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Success Advice

5 Surprising Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Success



Image Credit: Unsplash

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.

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Success Advice

20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator



Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.


2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.


3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.


4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.


5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.


6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.


7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.


8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.


9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.


10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.


11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.


12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.


13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.


14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.


15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.


16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.


17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.


18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.


19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.


20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.


By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at so you can master your life with more success.

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Dead Men Tell No Tales: How to Navigate a Mutiny as a Leader in 10 Steps

You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way



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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way and perhaps that has created a divisive and adversarial working environment that makes it difficult for you to influence and inspire your team in a way that meets your vision. (more…)

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How to Think Like a CEO for Your Future Success

A blueprint for CEOs to draw a disciplined strategy



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Strategic thinking helps CEOs build successful businesses. It helps them establish everlasting enterprises. It is one of the key elements of decision-making. It is different from strategic leadership. It differentiates between leaders from managers.  (more…)

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How to Focus Your Mind on Your Goals in 2023 Constructively

In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds



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In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds on positive aspects and constructive activities. Sometimes we waste our precious time mentally and physically due to distractions arising out of technology. We must understand our priorities and learn how to focus on them religiously. (more…)

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