The Dirty Dozen: 12 Signs of Self-Sabotage (Part 1)

Stop Self-SabotageI define self-sabotage as having a goal or intention and then doing everything possible to keep it from happening. Are you guilty of self-sabotage? We’ve identified 12 behaviors that are sure to sabotage your success, and we’re reviewing them in a three-part series.


Check out the first four in our Self-Saboteur’s Dirty Dozen.


1. Fear of Failure

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you are absolutely going to fail. Failure and innovation go hand in hand. Trying things and having them not work out the way you planned is an essential aspect of the creative process. Just because something doesn’t go as planned doesn’t mean there isn’t value in the experience.


In fact, it’s just more information that will help you on the path to achieving your goal. When I think of all the things I have failed at in my life—relationships, diets, business efforts, and more—I realize that those experience gave me clarity around what I didn’t want so that I knew exactly how to create what I did want.


Fear of Taking Risks2. Fear of Taking Risks

You definitely aren’t required to take risks. After all, risk will expose you to the very real possibility of failing. However, unwillingness to take a risk leads to a stagnated and, in my opinion, painfully boring life. I am all for calculated risk; I certainly don’t want to jump out of an airplane without a parachute or bet my entire savings on red. But if you are unwilling to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, you will never have anything other than what you have now. So why not take a risk? It might lead you to everything you have ever wanted.


3. Fear of Making Mistakes

Perfectionism is paralyzing. Guarding against making mistakes will keep you small and afraid to attempt the things that will lead to you accomplishing your goals. It is important to be prepared and do your best. Let that be enough.


4. Inability to Say “No” to Others

Saying no does not make you rude, selfish, or unkind. It means that you are saying yes to yourself and your own goals. Saying yes when you don’t mean it only leads to resentment later. Your self-worth is not dependent on what you do for others. An ability to say no comes down to a fear of rejection or disappointing others. Saying no to the things you don’t want enables you to say yes to the things that you do.

Laura Richer

Laura Richer is a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and coach. Located in the Queen Ann neighborhood of Seattle, she is a Licensed Mental Health Care Counselor Associate and has been practicing in the state of Washington since 2011.