You could be facing self-sabotage by permitting bad mental code or mindsets to infiltrate and control your thoughts. When thinking about sabotage, most think about a virtual enemy agent, but you could be doing just as much damage with your thoughts and actions. When you are hacked, whether virtually or personally, another entity gains unauthorized access. Without realizing it, you could be giving access to destructive thoughts, attitudes, feelings, then actions.
An act of self-sabotage has the potential and power to destroy. This means it could destroy many days, months and even years of hard work. It can also destroy relationships and even your health. Attitudes of bitterness, revenge and even extreme self-focus can result in destructive hate, anger and depression.
Most anyone at any time can experience self-sabotage, but there are some safeguards you can put in place. Similar to an athletic event, a good defense serves also as a good offense. Coaches as well as players spend a lot of time studying the opposing team’s tactics. It increases their chances of winning the game. The same will hold true for you. Here we will be creating defensive tactics for three areas: your thoughts, relationships and actions.
Tactic One: Center Your Thoughts
The self-help book As a Man Thinketh by James Allen in 1903 was influenced by a verse in the Bible. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh in heart, so is he.” Allen created his simple book to help people help themselves. Most every action, good or bad, starts with a thought. How you control your thoughts is an important element in the ability to control your life. I am a big proponent of centering your thoughts at the first of every day. A short time of daily reflection and journaling will keep you centered and focused.
I have intentionally determined to focus each day on that day’s events and not yesterday’s news and suggest you do the same. At least to start each one of your days. This time of reflection may be a time when you let go of resentment, anxiety, hurt feelings or even thoughts of revenge. Those thoughts can develop into attitudes that could eventually be more destructive for you, leading to actions that may not be ideal. Even Ted Turner, creator of CNN and author of Call Me Ted, took long walks on his ranch when he needed to think over issues. He took on a great deal of risk and made some very big deals. Being outdoors was a place where he could clear his head and evaluate whether his actions would be worth the risk. Whether or not you are a risk-taker, getting outside to think and evaluate is a great example for all of us.
If anxiety goes unchecked, the stress it can create will affect your health. High blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes and even some strains of cancer can be stress-induced. This is well-documented in many medical studies. Bitterness and anger can lead to ulcers, panic attacks, depression and many other outcomes.* Take the time to let go of what will eventually destroy you. Even spending time doing yoga or meditating are good practices to center your thoughts. (see: Importance of Exercise)
Tactic Two: Guard Your Relationships
Relationships have the power to influence, both positively and negatively. Growing up, my mother steered me away from one of my closest friends who lived next door and I didn’t quite understand why until I got a bit older. This particular friend had started hanging out with a different crowd that would have taken me down a path she felt would end up being destructive. As I found out later, she was right in her intuition.
Often, we don’t use that same intuition in our adult lives. We’re used to looking out after our kids, but not for ourselves nearly as much. I find many people want to be my so-called friend, especially on social media. I find more often than not this leads to them trying to sell me something. To be honest, I don’t have a lot of time for those relationships and as a result have become more selective in adding those contacts.
Whether friends, work colleagues or even family members, you have the choice on who will be in your closest circle of relationships. I have a diagram of relationship circles in my Women at Halftime book. (get FREE Introduction here!) The inner Close Circle consists of my lifetime group, close family and a few trusted colleagues. Outside that is my Comfort Circle with friends, colleagues and associates including mastermind groups and extended family. Beyond that is the Casual Circle including networking groups and beyond that is the Outer Circle with Social Media groups. Each one of us has the choice on who is in each of our circles. We also decide whether we are going to serve as influencers or be merely influenced. It is definitely a choice.
Tactic Three: Control Your Actions
Self-sabotage can also occur when thoughts develop into actions that may end up to be destructive. One thing a Financial Advisor will tell you is that you have to be willing to ride out a market. There are so many variants that occur not only daily but by the minute. If you panic, you have a very good chance of losing a lot of money. This is what happens to many when we see a recession. A hasty decision may be more detrimental than riding out the market. (see: Manage Finances)
If you are harboring anger or resentment, those feelings can grow into hatred, vengeance and destructive actions. This will affect not only the recipient, but you. Hatred can actually escalate into health problems with stress, heart-attacks, ulcers and other physical ailments. That attitude also draws you away from your main purpose and calling. It’s a destructive diversion.
My main point here is that our thoughts lead to actions. They will end up controlling many areas of your life. I suggest you take a step back and take a hard look at your foundational thoughts and attitudes. Then put up a barrier or firewall that can add a layer of protection for impulsive actions that may be detrimental. This will take first controlling your thoughts with discipline and healthy habits. This also includes developing the type of relationships that will move you forward in your life and not drag you down. A high-maintenance relationship is a time and energy sucker. (see book Bad Code)
A Wall of Protection
A firewall on a computer provides a certain amount of virtual protection. There are also now many companies that provide protection against identity theft. Most of us have received messages from our bank or credit card carrier to verify charges for a purchase. I am grateful for those messages, as my card has been hacked several times.
Mentally, we have to put up the same amount of protection. Centering our minds to begin each day is a good start. It has become absolutely necessary in my life, especially coming out of a year of shutdowns, sequestration and political upheaval. I want to stay focused and fully able to give my best to the projects I am working on and people I am working with. They deserve it and so do I. You do too!
We decide whether we are going to serve as influencers or be merely influenced.
It's definitely a choice.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning