Stop Sabotaging Yourself

  • Share
  • Read Later

When faced with a big challenge, it’s tempting to anticipate the obstacles that might get in the way, and use them as an excuse not to move forward. But this type of self-handicapping will prevent you from reaching your potential. Here’s how to stop it:

  • Watch for the warning signs. These include holding back, generating lists of excuses, or excessively focusing on the potential obstacles.
  • Articulate goals, not excuses. Use “what-ifs” and “if-onlys” to help generate ideas about how you might remove obstacles. For example, if you think you might fail because you lack a certain skill, find out how to acquire it.
  • Manage your negative emotions. When faced with obstacles (and there are always some), you’re likely to feel disappointment or anger. Be kind to yourself in working through these emotions and focus on what you can change.

Adapted from “Don’t Sabotage Yourself” by Susan David.

Visit Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip homepage

Purchase the HBR Management Tips book