Quit Sabotaging Your Success!  5 Ways to Get Over Yourself

Quit Sabotaging Your Success! 5 Ways to Get Over Yourself

Have you ever had one of those days, or weeks, where a message seems to keep hitting you in the side of the head, but it takes a few good whacks before the light bulb comes on and you realize that the message is for you?

Conversations about life, observing someone else’s challenges, an article or inspirational quote as you’re scrolling through Facebook…sometimes a message threads its way into those daily interactions, slowly creeping into the back of your mind.

Sometimes it’s just the message you need, and it sparks something inside you that becomes a flame…just like that.

Sometimes it makes you want to scream because you hear the message, loud and clear, but you don’t think you have the tools to use it.  You’re tired of everyone throwing inspirational quotes around like saying them three times and clicking your heels will suddenly make all of your problems go away.  That was the case for me this week.

Follow your passions. 

I see it everywhere…but what advice do you really need to motivate you to follow your passions?  It sounds SO SIMPLE.  They’re your freaking passions…what else would you be following in life if not your PASSIONS?!?

Close the book, problem solved.  Throw a swoosh on the cover and JUST DO IT.

But it’s not that simple, is it? 

If you just make a list of the things you want to do in your life and schedule them into your week, you’ll be MAKING time, and then your life will be filled with the things you love!

But it’s NOT that simple.

But if you prioritize better, and take some time to reflect on what REALLY matters, things will fall into place!


What motivates that nagging voice in the back of your mind, that tells you life is complicated?  It whispers that you’re doing your best and that living the life of your dreams is just that…a dream.

In one of my conversations this week, I was the one trying to convince someone else that it IS that simple, change your mindset, stop getting in your own way…blah blah blah.  Bring on the quote in your Instagram feed, the song on the radio, the billboard driving to work…all shouting the same message.

A few days later, I was reflecting on the experience of someone else in my life, and I noticed something else standing in their way.  In many cases, there’s a self-destructive instinct that kicks in.  From the outside, it looks SO simple, just step over the little bump in the road and move on.  But something in our minds makes the barrier look a thousand feet high.

Why do we put barriers up to our own success?  Our own happiness? 

The first answer is probably something like…we don’t put up barriers…LIFE does.  We have obligations, commitments, life isn’t that SIMPLE.

So are you telling me you’ve never experienced that hesitation when you’ve felt like you’re on the brink of something big, and stopped short, afraid of what you might find?

Or that you’ve never spent the time convincing yourself that you’re justified in NOT trying to pursue your dream, hobby, passion in life, because ‘…….’ is in the way?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there were examples of this phenomenon all over the place, and I was curious what the “experts” had to say.

What is it about the human psyche that puts us in self-destruct mode just when things start to go our way?
  • 01
    “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” –Nelson Mandela


    But I’m not ‘……’ enough. 

    Sometimes we are our own worst critics.  How do you know you’re not ‘…….’ enough if you don’t give yourself a chance to try?  Let your actions speak to your limitations (or lack thereof), instead of constructing them in your mind.

    And when you do try and fall short, let yourself objectively evaluate the reasons WHY you fell short, so that you can adjust fire and try again with a DIFFERENT approach (or better preparation).

  • 02
    “Our passion is our strength.” –Billie Joe Armstrong


    But it’s just too hard.

    According to the research, this excuse is just a symptom of fear of failure.

    Failure is our greatest teacher and can yield some of the most rewarding experiences in life.  Not to mention that failure is the destroyer of a far worse barrier…regret.  At least when you fail, you’ll never spend your years looking back on a life where you never even tried.

    This barrier is also associated with the inability to live in the PRESENT.  Focusing too much on the past OR the future can cause a snowball effect of anxiety over factors you can’t control.

    Look to the future, but live in the present, celebrate the present, and be grateful for the present.  Your life will be more productive and positive as a result.

  • 03
    “Passion is energy.  Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” –Oprah Winfrey


    But I tried for ……. weeks/days/months, and I didn’t see the results I hoped for, so it just must not be for me.

    According to the research, the people who fall victim to this barrier are the ones who fail to appreciate or celebrate the tiny successes on the way to achieving a goal.  Setting the big goal is important, but if you ignore your progress along the way, and fail to see how it will improve your position over time, you will likely decide that the problem is YOU long before you even give yourself a chance to succeed.

    Want more advice on taking those first baby steps toward a BIG goal?  Click here.

  • 04
    “Passion will move men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures.” –Joseph Campbell


    I’m not as capable as ‘…..’…they’re just better than me.

    Stop comparing yourself to everyone else.  ESPECIALLY in a world of social media, where our lives are on display through a carefully constructed lens, STOP comparing yourself to everyone else.

    Compete with, seek motivation from, and learn from each other, but don’t COMPARE yourself to your peers when measuring your success.  You will NEVER know the full truth of their circumstances.

  • 05
    “Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing.” –Hunter S. Thompson


    But what will people think?

    The anxiety of perception can be CRIPPLING.  What will they think?  What will they say when you’re not around?  Will they think you’re crazy for trying?  Will they judge you for failing?

    What will they think if you SUCCEED?

    Although I often feel the grip of anxiety about what other people MIGHT think, I choose to focus on the last question.  Sometimes the challenge of showing someone you CAN, shifting their perception, is just the motivation you need.

“I have no special talents.  I am only passionately curious.” –Albert Einstein

From the thousands of pages of research on the human psyche, I could list a hundred thousand reasons why we sabotage our own success.  When it comes to those things we’re truly passionate about, the emotions attached to these barriers are amplified tenfold.  Which, in most cases, means that we’re that much more LESS likely to pursue those things that we’re most passionate about at the core.

The next time you feel that invisible barrier standing in your way, I challenge you to change the conversation with the little voice in the back of your mind.  Remember the times you climbed past those barriers and were pleasantly surprised that the reactions and results didn’t match the doomsday in your mind.

Every now and then I scratch out a little list of things that I’m passionate about, from hobbies to crazy life goals, to family values.  The next time I make my list, I will be weighing my passions against the barriers in my mind using the greatest counterbalance of all: regret.  If the weight of regret is pulling at the scales…time to change the conversation.

A life pursuing your passions beats a life of regret 100% of the time.  Time to get out of your own way and make it happen.