What was your New Year’s Resolution? Are you still working on it, or perhaps it’s been abandoned with a little mental note to think “I’ll try again next year”. A sabotaged New Year’s resolution that may seem quite benign, but all things considered, chronic self-sabotage can lead to bigger more destructive outcomes in our personal and professional lives.
You can listen here to Episode #20 on my Level Up Leadership Podcast –
So firstly, what is self sabotage? How about I explain it to you in a practical way..
Someone with a fear of failure might wait until the last minute to work on an important project, unconsciously avoiding the prospect of advancement. Or perhaps you might be a little bit like me and have a bit of perfectionism in you. I tend to leave things to last minute, so it forces me to get it done in a shorter amount of time. But I also tell myself, “well, of course I could’ve done a better job if I had more time. It was pretty good with the amount of time that I’ve had.” That’s also a form of self-sabotage.
So now we know what self sabotage is.. Why do we self-sabotage?
Self-sabotaging actually starts in early childhood. The way we sabotage or these ‘saboteurs’, helped us to survive either physically or emotionally as a kid, and we recruit these to help us with something. So as instead of thinking self-sabotage is bad, these self-sabotaging tendencies have been there to help us survive in one way or another. So, this is not about feeling embarrassed or shame about them. It’s about understanding what it is that this sabotaging tactic has helped you with.
You take a free quiz on the Positive Intelligence website here to find your self-sabotaging style.
So how can you take better control?
To make any change, you go through a three-step A-A-A process. So the first step is Awareness. You need to discover your saboteur and when it comes into action.
The second “A” is Acceptance. Noticing that this is something that I do, and it has been helpful for me in the past, but perhaps it’s not so helpful for me now.
And the third “A” is Action. It’s only once you understand what your saboteur is and accepted on how it plays out, the good and the bad. Can you move to the Action stage.
Where does your saboteur come into your leadership?
There could be a few different ways. You could be sabotaging for Fear of Failure, or Fear of Success and any of these saboteurs can come into it. For example, you might be someone that avoids things because of a Fear of Failure. You know you have to have a conversation with somebody in your team, but if you can avoid having the conversation, you can avoid the discomfort. That impacts your leadership.
So your task from today is to do the Positive Intelligence test. Then have a think about how this plays out for you in your life and in your leadership. Notice when it comes up. We say ‘notice with grace’, only once you see it can you start to act and judging it is not helpful.