The #1 Reason High-Strung Achievers Self-Sabotage, and What to do About it


You’re into self-improvement. You know that to get where you want to go in life, you need to be willing to become the person you need to be and do what you need to, even in the face of weird, possibly uncalled-for, and sometimes very stinging criticism.

You might also notice there are certain things you’re delaying, putting off indefinitely, or just long enough that you can’t do that good a job on them.

You’ve undoubtedly come across the term self-sabotage, and all kinds of possible ways to fix it. But I know you’re busy and need something succinct and efficient.

Something I see people noticing over and over as they tap away layers of stress and knots of emotional overwhelm is that a lot of self-sabotage is driven by needing to fit in, wanting to be similar to people they know, or even… avoiding stinging criticism.

The other thing I notice is that, probably in some spirit of self-improvement, people will then strongly chastise themselves for doing this.

So please, in the name of getting your success with ease and sleep at night and actually enjoying it once you have it, can we stop and talk about this for a second?

I might get a little bit um…. Academic for a second (but really, you’re all nerdy achievers too so I’m thinking you probably don’t mind that much) and show you a … vintage infographic:

Maslow's Hierarchy (1).png

Yes, that would be Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs from the 40’s!

A lot of people are skeptical of this, and I find that tends to come from misunderstanding the model to some extent.

This is not a hierarchy of how evolved people are as individuals, where the people who are concerned with paying for housing, (physiological needs) or navigating their unsafe neighbourhoods (safety needs) are less advanced as people than those who are stroking their egos with prestigious jobs they don’t actually like (esteem needs) or self-actualizing themselves by pontificating about the arts (self-actualization needs).

This is an illustration of how fundamental to your life each need is.

So, if you are starving, or even just hangry, in that moment, whether or not you’re living fully aligned with your core values, (self-actualization) or whether you’re coming across as sophisticated (esteem/belonging) is not as important as getting food. That is, until you’ve eaten, then these things start being important again.

A more dramatic example: if someone has you cornered and has a knife held to your throat, in that moment, whether or not you are compassionately exercising non-judgement towards this potential assailant (esteem/self-actualization needs) is not as important as getting away from the person who might kill you (safety needs).  Again, until there is no longer an immediate threat to your life, then you do not care about if you’re being a good person.

In other words, if you’re building your career and on a mission to keep advancing and doing your best work (this could be esteem or self-actualization) and part of you for whatever reason has the impression no one actually likes you, (love/belonging) you might find yourself sabotaging some amount of success in order to be liked.

This isn’t because you’re doing something stupid and you should know better. This is because feeling like you’re part of a group is a fundamental human need.

You need to feel loved and accepted because you’re a human being. It is a real need.

So please, do not reprimand yourself for being a human.

So what’s the solution? Make sure this need is getting met. 

You make sure you eat multiple times a day and make sure you sleep, because you know these are things you need.

Please respect your need to feel loved and like you belong as a real need that needs to be met in order for you to continue growing and achieving.

Find friends who support what you’re doing. Find people who respect who you are and what’s important to you. Spend time cultivating these relationships.

These are very important. You need them and deserve them because you’re human.

And of course, use EFT on any fears that having certain things or accomplishments could make people dislike you.

So if you notice that you held yourself back to fit in, give yourself a break because all you were doing was looking after yourself by making sure your needs were met. 

You can now just take it as a sign that you're not getting enough feeling of belonging or validation, and then make sure you're getting more of that.

If you're tired, you sleep. If you're hungry, you eat. If you self-sabotage to make sure people like you... You use EFT and spend some more time developing friendships. 

Copy of How to Secretly Make the World to do What You Want it to (Part 2)


Part 2 of 2

So my previous post introduced you to the super-useful emotional guidance scale, and explained why this is a thing you want to bother caring about.


 This post will deal entirely with the practical side: how do you actually put this into use? How do you deliberately shift how you feel about things so that you have more energy to do things, get better reactions from other people, and emit the type of energy that lets the things you want show up easily in your life? (I said there’d be woo;) )


Strategy 1: Meditate

Meditating once or twice a day will help. Your natural state is to feel good.

So when you meditate and focus on something really simply like your breath, this is time that you’re not fixating on how annoying people at work are. Or berating yourself for not doing something perfectly three days ago, or worrying about being behind on your financial goals.

This lets you drift back towards your default feel-good state, and it will get progressively easier for pleasant events to find their way into your life.


Strategy 2: Tap

Okay so I said you wouldn’t have to tap, but it works.

If you focus on an unpleasant feeling or unpleasant thoughts as you tap the EFT points, after enough tapping (sometimes as little as 10-20 minutes) you will have broken up your unpleasant feeling until you’re feeling something between contentment and joy.

Like meditating, tapping is a pretty fail-safe way to feel better. And therefore get into a zone where you have more energy, can be more persuasive with people, and will find the world just cooperates with you more.


Strategy 3: Write a thought, then write another that feels better

This is an Abraham-Hicks strategy.

With this one it’s important that you start with a thought that reflects how you actually feel right now. Then choose another thought that feels somewhat true, but feels better. Keep doing this until you basically feel good.

The tricky thing with this strategy is you might want to pick thoughts that sound better, but might not actually feel better.

Pay attention to how the thought feels to you (thoughts that sound negative sometimes feel better than ones that sound positive) and remember that your feelings often don’t make sense.


Strategy 4: Willfully feel a feeling that’s a step or two up the scale

With this strategy you need to be honest about how you currently feel, and not be afraid of feeling your feelings. 

So say you’re feeling jealous. Spend a few moments deliberately feeling the feeling of jealousy. Then try to feel anger. Spend a few moments feeling that. Then spend a few moments feeling blame, then disappointment, then frustration, then contentment, then hopefulness, etc.

If this is too abstract, just tap. :) 

This might sound too woo to be true. Don’t take my word for it, just try these out yourself and see what happens.

How to Secretly Make the World Do What You Want it to

Part 1 of 2


This blog post delves into the world of Practical Woo. Just a little bit.

Don’t worry, this isn’t any kind of witchcraft or voodoo. You don’t have to do anything that looks ridiculous (like EFT, haha) or would make people think you aren’t credible.

And none of this will harm anyone, or I wouldn’t be encouraging it.

This is just a basic lesson in shifting your energy so your life will unfold slightly differently in response.

It’s giving you another tool to make your life better and help your stress vanish.

The first thing you want to know is that your emotions have a sort of order to them. The order looks something like this:

Emotional Guidance Scale.png

This extremely handy scale comes to us from the lovely Abraham-Hicks, who wrote genius books like Ask and It Is Given.

Generally, the lower on the scale the emotion is, the worse it feels (and the harder it is for desired things to enter your life when you feel it) and the higher on the scale, the better it feels.

Everyone is unique, and your own emotional scale will look slightly different than this, (for you worry might feel better than doubt) though overall, fairly similar (blame will always feel better than guilt, boredom will always feel better than anger, etc.).

You usually have a feeling you tend to default to. Overall, you will have a couple of feelings you’re most likely to be feeling.

When it comes to different parts of your life (your job, your romantic partner, this relative, that relative, the current government, people who walk too slow, etc.) you have feelings you tend to default to on those specific topics.

Here’s the thing. You can deliberately change how you feel. A little bit at a time.

So if you’re jealous of someone, (way down near the bottom) like a friend who got a promotion and you didn’t get one, and someone says something really annoying like: “Can’t you just be happy for her?” you actually can’t! Not at that moment anyway.

Happiness and jealousy are basically at opposite ends of the scale. It’s too big an emotional jump.

Something that’s a bit more realistic is feeling jealous, then feeling angry that you don’t have the same thing, then doubting you could ever get it, then feeling annoyed you don’t have it, then basically feeling okay about how everything is, then feeling happy for her.

Okay sure, but why do you care about this?

Making small improvements in how you feel about things:

1. Makes you feel better (duh)

2. Leaves you with higher energy levels (so you can get more things done)

3. Makes you more likely to get positive responses from people (so you have stronger personal and professional relationships you can leverage, disputes are more likely to be resolved in your favour, etc.)

4. Has the magical effect of making the things you want more easily show up in your life (this is the woo part)

So if you’re jealous of your newly-promoted friend, you’re energetically in a place where you’re highly unlikely to get promoted, even if you work your ass off and do everything you’re supposed to do and do it all better than everyone else around.

If you have the guts to acknowledge you’re jealous, (that part can be really hard) and feel a little bit better at a time until you get to the point where you’re happy for your friend, you are energetically in a space where a promotion can actually show up in your life. Even if you didn’t work yourself into the ground, and someone else was better at something than you were.

Are you seeing why feeling better can actually be useful?


In part 2, I’ll give you four different strategies to actually put this into practice so you can get the world to do what you want.

How to Tap in Public (Without Looking Like a Complete Weirdo)


So, you know I’m never going to stop telling you tapping’s a good idea that will solve all your problems.

Yes fine, it might not directly solve all of them. But seriously, every time you have a problem, tap, and it will get easier to solve.

Tapping feels awesome to do, and it’s practically fool-proof: if you tap the right points, you will get some kind of beneficial result.

You’re probably a busy person who finds it hard to find time to tap.

For real, a way to solve that problem is setting up some appointments with a practitioner. You’ll honour the appointments and get big results for the time you end up spending.

Yet you probably also have bits of time where you really could squeeze tapping in: when you’re on a train on your way to work, when you’re standing in line for something, as you’re walking down the street or the hall, when you’re in a work meeting that isn’t all that necessary and nothing’s really happening anyway.

But of course you don’t want to tap at these times. Tapping involves repeatedly poking parts of your face as you talk to yourself. You look batshit insane when you tap.

There is a very discreet way to tap, where people probably won’t notice you’re doing it.

There are tapping points on each of your fingers. They’re on the inside bottom corner of each fingernail.

On your left hand they would be where the blue dots are:

EFT hand points.jpg

And it would be mirrored on your right hand.

These were in the original tapping “basic recipe” but most people don’t really use them because leaving them out is faster and still effective. (The ring fingernail wasn’t actually in the original basic recipe because that meridian is stimulated when you do the 9 gamut).

So when you tap in public, just use your thumb to tap on that part of each fingernail. Then use your first or middle finger (teehee) to tap that space on your thumb.

Voilá, you’re tapping in public! You’re sorting out emotional snags, helping to improve your energy levels, and still someone to be taken seriously.

There’s a good chance no one’s even noticing you’re doing anything. And if they are, it looks like normal fidgeting: not some weird ridiculous thing a very smart person would do because it’s so freaking effective. ;) 

So use this if you’re outside for a walk, waiting for any reason, talking to someone who’s getting on your nerves, in a movie theatre, or stuck in a meeting that didn’t really need to happen.

Happy Tapping, and have fun stressing less.

Top 3 Questions to Ask Yourself if You’re Freaking out Because You’re STILL Not Successful

So, you got your degree, or degrees. You have a professional job, or one you’re really good at. Maybe you’ve been promoted into management, know that you’re getting groomed for promotion, or started a business that is still going. Maybe you own your home, or haven’t neglected to make other investments.

These are signs that you’re actually… somewhat successful in the conventional sense. But you probably don’t really give yourself credit. You might be looking at what you still need to accomplish, or regretting past mistakes.

I meet loads of people like this, who outwardly look successful, at least given their (usually younger) age, yet don’t seem to be getting any solid sense of stability or accomplishment as a result.

When I work with people like this, there are certain themes that tend to come up, and are usually major drivers behind their unease.

Here are three questions to see if these anxiety/stress drivers are impacting you, and some initial steps to begin easing them:


1. Are you depending on accomplishments to gain acceptance?

If you’re doing this, you’re deliberately accomplishing certain things to make sure there are people who will like or respect you.

It can often be difficult to see what is actually motivating you without doing some digging (or some Tapping and then seeing what comes up). So here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you get a bit clearer:

If you showed up in the world differently, as in behaved a bit differently or pursued a different type of career, would your friends and family stop wanting to spend time with you? Is their acceptance of you conditional on having a certain type of job, income level, position in an organizational hierarchy?

Would winning more awards or attaining more formalized achievements solidify your friends and family’s respect for you?

Would failing to achieve certain things lower their opinion of you?

You may logically recognize that of course there are some people in your life who accept you due to conditions like this and others who would like you regardless. But if you feel on a gut level that most of these things are true or partly true, you are driven at least partially by a need to prove yourself to others.

This is a deeper source of anxiety that I often see in my clients. This points to a deeper belief, that is not uncommon, that you can’t control whether or not you have any value as a human being: other people have to recognize you for your value to exist.

And OF COURSE this would make you anxious. You can’t control whether or not people give you credit that is due or whether they’re just being jerks, at least not directly.

Besides that, the idea that it’s possible to be a bit worthless if you don’t reach certain goals or meet certain criteria is unsettling in and of itself.

So, how do you begin shifting this? I say begin shifting because this can actually take a while to dismantle. It’s usually a bit more involved than simply saying “Alright, well I know this is silly, so I won’t do it.” An approach like that usually just puts people in denial of deeply-held fears they have.

A good place to start is to imagine what would happen if you didn’t accomplish one of the things part of you thinks you need to for acceptance. If you fail professional exams, how would people you know react? If you had to declare bankruptcy, what would other people think of you?

 Imagine the worst case scenario and feel what sensations come up in your body. Use EFT (Tapping) to reduce these feelings. This will reduce background fears that are making you stressed and anxious.

Another helpful exercise involves the principle that the outer world is a reflection of your inner world. That’s definitely an oversimplified statement, but there’s truth in it.

Look at what you honestly think of people who are less outwardly successful than you. It’s logical that part of you would assume others would have similar opinions of you if you were in that position.

So shift your opinion of such people. Write down a negative statement about people in a less prestigious job, or who have declared bankruptcy or failed professional exams, and then come up with other statements that are less negative. You might eventually get to overtly positive statements, but if you start there, you might not really buy what you’re writing.


2. How nervous are you of making the wrong choice?

So this fear usually contains two assumptions, the first being that there actually is a right and a wrong choice.

While there are certain things that are morally reprehensible, for the vast majority of your life decisions, there really isn’t a right and a wrong.

Want to marry that person? Go ahead, but you don’t actually have to.

Which career should you pursue? Take your pick. It will most likely change anyway.

How many kids should you have? Go ahead and have 8 if you’re prepared for all the work, but you could also have one or none. The world has plenty of children already.

The other assumption that tends to be behinds this fear is that the effects of your decisions are permanent, or they should be. If you change at all and then change your mind, you clearly made the wrong choice.

One way to release fears of making the wrong decision clearly is to tap: to use EFT/Tapping. Whenever you’re faced with a decision, just tap through the various uncomfortable feelings you notice in your body, or even talk out loud about what’s making this decision difficult as you tap the points. You will then find things feel less charged and it’s easier to make a decision.

Click here for a kit that will help you get the basics of Tapping.

Another way is to shift your beliefs around whether or not there is a correct or incorrect choice, and beliefs around what it means to change your mind or reverse a decision.

You could do that with tapping, or you could do it by looking for evidence to the contrary. You could list evidence of people who made unconventional choices and were fine. Or people who reversed decisions and were fine. Or times when it is okay or even the right thing to do to change your mind or approach someone about altering an agreement you have with them.

You could even Google search lists of times like this. It will help.


3. To what extent do you need to have everything pinned down, known, or planned in advance?

A lot of my clients have a difficult time with things that are uncertain or that they can’t control.

This can show up as stress when a potential employer isn’t getting back to you, a partner refusing to plan out activities of a trip you’re going to take, encountering a situation that doesn’t readily make sense, or even a strong fear of death.

There’s clearly a lot of spiritual or religious beliefs (or lack thereof) that would feed a fear of death, but general difficulty with uncertainty feeds it as well.

So, how to get more comfortable with uncertainty?

Obviously, the first answer is to tap. Whenever there is a situation making you anxious because you’re not sure what will happen, just tap through uncomfortable feelings in your body. This will help you feel better about this specific situation, and also help you be less anxious in the future.

You could also go live and work in another country for a while. No joke. If you do this without insulating yourself in an expat community, you’ll get used to the fact that you don’t really know what the F*** is going on half the time and you’re bound to mess up.

That’s obviously QUITE involved, so another thing that could help is to meditate.

That probably sounds too simple, but meditating regularly helps soothe most fears, especially ones like this that tend to work in the background.

Yet another choice is to practice letting things be a little less certain. Delegate something at work and don’t micromanage. Take a trip and only plan your accommodation. If something bizarre happens, just let it go, don’t try to find out why.


So if you’ve recognized yourself in some of these, be patient with yourself, because it will take a while to shift these. Working with a coach, Tapping practitioner, or someone similar will definitely help it go faster, but it will still take time. 

3 Popular Self-Help Concepts that Might be Getting in Your Way

So, I’ll start by saying self-help is great. It’s full of anytime, anywhere methods that improve your life, and it gives you tools you can use yourself. What’s not fantastic about that?

When it comes to implementing concepts is where things might get a bit weird. I’ve noticed this is where people will start saying certain concepts are garbage: when they’re implementing something that actually does have merit, they’re just not aware of all the details.

At best, it’s frustrating. At worst, this can send you off on unproductive tangents, which is then frustrating enough you might give up.

Here are three widespread self-help concept that are likely to be tripping you up somehow:     


1. Be in the Now.

First of all, this is genuinely a good idea. Being present in the moment allows you to connect with people more deeply, be more productive, and appears to be one of the biggest causes of happiness.

So why am I saying this concept is tripping you up?

This isn’t what your mind naturally does. Your mind will naturally project into a future it thinks is likely, take data from there, revisit the present moment, then go back to the past, take data from there, and then make decisions accordingly.

This is quite a sensible way for your mind to work: it’s actually pretty smart to learn from the past and apply this knowledge to what’s likely to happen in the future.

The side effect, and the reason people tell you to not go into the past or future, is that it often makes you to stew over things that happened in the past and worry about the future. Neither of which is productive.

Mindfulness is a great way to stay in the present. But it takes time to build up the habit. If you’re going the mindfulness route, be patient and give yourself time to build that muscle.

There are also other techniques, like Emotional Freedom Techniques, and Future Visioning (a hypnotherapy method I learned in my coaching certification) that work in harmony with this fact about your mind.

If you use Future Visioning to mentally connect to a bright future, you naturally feel better and think more positively without really needing to try.

If you use EFT to release any feelings attached to past events, you stop stewing on them when your mind automatically visits the past for information on how things work. If you use EFT to release fear around the future, you can think logically about what’s likely to happen without getting sidetracked by stress and worry.

So give yourself time to develop mindfulness, because it can take a while. Or, work in harmony with how your mind works and spend time connecting to bright futures and releasing emotions from the past.


2. Just Think Positive.

Again, this is fundamentally a good idea. If you are genuinely thinking positive you’ll feel more energy, be less stressed, and feel more motivated.

You also might start noticing that reality occasionally seems to bend to accommodate your desires. More on that in a future post.

The tricky part is, we’re often kidding ourselves and not really believing the positive things we’re saying.

This is especially true if we’re saying positive words about things that are really important to us. Like our finances. Or career progress. Or marriages.

If something’s really important to you, it’s often very emotionally charged and this can actually make it harder for positive thinking to work.

There are two approaches you can take to solve this.

The first is to just go there. Go head first and dive fully into all of the negative awful things that might be lurking somewhere in your mind as you tap the EFT points.

You need to be tapping the EFT points as you go there if you’re taking that route. It will release it from your system and you’ll naturally think more positively. If you’re not willing to tap the points it’s not a good idea: you’d just be reinforcing the neural pathways that are part of the negative thinking.

The second is to stop trying to do it all at once. Just notice what you actually think of a situation, or what you actually feel. Do you think something is a little bit bullsh*tty? Do you think something probably works for some people, but not you?

Just start with what you actually think, and find a thought or two that feel a bit better. It doesn’t matter if the new thought looks positive to someone else. If it feels better to you, it’s better and it’s benefitting you.

In short: acknowledge that it’s totally normal to think negative sometimes. Notice where you’re doing it, then do something to think somewhat less negative.

Please don’t demand that you think positive all the time. It’s not realistic and it’s bound to backfire.


3. There are Negative and Positive Emotions.

This belief isn’t really stated explicitly. But you can see it when people talk about what to do with negative emotions and how to feel more positive emotions.

There definitely are emotions that feel better and others that feel worse, but this is very relative and context-dependent, and you can’t really label any of them as good or bad either way. More on that in a future post.

One of the reasons why I think this is NOT a good basis to start from is it just makes things more of a mess.

Example: Some unfair crappy thing happens to someone at work, and she feels angry about it.

First of all, this is not necessarily bad. Anger can be empowering.

Let’s say she’s labelled anger as a negative emotion. Now she’s angry, and also feels shame about feeling anger. And guilt that she didn’t feel something more positive than anger.

So she’s feeling more unpleasant emotions AND simultaneously squishing all of them down because they’re inappropriate, unspiritual, not empowered, whatever.

The anger that could have been a doorway to empowerment has now had guilt and shame dumped on top of it, and then been stuffed into a metaphoric little bottle with those two.

Even if in this case the anger was not empowering, if this woman had a way to process her anger before it triggered guilt and shame as well, is that not a simpler, tidier situation to deal with?

In this example, the anger-triggering happened at work, which is not necessarily the best place to freely express and process your feelings. So bottling them until the end of the day is actually a decent idea.

The problem is we tend to not go back and process things ever.

And they build and build, and then eventually we have hair-trigger tempers, road rage, needless fights with friends and spouses, way too much money spent on wine, health problems, and/or sudden inexplicable emotional breakdowns.

So do try to take time out to process things. The rest of your life will work better.

And not as many things will trigger you at work.

There are a couple ways to do this. One way is to simply feel the feelings. Just lean into them and feel them full-force until they’re done.

If you can do this, kudos to you. I have a terribly hard time with this approach.

The other approach is, you guessed it, EFT! Think about the person or thing that pissed you off, that you feel guilty about, or that’s made you think for a moment that you might be a terrible person. Pay attention to how you feel in your body and tap through the points. Over and over, until you’ve noticed your body feels better.

This actually really doesn’t take that long. Generally around 10 minutes of this will shift things enough that you notice.

It’s also very helpful to start reminding yourself that emotions are your body’s feedback about what’s going on in your mind. They’re not indicators of your worth as a human being. J