Now, I’m not talking about going about hugging yourself the whole day with a big smile on your face, rather what I’m talking about is having a healthy dose of self-esteem, self-respect and powerful self-belief. In years of providing motivation counsel, I have come across countless people who find it hard to achieve their goals, actualise their dreams and accomplish success. This difficulty to achieve success usually manifests in the form of things just not seeming to work out, too many challenges and difficulties popping up, the right opportunities not presenting themselves, the right contacts not showing up, ‘bad luck’ and the list goes on.
On digging deeper, I tend to find that one of the main reasons why people fail to achieve success is not the presence of challenges or difficulties or the lack of resources, rather a great degree of failure stems from self-sabotage; and self-sabotage is the result of not having a great relationship with oneself. So many people sabotage their own attempts at success often without even realising that they are doing so and without an inkling of the fact that the way they perceive themselves is in fact the stumbling blocks to their progress.
We often find that those with phenomenal levels of success have a great deal of self-esteem, self-respect and self-belief. In short successful people tend to see view themselves positively and really like yourself (after all, you’ve got to like yourself in order to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve the things you want out of life). On the other hand, an inability to succeed has often been linked to low self-esteem and low levels of self-belief. The fact is this – you cannot have what you do not believe that you can have and unless you like yourself enough you will find yourself unconsciously stalling your own attempts at success.
Low self esteem = low success rate
There are two main reasons why low self-esteem makes it difficult to achieve success:
Firstly, those with a low self-image generally do not believe in themselves or believe that they have the ability to achieve phenomenal levels of success. They cannot seem to see pat their limitations, challenges and past mistakes. Simple answer to this – You are not an exception; neither are you weaker or less deserving than the next person. You must come to realisation that everyone has made mistakes, met challenges and encountered limitations. It was their ability to push through all of these issues that allowed them to become successful, earn their success, live the life of their dreams and be revered by those around them.
Secondly, and possibly more important is the fact that those who have a poor self-image generally do not have a great relationship with themselves, do not like themselves enough and do not really really believe that they deserve to be successful…This is where the self-sabotaging behaviour creeps in. When you do not really believe that you deserve to be as successful as the next person, you will begin displaying behaviour (often times without even being aware of it) that will stall your attempts at success.
Self-sabotaging behaviours manifest in the following ways – continuously making excuses for not taking the necessary actions required to achieve your goals, procrastinating, constantly citing challenges and problems as excuses for your failures, you find yourself constantly “busy” but unproductive, failing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve our goals, feeling fatigue or tired when you are about to take some sort of action related to your goal or objective, distracting yourself with entertainment when you should be working towards your goal (movies was my thing until I came to the realisation), jumping from one goal to the next without fully accomplishing any of your goals and so on.
Asking touch questions
The truth of the matter is that when we are displaying self-sabotaging actions, on some subconscious level, we tend to know. However, bringing the issue to the conscious level and asking ourselves the tough questions – well, that’s tends to be the challenging part, but it needs to be done. When we find ourselves not doing what we know we must do (or all we must do) in order to achieve success, then we should consider the fact that we may be undermining our own shot at success. In such situations, we need to access ourselves and ask the following guiding questions:
- Do I really, really want to achieve this goal or is it just a passing fad? If I really desire to achieve this goal, then can I clearly see how it’s accomplishment change my life?
- How do I rate my self-image and self-esteem on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being great and 1 being poor). Do I have a great relationship with myself and do I firmly believe that I deserve to enjoy success?
- Why do I believe that I deserve success?
- Am I doing everything necessary and possible to achieve this goal or am I making excuses?
- If someone else was placed in my position with the same situation, challenges and issues, is it possible that they would be able to do a better job than I am currently doing?
- Do I really believe I can achieve the goal or do I doubt myself on some level? If I fail to accomplish this goal, what will my life look like in 5 years?
Such questions will not only get us thinking more about how we see ourselves but will also allow us to become more aware of which actions are helping us and which actions are undermining us.
Self-sabotaging actions are almost never done on purpose but are often a reflection of the limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves and whether or not we truly believe we deserve success as much as the next person.