If you think you cannot do it, you won’t do it. That is what my gym teacher in middle school told us. Her name was Ms. Hen and her mantra was known from the halls to the fields: “YES I CAN! ACT AS IF!” At the time, she was definitely the butt of a few jokes, and we all rolled our eyes when she got in our faces with this seemingly ridiculous rant. But you know what? Looking back, she was one of few teachers that inspires me to this day. She urged us to behave as though we could reach our fitness goals, do that many sit ups, or run that whole mile. The idea was by acting as if something were true, we could manifest our desired outcome. 

As trite as it seemed when I was a teenager, at some point, I started to come around to it. I set a goal for my time to run the mile, and I achieved that personal best. I went from awkward to athlete. Her concept has become my personal rule of law, and I continue to prove it right every single day. It turns out some adults know what they’re talking about.

Yet sometimes, with the conviction that we can create our own reality, we achieve the success we always wanted; then we subconsciously or otherwise begin to thwart our own progress. Sometimes when everything we ever said we wanted is staring us in the face, our fear of failure is so great that we stand in the way of our own success. 

Today let’s talk about the ways in which you can prepare for, manifest, and not sabotage your own success. 

Who, me? I want to be successful. You think that, consciously, but you never know what unconscious storms are brewing. You’ll know if you’re engaging in self-sabotage if you catch yourself doing any of the following:

  • Postponing or even declining an opportunity because you are “not ready” or some other excuse
  • Distracting yourself or making yourself too busy to give the situation the attention it requires
  • Not managing your financial resources properly, so the money just slips through your fingers 

So, to avoid the stumbling blocks that inadvertently lead to self-sabotage, here are some things to look out for.

Pouting when progress doesn’t look how we thought it should. 

In the same way we wanted children, but we never could have imagined the humans we made, love, and know, we can’t really imagine what success is going to look like when it comes our way. It might have funnier ears than we thought it should. But we have to be open to the path being different. Remember, the universe is watching, and reinforcing success that comes to us in unlikely forms is the best way to attract more of it.

We’re too “in it” to realize it’s happening.

The weeks are so long that the wins feel too far apart, too small, too sporadic. We’re so entrenched in the day-to-day that we never look from 20,000 feet in the air and see how the dots are connecting. Then, because at times the road is long and hard, we lose steam because it seems like nothing is happening. Keep track of where you are and your daily successes so you can pick yourself up when you forget about the good and only remember the bad.

We postpone celebrating until “The Huge Win.” 

Celebrations are gratitude in action. If the universe pops you a breadcrumb to say, “Hey, you’re doing great,” and you only wonder why you haven’t yet been served the whole plate of French toast you dreamed of, the universe is going to be like, “Well maybe I’ll save my finest French toast for someone who appreciates it!” Enjoy the ride and have some fun along the way. 

We don’t trust that the results are going to come.

If we decide to do something and take massive action (day after day) to get it, guess what? It’s going to come our way. If we don’t have faith it’s going to work, we’re not going to be prepared when it does. We’ll suddenly get an important interview, a huge development, or a big speaking gig, without having set up the infrastructure we told ourselves we’d get “for when we are super busy” a year ago. We should always be setting the table for the next level because the universe is watching.

We get freaked out at the moment of success. 

The big opportunity comes, and suddenly we find a voice in our heads convincing us we should turn it down because — why??? Haven’t we worked years for this? Beginners tend to become overwhelmed with doubt that they can handle the reality of the challenge and the success, especially when it comes in any form that feels hairy, funky, or not quite perfect. That’s why they need to keep training themselves for these big moments and keep an open mind. 

We will have to admit to what we want most deeply and face the vulnerability of going after it in a way that might look completely different from the way we envisioned it. We do the work and then hold on for the ride. We have to acknowledge ultimate accountability for achieving success. It requires patience, persistence, and performance. When we look critically at our actions and words, and go inside to understand our own patterns of behavior that might inadvertently thwart the realizations of our long-term goals, we hear the true call to action to make it happen.

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