Self-Sabotaging – Our We Unknowingly Sabotaging Our Careers?


This is going to be a tough discussion, but one that we need to have. In this article, I am inviting us all – myself included – to hold a mirror up and ask some challenging questions.

We may be surprised by the answers. Let me say up front – there is good news at the end, so hang in there.

I stumbled across an article entitled Ways Women Sabotage Their Success in Business Insider. The article opens with the predictable facts about the glass ceiling and the inequities in women’s salaries and place at the boardroom table but then takes a little bit of a turn. This is where the mirror comes into play.

The author lists out 12 things we could be doing to sabotage our credibility and our chances of even being considered for a promotion or a leadership role within the company. I invite you to read the entire article because, in the interest of time, I will only focus on three of the habits we need to recognize.

But first, the words that jumped out at me in all 12 of the ways women self-sabotage were humbling. Words like:

  • Apologize
  • Lack of faith
  • Worry
  • Fail
  • Questioning ourselves
  • Asking
  • Waiting
  • Unclear

None of these are strong, leader-like words. The point of the article is that words set the tone. In fact, something as simple as our voice mail message or email auto-responder that starts out “I am sorry to have missed your call” is setting a tone of apology. When in fact, we shouldn’t apologize because in all likelihood we are busy with a productive task. Even if that task is a quick trip to the loo, we are still being productive, am I right? (sorry for the bathroom humor. Egads – just apologized in my explanation of why we shouldn’t apologize)

The three habits that jumped out at me are:

Only setting goals we know how to reach.

“Don’t be stopped from setting a goal because you don’t know how to get there,” Capland says. “No one does when they set a goal where they’re stretching themselves.”

“You can head toward a big goal one baby step at a time,” she explains. In fact, it may be better that way — you’ll avoid setting off your own fight-or-flight response.

When we have trouble seeing the end result or if the goal has so many moving pieces or a long time element; we tend to put those goals aside for ones we can quickly tick off our list. However, it is the seemingly unattainable goals that can be the more rewarding. And just in case you are thinking that you are too old to set out to achieve a really big goal – watch this quick video from Entrepreneur.

Another big one is brand! As women we need to understand the value and importance of developing and supporting our personal brand and the article reinforces that thought:

Failing to build a personal brand.

A strong personal brand will help you get what you want whether you’re working in a company or running one of your own. “The way to develop a personal brand is to deepen your own self-awareness,” Capland says. “What makes you stand out positively from other people?”

A personal brand, she says, is an asset that defines the best things about you. “It’s the impression people have of you, and the impression you want them to have,” she says.

Take a moment and visit Business Insider to read the entire article – you may find value in the remaining 9 tips. Ways Women Sabotage Their Success.

Let’s see what we can accomplish!

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JJ DiGeronimo

JJ DiGeronimo

Speaker, Author & Thought Leader for Women in Tech & Girls in STEM.

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