What does self sabotage and upper limiting look like?

My aim for this section is that you will increase your own self-awareness around sabotaging and be able to spot things before they get out of hand. There is something very powerful about being able to clearly see what you’re doing and then choose a different response.

The examples below are things I see my clients and people around me deal with all the time. The reasons behind the act can be very different, because we all have very unique psychological needs that we’re trying to meet, but how it looks is very similar: 

  • Procrastination and not starting or stopping doing something that you know is good for you and will move you forward in life or business, which we looked at in the last module.
  • Giving into fears that would have you believe that you’ll make bad decisions, that people might judge you, that you could fail, or maybe that you could even be successful. Your subconscious mind decides to try and protect you and keep you safe and hence sabotaging begins. You believe that the fear is real and so life never moves forward because you won’t take any action. Staying safe and surviving is your key priority and this is reinforced if you have responsibility for other people, as your decisions impact them too.
  • Dealing with addictions and using drugs, drink, cigarettes, caffeine, sugar and junk food to ‘numb out’ and ‘avoid’ how you feel. This prevents you from getting into contact with your real feelings. When you start looking at what you’re really trying to achieve, or avoid by giving into the addictions, you know that life has to change and you have to start taking action. This makes you feel very uncertain, out of control and scared. It can feel much easier to stay stuck within the addiction cycle, because as least that’s predictable and familiar.
  • Attracting conflict into your life. Everything was finally flowing, money was coming in and you were feeling pretty happy with yourself. This is an unfamiliar feeling for you, life got too good and so you decide to create some drama. The easiest way to do this is create conflict… start an argument or heated discussion with others. Often you already know how this is going to play out with the other person, which is exactly why you decided to do this. Part of you knew that the other person was always going to refuse you, or disagree with you.
  • Playing down your abilities and gifts. When you start playing down your abilities to others and yourself, you don’t have to step into that next version of you. You get to stay safe and be comfortable, but at the same time, you’ll be pushing away potential opportunities for growth, expansion and for greater health, wealth and happiness.
  • Hiding away in the shadows as other people live your dream life – you know that the key to being more successful is actually showing up and being more present in your own life and business, but instead you’re hiding away in the shadows. You’re feeling frustrated and envious as other people live your dream life.
  • Staying involved in toxic relationships and friendships. You know that certain people are not good for you and yet you stay connected with these people, emotionally and energetically. They may be people who don’t support you, or make you feel good about yourself and who are generally very negative. Being with these people holds you back, but right now you’re unwilling to let them go.
  • Placing obstacles and challenges in your path, making them bigger and more complicated than they need to be. If you have ‘obstacles’ to deal with along the way, then this can stop you from doing the things that really matter. For example, you know you need to do something in your business to promote yourself and become more visible, perhaps write a blog/newsletter, or share your thoughts in a Facebook Group, but instead you decide that now is the perfect time to do clean the house, sort the garden, or wash the car. These are small examples and seem valid enough, but if you’re prone to this, you’ll be amazed how big the obstacles can get.
  • Engaging in negative self-talk. You tell yourself that you can’t do something, or shouldn’t do something and by listening to that inner critic, you’re playing into the hands of self-sabotage. Your conscious mind actually starts to believe that you’re not smart enough, clever enough, or good enough and so it keeps you trapped.
  • Becoming ill and experiencing accidents. This is often our body’s way of slowing us down and preventing us from doing more.
  • Unexpected expenses keep cropping up. You thought you were going have a surplus of money or enough to pay the bills without struggle and before you know it, an unexpected expense comes up. This takes you back to a place of struggle again, which is a very familiar feeling for you.
  • General feeling of discomfort, worry and anxiety. You started to feel too good, too content and you’re simply not used to this. Your mind searches for something it can worry or fret about to bring you back down to what feels normal for you.
  • Blocking receiving. You aren’t allowing yourself to receive anything; compliments, help or support and this is intensified during periods of growth. To receive more means you have to deal with all the fear, doubt, guilt, feelings of worthiness and deserving. 

Now that we’ve looked at some more general signs of self-sabotage, I want to be more specific about upper limiting in our business and through work. This is often where people tend to notice certain habits and behaviours the most, because money is such an emotive topic and something that can’t be ignored.

So here are some things I see happening with clients and things that I have personally experienced too: 

  • Being unable to move past a certain level of income, or achieve it consistently. When you’re in the mode of self-sabotaging and upper limiting, it won’t matter what you do, you’ll always bring yourselves back down to this level of income. If this is still present for you, then refer back to the material on energetic income. It’s the classic feast and famine.
  • Every launch, you get the same number of people signing up, or the same amount of income. There is a subconscious limit on things.
  • Putting on the brakes during a project or launch. You stop taking enough action in your business or work, usually just before success starts to happen or gains momentum. You’ve hit a comfortable level of success and decided that’s enough, even though you could do so much more. You might tell yourself that you’ve run out of energy, time or ideas.
  • Overworking, over delivering and perfectionism. The self-doubt has kicked in and you believe that you need to do even more to keep people happy and to prove our worth. There can be a fear of criticism, people telling you what you’re doing is not good enough, or the fear of refunds.
  • Giving up when you’re almost there. The end is in sight for delivering a new product, program or project and just before you experience success, you give up. You convince yourself it’s not going to work, the timing isn’t right, or your ideas are stupid and people will never want what you have to offer. In reality you’re overcome with the fear of success and how life could change. You have no idea who you would be, the expectations that would be placed upon you, or if you could cope.
  • Not chasing the money sat in your inbox. People want to work with you and give you their money and yet you have not booked them in, you’ve not sent invoices for work completed, or chased outstanding invoices.
  • Creating new offerings all the time instead of focusing on what you have. Before you’ve even begun delivering your program or offering, you’re already onto the next idea. Your energy is fragmented and you’re not allowing yourself to maximise on things. There is something very safe about creating content behind the scenes, the scary part is sharing this with others and having to face their opinions about your work.
  • Investing in new courses, gaining more qualifications and being overly focused on healing work. This is a classic distraction technique, you’re stalling for time and convincing yourself that you can’t move forward until this has been done. Part of you doesn’t believe that you have the skills, knowledge, wisdom, or ability to deliver anything of value now.
  • Blaming others for your lack of success. You blame your business coach, mentor, or other such supporters, for your lack of success and progress, when in fact it was you hitting up against your own upper limits.

These are just some of the things I have personally done and seen my clients do over the last few years, sometimes I indulge in just one thing when I’m in a period of growth, other times I do pretty much all of it, because the growth is so big and uncomfortable. I can laugh at myself now, because I recognise my habits and what I’m doing. Self-awareness and a huge dose of self honesty is key here, because other wise you’ll stay stuck forever.