Self-Sabotage; There’s nothing more frustrating than when you set your mind to doing something and then you go about doing the complete opposite.
In that very moment we begin the slippery slope downward into self-criticism, self-doubt
and a very dangerous discipline of letting self down.
In this episode, we take a deeper look at a little but powerful something that sits beneath your goal and does a mighty fine job of driving you toward self-sabotage.
LINKS AND RESOURCES
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- Not sure why you fall short on what you want? Tune into the very first episode here.
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SELF SABOTAGE: A Hidden Story Of Intention
I treat life itself, almost as a business.
In terms of operating it and operationalising it.
Not to steal the fun and spontaneity, rather to have clarity on what’s MOST important and
release what is not, so that there is actually space for fun and spontaneity, whilst still prioritising time for life’s ambitions.
Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly, I take stock of my life, set new goals and
accountability processes. I make the time to step back and evaluate all life areas. To see
what’s working and what is not. To see the possible risks, what’s festering beneath quietly
that could perhaps grow teeth and nails, AND to celebrate the wins (something I
was not very good at).
A little while back, during one of these scheduled ‘life meetings with myself’, I looked across
all the important areas of my life (step 1 of the 4Cs Methodology), and I set a goal to focus on improving the ‘Intimacy and Connection’ area of my life.
There was nothing wrong with that area, but I could see the risks, the festering. I could see
resentment building due to competing priorities, responsibilies, big differences in our
personalites, emotional needs and ambitions.
I could also see that mostly that emotional reactivity was playing out from my end.
So I set a goal to be a ‘loving and kind wife’. Dead set.
I defined how that would, and would not look for me:
- Kind words
- Active and Constructive responses
- Appreciation of our differences in personality and things of importance
So I had my goal set: ‘loving and kind wife’
I knew what I had to do (and not do): Just those 3 things I had to focus on above. Just three.
Then I set up some pattern interrupts (those prompts in certain times of my day to stop me
going into old patterns of habits and to bring me back to my goals).
I put a post-it note in the car and a post-it note on my computer with the letters ‘LK’ (meaning Loving and Kind)
I was set to nail this loving and kind wife goal.
But I didn’t.
Instead, when I came home, I sat in the car and promoted myself to be loving and kind. But when I walked into the home and saw glasses on the bench, things scattered (not life threateningly dangerous scattering), just gentle scattering, off I went on a huff and puff, emotionally reactive rant
“How many times do I need to ask to put the god damn glass away!”
Which then of course is just a segue into ranting through all the past stored resentments over the week. Hello Self Sabotage.
So, during my weekly check in with myself and I was scoring how that Intimacy and Connection area of life was tracking in The Whole Life Success Planner, I couldn’t hide the fact that the score was still consistently low.
I thought it must have been a Pattern Interrupt issue, so I popped another post-it note
just inside the door of the house.
That will do it.
But it didn’t. I still proceeded into the rant.
On all things self-enquiry, I’m a fairly resistant and slow learner.
So I sat again in my next weekly meeting with self.
Where is the missing link? What part did I play? What patterns am I
repeating and why?
And it hit me hard.
My Goal Wasn’t Really My Intention.
My goal of being a ‘loving and kind wife’ and all the behaviours to support it were driven by the Pre-Frontal Cortex/Neocortex – the conscious part of the brain (more on that in Episode 1 and 2).
But my intention…..the unconscious motivation behind my responses had a different idea.
That Intention, the unconscious motivation behind the action, always comes from the Limbic
brain; the survival part, the amygdala, our alarm centre.
So when I stepped into that home space, consciously trying to be loving and kind, that
alarm centre was saying, this is not as you planned. Because somewhere I had created a story,
an expectation, that I would walk into a home that looked a certain way. And that little
alarm centre shouted loudly to me, this is not as you expected. You have lost control. And to
my unconscious brain a loss of control is on a pathway to failure.
And one of my greatest fears is failure.
And so I would go into proving my ‘rightness’, to bring back a sense of control, and to put
that fire of fear out.
So my goal may have been to be a loving and kind wife, but unconscious intention to be right to protect myself was winning out.
When I also watched the moments that I did not show up in ‘Active and Constructive Communication’, my second goal, and asked the question:
What part was I playing?
I realised I was controlling everything at home to a level that made me believe I was in control. To protect myself.
That’s my story, one of them at least. Yours will be different.
But If you’re doing all the other bits right, (the 4cs we’ve spoken about in our first episodes),
you know what your doing, it’s well thought out, it fits you, you have pattern intrupts to
stop autopilot bring you back to your goal, and you step into the opposite action, then there
is most likely brain conflict.
A conflict in the brain between what you wan consciously (that Pre-Frontal Cortex goal) and what your beliefs and fears are unconsciously driving the messaging around (unconscious intention).
This is self-sabotage.
This is falling of the wagon.
A hidden protective intention
Find it, and you stay on the wagon longer, and longer and longer. Until falling off it is a rarity.