Success, whether in life or business, takes a lot of work. It also requires constant learning and persistence even in the face of uncertainty. On the other hand, sabotaging our success is way too easy. If you’re not where you want to be then take a look to see if you’re engaging in any of these seven self-sabotaging behaviors.
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This video gives a synopsis of the points if you’re rather watch than read.
You’re listening too much to others
It’s an unwise person who never takes advice. Getting educated, thoughtful, and valid opinions can be critical to our success because it’s a way for us to learn from the experience and mistakes of others.
However, in this day and age it’s easy to be bombarded with opinions because they’re everywhere. You find opinions and advice everywhere from family, friends, social media sites, online groups, and news articles. The list is endless.
The result is that you end up with so much information that your head starts swimming and you don’t know what to do.
But here are the big problems I see with all those opinions:
First, you’re listening to too MANY people
There’s no shortage of opinions and advice out there. Everyone feels free to tell you what you should do and what they think. And here’s the thing with that…even if someone does have great advice, experience, and success, there’s still a good chance that their advice is going to conflict with that of someone else who also has great advice.
Just because someone’s experience worked for them doesn’t mean it will work for you!
There’s a point where it’s counterproductive to listen to too many “gurus” no matter how good they may be. You’ve got to make a conscious choice about who you’re going to listen to and ignore everyone else. You will go round and round in circles otherwise!
Second, you’re listening to the WRONG people
Another problem with listening to too many people is that some people just do not know what they’re talking about.
I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true.
That’s where it’s up to us to do our due diligence to see if someone resonates with us and really (really) knows what they’re talking about.
Just because someone claims to be an expert doesn’t mean they are.
Third, you’re listening to nay-sayers
This group is tough because it can be comprised of your family and friends. And those are the opinions that can hurt us most.
Sometimes these people are giving us opinions and advice because they truly have our best interests at heart and they think they know what’s best for us. But that’s the thing….they think they know what’s best for us…and very likely, they don’t.
And some people are just naturally negative and are going to always point out what is wrong (or what can go wrong). They always see the dark side, the pitfalls, and why your ideas won’t work.
Listening to these people can leave you feeling discouraged, depressed, and paralyzed with indecision and fear.
It’s hard, but learning who to listen to and when is a critical component of success in all areas of our lives.
You’re living in the past
Everyone has things in their past that they’re unhappy about. Failures, regrets, missed opportunities…I’m doubt there’s anyone who doesn’t have something that’s gone wrong.
But here’s the thing about the past…it needs to be left there so that it doesn’t impact the present and your future.
The past isn’t the past if you’re still living there.
Some people, however, are stuck in the past. They’re revisiting old hurts and mistakes. They’re replaying past failures. And whether they want to admit it or not, they’ve never moved on.
Why would anyone do that to themselves?
Well, one reason may be that your identity is tied to something in the past.
Your identity may be tied to roles you’ve assumed. “I’m just a mom, so I could never….” Or perhaps your identity is tied to old attitudes. “People like me don’t …..”
Either of those sound familiar?
But we’re not bound by roles, expectations, attitudes, and upbringing. We’re capable of change and even though it can be scary to let go of an old identity, sometimes it’s necessary in order to grow into the people we’re capable of becoming.
Honestly, it’s easy to get stuck in the past. For one thing, you’re familiar with it (even if it was crummy). And whatever it is you’re clinging to was important to you. You wanted it to work and perhaps you’re still trying to figure out why it didn’t.
And while there’s value in learning from the mistakes we made, the true value comes from learning and then moving on so that we can apply what we learned.
You’re clinging to your comfort zone
Comfort zones are tricky things and they’re directly tied to our past, making them extremely difficult to break out of.
Because comfort zones are just that – comfortable. You know what to expect, you’ve got a good idea of how things are going to turn out, and you can remain in one indefinitely because there’s no change required on your part.
But when there’s no change there’s also no growth. And growth is critical for success (in both business and in life).
Growth occurs when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.
So here’s where you have to ask yourself the important question…
do you want to be comfortable…or do you want something different?
- Do you want to branch out and start your own business?
- Is there a book inside you that you want to write?
- Are there changes you need to be made in order to be happy?
- Is there some “big thing” inside you that’s longing to be expressed?
- Is there some dream or goal that you’ve always wanted to pursue?
- Are you willing to settle for what is known and comfortable?
- Are you willing to turn loose of something as you reach for something else?
- And are you willing to live with the “what if’s” that you’re going to experience if you choose to stay comfortable?
Ultimately, you’re the only one who can answer these questions. And you’re the only one who can do the work to bust out of your comfort zone?
The real question is are you willing to do it?
Comfort comes has a mighty high price.
Inconsistency comes in many forms:
- not showing up regularly to do what’s required
- swinging hot and cold in your commitment
- vacillating between excitement and apathy
- not following through on your plans
- starting something new before you finish what you’re already working on
- succumbing to Shiny Object Syndrome
- chasing squirrels (not literally…but you get the idea)
Here’s the thing about success…it requires work…consistent work. It’s often not fun, it’s definitely not glamorous, and it requires sacrifice.
In order to achieve anything in life, you have to focus. You can’t show up when the mood hits or when there’s nothing better to do. You also can’t divide your attention between a dozen different things (or if you do, know that they are all going to take a lot longer).
But when you’re looking at other people’s success it’s easy to forget the long, hard, consistent work it took to achieve it.
Success is like an iceberg. You see what’s visible…not the massive amount of work that went on to make it happen.
When you find that you’re not getting the results you want, it’s time to take a look at your habits. If you’re inconsistent then it’s time to develop a plan to get you on track to take regular steps to move you forward.
Related Post: 26 Time Management Strategies
You’re always at one extreme or the other
It’s not uncommon for high achievers and entrepreneurial-minded people to be the type who have a tendency to to to extremes. And this isn’t always a bad thing.
At one extreme is a passion and burning desire to do your best, to create, produce, and achieve. People who are highly focused and willing to work long hours tend to be more successful than others. So this can be an advantage…in some situations and some of the time.
The problem with extremes is that they’re not maintainable over long periods of time. It causes you to have problems achieving balance in life (which is important to live a well-rounded life) and can put you on the road to serious burnout.
And this burnout can be physical or mental…or both. Continuing to push yourself for long periods isn’t healthy and eventually you’re going to crash. I’ve known people who have ended up with serious illnesses because they refused to take care of themselves because they were too driven to realize there was a problem. And I’ve been guilty of working myself to the point where I’d get sick. It was almost like my body was telling me that I was going to get some rest…one way or another!
The problem with extremes is that there’s seldom any middle ground.
Living at the extremes also has a way of skewing your mindset. You may become prone to “all or nothing” thinking which can make any setback seem catastrophic. And when things go wrong…as they’re bound to do…extreme thinking may make it harder to recover and bounce back.
You’re waiting till things are perfect
Here’s the thing with perfection…it doesn’t exist.
But someone who believes in perfect will want every detail to be just right. They’ll work…and rework…steps until they’re “just right.” It’s like the Goldilocks version of life…and we know how that worked out.
It’s easy to get caught up in the perfectionism trap. But while it’s great to want the final product to be great, we have to remember that when we’re in the process of actually doing the work, things are going to be messy…and not perfect.
The middle of anything is always the messiest part!
So when we’re comparing our “in process” work to the ideal that is in our mind, it seems like we’re doing shoddy work…and therefore need to re-do it to get it right. But this only keeps us from completing a project and then critically evaluating it as to its quality.
That tendency towards hyper-critical behavior and perfectionism keeps us going round and round in circles while excusing ourselves because we “want to get it right.” The underlying issues is frequently that we’re afraid that the final product won’t measure up.
But here’s the deal…a product or process that only exists in our mind does no one any good. It may be “perfect” in our mind, but what good does that really do anyone?
So give yourself permission to be imperfect. You might find that what you create is much better than you thought.
Reasons we’re so hard on ourselves:
- We’re comparing our work to others
- We’re comparing our selves to others
- We’re unsure of our abilities
- We’re nervous about how others will judge the final product
- We’re afraid of falling short of our own expectations
You’re giving up too easily
It’s easy to throw up our hands and say, “I just can’t do it!” or “It’s just not possible!” And it’s understandable why we want to quit.
Things are tough, projects take longer than we anticipate, and tasks are harder than we ever dreamed they’d be. Who can really blame us when we decide that it’s time to throw in the towel
But a towel thrown on the ground is good for only one thing…mopping up a mess.
Now I’m not saying there isn’t a time to critically examine all factors and come to a reasoned decision about the likelihood of a project’s success. Obviously, there is such a time.
And when the time has come that is really IS time to face reality, then there’s no shame in doing so.
But what we want to avoid is simply giving up and throwing in the towel because we’re frustrated. Or because we’re tired, or bored, or afraid.
When the time comes to throw in the towel let’s be sure it’s for the right reasons…and then own that decision.
And most importantly, when we do decide that it’s time to quit something, let’s make sure that we’ve learned all the lessons we can from the experience. Let’s evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and the reasons for both. This way we can approach our next project or venture with greater knowledge and wisdom because of the one we left behind.
That’s one way to decrease the chance that we’ll sabotaging our success in the future.
a great resource for productivity
There’s a resource in the Productivity Bundle called Beat Self-Sabotage: How To Overcome the Emotions That Are Holding You Back. It’s easier to see when other people are trying to sabotage us, but it’s much harder to recognize when we’re doing it to ourselves. Then understanding WHY we would be doing that…well, that’s even more complicated. This short ebook dives into the underlying emotions and fears so that we can recognize and counteract them. It’s worth a read.