Most people are excellent at self-sabotage. I know I am. Maybe you are too. It can be the way that you think about something. Or it can be the way that you do or don’t do something. Why do we do that? And how can we change?
We all have things that we fear. Things that we really really dread. For me that’s rejection. Somebody else turning me down. The feeling that I’m not good enough or not smart enough or not social enough to be around other people.
The feeling that I will again, end up alone. And I’ve experienced that loneliness quite a bit. That cold lack of connection. The isolation.
There is always a part of me that fears going back to that feeling of being alone. So I self-sabotage.
How I do it
For the past 9 years I’ve been an entrepreneur. And thanks to that fear of being rejected I’ve self-sabotaged plenty of times. I still do it to this day.
Sometimes it’s through not reaching out to somebody who seems to be interested in my services as coach or trainer. If I don’t reach out I and my services can’t be rejected.
Sometimes it’s through not following up with somebody. A couple weeks ago somebody emailed me about body language coaching. Instead of being excited I was scared. Not scared about providing the coach, because I know I can do that, but scared about it not working out. About me not being good enough, at which point the client would probably walk out and I’d be alone again.
Sometimes it’s as simple as somebody connecting to me on Linkedin. They send me a Linkedin-invite and say that they think I have an interesting job title as Social Nerd Coach. I say thanks and ask them to contact me if I can do something for them. Instead I should be calling them and just talking to them. Just to see how they found me and if they know somebody that I might be able to help.
But I don’t. Because I’m still afraid of rejection. So I self-sabotage by not even reaching out. That inner kid in me is still afraid of being told “no, I don’t want to talk to you”.
And so I repeatedly end up kicking myself for not doing the thing that I should be doing.
Sabotage comes from the French word “saboter”. This means to “walk noisily or clumsily with wooden shoes”.
When workers were unhappy with their working conditions they could slow down production in factories by working very slowly. It was as if the workers were wearing wooden shoes, or “sabots”, instead of the more efficient leather shoes.
Here’s the interesting thing: the workers knew what to do and how to do it, but they chose not to. Ring a bell…? 😉
How to change your self-sabotage
As I mentioned: I’m still fighting against my own self-sabotage. One of my own coaches recently pointed out to me that I still do it. It’s not something that you suddenly change.
So I’m taking small steps. I finally replied to that potential coaching client how I can help him. And I reached out to people on Linkedin.
The key: small steps. Small moments of courage where you do what you’re afraid to do.
Now those moments usually don’t show up out of the blue unfortunately. So more often than not you’ll have to force yourself to take action, fear be damned.
Small steps work in fighting your own acts of self-sabotage.
There are things that you have been putting off because you’re afraid. Afraid of rejection, afraid that you’re not good enough, afraid that you’ll not fit in, afraid that people will laugh at you, afraid that you’ll crash and burn.
And yet, go and do 1 of the things that you have been putting off after reading this. Yes it will likely be scary and yes it can go wrong.
But what if it works?
As for me: once I’m done writing this I’ll reach out to a potential client who I should have called 3 weeks ago. That’s my challenge for today.