How to become your biggest cheerleader
From Deb Rae, Deb Rae Solutions
A friend and I have a fun game we’ve been playing for a few years now. Every time we catch up, we talk about his plans for his own financial advisory business. He has researched every inch of his industry, costed out his budget and even designed a logo.
But he hasn’t booked a single client. With each coffee date he tells me another reason why he can’t start just yet. There was one last project to finish at home, a rumour of a dip in the economy, waiting for his father’s health to improve, then finding the perfect support staff.
My friend is a smart man who could easily make his dream a reality. But for some reason he is (probably sub-consciously) blocking his own success.
Self-sabotage can be completely debilitating. After all, what hope have you got if the person who should be your biggest cheerleader turns out to be secretly undermining you? Here are three tell-tale signs of self-sabotage and how you can give them the flick.
1. What’s the Real Story?
What are you really telling yourself about your goal? While you’re saying out loud that you’ll do a 5km fun run or start selling your art, what’s the inside story? When you’re honest with yourself, what are your deepest thoughts? Maybe that it’s too hard? You’re too old? Or not smart enough?
Take a few moments to really become aware of your thoughts. Acknowledge those fleeting feelings of doubt and scrutinise their truthfulness. Does it really matter how old you are? Are there really no options for making things a bit easier?
Challenge the thoughts that try to keep you safe, but block you from what you want. Replace them with truths about your real capabilities and how you can find ways to manage whatever you need to reach your goal. Repeat these thoughts often.
2. Master Procrastinator
Are you finding anything else to do besides your goal? Eaten your way through the fridge, cleaned obsessively or done other work you don’t even like? Reaching for the chip packet could be what you do when your mind senses fear. What are you thinking will (or won’t) happen if you achieve your goal? Or don’t achieve it? You could be afraid to fail, or afraid to succeed!
Put each of your anxieties through a reality test. Examine the full range of ‘what ifs’ and get Plans B, C and D ready for anything. When you’re back on track, arrange rewards as you make achievements. Buy yourself flowers when you lose a few kilos, or new shoes when you finish your first uni subject. And regularly congratulate yourself just for hanging in there.
3. The Dreaded Guilt
For some people (especially women), doing something that’s ‘just for them’ stirs up feelings of guilt or selfishness. What will their kids do while they’re at the gym? Uni fees are expensive – maybe that money should be kept for house renovations?
Your children deserve to be safe and happy. And so do you. Taking action to improve your wellbeing is not a luxury. It can have many positive impacts for those closest to you. Constantly putting yourself last or sacrificing your needs for others can have long-lasting negative consequences for everybody. Role model the beliefs and behaviours you want your children to have for themselves.
I miss my friend. I rarely see him now. He’s very busy with his new business. After four years, he challenged his thoughts, recognised all his barriers for what they really were and starting creating his dream. You can too.