10 Self-Defeating Behaviors You Need to Let Go

“What you most need will be found where you least want to look.” Attributed to Carl Jung

Question: What self-defeating behaviors hold you back.


You repeat what you ignore.

The thing you most need when you’re running in circles is to admit you’re running in circles. People stay stuck because it’s painful to admit you’re stuck.

I lived with anger until I admitted I was angry.

The faster you stop self-defeating behaviors, the more your life will matter. Image of a person who feels trapped.

Confront self-defeating patterns:

#1. Universal reality.

What destructive patterns are you ignoring?

Everyone engages in self-defeating behaviors. The challenge is noticing them. You might be on this list…

  1. Being distracted from meaningful work by busy work.
  2. Interrupting instead of listening to understand.
  3. Showing up with answers instead of questions.
  4. Convincing people you’re right instead of seeking the best solution.
  5. Never apologizing. When was the last time you said, “I was wrong”?
  6. Catastrophizing to the point of anxiety.
  7. Blaming instead of owning responsibility.
  8. Over-committing because you’re defined by work.
  9. Hiding behind authenticity. “I’m not good at that. It’s just not me.”
  10. Ignoring issues instead of bringing them up with forward-facing curiosity.
Self-defeating behaviors corrode success. Image of a rusted jalopy.

#2. Invite the outside in.

Others see you better than you see yourself. When you’re serious about growth listen to others.

Declare a specific intention and seek actionable feedback.

  1. I’m working to listen better by not interrupting. What do you notice? How might I improve my listening? What am I doing that suggests I’m not listening?
  2. I’m striving to lead collaboratively. What am I doing that causes you to think I’m collaborative? What am I doing that suggests I could collaborate better?
  3. I’m working to run great one-on-ones. What do I do that energizes you during our one-on-ones? What do we do that is least energizing?

The things you avoid are the things you need.

What can we do to uncover hidden self-defeating behaviors?

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