Clara grabbed me at a conference last week in San Diego, her eyes glassy with panic. The story she told me sums up the "Anatomy of Self Sabotage."
Here's how it works:
Step One: The Improbable Dream Syndrome. Clara heard the buzz about someone from her college class. The news was that a woman had started an Internet company- banked 3.4 million dollars, gotten married, pregnant and started a non-profit for at risk teens in just five years. Clara had compared herself to that classmate and come out on the losing end. She assigned herself an Improbable Task: "I can start a new business and be profitable- fast! I will make eight hours of sales calls every day."
Step Two: The "I Suck At This" Syndrome. When you decree overbearing expectations, you are setting the stage for yourself to fail. It takes time to learn new skills and develop new habits, yet many of us demand instant results.
Clara had been in IT for twelve years. Even though she had never made a sales call in her life, her plan was to sell a certain quantity of her proprietary software each week. "Sure, I don't have training in sales- but how tough can it be?" she thought. She began her sales calls Christmas week and was deeply disappointed that in three weeks she had not made any sales. The Criticism Committee in Clara's head had grabbed the microphone and shouted, "I can't, I suck, and I might as well give up." That negative mindset made it impossible for her to pick up the phone and call any other prospects.
Step Three: The "Oh, Screw It" Syndrome. "Why bother? I can't sell anything. I might as well give up and go and try and find a job." Instead of doing sales calls she was on Facebook for much of the day. It may sound a bit silly that a person would give up their dream of owning their own business after just one month, but it is not that uncommon.
***Ask Eli a question at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.elidavidson.com to tell Eli how you have overcome self sabotage.
Eli Davidson is a nationally recognized woman's executive coach and motivational speaker.
Her book, Funky to Fabulous: Surefire Success Stories for The Savvy, Sassy and Swamped, (Oak Grove Publishing) has won three national book awards.