Are you sabotaging yourself?

This is right after I crossed the finish line. I'm soggy, but happy.

This is right after I crossed the finish line. I’m soggy, but happy.

Last Sunday I ran my first 10K.

Running has always been a bit…challenging…for me. Sure, I learned to embrace it and run the occasional 5K. But a 10K seemed impossible. That’s 6.2 miles. Of running. Wow.

In a fit of stubbornness, I signed up for my first 10K a few months ago. Had I ever run 6.2 miles? Nope. But I thought, “Hey, I can do this. I can build up my mileage. Six miles is nothing!”

Then things started to change.

From super-motivated to “meh.”

Sure, I jumped into training with both feet (ha!). But soon, I could feel myself losing momentum. Running didn’t feel good. I went from training three or four times a week to running once – maybe. I started making excuses why this particular 10K was a bad idea. “It’s three days after my move.  I have to travel three days after that. I really need sleep more than anything else.”

I came this close to quitting. Many times.

The day of the race, I was sick. Not just a little sick. Really sick. Another perfect excuse to quit.

But I didn’t.

Thanks to the encouragement of my wonderful husband, I got up at 5:30 on a blustery Sunday morning and we made the 45-minute drive to the race site. I may not have run a 10K before, but I successfully made it through the race. I even had a decent average mile pace – which is pretty impressive considering much of the run was uphill or on a muddy and slick trail.

When the reality of “I finished and I didn’t die” kicked in, I was pumped! I successfully broke through what I thought was my upper limit.

(And I didn’t feel sick anymore. Go figure!).

What’s the lesson here?

After the run, I started thinking about this situation in terms of personal development. How many times do we set a goal and sabotage ourselves? For instance:

– I want to make more money this year, but I keep taking low-paying gigs because I’m afraid I won’t see another lead for a long time.

– I finally landed a great client, but I blew the deadline and lost the gig.

– I would love that job, but I forgot to apply on time. Besides, I wasn’t really ready for it. Maybe next time.

– I planned a great vacation, but then I got sick. So much for my vacation.

Sound familiar?

The reality is, these are limits we put on ourselves. They are not real. We build these walls in our minds and refuse to tear them down. We make excuses, self-sabatoge (like I did by not training,) and tell ourselves why we can’t have something.

And that’s just stupid.

If someone else said, “I don’t think you’re worth more than $100 a page,” we’d probably say something like, “Oh yeah? Watch THIS.” And then prove them wrong. But it’s funny how we don’t do that when it’s a limitation we put on ourself.

It’s breakthrough time!

This is what’s called an “upper limit” problem. Marie Forleo defines it as this:

Each of has an internal thermometer for how much success, wealth, happiness, love, and intimacy we’ll let ourselves experience.  That’s our upper limit setting.  Kind of like our success comfort zone.

When we exceed our internal thermostat setting and life gets super duper OMG good (we have an influx of money, get healthy and thin, find a great relationship) – we unconsciously do things to sabotage ourselves, so we can drop back to the old, familiar place where we feel in control.

(For more information about this, check out the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. It’s a good one!)

Yes, this is a part of the process (and achieving greatness.) But you have to hang with it.

Consider where you may be self-sabatoging your success. You may have to get quiet – really quiet – to hear those voices inside your head saying you aren’t quite good enough. When you can hear them, tell them to take a hike. You’ve come this far, dammit – and you’ve got a long way to go, baby.

You can break through. Trust me.

And damn, it feels so good when you do!

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5 replies
  1. Heather Georgoudiou says:

    Hey Heather,

    I”m so proud of you a 10K up hill in soggy weather! Wow! I’ve been a fan of yours for quite a few years and I always see you striving and moving forward – it’s inspiring. I”m looking forward to seeing what this new upper limit brings to your business and rethinking the possibilities of my upper limits.

  2. Shauna says:

    I wonder why we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop when things are great. Why don’t we deserve it, particularly if we’ve worked hard for it? And more to the point, why shouldn’t we ENJOY it once we’ve got it? I, for one, am not afraid of heights so I’m going to keep climbing! Thanks Heather!


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