Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” – Alyce Cornyn-Selby.   Self-sabotage is when you consciously or unconsciously do things that work against your own best interest. The biggest trigger of self sabotaging behavior is fear, fear of rejection, fear of failure or may be fear of criticism.    Here is my article on- How women self sabotage their career and how to deal with it.   Please share your views in the comments section.   Happy Reading!

Have you ever been self-doubting yourself and thinking you are not able enough to do something? Yes, it is a very common scenario for many women out there. We women are conditioned since our birth to be modest, to not boast about our success, our achievements, to be soft spoken and what not and this conditioning what an ideal women should be like plays a very vital role in our careers.

Because of this conditioning and the environmental pressures women usually self sabotage their career.Self-sabotaging behaviors can be both conscious and unconscious depending on how aware you are of them.

Ways in which women self-sabotage their career

1. The “Good Girl” trap: We as women always try to please everyone, we don’t want to say No and that is why we avoid having difficult conversations or we give up easily when someone doesn’t agree with us and this approach affects our career and work life in a negative manner.

To share an example, your approach towards an assignment might be different from your manager’s but you choose to follow the template provided because you don’t want to upset the apple cart or be labeled as someone who doesn’t accept the norms which are in practice for years.

There are so many instances where capable women work hard on projects, but at the first sign of challenging feedback, they withdraw, all to avoid conflict or confrontation.

2. Seeking perfection all the time:Author Julia Cameron wrote in The Artist’s Way, “Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. We all get to learn perfectionism from a very young age and if not checked,this tendency to chase perfection in everything starts sabotaging your success.

Attention to detail is one thing, but attempting to polish off every task on your to-do list with pure perfection is not realistic. Setting goals is a good thing, but it’s also important to remember that we’re all fallible. Accepting the imperfection of humanity is a liberating gift, and people will respond to you better once you become comfortable with any perceived flaws.

3. Selling yourself short: Women often sell themselves short in business, playing small to make others feel comfortable rather than acknowledging their strengths. While this may appear as innocent modesty, it can cripple your chances of getting that promotion or landing a dream job. Focus on your strengths and practice self love.

Own your accomplishments just as you celebrate the achievements of others.Even if we get an increment, we wonder if we are worth it. Often women work and deliver more than what is expected and don’t even seek recognition for it.

4. Seeking feedback or permission: Women, in general, tend to seek feedback or ask for ‘permission’ or validation, which is a form of resistance and denotes self-doubt. We do not want to be labelled as overpowering and want to get the approval of everyone concerned so that we fit in, which also results in women not holding leadership positions.

5. Not speaking up: “When we avoid speaking up and expressing how we feel or what we need, we are sabotaging our self-esteem and allowing negative feelings to build up internally,” says Emily Roberts.

Assertiveness and effective communication is the key here. Stop trying to please everyone in each and every situation, if you do not agree, you don’t feel fit in, just say it out loud. Demand the respect you deserve.

7. The imposter syndrome: With imposter syndrome, it’s more than just self-doubt. It’s a condition of such deep-rooted insecurity that we are faking ourselves and we are not good enough. To sum it up you underestimate yourself and don’t understand your worth.

And hence this feeling affects your career, for example not striving for promotions simply because you  don’t believe that you deserve it, or you become intense micromanagers which can make you  susceptible to burning out quickly because you are constantly trying to overcompensate.

8. Not asking for help: “I can do it all”, “I don’t need any help”, these are few thoughts which are always there at our mind lest we be seen as vulnerable. We always try to be a superwomenand hence we do not ask for support.

We stop ourselves from communicating our needs in an authentic and effective manner. Repressing your needs is also another self-sabotage mechanism, that drives you to take on too much, grow resentful and miss out on being the person you’re truly meant to be and focusing on what matters most.

9. Relationship aggression: Relationship aggression is just one of the many ways women sabotage their careers.

A very common scenario is where one female employee gets a promotion and suddenly you see change in the behaviour of other female employees towards her. They start whispering whenever she walks by; they stopped inviting her to gatherings, there is workplace isolation etc.

These actions define relationship aggression at workplace. Sometimes women work against one another instead of working together as a team or allies. Women tend to fight over the throne instead of fixing each other’s crowns.


How to fix this

2 step process to stop self sabotage

1. Reflect and recognize your self-sabotaging habits: To stop this habit of self sabotaging for good, firstly you need to be aware of that, yes you are actually doing this to yourself. You need to understand the need these habits fill in your life and then act accordingly.

As we discussed above these can be very actions or behaviors like procrastination, thinking negative all the time, underselling yourself, being too tough on yourself, not owning your achievements and many more.

2. Work on the path for improvement: Once you recognize your habits you can start working on reversing them and in the way to convert self sabotaging with self empowerment.

You can beat self-sabotage by monitoring your behaviors, feelings, thoughts, and beliefs about yourself, and challenging them when they stand between you and your goals. Consider how failing to overcome certain behaviours could cost you professionally. Start building positive behaviour and create an affirmative, confident voice to guide you to keep you on the right track.

Fortunately none of these self sabotaging habits are chronic and can easily be rectified and even reversed if checked at the right time and the right actions are taken.Making conscious effort and some minor adjustments in your approach will put you back in control and get you on the track.

So if you are still struggling with these self sabotaging issues, start working on it today and don’t let anything keep you away from a positive, successful career.