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Terminal Value

Psychological Self-Sabotage

Doug Utberg

Business Growth Authority | Technology Strategy & Resourcing | Cost Optimization Expert | Business Process Architect | Financial Strategist | Founder - Terminal Value Podcast

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What I want to talk about today is psychological self sabotage.

The idea is getting into the psychology of entrepreneurs. One of the things that I’ve noticed that happens a lot of times is that you will find otherwise smart, capable, brilliant people who create a whole bunch of success and then it just all falls apart.

In a lot of cases, I think that what happens is it comes apart because of a self sabotage.

Essentially what happens is that person’s self image and or their accumulated insecurities and fears influence their subconscious to make destructive decisions that ultimately end up sabotaging the success they create.

I think this is actually one of the areas that is extremely important in our path of learning as value obsessed entrepreneurs and leaders, because since we are buying definition, charting out our own path

What is really important with this is to understand the parts of your life where you have fears.

Where do your insecurities come from?

Everybody has fears, everybody has insecurities. The people who act like they don’t are the ones who are most susceptible to an inevitable collapse because at some point that pressure is going to break whatever shell they have it wrapped in.

So the idea here is really to internalize and think about the things that you’re really afraid of.

A lot of people have a fear of failure. 

Well, how do you define failure?

If your fear of failure is you don’t want a boss or a teacher or somebody to tell you that you were wrong, it will ultimately result in a path of repression where you’re consistently people pleasing and trying to make sure that you ostensibly do what is expected.

The problem with this, of course, is that going down that going down that path where you’re afraid of someone else telling you that you’re not good enough will by definition result in not being able to follow your own direction.

Also, sometimes your fears can change.

In certain cases, there could be a fear of rejection from other people for being different.

For example, one of the things that I’ll tell you for myself is that I spent the first half of my life on a full ‘straight and narrow’ path.

I did Boy Scouts, I was in the Marine Corps, I did my undergraduate degree, I finished my undergraduate without any student loans.

I had a corporate job, got married, got my master’s and we started a family family – had one daughter and a son.

In addition to this, we had two dogs, two cats and eight chickens.

We had a very traditional, structured type of life.

Then, I ended up getting terminated at the beginning of COVID, and it threw all that up in the air.

I realized that this beautifully structured life that I thought I had really didn’t exist in the way that I imagined.

As I’m going through the process of creating my own entrepreneurial transition in life, that is something that people are not used to dealing with.

When people ask me, what do you do? – I still struggle to explain in the ways they understand.

I don’t do just one thing. 

I don’t have just one employer who pays me. 

I don’t have just one thing I’m trying to accomplish at any given day. I’m doing between 5 and 20 things at any given time, and I don’t know in advance which of those is going to generate the most return.

However, I do know that if I unpack enough new ideas and if I test enough new ideas over time, some of them are going to work out.

Unfortunately, this makes it extremely difficult to really answer the question, ‘What do you do?’ in a way that is satisfactory to most people.

So that’s a little bit of the fear and insecurity that I have, because the further I follow my own journey, the more disconnected from ‘normal’ people I will become.

This is one of the reasons why I believe that a lot of entrepreneurs kind of form tribes to be with people who also think like them, because it’s very isolating to be different from normal people.

Think about what is it that creates your drive and is the motivation for your personal fears and insecurities, because that will be the place where you have a potential source of self sabotage.

There’s no chance at all that any of us are going to completely eliminate our insecurities. We just can’t. What we can do is recognize them, control and confront them so that they don’t ultimately undermine the success that you’re working so hard to create.

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