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Stop Undermining Your Own Success

Stop Undermining Your Own Success

  • Have you ever been on the brink of success only to do something that completely undermines what you were about to accomplish?

  • Do you often regret not taking risks or investing more in a relationship or new endeavor?

  • Can you look back and see how your fears, procrastination, or avoidance unintentionally held YOU back?

Very few people wake up in the morning with a plan to make career-limiting moves or decisions that costs time or money. Yet, it happens. What is most interesting is that many people ruin their career or relationship with not just with one bad day or decision but a continual pattern of choices and behaviors that add up to eventual sabotage. You can't see it or stop yourself because it’s habitual and integrated into your normal thinking and doing. This is why it is called self-sabotage.  Self-sabotage can be a perplexing phenomenon, robbing men and women alike of a life filled with passion and purpose.


While self-sabotage can involve observable actions like bad decisions, its true nature runs much deeper. Operating on a subconscious level, patterns and behaviors manifest going unnoticed. These may include procrastination, self-doubt, perfectionism, or self-criticism. These seemingly innocuous tendencies can gradually erode progress and limit opportunities for growth. Identifying these hidden patterns is crucial in addressing self-sabotage. Here, we look at the top three areas of underlying patterns that may be contributing to your unintentional self-sabotage:

  1. Self-Worth Issues Self-sabotage can stem from deep-rooted feelings of unworthiness. These beliefs may include "I'm not good enough," "I don't deserve success," or "I'm destined to fail."  You may not be aware that these thoughts are cycling in and out of your thought process. It is common in a hectic modern life that you are so focused on external measures, activities, appointments, and actions that you neglect to reflect enough to see this insidious pattern of thinking.  A regular stream of negative self-perceptions can become self-fulfilling prophecies, holding you back from reaching your true potential.  When you don’t break free from the trap of this internal dialogue of self-doubt, you will most likely stay in a “comfort zone” that keeps you stuck and playing out the same situations, leaving you to wonder why it all feels like “Groundhog Day.”  

  2. Staying In Your Comfort Zone Fear of the unknown or resistance to change can trap you within familiar and safe routines.  This is called our comfort zone, and interestingly it is called that even if the zone isn’t comfortable at all.  You may have learned to endure abuse or conflict in relationships, or maybe you have convinced yourself that all jobs are terrible.  Accepting that there is nothing better will lead you to rationalize even the worst situations.  By avoiding new challenges and the risk of leaving what you know for the “unknown”, you unintentionally reject growth opportunities and perpetuate a stagnant existence. Stepping outside the comfort zone and embracing discomfort and change are essential in overcoming self-sabotage.

  3. Confusion & Mental Discomfort For a significant shift in life and liberation from ingrained patterns, a willingness to endure discomfort is essential. This unease is often felt initially when your established habits and thoughts attempt to retain their influence over you. However, when you choose to break away, you might experience bewilderment or a psychological phenomenon known as cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance arises when there's a conflict between your existing beliefs and newly adopted ones, and your mind is caught in a tug-of-war, deciding whether to replace your automatic responses with novel ones. To evade this discomfort, you may unknowingly indulge in self-destructive actions. These actions, caused by your contrasting beliefs, can lead you astray from your intended path.

Here are key strategies for overcoming self-sabotage:

Recognize the Signs of Self-Sabotage: Self-sabotage manifests in behaviors like procrastination, negative self-talk, and abandoning goals. Identifying these patterns is crucial. 

Practice Awareness & Self-Regulation: By being mindful of your behaviors, you can catch yourself in the act and start to untangle the web of dissonance. Dive into the deeper aspects of your psyche through self-reflection. Identify the beliefs that conflict with your actions to understand the root of your self-sabotage.

Seek Professional Help: When cognitive dissonance is deeply embedded, professional help from a therapist or coach can guide you toward resolving these inner conflicts.

Adopt a Growth Mindset: Embrace the idea that your abilities and understanding can grow with time. This mindset encourages embracing challenges and learning from them, reducing the tendency to self-sabotage.

Set Goals and Build Support Networks: Establish clear, achievable goals and create a circle of support to keep yourself accountable. Join a men’s group or women’s circle.  Find a tribe dedicated to the same level of growth and allow the group to provide accountability and safety as you make change.

Utilize Mindfulness and Stress-Management Techniques: Reduce mental discomfort with mindfulness exercises and stress management. Techniques such as meditation can improve emotional regulation.

Rewrite Your Narrative: Change the story you tell yourself. Rewrite your narrative so that your beliefs bolster your actions toward success rather than keeping you stuck in old ways of thinking.

Self-sabotage is a subtle thief of dreams and aspirations, often creeping in unnoticed through persistent patterns and behaviors. Though it's not the work of a single day, breaking free from the grasp of self-sabotage is an empowering journey — one that you need not walk alone. Let's continue this crucial conversation and arm ourselves with the tools for transformation.

Join me for Deep Work Fast, a space where we discuss such pivotal themes in real time on our weekly LIVE event on LinkedIn and Facebook, each Tuesday at 3:00 PM PT.  And if you’re ready for a structured path to change and growth, join the AVVI Membership.


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