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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

4 Reasons Why Leaders Self Sabotage Themselves

Self sabotage happens in leaders usually because of overall low self-esteem. Our lower value or worth to ourselves is not strong enough for us to believe we deserve or should enjoy a certain level of success. You would probably be astonished at some of the higher level leader who believe they are simply lucky for having achieving what they have, rather than believing they’ve worked diligently to produce their results and becoming comfortable with that.

Some leaders will never know how close they were to success because they bailed out before they reached their destination

Self sabotage is any action that we use to get in the way of us achieving what we really want. We “pull the pin” and disengage from the train that is headed toward a desired destination. We unhook from the train because we fear what waits for us at the end instead of what we desire to be there. The self sabotage actions will range from procrastination, stressful eating, interpersonal conflict, pulling back suddenly from friends and family such as cancelling long planned events or meetings to deeper issues such as drug and/or alcohol abuse.

1. Fear of being “called out”

Sometimes even leaders at the highest level feel like they have made it so far but the day is coming where they will be exposed as a fraud or their cover will be blown. It is natural to fear looking foolish or occasionally having an embarrassing answer in a group. Imposter syndrome is another matter altogether and researchers believe that up to 70% of us have suffered from it at some point or another. Perfectionism piles on to this and makes it worse leaving you feeling as if you are never good enough. Leaders use self-deprecating humor or put themselves down when they start to feel they are going to be exposed by someone else.

2. Fear of failure

When leaders have this in a severe fashion, they will self sabotage first rather than letting their fear play out. Some leaders will never know how close they were to success because they bailed out due to they’re crippling fear of coming up short. Overwhelming fear of failure can be overcome through leadership coaching.

3. We don’t feel worthy

Leaders sometimes do not feel adequate to the task, whatever it may be. Those thoughts and feelings are very powerful and our subconscious doesn’t know the difference between those images and what is really true. When we get to the point where those thoughts and feelings of unworthiness get too painful, we pull the plug and bail out of the situation as soon as possible.

4. Loss of control

When we have low self-esteem and it seems as if the situation is rapidly expanding beyond our range of control and our fears kick in. It feels better to control your own failure than to allow it to escape and control you or allow it to blindside you. It doesn’t feel good to give in but a self controlled failure feels better than going down in flames publicly.

For more a more personalized self-esteem improvement strategy, register for The Self-Esteem Workshop.

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