“I get so close and then I sabotage myself!” my new client Anna said. I’ve helped a number of clients and audience members release themselves from the stranglehold of self-sabotage.
We’ll use the C.A.L.L. process:
C – call it out
A – arrange support
L – leverage your good actions
L – live using a “buffer”
- Call it out
When I say, “call it out,” I mean identify the behavior as self-sabotage. For example, I’ve met business owners who delude themselves and find anything (that is, ANYTHING) other than doing the marketing and selling that their business needs for surviving and thriving. The answer is for business owners to call it out: “I’m hesitating to make the follow-up phone call. I feel like doing some filing now. That would be self-sabotage. I’m stronger than that!”
When you call out the self-sabotage, you can ask an Empowering Question: “How can I be stronger than this—in this Moment?”
The answer may be as simple as: “I’ll stand up now for this phone call” or “I’ll have a drink of water.”
When you call out some behavior as self-sabotage, you can look deeper. I’ve noticed that self-sabotage can arise from fear. In fact, some time ago, my sweetheart said, “Tom, what are you afraid of?” At the time, I didn’t like the question, but then I noticed that when I identified the fear its power diminished. I could pull out a sheet of paper and identify what I could do to lessen possible impacts. For example, one time I experimented with holding a workshop in a far off city for the first time. I had people who were going to co-present. What was my fear?–that no one would attend. What was my solution? If no one attended, I’d call it a private coaching session for my co-presenters! I would still deliver value to my co-presenters. I was ready for a tough outcome. (By the way, people did attend and praised the event!)
Now it’s your turn. What can you do to “call out” and label self-sabotage when it rises up in your day?
- Arrange support
Some people think that it’s somehow noble to “go it alone.” Really? What if you’re sick? Is it smart to get no help? No accurate diagnosis and no life-saving medication? Certainly, we realize the value of getting appropriate help from a doctor.
As an Executive Coach and the Spoken Word Strategist, I help people rise above and become even better than their first imaginings. Realize this: No Olympic athlete competes without a coach. None! I know, I’m the Executive Coach to a sports psychologist who has coached several gold medalists.
Picture this. When you want to stretch your legs, you use something as support—a chair, the floor, or a barre (that’s the handrail that a ballerina uses).
With my clients, I provide well-timed questions to help them uncover unique ways for them to stretch and have the support in their lives they need.
Now it’s your turn. How will you arrange support in your own life? Who can coach you so you take action that is BETTER than old, self-defeating patterns? (Support can be a friend who takes walks with you—or even a therapist who helps you release old pain and step forward in life.)
- Leverage your good actions
Leverage is about putting in a small amount of effort and getting big, valuable results. You could use a lever and move a boulder. That is, if you put the fulcrum in the right place, you’d only need to use a small bit of effort.
When I’m talking about “leverage your good actions,” I’m talking about adopting a winning mindset. Such a winning mindset is the combination of well-placed fulcrum and lever. For example, successful people I’ve interviewed emphasize the value of follow-up. Many people find follow-up to be a chore. I’ve emphasized with my clients, a better approach. I call it “Follow-Good.” It begins with the question: “How can I make this a good interaction for the other person and me?” You look for ways to be a welcome presence in other people’s lives.
Using “Follow-Good” transforms follow-up calls into something positive in your life.
Even if someone may not become a client, they get value from talking with you so they become a good source of referrals.
Let’s take this further. What are you already doing that works well in your life? See if you can expand on that. For example, I eat salad for breakfast. Research at Stanford University shows that one’s willpower is strongest, early in the day. So I take no chances! — I eat salad when I feel strong.
Now it’s your turn. How can you focus on what you’re doing well and expand your positive actions from there?
- Live using a “buffer”
One synonym for “buffer” is “cushion”—and we’ve heard the phrase “Give yourself a cushion of time.” Here we’ll take this idea a step further.
I’ve described the process to my clients in this way:
“Imagine a ruler with “A” marking one inch. “B” is two inches. And so forth. You’re at point “A”—you stretch to your right past points B, C, and D. Now pull back to point C. Why? To give yourself a ‘buffer’ or ‘cushion.’ You need a reserve of energy. (Yes, that’s the space between C and D.) If point D is the edge of your energy, that’s a danger point. Instead, always seek to have a reserve of energy because tough surprises occur.”
If you stretch yourself too thin, you’re on the edge of disaster. Do NOT let this happen.
Make sure you supply your buffer (or cushion) with enough sleep, exercise, good nutrition and quiet time each day.
Authors and researchers have noted:
- Tired people make mistakes.
- Tired people avoid taking appropriate risks (Why? They don’t have the energy.)
- Tired people do not have the brain capacity to be aware of surprise opportunities.
Letting yourself live on the edge without enough sleep (for example) is truly self-sabotage.
Here’s another vital point: You need to have some “pure fun” in your life. Why? Because when you live only a harsh, overly-disciplined life, it is likely that your inner child (the source of your energy) is going to eventually “act out.”
What is “acting out”? It can be any of the self-sabotage-behaviors including:
- Binging with food, TV, video games and something else
- Getting angry and treating someone in a harsh manner
- Taking bad risks (including unprotected sex, for example)
Take care of your inner child, then you can avoid that part of you “acting out.”
Your inner child wants to “be heard.” And your inner child wants some fun—and time off!
Now it’s your turn. How will you take better care of yourself? How would you treat yourself better—as if you were caring for a close friend? Take out a journal and write down “Inner child, what do you want?” Note your answers. (I just did this. And as soon as I complete this article, I’m going to watch a couple scenes from one of my favorite, silly movies from my collection of various films.)
* * * * * *
Remember, call out your self-sabotage-behaviors. Do what’s necessary to keep yourself strong.
* See my new book Year of Awesome! How You Can Use 12 Success Principles including 10 Seconds to Wealth (CLICK HERE to look inside the book)
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