Business Success


September 16, 2014

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

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In the last blog, we talked about Colonel Sanders’ recipe for success. This week, we’ll talk about a recipe for failure…one of the biggest I see in dealing with coaching clients. It’s called “Self-Sabotage”.


We all hit walls here and there, that’s just normal. But when it happens frequently, the issue could very well be self-sabotage.


Here’s an example.


You have managed to build a business to, let’s say, five figures. This is a respectable business and indicates you have something to offer that people need. You have a pattern for success that could be taken to the six-figure level. But every time you get to this level, you find yourself losing clients or dropping the ball and having to start over again. And this hasn’t happened once or twice…it is a frequently repeated pattern.


This is a pretty good indicator that you’re dealing with self-sabotage. You are unwittingly hindering your own progress.


What is the basis for self-sabotage?



Think about it…why would someone do things that continually hold them back from reaching a new level of success? No matter how much they may want that success, they consistently thwart their own efforts.


If that someone is you, it is vital that you identify your saboteurs (some of their names are below) and get help in the battle against them.




Fear of failure – What if it doesn’t work?


Fear of success – What if it does? What happens if I DO get to that level? How would I meet the new demands and greater expectations? How will I manage it all? Will I know enough to do something beyond my current level?




You know what your current level feels like. Like an old couch, it may be ugly, but it’s comfortable. Getting to a new level means getting out of your comfort zone and that is…uncomfortable!




You know how to get to where you are. You’ve done it. But if you’re going to get beyond your current range, most of the time, you’re going to need a navigator – someone who has walked the path before you and can provide guidance, insight, and inspiration. The bigger you build, the more help you will need. Build your cabinet now – advisors, encouragers, support team, mentors, and mentees. At some point or another, I can tell you with certainty, you will need these people.




This is one of the most common saboteurs – lack of confidence. This may have deep roots from sources in your past, but as an adult, it’s important to remember that those voices from your childhood don’t govern your value anymore. The fact is, they never should have. When you hear those comments in your mind (or think them yourself), ask yourself what part of what you hear is true. If there are shortcomings, then determine to deal with those. Chances are, most of what you “hear” is not true at all.




You’re on the threshold of a new level, and inevitably, you’re going to feel a lack – of time, money, energy, motivation, desire, passion, resources, knowledge, credentials or some other key ingredient. It is normal to feel this way. But those who build higher refuse to let “lack” rule their lives. Seek advice for overcoming the lacks that you see. Be like Will Smith in that movie, The Pursuit of Happyness. Go up to the successful person and ask them to share with you what they did to get there. Somewhere in their story, you will undoubtedly find they overcame a lack.


Changing too much


This is a very common thread I see. Someone will have a solid business concept that has gotten them to a respectable level. But in their desire to go higher, they feel the need to totally change EVERYTHING – reinvent the wheel. This type of change confuses their audience, and they tend to lose people.


Growth is not about tearing down a building every time you need to add a floor. It’s about building a solid foundation that is prepared to handle the load, and then adding one level at a time. If you have 27 undefined websites and change your branding more than your clothes, you are sabotaging your growth.


Changing too little


This is the opposite twin of changing too much. These are those who refuse to change at all. To succeed, a business must be adaptable to change (not reinvention, but change). Purposely add new and interesting facets on a regular basis – monthly, quarterly, or annually – just to keep things fresh and up to date.




I will tell you that having a business is one of the best training grounds for dealing with discouragement because they will come regularly. Perhaps you’ve invested deeply in a person or project, and something doesn’t work – or they don’t pay you. Maybe you’ve done a great job, but they criticize. Maybe there are things in your personal life – outside your control – that are doing their best to pull you down.


How do you get encouraged? Right now, make a list of the things that encourage you and bring you back to topside. Just like that cabinet mentioned above, you will need this recharge list frequently. Your list may include quiet time, time with people, a hobby, listening to music, watching a movie or a certain TV show, or getting out in nature. Your list is unique to you, but have one. When you have a need to grow, you will be inclined to work more and more; but before you do, take a little time to recharge, regroup, and get your reinforcements ready to hit that next level.




Over-commitment leads to fatigue, and fatigue makes cowards of us all, as the old saying goes. Over-commitment is a setup. Don’t allow yourself to go there because, in the end, you will lose credibility.


What are the names of your saboteurs? What has helped you overcome them? This week, especially, I invite you to share your story in the comments below. Let’s help each other deal with saboteurs.


  1. Kathleen says:

    I have 2 stopping points…doubt that creeps in my own thoughts and listening to ‘power doubters’. Those are the people I allow to cast doubt on my circumstances. ..I give them way too much power. My dad was one….and I have more.
    Thank you for your post. I just made my list of ways to refresh during the day.

  2. Deb – the self saboteur I face many times is the perceived lack of time. Stuff flying by the window of the plane at 600 MPH.

    I am preaching to the choir here, but I have determined in my spirit to be UNBROKEN and to get a laser focus on ONE THING…..attack it (no matter how small or large), get a win…..and move onto the next thing and repeat the process!

    Thanks for the timely summary….well said!!