Are you causing self-sabotage to your career?

By Robert Half on 3 May 2017

Do you ever feel that with every new job you pursue, the same negative things keep happening?

This could include terrible bosses, unrealistic deadlines, backstabbing colleagues, lack of support and even uninspiring work.

Your first reaction may be “why me”, followed by finger pointing.

However, have you ever stopped to think that you might be the catalyst for these issues? Have you considered that you may actually be the one causing self-sabotage to your own career?

Although you may think this is a crazy idea, bear with us. This article takes a look into why such issues may keep arising in your career and what you can do to help break the negative cycle.

Why you may be causing self-sabotage to your career

Before you blame your current and past employers, take a moment to think about whether the issues are really 100% their fault.

In it’s most simplest form, self-sabotage is when you say you want one thing, but then end up doing the opposite, or even worse, do nothing at all. Of course, you don’t mean to sabotage yourself, but it’s generally not a conscious decision.

Everyone possesses an inner voice which can sometimes divert your attention or decision-making, subconsciously. Without even realising it, this inner voice can prevent you from performing at your full potential, hold you back from achieving your goals, cause you to be overly critical of yourself and lead you to make decisions that ultimately cause you to be unhappy. In effect, you become your own worst enemy.

Still don’t believe you would self-sabotage your career? Here are three examples to consider:

  • Scared of failure – Sometimes, the only way to learn is to take new opportunities and step outside of your comfort zone. However, if you worry about failure, you may hold back from jumping in head first. This fear increases if you’ve experienced failure of some kind in the past.
  • Low self-esteem – If you have low self-esteem, you may feel unworthy of various career goals. This can, therefore, cause you to not act in the best interests of yourself. For example, you may not apply for your dream job because you don’t think you’d be good enough, or you tell yourself that other candidates will perform better than you.
  • Unhappiness - Simply feeling unhappy can sabotage your career. It can cause you to see everything from a negative point of view and make you disengaged from job satisfaction.

How to put an end to self-sabotage in your career

Self-sabotage is both damaging to your career and can leave you feeling stressed and unhappy. It’s therefore important to act against these disruptive behaviours. Here are four simple steps to put into action:

1. Understand how you feel - Take some time to really understand how you feel. Are you constantly worried about tight deadlines, stress, struggling to get on with colleagues, or feel like you’re not being challenged? If it helps, write these down on a piece of paper, so you can refer back to them again later.

2. Consider your self-sabotaging behaviours – It’s only once you understand your own feelings and the negative behaviours that are contributing to them that you can take positive steps to change. Take a look at the list above to help.

3. Create a positive plan of action – Put some steps in place that will help you move forward. For example:

  • If you’re scared of failure, ensure your expectations are realistic and break steps down into more manageable chunks.
  • If you have low self-esteem, find ways you can feel more confident about your abilities, such as taking a training course or teaching someone else.
  • If you are unhappy, instead of dwelling on the negatives, try focusing on the positives in your career. Also, find ways to relax. This can be anything from taking more time for yourself, to going for a run or doing yoga.

4. Identify a workplace that is your perfect fit – Next, consider what kind of workplace would fit your personality and ambitions. Don’t let your self-sabotaging behaviours get in the way and lead you down an unwanted path.

Remember, change won’t happen overnight. But happiness at work is a right that everyone has. Awareness of self-sabotaging behaviours is the first key step to seeing positive results just around the corner.

Has self-sabotage damaged your career? Let us know how you have dealt with these behaviours.

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