Guilty! Been here, done all of these. Great article with some very helpful tips.
The Most Common (And Harmful) Ways People Sabotage Their Own Success – Forbes.
Working with mid- to high-level career women who’ve achieved great things in their lives, I’ve watched professionals build and sustain tremendous success over time, and also witnessed behaviors that crush success, leaving dreams and goals shattered in pieces on the ground.
The behaviors that sabotage success fall into four key categories – in our relationship with ourselves, others, the world, and our higher selves. The sad truth is that the vast majority of people don’t realize when they’re destroying their chances for success and happiness. They remain oblivious to how they’re repelling the very outcomes they claim to be desperate for. And this type of self-sabotage leads to a great deal of pain and regret down the line. (I know because I sabotaged my own success in each of these ways for years during my corporate life.)
Below are the six most common (and harmful) ways people sabotage their own success and happiness, and some tips for revising these faulty behaviors.
They don’t develop strong enough boundaries
From my training in marriage and family therapy and energy healing, I learned that your “boundaries” are the invisible barriers between you and the outside world (work, school, church, family, friends, etc.). Your boundaries regulate the flow of information and input to and from you and your outside systems. If you fail to understand yourself well enough (including your preferences, needs, values, and visions), or lack the necessary strength to create an appropriate boundary to enforce your non-negotiables, you’ll find success impossible to achieve. You might grasp it for a moment, but you won’t be able to sustain it in satisfying ways. Developing sufficient boundaries and enforcing them every day of your life is an essential skill.
We weren’t born understanding this basic need of healthy boundaries. In fact, the treatment and messages we’ve received throughout our childhoods and in our adult lives (from authority figures, parents, teachers, bosses, misguided mentors, etc.) often teach us the wrong ideas about how to build strong boundaries. What’s critical to understand is where you end and others begin, and how to build a healthy boundary that lets in valuable input, but also shields you from behaviors, language and actions are injurious, disrespectful or invasive. You can tell right away if your boundaries are weak: if you believe you have to put up with inappropriate, disrespectful, or abusive behavior just to make a living, your boundaries need work. Don’t forget – you co-create what happens to you.
Tip: To build stronger boundaries, start by examining where you feel most put upon, disrespected and devalued, and choose to take one small step to shift that. But first you have to believe that being treated with respect, care and kindness is a non-negotiable for you.
They don’t identify the “right” decisions that will move them forward
We make scores of life-altering decisions every day – from what job to take or reject, to the partners we’ll collaborate with, and new directions to pursue. These decisions can take us on painful detours if they clash fiercely with what we really want deep within. Do you understand how to make a decision so that it 1) aligns with what you know to be true, 2) adds to your capabilities and experience positive ways, and 3) creates new, beneficial opportunities for you? Most individuals have never learned how to make effective decisions – to evaluate with discernment the options in front of them, accurately assess the risks and benefits of each potential choice, and muster the courage to pursue the right decision.
If your decisions don’t align what who you are authentically or what you deeply value and care about, you’ll squash your opportunities for true success, no matter how “good” the decision looks in the moment.
Tip: To improve your decision-making capability, first figure out what matters most to you most (take my free Career-Path Self- Assessment to figure yourself out). Then, remember that everything you do is a choice. Choose to align each decision in front of you with your core values, needs and wants.
They communicate poorly and burn irreplaceable bridges
In order to be successful in your career, you must learn to communicate effectively, with clarity, confidence, and compassion, from a place of kindness and respect for others. So many people burn critical bridges and slam doors on fabulous new opportunities because they don’t know the basics about communicating. You simply can’t maintain success over the long haul if you behave like a jerk, snob or narcissist, acting superior and remaining oblivious to the needs and desires of others. Success may come temporarily, but it will flow right through your fingers if your communication style irritates and offends people everywhere you go.
Tip: Open your awareness to how effective your communication style is today. Are yougiver or a taker? Do you craft your messages carefully before you speak, assessing how they’ll be received by others, or just blurt out what you think and feel without regard to the implications and repercussions? Read the fabulous book The Four Agreements for critical agreements you can make with yourself to live with more integrity while also supporting the needs of others.
They fail to recognize the critical need for community
So many professionals act like mavericks – running roughshod over people and failing to understand this key principle of success – you cannot do what you want in your career, and in the world, if you’re alone. You need supporters, ambassadors and evangelists who love to spread the word about your work, and who’ll connect you with people who can bolster you up to the next level. Sure, you can create a modicum of success by yourself, but you’ll sabotage any long-term success if fail to recognize your need for other people, and if you neglect to build a support community – your empowering tribe.
Tip: Examine your support community today. How many people are in your corner, excited about what you do, and happy to offer you connections and support that will take your work to the next level? If it’s only a handful, you need to develop new mutually-beneficial relationships that will nourish you both. Reach out today, on social media, in person, at networking meetings and industry association functions – anywhere you can connect with people who inspire and motivate you. Be of service to them first. Offer a recommendation, tweet out their great articles, invite them to write a guest post. Push yourself beyond your narrow self-view. Build a support community of people who are ten steps ahead of you, doing work you admire in ways you respect.
They follow rather than lead
If you’re like me, you’ve never received one iota of effective training about how to be an inspiring leader of your own life. You might have taken leadership workshops and training classes about how to “act” and speak like a business leader, but none of that will work if you can’t lead your own life – if you don’t know how to serve as the master of your own ship, following your own command, your own vision, and beliefs. The key to lasting professional success is having the courage and commitment to empower, inspire and motivate yourself first. Once you do that, you will become better at leading and empowering others.
In my unhappy corporate years, I hadn’t a clue about the importance of knowing my own mind and soul, and taking leadership control of my own destiny. Now I do, and the difference between my career success and satisfaction then and now is night and day. Don’t be a follower. Lead your own life. When you do, you’ll see just how your personal leadership capability overflows into professional leadership.
Tip: Ask yourself this: “Where am I following others in my life instead of valuing my own heart, mind and spirit? Where are my personal beliefs and standards of integrity being sacrificed on the road to supporting someone else’s visions that don’t fit? Have one conversation this week that will help you regain a modicum of leadership control of your own life.
They neglect to plant seeds for a future they’ll love
Here’s another thing we’re not taught as we develop and grow – career management. Your career won’t just flow in the right direction on its own – you must proactively shape it. I’ve been stunned lately by how many of my clients have been beaten down by their daily existence– with bosses who won’t allow them to grow, toxic environments that suck the life out of them, jobs that make them numb. And this mind-numbing unhappiness paralyzes them, and makes them forget who they really are and what they’re capable of.
Yes, you need to do what’s necessary to stay afloat financially, and that might mean you have to stay temporarily in a role you don’t like. But never sacrifice your future self. Find ways to plant the seeds for your future self every day, by building skills, strengths and experience in directions that will enliven you. Treat your future self with respect and care – and take actions that will help you move forward towards your right work, in the right way. And don’t forget – you’re much more than your current job (and much more than what your boss thinks of you). You’re amazing, talented and gifted, and the world needs your gifts. Don’t waste them. Get out there and start on the path to your “right” work – do something new that showcases what you’re uniquely gifted at and love to do.
Tip: Answer this question: When you’re 90 years old looking back, what do you want to have stood for, given, contributed, taught, created, and left behind? What do you want people to say about you? In your professional life, do you know what you want, and what you really want? If you’re in a job you dislike intensely, what can you do today to improve your current situation, shift your energy, and bring to you more work that will light you up and help prepare you to make the amazing contributions that are in your future? For example, if you dying to be an artist for a living, start doing your art, and sell it on Etsy. See what transpires when you stop whining and start doing what you say you want to do. Watch how you’ll grow.
Are you sabotaging your own success and happiness by the choices you’re making each day? Get going – find your right work and power up to do it.