In this week’s episode of the Creative Introvert podcast I talk to Nicola Mills, opera singer for the people.
If you ‘google’ the words ‘self sabotage’ you will see there’s nearly two million results for this term.
Two million? If that’s anything to go by, I’d say self sabotage is a pretty common human behaviour - even if it doesn’t always make sense on paper.
When I first heard the term, I snorted: why would I want to sabotage MYSELF? I’m all I’ve got! I want me to win! At the very least, I want to keep myself safe.
Then I found out that it’s a lot more sneaky a behaviour than we might expect. In fact, it’s so sneaky it still amazes me that we can be capable of doing this to ourselves - usually, without even knowing it.
Self sabotage isn’t this overt, masochistic urge to touch a hot stove or throw ourselves in front of moving vehicles - it’s way more subtle than that.
It shows itself in behaviours like:
extreme guilt or modesty
It shows itself often when we’re trying to achieve something for our greater good or higher self - like losing excess weight, maintaining a healthy relationship, getting a promotion at work or starting a new business venture.
Let’s look at some self sabotaging behaviour patterns.
Take a work situation. You hate your job. You work too many hours, you allow yourself to be treated like shit by your boss, and you make no time for doing what you really love - painting.
Yet you don’t look for a new job. You tell yourself you don’t have the time. You tell yourself your art isn’t good enough to make any money from anyway, so you’ve stopped that altogether. You don’t know what you want to do with your life - and have stopped asking yourself or researching possible career paths.
You’re stuck. Why?
Here are some possible thought patterns:
“If I fail in a new career or creative project, everyone will judge me as stupid and inadequate.”
“I’ve always been pushed to succeed by parents and teachers - I want to rebel because I don’t want to feel controlled by them”
“I only deserve to be at the top, I won’t start something new if it means starting at the bottom”
“If I keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll eventually work something out. Something will come up. It will just fall into my lap (even though it hasn’t and i’ve been doing the same thing for years)”
Do you see how we can rationalise our behaviours? Even if we’re not expressing these to ourselves, on some level we’re using these beliefs as a way to keep ourselves safe and ultimately self sabotage.
So what causes self-sabotaging behaviour?
That's what we're tackling in today's episode + some ways to nip self sabotage in the bud.
You might not know this about me but before I starting blogging as the Creative Introvert, I had a blog called - wait for it - Cat Food is Good For You.
It was mostly about my food philosophy - my quest to find the perfect diet, the perfect exercise regime and perfect everything really. I was really into health in a big way. So many great things came out of that blog, and it’s where I think I found my voice and my way of expressing myself at least through the written word.
It was also when I started listening to podcasts, many of which I’ve traded in now for less-health oriented shows, but Zestology is one that I still insist on listening to when it comes to optimising all different aspects a healthy, happy life.
Tony Wrighton is the host of Zestology, and as much as I love the guests he interviews, he is reason I listen and recommend his show to so many people.
I was lucky enough to get to interview Tony for today’s podcast - and - even more of a treat - this interview took place on a very sunny morning in an unusually quiet park in London.
More info here: http://www.thecreativeintrovert.com/
I had made the heady decision on New Years Day to book plane tickets to Japan, signalling my no-way-backing-out-now decision to leave my safety bubble that was my 9-5 job as a web designer in London.
It also signalled the start of my 6-month experiment: be a Freelancer.
Spoiler alert: the experiment went well and I am still working for myself.
But… it was not an easy 6 months. In fact, the years following weren’t exactly a walk in the empty-introvert-friendly-park either.
Like this report shows, many freelancers feel less secure financially - and the pay brackets show this - than being full-time.
Despite the fact that going solo, either freelancing or setting up your own biz, may be the dream for many introverts who can’t abide the office life: it does come with it’s own challenges.
That’s what I want to spend this episode tackling.
Now I touched on one of the biggest sticking points in episode 031 - The Troubleshooting Guide for the Demotivated - which is, you guessed it, dealing with the issue of motivation when you work for yourself.
And naturally, I recommend that particularly if you’ve been freelancing or WFY for some time.
But today is more like a… primer. May be for those who are considering cutting loose from the 9-5 and fancy themselves as a one-man (or woman) band.