Self-sabotage can arise from fear, doubt, uncertainty, shame, self-protection, resentment, or an unwillingness to be vulnerable.
Self-sabotage can take the following forms:
Avoidance: Avoiding conflict, self-evaluation, or assessment of the message/service/environment. Ignoring issues, maintenance and periodic review. The inability to follow through on commitments. Indirect communication, sarcasm, and irony are forms of deflection.
Confusion: Failing to address places of disorganization, mixed messages, mixed goals. Uncertainty about where to focus or how to prioritize. Being overwhelmed by tasks.
Vagueness: Avoiding a clear presentation or identity. Being vague about services or how they will be delivered.
Chaos: Visual chaos, clutter, overstimulation with information or options. Inconsistency.
Absence of Editing or Updating: Failure to edit out visual information, variables, or cues that are unhelpful. Failure to keep instructions, pricing, navigation, and materials up-to-date. Sloppiness.
Dishonesty: Failing to be honest with a client or yourself about your limitations or failure to provide the best service. Ambivalence about the service you provide, your customers or your success.
Despite the abundance of books available on the creative process and entrepreneurship, it remains nearly impossible to diagnose your own places of self-sabotage. By the very nature of self-sabotage, its effectiveness derives from the fact that you can’t see it. You can see the symptoms of it in the procrastination, the less-than-professional presentation, or the ambivalent communication of your message. However, finding the cause of the sabotage is much more complex.
In my work with you, these underlying themes are usually discovered during our first conversation. However, it is often the case that addressing the dynamics requires therapy, trauma work, or both to address the core original injury.
Tracking Down the Cause of Self-Limiting Behavior
Your adult response to uncertainty, novelty, and risk taking can depend upon your experiences as a child. Below are some questions for you to consider:
- As a child, was it safe to express yourself?
- As a child, was it safe to try new things?
- What happened if you tried new things and did not do well at them?
- Did your parents express enthusiasm for novelty and the unexpected?
- Did they have patience in the face of adversity? Did they have hope? Were they curious?
- Did you witness risk taking and vulnerability?
- Were your parents introverts or extroverts?
- Did anyone in your family launch or run a business? If so, what did you learn from that?
- Were you adopted?
- Is there an original irritant/negative voice/disruptive energy/external presence/traumatic experience that, as a child, you had to form around? Does it remain in your field?
- Is there a belief or internalized voice that lives inside you and blocks your creative expression, or trust in yourself, or limits your development and risk taking?
- Do you have a mental self who runs the show in one or more areas of your life? Does this part prevent the expression of, or leave little room for, the nonverbal/emotional or felt sense of things?
- Are there childhood experiences that cause you to doubt, ridicule or minimize your own intuition, nonverbal knowing, creative inspiration, and aspiration?
- Who or what is your creative self incorporating, or making room for, that is not integral to your own truth?
If any of the above questions are relevant, is there a place you need to
- Identify and clear from your mental, emotional, physical, spiritual or energetic self the voice, judgment, perception, pain or reality of another?
- Create a mental, emotional, or energetic boundary that establishes a space free of this external voice/presence?