In this episode, I talk about the how and why of self-sabotage and how to get out of your own way!
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In this episode, I talk about the how and why of self-sabotage and how to get out of your own way! Listen on iTunes here: Michael Unbroken Podcast Click here: https://www.linktr.ee/michaelunbroken Sign up for small group coaching here: https://www.thinkunbroken.com Follow me on Instagram @MichaelUnbrokenThis episode is Sponsored by Think Unbroken Academy. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/michaelunbroken/message
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Hey, what's up unbroken nation. Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world. I'm Michael Anthony author, speaker, coach, mentor, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma. Welcome to the Michael unbroken podcast.
I don't know about you guys, but I am super excited about 2021. You know, I said recently, if you were listening or watching the goals workshop that 2020 was my best year ever. And I got to say this, I meant it. And I'm even more excited about 2021, you know, and I share success not only in my personal life, but thinking about success for my clients, thinking about success for the people who follow me, thinking about success for strangers people I’ve never met. And a lot of the content that I put out as is not necessarily motivational, but I try to keep it very practical. How can I give you something, a tool, whatever it may be to take with you, to carry into your life, to create change, to step onto that pathway of ultimately becoming the hero of your own story.
And I'm always thinking about what it is that we need as the unbroken nation to grow, to change, to heal, to ultimately become the hero of our own story. And one of the number one questions that I get on social media, in my inbox, in the text messages, wherever it may be as how do I stop self-sabotaging and I understand self-sabotage in such an intrinsic way. It is near and dear to my heart. Let me tell you, if you looked up self-sabotage in the dictionary, you would see a picture of my face. Now that used to be true. It's no longer true. And I hope that that's not true for you, but I know for so many people, it is. And so, as we kick off 2021, we head into this new year. You head into these new episodes and you are here with me. I want to share this with you.
Self-sabotage can be overcome. Let me tell you how I know. I used to be 360 pounds, smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, drink from sunup till sundown, never show up for myself, hurt all the people around me and almost die multiple times because of my choices. And here I am talking to you today. Now, Sure, a lot of that stuff was very far removed and almost a distant memory in my life, but there was a period of time in which I had to look at that. And I had to measure that against the person I was and understand that I was in my own way. And what I want to share with you today is how do you get out of your own way? How do we understand sabotage? How do we understand who it affects and why it affects us and how it affects us? And ultimately, I'm going to leave you with some tools that you can take away to start walking down the path of removing yourself from self-sabotage. So, who is affected by self-sabotage? Everyone. That's a secret that I didn't know if you knew or not, but I'm sharing with you is that everyone, at some point in their life has self-sabotaged. It's who we are to an extent. Now that is not who we have to be. And now I'm sharing with you that the possibility of that removing this from your life entirely is there. But at some point, every single person on planet earth has sabotaged themselves and that's okay. We can accept that. We go great. Okay, cool. I have community in that thing. Even though it's not the best thing in the world, you know that you're not alone and that's important. That's a catalyst for change knowing that other people have gone down the same road as you.
Now look, your journey may be different. And I understand that. And so, I don't ever want to compare, I don't want you to ever leave here feeling defeated. Like somehow, just because your experience is different than mine, or there's whomever's that you can't have what you want in your life, because I'm going to promise you that you can, my friend. And that is what this is about.
Now, understanding that and looking at this and recognizing that we are all impacted by self-sabotage. What I want you to think about is what does that really mean? What does self-sabotage really mean? And I think creating an understanding of this for yourself is that the baseline of creating change, right? To understand where we are going, we have to first understand how we got to where we are. And so, what does that mean? What does self-sabotage mean in your life? I'll give you a perfect example. About 10 years ago, I found myself in bed pretty much all day high, from the moment I woke up to the moment that I fell asleep. In the evenings, smash a bottle of wine, sometimes two, my dinner would be chocolate cake and a glass of milk. I was 350 pounds overweight. My life was a disaster because every day that I woke up, I was terrified. This is the truth. I was terrified that I might live up to the expectation that I had for myself to be great. Now I define that expectation and I held that over myself. And I looked at it as a goal that one day I may accomplish, but I never put parameters on it. I never said that as the thing that I want to do, I was never pointed and clear about the life that I wanted to have.
And the thing about this is that as I sat and I resonated in the moment about why I was lying in bed and not doing anything, the part of me that got really clear was that self-sabotage for me, meant that I was scared of the possibility that I could have what I wanted on the other side of hard work, I am not scared of hard work. I found success in many areas of my life and you probably have too, but the thing that we have to move towards is how do we find success in all the areas of our life. There's probably an area in your life right now, where you're not showing up in your career, in that book that you're writing, in your relationship, in the gym, at home, whatever it may be. And so, what you have to do is define what it means right now in your life to not be showing up for yourself. What does that actually mean? Because the only way we can get to where we want to go is, we have to understand how we got to where we are. And then there's the other side of it. The why, why do we self-sabotage? I wish I had an answer for you that was easier than its human nature, but I don't. So much of it is human nature tied all the way back down into our childhood, where we may have had a parent tell us we were never going to be capable of anything or a coach saying we're worthless or a teacher saying no wonder you're dumb, whatever that thing may be we've all had a different experience. So much of it is tied intrinsically within us as the scapegoat. Now I know that's not the word you expected to hear, but I'm going to say it because you need to hear it.
We often leverage experiences of our past as an excuse for not showing up in our present. I'm going to say that again. We often leverage our past to not show up in our present. And I wish that weren't the case. I do. I do. I do. I wish I could give you a magic pill that would erase that. But I can't. But what I can tell you is that doesn't have to hold true. If you choose to not allow it to hold true. We come from this place of trauma where the world has always been against us, where we say to ourselves, I don't deserve it. I can't have it. I'll never be, why should I? But they, but this, but that, there's always a reason. There's always a reason that we don't show up for ourselves. That is self-sabotage. And why? Because it's ingrained in us. It's buried in us. It's a part of our nomenclature. It is part of our human nature, but it doesn't have to be. Now, how do you move through that? That's a choice that you have to make. And so much of it starts with getting clear on what you actually want in your life.
Last week, I had an episode of the podcast and a workshop around goal setting for 2021. I'm not going to go deep into it, but I think this is really important. If you want to be successful in life, you have to have a direction. You have to have a goal. You have to have something that you're moving towards. That makes you want to show up every day. You have to have a reason. All too often, we are nonchalantly and ambivalently moving through life with no course of direction. It's so much easier to sabotage yourself when you don't have a reason to show up. And so, the first thing that you can do is write down your goals. What would it really mean to you to show up in your life? What is that thing that you want? Is it a better relationship, a better career, to lose 10 pounds, to learn to cook, to write that book, to post that blog, to do that thing, whatever it may be, can you get hyper specific around that goal and write it down and then reverse engineer it down to its easiest step and say, this is my jump off point. This is where I'm going to be in. Because as long as you have a goal, you have a direction. Now you're probably thinking yourself, well, great. I have a goal or had goals. Or I went to the workshop. I wrote all the things down. I'm looking at it. It's right here in front of my face. And still not showing up, showing up for yourself is a decision, you are going to have to make a choice. I'm going to give it to cut and dry. I'm not going to sugar coat this. What are you willing to do to have the life that you want to have? That's what it comes down to. What are you willing to do? Because all too often, people are leveraging the past, the future, everything but the present and saying, I don't deserve it. When in fact you do. So much of this as a mindset game. So much of self-sabotage is just what's happening up in your head. And the reason is we are terrified of the idea that we might actually find success on the backside of the effort that it takes.
Success is a terrifying notion when all you have experienced in your life is people telling you, you weren't good enough, strong enough, capable enough, handsome enough, beautiful enough, or enough, enough, right? And because of that, it's so much easier to get in your own way and go they're right. They're right. I don't deserve it. Why me? Why not them? Somebody has it harder. So, on and so forth. What I want you to understand here is that on the backside of the effort, there can be a success and you have to be willing to accept that you can have that. And so much of that as the narrative that you have within your own mindset, can you pause and tell yourself I deserve to be successful? I deserve to have a healthy relationship. I deserve to have love and companionship. I deserve to have a career and make a million dollars a year. I deserve to have a cool house and a great car. I deserve to love myself. I deserve to have self-belief. I deserve to have self-esteem all of the things like the one thing that I want you to take away from this is that no matter what that thing is, no matter how grandiose your goal may seem, you can have it. You can, and more importantly, you deserve it, but you have to work for it. What are you willing to do to have the life that you want to have?
Now I talk about this a lot, but there's also a very powerful tool in just writing, just taking these moments in which you self-sabotage and breaking them down and explaining it on paper, not to anyone but yourself, but to sit there and write it down and say, I didn't show up for myself today because I don't feel worthy. Look, the truth is that's a hard-intrinsic reflection of who we are, and we have to be brutally honest with ourselves in order to be successful in life. You cannot sugar coat the truth from yourself, that is self-sabotage. Every time that you have the reality of your life from yourself, that is self-sabotage. Let me put it this way.
I knew every single time that I put a cigarette to my mouth, that I was killing myself, but I did it because I was afraid of what taking care of myself would imply. That's a hard truth. It's really hard to have an honest, truthful reaction with yourself. And in that, what I would do, I would have these moments where I sabotage, whether it was food or sex or drugs or alcohol or work or whatever that thing was, I would write it down. I would put it in my journal, and I would be honest with myself. You're going to have to deploy brutal honesty. If you want to move through self-sabotage, if you want to be successful in life, you're going to have to keep it real. You're going to have to put yourself in a position where you are willing to accept the reality that you are in your own way.
Now, let me be very, very, very clear here. This is not a space for judgment, for shame, for guilt, fuck that, that's not going to help you, right? That's how you got to where you are right now. And what it will do in this moment of writing and intrinsic self-reflection is help you create an understanding, right? The world has beat you up enough. The world has said, you're not capable enough. The world has got in your way enough, but you have the ability in this moment to have a clear, concise, honest, and integral conversation with yourself. Can you show up with truth with who you are? And the reason that is so powerful is because when you can identify that you can move through it.
I don't show for myself because I'm scared of what taking care of myself and imply that meant for me that I might get in shape, but I might get a six pack, that I might be attractive to other human beings. Trust me, terrifying notion when you've had no self-esteem for the first 27 years of your life. And then I accepted the reality that it was plausible and then fast forward, like six years. And I'm on a beach in Bali with a six pack feeling great about my life, but there was a lot of work between those moments, six years of grinding and hustling and in the gym and diet and quitting smoking and not drinking so much and not hanging out all night and not partying. The other side of this, this intrinsic reflection that you have is the action, doing it, showing up for yourself, doing all the hard, little tedious things to that goal. Because you see so often in society, we think that we're going to be the overnight successes. We look at the world through the scope of social media and my friends, the truth is it's just not reality. Like everyone that I know who was successful in life has taken a very long time to climb that ladder. And I don't mean that just in a, like a career sense or a monetary sense. I mean, in everything. People who feel good about their bodies or have self-esteem or have personal growth missions and goals and journeys, and myself included, like, I think about the level of success that I have in life. I'm nowhere close to where I want to be. In fact, I'm only at 1%, my goals are so huge and lofty. That is going to take me a lifetime. I may never actually make it like, like realistically I may actually die before I accomplish my goal. I'm okay with that. I'm okay with that as long as I'm moving forward every day. But writing and understanding the baseline of self-sabotage and really having that conversation with you is going to be key.
And then there's acceptance. Can you accept that you can have what's on the other side of the effort that you're putting in. Can you accept that your life may be different? Can you accept that your life might be a full of joy and happy, happiness and love and honor and trust and companionship? Can you accept that? It might be hard to even hear those words and you might be thinking to yourself, well, that's a ridiculous notion. How will I ever get that one when I’ve never had it before. I get it. I never had it before either. I can't tell you how many times I cried myself to sleep, feeling lonely, feeling lost, feeling rejected, feeling dejected, hating myself, thinking about how I couldn't wait for it to be over and how now my life is very different. And that's because I accepted the reality that I could have this reality, that I could wake up and put my feet on the ground and be thankful and love myself and love the world. And in turn, receive love, which is terrifying, especially when you've never had it. And so I tiptoed into it and I accepted that maybe one day I would be okay with being who I am and I would have self-esteem and I would have the courage and I would have strength and I would be unbroken. I would look at myself and the scars on my body and the scars in my mind and my soul and my spirit and say, yes, they're there, but I can have more. And I deserve more, and I will have more. And then I did the work.
I want you to accept that you can have it in your life, whatever that it may be. And again, no matter how grandiose it might be, as long as you're willing to do the work. In the last part, the last thing that I’ll leave you with is to deploy patients. I mentioned a moment ago there's no overnight successes in this life and career and love and relationships and happiness and weight and smoking and all of it. There's no overnight success. There's baby steps. There's little by little. They're showing up. There's writing those goals, putting them in your calendar, moving towards them every single day, bit by bit with clarity and intention and saying to myself, no matter what, I'm going to do this thing. And finally, I said that was last, but there's one more, there is a promise that you have to make to yourself. And this is the hardest part of this whole thing, because you've self-sabotage because you've given up, you've given up because you've been told by the world and by yourself that it's okay and it's not, it is not okay to give up on yourself.
It's okay to quit things that don't make your life better. It's okay to quit things that are not in line with who you are, your personal boundaries, your wants your needs, your interest in your values, but it is not okay to quit on yourself for the things that you want and desire and need in your life. It is not okay. And you have to challenge yourself. You have to be willing to show up every single day, no matter how hard, no matter how tedious, no matter how difficult and say to yourself today is my day. I am going to do this. Even if I'm tired, even if I'm hungry, even if I'm exhausted, even if I feel great and amazing, or I'm busy or it's full or whatever, that thing may be. The thing about this is if you want to move through self-sabotage, then you have to do it. You have to do the work. You have to show up for yourself. You have to ultimately become the hero of your own story. I talk about this all the time, but I’ve never really note it down like this. Self-sabotage is an intrinsic experience.
No one else is doing this but you, no one else is in your way but you, and you may not even know that you are self-sabotaging. You may need to pause and take an inventory of your life. Have a really strong reflection and understanding of where you're at and where you want to go and ask yourself, am I really giving this my effort? Am I really showing up with authenticity and honor and commitment? Or am I lying to myself every single day? Am I pretending? Am I half-assing? Am I only doing just enough to get by? Or have I really made a declaration that I am going to seek to be great on my terms? And ultimately my friend, that is what it's about. I want to say, thank you so much for hanging out with me today and coming on this journey with me, and allowing me the space to share some of my stories and want to say, as we head into 2021, I am here to support you. I cannot wait for what is in store for us. There are so many great things on our horizon and self-sabotage will not be the thing that gets in our way this year. So, as we head off, I want to say thank you again!
Until next time my friend…