No matter how successful you are, there can be times when you fall into the self-sabotage trap, or let ‘imposter syndrome’ impact your output.
The consequences can feel awful: your income can suffer, self-esteem can plummet and confidence can suffer even in wider aspects of your life.
The end results can include frustration, burnout and even resentment: of your clients, your team or your business.
It’s no exaggeration to say the downward spiral wrought by self-sabotage can be devastating. At the same time, many people don’t even realise this is an issue for them. It’s harder to spot than many other barriers and challenges. However you can learn to identify the signs, before they overwhelm your work.
Letting Things Slide
Did you plan to write a proposal to a potential new client, but waited too long?
Did you put off creating a presentation until the last minute, only to then pull an all-nighter?
Do you feel frazzled and struggle to reach the finish line on what should be straightforward projects?
Procrastination is what keeps you working late at night to make a deadline, costs you money in late fees, and can even cost you business. I’ve worked with lots of women who find it hard to launch their products and services because they are too scared to be ‘found out’ as a fraud or worried about being criticised. They worry their work is not PERFECT so they hide instead.
If you’re prone to procrastination, try these techniques to help you out:
1. Recognise your fear
What often keeps you stuck is authentic: a very real fear. You’re afraid that even with that amazing coach you still won’t reach your goals, so you put off even trying. You’re afraid your CV, your proposal or your presentation won’t be good enough, so you just don’t try. But if you want to be successful in business, you must learn to feel the fear and do the work – even if you think it could be better.
2. Visualise the life and business you desire
Imagine what it will be like to have that amazing business or job you’ve been dreaming about. Picture your ideal workday, daydream about that fabulous holiday you’ll take, and create a mood board to anchor those dreams into reality.
3. Reward yourself
If you respond to treats and presents in your personal life, if, perhaps gifts are your love language, then apply that incentive to your work life too. Promise yourself a little gift as a reward for completing a piece of work or getting a set of things done. Then immediately treat yourself once it’s achieved — whether it’s something nice to eat; or buying yourself something from your wish list; or just taking the afternoon off. Celebrate your wins. Do something to motivate you to power through your fears and take your next step.
Be honest. How many half-written proposals, online courses, products, presentations or even books are cluttering up your hard drive right now? If you’re like a lot of creative entrepreneurs or business owners, the answer is probably several.
You started all of them with great enthusiasm. You planned out the modules or chapters, created the slide decks, and maybe even outlined the sales page. And then…you just stopped working on it.
It took me SO LONG to work out the content for my own website, to finally finish my first online course AND to start recording my meditations. How many people could I have reached if I had just started a little sooner?
Maybe you tell yourself that you’re too busy. Maybe you “need to do some more research.” Maybe you think you need to do another course or get another certificate to validate yourself.
But the truth is, none of those are the real reason. For a lot of women especially, this kind of self-sabotaging habit is rooted in a lack of confidence, and it’s keeping you from the success you deserve.
You can’t know the actual success rate of any project that you never pitched, or finished. You cannot improve upon something you’ve not completed.
So rather than filling your hard drive with half-finished projects, it’s time to schedule your own internal deadlines:
- Make a plan, break up the tasks into chunks and put the plan in your diary.
- Include deadlines for specific sections of work, even if that’s far ahead of the ‘real’ external deadline.
- Power through and finish something! — even if you believe it’s not perfect.
Your ideal clients are waiting for what you have to offer. And you can always iterate and improve upon something when it actually exists. If you need help to push through your blocks, contact me today. You are not alone.