You wanna get promoted, get that nice pay rise, be known and respected, and you’re doing all the right things…but something is not adding up…
Sounds familiar? It happens more often than you think.
You can want something for ages, and worked your blood, sweat and tears to get it, but you notice there is still a stubborn “yes, but” running in the background?
This is inner conflict in the making.
Leave it unconscious and unchecked, it doesn’t matter how much effort you put into wanting that new job, the resistant part in each of us will find a way to get heard.
Welcome to self-sabotaging behaviors.
Because we are humans and we have fears.
We still operate from a place of survival: our brains want to avoid us to be exposed to any perceived danger. Among those, fear of failure, of rejection, of not being able to deal.
So we start giving too much attention to that fearful part, we stop taking risks then initiatives altogether, next step? we stop trying and end up ignoring that genuine, expansive part of us that is excited about new challenges and new situations, the problem-solver in us who knows obstacles are opportunities to learn and advance.
Rather, the survival brain takes over: better stay small and safe.
And so we self-sabotage.
Bad news / good news. Bad news: self-sabotaging will regularly manifest itself in some way or another in our lives. Good news: as soon as you identify 1/ the behavior, 2/ the why behind it, you will find hows and strategies that will help you carry on, with intentionality.
While self-sabotaging can be a trickster with many disguises, there are 3 ways you can unmask it without an ounce of doubt.
Trap #1: Chronic Overthinking
Pros and cons, what ifs, good/worse/most likely case? All good – until you are stuck in analysis/paralysis.
Because when we are looking for a problem, we will always find one. And stay there lopping.
Overthinking is another form of procrastination. It gets us in a loop and perpetuates the fear of the unknown in our bodies, making us even less likely to take the tiniest calculated risk.
So what can you do when you are an overthinker and an intellectualizer? Get back into your body. Take a walk and making the conscious decision not to think about the issue (“I am not forgetting it, I will deal with it when I am back”).
Give your brain the time and space to refocus on what is more likely to happen and on finding solutions, and understanding what risks it can make peace with.
The more calculated risks you train your brain and body to hold, the easier and quicker it will get for you to get out of the overthinking loop and into fruitful action.
Trap #2: Believing Your Inner Critic
Much of what you tell yourself about yourself, who you are or aren’t, and what you cannot do is quite often not true.
Especially when it is the repetitive “I am not good enough”.
Your negative perception about yourself may have some real elements, but the story and narrative attached to it are just that…a story.
When you are offered a promotion or have an interview, people see the value in you, they are taking from their time to support you and bet on your potential.
Your part? Focus on your achievements, your experience, your skills – and on what you can do better.
Be aware of your weaknesses and gaps and how you can bridge them.
Your inner critic can be a wise adviser when it is supporting progress and growth.
When it becomes a bully and a punisher, time to put it back into the self-sabotaging category.
Trap #3: People-Pleasing & Poor Boundaries
Being nice is not being a doormat. Doormats don’t get any respect, they don’t get promoted, nobody seeks their counsel.
Don’t be a doormat (I need to be harsh sometimes…).
Know your values and stay in integrity. Betraying yourself because you are afraid of betraying or displeasing others is not a long-term strategy – it will get you depleted, demotivated and resentful.
Rather, understand first what is behind your people-pleasing. Are you afraid of being judged or rejected? Do you think you’ll be seen as a bad person if you disappoint others and their expectations? Do you feel your opinion is not as good as others so you shy down? One last: are you afraid of conflict?
Here is your homework: Am I making these decisions from a place of fear, or expansion? What would happen if I said “no” because I genuinely don’t have the bandwidth? (note from me to you: isn’t that acting with integrity instead of overpromising and ending up underdelivering?). What would my inner leader say and do?
😤 🤬 😄
You see yourself in one or all of those behaviors? It’s normal.
We all have these fears in one form or another.
But you get to decide whether you want your days and life to be governed by what-ifs, or by your goals.
Self-sabotaging behaviors are a measure of protection that we inherited. They have a time and place. But when they get in the way, then time to let them go, and have that difficult conversation!