Four tips to control self-sabotage


By Ugo Micoli


Self-sabotage is an obstacle we place between our goal and ourselves.

Sometimes, while we like to think and talk about how outer ciscumstances are making our effort difficult or impossible, a sincere glance at ourselves in front of a mirror could expose some simple facts: we do not want to win, and the goal, in general life or work, we are talking about to ourselves and other people in such enthusiastic way, is something we do not want to achieve.

Everything can help us in destroying our committment to results: distractions, disorganization, multitasking, “other priorities”. In such conditions, our real scope has become to fail.

Many may be the reasons but now the important thing is you have to stop that waste of time and risk soaring, immediately.

Here there are four simple tips you can use to eliminate self-sabotage.

Take them as a first aid, or an emergency kit. If the thing is something usual in your activities, we should consider other elements. But, for sure, it is useful to follow these first advices to keep the response simple and practical if you are under enemy fire, that is, if you have not time enough to ponder on general issues.

1. See self-sabotage

Just notice you do not want to get your goal. Now, you stop complaining immediately. And stop all those “yes, but…”. You are not a victim of circumstances.

2. Who cares?

Ask yourself: is the goal important or not? And is it important to you? Why did you start that project?

Maybe you are just executing a task in a job for someone else. If you are not engaged at professional level, or if we are talking about routine tasks without motivation, self-sabotage can jump in, but it’s not a cause for derailing. Maybe you started something unuseful on your own, and somehow you cyrcle around the necessity of shutting it down. In this case, just do it now.

The point here is feeling. Do you feel it as yours and valued? If the answer is “yes”, ask yourself “why?”. Reply, and notice how you feel. When you will find yourself out of focus about the goal, remember that reply an that feeling.

3. How is the timeline?

At organizational level, set and review a very strict timeline when you notice you are self-sabotaging in a project. Do not stay in a comfort zone. Design, in the management software tool you use, a practical but harder than usual calendar for the project itself. If you feel you resist to get things done, just keep your basic daily objective, to fulfill your timeline and do nothing else in those hours.

4. What shall I do today?

Set the rule, you like it or not, that one thing in the project has to be done every single day anyway, as you planned it. Take the same approach as in 3, a bit harder than usual, so you don’t have time to lose your focus.

These four points help one another and you will feel the control on your project improve day after day. We did not talk about causes and dynamics (it’s not the scope of this article), we are just attacking self-sabotage on our field of choice: results.

It works.

There is a conversation on LinkedIn that I started related to this topic: “As a Project Manager and a Leader, how do you manage Self-Sabotage in your Project Team members?”

Have a look. The comments of contributors are very useful.

There you can find a citation of an article of Geoffrey James too, that I found interesting and recommend. My approach here is different, but the self-sabotage topic has many sides.

©2013 Ugo Micoli

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