Episode 114

4 Simple Steps to Stop Self-Sabotage in Your Business

Time feels like it’s moving faster and faster as the years go on. If we aren’t paying attention to how we’re using our time, it can feel like it’s passing us by entirely. If you know this feeling, it might be time to gain some awareness about exactly where your time is going, and where self-sabotage might be showing up in your business.

There’s one key reason why we sabotage our own progress, which I’ll discuss in this episode. But I’m also giving you tools and a simple framework to understand exactly what’s happening so you can change your story. You have big things to do in this world, and this episode is here to assist you in showing up for your life and your business.

Tune in this week to discover why we self-sabotage, and how to stop. Understand exactly where you’re frittering your time away, and learn a simple four-step framework to address the root cause of your self-sabotaging habits.

Interested in joining Wired for Wealth? Click here to learn more!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The distractions that lead to self-sabotage.
  • How to uncover the ways you’re self-sabotaging in your life and business.
  • The reason you are self-sabotaging and procrastinating in your business.
  • How to get clear on your fears and put them into perspective.
  • Why awareness is the first step to creating change.
  • 4 steps to stop self-sabotaging in your business moving forward.


Read the full transcript now

You’re listening to The Jewish Entrepreneur Podcast with Debbie Sassen, Episode 114.

Welcome to The Jewish Entrepreneur Podcast. I’m your host, Debbie Sassen. I went from being a financial adviser, author and chronic underearner to building my business to six figures as a financial planner and money mindset coach. And then, on to multiple six figures as a full-time money and business coach.

I help entrepreneurs create money making businesses and build wealth, using sales and money mindset strategies in alignment with authentic Jewish values. Now, let’s dive in to today’s show.

Hello, my friends, and welcome back to the podcast. It is the end of January. I know we always say this, but how did this happen so fast? How does the year go by so fast, or the week, or the month? Time does seem to speed up, I think, especially when we’re older and we have lived quite a lot of years already. The things that happen in our lives; our days are full, our weeks, our months, and time does seem to speed up a little bit.

Which is why we really want to be aware of what’s happening with our time. How we self-sabotage or procrastinate, and don’t get done the things we say that we want to get done in our business. We’re going to talk about all of that today. I’m going to help you understand the one key reason why you are self-sabotaging. I mean we all self-sabotage, I do it too.

And I’m going to share with you the tools that I use. Really, a simple framework to understand what is happening, and help you change the story. Because I know that you have big things to do in this world. You have your God-given gifts, and you want to share them and make a difference and help your clients. And of course, you want to make money for yourself and your family, doing the things that you were divinely created to do in the world.

But before we talk about self-sabotage, it is the end of the month, and I want to share with you three things that I have really been enjoying during January. Maybe you will also be inspired to enjoy them, as well.

The first thing is, I bought myself an electric heating pad. It’s kind of like a hot water bottle, except that it’s electric and it never cools down, which is just fabulous. I went to visit a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago, and she had this heating pad on her back. She was having a little bit of backache, and she shared it with me. She said she also keeps it in her lap because it keeps her so warm.

I knew straightaway that I wanted one of those. I sit at my computer, whether I’m meeting with my clients or recording my podcast or writing content, or just all the things that have to do with my business, and I’m not moving a lot in the winter. My office gets cold. I do have a heater on most of the time, but I don’t like it when the air gets hot and dry, so this is such a perfect solution. I just heat it up, put it on my lap, and it is just divine.

The moment I heard about it, I went off to the pharmacy and picked one up for me. It has really changed my experience of sitting in my office during the winter. So, if that’s something that appeals to you, then really dash out to the store and get yourself one. You will not be sorry.

I also have a big heating pad, like a sheet, in my bed at night. I just climb into this boiling hot bed, which I love so much. My hands are always freezing after I brush my teeth, before I go to sleep at night, from the cold water. The water in our pipes is freezing.

So, I climb into my boiling hot bed, and I love it so much. Then I turn off my electric sheet and I fall asleep. It is just divine. So, I recommend all things electric heat in the winter. Alright, so that’s number one.

Number two is, I went out this week and I bought myself some new eyeshadow. Now, that’s going to sound crazy to you, but I am really enjoying it. It has been probably eight years since I bought myself some eyeshadow. I’m not a big makeup wearer; I do wear some lipsticks and blush and some mascara. But I’ve been noticing that I wanted to have a little bit of color around my eyes.

The eyeshadow that I bought myself… I think I bought it with my daughter before she got married. This year, in June, she will have been married for seven years, eight years. Anyway, before she got married, I remember we went shopping one day. We had so much fun together and I bought some eyeshadow.

This week, I wanted to buy some new eyeshadow, get some new colors. There is one color in the palette that was almost gone, so it was time. So, that’s what I did. I went into this store my daughter-in-law recommended to me. Very funny, my daughter-in-law, who was not born in the neighborhood where my kids now live, she was able to recommend the store to me.

They have this Wheel of Fortune kind of thing. You know what I’m talking about? You spin it, and wherever it lands, you get a prize. And so, I won this bottle of perfume. I told my daughter-in-law, because she was the one who recommended the store to me, that I’m going to give it to her.

I don’t usually wear perfume. I tend to like different fragrances that I smell on other people. But if I have them on me, after like five minutes, I don’t enjoy it anymore. I have my trusted CHANEL N°5, and that’s the only one that I can really stand on me for more than five minutes. I love it so much. I’ve loved it since I was a little girl. So me and CHANEL N°5, we’re buddy buddies.

But most of the time I forget to put on perfume, so it tends to spoil before I ever finish the bottle. But I have one, and once in a blue moon I will remember to put it on. I tried to leave it out where I can see it every day, but I don’t see it anyway, it just doesn’t land in my mind. So, I’m not a big perfume wearer or jewelry wearer or makeup wearer. But now I have some new eyeshadow that I am loving. Alright, so that’s two things.

Number three, I am enjoying lemons. We have a lemon tree in our garden. When we moved into our house 25 ½ years ago, one of my husband’s colleagues gave us this skinny, little lemon tree. We’ve just continued to water this lemon tree, and God waters the lemon tree during the winter. We’ve pruned it here and there, added fertilizer, and this year our lemon tree yielded 73 kilos of lemons. That is a lot of lemons, my friends, tons, and tons of lemons.

Every morning, my husband spends about ½ hour squeezing lemons in our electric juicer. We have bottles and bottles of lemon juice in our freezer, and lemon ice cubes. Today, I made lemon muffins. We went over to my son’s house for Tu BiShvat today, tonight really. We went over to his house because he had a Tu BiShvat party with his kids.

I also got to spend time with my little grandbabies; my two-year-old and my four-year-old grandbabies; my son’s kids. We got to draw pictures together. It’s good that they’re only two and four, because my artistic skills are still at about kindergarten level. I can only draw one of those houses with the square and the triangle on top, but that was perfect for them. So, we got our kiddie cuddles, we had lemon muffins, and other fruits that we use to celebrate the holiday of Tu BiShvat.

So, those are all the fun things that are going on in my life right now. Of course, life is 50/50; there are the good things, the fun things that are happening. And then, there are the not-so-fun things that are happening. Of course, we are still in a war with Hamas, the terrorist organization. There were so many lives lost this week. So many of our brave soldiers lost their lives.

We still have our hostages. As of this recording, we still have over 136 hostages that are being held against their will in the deep, dark, dank tunnels of Gaza. We pray for their safe return, the healing of all the wounded, and consolation to the families, the extended families, and to the whole nation, who are mourning the tremendous loss of lives.

A few weeks ago, I also smashed my foot into the door, so I have some bruised toes. There you go, life is 50/50; we have all the good things, the lemons and lemon muffins, and the electric heating pad. And of course, we have the not-so-good things as well. And, life goes on.

All right, my friends, let us talk about self-sabotage. In the last couple of podcast episodes, I have been talking to you about what you want to create in 2024, and also what I want to create in my business in 2024. Really noticing what you were saying yes to during the day, or during the month, during the year, and what you were saying no to.

Because if you want to create more of what you are here in this world to create… If you want to serve more of the people that you are in this world to serve, with your God-given gifts, with that fire that is burning in your soul, you have to be intentional and mindful about the things you’re giving your time and attention to.

What you say no to is just as important as what you say yes to. So, I have constrained. I told you a couple episodes ago, that there are things that are always floating around in my mind, that I want to create with my business, that I want to do. And there are things that are just going to have to wait.

Because at the moment, I am focused on growing my group coaching program, Wired for Wealth; that is really my signature program, my flagship program. It is 100% what I am here to do in the world, to help my clients bring their God-given gifts to the world, grow their businesses, make money for their families, for their future, and not burnout in the process. Not self-sabotage, by wasting time and procrastinating and not being mindful of what they’re doing.

Because there is so much potential when you keep yourself focused. In last week’s episode, Episode 113, I told you how to do a time diary. Really noticing, during the day, where your time is going. Again, there are so many distractions in the world. These days, more than ever, it is so easy to get distracted. We have notifications on our phones, we have emails, we have people who think they have to be available all the time.

The world has evolved that way, and unless we catch ourselves and notice how we’re managing our time or not managing it, it’s almost impossible to change it. When you do your time diary and notice, “Oh, this is the time that I spent scrolling. I just keep going back and checking my emails. I was downstairs in my kitchen looking for a snack…”

We’re going to talk about all these self-sabotages today. And you, of course, probably know better than anybody. What are your self-sabotages? Is it the scrolling? Do you watch Netflix or hang out and watch a bunch of YouTube videos? Are you eating in the kitchen? Are you online shopping? It is so easy to go online shopping, right? You can sit on your couch, with your phone, in your pajamas, you don’t have to go anywhere, and you can spend a lot of money.

I did this challenge on myself a few years ago, I think it was 2019, the year right before COVID. Where, for me, it was the year that I didn’t buy anything. I was going to be very intentional about how I spent my money. There was a two-, three-week period of time when I was in the States, and I went to a store and I bought two shirts. That was it.

Then, by the time COVID came around, in January 2020… It really started spreading then, but really, it got to Israel more like February, March… all the stores closed down. We couldn’t buy anything. So, there was time that my socks and underwear were really on their last threads. But I digress.

You know that it is so, so easy to be distracted. And you know how you usually end up being distracted. We’re going to talk about those self-sabotages today, in this episode. Because I want you to be more mindful, and to be more intentional about how you use your time. Because you have some big stuff to do in the world.

And if you’re always letting your time fritter away, you can’t change that. You have patterns of behavior, you have habits, you have things that you’re probably not even aware of, what’s happening and where your time is going, and that’s why it’s so important for you to do the time diary. If you haven’t done it yet, that’s fine. You can you can start now. Go back to last week’s episode.

But the question is, once you’ve figured out what is or is not happening with your time, then the question is: What’s next? That’s why we have to talk about self-sabotage. Because the reason you are self-sabotaging, the reason you are procrastinating, pushing things off ‘til tomorrow that you could be doing today, is always because of one reason.

That is because of an uncomfortable emotion that you don’t want to feel. When it comes to business and growing your business, we’re always doing new things. We’re always taking risks. And then, once doing the new thing becomes familiar, and we want to grow our business again or try something new… You might want to start blogging, you might want to send emails, you want to put social media posts, or do public speaking, you might want to have a podcast like I have.

In order to grow your reach, serve more people, you will be doing new things. And new things are always going to feel uncomfortable. It’s like going and getting a new pair of shoes, I mean, sometimes you’ll put your feet into a nice, lovely, comfortable pair of shoes. But oftentimes, it’s not going to be molded yet to your foot.

Sometimes you’ll have some rub marks, you might get a blister, only until the shoe softens up, until the shoe molds itself to your foot. It might be a little bit uncomfortable at first, we need to wear in our shoes. And, we also need to wear in new, positive, productive actions that we’re taking in our business.

So, when it comes to your business, and this is what I want you to know, is that there is going to be fear; fear of failure, fear of success, right? What are all your friends and neighbors going to say if all of a sudden, you’re very successful, they hear about you, and people start talking about you?

Maybe it’s fear of rejection, fear of criticism, maybe you’re afraid that you’re going to get something wrong, you’re going to make a mistake, and then people are going to judge you, or you’re going to feel ashamed. Right? There are so many different uncomfortable emotions that are possible when we are growing our own businesses.

Maybe it’s confusion. Maybe you want to have a webinar, right? You put on webinars in the past, and maybe you want to create a new webinar, so you’re wondering, “Should this be the title? Should that be the title? Should I do monthly webinars? Should I do a webinar every other month?” In fact, I just coached one of my clients on this, this exact week.

She put on a webinar, and the attendance was lower than she’s had in the past. She said, “You know what? Maybe I shouldn’t do monthly webinars.” My response was, “Do another webinar. Do them every single month, because one time that you got to lower attendance is not a random sample. Go and do another one, and another one. Collect some more data.”

“Maybe it was just a day that there were other things going on in the world. Or maybe because of the war going on in Israel, people didn’t see your posts, they weren’t reading your emails. They were just busy, or they were attending different webinars, or they were doing different things in their business, or they were distracted, or they were self-sabotaging. One time feedback is not enough for you to make a big decision.”

Not that running a webinar every month, or every other month, is a big decision. But it’s just not enough information. So, go out there and try it again. Make new connections. Ask other people to share what you’re doing, so that you serve more people, show up, help more people, share your value around with other people.”

Yeah, it is confusing sometimes when you’re running a business. You will have doubt, you will be unsure, but it’s usually all of those doubts, confusions. You don’t want to make a mistake. All of those fears of judgments and mistakes, and maybe a little bit of shame that’s there under the surface, that’s what’s stopping you from doing the things that your Higher Self, your truer self, really wants to do in the world.

So, I want to give you a simple framework that you can use when you notice that you are self-sabotaging. The first thing is, it might take a while for you to notice that you’re self-sabotaging. You might be going through your day, you’ll get to the end of the day, and be like, “Wow, I really didn’t accomplish a lot today.” You’ll wonder why.

And so, if you do a daily review, noticing all of the things that maybe you had on your to-do list at the beginning of the day, noticing what you got done, noticing what you didn’t get done, I highly recommend that you do a daily review. It doesn’t have to take a long time, but again, we’re just creating awareness.

Because with that awareness, you can create change. If you just get to the end of the day and be like, “Oh, I had so many things to do, and I didn’t get it done,” you can’t change it. But if you look over your day, and you had three major things you wanted to get done, and you got to one of them or got to none of them… which often happens, especially if you’re not noticing what’s going on… then you can start asking yourself why.

I had a conversation with another one of my clients recently. She was telling me that she wasn’t getting what she wanted to get done during the day. And part of the reason is that she’s always going back to check her emails and her notifications on her phone. When we dug a little bit deeper, part of it was that she wanted to be available for her kids; if her kids needed her, and they would be texting her, calling her, or something like that.

So, her phone was always there. There were also her clients, but she was less worried about her clients being able to deal without her. She had the story in her head that she was telling herself: That in order to be a good mom, she needed to be available.

After the session, I was really thinking to myself, reviewing it, and I thought about the time that I was a teenager. I think I’ve told you the story before. There was the summer when I was 13 and I wanted to go to music camp. But my dad had been made redundant from his job, he worked for his ex-father-in-law, my grandfather; he got fired. There was really no money to send me to summer camp, so I cleaned houses in order to make money.

I lived in West L.A., and I used to ride my bicycle to Pacific Palisades, where this family was that I cleaned their house. Sometimes my friend Nina would meet me after I was finished cleaning, and we would go to the beach. I could spend the entire day not at home, just out cleaning and going to the beach with my friend, Nina.

My mom didn’t have a smartphone. In fact, I don’t know if we had… We probably had a rotary phone at that time. Do you know what a rotary phone is? If you don’t know what a rotary phone is, go Google it. But I grew up with a rotary phone; that kind of gives you an inkling into how old I am.

There was certainly no answering machine on that phone. I didn’t have a phone either, as a 13-year-old kid riding her bicycle around West L.A. in the Pacific Palisades. So, if something happened to me… There was actually one time that I was riding my bike so fast, and I wasn’t really looking where I was going. I ended up riding into the back of a car.

The impact was so strong that I bent the frame of my bicycle, and they had to pick me up off the sidewalk. I wasn’t injured. But I bent the frame, and so my wheel couldn’t turn properly. I don’t know how I got to the bicycle store or wherever. But they had to reshape the frame of my bicycle so that I could ride home.

I guess I would have called my mom from the bicycle shop, and said, “Hey, Mom, I’m okay. I just had a little bike accident. Everything is fine.” I don’t know if my mom was worried about me. I don’t know if she was thinking, “I need to know where my daughter is.” Unfortunately, my mom passed away 10 years ago, so I can’t even ask her.

But I think I will ask my dad what they were thinking, back in the day, when we weren’t available on texting, on WhatsApp, on Voxer, and things like that. All day long, were they worried about us? Were they thinking that they weren’t good parents because they couldn’t contact us for hours at a time? I mean, nowadays, kids go to school with phones; mine don’t. I mean, when they’re older, they’re teenagers, they have Kosher phones that they can’t text from.

But in other circles, kids go to school with phones, they’re texting their friends, they’re texting their parents, and I don’t know what else they’re doing on their phones. But just think about the distractions with your phone, and what it is taking you away from in your business.

These days, there’s that urgency that’s created. Like, “I have to be on call. I have to be available. I have to answer these messages. Maybe somebody’s going to think poorly of me, maybe somebody’s going to have negative thoughts about me, if I’m not available 24/7.” So, you just want to notice what the emotions are that you’re experiencing, that you are feeling, that are causing you to self-sabotage.

Now, because it’s an uncomfortable emotion, what happens is that we avoid it. Avoiding is the procrastinating. Avoiding the negative emotion is the self-sabotage. So, whether it’s the end of the day or the middle of the day, you notice that you are back in the kitchen after you were just there an hour ago. You really aren’t hungry, but you’ve gone to look for a snack anyway.

I’m going to give you four simple questions that you can ask yourself. It is a very simple framework. In the beginning, it will probably feel uncomfortable to do it because you’re creating a new habit. But stick with me, stick with this simple framework, because I promise you that if you stick with it all the time that is being squandered now, you are going to gain that back.

I mean, you’re not going to gain back time that you squandered in the past, but going forward you’re going to have so much more time in your life, in your day, and in your business. Time is your most precious commodity. When today is done, it is done, my friend, you are not getting it back. So, you want to use your time efficiently.

And you don’t want to spend more time in your business than necessary, because you have other big, beautiful things to do in life; your family, your friends, your community, your spirituality. There are other things that you want to do with this one big, beautiful life that you have.

So, here’s the simple framework. Question number one, ask yourself: What am I avoiding? It’s just a simple question, but you’ve probably never asked yourself that question before.

If you notice that you’re scrolling on social media, and 10 minutes goes by, 15, 20, 30, 60, whatever it is, and you’re like, “Oh, man, I was going to get something done before the kids came home from school,” whatever it is, ask yourself, “What was I avoiding? What was the thing on my to-do list that I said I was going to get done today but I didn’t get it done?”

Just ask yourself what it is. What is the uncomfortable emotion that you’re avoiding? Is it fear of failure? Is it confusion, or doubting that you don’t know how to do something? Maybe you can ask. If you’re in my program, you can just come to our Slack channel and you can ask me. “Debbie, hey, I don’t know what to do. I’m thinking about this…” But first, find out what is the uncomfortable emotion that you’re avoiding.

The second question you want to ask yourself is why? Why are you avoiding feeling this uncomfortable emotion? Ask yourself, why. Why are you avoiding this emotion? Why does this thing that you want to do, this email that you want to write, this podcast that you want to record, this webinar that you want to create, why does it feel hard?

Or why are you afraid of doing it? Why are you afraid of making a mistake? Whose judgment are you fearing? You just really want to get into the details of why you are avoiding experiencing certain potential future events that may or may not happen.

We make up these stories. “Well, if I write this email and it’s not exactly right, then 100 people are going to unsubscribe from my email list. Then nobody’s going to read my posts anymore.” You just want to find out what are the thoughts that are swimming in your brain, that are causing you to feel uncomfortable, and then you’re avoiding them?

I always like to play devil’s advocate, ask yourself, “What if it’s true? What if people do want subscribe from my email list? What if people do judge me? What if I take a risk in my business and I fall flat on my face? Then what happens? What if I lose money?” I make an investment in my business, in the stock market… We’ve already talked about Debbie’s $50,000 loss in the stock market. We don’t need to talk about that today.

But what if it’s true? What if the worst-case scenario that you’re anticipating… It’s probably not even close to going to happen. We probably give it like a 90% possibility of happening when we’re avoiding something. And if we actually dig deeper, there’s probably like a 10% chance of it happening.

I remember, for example, the first time I posted on Facebook that I had made $100,000 in my business, in one year. I was so afraid of posting that. For days, I wanted to do it, but I was so afraid of everybody’s judgement. “What are they going to say about Debbie?” All the thoughts. I had a peer coach that I was coaching with at the time, and I finally told her I was going to do it.

There was just a whole string of people saying, “Congratulations! Congratulations! Mazel tov! That’s amazing!” They were asking me how I did it. It was such a positive experience. And then, of course, I had all that vulnerability hangover, because I’d expose myself for the first time like that on Facebook. But that’s a different emotion that was uncomfortable. I actually posted, shut my laptop, and kind of ran away.

Anyway, what if the worst-case scenario does come true? You just really want to dig into that.

The fourth question is: Why would you do it anyway? Because if there are naysayers in the world, if there are people who are going to judge you, reject you, and criticize you… And my friend, as you grow, as you serve more people, there will be people who have thoughts about you. You might have clients that you didn’t serve to the best of your abilities, and they might actually say some things. They might give you a bad review or a negative testimonial, or something like that.

Of course, if it’s a bad review that you can delete, you won’t share that one with people; you’re only going to share the good reviews. But we can’t please all the people. Like my grandmother said, “You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. But you cannot please all of the people all of the time.”

But there are people in the world that you are here to serve. There are people in the world that you are here to please, that you can please. So, why would you let the naysayers be the ones who are in your brain and directing you, as it were? Making you, as it were, self-sabotage and procrastinate, and not go out into the world to do the thing that you are here to do, that you are divinely created to do?

You get one big, beautiful life, my friend, just one. Don’t waste your time self-sabotaging. I know it sounds easy for me to say that. I deal with this in my own life and business as much as the other person. But I ask myself the questions: What am I avoiding? Why do I want to do it anyway?

When you do that, and you notice how you’re self-sabotaging, hopefully, you’ll be able to laugh at yourself, pick yourself up, and keep doing what you want to do. And soon, it’s going to become habit. You’re just going to get out there, record your podcast every week, send your emails every week, whatever it is; the thing that you’re avoiding today.

Soon, it will become a new, big, beautiful habit that you will do to serve your people in the world, and you are going to have a bigger impact. You’re going to make more money for yourself and for your family. You will be able to gift more and share more. That is why you’re here in the world.

And you’re going to do it all in the time of the day that you’re in your business, without stringing things out. That way, you’re going to have time for your family. You’re not going to burn out. You’re not going to sacrifice those relationships with the people that you really, really love. You’ll get to go over to your grandchildren and play with them, draw them silly, little kindergarten-style pictures, like I did with my grandbabies today.

Alright, my friends, thank you so much for tuning in. I would love to hear your thoughts about self-sabotage. I hope that I was able to create some awareness for you. Just follow that simple framework. Ask yourself: What am I avoiding? Why am I avoiding it? What if it’s true, and all those negative things happen? Number four, why will I do it anyway?

I love you, and I look forward to seeing you next week on the podcast. Bye-bye, for now.

Thanks for listening to The Jewish Entrepreneur Podcast. If you want to stop underselling and underearning and close more sales, you need to clear the limiting money beliefs that are sabotaging your business growth.

Head on over to DebbieSassen.com/mindset and download my free Money Mindset Workbook. Uncover and dissolve money blocks, like hundreds of other entrepreneurs who are now building six-, multi-six-, and seven-figure businesses and creating true financial freedom.

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