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How to Beat Success Self-Sabotage

Subtle “Somethings” Make a Big Difference
We all know people who are intelligent, creative and talented…and yet always seem to sabotage their success.
Consciously or not, these people believe they are not worthy of success. This condition affects men and women about equally. Common symptoms include…
  • Self- sabotage  ̶̶̶̵ ̶̶ ̶  stopping just short of success.
  • Financial insecurity.
  • Feeling like a failure  ̶̶̶̵ ̶̶ ̶  even if you’re succeeding.
  • Finding it easy to start things  ̶̶̶̵ ̶̶ ̶  but hard to finish them.
  • Staying in work that does not require or allow the full expression of your talents or skills.


What if you saw yourself only in a fun-house mirror that distorted your true appearance? This distorted reflection is like a bully in your head that stops you from doing what you really want to do.

Everyone has/her own special blend of self-defeating inner messages…
Just grow up. I’m so fat, no one could ever love me…Everyone always leaves me,
Some of us hear nothing but these messages all day long but this destructive habit can be broken.


Take a sheet of paper and draw line down the middle. On one side, write your negative self-perceptions, On the other side, write what you see as authentic self.
  • See yourself as you really are. Instead of a fun-house mirror, find a loving mirror ̶̶̶̵ ̶̶ ̶ a friend, spouse, mentor ̶̶̶̵ ̶̶ ̶ who supports you unconditionally. Surround yourself with unconditional love, and it will reflect back your true self.

Example: Susan could never buy herself something special without feeling guilty about neglecting her family and work responsibilities. In fact, doing anything for herself made her feel selfish. I pointed out that depriving herself actually hurt those around her because they wanted her to be happy. She learned to shop without remorse. She even took a vacation ̶̶̶̵ ̶̶ ̶ something she had wanted to do for years.

  • Be willing to get what you want. Few people realize that what they want is also what they fear.

Example: Sam felt “stuck” in his business ̶̶ ̶ not quite unsuccessful but not successful either. The benefits of limited success include not having to hire more employees…fewer opportunities... and a decreased ability to make a difference in the world.

While reviewing the pros and cons, Sam realized he didn’t need to feel guilty for not being more successful. Soon after, his business began to grow almost on its own. 

  • Establish goal-free zones. Set a time, place or circumstance when you do not do anything ̶̶ ̶ where there are no goals, deadlines or responsibilities. Such a zone allows you to relax and listen to yourself and your inner longings.

Ask yourself: Where I am going? You can do this while gardening, playing golf or washing your car.

  • Goal replacement. If your goal is something gigantic, such as saving the world or making everyone happy, nothing you do will ever be good.
Bottom Line/Personal Interviewed Noah St. John, who created and runs The Success Clinic of America, 293 Russell St., Hadley, Massachusetts 01035 www.successclinic.com

He is the author of Permission to Succeed Unlocking the Mystery of Success Anorexia (Health Communications Inc.)
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