Breaking the Self-Sabotage Cycle: Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Business Success

Are you an entrepreneur, freelancer, or small business owner who feels stuck in your business? Do you find yourself consistently sabotaging your success? Identifying the barriers holding you back is the first step to overcoming them. This article explores common reasons and provides actionable tips for breaking the self-sabotage cycle.

Understanding the Self-Sabotage Cycle

Breaking the self-sabotage cycle means you first have to understand it

Self-sabotage is a pattern of behavior that prevents you from achieving your goals. It can take many forms, such as procrastination, self-doubt, or fear of failure. The self-sabotage cycle starts with a negative thought or belief, which leads to negative emotions and behaviors. These behaviors reinforce negative thoughts or ideas, creating a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break.

To break the self-sabotage cycle, it’s essential to understand the root causes of your negative thoughts and beliefs. This may involve some deep introspection and self-reflection. It may also include seeking the help of a therapist or coach who can guide you through the process. Once you understand the root causes of your self-sabotage, you can begin to take steps to overcome them.

Feature image showing guest speaker on breaking the self-sabotage cycle.  Laurie Kopp Weingarten

Honest Conversations with Business Owners on Diana Prince Lives Next Door

To better understand self-sabotage, I launched a series of conversations on the topic in my video and podcast series, Diana Prince Lives Next Door. I get the backstory and insights from several business owners and hit all the main obstacles in our conversations.

Episode 1 of Getting out of Your Way

Laurie Kopp Weingarten, a Certified Educational Planner and President of One-Stop College Counseling helped me launch the series. Laurie works with students nationwide to help them reach their full potential. She helps them in every aspect of their high school journey so they can excel in their adult life. And in Episode 1 of the Series, she shares her experience with recognizing her self-sabotaging behavior in business. So watch or listen, and learn.

Diana Prince Lives Next Door is also a podcast.

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Three reasons we self-sabotage our success

Fear of Failure

One of the most common barriers to business success is fear of failure. This fear can be paralyzing, preventing you from taking risks or trying new things. It can also lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, as your fear of failure may cause you to make mistakes or miss opportunities.

To overcome the fear of failure, reframing your mindset is essential. Instead of seeing failure as a negative outcome, try to see it as a learning opportunity. Every failure is a chance to learn and grow, and it can ultimately lead you to tremendous success.

Imposter Syndrome

Another common barrier to business success is imposter syndrome. This is the feeling that you don’t deserve your success or are not qualified to do what you do. Imposter syndrome can be particularly challenging for entrepreneurs and freelancers who often work alone and don’t have the validation of a boss or coworkers.

To overcome imposter syndrome, you must acknowledge your accomplishments and remind yourself that you are qualified and capable. It can also be helpful to seek out a supportive community of peers or mentors who can provide validation and encouragement.


Perfectionism is another form of self-sabotage that can hinder business success. While striving for excellence is essential, perfectionism can lead to unrealistic expectations and a fear of failure. It can also lead to procrastination or paralysis, as you may feel you can’t move forward until everything is perfect.

To overcome perfectionism, it’s essential to set realistic goals and deadlines. It’s also important to recognize that perfection is unattainable and that striving for it can hinder your progress. Instead, focus on making incremental improvements and taking action toward your goals.

Tips for Overcoming Self-Sabotage

Now that we’ve explored some common barriers to business success let’s look at some actionable tips for overcoming self-sabotage:

Practice Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is the practice of being kind and forgiving to yourself. When you make a mistake or experience a setback, it’s easy to beat yourself up or engage in negative self-talk. But this only reinforces the self-sabotage cycle. So instead, try to be gentle with yourself and treat yourself with the kindness and compassion you would show a friend.

Take Small Steps

When you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, breaking your goals into smaller, more manageable steps can be helpful. This can help you build momentum and make progress toward your goals. It can also help you overcome the fear of failure, as each small step is a success.

Focus on Action

Instead of getting bogged down in negative thoughts or self-doubt, focus on taking action toward your goals. This can be as simple as making a to-do list or setting a deadline for yourself. You’ll build confidence and momentum by taking action, which can help you overcome self-sabotage.

Seek Support

Finally, seeking support when you’re struggling with self-sabotage is essential. This may involve contacting a therapist, coach, or mentor who can provide guidance and accountability. It may also include finding a supportive community of peers who can offer encouragement and validation.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Breaking the self-sabotage cycle is essential for reaching your goals and fulfilling your potential as a business owner. By identifying the root causes of your negative thoughts and behaviors, practicing self-compassion, taking small steps, focusing on action, and seeking support, you can overcome the barriers to your success. So take the first step today and start breaking the self-sabotage cycle. You deserve to achieve your dreams and reach your full potential.

Angela Atelier is a New Jersey-based portrait and personal branding photography studio empowering women everywhere to live their best life. The Diana Prince Lives Next Door video and podcast series supports that mission and helps to promote equality by raising awareness of the millions of contributions women make to this world.

If you want to increase your online visibility and grow your brand, join us in the conversation about the female experience. Sign up for the atelier’s TALK SERIES today and be our guest on Diana Prince Lives Next Door.

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