Why would someone deliberately hurt her own efforts to get ahead?
Self-sabotage is defined as behaviors or thought patterns that hold us back and prevent us from doing what we really want to do. Often this behavior is rooted in/motivated by our desire to self-protect.
Continual engagement in self-sabotage only hurts us. When self-sabotaging we not only willingly get in the way of our future successes but we also undermine the hard work that got us where we are now.
Why Do I Do It?! 3 Ways I Self-Sabotage At Work
I close my laptop following another Zoom meeting where my maximum contribution was "You're frozen." *sigh* I kick myself for not speaking up and sharing my honest thoughts and instead crack a half-smile and almost violently nod or shake my head to appear expressive in my smaller-than-life Zoom window.
"Why do I do it?"
I think to myself. Getting in my own head is just one of the ways in which I sabotage myself while at work. It's a feeling akin to saying "you too!" when the waiter tells you to enjoy your meal.
How else do I sabotage myself at work? Here are a few off the top of my head:
1) I Apologize....A Lot
"Sorry I'm late!"
"I've been overwhelmed lately, sorry about that!"
"Sorry I didn't speak up in the meeting."
"Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!"
I'm apologizing for everything and nothing all at once; I offer myself up as the wrong-doer time and time again. Why?! Force of habit? Imposter syndrome? Peacekeeper mentality gone awry? It's hard to say, but I work to break the vicious cycle of over-apologizing. Instead, I try to say,
"Thanks for waiting!"
"I've got a lot on my plate, I'm not sure I can take on anything else right now."
"Great catch, I'll get right on that!"
Maybe it's not so hard after all to avoid erroneously placing blame on myself.
2) I'm A Perfectionist...No, Seriously
Flashback to that Zoom meeting in which I contributed nothing of value - am I valueless? No! I am value-full, but it only appears in glimpses and flashes as far as my coworkers and managers are concerned.
Why don't I speak up more? I have great ideas! But they're not perfect - they're never fully baked out, and I always forget to spend an extra 100 hours outside of work to perfect my plans before bringing them to management.
I tell myself it's not exactly right, so it must be wrong. Even though I know that's not true!
Could it be that my insatiable desire to be perfect is actually...bad...for me? It's a slow, cascading realization - and once I know it, I can't possibly un-know it. As they say, "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good enough"! Wise words.
3) I Over-Analyze and Second-Guess
I make it through another week, and finally the weekend has arrived! Time to relax and unwi...uh, oh...
"Remember when you shared your screen and your bookmarks accidentally popped up? Pretty sure everyone saw your '30 minute Kim Kardashian butt lift workout', a workout you have yet to attempt.
Also, you said 'Great!' when your manager was talking about company losses."
Now that one sentence on that one day in those thirty seconds is on repeat for the entire weekend. I replay scenario after scenario, weird mannerism after weird mannerism.
"Should I have said that?" "What else could I have said?" "Was that a bad suggestion?"
Sometimes it's good to reflect, but not every time! Actually, I think I'm the only person who even remembers, let alone cares about, that one dumb thing I might've said that one time.
Confidence is key - just stating ideas with confidence makes me feel better about it, and "letting go of being right every time makes it okay to be wrong sometimes,"
I tell myself through gritted teeth.
In feeding these worries and anxieties, I'm doing nothing but sabotaging my own success. I have to ask myself, "Do I even want to be successful?" Because if I do, I'm not helping myself get there.
Over-worrying, second-guessing, over-apologizing, attaining "perfection"... These are ways I trip over myself on my path to success, but at least I know it! That's half the battle. The other half is breaking those habits and building new ones - bringing down the apologies and dialing up the confidence.
Know Your Worth
"We were never taught how to manage our success."
Celebrate yourself and all your accomplishments.
Surround yourself with people that support your ambitious endeavors. Those that recognize the good you're doing. Those that recognize your worth and value. Those that don't envy where you are, but instead wish you more future success.
So often in the quest to "be" someone we neglect the concept of just being. Only leading to more self-sabotage. Let's not allow the stress of what everyone else expects us to be to overwhelm us or cause us to alter our most positive qualities. As we continue to recognize our worth, may we all realize that we are all worthy. Worthy of love, support, happiness, acceptance, and so much more.
Never be afraid to show up fully. Our abilities, our gifts, are the qualities that have led to our success, and that are worth celebrating.
Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.
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