves) and when I ask them about it later they sheepishly tell me they didn’t do it. When they had all the time and resources in the world to get it done.
WHY? Temporary insanity? Time stopped? Kidnapped by aliens?
Nope. It’s simply self sabotage. And maybe I shouldn’t say “simply”. Because sometimes it’s far from simple.
The bottom line is self–sabotage is a way to feel safe. It happens A LOT when people realize where they are and they don’t like it, then they see what they could have if they change. Even though they want to change, the thought of going through the action of changing is too damn scary.
So, my dear ass kickers, here are 3 reasons you might be self sabotaging, and how to combat them…
Reason #1: Deep down, you don’t think you’re worthy of having what you want.
Again, this might not be something you know in your conscious mind. Let’s use the same example above about going for the promotion at work. Most of us don’t walk around thinking, “I’m not going to talk to her about it because I don’t think I’m worthy of the promotion.” What it looks like is your self talk saying, “The job is probably going to to be way more hours than I want to work anyway so the pay raise won’t be worth it.” Or, “The people I’m up against have more experience than I do, so why bother?” ← that kind of bullshit. That is what not feeling worthy looks like and sounds like.
The remedy is plain and simple: work on your worthiness. And I wish I could wrap all that up in a couple of paragraphs for you, but it’s much bigger and deeper than that. I will tell you to start with your self talk. It will lead you where you need to go.
Reason #2: You don’t think you can actually handle what you’re after.
And oh man do I have experience with this one. A personal example: Two years ago I wrote a book and got a book deal. It was both scary and awesome. This year I made plans to start writing my second book. I’ve gotten past the inner-critic and worthiness blocks that tell me I can’t do it and I’m not good enough. I simply don’t believe that anymore (yay, tools!). But now I make up stories that sound like this, “If I write another book there will be even more exposure. Possibly bigger speaking gigs. Just bigger-ness. Biiiig stuff.” And this is exciting and scary. But, scary sort of wins out and in my unconscious mind I decide well, it’s just too much, too risky, and it can wait. Like forever. So, I procrastinate. Drag my feet. Start another less scary project like: new website!
After I unpacked what was really going on, it was this: This new level of success is scary-as-all-fuck for me, and my inner-critic is all, “Um, who do you think you are? Thinking you’re like a real author now? Thinking you can handle all this success? Nope, nope, nope…”
How to combat that big pile of bullshit is to first know what’s happening in the back of your mind. Maybe you’re afraid of failure, (my first example), or maybe you’re afraid of success. Or sometimes both. But, see it and name it. Once you do this, you’ll be surprised how much power it can lose. Then, tell your story to someone you trust. Not from a place of victimhood, but from a place of “here’s what’s going on for me, it sucks, and I’m working on creating a new story about what success can mean for me”.
Reason #3: You’re just being plain lazy for a moment in time.
That’s okay, we all are. Just know that’s what you’re doing and figure out what you need to do to stop. Put a container on it. For a lot of people it’s accountability. Find out what motivates you and get off your ass. When you’re in it, get curious. Why have I spent the last 4 hours on Pinterest instead of fixing up my resume to send out? What am I really afraid of? Maybe you end up finding out it’s not laziness but something bigger.