As the Sabotage Slayer it’s my job to help women overcome the mindset, thoughts, beliefs and habits that keep them stuck in the lifestyle they’re not happy with. Binge eating, drinking too much, working way too hard, no self-care, low confidence, giving to everyone else but them – all signs of self-sabotage that I help women bust through every day.
But sometimes it has its purpose.
Self-sabotage, at its root, is our subconscious programming. It’s the thoughts, beliefs and patterns we develop as kids and reinforce as adults. It’s when you’re repeatedly told you’re not good enough, or you’re too fat, or “at least you have the brains – we’re not known for looks in our family!”, or when you take on a role as a child – the “good one”, the “rebel”, or like me, the one who had to pick her mom off the floor every night, which meant I always had to be in control, to be the parent.
These beliefs become our survival mechanism. If I wasn’t in “control” as a child, everything would unravel. My mom was so out of control, that without my control who knows what would have happened. So anything that threatens my sense of control, is in essence threatening my survival.
Even as an adult – where I am no longer picking my mom (or anyone, except my 2 children) off the floor, anything that threatens my sense of control, is way too scary.
So, let’s put this into an adult context here.
As a child, it makes sense. You’re just living how you’ve been conditioned to live. Without that survival mechanism, you may not have gotten through whatever you went through sane and with a degree of success.
But fast-forward to adulthood. When you embark on things outside of your comfort zone, like starting a business, or public speaking, or life coaching, or even going to a gym – all of these things, unless they were totally a part of your upbringing and familiar to you, become threats to your survival.
For example, for me, being vulnerable is extremely scary. Vulnerability = out of control. And anything that is out of control triggers my fight or flight survival mechanism.
So I have a choice – I can keep “safe” and not be vulnerable, and stay “hardened” so that people barely get to know me – but at least I’m safe. OR I could take a risk, get outside my comfort zone, become vulnerable and know that any fear that comes up is simply my little girl freaking out and that I actually am totally and completely safe.
It’s this paradigm that keeps people stuck for a long time. People stay in jobs, relationships and situations WAY beyond what they should because their survival mechanisms are stronger than their will to live a different life.
When I decided to quit my corporate job and become an entrepreneur every single survival mechanism of mine was triggered. And I have dealt with each one, one-by-one as they come up because the desire for me to empower women is stronger than my fear. This doesn’t mean that my fear doesn’t take over some days- it totally does, but I am self-aware enough to recognize it and thus move through it.
Our Sabotage is there to keep us safe. Safe from harm, rejection, pain, judgment, loneliness – women especially want to feel like part of the tribe so anything that threatens this very visceral need of ours has to go. Fear of rejection is very real for women. So to deal with that, and the disappointment of not living an ideal life, women will turn to food, drugs, alcohol, sex, and shopping to satiate and mute the burning desire within them to be, do and have a different life.
Ask yourself – what happens when you see another woman living a life you wish you could live? Do you feel jealous, judgment, assuming she must have “a rich husband” or money in the bank? The only difference between her and you is that she over-rode her survival mechanism and went for it.
When I quit my corporate job I actually had someone give me the judgiest of looks, rolled her eyes and tsked. I intuitively KNEW she assumed I had a rich husband…so I said “yeah, I am taking a risk. I believe in what I do, and even though I have no rich husband or savings to back me up, I’m doing it anyway”. She stared at me like I had 10 heads. It was not in her realm to understand that if you have a desire to do something, you CAN just go and do it. I had other “friends” flat out ignore me and never speak to me again – and all I did was follow my dreams.
If I were to allow my survival mechanism to take over, those situations would have been “evidence” that I should NOT go for it, because I was being “rejected” by the tribe. I can’t possibly have people not like me! What will people think?!!!
The truth of the matter is, once you stop living from your survival space, and start living from your most authentic space (which is hippie-speak for WHO YOU REALLY ARE), people will LOVE you more than you ever thought possible. You only THINK you have a tribe, but you really don’t. You have people around you who are happy for you to stay small, and to think small and to be small. If you upset that, you highlight to them how they’re not living their biggest life, and people don’t like to see that. It’s too painful.
Where are you living in your survival state? What are you hanging back from doing because of fear? What do you think you want? What is the secret desire you have? Give it some air, let it breathe – quietly at first, just to yourself. Then maybe share with your best friend, your partner, then to the world!
I could not have gotten as far as I have without the support of my coaches. This survival mechanism is insidious, and just when we think we have it under control…we don’t. And there are always deeper layers we can get to.
Have you considered hiring a life coach? Curious about what it looks like? Book a complimentary 20 minute session on my calendar. If anything I’ve said in this article resonates, let’s get on a call and see what’s going on in your life and create an action plan to have you step out of the fear and into your most Delicious Life.