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.