Imagine facing a task, a process, a new direction in your business that you know has the potential to enhance or even transform your life! You are feeling the excitement, the joy thinking about the endless possibilities this opportunity will bring, the new things this will allow you to experience as you reap the rewards.
You start enthusiastically taking the first steps, but after a short time, you get that overwhelming feeling that you are not moving anywhere.
I work with people who want to get more recognition as experts, and we use Social Media, to create a powerful authority positioning with their Personal Brand. This process naturally involves creating a lot of content, connecting to hundreds of people for prospecting and collaborations, showing up as an authority that stands out from the rest of the noise. It takes some time to achieve that presence and that influence, and it is entirely worth it.
Why do most entrepreneurs fail to get there FAST?
I am an intuitive action taker. I do not need proof that something is working or not, as long as deep in my gut, I know I am heading in the right direction. It is a personality thing, and not everyone is capable of that level of trust, mainly when their bottom line (cash flow) depends on it.
As I analyze the struggles and concerns my clients express in our sessions, 90% of it boils down to one HUGE obstacle – they are too attached to the outcome of every piece of content, every video, every comment they make. What is it with us that as we grow older, we get less patient when it comes to learning critical new skills vital to transforming our lives and businesses? We want it all within a couple of weeks.
And when it does not happen, we get frustrated, bitter and angry. First, at everyone else for not being open to us, wanting immediately to work with us. Then with ourselves, blaming our laziness, questioning our worthiness, doubting that we deserve to be successful at all.
“Self-sabotage is like a game of mental tug-of-war. It is the conscious mind versus the subconscious mind where the subconscious mind always eventually wins.” – Bo Bennett
Where self-sabotage comes from
I find the worst reasons for self-sabotage and giving up too early are how poorly you manage your expectations, as well as how unreasonably you get attached to the expected outcome.
Here is how it happens when you are working on building your Personal Brand using Facebook, for example. You write a couple of posts about your new offer or a program, but there is no engagement, and nobody reached out to ask where they sign to start working with you, so you start doubting if the offer is good enough. You go live on your Facebook Page and see very few live viewers, and no comments, so you get upset and feel unwanted. Or worse – your Imposter Syndrome kicks in!
Your mom keeps commenting on all your content, and you get annoyed that it attracts the wrong people or even feel that you are “not enough” to attract the right ones. All these negative thoughts and feelings pile up, and you start feeling so demotivated, you stop creating content altogether.
And just like that, you’ve self-sabotaged your progress and the chance of building an unignorable Personal Brand. A Brand that will not only fill up your business with “perfect for YOU” clients, but it will also transform your confidence and feed your drive as you feel recognized, appreciated and fulfilled.
The truth is that you wanted the results too soon. You were too attached to the outcome, and created specific expectations for each step of the way. That specificity interrupted the flow and stopped you from allowing things to unfold in the most aligned with you and your life way. Your lack of trust in your long term vision and your journey sabotaged the journey itself!
How to let go and avoid self-sabotage
I asked some of my connections on Facebook what helps them let go of the expectations, and I loved the replies! I particularly enjoyed the reply from Katherine Ricci, an advertising executive who has been working in New York agencies for 13 years. “The reason we have issues with attachments and expectations is that if it’s not “successful” our identity is challenged. Identity is one of the five root causes of human suffering, after all. Once one realizes that outcomes do not define personal identity, one’s being is more than that, it’s much easier to let go and let it happen as it must.”, said Katherine.
“I think manifestation thinking is a great way to acknowledge what you want in life, trusting that it will happen if meant to be, but letting go of how or when. Visualization is also a vital tool to create what you want in life. Meditation clears the mind and organizes thoughts. Lastly, I love the Four Agreements as a life map construct. If you are living according to the Four Agreements, you are truly always doing your best, so there is a sense of peace with all outcomes.”
Taylor Douglas, a Personal Developer Mentor, suggested that it is not the expectations that need to be let go of but rather that attachment we have to them. “When we allow our emotions to be literally tied to an outcome we give our power to circumstances outside of our control“, says Taylor.
A Productivity Maven, Carol Dickson-Carr advised to stay present, go with the flow, and treat everything as a learning opportunity.
To me personally, it is all about being flexible, allowing for change to happen, embracing and most importantly – TRUST.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
When we focus on the bigger vision, trust is what helps us get there. Because before we arrive at that point, we have no experience of what it takes to get there. Creating specific expectations from each of the tasks and steps involved can seriously backfire as it doesn’t allow for U-turns, correcting the course, learning what works – specifically for us and our unique circumstances – and what doesn’t, so we can continue what we started and fine tune our action, to do more of what is bringing visible results and less of what clearly does not work. To determine these patterns we have to allow ourselves some time, regardless if we feel that there is progress or we feel stuck and confused.
I find that clarity is most scarce just before a breakthrough. In fact, when I feel entirely unclear if what I am focusing on is actually working- it is the trust that helps me persevere. And the reward always follows with a new shift, a realization that I have already achieved more than I thought, sometimes as an internal mindset upgrade and clarity in what the next step should be.
It may be completely different from what I thought I needed to do at the start. The bottom line? Trusting the process helps me get to the finish in a much more aligned and often even faster way than I could ever imagine. Without overwhelm and disappointment that can only harm my self-esteem. Without self- sabotaging, dramatically throwing in the towel, and refusing to get out of bed in the morning. With joy, gratitude for discovering so many amazing facts about myself, my audience, my systems and my mission that made me follow this path in the first place.
Are you getting attached to your expectations? Or are you exercising patience and trust? Share your thoughts and experience with us below!