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March 20, 2018

9 forms of Self-Sabotage every Entrepreneur should Know.

Entrepreneurs! Changemakers! Visionaries!

It’s not easy to be your own boss. It’s not easy to constantly have to generate enthusiasm and new ideas.

In fact, it’s really freaking hard. It’s a roller-coaster of ups and downs and bouts of, “I love myself and what I do,” and, “I can’t freaking stand myself and what I do.”

That’s normal. And you’re not alone.

After years of coaching people like you, I have come to the realization that we all go through the exact same shiz. 

We all get in our own way. We all self-sabotage in the same ways.

There are millions of other people out there who have gone through the same crazy-making spectrum of emotions that you go through on the regular.

And it’s about time that we put some words to the varying phenomena that entrepreneurs experience.

Not to fix it, but to be able to name it and look at it rather than be dominated by it.

Knowing that there are names for these types of things might not make them easier, but at least it can help you understand what you’re going through and know that you’re not alone in it.

So here are nine terms for self-sabotaging tendencies (and their antidotes) that, from my experience, all entrepreneurs and changemakers encounter along their journey:

Possibility hangover: the come down from a state of bliss and inspiration when you suddenly find that you seriously doubt your own ability to fulfill the promises you made to yourself when you were in said high-vibe state.

Example: “Shhhooootttt, when I was at that Tony Robbins event, I totally committed myself to hosting an event for 100 influencers, and now I feel like I can’t even commit to brushing my teeth for two minutes twice a day. What was I thinking?!?”

Antidote: get into your good feeling place and remind yourself of what inspired you about what you committed to. Remember that there is nothing that you have to accomplish, only things that you get to create. And watch this video:

Expansion resistance: the feeling you get when you feel like you’ve done a ton of inner work and are burnt out on having to realize things about yourself and want to regress to your childhood tendencies of “I don’t wanna” and “don’t make me.”

Example: “Oh um, geeeee, I’m so done with trying to transform my thought processes and would rather indulge in negativity and self-sabotage than have to gain any sort of valuable perspective on myself.”

Antidote: go be a child. Stop taking life so seriously and honor the voice of your inner child by being playful and spontaneous. Take a break from transformation and expansion and know that it will call you back when it’s ready. So take all the time you need.

Possibility paralysis: when there are too many possibilities that you see for what you could create with your life and you are afraid of choosing the wrong thing, so you’d rather just do nothing than make the wrong choice.

Example: “Well I’d love to reduce poverty and combat discrimination and help the environment, so since I feel equally passionate about each of those things, I’d rather not focus on any of them than choose one and feel like I’m giving up on the others.”

Antidote: know that there is no right choice. Don’t let fear of picking the wrong thing prevent you from moving forward with something. Any path can give you what you need if you are open to finding it, so just pick one and start walking. And watch this video:

Masochistic comparison: when we weirdly get some secret satisfaction out of inflicting pain upon ourselves by comparing ourselves to people who are innately more talented, experienced, or more well-off than we are.

Example: {perpetually insta-stocks trust-fund baby Lindsay so-and-so who is a Barbie doll human who magically also has her own successful business that saves thousands of starving children each year. Steeps deeper and deeper into feelings of inadequacy and “why-can’t-I-have-this-life” syndrome.}

Antidote: stop pretending you’re not awesome.

Guilt-dependent motivation: when we believe that we must resent where we are in life and/or feel ashamed or guilty in order to feel motivated to move in the direction of our dreams.

Example: “If I don’t dwell on how this person is such a better influencer than I am, then I will continue being subpar. My only hope for improvement is hating myself.”

Antidote: know that guilt, shame, and dissatisfaction are not productive and never help us become more of who we truly want to be. And read this.

Counterproductive franticness: when we are under the wrongful impression that it will be productive for us to franticly multitask or rush through everything we need to get done.

Example: if I just try to write an Instagram post while I’m cooking myself lunch, while on the phone with my business manager, I’ll be able to get it all done in time to take my next client. {Burns broccoli to a crisp, isn’t paying any attention to wonderful business manager’s advice, and, while trying to mute the phone call while the fire alarm goes off, accidentally clicks out of the Instagram post and loses her beautifully filtered and perfectly captioned post she’d just written.}

Antidote: slow the eff down. Breathe. Look at your to-do list and ask yourself, “What does not need to get done today?”

Pageant syndrome: when we live our lives as if there is an “American Idol” style panel of judges watching our every move and rating our performance.

Example: I can’t possibly go to this networking event today, because I’m totally bloated and moody, and my hair is a mess. 

Antidote: remember that 99 percent of the population is too self-centered to think about you or notice, and that people’s judgements have nothing to do with you anyway, because you are simply a mirror for what they don’t accept in themselves.

Irrational doubt: when we continue to question our ability and worthiness, and doubt ourselves and fail to recognize the many times that we have succeeded and proven ourselves worthy.

Example: I’m so nervous to go to this speaking gig! What if I totally mess up and look like a fool?” {Forgets that she’s done this 100 times and it’s always worked out great.}

Antidote: focus on all of your successes and the overwhelming majority of times that everything has worked out for the better in the long run.

Progress amnesia: when we only focus on what we have yet to accomplish and fail to appreciate ourselves for all the progress we have already made.

Example: apparently, if you put a frog in warm water and then slowly turn the temperature up degree by degree, the frog won’t notice the water getting hotter and will allow itself to be boiled alive. A morbid example to show that while you may not see all of the wonderful ways that you are growing and progressing, because it is so incremental, that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

Antidote: think back to a time that you were less wise, less connected, less confident, less certain, and remember how far you’ve come. Ask friends to acknowledge your growth and know that you are always the last person to see your own progress.

So there you go! There’s nine terms for totally normal self-sabotaging phenomena that every entrepreneur experiences. Next time you’re going through one of these, call it out for what it is, and know you’re not alone.

Watch this video where we go deeper into our own experience with each of these tendencies:

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Bonus: 5 Mindful Things to Do Each Morning.

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Author: Brandilyn Tebo
Image: Unsplash/Scott Warman
Editor: Travis May
Copy & Social Editor: Catherine Monkman

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Brandilyn Tebo  |  Contribution: 9,625