“If you want to sign up for the best self-development program in the world, start a business!” This is a statement I’ve heard from quite a few business owners in recent times. And I totally agree!
As amazing as it is to be your own boss, make your own rules, and enjoy the many freedoms of the entrepreneurial life, there’s also a very unique set of challenges that come with running and growing a business.
For most people, taking the leap into entrepreneurship is a big step into the unknown. We get to learn and experience things that are completely unfamiliar. And that doesn’t just mean acquiring new skills, but for many of us, it also includes discovering our own selves on an entirely new level.
Growing as a business owner often means having to look at our deepest shadows, facing our greatest fears, and pushing beyond our limitations over and over again.
And that can be profoundly uncomfortable!
When I started my first business 10 years ago, none of this was a big deal for me initially. I just kept moving forward, I accepted the discomfort as a natural part of the journey, and I didn’t let fear hold me back.
However, there was a time later on my journey when things weren’t quite as easy. I had just given up my freelance career completely, started my spiritual business, downsized my life to a suitcase and carry-on bag, traveled the world, and returned to my long-lost childhood home here in Canada.
That was a lot of change within a short period of time, and I had underestimated the impact that starting a completely new life would have on me. Yes, it was an exciting adventure! But I also experienced a painful resurfacing of childhood trauma that I thought I had dealt with a long time ago.
And it began to affect everything in my life, including the way I was dealing with the challenges and uncertainties of growing a new business.
For several years, I was stuck in a vicious cycle of self-sabotage. I let fear hold me back big time, and even though I knew I was sabotaging my success, I had no idea how to break free from this pattern.
I felt overwhelmed by my own emotional reactions to what seemed like the tiniest triggers. And no matter how much healing and mindset work I did, every step forward seemed like a huge, exhausting battle against an invisible monster within myself.
Now, about five years later, I can finally say I’m almost completely free of this pattern. Yes, I still face challenges whenever I go through a transition in my business. Periods of rapid growth still tend to bring up discomfort.
However, I’m finding it much easier to deal with it all today, and I’ve learned how to use the roller coaster ride to my advantage rather than letting it paralyze me.
If you resonate with my story, and if you’re wondering what you can do to deal with the discomfort of entrepreneurial growth in a way that actually serves rather than stops you, here are my 5 favourite tips to break free from self-sabotage:
5 WAYS TO STOP SELF-SABOTAGE
1. Recognize the symptoms: When you’re in the midst of running a fear-based pattern, it isn’t always easy to become aware of it right away. Therefore, it can be helpful to make a list of your most common patterns while you’re in a clear state of mind so you can refer back to it whenever you’re unsure whether or not you’re self-sabotaging. Some typical signs of being in self-sabotage mode include:
2. Practice presence, quiet your mind: Once you’ve become aware that you’re acting out a negative pattern, stop whatever you’re doing and do whatever it takes to quiet your mind before you do anything else. I often find that the most simple forms of meditation work best (e.g. a simple breathing meditation). Going for a walk in nature or EFT tapping can also work wonders. Once you’re fully present, centered, and grounded within yourself, you’ll find that confusion and fear naturally dissolves, you’ll hear your inner guidance more clearly, and you’ll just “know” your next step without any doubt or hesitation.
3. Change your thought patterns: Yes, affirmations really work if you use them the right way! First, make a list of all the fears and obstacles that are holding you back from stepping into your next level of success. Then, write another list of positive statements that reflect the new reality you desire to create. Be as specific and detailed as you can. Make a commitment to reading this list out loud every day for at least 30 days in a row, or if you want to go the extra mile, record your affirmations and listen to them daily. Alternatively, you may want to find pre-recorded affirmations or guided hypnosis tracks on Spotify.
4. Create new habits: If you haven’t already, make a list of all the ways you tend to sabotage yourself. Then, make a commitment to yourself to change these patterns by choosing a different action from now on. For example, if you have a tendency to procrastinate, get straight into action next time you have an inspired idea. If you often hop from one idea to the next without ever getting anything done, commit fully to one idea for a while, and keep going until you’ve completed your project. If you tend to rush into things, slow down and sleep on it next time you’re feeling the urge to make a sudden move. And so on. And most importantly: Make sure that all your actions are aligned with your values, truth, and sense of integrity. This may take some will power, courage, and determination, but it’s an absolute game changer!
5. Stay present, take one step at a time: Lastly, be kind and patient with yourself. If you’re stuck in a stubborn pattern of self-sabotage, and especially if you’re dealing with trauma-related triggers, it can take some time to fully break through to the other side. Stay connected to the present moment, focus on what’s right in front of you rather than living in the future. Taking one step at a time and giving yourself space to integrate each step before you move on to the next level is often more sustainable than making your leaps too big (especially if those leaps are inspired by fear rather than true inner wisdom). The more loving you are towards yourself, and the more you can learn to trust the journey, the more these qualities will begin to show themselves in your external reality also.
Which of the above speaks to you the most? What steps have you taken to successfully break free from self-sabotaging patterns in the past? Please share in the comments below!