The mind of a self-saboteur is unpredictable. There is truth in the saying, we are ourselves, our own worst enemy. Self-sabotage goes against a positive attitude and destroys a positive mindset in four distinctive ways;
1. Giving up—Just before the breakthrough, everything seems to fall apart. Everything becomes difficult, pressing, and squeezing you until it is unbearable. Only then will you have a breakthrough, but if you leave before it happens you will lose out. Before a breakthrough there’s a breakdown you must stay the course, do not quit.
2. Procrastination - Everything takes precedence over working on your goal. Perhaps watching that “television program” or scrolling through social media has your attention. Any activity that is enjoyable and won’t elicit anxiety, consciously, or subconsciously. Meanwhile, it’s storming opportunities and you’re missing them. How much easier is it not to consider failure, rejection, or pain? To avoid or disregard our objectives and aspirations may appear as the easier road, but is the most regrettable one.
3. Habits - habits must be conducive to your dream, if not it’s a blocker. Not having quantifiable goals, neglecting personal well-being, and putting off to tomorrow what you can do today are negative habits that will prevent positive movement. Successful dreams are those infused with good habits - ones that do not block your blessings. Create your goals, a routine, digitally detox, embrace your failures, control your finances, and sit back and watch the blessings pour in.
4. Feelings of inadequacy -No one will take me seriously, I am not as good as them; I have this great idea, but I just don’t understand how to make it come alive… these kinds of nagging thoughts will wreak havoc on your plans for your future. Stop and have a conversation with yourself. Convince yourself that you can bring your dream to fruition. When that troublesome voice whispers negativity into your ears you must get up and move, block, or shout, “Leave me the hell alone, I’m on my grind right now!” You have got to take control. Show those notions of inadequacy who’s the boss.
When you plan well for these storms, you can ride them out without too much damage to your goals. If you want to succeed, you must be ok with reaping the rewards of your hard work and dedication. If you get caught in a storm, remind yourself, the sun will shine again, and press forward. It takes time like the ebb and flow of seasons. But after the age of 35, you may see time as a hindrance, and your battle with that little self-saboteur will look different because by this time you have built a level of stability.
My self - saboteur created complacency in me. Working in education was my stability, but mostly, I wouldn’t have to confront rejection. Unfortunately, the writer in me wouldn’t stay silent. She nagged at my very core. I tried ignoring it by pursuing different positions within the field of Education. I told myself this work is making a difference and spent far too much money pursuing degrees and certifications, and everything about the field irritated me. I knew I had outgrown my career, but I was afraid to leave. I grew frustrated and the negative feelings affected my health. In the last 5 years, the pain increased, headaches, body aches, etc no amount of Tylenol or meditation cured it. Those things were band-aids. A mere cover for the sore that festered. My self- saboteur also filled me with a raging fear of ageism and time. I told myself constantly, “You’re too old to change your career.” and “It will take too much time.”
This year was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Anger and tiredness overwhelmed my body, leaving me sore well after a good night’s rest. One day I walked into my classroom, began my usual morning ritual, and stopped. I no longer wanted to be there. The season had ended, and I needed to move into the next one willingly. Age and time be damned! I want to explore and experience all that my life may offer. Teaching is a thankless job and I am leaving behind some amazing educators. Educators that have helped to shape the lives of thousands of young minds over the last twenty years. Walking away was difficult, but necessary.
I fought my fears of ageism and time and finally handed in my letter of resignation. As I drove out of the parking on my last day, I knew I had made the right decision for me. The season of teaching in that capacity was over. I jumped into my new season with both feet. I would never suggest you leave your job, this is my journey. Decide which road you will take for your journey. Examine any blockers to your goals and plan. What do you need to make time for, give less of your time to? How can you rearrange your life to include your aspiration without bringing about total chaos? What can you do to meet your goal/s and move into your next season?
“Even if today may seem to be a time of total darkness, it will not last forever. The dawn will surely come if you advance, ever forward, without being defeated. The day will definitely come when you can look back fondly and declare, I am savoring this happiness because I struggled back then. It is those who know the bitterness of winter that can savor the true joy of spring.”
- Daisaku Ikeda
Release your fears, overcome your self-saboteur, and move into your new season!