Have you at some point felt (even for a little while) like you were…
- being pulled in different directions?
- that there’s just no point in continuing your online business?
- that there’s way too much noise, fog, and confusion, so you don’t know what to do next?
- that if you only had a better outlook about your daily life, things would be better?
- taking SOME action (like buying a new product, or writing half a blog post) but as soon as you didn’t “something” … you slowed down?
- losing all momentum after hitting just one simple roadblock such as what price to charge, what to name your product or what time of the day to mail?
- making too many mistakes to continue on this course?
You’re in luck, because if you’ve ever felt like you were in any one of these situations, if you’ve given up all hope and you needed a little bit of a boost, I think this will help you.
The reason why most of us internet marketers fail, and keep having to get back on course, is this thing called self-sabotage. If you found it easy to make $500 per month online, but $1000 seems like a lot of work, that’s self-sabotage and you don’t even know it. If you get more uncomfortable the more money you make, that’s self-sabotage!
To fix it, I’m not going to give you some cheesy motivational quotes like…
“I haven’t failed.
I’ve just found 10,000 ways to make a light bulb that don’t work.”
– Thomas Edison
Or tell you silly story after story about how most things were discovered accidentally… (microwave ovens, velcro, corn flakes, penicillin, all on accident).
I’m also not going to blame you or try to tell you it’s all your fault and you “should just snap out of it” because that’s not the advice you need to get you to where you need to go. What will get you past it? Breaking down the problem so you can identify what “type” of self-sabotage you are experiencing and fix it.
Chances are you experience more than one of these types, but for now let’s fix JUST ONE! It’s not your fault. You just need to discover which of your sabotaging activities need a little ADJUSTING.
Here’s the thing. Your ancestors were trained to live life carefully. Think about it. If a caveman 100,000 years ago had a fear of heights, he probably stayed away from cliffs and lived to procreate.
Fear of snakes, fear of dogs, wolves, bears, fear of enclosed spaces, fear of the dark… all PROTECTION mechanisms. Back in Neanderthal Times, if you found a tribe, made friends, blended in, and didn’t cause too much trouble, you were far safer than trying to survive on your own.
If things in life weren’t quite right, it was “better” to try to adjust to a life of unhappiness, rather than changing your situation… that might get you killed.
Fast forward to the present day where over 99% of the population made up of clock-punching, cubicle-dwelling zombies, which is a “safe” place to be, until you’re trying to make a living online, and then it’s time to fight those survival instincts and take a little bit of a risk.
It’s easier to focus on negative things as a way of NOT taking action and playing it safe, but with these new rules, you’re trying to solve your existing problems and in turn you’re CAUSING new problems. You’re trying to motivate yourself, start a business, make new contacts, create products, and build a list… all which goes AGAINST your “playing it safe” instincts!
Here are the four forms of self-sabotage that keep you poor. Remember, these aren’t just four scenarios I made up… I’ve compiled the responses from surveys I’ve run over the past several years and from other surveys and I’ve grouped them together into parts that make sense…
- Type #1: Priorities (procrastination, reacting, delusions)
- Type #2: Habits (drama, slippery slope thinking, debbie downer attitude, cognitive dissonance)
- Type #3: Emotions (stress, overwhelm, boredom)
- Type #4: Meaning (victim thinking, embarrassment, living vicariously)
You’ll understand this setup in a minute. Basically, your priorities and your systems are what LEAD you into self-sabotage, your habits cause you to REPEAT that self-sabotage, your negative emotions are the BI-PRODUCT of this sabotage, and the meaning is what you use to JUSTIFY your behavior over and over again.
Change just one of these factors… you change your thinking and your actions. Identify which of these is your WORST problem and now you’re moving towards a positive change.
Delusion: You have skewed views of the world, end goals, and you’re clinging to unrealistic expectations and lies. You either exaggerate or downplay problems with your business, money, self, relationships, or your health.
Procrastination: You let “little everyday tasks” get in the way of what really matters. Maybe you said, I can’t do “this” until I have “that” and “that.” You waited until the last minute (or even worse, too late) to start, to make any decision, and you didn’t think long term.
Reacting: You act impulsively. One crisis starts up and you quickly change your entire business, without thinking about the real consequences.
Cognitive Dissonance: Have you ever thought one thing, but said another? This is called lying, acting, and uncertainty. If you’ve started on a path that you now regret, and you want to change but can’t, you might have thought it was easier to “pretend” or continue doing what you’re doing… until you’ve decided… I’ve had enough, I’m not doing, thinking, or saying what I want to do and say!
Debbie Downer: Misery loves company! If your current life situation sucks, it is easier to do the right thing and correct it? Or… is it more tempting to do the “lazy” thing and focus on everything negative? To tear others down and pull them down to YOUR level, instead of helping?
To criticize, judge, and even become jealous of everything “good” in the world. In a way, you’re training yourself to become “happy” when everyone (including you) is angry and sad!
Drama: You’re addicted to the “struggle” and feel the need to be in constant chaos in order to be alive, awake, and have something to do. Either you’re the person who starts up drama, or instigate it from others, this is your form of sabotage!
Your need to create drama leads to you going down one “slippery slope” after another. If one little thing doesn’t go your way, then everything is in shambles. Let’s say you were on a very careful diet, and on top of that you woke up early and made sure to visit the gym one hour every day. But wait! One day, you simply don’t have time to go to the gym. Now, what’s the point of anything? You cancel your gym membership, eat a gallon of ice cream and throw away your alarm clock.
Stress: You worry too much, and in fact, you’ve created problems out of events that haven’t happened yet. You overestimated the risk of something simple like sending an email, or making a forum or blog post. Did you waste an entire week “mulling over” a purchase or waste a month “thinking about” taking that trip? Even after you made that decision, you kept obsessing over it… not just wasting your own time but getting yourself worked up in the process.
Overwhelm: Isn’t it possible that you’ve let stress get in your way (under-confidence), but in yet other situations, the LACK of stress (over-confidence) has hurt you? You started too many projects, didn’t keep deadlines, had no consistent routine, and you might have let others distract you from your target goal. Which THEN led to stress, procrastination, and bad habits in the future.
Boredom: Also tying back in with cognitive dissonance AND building on procrastination, let’s say you started a project 6 months ago and you weren’t able to finish what you started. All that time wasted! Plus, it’s easier for you to give up on your next project. And the next, and the next! Then it becomes easier to give up, lose focus, and get distracted by other bright shiny objects.
Victim Thinking: Here’s a weird one. You were taught even as a little kid to be selfless and put others before you, right? But what if took it to the extreme and put EVERYONE before you, even when it hurt you and your business? You always put yourself last, which conveniently meant you didn’t have to take any action for yourself. Think about it… it’s “easier” to spend all day helping others for free, or being a busybody on a public forum, than taking of your OWN action, right? That’s scary!
Unfortunately, that’s not sustainable. You’ve always put yourself last so NOW it feels like you’re always last, everyone is better than you, you’ve given yourself an inferiority complex.
Embarrassment: You didn’t ask for help along the way. You’d “heard” of that before. How hard could it be? You didn’t assert yourself, you didn’t admit you needed help, and you didn’t assert your needs and desires!
Living Vicariously: This is dangerous! Isn’t it true that you can watch a TV show or a movie, or even hear about stories from a friend, and feel almost as if you’ve experienced those things? It’s dangerous because it allows others to live your life for you. You don’t have to take risks, you don’t have to take action, just hear stories and your thirst is quenched, right?
Until… you start comparing yourself to others. You think, that person just turned 21 years of age. What was I doing when I was 21? They’re finishing college, what was I doing then? They just hit the 100k per year mark, they just had their first kid, where was I at that point?
I know I promised no cheesy quotes, but this one applies perfectly:
“Don’t compare yourself to anyone in this world.
If you do so, you are insulting yourself.”
– Bill Gates
Here is self-sabotage explained in a table:
|HABITS||Cognitive Dissonance||Debbie Downer||Drama|
|MEANING||Victim Thinking||Embarrassment||Living Vicariously|
Laying it out on this table helps ME just as much as it helps YOU. Why? Because when it comes to self-improvement, there is no such thing as “permanently” fixing any of your problems. It’s far too easy to regress back into old habits and forget what tools you used to use to make you into a successful person. You’d be surprised at how many successful people, including me, including Lance, still need to listen to tapes or still need to talk to people when we’re having a down day or a down week.
How to Overcome Your Problems!
The first thing you need to do is realize where you need the most help. If you try to go out and “stop self-sabotage” … you aren’t going to get anywhere. It’s like fighting the “war on drugs” … impossible on its own but it is possible to attack one person or attack one area.
Let’s say you take one look at that table and you think, my problem is that I’m being a Debbie Downer. That’s a habit that affects others so how about, just for today only, I make it a point to not say anything negative? Or if you’re constantly overwhelmed, you need to realize why that is and change the actions that lead to that point, such as over-commitment.
If you need to solve one of your bad habits:
- Take a vacation. Take weekends off, go somewhere out of the house, out of town, outside your usual environment, to clear your head
- Attend an event or a seminar. This also gets you out of your usual space, allows you to think and see things differently, and get you around better role models
- Replace new habits with the ones you’re deleting
- Fix just one thing in your life for now, don’t try to drastically change everything, because that won’t stick!
To fix your priorities:
- Get a better support system. Trusted people like your friends, family, mentor and mastermind
- Get out more. Find a better mentor if your current one isn’t suiting you, listen to self-improvement or training audios every now and then, and buy an hour of coaching if you are stuck and need help
- Break your problems apart into manageable pieces
- Make decisions quickly but change decisions slowly
To take better care of your emotions:
- Limit the amount of “toxic thoughts” you have including being jealous of people or “trash talking” others
- Leave your comfort zone whenever you want to make a real change and reach the next milestone in your business and your life
- Remove anything in your life that you feel is dragging you down or holding you back
- Push yourself to get outside your “money zone” … the point where you earn more money than you normally would and your subconscious tries to put the brakes on your effort and your income
To change the meaning of your life:
- Find a great Reason-Why. I’ve had plenty of mentors who went from being lazy, to taking real action once they finally had a great reason to build a real business and take life seriously. Events like divorce, children, financial hardship, age… sprung these people into action. When it hurts enough, you’ll make a change!
- Consider the bigger picture, pick your battles and think about the point of view of others
- Combine pleasurable and non-pleasurable activities (I like do the dishes while playing music)
- Clean out the clutter
I hope that helps you to get out of your own way and get everything you’ve ever wanted.
Where are you experiencing self-sabotage with yourself and with your own business? You don’t have to be too specific if you don’t want to, but this is your chance to complain… as long as you tell me what you’re going to do to fix it! Please comment below.If you think of anything I left out of this post, please feel free to put that on the comment.