Self-sabotage – 10 Behaviors to Avoid
Self-sabotaging behaviors can create problems, interfere with goals and ultimately put your career at risk. Without even realizing it you could be a victim of self-sabotage. Be honest and identify the traits that are holding you back so you can make the positive changes required to move forward.
Here are ten ways you could be self-sabotaging – along with some recommendations on how to do things better.
The saying ‘procrastination is the thief of time’ is invariably true. It can take various forms: Perhaps you consciously procrastinate and avoid things you know you should be doing? Or maybe you unconsciously put off priority tasks by focusing too much on the paperwork? Whatever your form of procrastination this is self-sabotaging behavior of the highest order.
To help you overcome your tendency to procrastinate set yourself clear, achievable goals and write them down. Then keep yourself motivated by ticking off each goal, no matter how small, as you achieve it. Decide to manage your time more efficiently, perhaps by delegating routine tasks or investing in software to take the strain. Then you can focus on the important jobs in hand.
#2. Preparing to prospect rather than actually prospecting
Many advisors are guilty of this form of self-sabotage – with detrimental results. That’s because in our business nothing happens without an appointment. So, if your fear of prospecting is holding you back, it’s time to change things up.
If you dislike prospecting because you fear rejection you must overcome this mental hurdle. To help you feel more prepared, try to visualize your success. Imagine that you won’t be rejected and emanate a positivity and confidence that people will warm to. Enter the fray with a ‘can do ‘attitude rather than feeling fearful and intimidated.
In any case what’s the worst thing that could happen if you do get rejected? Nothing terrible – you didn’t know the prospect beforehand and you won’t know them in future, so you haven’t lost anything.
Become more confident by practicing your prospecting approach until you’re pitch perfect. Don’t steer yourself away from prospecting or anticipate rejection. Re-channel your energy so that your fear doesn’t control you, but you control your fear.
#3. Comparing yourself unfavorably to others
Sitting around worrying that you can’t keep up with the competition is a self-sabotaging behavior you can do without. Rather than spending precious time focusing on the competition, focus on what differentiates you from others.
Is it that you’re more caring or professional – or do you work harder? Can you offer the ultimate personalized service – a service that exceeds your clients’ expectations? If so, then you have no need to fear the competition.
Don’t waste time thinking about others – put the focus on where it should be – on developing your soft skills and becoming the best advisor you know you can be.
#4. Not setting goals
Goal setting must always come first, so if you aren’t already setting yourself clear, achievable goals you’re sabotaging your business and you won’t move forward.
Decide what you want to accomplish and write it down. Work backwards from what you ultimately want to achieve. Then set dates by which you will complete each goal – or marker – along the way.
If you don’t set yourself clear objectives, you’ll have no way of knowing how far you’ve come or whether you’ll ever reach the finishing line. Make your goals specific and concrete – don’t be vague. I want to ‘win more business next year’ won’t cut it. However, ‘I need to add three new accounts to my portfolio within 12 months’ will.
#5. Fear of success
Most advisors aren’t afraid to fail, they’re afraid to succeed. Fear of success can paralyze your business because you don’t feel you are good enough and that’s when self-sabotage starts to creep in.
‘Partying’ the night before the presentation is one way it can manifest itself. This type of behavior really means you’re too scared to take the practical steps to move in the right direction of your goals. If you party the night before, you have an excuse for not doing well – you can blame it on the beers.
Overcome this by figuring out why you’re self-sabotaging in this way. What’s holding you back?
Once you understand and accept your reasons and see your skills as changeable, you can adapt to a given situation. Stop repeating the past and ignoring the consequences of your actions. Learn how to stop repeating mistakes, empower yourself and believe you control your own fate.
And prepare and practice in advance – the more prepared you are, the less fearful you will be.
#6. Taking things personally
If someone says ‘no’ to you, it’s not you they’re rejecting but your ideas. If you continually take things personally you’re self-sabotaging by letting your emotions take over – and this won’t help you take your business forward.
One exercise you could try to overcome your fear of rejection is to actively seek out rejection in your everyday life. Pick a day and say hello to every stranger you meet. Most will respond positively, while some won’t. Or ask for things you don’t expect to get e.g. ask for a free air freshener when you get a car wash or ask for an upgrade at a hotel.
You’ll no doubt get rejected x amount of times, but you’ll find you’ll start to become increasingly impervious to rejection. Develop a ‘that’s life’ attitude – that if you don’t ask you won’t get, and if you don’t get you’ve lost nothing in the process.
#7. Seeing yourself as ‘too salesy’
Some advisors dislike being known as ‘salespeople’ feeling that this has connotations with something disreputable. If this sounds like you, it’s time to change your mindset.
To succeed as a financial advisor, you need to be adept at selling your ideas to people – otherwise you won’t be able to help them. If prospects are to open accounts with you, they need to be convinced that this is the right thing to do. That’s why elite advisors are always great salespeople.
Work on your presentation skills by practicing whenever you can. Keep things simple because people won’t buy what they don’t understand. Be positive and animated as warm, enthusiastic people are a joy to be around.
Invest in sales training – always remember you are a salesperson. This doesn’t mean you are untrustworthy or underhand. It’s your sales skills that will persuade someone to start an investment plan that will change their life for the better.
#8. Not following up
Always follow up by leaving prospects a positive message that reminds them of their goals. The feeling that you’re being a bother or just calling to nag is a form of self-sabotage.
Remember that you’re there to help someone get started on a crucial investment plan. Plus, you said you’d call so they’ll be expecting you to. Make the call then get on with other things. If they don’t call back, don’t dwell on it but stay upbeat. If you leave enough messages with enough people someone will call you back.
#9. Striving for perfection
Don’t strive for perfection – a bad month is a bad month, it doesn’t mean you’ve blown the whole year. Don’t create a to-do list so long there’s no chance of achieving it – rather than consistently hitting those goals you’ll reliably fail. See setbacks as temporary, don’t take it personally.
If you strive for perfection and fail to live up to your expectations, you’ll lose confidence and become unmotivated. Instead identify your particular strengths and build on them. Invest your time into practicing the basics and you will start to get things right most of the time and get consistently good results. This is what you should aim for rather than perfection.
#10. Hanging out with negative people
Without realizing it you could be spending too much time with negative people. It’s essential to develop a positive attitude if you are to succeed so avoid naysayers or people who dampen your enthusiasm.
Great advisors don’t self-sabotage. They set goals and give themselves every chance hitting them. Undertake an emotional self-evaluation and become responsible for and able to control your reactions. Lose those self-sabotaging behaviors and you’ll be perfectly placed to create a successful business.
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