Is Your Business Suffering From Self-Sabotage?

By on August 1, 2011

woman setting with head down By: Sharon Hurley Hall –

How many times have you almost reached your business goal, only to have something get in the way at the last minute? If this has happened to you before, and if it keeps on happening, then it’s not just random acts of fate, it’s probably self sabotage.

Sad to say, ladies, but research shows that women tend to do this more than men, as the case study in this article shows. But why do you do it? Here are five reasons why women in business often sabotage their efforts and some strategies for getting back on track.

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1. Poor Self Image
While some women know that they’re ‘da bomb’, many do not. Research shows that many women have a poor self-image, often as a result of feeling unloved in childhood. If you think you can’t do the job, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Any business setback makes you feel unworthy and reinforces the negative self-image.

The answer? Stop the self blame if things don’t go according to plan – that’s business, and that’s life. Paths are rarely smooth and business setbacks are normal, both in the startup phase and any time you change direction. Remember and cherish your strengths. If you have been strong enough to start and run a business and to achieve some success, revel in that and banish the self-doubt.

2. Passiveness
In the bad old days, women were raised to be passive, to subsume their own wishes and look after everyone else. Some women may still be raised that way and that’s a no-no for a businesswoman. Often taught not to raise our voices and to be conciliatory, that can be a problem when you need to stand our ground and fight for what you want to achieve in your business. Some women even hand over the financial reins to a man they trust, which takes them out of the driver’s seat.

The answer? Remember, you’re the one who’s invested in the business and who has the vision for what it will be, so you are the one who should make the final decisions. The buck stops with you.

3. Excess Emotion
If you’re a clinical, clear-headed woman, then congratulations! You probably have what it takes to succeed in business. Sometimes, though, women can get so emotionally bound up in their business idea, that they lack the professional objectivity and detachment needed to make tough decisions about business moves. If your business is your baby, you see it differently from a business that is just a business.

The answer? Instead of being a parent to your business, maybe you should be a teacher, responsible for the well being of lots of different aspects without investing emotionally in just one. That way you can make tough decisions without becoming an emotional mess.

4. Lack of Discipline
If you have kids, it’s likely you told them to focus on one thing at a time and to avoid distraction when they were growing up. That lesson is equally true for women in business. You are often pulled in many directions. When you’re young, parenting and family life compete with your desire to succeed in business. When you’re a bit older, concern for aging parents and college-age kids may make you lose focus. If you’re suffering from a sense of chaos and can’t find anything on your desk, then you could be sabotaging yourself.

The answer? Impose some structure on your work day and your business. Take your dreams and visions and break them down in to manageable (SMART) goals. Create a filing system, even if it’s simple, so that you can retrieve the business information you need. Then you’ll have a handle on what’s really happening with your business at all times.

5. Fear of Success
For some women, the more successful they are, the less secure they feel. Ironic, isn’t it, that at the time that you should be feeling most confident, you sabotage yourself with insecurity. Like poor self-image, insecurity can make you passive just when you need to take control and be assertive, imposing your vision on our business. This can result in being talked into venturing into areas that aren’t a good fit. When they fail, this reinforces the idea that you are no good.

The answer? Accept that success isn’t always a smooth path and dare to dream. Visualize the benefits of success (maybe even create a vision board) till it becomes something you want to achieve rather than something you fear.

The overall message is that you don’t have to be a victim of self-sabotage. You can work through it, achieve success and enjoy the benefits of that success. You go, girl!


Sharon Hurley Hall has almost 25 years of experience writing professionally – as a journalist, an academic writer, a blogger, a ghost writer and an online copy writer. She has been running Get Paid To Write Online since 2005 to help other writers improve and build sustainable and successful writing careers. You can also find Sharon on Twitter and Facebook.

About Sharon Hurley Hall

Sharon Hurley Hall has been writing professionally for almost 25 years, and she does it because she loves it. She is a word nerd, a Scrabble fiend, fanatical about grammar, and is fascinated by learning new things. Since 2005, Sharon has mentored other writers to help them improve and build sustainable and successful writing careers. Sharon subscribes to the 'fine wine' theory of aging - getting older also means getting better! Connect with Sharon on her website.

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Is Your Business Suffering From Self-Sabotage?