When I accompany clients during my Career Change Coaching program, I very often observe self-sabotage behaviors. 😱

🔸There are some women who happen to be brilliant and determined yet cannot help but adopt counterproductive mindsets again and again, which lead to failure and hurt their careers.

Here are a few examples: ⚡

  • Arriving late to a job interview
  • Turning – down a job they have dreamed about for years – at the last minute and without explanation
  • After months of work, not going the last extra mile that will earn them a promotion
  • Always findingexcuses for not making that one phone call that could give them the career boost they desire.

The questions they ask me are usually a version of this: “Why do I put up roadblocks for myself when I am just about to get what I want?”

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever missed out on a great opportunity for reasons that are not due to lack of skillsorbad luck?

This ability to create obstacles for ourselves comes from our “inner critic”, a small voice that feeds our anxiety and is fueled by low self-esteem and an irrational fear of the unknown.

It is precisely this part of ourselves that:

  • Pollutes our mindwith parasitic thoughts,
  • causes us to doubt our abilities and our self-worth,
  • Prevents us from making our deepest goals a reality and achieving full self-actualization.

Here are some avenues to explore to better understand this type of behavior and put an end to it.

1. Stop procrastinating

Procrastination, by constantly postponing the moment of taking action,not only causesus to miss out on opportunities,but also puts the goal that we setfor ourselves farther off into the distance and makes it increasingly unclear.

It then becomes:

  • A kind of reassuring mental shield that acts as a buffer between oneself and reality: “One day I will write a play.” 🧚‍🧚‍🧚‍
  • It allows us to satisfyour desire for recognition by giving us some sort of bragging right to display in society: “I’m writing a play right now.”🧚‍🧚‍
  • It also lets us off the hook when it comes to truly committing ourselves to what we are doing: “I’m saving my energy for my play!” 🧚‍

It is a defense mechanism that prevents us from enduring constructive hardships and leads us to believe that we are headed in the right direction.

✳️ Which strategy should be adopted?

🔆 Establish a specific and clearly defined timeline

🔆 Do not underestimate the time required to complete the various tasks involved

🔆 Set realistic goals

🔆 Create a schedule that breaks up these tasks

2. Demonstrate mental flexibility

Adopting a very assertive and dominant stance that does not consider others’ perspectives sends a negative message (authoritarianism, lack of empathy, oversized ego) and does us a disservice by making others think that we are unwilling to adapt, which is quite essential within the context of a company.

Given the choice between two people with equal skills, the person who can be self-critical and does not seek a power struggle will always take preference.

Conversely, the ability to be flexible means that we can take several perspectives into account, adopt nuanced stances, accept our faults, and adapt a theoretical position with regards to real life circumstances. These are all qualities that will help you achieve success.

✳️ Which strategy should be adopted?

🔆Take time to observe the culture of a workplace

🔆 Express certainties with nuance

🔆 Accept that we cannot know everything and acknowledge this

🔆 Receive criticism with a positive attitude

🔆 Demonstrate emotional and intellectual empathy by putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes

3. Reflect upon the secondary benefits of self-sabotage.

As strange as it may seem, we may fearsuccess as much as we fear failure.. Self-sabotage can be a sign of loyalty to something that is playing out in us, without our being aware of it.

Being afraid of overshadowing our siblings, parents, or spouse can lead us to make the subconscious choice of not aiming high and even choosing failure. This behavior is part of what is referred to in psychoanalysis as “failure neurosis”. From this perspective, the guilt of succeeding is so strong that our subconscious mind (which is not always our friend; in fact, it is far from it! 😉) manages to satisfy our deep desire (‘I don’t want to disappoint my parents by becoming a woodworker’) to the detriment of our conscious desire (‘I want to be a woodworker’).

We then successfully engage in self-sabotage in order to legitimize our subconscious belief, which is most often summed up by “I don’t deserve it, I’m not capable of it, it’s not for me.”

✳️ Which strategy should be adopted?

🔆 Identify what is bothering us, or causing us to be ambivalent with regards to the goal we have set, and then ask deeper questions: Why do I feel this way, even though I absolutely want to achieve this goal?

🔆 Mentally visualize the consequences of success (I will get what I really want) and failure (I will not be at odds with my family).

4. Put an end to the “Woulda Could Shoulda” mindset

A self-saboteur is very good at “developing a well-crafted argument that pushes us to imagine, in terrifying anticipation, the negative consequences that could happen to us if we continue to pursue our initial inclinations”.

Jacques Salomé, “Resolving the Conflicts That Sabotage Our Lives”

Behind repeated failures also liebehaviors that should be called into question.. Regrets and unrealistic wishes are among the most common pitfalls. By rewriting history from a “If I’d known, if I had only been able to…” mindset, we feel as if we are learning from the past. In reality, we are actually locking ourselves into a pattern of rumination that undermines our morale and keeps us from rationalizing the event.

✳️ Which strategy should be adopted?

🔆 Write down anything that has been overlooked, overemphasized, or underestimated. Only a realistic assessment of a situation allows us to draw profitable lessons for the future from it.

🔆 Avoid expressing unrealistic wishes that involve absolving ourselves of our responsibilities

What about you? 💫What strategies do you use to stop self-sabotaging behaviors?

To go a step further…

Tools (available in the context of a coaching program) with demonstrated effectiveness:

  • NLP(Neuro-Linguistic Programming): Helps us break down our strategy of self-sabotage and become aware of it.
  • Hypnotherapy: Makes it easier to implement changes by overcoming conscious roadblocks.
  • Systemic Approach: Allows us to consider our situation as a whole, our entourage, our environment, etc…

Family Constellations: This method is used when self-sabotage is observed with several members of the same family. Sometimes we subconsciously replicate a behavior out of “loyalty” to our family, and family constellations allow us to stop the behavior that is limiting us without losing our sense of belonging to our family.

Feel free to contact me if you want to know more about this.

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