Thursday, 09 March 2017 16:12

Do you self-sabotage your own success?

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I sometimes humorously label the voices in our head as "internal terrorists" who sabotage all of your best efforts. Unfortunately, you can't go in and arrest the "terrorist" because it's a part of you that needs to be developed, trained and integrated rather than destroyed.

The most typical kind of self-sabotage is the type that exists within the subconscious mind. Sometimes people are trying to gain some desired outcome, but do not consciously realize that they are getting a certain pay-off from the problem that they're trying to overcome. Let me give you some examples of how this works.

When a man who is sick gets a certain type of attention from his family that he doesn't normally receive, that can become a motivation for staying sick. When he is well he feels taken for granted and doesn't get the attention that he wants. 

I remember a woman I worked with who had cancer.  When I asked if there were any parts of her that objected to becoming healthy again, she felt hesitancy. A part of her was concerned because she had gathered all her family and friends together for a farewell party, where everyone bared their souls and cried. This part felt that if she got well, she couldn't possibly live up to all that incredible emotion. It would all be downhill from there because she had that peak experience that was predicated on her dying. Not being able to live up to this peak experience represented interference, a self-sabotage. She had to deal with that interference before changing. 

Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstances. — Bruce Barton 


Self-sabotage can take one of three forms. The first is that some part of the person doesn't want the change. Often the person is not consciously aware of this part. 

A second kind of self-sabotage is when the person doesn't know how to create the change or how to behave with this change. You have to know how to move from present state to the desired state.

This brings us to the third kind of self-sabotage. A person needs to give themselves the chance to use this new learning. There are some common ways that people don't give themselves the chance to change. A person often needs the time and space for the change to take place. If someone tries an effective strategy for losing weight and doesn't see results within a few days, they haven't given themselves a "chance" to change. So, just giving yourself time can give you the chance you need.

We have a fixed and limiting belief about how change should occur and we often assume for change to be worthwhile it has to be a long, painful process.  The sad thing is that, even though we know our lives aren't working in certain areas, we are still terrified to change. We are locked into our comfort zone, no matter how self-destructive it may be. Yet, the only way to get out of our comfort zone and to be free of our problems and limitations is to get uncomfortable.


We can only embrace change if we are willing to accept reality without running away.

We must stop kidding ourselves, stop blaming others, and stop avoiding unpleasant decisions and start facing the truth. We often have accepted unworkable beliefs that are the direct cause of many of the events in our lives.  Knowing these truths will set you free.

Last modified on Thursday, 09 March 2017 16:27
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