I wrote an article on Forbes.com called “Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself“. It’s a message worth resharing:
I was standing in the security line at an airport when a TSA worker came walking alongside the line yelling out in an animated way, “No liquids, no aerosols, no gels or creams on the airplane…You better check yourself before you wreck yourself!” I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud. As the CEO of over a thousand employees at the time, I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like if every CEO walked through the halls of their company yelling out something similar…”No negativity, no dishonesty, no disrespect in the workplace…You better check yourself before you wreck yourself!” Frankly, it might actually be a good idea. After all, that TSA worker certainly got every one of us standing in the line that day to think twice about what we had in our carry-ons.
Whether its procrastination, acting impulsively, laziness, overcommitting, overthinking, self-pity, giving up, or just being negative, everyone has engaged in some form of self-sabotage at one point or another in their work life. That’s why it is so critical that you stop and ask yourself if you are engaging in self-sabotage when it comes to your job? Is it possible that you may be the very person standing in the way of your own success?
Let’s look at several ways one might wreck themselves at work:
· Having a bad attitude, a negative attitude, or a sassy attitude
· Getting defensive when management is giving you feedback on how you need to improve
· Hanging out with negative people in the office
· Contributing or participating in negative situations
· Gossiping with coworkers
· Going to lunch with coworkers in order to bash the company or your managers
· Sharing with coworkers when you gotten in trouble for poor performance or poor attitude rather than keeping it confidential and fixing your bad behavior
· Discussing salary with coworkers or inappropriately sharing confidential HR information
· Going against a company policy
· Not living the company values
· Not taking the time to read all communication from company leadership
· Pretending to be working when the boss or a manager walks by
· Suddenly changing the subject as a manager walks by to hide an inappropriate conversation
· Lying to your manager
· Lying to anyone
· Treating others disrespectfully
· Having an attitude of entitlement
· Acting as though you are better than other people or as though other people are less than you
· Not giving an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay
“Just think how much you’d get done if you stopped actively sabotaging your own work.” – Seth Godin
Now let’s look at some steps that can help one avoid self-sabotage in the workplace:
· The first step is to be self-aware. Go through the list of examples above and be honest with yourself about which things you have been guilty of doing.
· The next step is to accept responsibility. Admit to yourself that you are the one in control of your own behavior and acknowledge that you have the ability to change it.
· Stop making excuses and stop justifying the bad choices you have been making. Stop convincing yourself that you are justified to do these things that are sabotaging your success in the workplace.
· Find a strong support system. Find trusted coworkers that are willing to help you stay on the right track. Your best bet is a manager or a leader because they have a vested interest in helping you succeed. After all, the best leaders rate themselves by the success of the people they lead.
· Spread positivity. Become known for being the person who always looks for the positive in every situation. Lift and encourage your coworkers. Always speak positively about the company and its leadership. If there are things you have been unhappy with in the past find positive ways to help improve them. You will have the greatest influence and impact when you point out possible solutions in a positive way.
· Live with integrity. Give an honest day’s work every single day. Be truthful with everyone. Do what you say you will do. Give open feedback in a respectful way. Be trustworthy and dependable.
“Check yourself before you wreck yourself” isn’t just something you should do one time. Just like you have to clear TSA security each time you go to the airport, you should take the time to “Check yourself before you wreck yourself” as you walk through the doors to enter your office building each day. Remind yourself of all those self-sabotaging behaviors you can’t be taking with you into the building. And just as the TSA security rules are there to make sure you have safe flight, the steps for avoiding self-sabotage are there to make sure you reach the height of success.
“The moment you take responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life.” –Hal Elrod
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the newly released book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )