Five Ways to Overcome Self-Sabotaging Tendencies

There's one major roadblock most business owners face on their journey to success. And that roadblock is often not one you think to anticipate, especially when you're first starting out.

What is it?


The excitement of starting a business or embarking on a new project suddenly turns to fear and your head is spinning with all the reasons you shouldn't proceed. Sound familiar?

How could you not feel a slight tendency to drag your feet when it comes to exposing yourself to the world? It's a scary thing to feel vulnerable, especially when you're taking the risk to do something that means so much to you and there's potential others won't see your vision.

If you're dragging your feet about going live with your website, attending your first networking event, or booking a client at the full price you deserve, it's time for a self-sabotage intervention.

Here are five tactics to squash self-sabotage:

1. Feed your ego:

Now is the time you need the most encouragement, but you have to ask for it and seek it out yourself. This is when you turn to your closest friends and confidants. Let them know how excited you are about your business but that you're also extremely nervous. Let them pump you up. Write it down and savor it. Make a journal of praises that you can refer to often and make sure you always remember exactly why are you doing this in the first place: Because you can make a difference and your business is your vehicle to do so.

2. Practice social accountability:

I'm a huge believer in saying something out loud to someone who will hold me accountable to following through. Additionally, I have also had success by launching and/or promoting something that was not quite ready knowing that it would put just the right amount of pressure on me to get it done and move my business forward. I wouldn't suggest a tactic this extreme to be used often but it does work. Break down your accountability into specific tasks and let the world know you are going to do them. Use the potential disappointment of not doing what you said you would as motivation to keep you on track. We're motivated by losing something than we are gaining something so use this psychological trick to get you started down the path.

3. Scare yourself into it:

If you're self-sabotaging your business, you are scaring yourself out of moving forward. Since you're clearly successful at that, why not put your self-initiated scare tactics on a different path and scare yourself INTO it. Think about and physically write down all the things that will go wrong if you don't move forward. Will you slide back into a career your hate? Will not doing it put strain on your relationships? Will not doing it be a huge waste of money? What is scary about NOT moving forward?

4. Start adapting to change:

Charles Darwin said, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."

A big change is often easier to tackle if you can initiate small changes along the way. What sort of change can you make today that will get you into the habit of changing things up? Start small. For example, take a different path to work. Get something on the lunch menu you've never explored before. Say yes to something you normally say no to. Even if it is not related to your business, getting into a lifestyle of spontaneity and change will make it easier to tackle the big projects on your plate.

5. Have a drink.

Then jump. Eventually, you're going to have to make the leap. It's better to do it quick, like ripping a Band-Aid. It is my personal belief that people are rewarded when they take the risk to put themselves out there. Blind faith comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur. Accept that you are not going to be able to control everything and trust in the hard work, dedication, and passion you've already invested. It WILL pay off, but you have to jump first.

Shauna is the founder of Best Kept Self, a community of experts who believe in the power of self-care for the self-employed. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.