Combating Self-Sabotage as a Leader

Have you ever had a fast-approaching deadline, but rather than completing it, you switch on Netflix? Do you ever turn down exciting opportunities because they would push you too far out of your comfort zone? You may not realize it, but these are self-sabotaging behaviors.

Chris Holland
April 12, 2022
Kids Ministry Leadership

We all have habits built up throughout our lives that lead our actions like second nature. But, how often do we take a deeper look at these habits? Many of our instinctual behaviors are detrimental to our success, yet we follow these instincts as if they serve us.

Turning away from these ego-led behaviors and toward God will help you harness your true potential while breaking free from negative thought patterns. This isn’t always easy, but it will be worth it. As a church leader, you need to spur your people forward rather than hold them back.

Though we do have a sinful nature, there are ways to combat it and live a Godly life. Read on if you are interested in learning self-improvement practices to help you flourish as a leader. Follow these tips to recognize your self-sabotaging behaviors, and overcome them.

What is Self-Sabotaging?

Woman shaking head with anxiety

The term self-sabotage refers to any behavior we have that hinders our progress. This normally impacts long-term goals but affects everyday activities in our lives, too. As it comes from a place of insecurity and negative self-talk, self-sabotaging behaviors seek to ruin a good thing for fear that it will end badly anyway.

For example, people who put off beginning a project because they fear it won’t be perfect are self-sabotaging perfectionists. Though being a perfectionist is often seen as a good trait masked as a bad one, if you let it consume you, it will prevent you from doing anything at all. 

Identify How You Self-Sabotage

Woman laying on couch with nothing to do

To work through your self-sabotaging behaviors, you first need to identify them. Asking yourself questions that reflect on how you live your life is a great way to do this. Does your behavior align with your goals? If it doesn’t, what is stopping you from taking action? Do you live according to your values? Do you feel easy when faced with success?

These are just some of the questions to ask yourself. To really uncover your behavioral patterns, you’ll have to dig deep into your unique experiences. Journaling can be a useful way of identifying toxic patterns in your life, and speaking with a therapist is beneficial for many people, too.  

Common Types of Self Sabotage 

Scared man hugging his legs on the floor

Few can say they don’t self-sabotage. The most common types of self-sabotage are daily things that most of us barely consider. Procrastination, overthinking, and indulging in excess food are just some of the things that can hold you back when you let them take over. It’s easy to put off doing menial tasks, and this doesn’t necessarily mean you have an issue. But some people take it to the extreme point where it hinders their growth.

  • There is the self-critic who is so hard on themselves that it lowers their sense of self-worth and confidence. 
  • The avoider is a victim of their anxieties and avoids potentially stressful situations like the plague.
  • The assumer thinks they know how everything will end up, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that often has negative results.

How to End the Self-Sabotage Cycle

Going out and exploring

Embarking on a journey of self-discovery can feel daunting, but with God by your side, it will be much easier. Once you have worked through your subconscious mind and the triggers that affect you most you will be in a position to start the healing process. As a leader, how to stop self-sabotage usually involves setting realistic goals with a step-by-step action plan that forces you to follow through. 

Surround yourself with a strong and supportive team and listen to their opinions. Asking others how they view certain situations will help shine a light on whether your negative inner voice is clouding your judgment. When more people are involved in a big project with you, it will help you lead your church to success.

Having Faith in God’s Plan

Holding up bible to the heavens

Take extra time to pray to God and ask for guidance in these unclear times. He will shine a light on what’s best for you and your people. Trust in His plan, and all will become clear in the end. Humans have a sinful nature which is what causes our ego to flourish with ease, and with His guidance, we can grow past it. 

With the right amount of self-work and reflection, you will notice toxic patterns and your self-sabotaged former self a mile off. When that voice in your head tells you that you are bound to fail if you do something outside of your comfort zone, you’ll find the strength to laugh it off and do it anyway. 

Humans are imperfect. We make mistakes, we do things we regret, and we are forever learning and growing. So don’t push yourself to your limits trying to be perfect because you need to take time for yourself. There is a big difference between a self-care rest day and toxic procrastination, as a rest day might help you succeed in the long run.

Lead your community with strength and confidence when you work on yourself and eliminate your toxic patterns. Be the best that you can be for your church and your people and God will support you every step of the way.

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