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When you’re trying to build a successful business, you always want to put forth your best effort. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can inadvertently sabotage your success.
There are five ways most people do this.
#1 – You Listen to Others
While there’s nothing wrong with listening to others, especially when it’s helpful, you do have to be wary of listening to the wrong influences. Because when you do that, you can end up making mistakes that can sabotage what you’re working so hard to build.
The words of other people can help propel you forward or it can hurt your belief in yourself and in the business you’re pursuing. One way that you sabotage yourself is by listening to people who aren’t in your industry.
That’s like comparing apples and oranges. Though both are a fruit, they’re not the same. So when you seek advice from or listen to counsel from someone not in your industry, they’re not speaking from a place of having inside knowledge.
When you follow their advice, you can end up hurting your business. You should also be careful about listening to others when it’s people who haven’t had the success that you want.
Don’t listen to people who belittle you or your accomplishments. That kind of conversation doesn’t come from a healthy place and you’ll gain nothing by listening to their words of misdirection.
When you want your business to do well, you should seek advice from those who have a thriving business in your niche – not from the guy who never seems to achieve any of his business or financial goals.
It’s always best to listen to others who are where you want to be. They’ve walked the path, they’ve figured out what works and they’re making success happen. Don’t listen to people who aren’t supportive of you or your dreams.
These people may even be well meaning and think they know what’s best for you, but all it does is discourage you when you’re looking for advice or support and you come away feeling like you’ve been verbally slapped instead. Who needs that!
In every industry, there will be those who are positive and they see even obstacles or problems as opportunities. You want to listen to them because their enthusiasm is contagious.
By the same token, people who are negative will always point out the worst case scenario. They’ll tell you why your ideas won’t work so that when you listen to them, you’ll find your own mind steeped in negativity.
That’s because negativity always rubs off on those around it. You’ll begin to see the downside of running your business rather than the upside.
Now, I’m not saying put your fingers in your ears and go “la la la” when someone highlights a potential problem. Just don’t take it to heart, look for way around these obstacles.
In a nutshell, while it’s a good idea to listen to those who have had success that you aspire to achieve, you even have to be careful about the attitude of these people.
Who has been negative about your business goals? How did you feel?
#2 – You Live in the Past
Everyone has failures in his or her past. It’s just a way of life because there’s no such thing as the perfect person. Having failures isn’t a problem unless you allow it to be by living in the past.
Although calling it the past is really not a correct term if you’re living in it. It’s actually your past-present. This happens when you keep the failures you’ve had at the back of your mind and whenever you’re trying to do something with your life, they’ll pop up and start playing repeatedly like a bad movie.
So then why do so many people keep living in the past, even knowing that’s what holds them back? It’s because past failures keep you safe. They’re a haven, a comfort zone. These familiar failures are reminders that you’re better off exactly where you are.
You won’t get hurt. Your business won’t suffer if you stay stagnant – but you fail to admit it won’t grow, either. These failures show up to remind you that trying again is scary.
They crowd around, eager to prove that attempting a new thing with your career isn’t a good idea. They’ll impact your mindset, turning your hope and belief into doubt until the ideas you wanted to try wither away.
It’s a form of self-sabotage that’s designed to keep you comfortable.
But it’s a place that lies to you over and over again. You’ll never be comfortable not doing what you were meant to do or not reaching the business heights you crave in your mind and heart.
You live in the past by letting your failures become your identity. You accept the past failure as the truth. This kind of thinking leads many people to reframe who they are. Someone who had a business launch, such as a product that flopped, identify that failure by internalizing the reasoning that says, “I’m not good at creating products.”
Or if it’s a business where you created something like a mastermind course and no one signed up, that can lead you to not want to create a mastermind group in the future because you’re looking backward, which keeps you from moving forward.
Living in the past allows you to create excuses for why something doesn’t work. Living in the past, looking at what you tried that failed, erodes your self-confidence. As you’re looking back, doubts multiply.
You’ll start to think, “If I failed in that, how can I trust myself or my decisions with this?”
You can stand on the brink of breakthrough success but because you’re tethered to what happened back then, the weight of that never lets you fly.
Living in the past is one of the worst kinds of sabotage you allow. Because the past is always over and done with it. But by living in it, you constantly breathe new life into it. If you let it go, taking only the lessons that you learned from the experience, you’ll be able to move on – possibly to even greater success than you’ve ever known.
Let’s celebrate our failures as they get us closer to our successes!
#3 – You Aren’t Consistent
You can sabotage your success when you’re not consistent. Your mood constantly swings from one direction to the next. You’re having difficulty sticking with something until you see it through.
People who have yo-yo moods often get caught up in the shiny new object or idea syndrome. They’re full speed ahead working on something. They believe at the time that this is what they need do and they’re sure it’s going to change their business or their lives.
They’re enthusiastic and excited. But then the next thing comes along and captures their attention. Now they’re no longer interested in what they were doing. They might get discouraged about what they were working on because this new thing seems better, easier or quicker to get results.
Their original enthusiasm and excitement transfers to the shiny new object or idea. Having this kind of yo-yo mood can cause you to meander along in your business. You aren’t accomplishing the success that you’d like to have because your focus isn’t 100% solidified.
When you have a yo-yo mood, you sabotage yourself because you work on your projects only when you feel like it.
When you don’t feel like it, you blow it off. This becomes a huge problem when whatever it is you’re working on is important for the success of your business. You can end up having a lack of consistency.
You might have a hundred different projects going on and most of them aren’t finished – if any of them. A mindset or actions that lack consistency can lead to a dependence on inspiration to get stuff done.
Sometimes people don’t recognize this form of sabotage because they don’t understand that it’s an issue for them. But you can tell that this kind of mood is a struggle for you if you find yourself constantly creating excuses.
I have 1 day a week to work on my blog and on this same ‘1 day’ I go food shopping or book an appointment. It’s a form of self-sabotage that means I don’t take the blog seriously enough.
There’s not enough time to handle an important project, so you’ll spend time making a list instead. You change direction too easily, whether in action or in mood. You can’t find the right resources or tools, so you’ll stop working on what you have to get done and instead work on what “moves” you regardless of whether or not it grows your profits or client list.
There are reasons why some people struggle with a yo-yo mood. One of these is due to a lack of accountability. If you have no one you need to answer to, it’s easier to give in to the fluctuations.
When that happens, you can have a mindset that things will get done when they get done. This can lead to problems like blowing off tasks, missing deadlines and more. You shrug it off and sabotage yourself in the process.
Who can hold you accountable for your to-do list?
#4 – You Go to Extremes
One of the problems that many entrepreneurial types run into is that they can have a tendency to go to extremes. Being someone who goes to extremes can have some advantages.
People who go to extremes can be super focused, but because it can cause you to live a life out of balance more often than not, it can also lead to burnout.
When you live by extremes, you can have an all or nothing mindset, which lends to seeing every situation as one way or the other, with no middle ground.
This can become a cycle for how you live your personal life as well as how you conduct your business. Going to extremes can cause you to strive to become an overachiever. You’ll start setting impossible goals such as landing 50 new clients in a week when the most you’ve ever converted is 5.
Giving in to extremes can make you drive yourself harder than is physically or mentally safe. You’ll develop tunnel vision and get so focused on one thing that you completely miss other things that need your attention.
Going to the extreme works both ways. For some, they go to the extreme of performance. For others, they go to the extreme of quitting. Their mindset tends to be along the lines of if they can’t land at least 20 new clients in a week, then they might as well quit. My husband does this with his exercise routine, if he can’t do it every day he gives up! Do you know someone like this?
Again, it’s that all or nothing thinking which can have trace elements of perfectionism or low self-confidence at its root. The person can be trying to “prove” themselves or trying to measure up to an impossible standard.
Or, they can have doubts about their abilities and going to the extreme is them trying to compensate for those doubts. Regardless of whether your extreme leads to trying to overachieve impossible goals or quitting, there is the same truth at the base of both.
It’s that you’re putting unrealistic expectations on yourself. On one hand, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. Like you’re invincible and you’re totally going to dominate at whatever it is that you’re attempting to do.
But on the other hand, you’ll feel afraid and vulnerable – maybe even like a failure because your desire for what you can or can’t accomplish isn’t based on real, achievable goals or expectations.
Can you set more realistic goals for yourself?
#5 – You Believe in Perfectionism
Someone who believes in perfectionism has a desire to do great things without flaw. They know where they’re going with every project, they have a lot of talent, great ideas and yet struggle to take action steps.
One of the many causes of believing in perfectionism is a focus on the finished result. You see the project as it should be when it’s completed rather than all the messy parts that go into putting it together.
Because you see the polished end, the jumbled beginning is more difficult for you. People who believe in perfectionism are often prone to comparing the beginning or middle of their efforts to someone else’s finished and polished creation.
So then they see their own work as amateurish and others as professionals. Having a belief in perfectionism often causes procrastination. Not because the person doesn’t have the means, time or knowledge to succeed, but because to them, the work is never done – never good enough.
These types of people will often find something to criticize about their own efforts. They work harder than most other people do, yet often have a smaller track record of accomplishments.
The mindset is often, “If this isn’t perfect, I won’t finish it until it is.” Believing in perfectionism is rooted in self-doubt. They’re not really afraid that the finished product won’t be worthy, but that somehow they won’t be worthy of admiration for their efforts.
You have to learn to believe that there’s no such thing as a perfect first time draft of a product. There are editing stages to every creation and these rough drafts are simply early action steps.
If you look at what your competitors have accomplished – such as products they’ve brought to the market or courses they’re offering for clients, a belief in perfectionism can make it appear as if that product or course sprang into existence overnight.
That’s because all you see is what’s been done in the end. You don’t see the many hours of work that’s been poured into it. You don’t see the nights they felt like giving up, or the times they walked away and had to take a break because they were stumped by an issue.
You don’t know the resources they used or if they had outside help. A belief in perfectionism can cause you to struggle to get started with what you want to do. To overcome that, you can start in the middle.
Work out of order and then put whatever it is you’re trying to do together. The reason behind doing it this is because it does away with the “getting started” mental roadblock.
One area that can lead to a belief in perfectionism is trying to compensate for something else.
You’re trying to be perfect in one area of your business because you feel like you’re failing in another. An example would be spending a lot of money on constantly tweaking a website font or color when you know you should be working on getting your product launch ready.
Another area is overestimating your abilities. You don’t feel confident because your perfectionism has given you no room to learn what you really need to know. You don’t let yourself experiment and fail and grow, which is in essence the nature of a business.
And that all prevents you from making the progress that you should and need to be making.
Can you break your business goals into smaller chunks and see success after completing each chunk?
So what if you self-sabotage, let me tell you – You are not alone!
We are all self-sabotaging in our own ways and we need to be able to see it and call it out.
I know that I procrastinate and get caught up in research mode when I should be writing and publishing posts. Also, I look at other people offering similar services and imagine that they are far more efficient or productive than me.
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