Is Self-​Sabotage Holding You Back? Take This First Step

BY Jessica Helinski
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Self-​sabotage can happen to any professional, regardless of their industry. For those in sales, many find themselves getting in the way of their own success. Thankfully, this manner of thinking can be adjusted. Little shifts in attitude, mindset and behavior can break down self-​imposed barriers. The key is to be aware of these self-​sabotage habits; overcoming them begins with this first step. “We actually need to deal with our emotions in order for them to go away,” explains Blue Lotus Consulting’s Tiffany Toombs in a Manage Smarter podcast episode.

"So we really have to get to the root of the belief that's creating the self-​sabotaging behavior in order for it to totally disappear."

Self-​sabotage starts in your own head

Basically, according to Toombs, we are what we think. “We have this part of our brain called the reticular activating system, which is like the world's most advanced GPS system or homing device,” she explains. “If you are programmed with the belief that you're not worthy, every single moment of the day, you're going into that with your filters set to validating that you're not worthy.”

So, one way to limit self-​sabotage is to look at the language that you use. Your words not only have an impact on others; they influence your own feelings about yourself and your abilities. “We start to change our self-​talk and start to work on the belief systems… then our filters open up and change and we see things differently."

One word to start with

Toombs goes on to highlight three words that can support self-​sabotage. These words and how they are used can subconsciously have a negative impact on reps and their performance.

The first word that she discusses is "try." Toombs believes that salespeople should avoid this word, or at least use it thoughtfully. She points out that the actual definition of try is “to make a feeble attempt.” She goes on to explain that “When somebody says, ‘I'll try and do something,’ they've already given themselves an excuse or a reason to fail.….. When people try, they don't commit; there's no commitment or guarantee; just saying they will try.” 

Now, every time one says the word try, it doesn’t mean they are practicing self-​sabotage. What Toombs is suggesting is that the word is used thoughtfully. Don’t sell yourself short by saying you will simply try. By confidently committing, reps are subconsciously strengthening themselves and their own resolve. “Understand that if we use language of a victim, or if we make excuses and justifications, or we go into a place of beating ourselves up,…it’s keeping us hindered in some way.”

Check out the entire podcast to learn more words that can disempower the speaker. Additionally, she shares other ways to avoid self-​sabotage that reps likely don’t recognize. By taking digging deep and taking a more thoughtful approach to words and mindset, salespeople can clear their path of at least one challenge: themselves.