You might spend a lot of your time trying to figure out how to get ahead at work, or how to become more successful in your career. You figure out how to deal with Marcia's gossiping, your understand what your boss wants you to do and you even have plotted out the first industry conference you will attend once pandemic restrictions are lifted.
But despite all these efforts, you do something dumb. You don't tell your boss that you'd like to head up a new project. Or, you procrastinate on an assignment to the point that your boss is now upset. You've started making mistakes on routine tasks.
What's going on?
It's called self-sabotage. Psychologists and career experts say it happens when you start getting anxious or afraid of your success. Those feelings start to get in the way of doing your job properly, and you become defensive with others. You may even become disengaged and talk negatively about co-workers or your job.
That may prompt some feedback from your boss about your performance, and that further pulls you into the mindset that you don't really like the job or your boss or the company. See how your own fears and anxieties have lead you to sabotaging yourself?
If you believe this is happening, think about:
1. Being honest with yourself. Self-sabotage can become a pattern. It may have started when you were younger, or it may be that you started negative self-talk as you became more successful in your career. When you think something negative, immediately think of how you can flip the script and find something positive to say instead.
2. Recount your successes. Your boss doesn't pick you for a big assignment because she likes the way you order coffee. She picked you because you've shown her that you're capable and do good work. Think about the steps you've taken to earn her confidence: long hours; always double-checking your work; pitching in to help colleagues; calming angry customers; training new employees; coming up with new ideas; and helping her be successful. Those are all wonderful skills -- that's why she picked you and you need to remind yourself of your abilities.
3. Seek help. It's not always easy to quiet the negative talk in your own head and calm your anxieties and fears, especially if you've been doing it for a long time. Seek advice from a psychologist or career coach who can help you spot the things that trigger your self-sabotage and how you can learn to better cope with your emotions.
If the last year has taught us anything, it's that we have to take care of our own mental health if we want to have lives that are full and rewarding. Don't let the negative thoughts in your own head stop you from having a great career that you've worked hard to get.
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