If you are on the professional and/or personal development ladder to success, you have likely experienced moments of setback, failures, fears, and negative thoughts regarding your climb. This can manifest in many ways but have you ever noticed that things can be going extremely well; business is great, marriage is intimate, kids are excelling at school, but your anxiety and depression are rearing its ugly head and sparking unreasonable fear? Congratulations, you are human.
I must admit, this has happened several times in my life and for the vast majority I always said things like, “of course the other shoe would drop” or “I knew it couldn’t last”. My favorite was also “well, if he or she or they or it…hadn’t done what they did, I would be better off. It’s all their fault”! Yeah, I hate to admit it, but the blame game was a personal favorite of mine. What I didn’t realize, until much work in this personal development space, is this is self-sabotaging my upper limits of success and growth. Ultimately, I am learning there are three main signs that may help you recognize that maybe YOU are causing your problems. I know, hard pill to swallow. But, if I can recognize that I am causing the problem, then that also means I am the solution. If you are willing to take this inner journey with me, maybe this can help you reach your new levels of success.
Three patterns you might be self-sabotaging.
- Useless Worry – We all worry. Worry is hard wired in us from the beginning of existence. Useless worry is the pattern I’ve learned to be on the lookout for. This is when you spend hours lying awake at night worrying about the business you might lose, the bus wreck that could occur, the nightmare that the sniffles your kid has is actually a brain tumor? Useless worry breeds anxiety over issues that you likely have no control over. I have heard a lot of moms frequently share they have laid awake at night worrying about what their kids are facing at school, if their child will come down with a terminal illness, fail out of school, never get a job, marry the wrong person….etc. These are all possibilities and they would all have disastrous consequences, but let me ask you, is there anything that you can do right now about it? The two questions you can ask yourself to decide, is this useless worry or factual worry, are:
- Is this a realistic worry? Yes or No
- Is there anything you can actually do about this worry? Yes or No
If the answer is no to both, then I would venture to say that you are creating scenarios in your head of worry that is fostering additional anxiety and taking away from the path of success you should stay focused on.
- Deflecting – This is one I see very common in women. Usually goes like this…Sally says to Pam, “I loved your talk about the XYZ charity and the presentation on the impact in the community”.
Pam to Sally, “oh thanks, but it was just terrible. I skipped the most important part because I got nervous and completely stumbled over my words at the end. I probably shouldn’t be giving that talk”.
How many times have you deflected a compliment with your inner negativity? How about a simple, “Thank you”. Often times, when we are starting to level up in any area, we are afraid. This fear turns into negativity and we turn around any compliments to a reason to sabotage ourselves and let our insecurities win. Keeping us down, keeping us comfortable in our current zone.
- Blame and Criticism – Sabotage shows up often in relationships. This could be partners in life, business, or friendships. It also takes the form of victimhood. This is when things are swimming along smoothly and you begin to criticize the person, picking a fight or blaming them for all the reasons you’re not getting the promotion, or how they are trying to stop you from your goals. You spend so much time telling others and yourself how if they hadn’t done this thing that you’d be able to accomplish the goal. If they would just communicate better we’d have the perfect marriage. If they would just support me I could lose the weight. If they weren’t so lazy we could hit our profitability numbers. These are the sneakiest and most addictive of all the patterns because they may even have some truths. There might be an action taken by someone else that isn’t your fault, but it is your ability to control your reaction to it.
Anxiety and depression are reaching all-time highs in today’s society and it’s becoming easier and easier to find something to worry about or blame someone else for all of our problems. The reality is that it’s painful to acknowledge the role you have played. I implore you to take ownership of your place in this world and take responsibility for your life. No one is coming to save you. You can choose to repeat the pattern or you can choose to begin the work to climb out of self-sabotage and step into your deserved level.