The Self-Saboteur

The idea that the worst critic is yourself, is true.

It’s not the haters on the interwebz. It’s not your mom who thinks that having too much muscle is unfeminine and ugly. It’s not your friends who think you’re a douchebag for ditching them for the gym instead of going out to get hammered. It’s not your coach for when they reduce the weight on the bar because you’re not feeling it that day.

It’s you, the self-saboteur.


The Self-Talk



Here’s a fact: The world is a shitty place.

Here’s another fact: The world is a wonderful place to live in.

Clearly these “facts” are opinions of the self and we hear either one a lot, but perception is reality. Sometimes there’s no study or statistical data that could tell us different in a particular moment. We see ourselves in others, but we look at ourselves in the mirror every single day. What’s consistent is our age in that we get older everyday. That we can’t control.

What we control is how we feel, how we look, and how we perform.

I mentioned to a client of mine the other day that scapegoating seems to be really popular lately.

It’s never our fault, it’s always someone else.

Before that, I wrote on twitter that you are the solution to your problems. For a lot of us control freaks, it’s the best news you can get.

Yet we continue to talk ourselves down and damaging our self-confidence…or what’s left of it.

I don’t know this for a fact, but I believe that there is a lot of talent out there in the world that could change the face of sport, business or even relationships. We’ll never know because that individual kept themselves from moving forward with negative self-talk, sabotaging their greatness.

5 things that come to mind about Self-Saboteurs:

1) Self-saboteurs allow fear to guide their thoughts, plans, and actions.

2) Self-saboteurs focus on the past,

3) Self-saboteurs feel that deep down inside they don’t measure up.

4) Self-saboteurs drive people away.

5) Self-saboteurs settle.

As a trainer, I work with a diverse group of people every single day and every day is different for them. One day they’re up. One day they’re down. However, when they talk about themselves in a negative manner,

“I don’t think I”m getting any better…”

“I don’t have any confidence….”

“I can’t.”

I watch and hear my clients and others talk about themselves this way. I understand “every dog has it’s day”, but there’s something more to it when they’re being vocal to others about it.

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Most of the time, what you say or think about yourself over and over, you tend to believe it and directly or indirectly cause it to be true.

Don’t think you’re going to get to reach that milestone? There’s a good chance you aren’t because you think you’re not. It’s that simple.

But being around others who think the same way don’t help. In fact, they almost always make it worse.

The expectations people have about how others will behave play a large role in determining whether people cooperate with each other or not. And moreover that very first expectation, or impression, is hard to change. “This is particularly true when the impression is a negative one,” says Michael Kurschilgen from the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn (science daily)

Can you blame someone for not picking YOU to be on their team when you don’t have any confidence about yourself? Telling other people how much you suck isn’t going to help your outlook and others impression of you. You can only be frustrated for so long before you start pulling away from your goals and actually start believe what you say about yourself.

self-fulfilling phophecy
The fix: If you believe in yourself, you set yourself up to be successful. We all are leaders in our own right. At the very least, lead people to believe that you are strong and confident. Even if you don’t believe it yourself, others who look to you for your strength will continue to as long as you show it.  This can transfer into your training too.

If you believe you can hit that PR, someday you will. As long as you work towards it and trust the process, it’ll only be a matter of time.

Composing yourself in the face of Stress

Stress comes in many forms: financial, family, competition, training, etc.

There’s no way to avoid it. It’s in our lives every single day.

But how you handle it is the X-Factor.

I see it as two ways–either change what stresses you or change how you think/feel about it. I know it’s easier said than done, but you have no other choice.

If you go about it negatively, you’re sabotaging your health and potentially those around you. If you go about it positively, it could really change the way you look at things

I watched a TED talk the other day about how using stress to actually help yourself. The video explains.

It sounds crazy, but I thought about it and it totally makes sense. Having a positive outlook on work, your family, life, or even training can make a world of a difference in how you feel mentally and physically.

It’s always going to be dark with your head down in the dirt, if you don’t look up and try to find light at the end of the tunnel.

So you broke a nail. So what, they’ll grow back (or you can buy new ones).

You bombed out at a meet even though it should never happen. But so what, there are other meets. Learn from it and move on.

Your kid broke his leg. Sure he’s hurt, but he’s alive and safe. Be open to the fact that it may happen again. We’re human.
We may crumble under stressful circumstance, but as long as we get out of it we’re going to be okay. Looking at it as the end of your progress or a bump in the road you can’t get around is nonsense. Life moves on.

You’re either going to spend the rest of your time working towards controlling YOUR stress or you’re going to let it control you. It’s up to you.

Being the Self-Saboteur is so easy these days. People will look for the quickest way out or excuse for not being where they want to be. It’s bullshit. If your goal is to make people feel sorry for you, that’s fine. But it’ll get you nowhere to where you truly want to be.

Surround yourself around people who will help pick you up. DO things that will make you happy, make you laugh or an exercise you know you can do with ease build back up that confidence.  DON’T talk shit about yourself. DO look at the big picture. Look at what you’ve done successfully. Success leaves patterns. Follow it and make adjustments along the way.

To say be positive is kind of corny, but it’s true damn it. Take time to yourself to critique your performance and get your head back in the game. DON’T be the Self-Saboteur.

There are people counting on you.

YOU are counting on you.