Success, we all want it in one way or another. It can sometimes seem though as if we try really hard and get nowhere – we look at others and wonder, how come they are so successful when we are not?
Helping hundreds of clients, I’ve found that there are two major blocks that cause people to sabotage their own success. Once those blocks have been cleared it becomes effortless! Take a look at the following and see if any, or many, of these, relate to you
Sign Of Self-Sabotaging Behaviours
- I spend a lot of time firefighting problems
- I work really hard but I never seem to get to where I want to be in life
- I question why my life is such a struggle when others have it easier
- I often feel stressed and overwhelmed by ‘all the things I have to do’
- I compare myself to others a lot
- I find it hard to trust in the support of others
- I fear people’s scorn if I make a mistake
- I work extra-long hours or take work home
- I feel like a failure for needing to share tasks
In Out Of Fear Into Love: Life doesn’t have to be a struggle I look at the four most common limiting beliefs that I’ve encountered in my clients over many years.
Limiting beliefs come about from the ideas we pick up in early childhood; ideas about who we are, and how we need to be in the world in order to gain love and approval. Two of these limiting beliefs are major culprits for sabotaging success. Once you recognise them and clear them, you can become free to make huge leaps in improving your life.
What are these two self-sabotaging beliefs? They are:
- I Need to Prove Myself
- I Have to do Everything by Myself.
It’s Impossible To Be Stressed and Creative at The Same Time
Success comes about through a creative process of trial and error. We test something out and then resolve what doesn’t work—that’s how we learn and grow, and achieve our goals.
But if we’re driven by a need to prove our worth, we can’t go through this creative process because every mistake is perceived as a catastrophe. Rather than accepting a mistake as a natural process, we beat ourselves up over it. Basically, we’re mean to ourselves; that makes us stressed and automatically puts the brain into freeze mode.
Theo had found it hard to settle. He’d worked in various jobs but didn’t stay long in any of them, he told me, because of his nerves. He had also set up a number of small businesses which he described as having failed because he’d run out of time or money. All of this had happened, despite him working all hours and running things on a shoestring. Theo seemed proud to tell me how he’d struggled through his businesses, doing every aspect of the work himself, from the accounts, to the designs. His businesses, in website design, photography, and online marketing, had all started out well, and he’d been full of enthusiasm, but something always seemed to go wrong despite his great efforts. From his point of view, Theo had always worked extra hard, but life had just come along unfairly and sabotaged his success.
I noticed that Theo spent a lot of time criticising and judging himself for his perceived failures. When I pointed this out to him, he said ‘Oh yes, I always do that.’ It was a habit Theo was aware of; he just wasn’t aware how much it was impacting his life.
We all want to feel good about ourselves and to make a success of our lives—of course! But having the mistaken idea that we have to keep proving ourselves doesn’t help. It hinders. The moment you stop needing to prove yourself and start accepting yourself the more successful you’ll be.
Behind Every Success, There Is Help and Support
When we believe we have to do everything by ourselves, it’s because we fear that if we share our worries and problems, people may think we’re weak and disapprove of us. We get so much into the habit of dealing with problems alone, that people are often surprised when they discover we’ve been struggling! Trying to show we can do everything by ourselves can make it look like we’re, at best, fine as we are, or, at worst, arrogant and unfriendly. Have you ever met someone who seemed a bit aloof, only to discover later that they’re actually a really lovely person? It’s likely that they’re approaching life from this belief.
Twenty-one-year-old David came for help with his panic attacks. They were so severe that he felt he had no choice but to seek help. David worked long hours and frequently worked through lunch because he wanted his manager to notice how dedicated and responsible he was. He’d been getting through each week in a constant bubble of stress and was frequently tired and on edge—it was no wonder he was so anxious!
David was immensely proud of his father, who had worked extremely hard to build up his own business as an accountant. The family had wanted for nothing: expensive holidays, private schools for David and his two sisters, the best clothes, the best of everything. Unfortunately, his father had had to retire early due to poor health. As the only son, David felt that he should follow his father’s example and show he could be a man. He was determined to stand on his own two feet and make a success of life by himself.
David very often used the phrase ‘being a man.’ He was ashamed of his panic attacks; he considered them to be a sign that he didn’t measure up in some way, so he’d been resolutely carrying on without help. But his determination hadn’t got him anywhere; his anxiety had just got worse and now he was sitting in front of me, having to share his worries and feelings of vulnerability. I was compelled to point out to David that it was a sign of courage on his part, rather than failure, to come for help.
My encouragement was something David found hard to accept at first. But in time he began to acknowledge that his need to do everything by himself was more of a hindrance than a help.
David began to see that all the pressure he’d been putting himself under at work had turned small daily tasks into huge problems and stress. He saw that the cause of his anxiety was his attitude to work— not the work itself.
This need to show we can ‘do it alone’ is a common mistake. The truth is that behind every success there is help and support. Think about every successful person you admire – did they get to where they all by themselves or do they have a team helping them?
Once you let go of this mistaken idea of having to do everything by yourself life will become so much better—you’ll begin to pull people towards you and things will seem effortless rather than burdensome.
How Do I Get Rid of These Self-Sabotaging Beliefs?
Of course recognising these self-sabotaging tendencies and making the decision to change is one thing – but limiting beliefs are often buried deep in the subconscious mind. It can take specific psychological tools to help get rid of this habit. Emotional Freedom Techniques, EFT is one such tool. I use it with my clients all the time – it changes lives!
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