Had Enough Of Self-Sabotage? Here's How To Kick It To The Curb

Jun 14, 2022

Anatole France, a nineteenth century poet once said, “It is human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion.”

Monsieur Anatole must have been a fly on the wall in my office.

Self-sabotage happens to the best of us. But you can figure out why you do it, how to recognize it, and how to stop it.

What is self-sabotage?

Psychology Today1 describes self-sabotage as behavior that “creates problems in our life and interferes with long-standing goals.” These behaviors are sneaky. They seem like a good idea at the time, but ultimately, they undermine us.

You may have even wished you could “get out of your own way.” That’s a simple recognition that you do things to undermine your success or your progress.

Author Gay Hendricks in his book The Big Leap2 describes it as an “upper limit problem.” It’s an invisible ceiling we impose on ourselves to how much abundance, success, or love we can handle.

Once we’ve bumped our heads on that ceiling, we do something to pull ourselves down to more familiar, more comfortable levels of good.

Why do we self-sabotage?

We’re modern, intelligent women! We are thoughtful, hard-working entrepreneurs! We have set goals and have solid plans to achieve them!

Why, oh why, do we do this to ourselves?  

I find that we self-sabotage when we are moving toward something we want very deeply, but that desire is associated with pain.

The thing or state of being we desire is so important we can almost taste it!

That pain can come from different sources and past experiences.

For example, we’re often taught that in order to have what we want, we have to lose or suffer in some other way. It’s as though there’s some gigantic “Universal Scale'' weighing our lives.

“You want this? Granted! Just be aware that we’re going to have to take something from over here. You know, gotta keep the balance.”

This fear can be so subtle you might not recognize it, but it’s there, hiding in your subconscious, holding you back.

When a desire is associated in our subconscious with pain, the pain always wins. 

Our subconscious is designed by nature to keep us safe and alive, away from the pain we fear will come from success.  It just does what it is programmed to do…

…until we program it differently.

Are you in a self-sabotage cycle?

Does this sound familiar?

You desire something, but deep down, you believe attaining it will bring something bad.

To avoid the bad thing, you do something unconsciously to impede your progress.

You’ve avoided the pain you think will come with achievement only to be left with the pain of not having what you so desire.

Dang frustrating! 

It can feel like you’re pushing uphill, one step forward, two steps back.

What does self-sabotage look like?

There are as many examples of self-sabotage as there are trees in the forest. One thing we know for sure is that each one is tied to a negative mindset.

Some common self-sabotage examples include:

  •  Disorganization
  • Indecisiveness
  • Negative self-talk
  • Mindless distractions
  • Avoidance
  • Procrastination
  • Tardiness
  • Over-eating
  • Excessive drinking
  • Overspending

For women entrepreneurs like you, it might go something like this:

You confidently say, “I want to double my income this year!” This is a goal you’ve been dreaming of and you have a plan in place to get you there.

There is no way you would sabotage yourself!

But on a subconscious level, that desire – that good, logical, and reasonable desire you want to work toward – comes with dark emotions and thoughts lurking below the surface. 

You think about all the terrible things that will happen if you reach your goal or what others will think about you when you start making more money.

You might be experiencing the fearful mindset of:

  • What will happen if I earn more money than my partner or spouse?
  • What will my friends and family think of me?
  • Will I become a selfish mean girl? This one is usually very present for those of us who heard from our first family that people with money are selfish and mean and never happy.
  • What will my clients and colleagues think of me?
  • How will I pay more in taxes with twice the income?
  • Will life get complicated and more than I can handle with all the added income and responsibility that comes with it?

How do you stop self-sabotage?

You want that next level business, next level relationship, next level income, next level house, next level life.

But how do you catch your self-sabotaging thoughts and actions before they drag you down?

Untether yourself from negativity and pain by asking a few questions. The path to attaining your goals without self-sabotage will be revealed.

1.  What would happen if you fail to reach your desire?    

We often think of failure as painful and undesirable, something to avoid at all costs.

Use this journal prompt to uncover your fear of failure and the underlying hidden sabotage. 

If I fail at ________________ that would mean that I ________________. 

Now imagine that you pushed through the fear of failure. See and feel yourself receiving what you want and enjoying the results. 

Practice envisioning your responses to these questions:

2.  Are there any negative outcomes from achieving your goal?

3.  What are the stories you may be telling yourself about these negative outcomes?

4.  Are you hearing the echo from someone else who may have planted those seeds of negativity?

The stories are there, giving life to self-sabotage, even if you don’t recognize them at first.

Trust me, they are there. 

Only you can pull them to the surface, shine some sunlight on them, and let them dissolve. 

This push and pull between desire and pain is a strong polarity that we feel emotionally, mentally, and physically. 

 They can

  •  Drain you of energy.
  • Create confusion.
  • Foster procrastination.
  • Make you fall prey to obligatory energy.

Remember: in the power struggle between desire and pain, pain always wins until you decide to dissolve the fearful belief.  

And the craziest thing about self-sabotage?

We suffer more by staying in the self-sabotage cycle than we ever would if we moved toward our true desire.  

What pain do you suffer by staying small, by not going after your dreams of an increased income level or a better relationship? What is the pain of staying in your “j.o.b.” instead of pursuing your passion? 


Disappointment in yourself/others?

Loss of trust in yourself?

Feeling unfulfilled?


Knowing that there was something better in store for you than what you have, but you didn’t go for it? 

These feelings can be crippling.  

Ending the cycle of self sabotage is possible.

It won’t happen overnight. And when you’re dealing with the subconscious mind and the push and pull of desire and pain, it won’t always be easy, but you CAN do it.

Good ol’ Monsieur France may be right. It may be human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion.

But in thinking wisely and examining the hidden fears that keep us from our dreams, we can act in extraordinary fashions, moving forward without backward steps of our own design.

And the “Universal Scale,” when all is weighed and measured, will tilt in your favor.


1. Psychology Today
2. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks


P.S. Enjoying more freedom and abundance in life and business means serving more while working less and making more money! Time freedom and money freedom are the bomb!  

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