Are you self-sabotaging your success?

Are you self-sabotaging your hard work? No matter what you do, how hard you work, even when you got your hustle going on, you’re not getting where you want to be fast enough… or worse, at all! You watch the gurus and follow their step by step systems, but it’s not working. And you’re exhausted, frustrated, and at the end of your rope.

All right. Take a breath. Pause. First, let’s explore what’s going on.

How the internal GPS gets programed

Your mind makes a map for future reference. You then develop a reference library of maps. The maps become your filters and views (beliefs) of reality. There is a place in your brain called the orbitofrontal cortex that is important in signaling punishment and reward. It reads your mind’s maps. It cues the emotional triggers in order to motivate you to approach and take further action, to freeze and gather more data, or to run from the undesirable experience. Your mind is efficient and starts to read these maps faster and faster each time they are engaged. The problem with that is that the situation may not be identical, though the mind tells the body to react before it knows for sure. Simultaneously, you create stories to make sense of or alleviate the pain. The more you tell the story, especially to yourself, the more entrenched the belief.

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What happens when your beliefs are built upon the foundation that you are not good enough, not worthy, and not lovable? Your essence knows better and your soul will keep trying to make you believe it by attracting opportunities to harmonize and heal. This is where most people become stuck. It feels self-sabotaging because you repeat behaviors over and over without a sense of why. In order to break the patterns, you have to start exploring the roots. Are these beliefs helping or hindering you from growing and healing? Are your beliefs getting you any closer to being happy, healthy, and authentic?

Believing that you are fat, lazy, and weak-willed makes being healthy a challenge. Believing you are unlovable is in direct conflict with your essence. Believing that the world is a scary place, every man for himself, and there simply isn’t enough to go around, hinders your ability to appreciate what you have or allow you to deeply connect with others. The emotional triggers stimulated by the beliefs prepare your body for fight or flight. This pattern goes from an emotional response to a physiological level, as it reinforces the map your brain uses to guide you. Have you ever heard, “I am my own worst enemy”? You make the enemy as you are constantly entering a fight or flight mode not because of an actual threat, rather because of your own beliefs. You are the enemy!

Reprogramming the GPS

Our self-sabotaging behavior stems from a story we created as a way to protect ourselves. You can create a new story based on facts. Your ego will resist this because it has used your stories to “protect” you for so long. It will make you believe that a new story is not possible. That is a lie. The only challenge is being willing to believe and say, “yes” to creating an authentic story.

What evidence exists to contradict your beliefs? As you become more aware of what you believe and why, what behaviors would you like your beliefs to support? If you have a hard time communicating, perhaps the behaviors are being open, honest, authentic, able to listen and be heard. If you want to feel loved, you must first believe you are worthy and lovable, so what behaviors would support that? Defining the desired behaviors is a way of creating intention. Ultimately, successful completion of the intention develops inner strength, character, and power.

Beliefs filter everyday interactions. When you know you are moving into a state of conflict, the brain scans the maps and determines whether to be on the offense or defense based on whether it is painful or pleasurable. Instead, take a breath and reflect. What are you feeling right now? Name the emotion (a list of emotions and feelings are included in the appendix). Where do you feel it in your body? What does it feel like? What is causing you to feel this way?

Dig deeper and look for your deepest, most heartfelt longing. What do you need? Ask yourself what thoughts, words or actions could increase or decrease the intensity of both the undesirable and the desired feeling? This simple awareness is powerful and can change the course of the conflict quickly. Write these questions on a piece of paper and keep it with you for a week. You will be surprised how often you use it.