self-sabotaging behaviors

Self-Sabotaging Behaviors That Keep Your Business From Soaring


No matter how successful you are, at one time or another you’ll fall into the self-sabotage trap, we all do, and the price is high.

  • Your income will suffer.
  • Your self-esteem will plummet.
  • Your confidence will find new lows.

The result? Frustration. Burnout. Resentment of your clients, or your business, or both! Self-sabotaging behaviors lead to more self-sabotaging behaviors. Think of it as getting stuck in a revolving door. You keep pushing the door past the opening that lets you out, but never jump off.

Does this sound like you? Maybe you started a downward spiral due to all the changes with the pandemic. With all the negative reporting from the media, it wasn't difficult to do. Perhaps you are not sure. Maybe you have some sparks of recognition, but it's not that bad? No matter what level your may be, I have good news! Stopping this descent is easy when you learn to recognize the symptoms.


Were you going to send a proposal to a potential new client, but waited too long? Or maybe you were going to get your books in order, or make an appointment with your tax preparer, and now they’re booked solid and taxes are due in two days!

These, and other missed opportunities, can often be blamed on simple procrastination, one of the most destructive habits we fall victim to. Procrastination is what keeps us working late at night to make a deadline, costs us money in late fees, and even costs us business.

If you are prone to procrastination, here are a few techniques you can try to put an end to it:

  • Recognize your fear. What often keeps us stuck is simple fear. We are afraid of failing, afraid we’ll look bad when compared to other proposals, so we just don’t send one. But if you want to be successful in business, you must learn to recognize and face your fears, then do the work anyway.  What if it doesn't work out? Learn from it, dust yourself off, and get back on that horse!

It's ok to fail, but fail fast."  - Leonard Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc

  • Visualize the life and business you desire. Imagine what it will be like to have that amazing business you’ve been dreaming about. Picture your ideal workday, daydream about that fabulous vacation you’ll take, and imagine your ideal client. Put together a vision board and look at it, really look at it, once a week. Always keep your goals top of mind.
  • Reward yourself. It’s okay to give yourself a little incentive for getting things done. It’s even number six of the Eight-Stage Change Process John Kotter talks about in Leading Change. He suggests generating short-term wins and “visibly recognizing and rewarding people who made the wins possible”, that includes you! Take yourself out to lunch; buy a new pair of shoes; take an afternoon off. Do what’s most likely to motivate you to power through your fears and take the next step.

Failing To Complete Your Projects

Be honest. How many partially planned programs, and unfinished projects are on your task list right now?

If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, the answer is probably several.

You started all of them with great enthusiasm. You planned out the project, created the workflow, and maybe even outlined the marketing strategy. And then…you just stopped working on it.

Maybe you tell yourself that you’re too busy. Maybe you “need to do some more research.” Or maybe you simply lost interest. But the truth is, none of those are the real reason. For many, this self-sabotaging habit is a symptom of a lack of confidence, and it is keeping you from the success you deserve.

Consider this: You cannot know the actual success rate of a program you have never finished, and you cannot improve upon something you have never completed. So rather than filling your task list with half-finished projects, power through and start getting them done.

“Make a commitment to focus on the priority task now, not later, not even tomorrow.” -  How To Finish Everything Your Start, Jan Yager

Negative Self-Talk

       “I’ve never been good with money.”

“I hate budgets.”

             “I’ll never be a 6-figure earner.”

“My market won’t pay premium prices.”

If you have ever heard these statements come out of your mouth—or even in your head—then you are engaging in a damaging habit known as negative self-talk. By telling yourself these lies (and yes, they are lies) you are reinforcing the beliefs that go along with them.

Thoughts become things!” -  Mike Dooley; excerpt from The Secret, Rhonda Byrne

Tell yourself you are not good with money, and you won’t be. Believe that budgets are horrible chores to be disparaged, and you’ll resist creating one. Convince yourself that you can’t earn a 6-figure income, and you won’t.

It’s not “the secret.” It’s a scientific fact known as a self-fulfilling prophecy, this kind of self-talk results in poor performance simply because we act as if it’s already true.

The first step toward changing your negative self-talk is to simply acknowledge that you do it. Tick a mental checkbox every time you catch yourself making negative statements, whether out loud or in your head.

The next time you catch yourself saying “I’m no good with money,” take a minute to recall 5 instances where you were good with money. Maybe you paid off your credit cards or saved for a house or built an emergency fund. Rephrase your self-talk to, “I used to be bad with money, but now I make smart choices to achieve my goals.”

Just as negative self-talk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, so does positive self-talk. Re-frame your thinking, and your business finances will certainly improve.

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