Have you ever said you wanted something so much all you can think of is the “thing”, but your actions said something different? I daresay at some point most everyone has, myself included.
Such was the case with Oregon Ducks wide receiver Darren Carrington. As the result of a bad choice shortly before the College Football Playoff National Championship against Ohio State, Carrington was suspended from the playoffs. Simply put, he sabotaged his success.
According to several reports Carrington failed an NCAA-sanctioned drug test. Allegedly, he tested positive for marijuana.
Not only did he let himself down, he surely let his team, fans and even his opponents down.
It’s one thing to give up on your goals and resolutions. It’s completely different to do something that sabotages your success with the world watches.
This post is NOT about passing judgment on Carrington’s behavior, nor is it about whether it’s right or wrong to use marijuana as much as it is about his timing. Lord knows I’ve made my fair share of bad choices. And many times my timing on choices could have been better.
Actually, it’s quite common for highly accomplished individuals to sabotage their success. And the more accomplished one is the more evident their self-sabotaging behavior becomes.
With visibility comes public scrutiny. If one is not well known, a public figure, a celebrity, or a superstar athlete, not many people will know when choices are made that sabotage our success.
Yet, it happens all the time. There’s the sales professional who would benefit from picking up the phone and calling prospective clients, but rather he or she spends hours watching training videos without implementing their learning.
Or what about the woman who wants to drop 20 pounds and rather than take a daily thirty minute walk after work she flops down on the couch in front of the television immediately upon arriving home from work where she stays until heading to bed.
Then there’s the employee who won’t go the extra mile until they are compensated for their efforts.
Maybe it’s the business owner who knows they’re not good at handling their liquor and during an important meeting with a client they order a drink only to find themselves sloshed within a short period of time risking behavior that could lose them a great relationship with their client.
We can speculate as to all the reasons one would sabotage themselves. Simply put, it might be a lapse of common sense. It may be fear of success. It could be not feeling deserving of the very thing we say we want.
Whatever the reasons, a higher level of consciousness in the way we live and conduct ourselves minimizes our chances of sabotage.
Common forms of sabotage are:

  1. Perfectionism. It’s incredible how many people won’t get something done because it has to be perfect.
  2. Procrastination. Putting things off until you’re in a complete crunch to get things done.
  3. BSOS – Bright Shiny Object Syndrome. It’s true, there’s a lot vying for our attention. It’s also true that it takes discipline to keep on track and stay within time frames and budgets.
  4. Budgeting time and money or actually, lack thereof. Far too many people will start projects with a “someday I’ll get it done” attitude or “the money will manifest.” To succeed you need to put a time limit on what you’re doing and you need to set a budget. Otherwise, both can cause you to fail.
  5. Failure to stretch yourself. The bottom line is this; you have to take risks and you have to get out of your comfort zone. Things are changing so rapidly that if you don’t train yourself to respond quickly you’re going to get left behind.
  6. Failure to spend enough time marketing your business. It takes more than a post or two on your Facebook wall to gain the visibility you need with your market. Not having a targeted approach is a form of sabotage to the success of your business.
  7.  Making poor choices that don’t align with your values, beliefs or goals. A great example is what Darren Carrington did that got him suspended from one of the most important games of his college career.

Regardless of what you say you want, your actions, or lack of actions, will determine a great deal. As Joel Osteen has said, “One choice can change the course of your life forever. ”
Think through the choices that can take your life in a direction you don’t want to go and make sure you don’t do that which will haunt you forever.
Most importantly is this; recognize that the choices we make are not just about us. Others are impacted by our choices whether we want them to be or not.
What’s your most effective way to avoid sabotaging your success? Comments encouraged and welcomed.