Conquer Self-Sabotage with Your Amazing Personality
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Live intro - Hello my lovelies. Here we are in the middle of January, and I’m wondering how those of you who have made resolutions are doing? I started the year talking about how resolutions can be a setup for failure. I also feel the same way about having a word of the year because you have no idea how your year is going to go, and I’ve seen people get so worked up when their resolutions or word of the year aren’t working the way they wanted them to, but often times, they fail because of self-sabotage from the word go.
Look, I know there are people who will tell you it doesn’t matter if you’ve never made a success of your business, and you decide you’re going to make a half million this year, but for most people, a goal like that means they’re setting themselves up for failure and self sabotage, why? Because they can’t see themselves actually doing the thing they’re aspiring to. Yes, there is a small group that get a burning desire and do the thing, but often those people accomplish that goal at a high price.
One of the most interesting cases I’ve seen is a very successful YouTuber I know of who published 30 videos in 30 days for multiple years in a row during the peak time for their demographic, and it launched them into superstardom and incredible YouTube success, but every year they got very sick and landed in bed for weeks after. To me, that’s not true success. To them it might have been, but I think there is a much healthier way to get there.
Let me be clear. I have great admiration for this person on so many levels, and if you happen to know this person, I will fight you if you say anything else. They are an incredible business person and have created a level of success I can only hope to emulate. They are kind and generous and amazing in so many ways, so this isn’t about liking or not liking someone, and they may be perfectly happy with the results of their activities, but for most people, it’s just too much.
So how do we become successful without self-sabotage? As you can probably guess, that depends on your personality, so let’s look at it and see where it takes us.
Everything I teach is based on working with our personalities rather than against them, and when you do that, you hugely reduce the possibility of self sabotage and increase the possibility of genuine success that doesn’t come at a price you only realize after you’ve paid it. If you don’t know what I mean by that, we’ll get to it, so stay tuned.
For those who are new to the podcast, when I talk about personalities, I use the DISC personality model of behavior and refer to people as D or Driven, I or Inspired, S or Supportive, and C or Cautious. Also, I work toward people’s strengths rather than focus on how to change them because when you focus on strengths, you see the most amazing transformations. It’s like magic when someone “gets” themselves and learns to work in their zone of genius, so let’s get into this.
Starting with the D personality, they love and seek challenges, so this self-sabotage idea may not seem to apply to them, but that would be wrong. These are the people who do challenges like Ironman, 75 Hard or even seeing how many days in a row they can work out. That in and of itself is not a bad thing, but the Driven personality thinks that failure is not an option, and that can lead to some pretty dire consequences if they’re out of balance. I’ve known people who continue to work out when they’re ill because they can’t stand the idea of breaking a workout streak. While that might seem relatively harmless, it can be very dangerous. For example, over 200 people have perished since 1986 in duathlons and triathlons, from ages 15 to 80. I mention the ages because the people that pass, do so from a myriad of causes, although drowning seems to be near the top of the list, but while there may not be a consistent reason for the deaths, I’d conjecture there are some personality traits they have in common, and if they’re willing to go to the point of endangering their life, I would call that self sabotage. I get that some people would have a different view of that, and that’s ok. They like the thrill and danger. It pushes them to push through, and that’s great until it isn’t. Also, let me be clear I’m not criticizing those who compete in these activities because some compete at a much healthier level. They do their best and know when to quit if their well being is at risk. That’s the difference between being in balance and out of balance, and that can make the difference between life and death.
When talking about things like self-sabotage, people in balance know when they’re working at a healthy level and when they’re approaching self-sabotage levels, and they walk away or readjust. These are the Driven personalities that succeed in a huge way without losing the people around them or destroying themselves in the process, and that is a super power of the Driven personality. They hate “giving up”, but they will stop what they’re doing if it’s going to harm them. Also, I’m not talking about stopping because things get challenging. That inspires the D personality, but for them, there’s sometimes a fine line between challenging and dangerous, and the balanced D personality knows the difference, and if they tend to ignore that, hopefully they have someone in their life that can give them a nudge and bring them back into balance.
If you have a Driven person in your life, know that they sometimes don’t see their limits, and they need someone to intervene. My oldest son is this way, and like most teenagers that feeling of being limitless was huge. He played varsity and club soccer, had a part time job and a girlfriend and took several Advanced Placement classes. In fact, I made him limit the number of AP classes that he took his senior year to the ones he could use for college credit from the AP tests he took. He wasn’t happy about that in his junior year when we made that decision, but he certainly was when the spring of his senior year rolled around, and he had some breathing room in his schedule. It wasn’t a fight when we made the decision. It was the decision we made, and although he felt like he could do the work, something we affirmed, it gave him time to enjoy the end of his senior year rather than survive it. In retrospect, he was grateful that we guided him to a situation that gave him that opportunity.
For the I personality, it’s so easy to self-sabotage because there are so many things they don’t want to do, especially if they’re not fun. Tasks are not something in the Inspired personality’s wheelhouse to start with, and if those tasks are boring or long and detailed that makes it so much easier for the fun loving I personality to avoid them. Because this starts when the I personality is a child, they often become painfully aware of their own self sabotage early on. Unless they have an adult around them who is willing to understand them, though, knowing self sabotage exists and knowing how to deal with it are two entirely different things. Add some neurodivergence, and you’ve really got a recipe for disaster.
I remember when I was younger, I loved school. I really did. I was that kid that looked forward to summer ending and school starting because I got bored with summer and wanted a change. I loved seeing my friends every day and learning during the school year. I also wanted the teachers to like me (yet another trait of the I personality), and for most of the time, that was enough for me to make good grades. I could complete assignments and study for tests, but starting in 4th grade, there was always a long term project, and while the teachers helped a bit, I was not equipped to go through that longer process on my own, nor was I equipped to explain why I couldn’t seem to do what others could do easily because I was mostly a straight A student otherwise. It was frustrating for me and everyone around me, and I can still see the disappointed looks of my teachers and my parents when I failed over and over at those types of projects.
Then I got to college as an English writing major and Communication major. I had so many papers and projects that you would think I would have learned how to overcome those obstacles, but the truth is that unless I really liked the subject, I continued to struggle. Knowing what I know now and looking back, I can see the I personality traits so clearly.
One of the best projects I ever did was my final thesis for my communication major when I studied the show Miami Vice. For those who are not familiar, Miami Vice was groundbreaking in the way they filmed and for their use of music as part of the story. I had a great time writing that thesis, and it may have been the best single piece of work I created in college, which is probably why I got an A+on it, and I was more proud of that A than anything else I created in college.
So how does the I personality overcome self sabotage? Generally with other people’s help or by making the task as much fun as they can, whatever that means to them. Music, timers, and favorite shows playing in the background can all help the Inspired personality get well, Inspired.
Moving onto the S personality, the self sabotage for them almost always has something to do with the other people in their lives. While the Supportive person loves to help others, sometimes they do that at their own expense. I cannot tell you how many S moms and business women tell me that they can’t get anything done because their people constantly need them, and it seems like no matter what they do, something interrupts them that they need to take care of, and they never seem to get to their own things. So, do we know what the actual self sabotage is? That would be a lack of boundaries.
In the best of circumstances, the S personality struggles with boundaries. When they are out of balance, the S personality can let people run all over them. To get past that, it helps for the S personality to know that when they support themselves first, they can support their people so much better.
Probably the best phrase I’ve ever heard for a Supportive personality is to drink while you pour because it’s so easy for the S personality to pay attention to others that they neglect themselves. They can lose sleep and set everything aside that they do for themselves to help others, but eventually that comes at a cost because the S person begins to resent being pulled in so many directions, and then the meltdowns come. They often start with sarcasm or passive aggressiveness because the Supportive person’s natural tendency to help is being taken advantage of and they aren’t sure how to make it stop until they get to this point because they don’t want to be unkind or unreasonable, but sometimes the kindest thing that the S personality can do is to set reasonable expectations and boundaries that help both people.
I struggled with this in my own family for a very long time. You see, I thought that to be a good daughter, wife, mother, sister and friend I had to drop everything for everyone whenever they needed me. The biggest mistake of that was that it taught my family that my time was unimportant and had no value other than when I was helping them. By doing that, I never seemed to be able to get anything accomplished because someone interrupted, and it was particularly frustrating when I was in the flow because when you have ADHD and someone breaks the flow, it may be gone for a few minutes or a few weeks. Seriously.
It never occurred to me that I could simply not answer a phone or set a boundary that when I was working my people could wait, and it got so bad at one point that I had to create ridiculous rules or be almost nasty to get people to understand that I couldn’t be at their beck and call.
Just in case you think I’m kidding, to get even 15 minutes to work on a project uninterrupted when my kids were younger, and I’m talking teen and tween age, not toddlers, I had to tell them that unless someone was in need of medical attention or I needed to call the police, they needed to take care of themselves for 15 minutes. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I would be willing to bet that every S personality mom who has ever had to make an important phone call with kids in the house knows exactly what I mean.
Two things helped me with self sabotage where these types of issues kept creeping up. The first was setting up my day to maximize productivity and the ability to take advantage of pockets of time when my children were out of the house or sleeping. In my case, my children slept late, and I’m an early riser. During the summer, I got to the point where I could get enough done by 10am when they got up that I could do work that allowed for interruptions the rest of the day. During the school year, I knew that I had a set amount of time each day to be productive, and I used that time as well as I could so that when the kids came home, I was present for them.
Did it always work? Heck no, but being mindful of the time I had to do my tasks helped keep me focused so I could be present for my family. Also note that I’m not telling anyone that they need to do things the way I did. I know a lot of moms who have early risers who do most of their work in the evenings after their children have gone to bed, and if that works for you, you go girl! I’m all about making your life work for you.
If neither of those options feels like they will work for you, then we need to talk, and I’ll get to that in a few minutes.
Moving on to the C personality, self sabotage usually comes in one of two ways, overthinking that keeps you from starting or perfectionism that keeps you from finishing, although both can easily come into play. I know that every C personality out there wants everything they do to be perfect, and they almost always create high quality work that they are sure they could have been better at, and they’re probably right, and I know even saying that makes the C personality raise their eyebrows because then they feel like they can never win. I would counter that a C personality is like an Olympic athlete in that they can put in the best performance of their lives, and unless they earn a perfect score in everything they attempt, they can always improve, even if they are the best in the world at what they do.
People like Michael Phelps, Katie Ladecky, Usain Bolt and Jackie Joyner Kersee are the best at what they do and did, but they always wanted to improve, and that can be either a healthy or unhealthy thing, that’s why sometimes the best cure for the C personality’s self sabotage is a firm deadline.
If it is imposed by someone else, the C personality wants to do things right, and doing it right would mean turning it in on time or stopping at a given time. When left to their own devices, though, the deadline may never come. That’s why a deadline set by someone else or a mutual deadline from working in conjunction with someone else is helpful for the C personality because public accountability is a standard they would never want to fail to meet the requirements of the task
As much as the C personality enjoys working alone and should do so as much as possible, having a public deadline is exactly what helps to keep them focused and on task to complete their amazing work and get it out to the world, so if you’re working with a C personality, give them the parameters, including the required deadline or deadlines, and let them do their thing. If you are a C personality, understand that no one will ever be able to do the amount of detailed work that you can do, but sometimes you need some outside pressure to actually do your best work, which is the work that actually sees the light of day.
While self sabotage is much easier to see in tasks and projects, it also shows up in relationships, but when you’re dealing with relationships, it gets more complicated because you are dealing with two personalities, and their interactions are unique to their personalities as well as their circumstances, and that’s one of the big advantages of knowing the personality type of your family members, so you can help each other succeed like never before.
That’s why, in February, I’ll be running a special for couples, but you need to be on the email list to get the special discount, so head over to the Moving Toward Better website and sign up for the email list today to get that awesome discount. Also, if you’re an affiliate, I’ve got a special offer for you too in February, so you don’t want to miss that either.
So what should you do next? Go to the Moving Toward Better homepage and join our email community. There are so many wonderful things coming, and you’re not going to want to miss them. Sign up and find out what they are. Love you all!
How are those 2024 goals going? So many of us have self-sabotaged ourselves into giving up before we’ve even started, but it doesn’t have to be that way. What if you could be more successful this year than ever, no matter how your year has started? Give a listen and let’s see what we can do for you
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Intro and Outro music licensed from Melody Loops.