Could you be sabotaging your own success?

Four reasons why we sabotage our own success and how to overcome it so you can have all the success you deserve! Have you ever done one of these? Launching a workshop, class, event, or offer and then NOT doing everything you can to promote itDoing the bare minimum to communicate to your audience what […]

Thrive Global invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive Global or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.
Christine Corcoran - Business Mindset Coach
Christine Corcoran - Business Mindset Coach

Four reasons why we sabotage our own success and how to overcome it so you can have all the success you deserve!

Have you ever done one of these?

  1. Launching a workshop, class, event, or offer and then NOT doing everything you can to promote it
  2. Doing the bare minimum to communicate to your audience what you do and how you can help them and then hoping and wishing clients just find you
  3. Using the words “just” and “only” when describing what you do to someone
  4. Downplaying your achievements by thinking and saying you were just “lucky”
  5. Not following up when opportunities have been offered to you
  6. You start seeing good results and so you stop doing what you were doing even though it was working.
  7. Not preparing or preparing very last minute for something important

Chances are you have, me too. We all do it, some more than others.

Unlocking the door to our self-sabotaging behaviours can reveal a room filled with self-doubt, fear, pain from the past, old habits of thinking and old versions of ourselves we’re still holding on to.

And even though that seems scary there is so much power in looking within to understand why we do what we do, and figure out how we can create positive change for our future and become as successful as we want!

Self-sabotage is a negative or destructive behaviour that holds us back from achieving our goals and stops us from having the success we desire.

It is a behaviour that is out of alignment with who we truly are or who we want to be and can seriously hold us back. These behaviours can sometimes be obvious, but most of the time they are unconscious behaviours that are sneaky AF.

In business, there is no hiding, you must work on yourself as much as you do your business because you ARE your business. Your mindset determines how you respond in every situation, obstacle and challenge that comes your way.

It is all good and well to identify the behaviour that is stopping us, but to truly make long lasting change and fully claim your success, we need to understand why. Why do we self-sabotage our success?

Sabotaging our own success can happen for a multitude of different reasons, such as:

  1. A fear of success – A fear of the responsibility, the unknown of what it will bring, who we will have to become in the process, what we may lose in the process, or the fame or lack of anonymity that comes with the success. Even having a fear around how hard we are going to have to work to get it can keep us sabotaging until the cows come home.
  2. Fear of failure – We fear it all coming crashing down and being humiliated in the process.
  3. Impostor syndrome – Deep down we don’t believe that we deserve the success so we sabotage it to keep ourselves safe and stop people from “finding out” we don’t really know what we’re doing.
  4. Negative money beliefs – With success comes money and if you have negative beliefs about money being the root of all evil, money is filthy, or more money equals more problems, than subconsciously you will sabotage it to keep yourself safe.

Ultimately, even though you may think you want to be successful, self-sabotage is a form of protection. Our survival brain is there to keep us safe, and if we have thoughts about success not being safe, then our brain will find ways to sabotage it any way it can.

So how do we stop sabotaging our own success?

Define your version of success.

Start by redefining what success means to you. Often, we have a warped view of what success is because we’re constantly being fed an image of success through social media and society. One that looks like fast cars, big houses, the laptop lifestyle, and lots of money.

But what does your version of success look like? What do you genuinely want?

It’s essential to get really clear on what success would look like for you. What would you be doing with your time? What type of money would you be making?

Maybe you do not want the life of a millionaire. Maybe you want to make a healthy $250K, live by the beach and have time for your family.

Maybe you want to travel the world and surround yourself with clients you adore, doing the work you love, and that doesn’t have to mean fame and fortune. Any of these are great options as long as it’s what you really want.

Define the fear that is causing the self-sabotaging behaviour.

When you think about achieving that level of success – what fears come up for you? Every human being experiences fear, but it’s the undefined, unclear, unquestioned fears that keep most of us playing small. Define which fear you’re struggling with and then use these strategies to move through them:

Fear of success – Create a risk analysis on your fears, just the way you would for any risk factors in your business. Most of our fears of success stem from stepping into the unknown, doing things we’ve never done and experiencing things we’ve never experienced, and this makes our brain get frozen in fear because we haven’t thought the whole thing through. Write down everything you fear happening, and then write how you would handle those situations or obstacles. After that, go one step further and write down how you could prevent them from happening and see how that makes you feel. I guarantee you it will help to dissipate a lot of the fear associated to those things we think we are fearful of.

Fear of failure – Change what failure means to you. What is failure anyway? Failure is not the end, and it does not have to be what defines us; it can instead be what shapes us. It can be a steppingstone to your success, if you allow it. To me, failure is not even trying. Fear of failure can also be a fear of not wanting to relive an experience from our past. Have a think about whether you need to heal any past failures and work on the forgiveness that’s needed.

A powerful exercise is to write a letter to your past self about everything you learnt throughout that past failure and choose to change the meaning of it to something more empowering to support your future.

Impostor syndrome – Who do you think you are wanting such big things? Human? Yeah, I thought so. The Impostor syndrome shows up when you’re preparing to go to the next level and the experience or opportunity is calling for a new version of yourself to step up.

To overcome the Impostor syndrome, write down all the reasons WHY you are the best person for this opportunity/experience, challenge any inner chatter that pops us, knowing that it’s only there to keep you safe. Now write down your past achievements, no matter how small, going back as far as you like, write down everything from your past that has prepared you for this experience. Build a bank of evidence to back yourself and your ability to move through the fear. Believe me, there will be more than you realise.

Money beliefs – At every stage of growth and success, it challenges our beliefs about money. Money is a tool we use to create the future we desire, it is not the root of all evil, as some people may believe, it’s an energy that we exchange for something of value and it does not determine who we are as a person. Spend some time consuming positive money stories and messages. Find books, movies, videos of positive money messages to reinforce a positive money story.

Find a role model of someone successful who has a great relationship with money and who represents your values in relation with money too.

Create a compelling WHY that is bigger than your FEAR

What’s your reason for wanting the level of success you want? Why do you really want it? Is your WHY compelling? Is it connected to something outside of yourself? Something bigger?

Our WHY is not just the mission of our business or the ethos, we must have a personal reason that gets us out of bed in the morning, that pushes us through the fear of the next challenge and that calls us to do more and be more. If your Why isn’t that powerful, then it’s not emotional enough to drive you through times of fear. Write it again and make it a powerful reason linked to your emotions.

Deep dive into uncovering the root cause

Once you know what fear is keeping you from your success, uncover the root cause and question where it came from. Has there been a past experience that caused this fear? Was it a belief system passed down to you through generations of your family? Perhaps even consider if it was from a past life? Our fears can sometimes be an accumulation of multiple experiences and beliefs, buried deep in our subconscious mind that shape our identity and our beliefs about what is possible for ourselves.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds because we cannot see our own blind spots. This is where it can be helpful to work with a mindset coach to uncover the root cause and work through reframing and releasing it so you can then powerfully move forward.  

All it takes is a little courage to look within and a willingness to see the fear for what it really is… just a story we have been telling ourselves.

There is so much power in unearthing our fears and doing the work to release them.

We deserve all the success in the world, and we can’t let a little fear, or a good story, get in the way.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Patrick Foto/Getty Images
    Work Smarter//

    Why Fear of Success Is Holding You Back More Than Fear of Failure

    by James Sudakow
    Wisdom//

    How To Get Out Of Your Own Way

    by ericajoydunn
    Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash
    Community//

    Fear of Success: How You Are Sabotaging Your Own Growth

    by Kathryn Thompson
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.