7 Surprising Ways You Self-Sabotage in Your Business (and What to Do Instead) When we focus on the wrong things in business, we move away from the freedom we're seeking and instead find ourselves stuck.

By Maria Kathlyn Tan

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We're all guilty of self-sabotage at some point. As complex human beings with multiple levels of consciousness, plus plenty of brain chemistry and past experiences to account for, it's simply going to happen. But we don't have to let it get the better of us.

The first step to remediating anything is to gain awareness that it's an existing problem. From there it's simply a matter of understanding why it's a problem and deciding how best to address it. If your business has been feeling like a struggle, leaving you frustrated and exhausted, then you might be accidentally self-sabotaging in one of these seven ways.

1. You compare yourself to everyone else

It doesn't matter who's got the most followers on TikTok or who paid the most for their fancy new website.

It's okay to analyze other people as case studies when it comes to problems you're trying to solve or what's popular in the market right now. But, it becomes a source of sabotage when you feel like their path to success has to also be your path. Remember that there are seven billion people on this planet and each one of them is unique. They all have their own challenges and triumphs, their own values and opinions and you can't possibly expect to be a clone of anyone else.

Your heroes and mentors can serve as inspiration for your unique journey, but make sure to carve your own path. It's the only way to take yourself to unexpected places where nobody else has gone before!

Related: 3 Strategies For Beating Self-Sabotaging Behaviors

2. You're rushing...all...the...time

You have big goals. Big dreams. And you're busting your butt to achieve them. That's great! There's absolutely nothing inherently wrong with that. The sabotage arises when you don't allow the proper amount of time to see results.

Chances are that you won't collect a million followers in a week or make six figures in your first month no matter how much time and effort you put in. Remember that sustained input leads to sustainable outcomes. So keep going and be patient. Trust the process.

If you want it all done yesterday, then you're never going to feel like you've accomplished anything.

3. You've got perfection paralysis

Of course you want to be the best at what you do, but the key is to recognize when you're holding yourself back. There will always be room for improvement and you're self-sabotaging if you become too picky over things that don't matter. Perfect doesn't exist. Ever!

Striving endlessly for perfection is only going to clog up the business pipes, because your offers will never feel complete. Accept that it's okay for something to be as close to perfect as possible, without it being precisely what you envisioned. Aim for progress over perfection. If a company as big as Apple can roll out a product that needs a few updates later on, so can you.

In short, get out of your own way and let things flow.

Related: 3 Ways Smart Entrepreneurs Sabotage Their Success

4. You're trying too hard to be relatable

Tough truth: your business won't be relatable to everyone.

You're not here to please the masses. If you find yourself always angling your content to appeal to a specific audience, and it's not content that gets you giddy and excited, you're probably self-sabotaging.

You have such a unique experience, story and outlook that you are bursting with value to share. When you focus on the things that light you up, that's when the magic happens. Who cares if Crabby Carl or Picky Patty don't relate to you? (No offense to all the wonderful Carls and Pattys out there!) Your joy and passion are how your ideal audience will find you. That's magnetic branding at work!

5. You're hustling

Being busy and exhausted has become a sort of badge of honor these days, especially in the business world. If you're not hustling then you might feel like you don't belong. Or that something is wrong with your business. But that's backward and self-sabotaging thinking.

In Aesop's fable, the hare didn't win the race — the tortoise did, and that's because he paced himself. The same goes for you in your business. If the tortoise were an entrepreneur, you can bet he wouldn't try to launch five offers at once while also re-branding and taking on 10 new 1:1 clients. That's a route that leads to burnout and nowhere else.

So stop hustling. Find a manageable pace. Get clear on your priorities, set your benchmarks in that direction and take it one deliberate little step at a time.

6. You forget to remember the good stuff

It's healthy to consider the areas where you think you could be doing better. But, you're self-sabotaging if you forget about your wins entirely or let them fade into the background.

Take time to celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem! The dopamine hit (feel-good brain chemicals) from deliberately appreciating the good stuff — your newest client testimonial, latest sale or that random opportunity that fell in your lap — will bolster your energy and motivation to keep you moving forward.

The best way to get clear on where you're headed is to regularly stop and reflect. So, indulge yourself (within reason) when it comes time for a little reflective R&R. Take a walk in the woods, play your favorite tunes, crack open that bottle of red wine or put the kettle on — whatever it is for you.

The more you reflect on where you've been, the clearer your vision will be for what comes next.

7. You want to be inspired all the time

Of course you want to feel inspired! Who doesn't? But wanting to feel inspired all the time is another form of self-sabotage because it doesn't allow for the natural cycle of business energy.

This cycle includes periods of both creativity and growth / implementation. Much like hustling above, a constant state of inspiration and creativity will only lead to burnout. Imagine: your mind is filled with idea after idea for your business...but never slows down enough to bring those ideas into being. It's a creator's worst nightmare!

Try keeping a list of ideas that come to you during your periods of inspiration. Then, when you're slogging through your uninspired stretch, you can use that time to flesh something out that you hadn't previously been able to work on. It's not down time — it's an opportunity.

One of the reasons people go into entrepreneurship in the first place is to give themselves freedom. If you find yourself stuck in any of the seven areas listed above, then you probably already know how it takes you away from that freedom, as well as stifling your business growth overall. However, armed with this awareness now, you can unstick yourself and move into all the freedom and success your entrepreneurial heart desires.

Related: How This Entrepreneur Finally Stopped the Cycle of Self-Sabotage

Maria Kathlyn Tan

Business Coach for Misfits

Maria Tan is a business strategist, international consultant and speaker. She helps nonconformists create success tailored to their lifestyles and has coached over 1,000 people all over the world, from side-hustlers and new entrepreneurs to Ivy league graduates and diplomats.

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