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Carl’s Thoughts: Preferred Methods of Self Sabotage

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

Fall foliage on the bank of a stream

Recently I was asked to describe a mistake I made in my career that I would correct if given the opportunity. After a moment of reflection, I knew my answer: I waited too long to partner with an Executive Assistant in order to grow and further develop my organization–and myself. When asked why I initially hesitated to take this step, I explained that I did not trust myself enough to trust others. I was essentially limiting and sabotaging myself through my lack of trust in self and others.

Self-sabotaging thought patterns or behaviors can hinder our professional growth and personal well-being. Eliminating these thoughts and actions, though, allows us the freedom to be the best version of ourselves and to broaden our perspectives.

Self awareness is the key to defeating your self-sabotaging habits. Being able to recognize and address self-sabotage is essential for personal and professional development, goal attainment, and overall life satisfaction.

Here are some of the most commonly manifested methods of self-sabotage. Please, take a moment to examine each and reflect on which method might be plaguing you:

Common Methods of Self-Sabotage

Chronic Lateness


Fear of Success


Fuzzy or no Goals


Imposter Syndrome


Negative Self-tallk




Once you’ve discovered your most plaguing method of self-sabotage, note the following tips for overcoming them:

  1. Recognize the patterns. Think about the thoughts and actions that tend to hold you back and inhibit progress in your professional or personal life. What are these thoughts? What are these actions? More importantly, where do they stem from? Being able to recognize your triggers will allow for a greater self awareness–and a greater chance at breaking the self-sabotaging spiral.

  1. Seek feedback. Seeking feedback from trusted individuals can help you focus on the positive aspects of your strengths and journey. Those you trust can often offer a unique and more objective perspective. When self-inhibiting thoughts, actions, or doubts rear their ugly head, turn to trusted colleagues to keep you on the clear and present path.

  1. Make a list of your superpowers. Self-sabotaging patterns often affect our work–but they can also affect our self perception and mental health. Instead, try making a list of your greatest strengths and attributes. Jot down your talents, treasures, and abilities, so you can reflect on them when the journey gets rough. Remind yourself of who you are and what you’re capable of.

  1. Practice gratitude. Gratitude is essential for a well-rounded life. Taking a moment to be thankful for where you are and where you’re going can transform your perspective. When self-sabotaging habits or thoughts begin to appear, focus on what you have to be thankful for in life–and in your professional journey.

  1. Clarify your Lifestyle and Livelihood goals. One simple way to out-maneuver your most plaguing methods of self-sabotage is to set clear, realistic, and quantifiable goals. Those kinds of goals make it nearly impossible not to fulfill them. If you want to set yourself up for true success and avoid the cycles of self-sabotage in the process, you need to define your Lifestyle and Livelihood goals. Get started by downloading and completing our free Lifestyle and Livelihood Goals Worksheet.

Once I overcame a limiting mindset I had created for myself, I conquered my self-sabotaging habits and began to achieve more than I thought possible. Take responsibility for your own happiness and success, and leave the self-limitation behind.

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