I’m sure by now, you’ve all heard the term “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Some of them can be good, but more often, we use the term when we’re talking about something negative. When we self-sabotage our own career with negative thoughts or actions. Most of the time, I don’t even think we’re aware of our actions, but the worst is when we know exactly what we’re doing and still sabotage our own success. I like to refer to the hurdles or destruction we inadvertently create as “mind fields.” So what are the varying levels of danger and how can you overcome them?
Light firefight. These are small, fleeting thoughts that go through our head, with some regularity. Thoughts like “I’m never going to get this done on time.” Or “No one will like this.” They pop into our head and typically, they pop right out. But occasionally one is a direct hit and cripples us.
How to recover: Don’t let one hit stop you. If you perform immediate triage, you’ll be able to remove that damaging thought and in no time it will be like it never happened. When a negative thought takes you out, you counter with several positive thoughts.
Grenade. When these self-damaging actions or thoughts occur, you see them coming. In fact, they might land right next to you and you may know what’s coming next. When a mind grenade goes off, it’s chaos. You might act out negatively towards a couple of people and do some damage in your department.
How to recover. Luckily, a grenade has a relatively limited area of damage, so if you can clean up and create order quickly after the mind grenade explodes, you can probably recover. This means explaining yourself to your peers and your employees and making apologies if necessary.
Land mine. Remember when I mentioned that we sometimes don’t even see our self-destructive behavior? That’s a land mine. It sneaks up undetected and when we don’t expect it, everything underfoot explodes! A land mine does a lot of damage because we have no way of seeing and preparing for the after effects.
How to recover. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be really hard to recover from such levels of self-destruction in your career. The best way to recover from a land mine is to avoid it altogether, which means being aware that they might exist. If you believe you might be at a point in your career where you could be facing a seriously damaging mine field, seek out the help of a counselor or life coach to help you detect and avoid those mines.