How to Sabotage Your Success

Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.
~ George Herman “Babe” Ruth

As an executive coach, I am privy to clients’ stories of success and failure. I’ve noticed over the years that they commonly share one highly destructive behavior: self-sabotage.

Few of us realize how frequently self-sabotaging beliefs creep into our decisions—sometimes even daily. As the following example illustrates, the root cause may be habitual. (photo courtesy

Marty is a creative, intelligent professional who’s on his way up the organizational ladder. One day, he complained to me that he’d been passed over for promotion. He said he was better qualified than the person his bosses chose and that the position would have been his dream job, with more money, flexibility and opportunities to showcase his personal strengths.

“So, why do you think this happened?” I asked.

As we talked, Marty admitted he’d never let anyone know how badly he wanted the job. He assumed his bosses would consider him, but he never actively talked to them about his qualifications or intense motivation.

Marty revealed numerous reasons for his inaction, most of them self-sabotaging. Like many gifted professionals, he exhibited a behavior that psychologists call self-handicapping: anticipating a real or imagined obstacle that might get in the way of success and using it as an excuse to do nothing.

Self-handicapping allows us to protect ourselves from the pain of assuming responsibility for our failures—and we do it all the time. In fact, self-sabotage has been identified as one of the  major barriers to building professional power.

This 720-word article examines subtle beliefs and assumptions that undermine our intentions and chances for success and gives four practical steps to prevent self-sabotage.


This is a brief synopsis of a 720-word article and Article Nuggets,* suitable for coach newsletters and blog posts. It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials. You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.

The full article talks about several useful meeting fundamentals:

  • Self-handicapping
  • 10 Ways to Self-Sabotage
  • Four Key Steps for Prevention 

If you are a Content for Coaches client and your account is current, no need to order. Send me an email to confirm that you wish to use this article and/or Article Nuggets for your next newsletter.

All others please use the order links below.

Order Links to purchase this article:

  1. How to Sabotage Your Success 720-word Article with Full Reprint Rights, $57 –
  2. How to Sabotage Your Success – 3 Article Nuggets* with Full Reprint Rights$64 –

*Article Nuggets: The same article broken up into 3 blog-style sections suitable for a series of blog posts or shorter newsletter articles, with links and personal pronoun “I.”

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