Are you sabotaging your success?
If you’re an entrepreneur struggling to reach goals, push past limits, and accomplish anything you set your mind to, this may be the one thing standing in your way.
While self-sabotage can take on a variety of forms, one constant is fear. And as a driving emotion behind self-sabotage, fear can be a very powerful motivator.
Whether it’s the fear of learning something new, taking on “one more thing,” or the dreaded imposter syndrome, the result is always the same.
If you allow fear to take root, it will fester, sabotaging your self-esteem, productivity, efficiency, peace of mind, and overall success.
If you’re ready to stop limiting your success, here’s 4 ways to find your focus, face your fears, and embrace opportunity.
4 TED Talks That Will Help You Stop Sabotaging Success
What is fear costing you? According to a study on Fear and Entrepreneurship, it’s costing you more than you might think.
Fear, if left unchecked, becomes a major psychological barrier. It inhibits risk-taking, decision making, and problem solving, keeping you in a constant internal “tug-of-war.”
I’s a state that cements you in inactivity, stealing away opportunity and keeping you from truly embracing the possibility in and around your business. So where do you begin to overcome it’s clutches when it begins to take hold?
1. Diagnose Your Fear
If you find yourself in the self-sabotage boat, you’re not alone. Fear is a very real emotion that either pushes you forward or holds you back within business and life.
The bad news is that fear, if allowed to grow, will only strangle and eventually squelch your efforts altogether.
So as an entrepreneur, how can you avoid the ugly consequence of debilitating fear? You first need to know what you’re dealing with.
Do you fear:
- The unknown?
- Making a mistake?
- Losing money or time?
- Making the wrong decision?
- Letting others down?
- Losing out to your competition?
- Hard work and no payoff?
- Learning something new?
- Being rejected?
- Losing someone’s respect if you fail?
In this TED talk, Luvvie Ajayi shares 3 questions to ask yourself when facing fear, encouraging everyone to get a little more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
2. Embrace the Fear
As an entrepreneur interested in building a successful business and strong personal brand, taking a risk can be downright scary.
There’s no doubt that making a bold or “unpopular” decision as Erika Napoletano calls it in her TEDx talk, is not for the weak of heart. It takes resolve and a desire to stop wasting time (and brain cells) on someone else’s version of your success.
Now, as you sit back and worry about the next big decision in your business, consider this. Only those who never take a risk avoid failure. Let that sink in.
Only those who never risk a thing ever avoid failing at anything.
Do you want to be the person sitting on the sidelines, idly watching as opportunity passes you by? Or would you rather be the person taking control, making decisions, and entrenching yourself in the belief that you can and will succeed at anything you put your mind to?
I’m guessing that decision is a no-brainer. 😉
3. Stop Focusing on Fear
If you’re familiar with the phrase, “thoughts determine actions,” then you know the power these two have to shape and mold your future. But it’s not just your thoughts and actions, but your lack thereof.
If you could stop focusing on your fear today, what would you accomplish right now?
- Give a speech
- Launch a new product
- Write a book
- Double your team
- Start a new company
As Tim Ferris shares in his TED talk, “the hard choices — what we most fear doing, asking, saying — are very often exactly what we need to do.”
In his talk, Tim encourages you to fully envision and write down your fears in detail, in a simple but powerful exercise he calls “fear-setting.”
So what would yours be? Because sure, you could live a safe, comfortable, albeit fearful life.
But I’m betting you’d prefer to be bold in your thoughts and actions. To begin, identify what’s holding you back, then put a plan in place to tackle it, and from there take steps towards it every single day.
The flip side of that is complacency and sadly, it’s easier to accept than you think.
Make a commitment to kick fear and apathy (it’s partner in crime) to the curb.
4. Change Your Words
If you want to overcome your fears, change up your words. Stop focusing on the negative (I can’t) and instead focus on the positive ( I will).
In an experiment by Japanese scientist, Masaru Emoto, it was found that words not only have power, but the energy to create change.
“When frozen, water that’s free from all impurities will form beautiful ice crystals that look exactly like snowflakes under a microscope. Water that’s polluted, or has additives like fluoride, will freeze without forming crystals.
In his experiments, Emoto poured pure water into vials labeled with negative phrases like “I hate you” or “fear.” After 24 hours, the water was frozen, and no longer crystallized under the microscope: It yielded gray, misshapen clumps instead of beautiful lace-like crystals.
In contrast, Emoto placed labels that said things like “I Love You,” or “Peace” on vials of polluted water, and after 24 hours, they produced gleaming, perfectly hexagonal crystals. Emoto’s experiments proved that energy generated by positive or negative words can actually change the physical structure of an object.”
Once you change your words and recognize their positive value, doors of opportunity will begin to open. Sound crazy or too simplistic? Listen in as Karen Thompson Walker shares what fear can teach us.
Fear can be debilitating. It can also sap you of the positive energy that your business needs to move forward.
I challenge you to start fresh. Wipe the slate clean and make one small decision that will propel you forward.
It’s easy to shout the entrepreneurial mantra, “go big or go home,” but sometimes the small steps are the biggest of all.
They allow us to name the fear, plan the attack, and make a commitment to finally overcoming the self-sabotage.
Written in October, 2013 and updated August, 2018