How This Entrepreneur Finally Stopped the Cycle of Self-Sabotage
It all starts with self-awareness. Here's how you can do it too.
There's nothing more frustrating than having the desire to be somewhere in life, watching others posting about their successes, but personally going in circles, frustrated and unable to break free. Self-sabotage was something that I embodied like a pro for many years, and while I still experience it to a certain level, these days it doesn't stay around for long.
As entrepreneurs, we all make big-leap decisions, and this happened to me back in 2013 when I decided that I no longer wanted to be a personal trainer. I was tapped out working with clients and knew that I had an ability far beyond what I was doing every day.
I was in a business with someone that I no longer wanted to be involved with; I was ready for change. But at the time, I had a lot of personal challenges. I wanted to live in the United States, but in order to do that, I would have to make some massive strides in my finances. At the time, I was making a few thousand a month, and there was no way that I would be able to make my dreams come true and move across the pond. Something needed to change.
"I needed someone who was going to eradicate my self-sabotaging behavior"
At the time, I had about $50,000 of debt with nothing to show for it, with seven credit cards maxed out. I only had one card that wasn't. I was at a pivotal point, and I decided to invest in someone to figure out why I wasn't where I wanted to be.
So, I handed over my card for the first $5,000 payment of a $30,000 investment, not knowing how I would make the rest of the money, against the advice of some who thought that it was "stupid" or "risky." But something inside me, even though I was fearful, said, "If you don't do this, you won't make it." Up until this point, I had invested in low-cost courses and events, but I needed someone who was going to eradicate my self-sabotaging behavior.
While I needed some business strategy like sales training, I learned very rapidly that my issue was not strategic at all, but my lack of belief in myself: my self-sabotage, which manifested as overthinking, addictions, underselling myself, compulsive worrying and comparison, just to name a few.
My lack of confidence was preventing me from breaking through to the next level financially and, ultimately, from being able to create a life of freedom. On the outside, I presented myself as having it all together, but the sessions revealed a truth that shocked me.
"I was always looking through the lens of the worst-case scenario"
What I desperately needed was someone who was willing to give me the brutal truth, without sugar-coating so that I could see the link between my behavior and my actions. Without this, I would have stayed on the same path of limitation that was underpinned by a deep-rooted fear due to my childhood bullying and suffering. I was always looking through the lens of the worst-case scenario.
Another huge realization over time about coaches and mentors is that its all about the energetic exchange between two people. What they embody and feel is transferred to us, so it's incredibly important to choose our guides wisely. If we choose an ego-filled expert to advise us, we can start to act that way because we believe they are a healthy role model.
My transformation was fairly rapid once my confidence started to shift. I decided that I would master this whole self-sabotage situation and commit to not just growing myself, but also my business, like two buildings being built side by side. I removed the ceiling that I had put over myself.
This transformation didn't only help me, but it also allowed me to help my clients, who as the years went on, started to include celebrities, Olympians and CEOs of multi-million dollar companies. In the past, my fear of not being good enough would have sabotaged them as potential clients.
No matter what self-sabotaging behavior you may have, it's important to get to the root.
"We must act with courage to break the habit and install new beliefs"
In the example of my Olympian client, he came to me because he wanted to feel the way he was perceived. He had a lot of anger and felt insecure even though everyone else thought that he had it all together. The disconnect was impacting his relationship with his wife, and the stress then affected his ability to feel truly happy in his business. If we can't compartmentalize, we will take personal stressors into work whether we like it or not.
Just like my journey, the stories from his childhood and the lens he was looking through were preventing him from owning his voice and showing up authentically. His transformation came from both processing the emotions from the path and giving him the tools to feel grounded and centered in his body. His new ability to get his needs met helped him dissolve old behaviors that were rooted in fear and self-judgment. This can be a challenge, especially for those who are analytical, but the impact can be profound once it all clicks.
Ultimately, overcoming self-sabotage first requires being aware of what the real issue is, and we need someone to ask us questions to realize it. Then, with this new awareness, we must act with courage to break the habit and install new beliefs that support the version of us we want to see. We create a new identity and embody a new life when we start to take action consistently because we feel safe to do so.
Finally, remember that everyone self-sabotages to an extent, but as we evolve and become more aware and we surround ourselves with the right people, the gap of suffering narrows as we break the habits in the moment instead of letting them drag on and repeat.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor