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6 sneaky ways I realized I was self-sabotaging my business

Self-sabotaging

My friend Kathy recently came to the studio for a girl’s weekend. As I’ve been integrating our conversation (and the kick in the butt that I needed to drop old patterns and blocks) the words: heavy lift versus light lift kept replaying in my head.

I was telling Kathy about the million ideas swirling through my brain on how we can use the studio and how we can support people. And as exciting as it is when you can see all the possibility and the vision in your business…. it can also feel like you’re drowning in it too.

We’ve been booking up our studio rentals lately and are really loving this service. But I’ve held myself back from doing it more. I couldn’t let myself let it be easy.

I spent a lot of time and effort and energy setting up this space. It is an asset for us now that we can leverage and support people with and it is very helpful on its own. But it’s so hard to believe it’s all enough. I’ve continued to add to it or marketed our other services over it, making booking the space harder for no good reason.

Meanwhile the amazing guests who’ve rented the space have shared: “This is exactly what I was looking for. I just need to rent the space and do my own thing in it.”

And I paused every time and asked myself, “Can it be that easy?”

So as I’m telling this to Kathy, she pauses and says: okay, so you’re telling me:

  • You have limited time

  • That you want to focus on creation, on doing your Substack, on making all these different pieces of content that you want to put out there

  • And you have this stream of income over here that feels really good to you. And that is so easy to deliver on.

So what’s going on with this pattern over here? Why are you making it such a heavy lift? Why are you over focusing on all these other offers and ideas- what about this light lift over here?

Facing my self-sabotaging behaviors

It was such a hard thing to face because it was so blatantly obvious when we visually mapped out how I self-sabotage. I couldn’t help but see all the different ways I’ve headed towards my goal and then made a u-turn and started the process over.

Self-Sabotage #1: Success to Sickness

I first noticed this self-sabotaging correlation between when I’m on the verge of something or I’ve come up with something new in the business and I get sick.

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i.e. In 2018, I broke my ankle after I had my best year with my mobile boutique. And more recently, I had a breakthrough with a new series we’re launching here on Substack highlighting Cleveland Mompreneurs. When I finally got it all together, the next day I was randomly hit with a 24-hour bug and spiked a fever.

And it’s just been interesting to recognize that self-sabotaging issue.

Self Sabotage #2: Fear of Failure

Kathy and I really chatted through how I get interested in something and it feels really good. But then when I don’t get the immediate response I’m looking for and I hit a bit of “failure,” my shiny idea syndrome kicks in and I make a loop de loop back to the beginning. It’s this cycle I do over and over again and it stops me from moving forward. It makes my goal get further and further out.

Self-Sabotage #3: "Procrasti-branding"

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I was recently listening to Denise Duffield Thomas (She’s an amazing money mindset coach) and she uses this word: Procrasti-branding to describe that sabotage, where we’re like: I just need to fix up my site and then that thing will be ready. (Instead of just supporting others with the offer.)

And of course I had just said to Collin: Well, if we’re gonna focus on the studio more, we should probably tweak the site a little bit, right?

…. What, what, what is that at the end of the day? More procrastinating disguised as branding, right?

There is a little bit of organization in there for me, but again, it just comes back to, I keep self-sabotaging from letting it be easy. From the light lift

Self-Sabotage #4: The Hard Work Narrative

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And part that that I’ve noticed too, is the hard work narrative.

I grew up and the motto was always: work hard. When you work hard you can get the thing you want. When you work hard and do what you love then the money will come.

But the more I recognize what a big deal words are and how they really seep into your subconscious mind, the more that I'm realizing I need to stop using the word hard work because I constantly make work hard for myself when I don't need to. When it can be easy.

So I’ve been trying to say easy work or fun work instead.

Self-Sabotaging #5: Discounting My Efforts

I think another part of that too, that comes into play is valuing the worth of who we are and what we do. Like with the space, I’ve been questioning: is it enough? But all that really is is questioning if I’m enough.

The amount of effort I’ve put into this space, is a lot. And I know that cognitively. But understanding subconsciously that what you’re doing and who you are, as you are is worthy. Full Stop. It’s certainly a lesson I have to keep coming back to.

I used to run with this mentality (that I now realize is another sabotage,) “If I’m not doing it right, then why do it at all?” And I think that really plays into the enoughness, the worth, the working hard and then, of course, I think there’s a bit of fear there too.

Self-Sabotage #6: Secret Sabotaging

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I say all the time that I want more space but as a recovering, overachiever/high achiever, I think there’s also some scariness there. Because I do like having things on my plate. And so imagining when those things are off my plate and I don’t have anything pressing I have to do and the money, the things that I want are all here. Then will I be sitting there like, well, what do I do now? I just read? Does that feel “productive?”

And so I’ve been noticing these places where I’m making work a heavier lift, making it harder on myself and I’m not always reaching that spacious point because I wonder: Is that another block that I’m actually worried about?

How I'm de-conditioning my self-sabotaging behavior

So I’ve really been leaning into space. Ever since I chatted with Kendall Cherry and she shared how she puts up boundaries in her business- I’ve been putting up more too. I had already taken Instagram off of my phone, but I took work email off too. I put my phone in our junk drawer when it’s mom time, so I can solely focus on momming.

And when it’s work time, that’s when it’s time to look at my work stuff because there’s really no reason to cross over outside of work hours. It doesn’t make any sense especially with my goals. I don’t need to rush things. I can enjoy the space that I say that I want. And when I look at my to do list, I can stop and think, am I making this harder on myself? Am I trying to do more than I really need to?

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Or in the moments where I think I don’t know what to do (I said that at one point to Kathy and she was like, is that true? Do you really not know what to do? If you were coaching somebody else, how would you help them in that situation? And then I ran out a list of five different needle moving activities I took action on right away.)

So I think sometimes I just get hit with a wave of overwhelm with all I want to do and with the scarcity of how I don’t have certain things now. And then I overcomplicate my work and make it heavier and harder until it becomes this really heavy lift.

Even though there’s another path over here. There’s another option I could pick up instead that I can let it be easy. It can be a light lift. I can set down the sabotaging ways and pick up the easy thing. And so that’s what I’ve been testing and working on now.

  1. Doing what feels good- I’ve been feeling into what feels good, what feels easy, and noticing the stuff that feels hard- allowing myself to say, Hey, that’s hard. We’re not going to do that. This over here is easy. We’re going to put more effort into that.

  2. Asana- Our team, Collin, myself and our amazing VA Spring, just started using Asana to organize our tasks and goals. I tried it as a solopreneur and it didn’t work very well for me, but now with a group it’s fantastic. I’m such an organization freak so it’s been great to clearly see our goals- making sure our tasks not only map towards them that they also are light lifts vs. heavy lifts. With this visual, I can stop and be like, okay, is this task easy? Is this task hard? Are we overcomplicating it to get to our end goal? Then I can kind of check that off, put up my other boundaries, be in work mode, and then confidently be away.

  3. Deconditioning “Productive”- As I keep leaning into like what my days will be like when I have all the space that I’m looking for I’m also easing myself into what it’s like to have space. I notice I need to keep deschooling and deconditioning out the “productive,” the “hard” work, the lack of self worth, the sabotages to be able to enjoy my ideal reality.

So those are the things that I’m doing.

I'm trying to notice, I'm trying to reassess, and then I'm trying to focus on the light lift tasks while putting up boundaries during non-work time so I can actually let this all be fun and easy.

Maybe this will help you when you’re looking at your next thing. Maybe you can tune in and be like, Hmm, what am I doing now that might be a heavy lift? Or am I self sabotaging? Am I procrasti-branding or following my shiny idea syndrome? Or maybe you’re feeling seen in those physical sabotages like mine where I get to a success point and then my mindset takes over and tries to keep me “safe” by making me sick.

Because at the end of the day:

  • It can be easy.

  • We are worthy.

  • And the space that we need can be filled with so much joy. It doesn’t have to be this productive narrative.

Productive can look like resting, can look like reading, can look like spending time with your family, can look like helping people, and not having to always lifting heavy to reach your goals.

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After a conversation with a friend, I realized how I was intentionally self-sabotaging my business. I'm reflecting on my patterns of self-sabotage.
After a conversation with a friend, I realized how I was intentionally self-sabotaging my business. I'm reflecting on my patterns of self-sabotage.
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