In this week’s news, there’s a story of someone with fame, fortune, and power, sabotaging his own career.

You see a story like this every week.

This behavior happens around you every day (even if you aren’t always aware of it).

It may even be something you do yourself on a smaller basis.

Why does this happen?

On the surface, it makes absolutely no logical sense.

And that is the key.

When somebody does something that makes no logical sense, 100% of the time they do so because it makes emotional sense.

Re-read that last sentence three times, as it is THE insight to understanding people (including yourself).

To be human is to have an emotional side. We are all emotional, no matter how rational we think we are.

If we weren’t, we would be computers. Having an emotional side isn’t a defect in humanity, it IS humanity.

Self-sabotage occurs in many ways, both big and small. Here are a few examples:

  • Why does the McKinsey Harvard PhD make brilliant conclusions that she then apologizes for?
  • Why does the industry professional “embellish” her report only to lose total credibility in the future?
  • Why does the department head make a mistake and then blame everyone else for the mistake he made (alienating colleagues in the process)?
  • Why does the high potential employee decline stretch projects that could catapult her career (only to see someone incompetent get the project instead)?

None of this makes logical sense. But all of it makes emotional sense to the person in that situation.

The missing piece of the puzzle that’s often THE root cause of self sabotage is…

Low Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is your innate belief in your own sense of worth as a human being.

When you believe you, your ideas, and your skills have no worth…

  • You apologize for your brilliant conclusions. (It makes emotional sense.)
  • You take an objectively good presentation and embellish it because you’re afraid “good” isn’t good enough (and risk your entire career reputation in the process). (It makes sense emotionally when you believe your ideas have no inherent merit.)
  • You make a mistake and blame others because admitting fault means you’re even more worthless than you thought (and that’s too terrifying of a thought to consider).
  • You constantly undersell yourself when being considered for career enhancing assignments (even though you’re logically incorrect, underselling feels emotionally correct).

When you lack self-derived worth/esteem, your only other option is to seek other-derived worth/esteem.

Many people worry about having too much self-esteem.

“I don’t want to be arrogant.” 

Despite popular perception, arrogant people have no self-esteem.

They are addicted to other-esteem. This is why they boast so aggressively.

They need you to think highly of them because they secretly think so poorly of themselves.

Some low self-esteem people are blamers. They never admit or acknowledge a mistake.

This occurs because admitting a mistake means admitting imperfection. Imperfection = worthlessness.

Asking a low self-esteem blamer to admit to something is like telling someone who already feels worthless that they are even worse than they thought. This is incredibly threatening to the psyche of such a person.

When you have low self-esteem, it leaks out in all kinds of odd ways — arrogance, denial, passive aggressiveness, never apologizing, apologizing even when you didn’t do anything wrong.

When you’re so reliant on other-esteem, you become addicted to achievement, status, and money — at the expense of your health, relationships, or career longevity.

The lack of self-esteem will absolutely hold back your career, your life, or both.

So what’s the solution to eliminating this glaring risk?

The key is to shift your sense of worth from other-based worth to self-based worth.

When you have high self-based esteem, here’s how life changes:

  • When you make a mistake, instead of your world collapsing, you say “Whoops, I won’t be doing that again” and you move on.
  • When you experience a major setback in your career, instead of crawling into bed in the fetal position, you merely feel disappointed and try again.
  • When a great career opportunity comes by, rather than selling yourself short and missing out, you can confidently and accurately say, “I can do this. I have most of what’s needed, and I’m confident I can figure out the rest.”
  • When you state a conclusion that you know is correct, rather than apologizing for being right, you simply state your conclusion — no apologizing, no boasting — letting your conclusion speak for itself.

Whether your esteem is based on others or on self, it impacts and colors every decision and every action you make — every… single… day.

If what I’ve written here resonates with you… if you feel the gnawing uncomfortable feeling that more of this is true than you care to admit, consider making the shift from other-based worth to genuinely self-based worth.

It is something I did, and it completely transformed my life.

If you’d like to learn how to do this, consider my program on How to Develop Unshakeable Self-Esteem and Incredible Self Confidence.

This is a downloadable program I developed from a series of classes I conducted on the components of unshakeable self-esteem, and how that translates into incredible self-confidence.

Click Here to learn more.

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