by Anita Kozlowski
Have you ever found yourself incapacitated, stifled, stuck and unable to complete a task you knew you had to complete?
Have you ever found yourself unable to start working on a task you knew was important? You probably experienced frustration, anxiety and self-doubt. You may have lost some sleep, thinking of what was going to happen if you didn’t finish the task? Perhaps you found yourself diverting your attention to other things such as television, housework, eating out.
People are good at avoidance, at a cost. Failure means not succeeding.
Self-Sabotage means “stopping yourself from succeeding”. There are many ways we do that. Sometimes we “forget” what we intended to do, sometimes we “get lost” in details, losing track of the global purpose, sometimes we “redirect ourselves” towards other suddenly “more important” things, or entertain ourselves, or master the conversation with the voice of doubt.
Except when the voice of doubt wins and we are stuck incapacitated.
How any times have you seen someone succeed, only to watch them crumble, seemingly without any logical reason? Why is it that some sales people accomplish great results, only to drop into the ocean of mediocrity?
I have coached great many sales professionals whose results suddenly became less than what they were capable of achieving.
When I was done with them, they often quadrupled their sales. The same applies to athletes, students, academics….
In the process I discovered few critical, commonly shared factors. These factors are shared by ALL people who self-sabotage, regardless of the context. The same rules apply at home, in the office, in career, in sports….
The most fundamental reason for self-sabotage is an ill-defined sense of self.
The “I Am….”
Whatever follows these words, defines my outcomes. Everything happens from that platform. Everything!
If “I am a 40 K a year sales person, and suddenly earn 250 K, this is “not me”.
Fear kicks in. Not only am I not that person, I may soon be incapable of “staying on top”, and the pain of losing will be unbearable. The consequence of succeeding may be painful.
I will make darn sure I don’t get there……
Poor representation of the self (I am….) delineates how capable you feel, and how deserving of success.
The internal equation typically sounds like this,” I am a 50K man THEREFORE I can’t earn 250K. This belief has been created early in life and represents a boundary to success.
By the same token, an overweight person who repeatedly regains their weight has not accepted their “I am slim and healthy and (whatever this implies)”. To them, they are still overweight, and whatever they see in the mirror is not reflective of what they “see” inside. Being slim also has consequences. People will perceive you differently. You may have to change your clothing. You may have to deal with advances from the opposite sex.
If you have been hiding behind the veil of obesity, these changes may seem very threatening.
Another example of someone who has an ill formed identity is an athlete who demonstrates great abilities in practice but fails in competition.
“I am not a winner”. Success was either accidental (“it’s not me”) or becomes a major threat….”I may not be able to sustain this. This is too much pressure”.
The mechanics of this beliefs is very simple, BUT making the shift into a new “I am” requires some skill.
People are attached to their “I am…: The “I am ” is deeply hidden within the realms of other than conscious mind, and remains outside the conscious awareness of a person.
If you ask people what they really believe about themselves, they will seldom give you an authentic answer. It is not that they want to lie. They are not aware. The “I am” dictates a person’s expectations in life, their ability to focus, interpretation of what is happening, and most importantly, governs all the other beliefs. It is like the foundation of a house. If a child feels insignificant and unworthy, they will develop relationships with others from that foundation. This will continue into adulthood. Suddenly they are 45 years old and went through five divorces.
People protect the “I am” subconsciously, as rewriting this statement also means rewriting the script of life. Paradoxically people identify with negative “I am “statement and protect it. “If I am not an alcoholic, who am I?”
Changing the “I am” seems scary. Everything suddenly changes.
People are generally not liking to step into the unknown even if it seems a lot better.
One truth about the human brain is, it loves sameness BUT learns by difference….
The art of changing internal representation of the self is the DNA of true NLP. It is virtually impossible to help anyone transform their life without transforming the internal representation of the self.
When I work with people, I always dig deep to figure out what is the “I am ” statement, as this will be the platform from which we shall rewrite the script for success.
I must divert their attention to something they are curious about and work “behind the scenes” to disassemble the limiting self-statement. This is where True NLP skills become very valuable.
Interestingly, people often “hit some walls” in the process as they have gotten attached to the identity. The reason for this paradox is people get deeply afraid of “losing self” and having nothing to replace it with. This fear is deeply unconscious.
The process involved in getting them “unstuck is very profound and leads to huge epiphanies and “Aha” moments.
It also generates a profound and pervasive change across all contexts in the person’s life. Suddenly they have more confidence in social setting, develop a different relationship to money, allow themselves to dream big.
Suddenly, they achieve…
Rewriting this internal script also requires being able to change the internal dialogue and imagery that accompanies the “I Am….”
Voices have a syntax, volume, direction and pitch. Images have size, direction, color (or not), various visual qualities, all of which can be changed.
When you erase the internal voice of doubt, replacing it with the voice of purpose, everything shifts.
It is hard to be anxious when you are thinking slowly….
Now, these voices and images occur at a time a person recognizes when to have them. They don’t come from nowhere. This trigger needs also be erased, and for that we have great techniques.
So, in general, self – sabotage happens when a person has an ill formed “I am”, successfully engages in a dialogue with the voice of doubt, and fulfills their expectations not to succeed.
These patterns can be changed quickly and easily IF you know what to do and HOW to do it. Each person is different and requires a unique approach. This is where TRUE NLP comes onto focus.
I always tell people; NLP techniques are useless unless you apply them into a context of understanding how the person thinks. Human thinking is systemic. A human being is a cybernetic system and needs to be considered individually.
There are no shortcuts to this method. There are only great strategies that get you to your result faster. This is nothing new as in every endeavor there exists the most efficient way of getting to the goal.
What I call TRUE NLP is what we do at our Live with Power NLP Training. Our approach to problems is systemic and strategic. We teach our students how to think strategically and systemically. We teach how to understand complex problems and make them easy to disassemble,
When you have walked out the door after the 8 Day intensive training, you will be able to solve the most complex issues in the most strategic way. You will have become able to create your own techniques on the foundation of understanding how people think.
This is pretty “cool” I think.
This blog post is reposted from Anita Kozlowski’s Live with Power Website http://livewithpower.com/self-sabotage-how-to-stop-it/