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The end of self-sabotage

IMG_1958Catch up with all the blog posts on self-sabatoge:

I have a confession to make 

The one sentence that will chance the way you look at failure

Ditch the dirty-talk for good (Part 2)

Do you like to talk dirty? (Part 1)

The doctor is in: prescriptive self-care for high achievers 

Are you a dieter in a donut shop?

This is it… Today marks the last blog in the self-sabotage series. When I started writing these blogs, I figured that I would have enough topics to last a month, but then I just kept going and going and going… Last week, I realized that I could really spend the rest of the year writing about all of the ways we sabotage ourselves. That being said, I am officially-unofficially ending this series. I am sure there will be future blogs dedicated to furthering this conversation about self-sabotage, but for now I am going to officially end the series.

Our last blog is a motivational kick in the pants for something that from time to time I know we are all guilty of that stands in the way of our success and achievement… and, it’s probably the reason why you don’t have everything you want right now.

Curious? Take a listen!

The End of Self-Sabotage

(click to listen and right click to download) 

Share with me in the comments below your procrastination-busting strategy, technique, or practice!


I have a confession to make

design-6This blog is part of the series on self-sabotage. Catch up on all the previous posts here:

The one sentence that will change the way you look at failure

Ditch the dirty talk for good! 

Do you like to talk dirty?

The doctor is in: prescriptive self-care for high achievers

Are you a dieter in a donut shop?

I have a serious self-sabotaging confession to make.

I have a confession to make…

Hi. I am Deah, and I am externally referenced.

Being externally referenced refers to how I gain validation about my performance. Externally referenced people look to external sources for validation.

They say things like:

“I received really good feedback on that workshop, so it must have been great.”

“My 4.0 GPA, says that I am great student.”

“I received a note from a client today that says that I really helped her, that means that my work is meaningful.”

A person who is internally referenced receives validation about their performance from internal sources, like their opinion.

They would say things like:

“Something inside me says that the workshop I just did was great!”

“I feel like I am a great student because I study hard and turn in my best work.”

“I know my work is valuable, I don’t know how… I just know!”

Being externally referenced has served me all throughout my life. Not to toot my own horn, but *toot toot*, I have always excelled without really trying hard. I received glowing evaluations from my supervisors and marvelous feedback from my clients and students. I felt great about myself and the work I did because everyone told me I was great.

Then, I started a business.

In the online business world, entrepreneurs work REALLY hard, and most of the time it’s without a significant or immediate payout, especially in the beginning. This was a whole new territory for me; I started to question whether or not the work I was doing was good enough.

I was facilitating local workshops almost every week, doing free sessions, and networking my hiney off, with what seemed like no payoff. I didn’t start getting clients until about 5 months after I officially started.

It wasn’t until I learned about Neuro-Linguistic Programming’s (NLP) concept of meta-programs, specifically internal-external frame of reference that I realized there is nothing wrong with me. Being an externally referenced person is simply a reflection of how I received the validation about my work and myself.

My guess is that it’s hard for anyone to keep the same level of stamina when they aren’t receiving the outward benefits of success. But when you are internally referenced, it makes dealing with the delay of success a lot easier, because you KNOW on the inside that the work you are doing is great and it’s eventually going to pay off.

The bottom line is that success is the product of consistency and persistence. People that continue to work hard, eventually see the results they are seeking. Being internally referenced helps during the lean and dry times.

Here are 3 tips to help you become more internally referenced:

  1. Always do your best work! When you put your best work out into the world, you feel good about it. If you don’t get the response that you desire, you can still feel good about the work you have done.
  2. Align what you are doing with your values. When you are working in alignment with your core values, you find a deep satisfaction in what you are doing. That satisfaction will help offset the delay of external validation.
  3. Practice being internally referenced. When you are working toward your goal, check in and ask yourself, “Do I feel good about this?” If you don’t, ask yourself what you need to do to feel good. Practicing feeling internally good about your work will help you know what it feels like to not be so reliant on external validation.

This work is not easy. But instead of working to make someone else proud, make yourself proud!

Share with me in the comments how you internally reference the work you do!


The one sentence that will change the way you look at failure

design-5This blog is a part of my series on self-sabotage.

Catch up here:

Ditch the dirty-talk for good

Do you like to talk dirty?

The doctor is in: prescriptive self-care for high achievers

 Are you a dieter in a donut shop?

One of the common themes that I notice about the women that I work with is that they are already successful and have always been successful. Their success roots go all the way back to kindergarten and being a spelling bee champion. They have always won or never really had to try hard to win. Whether it was school or work, they have made the grade, got the promotion, and achieved anything else they wanted.

Then… One day they didn’t. They didn’t get the promotion, the job, or the client that they wanted.

When anyone faces a challenge or obstacle during their pursuit of success, it hurts, and it feels uncomfortable. Questions arise… What went wrong? What happened? And then the most deadly question of all… What’s wrong with me?

In psychological research we can categorize the way people approach a goal in two groups, performance goal orientation (where a person is focused on results) and mastery goal orientation (where a person is focused on developing skills).

In a recent research study, psychologists found that when people approached their goals from a mastery goal orientation (wanting to learn as much as possible while also focusing on achieving their goals), they exhibited an adaptive pattern of well-being. This pattern resulted in them having relatively high self-esteem and low levels of depressive symptoms combined with rather high levels of commitment, effort, and progress, and low levels of cynicism (i.e., lack of meaning) and inadequacy.

While those people with a performance goal orientation (primarily focused on achieving more than other people and avoiding situations where they may fail, make mistakes, or look incompetent) reported lower self-esteem and higher levels of depressive symptoms. They were less committed to their goals and experienced high levels of emotional exhaustion, stress, cynicism and inadequacy.

So what does this have to do with you?

Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with wanting to succeed. Actually, that’s a good thing. The negative effects come when you avoid tasks to eliminate the chance of failure or when you make a mistake, you feel bad about yourself.

When you are noticing that you may be avoiding a task because you don’t want to fail or have crappy feelings about yourself when things don’t turn out the way you hoped remember the following sentence:

Your self-worth is not at stake.

When your self-worth is not at stake you aren’t afraid to take calculated risks, you feel better about the choices that you make, and you are able to remain consistent in making progress toward your goals.

Here are three tips to make sure your self-worth stays intact as you are working toward accomplishing your goals.

  1. Shift into a mastery mindset.  A mastery goal orientation is the best way to make sure that when you encounter obstacles and challenges your self worth isn’t at risk. If you haven’t already, sign up for my email newsletter and you will receive great resources filled with strategies and techniques on how to make this happen.
  2. Take calculated risks. Taking risks is hard, but necessary when you want to make big changes in your life. Learn how to take risks without high stakes and you will be less likely to avoid taking action toward your goals
  3. Go to the source and become a creative problem-solver. When you don’t achieve a goal, it does not automatically mean that something is wrong with you. Become curious about what truly went wrong and brainstorm other possible ways to succeed.

Don’t sabotage yourself by never starting because you are afraid of failing.

Your self-worth is not at stake. You are worthy, whole, and complete… right now and always.

Share with me how you intend to keep your self-worth intact when things don’t go as planned.



Tuominen-Soini, H., Salmela-Aro, K., & Niemivirta, M. Achievement goal orientations and subjective well-being: A person-centered analysis. Learning and Instruction, 18, 251-266.

Ditch the Dirty-Talk…For GOOD!

design-4Today’s blog content was so good…. I HAD to make a video!

This video is a continuation of last’s weeks blog – Do you like to talk dirty? — Read it first before you watch the video.

Negative self-talk can be THE worst saboteur of your success. Self-talk directly influences your feelings and your behaviors, so it’s super important to make sure that the messages that you are sending yourself support your success.

As I promised last week, today I am going to show you an empirically based cognitive restructuring technique that helps transform your negative self-talk.

It’s based on cognitive psychologist, Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).


I am also including a handout so you can practice on your own.
ABCD Thought Model Worksheet

Try it out and share with me in the comments below any insights or impressions as you worked through the model!


Do you like to talk dirty?

design-3This is the 3rd post in my series of self-sabatoge.

If you missed the first two posts – catch up right now:

The Doctor Is In: Prescriptive Self-Care for High Achievers

Are  You a Dieter in a Donut Shop?

Today’s post is about talking dirty. I know we just met, but I want to know…

How often do you talk dirty?

The dirty talk I am referring to is the dirty talk you may be telling yourself. You know, negative self-talk.

Over the past several weeks, I have started to recognize how negative self-talk is the one of the most common and powerful saboteurs of success for women.

 Self-talk can be defined as all of the purposeful and random thoughts that run through your mind. It could be your beliefs about yourself, your abilities, your environment, or your current situation.

 Self-talk is tricky because it can be a monster or your best friend, but most people are unaware of the messages they are sending themselves. Not only are they unaware of the messages, they are unaware of the impact that these messages have on EVERYTHING in their life. The thoughts you think, create the emotions you feel. The emotions you feel drive your actions and behavior.

For instance, you and your partner are going through a difficult time in your relationship and this thought comes up:

“My relationship sucks.”

If you spend the entire day thinking that your relationship sucks, what will the emotional impact be for you and the interactions you have with your partner?  You probably will feel frustrated, angry, and upset. These feelings drive you to withdraw from your relationship, see every argument as evidence of your relationship sucking, and maybe you even start to pick a fight with your partner.

Either way… thinking the thought – “My relationship sucks” creates a reality of my relationship sucks.  

The same thing works when you are trying to reach a goal. For example, you have been working to build your business. After spending a lot of time, energy, and money into attracting more clients, you haven’t been able to meet your goal. So you think:

“Something must be wrong with me”

If you are thinking that you can’t get clients because something is wrong with you, how do you feel? Probably pretty crappy, hopeless, and frustrated. So when you are feeling crappy, hopeless, and frustrated what kind of action do you take? Probably not consistent or not much action. Not taking action is not going to get you the results you want, so you stay stuck.

Research asserts that your emotions are correlated with your problem-solving skills. So when you feel crappy, your ability to problem-solve decreases. When something bad happens or something doesn’t work out the way we planned, the natural response is to feel bad. Your ability to bounce back from feeling bad helps you to employ some much needed problem solving skills and resources so that you can turn the situation around.

In mindset research (goal orientation in academic literature), psychologists suggest that when people possess a fixed mindset (where they are solely focused on the quantitative outcomes) and don’t achieve their goals, they are more likely to attribute their failures to their self-worth. That’s when thoughts like this come up:

  • “I am not good enough”
  • “People don’t like me”
  • “I won’t ever succeed/achieve my dream”

(Want to learn more about the research behind mindset, click here and you will receive a free mindset class and receive access to my newsletter list!)

Here is what I want you to do for the next week. I want you to become more aware of your dirty talk. You can do this by tracking your thoughts in several ways:

  1. Notice your emotions. Feeling bad is usually a strong indicator that you are talking dirty. Try to hone in on what is the message you are sending yourself. Is the situation hopeless? Is there something wrong with you? Write it down.
  2. Notice your behaviors. If you are procrastinating, caught in perfectionism, or any other behavior that is preventing you from taking action or making progress in any area in your life. This is another signal to look at the messages you send yourself.  Are you afraid you might fail? Feel that what you put out there isn’t going to be good enough? Thinking that you may work hard and people may not buy what you have to offer? Get really clear on what you are telling yourself that’s preventing you to move forward.
  3. Notice your inner mean girl. Is nothing ever good enough for you? Your effort, your work, your progress. Notice ways that you can never live up to your own standards. What are you telling yourself? What are your impossible standards?

Start to become more aware of the messages that you are telling yourself. How often do you engage in dirty talk?

Next week, I am going to share with you a proven technique to shift your negative thinking into something that is more positive that helps you get unstuck and move forward. It’s more scientific than you think!

In the comments below, share with me ways that you have become more aware of your own negative self-talk.


The Doctor Is In: Prescriptive Self-Care for High Achievers

design-2This is the 2nd post in my
Ditch the Self-Sabotage Series
Want to catch up?
Read last week’s post here:

Are you a dieter in a donut shop?

Over the past six months I have worked with some amazing women. These women are entrepreneurs, agents of social change, and academic leaders. Seemingly these women have everything: success, education, money, prestige… and they are working on getting more of it all. My academic background has made me notorious for noticing patterns. One pattern that I noticed is that they all struggled with one thing – a routine of self-care.

Self-care? Yes, self-care. It’s a phrase that is thrown around a lot, but what is it really? Self-care consists of the actions and behaviors that contribute to the maintenance of well-being and personal health.

The women I work with aren’t afraid of a little hard work. They routinely pull all-nighters and will wake at the crack of dawn just to meet a deadline. I don’t know about you, but for me there is ALWAYS a deadline to meet.

This means that sleep, eating healthy, exercise, and play are things that get pushed to the fringes when you have a mile-long list of things to do. So what’s the big deal? Why does it matter?

If you are driving your car and your fuel light comes on and you keep driving. You are going to run out of gas.

For high achievers, when our fuel light comes on, it doesn’t mean that if we keep going we will run out of gas and stop. But it may mean that you are little more irritated when communicating with your loved ones.  You are a resentful toward your business or job. You get easily distracted so you aren’t as productive. But the most common result from running on E for too long – getting physically sick.

What I have come to experience is that self-care is a non-negotiable when you want to become successful.

  • When you are stressed you are less efficient.
  • When you are overwhelmed you are less productive.
  • When you are distracted you are less creative.
  • When you are experiencing any negative emotion you are less passionate.

Success requires you to be efficient, productive, creative, and passionate. So are you creating an environment to be successful?

Research asserts that there is a tremendous connection between well-being and success.

Psychologists have conducted extensive investigative studies that show a direct link between positive affect (happiness) and success. In the workplace, people who experienced high levels of positive affect were considerably more productive and profitable. Taking care of yourself pays off, literally. Research has also shown that life satisfaction and happiness are significantly positively correlated to income. This means the happier and satisfied with life you are… the more money you make.

I think this concept is hard for high achievers to fully grasp. As someone who has a tendency to work through exhaustion and illness, I struggled with finding and making the time to care for myself.

I started with small changes. I began scheduling daily lunches in my calendar. Before this, it was not uncommon for 4:00pm to roll around and I hadn’t eaten all day! But the benefit of scheduling my lunch was bigger than just giving my body nourishment. It also gave me space to think! It’s easy for me to be swept into the busyness of my schedule. From appointments, to meetings, to teaching classes. I make it all happen. But taking 30 minutes out of my day to make sure I’ve eaten allows me to become more intentional and strategic about how I am spending my time. Midday I am able to check in and see if my VIPs (very important priorities) are getting completed. If they aren’t, I have the mental space to figure out if I can make it happen. My days aren’t getting away from me anymore.

Another habit I just started implementing was intentional morning time. I use this time for meditation, reading, or journaling. Whatever I do, I start my day with intention. This has made a HUGE impact on my mood and emotions throughout the day. A busy day doesn’t have to mean a stressful day!

Women who have a lot on their plate need more than just a grab and go dinner or 6-8 hours of sleep every night. We have to fuel our body, mind, and spirit so that we can fuel our success. If you don’t have an active and nourishing self-care plan for yourself, you are sabotaging your success. It’s hands down a non-negotiable to get your self-care in order so that you can propel yourself into success.

So here’s my challenge to you. Look at your current state of self-care. Is your self-care prescriptive for your lifestyle? Share with me in the comments below, one self-care prescription you are going to fill to enhance your daily or weekly routine!



Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?. Psychological Bulletin, 131(6), 803-855. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.131.6.803


Are You a Dieter in a Donut Shop?

designI know a lot about what makes people successful. I have studied loads of research on strategies that make people successful and analyzed    characteristics of high-performing individuals who seem like they can’t fail.

All of that researching and analysis has provided me with strategies, statistics, and techniques that enable me to help my clients to become successful.

But there’s a conversation around success that doesn’t get much light because it’s not pretty. It’s not easy to jazz up, to make a statistic, and most people want to think that it doesn’t have anything to do with their success.

Your environment. How is your environment supporting your success?

Your environment, the people, places, and messages you have in your life directly affect your level of success.

For example, if you are trying to lose weight. Are you going to spend your day hanging out at Krispy Kreme donuts? Of course not! That’s obvious right? But what about joining your co-workers for happy hour after work everyday? Whether it’s donuts, appetizers, or adult beverages, none of those things are going to support your goal to lose weight. Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying lock yourself in a gym until you reach your weight loss goal. But what I am saying is that people don’t realize the significant influence that their environment has on reaching their goals.

I work with online entrepreneurs, and many of them get caught in the comparison trap. It can get really ugly and prevent them from making real progress in their business. I hear things like…

“This person is making more money than me!”
“She has more Facebook likes than me!”
“Her website is cooler than mine!”

Comparison can make you feel like what you have to offer isn’t so great, and then you don’t feel so great.  You don’t produce great results when you’re not feeling great. So when I dig to find out how they know so much about other entrepreneurs, I find out that they may spend a lot of time on social media. Or maybe they are subscribed to everyone’s newsletter.

The easiest way to get out of the comparison trap is to stop putting yourself in the trap. Don’t take the bait! Instead, the focus of your social media time should be working on building YOUR business, not someone else’s. Unsubscribe from all the newsletters that don’t inspire or encourage you to take meaningful action in your business.

Another example is the messages that you tell yourself. Believe it or not those messages are providing an environment for you to flourish or struggle. And you can’t get away from that environment…your head!

What are the messages that you tell yourself?

  • “I’m not good enough.”
  • “I’m not thin enough to do videos for my business.”
  • “People will think I am fraud.”
  • “I don’t have the authority to put my message out into the world.”
  • “Things never work out for me.”
  • “This is too hard.”

None of those messages support you achieving any of your goals. In fact, they probably make you feel like crap.

Try becoming more mindful of the messages that you send yourself. When negative thoughts come up, take notice in that moment, and realize that those thoughts are not helpful. Then, try to turn that negative into something that is more positive and supportive. Need help with this one? You’ve come to the right place!

Psychologists have debated for years about what makes people who they are. Is it nature or nurture?

Most would say that it’s a little bit of both. So regardless of your genetic makeup, how is your environment nurturing your success?

Take a moment and take a good hard look at your environment:

  • Where do you spend most of your time? Do you find it energizing and uplifting?
  • Who do you spend most of your time with? Are those people supportive to your goals?
  • What messages are you consuming? Are they inspiring and encouraging?
  • What messages do you tell yourself? Are they loving and compassionate?

Just like healthy people don’t eat junk food. (All the time)
Successful people don’t consume junk either.

Make a commitment to take the junk out of your environment today!

In the comments below, tell me how you are going to make your environment more nurturing toward your success!

Did you love this blog? Well I have a FREE training call coming up soon, you should sign up! I’d love to have you there!