5 Ways You’re Brutally Slaying Your Chances of Success

by Jill Tooley on March 30, 2012

If you clicked on the title of this post, then you’re probably struggling to improve at least one aspect of your life. Whether you’re discouraged because your startup isn’t taking off or you can’t seem to focus long enough to crank out that book you’ve been working on, you have to change something in order to attain success.

If you’re anything like me, then you inadvertently sabotage your own life. Your creativity and drive aren’t threatened by outside forces – both are threatened by the person whose eyes are skimming this article. YOU. It’s too easy to pass the blame on to your busy schedule or to your stress levels; you are the one with the power to break free from your creative restraints.

What if I told you that you can end these senseless assaults on your success?

It doesn’t matter if you believe me or not – you CAN. But first, you have to recognize the ways you’re sabotaging yourself. See if any of these 5 things describes you:

Self-Sabotage Tactic #1: You fall into ruts and can’t get unstuck.

Ruts are dangerous, and sometimes you may not realize you’re stuck in one. That’s the scariest part. There’s nothing wrong with enforcing a routine, but you have to determine if that routine has your long-term goals in mind. For example, if you spend more time playing than you do working, then it’s probably a rut you’ll want to evacuate as soon as possible.

Fix: Force yourself to do one new thing each day, whether it’s writing at a different time of day or adding a new task to your schedule. This will facilitate change! Also, eliminate negative distractions from your life altogether (like dawdling on Facebook or Pinterest when you should be kicking ass on your own projects). Distractions will continue to poison your productivity if left untreated.

Self-Sabotage Tactic #2: You constantly doubt your skills.

I’m not as good as so-and-so. I’ll never be able to make a difference. I can’t do this. Do any of those phrases sound familiar? It’s probably because you’ve uttered them more times than you can count. And you set yourself back every time you say or think them.

Fix: Stop the madness! The word “can’t” is toxic and using it automatically kills your motivation. The truth is, you CAN make a difference and you ARE just as good as anyone else – but you have to make an effort and work your butt off. The self-doubt you feel is your fear taking over – don’t let it. It’s going to hinder your creativity.

Self-Sabotage Tactic #3: Risks scare the crap out of you.

Stop restricting yourself!

Stop restricting yourself!

No one ever achieves success by ignoring opportunities, and you’re not any different. You may be comfy in your little bubble of routine, but you won’t make any progress if you ignore every risk that comes your way! Fear shouldn’t confine you…it should provoke thought.

Fix: Write down potential risks (i.e. opportunities) and thoroughly analyze them before saying yes or no. You may discover that your fears regarding a particular project were unjustified! Pro/con lists are silly to some, but they’ve worked wonders for yours truly over the years. Also, avoid the misconception that all risks have the potential to tank your entire operation. You’ll distinguish a good risk from a bad one without much trouble.

Self-Sabotage Tactic #4: You keep everything to yourself.

Have you ever been too embarrassed or proud to share your concerns with another human being? Don’t be. Even the most productive introverts get stumped from time to time! Why should you internalize every dilemma when there’s assistance within your grasp?

Fix: It’s not shameful to call in the reinforcements. Ask for a second opinion if you’re stuck! There’s only so much your own brain can provide you, especially if you’re new to the project. Find out if close friends, family, or trustworthy sources can guide you back onto the track. Otherwise, you’ll burn out before you’ve started.

Self-Sabotage Tactic #5: You procrastinate like there’s no tomorrow.

None of us are strangers to procrastination. It rears its hideous head when we’re the most discouraged and preys on our self-doubt (the bastard) to steer us away from progress. But, the good news is that you don’t have to put up with it!

Fix: Stop putting things off. Your time is NOW. The next time your “I’ll do it tomorrow” attitude emerges, think of it as a scurvy little spider that has found its way into your home: if you don’t squash it immediately, then it’ll hide in a dark corner and pop out at you again (perhaps with a friend or two) when you least expect it. Splatter the little offender while you have the chance; today is your day to make headway!

The tools for success won’t spawn out of thin air and into your waiting arms – you have to work like a fiend to access them. That means you must stop doubting your abilities and start fine-tuning them instead. Identify the sabotaging elements in your life, eradicate them, and then replace them with productive habits that spur confidence. After all, why should others believe in you if you can’t seem to believe in yourself?

Now, get out there and kick some ass!

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Jack Sander
Twitter:

I find myself in several paragraphs, but I’ll never give up my dreams no matter what happens. In the past years I’ve learnt that there is a learning curve, you just cannot do it the right way from the very first time, without learning from your own mistakes. It may sound weird, but I think that these lessons are more valuable than reading 10 books.
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Jill Tooley
Twitter:

I’ll never give up on mine either, Jack! That’s partially why I wrote this post…I need motivating just as much as anyone else. :) You’re 100% correct: learning from mistakes is a lot more valuable than reading 10 books on the subject. We humans tend to retain information more effectively when we’ve got the experience to back it up. (For example, when I was a kid, my mom told me a hundred times how dangerous fire is, but I didn’t fully understand it until I reached out and burned my hand. It’s kind of like that).

We all have to reach that breaking point, though, and start making things happen! Easier said than done, I know…

Thanks for reading and commenting! Glad you stopped by.
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amy swanson
Twitter:

Great post, Jill! I have a horrible habit of internalizing everything and not sharing it with others until I burst into tears of frustration, haha. You’re so right with your comment, “There’s only so much your own brain can provide you”. Everyone has a unique way of thinking or examining a problem, a friend or family member could see something that you never had thought of before. It never hurts to ask! Thanks Jill for the kick in the butt I needed this morning to get up and get going :)
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Jill Tooley
Twitter:

Thanks, Amy! Oh no, not tears of frustration! That’s no fun. My poor brain gets overloaded every now and then, and I have to force myself to ask someone else for help. I used to see it as a sign of weakness (maybe it stems from getting yelled at so much in class for being the one who spoke up to ask questions, haha) but now I recognize it for what it is: necessary.

Glad this was able to help you, and that you enjoyed reading it. :)
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Mandy Kilinskis
Twitter:

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been doing a lot of these for quite a long time. But recently, I’ve been squishy the procrastination spiders and burying the worries that I’m not good enough and just DOING it. And finally, after years of putting it off, I banged out the first draft to my novel.

I’ve still got some work to do on stopping self-sabotage, and this post really helped. Thanks for writing it, Jill!
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Jill Tooley
Twitter:

Show those procrastination spiders NO MERCY! Good for you on finishing your novel draft — I still have a long way to go because I keep scrapping my ideas too soon. It may be time to implement free writing again to just get the words out!

No problem, and thanks for taking the time to comment. Glad it helped you somehow :)
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JJ

I tend to fall into ruts at my work, and work really hard to get back up to speed. It seems that the more I let myself slack and get behind, the more that it stresses me over time. I need to find a way to stay ahead of my schedule.

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Jill Tooley
Twitter:

Hi, JJ! I’m also prone to falling into ruts. List making always helps me get back on track, though! There’s something satisfying about crossing items off your “to do” list. :)
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Bob

I have to agree with internalizing issues; I find that when I let it out at my therapists office, I get along much better at work and in my personal life. The more I bottle up, the worse it gets.
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Jill Tooley
Twitter:

It’s natural to want to bottle up feelings (I never want to “bother” anyone else with my troubles), but that does way more harm than good. I’ve slowly learned that it’s better to get all of the grievances out before proceeding! Thanks for the comment. :)
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Pete Goumas

Hi Jill,
I agreed with your point that at some level we have to take risk or you can say no risk no game and I also worked on this strategy and I think I am successful because I take risk and make decisions which leads me toward my goal.Thanks
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Jill Tooley
Twitter:

Good for you, Pete! Risks aren’t all bad, and that’s what trips up some businesspeople. It’s sort of like investing in the stock market — you have to weigh the risks with the reward and decide if it’s worth it!

Thanks for commenting! :D
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Jean

Great insights! You have used a reciprocal method of teaching about the ways to success. Thank you so much, I hope not to miss opportunities ahead.
Thank you.

Jean
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