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5 Surprising Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Success

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Everyone’s entitled to having a bad day every now and then. Yet, when a bad day has turned into a bad week, or maybe even a bad month, it’s time to pause and assess, before your leadership reputation is on the line. 

It is critical to be aware of the attitude and energy you exude to be effective and respected in leadership. During times of pressure and stress, the brain defaults to familiar behavior patterns, regardless if the behavior is helpful to the situation. These patterns may be destructive and undetectable until the consequences are blatantly obvious and alarming.

This is self-sabotage at its best, and here are some helpful cues to keep it from getting the best of you.

There are five common self-sabotaging identities that undermine and, in some cases,  hinder future opportunities and successes for some of the most talented executives and entrepreneurs.

The negative behaviors include:

  • Being a complainer. Constantly pointing out what’s going wrong in a situation prevents you from presenting yourself as a problem-solver and expert in the room.
  • Being defensive. Always having an explanation for your actions–even when they’re not working–prevents you from building trust with clients and team members.
  • Being hypercritical. If you’re finding a problem with every solution, you’ll never find a solution to the problem.
  • Being self-deprecating. If you underestimate your ability to handle problems from the start, you’ll hold yourself back from taking on tasks.
  • Being a fatalist. When we give power to the worst case scenario, we can also bring it to fruition and we forget about opportunities for success.

Most people identify with one primary self-sabotaging identity type, and some self-identify in multiple categories. 

Developing awareness of your sabotaging behavior identity is the first step in disrupting the destructive pattern. The next step is to adapt a positive behavior disruptor to replace the current behavior pattern. The hint is to assign a trigger word to the self-sabotaging behavior to activate the new behavior. The trigger word becomes the cue to the new response when the instinct is to begin the self-sabotage pattern.

“Self-doubt does more to sabotage individual potential than all external limitations put together.” – Brian Tracy

Trigger Words to Uplevel Your Success

  • To eliminate the complaining, think ELEVATE. Constant complaining and fixating on the hurdles quickly exacerbates a small problem into a larger problem. Leaders elevate the mindset of others when they reframe challenging circumstances and present possibilities. Elevating the viewpoint of the obstacle offers greater perspective and clarity on the issue and elicits greater morale in achieving a positive outcome.  
  • To stop being defensive, think QUESTION. Defensive behavior prevents clients and team members from feeling seen, heard and acknowledged. Asking a question like, “how did this circumstance impact you?” offers the opportunity to better understand the other perspective to achieve a mutually beneficial resolution.
  • To quit being hypercritical, think FORWARD. Finding a problem with every solution keeps you stuck in the problem, and questions your tenacity to find a solution. Instead of waiting for the perfect solution, commit to trying various solutions until the best possibility is uncovered.
  • To do away with self-deprecation, think EMBRACE. Clients and team members look to you for your unique gifts and inspiration as a leader. Embracing your brilliance means validating your natural talents and strengths so you approach any given problem with confidence. 
  • To defeat the fatalist, think RECALIBRATE. To avoid bringing a worst case scenario to life, envision your brain like a GPS. As each roadblock is detected, direct your thought process to create the detour toward the optimal destination. 

Posting the trigger words in places where you often look provides a visual reminder of the new behavior pattern. Places like – the wallpaper on your phone, a post-it on your computer screen, or hand written at the top of a legal pad are useful places to reinforce the changes you are making. 

Too many executives and entrepreneurs place more value on the amount of work they complete in pursuit of their goals, rather than placing value on the attitude and energy they exude in the process. They find the time to go above and beyond with demonstrating the quality of their work reinforcing the belief that hard work will earn great success. While there is no disputing that hard work is part of the equation, it is critical to recognize it, alone, will only get you so far.

Hard work married with mental strength is the dynamic duo protecting your success from self sabotaging behavior.

Heidi Gruss is a licensed psychotherapist and transformation strategist who specializes in working with burned out entrepreneurs seeking a change in their lives. She brings to her clients two decades of clinical and administrative experience in both private and corporate behavioral health settings. Four of those years were spent running a multi-million-dollar behavioral health program for the state of Connecticut that became a model for the rest of the United States. Through her multi-six figure coaching business, she helps clients rapidly identify and overcome negative patterns of behavior that hold them back from achieving their goals in business, health and life. Heidi’s expertise has been featured in media outlets such as Your Story is Your Legacy, Master Your Mindset With Coach Marc, The Bigger Braver Show, Grow Your Path to Wellness and Victim to Victory. She has also presented to audiences of thousands on virtual and live stages across the United States. She lives in Waterford, Connecticut, with her husband and three children.

Success Advice

Can Organic Marketing on Facebook Be Effective in 2022?

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As another cat video is served to me in my Reels on Facebook, I am beginning to wonder if this platform can still serve to attract clients to my coaching business. And as the wondering turns into worrying, I feel a pressing need to make some vital changes to what worked for my solopreneur business for half a decade. (more…)

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How to Leverage Your Leadership Style for Business Success

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When we hear that leaders should operate within their zone(s) of genius, it’s easy to think that this only applies to tasks that they excel at. Whilst this is true, the piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked is the positive correlation between a leader’s zone of genius and their leadership style. (more…)

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Success Advice

5 Simple Habits to Live A Less Chaotic, Happier Life

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Many of us spend our daily lives searching for happiness. We jump from one job to another, from one hobby to another, hoping to spark a sense of joy and purpose.

But it’s hard pursuing happiness. After all, life is full of frustration and can put a stopper to our feel-good days.

And it’s challenging to be happy when we are juggling the responsibilities of everyday life like work and relationships. While achieving happiness is arduous, it’s not impossible. Try out these 5 habits to enjoy life more and be happier.

1. Walk in Nature

Spending time in nature has always improved my mood. Taking a walk around my neighborhood park, surrounded by trees and vegetation, I enter a peaceful state of mind.

The worries previously weighing on my mind are suddenly lifted, and I feel an indescribable sense of joy.

Taking just 20 minutes out of my day to get a fresh breath of air is extremely relaxing. 

In our work culture that favors busyness, there is little room for calmness. We associate a busy schedule with how successful we are, which isn’t entirely true at all.

In fact, it might be a disaster in the making. All that stress and anxiety bottled up without an outlet—the outcome is obvious.

So getting in touch with nature is my go-to way of maintaining a proper work-life balance. It makes me energized and ready to blast through the rest of my day with optimism.

2. Smile More Often

I make it a habit to smile every day; they aren’t fake smiles but genuine ones. And they have become a regular part of my life.

What am I smiling at, exactly? It can be the night sky covered with shining stars, like fine quicksand. Or, it can be the flowers sprouting new leaves in spring.

I embrace everything with open arms. Even when I have a rainy day, I don’t let it ruin my momentum.

Regardless of what happens, a simple smile can brighten my day; and best yet, it’s completely free.

At some point, everyone can have a stressful day and feel burned out. So put up a smile. Even if you’re not a positive person, take a firm stance against negativity. Your daily life will surely burst with joy.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

3. Find Your Passion

Many people dive headfirst into a day job that doesn’t interest them. They do it just for the money, which only makes them more miserable.

People who aren’t attached to their work will find difficulty achieving happiness. They live in a gray and stale world devoid of positivity.

Listen to your heart. Ask yourself: What makes me feel enthusiastic and excited? This is a time to discover your hopes and dreams.

You have endless opportunities in this world. Start a business. Volunteer at a charity drive. Figure out your reason why.

Personally, I used to turn to real estate to earn dependable rental income. But there was no sense of fulfillment. That feeling soon reached a tipping point, which pushed me to re-prioritize everything.

I wanted to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Combining my interest in business and self-improvement, I pursued my passion for blogging. And I can’t be any happier about it.

Everyone needs something that keeps their life meaningful. It can be a source of light that helps us walk in the right direction.

So having goals and dreams makes us genuinely happy. Without them, it will be a long, treacherous journey.

4. Practice Gratitude

Some days we may not feel a shred of gratitude. We are overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of life where we seek perfection, one that is only full of success and wins.

However, that will only put you further away from happiness.

Take the time every day to pause and appreciate something in your life. What I find helpful is sitting down with a pen and paper.

I start with “I am grateful for…” It can be the appreciation for my afternoon cup of herbal tea. It can be the clear blue sky on a sunny day.

This routine sets up a support system that reinforces positive emotions. It reminds me that there are many things I’ve experienced in life and even more things that I’m grateful for.

Even if I have a bad day, I try my best to be grateful and encourage lasting joy.

So appreciate everything that enters your life—all the good and bad. You will see your mood elevate to an entirely new level.

5. Create Memories With Loved Ones

It can be tempting to focus all our time and energy on reaching valued goals. We say, “I’ll take it easy and spend time with loved ones after I’m successful.”

But what if that time never comes? What if, at some point, your loved ones are suddenly gone?

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Prioritize your loved ones today, not next year. After all, you wouldn’t want to leave any room for regret.

The cherished memories you make now will be a spark of joy. They can even be a source of motivation when shooting for goals.

As social creatures, sharing stories, feelings, and dreams can make us happy and fulfilled.

Living a solitary life is not for everyone. Although having some alone time is perfectly fine, you should still make memorable experiences with those close to you. They will be cherished within your heart for as long as you live.

The quest for lasting happiness can be daunting at times. We spend much of our time searching for it, almost giving up along the way.

But you need to see the bright side. Living a better and happier life isn’t a far-fetched dream; it’s within reach. Remember that happiness can come from the small habits and things you do daily.

If you want to lead the life you truly want, practice these 5 habits and be consistent every day. Don’t give up halfway. Once you do so, there will be nothing stopping you from enjoying life to the fullest.

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Success Advice

Avoid These 12 Mistakes on the Way to Success

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One day when I was writing an interesting article my wife asked me, “Why did you achieve success so late, during the late forties?  Did you ever find out the reasons for your late success?” The question was an interesting one as I seldom thought about why I achieved success so late in my life until then. I thought about this for a while; here are the reasons that come to my mind: (more…)

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