Is self-sabotage holding you back from things you want to achieve? Most of us manage to sabotage ourselves sometimes in our lives, but few of us admit that we’re doing it. Even fewer of us will try to overcome the things that are holding us back. Today, I’d like to talk to you about the way to overcome your own minds ability to crush your dreams, and it’s super simple to do.
A friend of mine is really unhappy at work. She’s been unhappy for a long time (like years!) but made it her resolution this year to get out of there and find a new job. And she’s been slaving away in her spare time. Literally applying for any appropriate role in a twenty mile radius. But all these months later, she’s still no further in her hunt. There are no offers on the table and interviews are few and far between; despite applying for up to four jobs a week and working over seventy hours. Unsurprisingly, she’s shattered. Emotionally drained and physically exhausted, she has now started to doubt herself further. She doubts her abilities, her drive is wavering and her self confidence is at an all time low.
We’ve consistently talked about all this and, as any good friend would do. I’ve lived all this with her over the years and been there, cheering her on, booing the big, bad boss and offering advice where I could. This last month though, it’s gotten really bad. So we chatted, and I went out of friend mode and donned my Coaching hat because I aimed to help her get to the bottom of the problem.
Now, you may be thinking that I’m immediately going to mindset as the issue because it’s what I believe. And you’d be right in some respects. Because I do believe that your mindset is everything when it comes to achieving your goals. Happiness, confidence and success are not our brains’ natural default mode. It’s more like self-doubt, scepticism and acquiescence. But, in this instance, it is literally the only obstacle that is left to overcome. We’ve already:
- Overhauled her CV and produced different versions of it for the contrasting role types
- Checked on the jobs she’s applying for because there was a possibility that her self confidence was so poor that it was resulting in her applying for inappropriate employment. Examples being too low a salary or lesser role titles than she currently has. (This obviously gives the wrong impression to potential employers)
- Requested feedback from interviewers to discern where she could improve
None of it has helped. She’s on track with it all.
So the only thing left is to go all “woo woo” on her, and make her think more about what’s going on inside her head. I simply asked her: “If you were completely honest with yourself, why wouldn’t you want a new job?”
And this tactic can work for you too. You’ll be surprised at the inner blocks you come up with, even though what you want to achieve is awesome, there will be a part of your brain that doesn’t want it to happen. Those reasons are often subconscious, and it isn’t until you ask yourself the question that they might rise to the surface. They can include fear of the unknown, a feeling of being undeserving of the good thing that you want, or a feeling of inadequacy. There are loads of reasons why your subconscious mind might not want you to get a new job, win that trip of a lifetime, lose the extra few pounds you’re carrying or manifest a new love. They all come down to fear of one thing or another. And by clearing those fears out of your mind and writing them down, you can create a space in your mind for a new story. A new set of beliefs that you know to be true, or can at least teach your subconscious to accept as your new truths.
I left my friend with that question and told her to write down her answers. No one else needs to see them, because this process after all is about her. It’s about self development, improvement and overcoming whatever the hell it is that’s holding you back.
I know my friend pretty well, so can imagine some of the blocks she’ll come up with. I think they’ll include:
- I’m scared it won’t work out – Also known as fear of the unknown. She’s been in her current role for a very long time, and at the establishment even longer. Change is hard, and this will be a big part of her process. Better the devil you know, right?
- Last time I left it was awful – She left once a long time ago, and returned pretty sharpish after another pretty crappy experience.
- A new role will be scary, challenging and new is often difficult – I know what I’m doing now and have confidence in my ability
- I’m too old to learn a new role – new is scary
- I’m not worthy of a new role or I don’t deserve a better job
- I should work this hard for my salary
Are any of these familiar to you?
I also asked her to answer this too: “If you handed your notice in right now, what awful thing might happen? How bad would it be? What’s the worst case scenario?”
And, do you know what, the worst case wasn’t really that bad. And the chances of it actually happening were so slim, I’d have more chance of winning the lottery on a Thursday 🙂
So not only did my friend go away with an action plan to clear the blocks; some of which I’ve guessed at above, I also convinced her to do the sums. Often, we overthink what “could be” and create whole adventures of awesome and scary proportions in our minds.
The worst case is unlikely, but our minds version of the worst is mostly ridiculous! Making decisions based on facts, by pulling together money stuff in this case, gives you a greater sense of the known and reduces the unknown. It eases your mind and can make the choices presented in decision making a little easier to digest.
What is it that’s holding you back? Have you done this exercise and seen results? Let me know in the comments!