Why is it that we sabotage our efforts for achieving success?
In the face of overwhelming proof that something is good for us and will benefit us in some way, we prefer to continue struggling, apparently oblivious of the facts. We chose to ignore the warning signs, putting off what should be done, even while knowing that if we did, the final outcome would be favourable. Combine procrastination and self-sabotage, and you have a cocktail for disaster. We have all done this at some point in our lives, most of us suffer from it daily.
It usually happens with tasks that aren’t fun or easy or that fall outside of your comfort zone. If there is no deadline to when the task should be completed, it only leads to further stalling and excuses for not starting. We will find almost anything else to do except for that task. We will even take on extra other work to avoid having to tackle it. And usually, the more you stall and make excuses for not getting the task done, the more guilty you feel. Sadly, even this guilt is usually not enough to overcome the inertia to complete the task.
I remember as an insurance consultant, we had to phone prospects to make appointments to see them at their home or office. It was always a daunting task. Sitting with a list of ‘suspects’ – or unqualified prospects – your open diary, and a telephone, you had to fill each week with 15 appointments. For a while I struggled to overcome my fear of the telephone, or rather the rejection I felt with every, ‘No.’ This made me dread the task. Then one day, my manager gave me two tips for phoning. Firstly, he told me to never put the phone receiver down on the cradle, but to hold it in my hand. While you are holding the phone, you simply have to phone, you have no other alternative. Once you start you are far less susceptible to sabotage yourself, the action creates more action.
It’s about getting started.
The second tip was odd but it worked. He suggested I stand on my chair while making my calls! So, right there inside my office, at my desk, I stood on my chair and called the next prospect. The act of standing on my chair changed my whole demeanour. My voice was more cheerful and I was strangely more confident. And in the conversation, I got the appointment. I soon got my courage back and stopped dreading the telephone.
I recently completed a difficult task that has taken me excruciatingly long. The amount of self-sabotage, negative-speak, doubt and fear I have experienced seeing it through, is astounding. The lengths to which I would go, to avoid having to confront the task, even left me embarrassed. I saw this laborious, long task as something I would rather avoid.
To get into action, you have to focus on the final outcome and how that will benefit you. Thinking of how you will feel when the task is finally completed, gives you the drive to push through, even if it is tough. But by far the surest way I know of seeing through a task or project you have been putting off is:
Have an awesome weekend!😉