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Emotions and Entrepreneurs

Emotions and Entrepreneurs

If you are an entrepreneur or someone who is entrepreneurially minded, you know the complicated dance you have with your emotions. I write this as a business owner and human—one full of emotions that influence the decisions and actions I take.

Throughout this article, I am including techniques that I have found useful. I hope you do as well.

Entrepreneurs are a Different Breed

We all like to think of ourselves as rational beings, and we are, when we are calm. But get us excited, angry or confused and clear-headed thinking gets left on the sidelines.

How many of us have regretted things we said or did (or didn’t say or do) because of some emotional experience that caught us like viscous mud, slowing or stopping our better judgement?

As a licensed therapist and coach who has worked with entrepreneurs, business owners and high performers for the last three decades, I have seen incredible ideas get side-lined because of their owner’s emotions.

Male and Females, Entrepreneurs and Emotions


Interestingly (and certainly not always) it is often the male entrepreneurs that struggle with what they say and do and the female entrepreneurs struggle with what they don’t say and do. 

I’m actually going to contradict the sentence I just wrote, because men and women tend to react to certain emotions similarly. However, men have a tendency to feel anger in a direct manner and women have a tendency to shunt anger into depression.

Maybe a better way to say this is that heightened emotions like anger tend to create negative actions like hurling insults, prematurely firing someone, canceling an effort. Or destroying inventory or ending a relationship. These are actions that are clearly visible and directly attributed to the anger. 

Other emotions such as depression or anxiety tend to create inertia, paralysis, confusion and placating. Sometimes you can see a direct line of reasoning to something difficult and these lack of actions and sometimes it is less obvious.

Like the elite athlete, the entrepreneurial psyche is not the same as non-entrepreneurs. Something that I repeatedly hear from my clients is, “I tried meeting with a therapist, but they just didn’t get me.”

And I would say, “They thought you were too driven, right? Like there was something wrong with you and you needed to ‘tone it down,’ right?”

“Yeah, exactly.”

Therapist or Coach?

This is an ongoing conundrum with mental health and extreme anything—athletes, business owners, entertainers, high performers. These types of people want more than most humans. They want to delve into their own potential. They want to reach their peak performance. At the extreme ends, none of this sounds “healthy” to the average therapist.

This is why so many of these unique people choose coaches. Because they want someone to help them turn their volume up, not down. And yet, they are human, with all the same needs for sleep, relationship, self-esteem, security, and challenge that “regular” people have. 

Because entrepreneurs and high performers usually do much more than the average person, the kinds of pressures that they deal with are out of the ordinary. Sometimes a quick minute of mindful breathing can ground you in the middle of that stress.

Here is a quick overview of ‘mindful breathing.’ This is something you can do for just a few minutes and it will regulate your nervous system. For a quick calm, take a couple minutes to recenter. But for longer lasting help, practice this daily for 5-19 minutes.

  • Sit or lie in a quiet place.
  • Keep your back straight; close your eyes.
  • Focus on your natural breath.
  • Notice the air entering and leaving your nostrils or the movement of your chest/abdomen.
  • If distracted, gently refocus on breathing.

Unique Pressures

As mentioned earlier, entrepreneurs and high performers experience pressures that many people with a normal 9-5 have never even thought of.

For example, here are some of the stress points of some of the individuals I have coached: 

      • Directly overseeing multiple budgets that exceed high 8-figures. 
      • Having 500 people who depend on you for their paycheck. 
      • Having thousands of people report to you. 
      • Manufacturing or product procurement that spans international rules and regulations and supply chain issues.
      • Running out of capital and your product is so close, but it still doesn’t work. Soon, you will have to tell everyone that works for you that you no longer can pay them.
      • Trying to raise millions of dollars to keep the initiative live and moving forward.
      • Having your marriage really struggle or die while running your company.
      • Having your children cut you off while trying to keep all of the balls in the air.
      • Revenue going from high  $XXM to low $XM over a few months.



Entrepreneurs have all the same stressors that ‘regular’ people do, but in addition, they often deal with 100’s more details than their non-high performing counterparts. 

Their emotional struggles impact a significantly greater number of people. For any entrepreneur who is even remotely self-aware, this becomes a heavy burden. Knowing that their decisions and actions (or lack of actions) ripple out so much further than just themselves or their immediate family can create intense pressure.

I am not saying that entrepreneurism is bad. As one myself, I love the challenge, the ‘game’—life, to me, is so much more interesting owning a business. 

I have spent hundreds of hours being a Trusted Advisor to many entrepreneurs and owners. Hearing their struggles. Helping them navigate that lonely space of being the one where the buck entirely stops with. I do know when you have someone in your corner, it makes the load feel a little lighter and it is easier to see possible solutions.

Self Care

Some other ways to help increase one’s resilience in the face of pressures: self-care. It may sound trite, however, taking time for one’s self allows a break from the pressure and allows your physiology to ‘reset’. If you say, “I’d like to do that, but I simply don’t have the time.”— I’ll leave you with this idea:

You either take time to prevent illness or illness makes you take time. (Mental and physical).

Take time for a walk, a short nap, listen to music, get a massage or do some yoga or go for a run. All of these activities give your brain a moment to unplug and to remind itself that your business or dream is not you. It’s a huge part of you, but it is not your sole identity.

Uncoupling these can help you gain perspective on the pressures you experience.

Emotional Regulation Pro or Con?

I want to bring up the Steve Jobs and Elon Musks of the world. There isn’t a therapist on the planet who would say the way they treat(ed) people at times is/was ok. Here is the sticky wicket: They treat(ed) people so harshly in the name of getting stuff done and they DID/ DO get remarkable things done. Things no one else could do. 

I just finished reading Walter Issacson’s biography on Elon Musk. When Elon went into Twitter after purchasing it (now known as “X”) he intentionally set out to dismantle their culture of ‘psychological safety’. He said that it slowed down momentum and made people passive (my words, not his) and that it interfered with people really challenging each other toward greatness. It is reported that Steve Job acted similarly.

What do you think?

Do the ends justify the means?


There is a line somewhere between acting civilized and regulated and the energy that it takes to galvanize people and get them moving. The people who accomplish great things often abuse or trample those beneath them in the name of getting things done.

I look at athletic coaches who goad and scream at their proteges, or the military berating their enlisted. 

I simultaneously understand why there may be a need for this and yet fundamentally don’t agree with treating people this way. Like the ends don’t justify the means.


Enough of the larger ‘out there’ examples. Let’s bring it closer to home.

Regulating emotions


For the average business owner—what happens when you don’t regulate your emotions?

Your spouse leaves. Now your kids hate you. Your employees quit. Your business may be successful, but you know it would be MORE successful if you could control your emotions.

Yelling, breaking down doors, ghosting people. Leaving the room in a huff and slamming doors, medicating with alcohol. Overdosing on medication to make you calm down or sleep, buying the next big showcase item. These are all ineffective ways I’ve seen entrepreneurs try to manage their stress and deal with their emotions.

I’ve also seen much more subtle versions of emotions calling the shots toward poor management of the individual and the company.

For example, I have seen several CEO / Owners refuse to fire someone that was actively hurting their company because they were family or a close family friend or a (once-upon-a-time) close friend. 

Sometimes they know they need to kill a product, but they’ve invested so much time and energy and money into this venture that they feel like to eliminate it is to invalidate all the investment. So they keep throwing resources at it, knowing it’s not right, but feeling helpless to do anything about it. 

I have seen highly competent leaders fail to call investors, because they are afraid of their disapproval and they are ashamed to ask for more capital.

Trusted Advisor


As I partner with my clients, I regularly switch hats between Trusted Advisor, Therapist, & Coach. Usually ‘step one’ involves really hearing and witnessing the feelings. When someone feels seen and heard, they are in a much better place to figure out where to go next.

Often, the answer lies just below the feelings. If the emotions can be expressed in a healthy manner, clarity comes and actions become obvious.

One of my tag lines is: I create insight-to-action so that your next steps are inevitable and transformative.

Clarity begets actions.

You almost can’t help but take that next step, because it is so obvious to you now. Something that was once clouded under intense and confusing emotions.

Here are some small bullets toward creating emotinal regulation:

  • Recognize and name emotions.
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation.
  • Identify emotional triggers.
  • Develop healthy coping strategies.
  • Pause before reacting.
  • Practice self-compassion.
  • Seek support from others.
  • Reflect on emotional experiences.
  • Establish healthy boundaries.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.

The Crossover Emotions

It is not always issues with the business that create the headaches for entrepreneurs. 

Often the stress and involvement within a business creates issues within the entrepreneurs’ primary relationships, with their intimate partnership taking the brunt of the strain. If you Google divorce and business ownership, the general consensus is that owning a business is tough on your marriage. Divorce rates are said to be higher than in the general populous. 

I believe the non-entrepreneurial partner gets sick of waiting to be seen, heard, valued. There are so many crises in a business, especially in the beginning stages. Long hours and dozens of legitimate reasons to say, “Hey, I know we said we would do ‘x’ but if I don’t do this now, the whole thing is going to fall apart.”

The Unraveling


After enough of these conversations, the other person quits trying. And the relationship takes a downward spiral that often culminates in resentment, separation and sometimes divorce.

It doesn’t have to be this way—getting proper systems in place and having some accountability to not choose the business over the people you love—it’s more complicated than this, but at a fundamental level those two steps will help preserve and nurture your relationship with your loved ones.

Something that I have observed to be true: when your personal life is struggling, it is very difficult to show up as your best in your business. And, when your business is tanking, it is exceedingly tough to show up well in your relationships. Most people cannot compartmentalize these emotions. They tend to bleed out from one to the other. 

Business AND Personal


My clients often bounce between their personal life and their businesses in terms of the things we work on together, because they are inexorably intertwined. You really can’t have one not effect the other. 

The single-most useful intervention I have found with entrepreners is the formation of healthy boundaries. Boundaries are easier to talk about than they are to enact. It takes practice. Boundary formation is like a muscle—the more you do it, the better you get at it.

It take considerable skill to gain the clarity around what the boundary needs to be and then how to enact said boundary in a healthy manner that doesn’t harm those around you.

Here is where a therapist or coach (or both!) can really help you. A good book on the subject: Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend. They come from a religious perspective, but they do a good job of explaining what boundaries are and how to put them in place. Here is a podcast where I talk about managing time & money, also a form of boundary setting.

Entrepreneurs with Emotions Can Succeed

In conclusion, we all have emotions. How successful or unsuccessful you are in business and life really has to do with how well you harness these powerful feelings. Emotions give entrepreneurs thier drive and ambition. And they can also destroy those same ambitions. 

head shot Miriam Gunn

If you would like to explore what a Trusted Advisor / Therapist / Coach can do for you or your business, please contact me!

As someone who has been investing in people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to engage with your goals.

Self-Sabotage and Neurophysiology Transcript – Drasko Raicevic

Self-Sabotage and Neurophysiology

Self-Sabotage and Neurophysiology

[00:00:49] Well, I’m so glad to have you on the leave better podcasts, where we are trying to get people to come and leave better and then leave better, whatever it is they touch.

[00:00:58] Tell us a little bit [00:01:00] about what it is that your company does.

[00:01:03] Intro

[00:01:03] Draskco: I run level mind, which is both my signature coaching program and podcast of the same name. And both of them deal with this one central question of like, are my business problems or my business. ceilings. Actually me problems. So who I specialize in working with is entrepreneurs that are somewhat established, meaning that they’ve done the business courses, they’ve done the mastermind, they know the business strategy.

[00:01:31] They have sales, they have some marketing, like they’ve done the like one-on-one stuff as far as like businesses concerned. But what they know and what they can show. There’s a discrepancy there. So they generally know a lot more than they can actually show. And usually that’s because of something that they’re not looking internally.

The Inner Bottleneck

[00:01:50] So like an inner blind spot and inner bottleneck, that’s now seeping into their business and basically creating this friction that’s causing the ceiling. So [00:02:00] my specialty is diving into, okay. So what is it that you’re being, that’s being brought into the business? Remove that, so that not only you can get over that ceiling, but then also normalize a brand new baseline and expand that way.

[00:02:17] So kind of like if you expand and evolve the human behind the entrepreneur, the business naturally also with. Absolutely you and I are of one mind on this. We’re always talking about where self-sabotage keeps you from reaching your next level. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about. So why don’t you give our listeners an idea of what made you want to create this business?

[00:02:41] The Motivation to address the Bottleneck

[00:02:41] Miriam: What made you want to address the bottleneck or be involved in the role that you currently. Okay. Well, because I’ve lived that life for a long time leading to the creation of, you know, figuring it out and now manifesting it into a business. So [00:03:00] I’ll give some background and context and I’m like how that came about.

[00:03:03] I actually went to business school, had a very typical Traditional route as far as like my trajectory rather than my parents are very big on school. So I excelled in school, went to the best school here in Toronto and then got a business degree and quickly realized that the nine to five life wasn’t really for me.

Martial Arts

[00:03:23] And I’ve been doing martial arts since I was 11 and I was coaching martial arts. And so I was 16. So at some capacity I’ve been at coach for a very long time. And that was always something that stuck with me. So. When I kind of came to this realization, the nine to five life wasn’t for me. I was teaching martial arts during that time.

[00:03:42] So I kind of had nothing to lose. I was like, okay, well let me try and see if I can figure out how to make some money doing this other thing that I actually will do for free and do it after work.

Ways to Make a Living

Anyway. So I started teaching cardio kickboxing classes. At that time, people started coming to me for weight loss.

[00:03:57] I quickly realized that like what I was [00:04:00] doing, wasn’t the best modality to get people to lose weight. And I’d struggled with weight myself as a kid. it was something that was quite close to me. I started learning. Okay, how do I actually get people to lose weight properly? I started teaching myself how to like be a personal trainer and then got certified in nutrition.

The Brick & Mortar Space

[00:04:18] And that. Me down this like 10 year path of creating a brick and mortar weight loss center that had hundreds of clients. We had four staff that basically after 10 years of investing into this and really exploring self-sabotage for other people through the vehicle weight loss and, and food. What ended up happening with the businesses?

[00:04:38] It was poised to do its best thing going forward, but then it crashed and it actually crashed right after or right before the pandemic. So I can’t even blame it on the pandemic. Like if I’m being honest, it’s like, it wasn’t that the reason why it ended up crashing due to my own emotional constipation, my own emotional immature.

Poor Business Decisions

[00:04:59] And [00:05:00] really self-sabotage at making a lot of decisions that were very poor business decisions that were trying to fill these quote-unquote holes in my soul, that the business wasn’t. The business is not a proxy to, you know, make me worthwhile it. It is an expression and vehicle of me to create something that I want to see in the world.

[00:05:21] I was using it for that I was using it to find significance, to prove that I can be good enough and that I have to prove that I’m a good entrepreneur. So that’s why I’m actually going to make the studio be, you know, what it could be. I was thinking that if I could heal enough people that somehow that would translate and like heal me so that I wouldn’t feel broken.


[00:05:39] in hindsight, all these things are very obvious, but in that moment that they weren’t. So this is why I made all these decisions. And also around that same time, I had just gotten out of like this perfect on paper five-year relationship and everything just started crashing down. In and around that time that the business started crashing down.[00:06:00]

[00:06:00] I’d always thought I’d done personal development, but it wasn’t until that relationship ended. And the business started ending that I really realized what I was missing as far as personal development. Like I was. Looking at everything like you would look at animals in a zoo, like, let’s just say emotions.

[00:06:17] I’d be like, oh, look, there’s depression. There’s anger. There’s joy. There’s frustration. But it was like a filter between me and the emotion. So like the first part, it was actually realizing like, oh, you need to actually feel the stuff that you intellectually understand and can guide other people through.

Identity Came Crashing Down

[00:06:34] through that time that all my identity, all my life was like crashing down. I had to begin to pivot and like begin to reinvent myself. So I had grown my studio in a very non-typical way for gyms, which is, they mostly rely on like community and referrals. I grew my business from like a internet marketing perspective.

[00:06:56] I ran a lot of funnels. I ran ads and I had all these [00:07:00] automations and things set up to bring people in and, you know, do do our thing in the studio. So, because that was a skillset that I had, I just started doing that for other coaches and other online entrepreneurs that started going well as well.

[00:07:15] I was, you know, had clients on retainer. It was like going well. But I still find myself like not really happy. And then I was at another crossroads being like, well, I don’t want to make the same mistake twice. Like I have another opportunity to like really make something of myself. What is it actually enjoyed doing?

I Don’t Really Want to Build an Agency

[00:07:31] Cause it’s not like I don’t really want to build an agency. And that really led me to realization that like the part that I was enjoying most was actually talking to the business owners about. How do you evolve the human behind the entrepreneurs at the business tactics we’ll be able to work the best, right?

[00:07:49] Like we were running a marketing campaign that required, you know an increase in price to make the numbers work. Then it would be like, okay, well, why, why, or do you [00:08:00] resist, like raising your prices? Like, what does that mean about you and kind of got into all of those things. So it was through both that and the immense amount of time, energy and money I spent towards my own healing and the learning and the things that I’ve done since then and gotten coaching on and learned a lot of different coaching with allergies.

UpLevel Mind

[00:08:19] That kind of led me to the realization that whatever. Interested in. And what I really am passionate about is this whole idea of evolving the human behind the entrepreneur and in that’s where Uplevel minds started a form. And then that’s where, you know, the podcast started to form and now the, the program is, you know what it is, and that’s kind of what brings me today.

[00:08:39] So that’s, and here we are. Yeah. Wow. That’s a lot. I want to comment on something you said, you said something like. I thought I had dealt with this, but you didn’t say it exactly this way, but in reality, I hadn’t done something. I want to comment on. Some of our listeners know that I am also a therapist as well as a [00:09:00] coach.

It’s a Familiar Story

[00:09:00] And so the story you’re telling is a, is a familiar story. And the thing I want to tell people and encourage people with is that self-development is an iterative process. I almost think of it like a corkscrew or a spring where. You’re going to hit the same topics multiple times in your life. And I have so many people who have said to me, I thought I dealt with that.

[00:09:23] I thought I, you know, that was over and done and you didn’t deal with it at that time at your level for whatever, you know, the space required. And then you continued growing and moving and whatever. And you’re, it’s sort of like, I think sometimes like a crab who needs to get a bigger shell and he has to like, Crack open and get that soft underbelly for a little bit.

Things No Longer Bring You Joy

[00:09:49] And then he moves into a bigger shell and away goes and lives his life for a while. And then it happens again, you know, my guess is. At some level, initially [00:10:00] your the things you were doing were bringing you joy, or you wouldn’t have continued to do them. And then you maxed out into a space where it was no longer bringing you joy.

Dark Night of the Soul

[00:10:09] And then you have that dark night of the soul, like, oh my gosh, what is going on here? And that was like a space of rebirth. So I, if, if you are willing to. Bounce into maybe some of the self sabotaging mindsets that you saw in yourself and then how that mindset translates into behaviors. I would love for our listeners to be able to hear that because we’re all human beings.

[00:10:36] And sometimes you hear in another person. Oh, a I’m not the only one, but also I’ve had that thought or I’ve had, yeah. So share with us some mindsets. Okay. There’s actually a lot of stuff there. So I’m just going to kind of start on one comment and then I will answer your question afterwards. So I, a hundred percent agree with your sentiment that like the things we [00:11:00] thought we dealt with you know, we seem to have to deal with at another level and.


[00:11:05] In my coaching, I use this idea of resistance, right? So anybody who’s read the war of art by Steven Pressfield, he talks about resistance with this capital R and I love that concept. I find it very helpful in my own journey, and I find it very helpful to describe this. So resistance for anybody who hasn’t read the book or is listening and the way that I use.

[00:11:26] As I define it as it’s the counterforce to leveling up. So what that really means is like resistance is only works in one direction. If what you want to do is, you know, watch Netflix and eat ice cream. You’re not going to ever meet any resistance because you’re kind of pulling down away from your Uplevel.

[00:11:44] Like you, you are not doing something is going to require a higher version of yourself. There’s not going to be any resistance there as soon as you go and you start to do something that’s outside of. Not just your comfort zone, but your familiarity zone, you’re going to hit resistance [00:12:00] happens every time.

The Resistance is Ruthless

[00:12:01] It is the one thing that’s always guaranteed and resistance is extremely ruthless. It’ll it’ll pick up on all of the things that it can pick up to keep you the same. Hence it works only in one direction. Like if you think of a plane. Plane meets turbulence every single time it goes up. It’s not like this is a great plan, so you’re never going to meet turbulence.

[00:12:21] That’s why I call it. Like whenever we meet resistance in order to process, whatever we need to process in that time. And now that differs, and that’s a very nuanced conversation, but the turbulence of resistance is very real. And the reason I call it a turbulence of resistance is because turbulence while tumultuous, you actually survive.

[00:12:41] Otherwise, it would just be called a crash. So then very nature of resistance is guaranteed. Anytime we level up to anything. So like initially might be visibility issues, you know, where you face off with your unworthiness, but then the same thing comes along. When you have a team like, oh no, am I worthy to like, do [00:13:00] it.

Leveling UP

[00:13:01] You’re leveling up. That’s when resistance is going to hit, it is going to hit and where you are weakest and is all usually going to be, you know, some sort of deep wounding. Right. So that just to kind of shed light on that whole sentiment of like, why’d, we have to repeat this you know, it’s like welcome to being human, but that’s kind of the, the way that it works.

[00:13:18] Neurophysiology and Self-Sabotage

[00:13:18] Miriam: Right. Now as far as like the self-sabotage bit. So the way that I look at self-sabotage and I did a whole podcast episode on this is I define self-sabotage as something that’s very real, but it doesn’t actually exist. So how is something real, but doesn’t actually exist. So the real part of self-sabotage.

[00:13:40] Is the consequences of it. They’re extremely real, right? Like the, the consequences of legislative south sabotage through an action are extremely real because that’s what keeps you from your potential. That’s what keeps you in these loops, you know, that it just, it sucks to be. In that space, the consequences of [00:14:00] that are extremely, extremely real self-sabotage in and of itself as a thing that we are going to do something that’s going to work against ourselves, that doesn’t actually exist because fundamentally all behaviors in some level are need fulfilling.

You have Reasons to Not Do ‘X’

[00:14:16] So there is a part of you that has a very good reason to why it’s not doing. This action. Like we are labeling it as inaction because the action is really, I should do this business thing where I’m hitting resistance to, but you’re actually taking a different action. Like I’m distracting, I’m getting ice cream, I’m scrolling through Facebook.

[00:14:36] So like even the sentiment of I’m not taking actions is actually a misnomer because you are actually taking action. They’re just not the actions aligned with your highest. Good. So. What that allows you to do, like knowing that the real part is of self-sabotage as a consequences, but it doesn’t actually exist.

NYU Coaching

[00:14:56] In my experience at NYU coaching, it allows the space [00:15:00] for acceptance, like realizing there is a part of me that is conditioned to do this. I have a paradigm that’s running in my head that, that makes this worthwhile, that there is some payback, despite the fact that doesn’t make logical sense. It usually makes emotional sense that allows you to accept it.

[00:15:19] Oftentimes we have very biologically correct responses, right? Like, let’s just say going back to the visibility bit. If I was reprimanded every time I express myself as a kid, I’m going to have a very neurological reaction. Every time I get up on social media, that is a correct biological response.

[00:15:37] There’s nothing wrong. Like if I threw a snake in your face right now, like nobody would be like, why are you so weird for jumping back? It is a natural biological reaction. So knowing that I think allows people to space and then be like, Okay. Like, I can breathe here. I’m not fundamentally broken. What can I now do to actually move in a [00:16:00] different direction and actually work to, you know, quote unquote, fix this, or really it’s about installing a different paradigm, installing a different behavior set.

How I Approach Self-Sabotaging

[00:16:07] So that’s always how I like to approach self-sabotaging in give that grace to people right off the bat so that they can stand more firmly and be more empowered to actually go ahead and change it as. They can behaviors. They do do align with the results that they do want. Right. Something that I love that you said that I want to just camp on is your use of parts, language.

[00:16:30] And I think that we intuitively say, ah, pardon me, wants to do this. a part of me wants to do that, but actually there’s a whole like psychological theory that uses parts, language, internal family systems. And it allows somebody to get out of that space of, “I suck, I’m the worst. I can’t do this.”  Whatever, you know, I, I, well, a part of you.

The Potato Chips

[00:16:54] Once they sit in bed and eat potato chips, but obviously not all of you does because otherwise [00:17:00] you wouldn’t even be having this conversation in your head. And there’s a part of you who wants to reach your next level or you wouldn’t be experiencing such an angst. That kind of language really underscores the grace.

[00:17:12] You’re talking about where you can, it’s not about letting yourself off the hook, but it’s about. Giving yourself enough breathing room that you have the option of moving into that next space, or you have the option of being able to say, okay. Yeah, a part of me wants to take a nap, but another part of me wants to go for a walk.

[00:17:32] How about if I support the part of me that wants to go for a walk? So let me ask you for just a second. This might sound like it’s the same question, but it’s a little bit different. When you look at the ways that people self sabotage themselves or the bottlenecks, can you just give some specific examples?

[00:17:52] I see them doing this, I see them doing this. I said, well, just give us like a grocery list or a bulleted list of some of the common [00:18:00] ways you see people self-sabotage yeah. A hundred percent. I guess. Okay. I have a. One of my freebies on my website is, is this whole masterclasses it’s 30 minutes, but actually it goes into this very question.

My Business Problems are ME Problems

[00:18:18], you know, my business problems actually me problems and it breaks it down into the actual patterns that most oftentimes you see, right? So for example, one pattern might be like literacy. If somebody experiences like a feast and famine pattern in their business. Right? So. If I make a lot of money, but I can’t seem to keep a lot of it.

[00:18:42] Like that is one aspect of the feast and famine where it’s like, I have a lot and then I don’t have a lot. Okay. Or on the flip side of it, which is like, I go through periods where I have absolutely nothing. And then I panic and I start to make a lot, like to me, that’s, it’s a very [00:19:00] similar pattern in that as well.

[00:19:03] Obviously the nuances matter as far as like how the individual appears in those particular patterns? Well, one of the things I find most often with something like that is. Again, going back to like, how did somebody actually grow up? Right. And, and oftentimes when I see feast and famine aspects, it’s like, they’re more familiar in chaos than they are in actual stability.

Comfortable vs Healthy

[00:19:27] then they will start to do things to create the chaos so that they can actually feel comfortable. And I say comfortable, familiar in their nervous system. Yeah. This is often a shock to people that operate in this way. Cause it’s like, well, no, the reason I like went into business for myself because I didn’t want to replicate these scenarios.

[00:19:49] And it’s like, I know that’s what you consciously don’t want, but your actions and the patterns that you experiencing seem to always point in that [00:20:00] direction. Right? So like that’s one example. The other part that I think is also relevant, it’s like, Are you an individual that tends to down-regulate in times of stress?

The Fight Response

[00:20:09] Or do you like up-regulate so like, do you, when things get stressful, like, are you more in a fight response? And like you just kind of go, go, go, go, go. Or do you kind of turtle and shy away? Which has generally been like my pattern. So I experienced more of the more traditional self-sabotage bit, which is like, I’m just not taking the actions that I know I should.

[00:20:31] And I think people are often. Quite surprised when they realize it’s like two sides of the same coin. I could be extremely busy doing a lot of tasks, taking care of everybody else. Never really asking for my needs because the being busy numbs me away from what it is that I actually have to face or what it is actually have to do, or the conversation that I actually have to have, whether that’s with a team member, whether that’s with a partner, whether it’s with a client and setting boundaries.

Hiding Doesn’t Work

[00:20:59] Right. [00:21:00] It’s kind of the same thing as if I just hide away and never really face any of the things. Rather, the issue is facing the thing you actually have to face how it actually expresses a new is the part that actually differs. So we can go into a lot more different examples there, but that’s just two that kind of come to mind now.

[00:21:19] I love the comparing contrast because so often it is the same. Topic or indices and people have a tendency to flip one direction or the other the, the fight or the freeze space is a really good example. And we all have that neuro-physiology within us.


[00:21:39] And when we get in on our amygdalas where we’re going to do one of those things, Flight freeze. Unless we are able to like climb into that upstairs brain space, which I’m sure your coaching, you know, helps people stand, take a step back and look at that space and let’s make some decisions about how we want to respond [00:22:00] instead of just reacting to whatever the scenario is.

[00:22:04] I want to underscore something you said is always easier to deal with the other person that ourselves, you know, If you’ve got X amount of time, it’s so much easier to get into their stuff and help them or criticize them or whatever, versus looking at our own stuff and dealing with it, which is why so many of us become our own bottlenecks.

[00:22:27] And why. You have a thriving business and I do too. I just love this conversation.

[00:22:32] The Concept He’s Chewing On

[00:22:32] Miriam: So something I’ve noticed about you already is that you’re obviously a thinker. You love conceptual things. And I want to ask you what concept or idea are you currently chewing on thinking about mulling over?

[00:22:48] Draskco: I am a very firm believer in that like coaches need coaches. So like I have a coach as well, that, that I also work through and I am right now peeling [00:23:00] a lot of my own layers, like in addition to work that I’ve done to kind of bring me here, but even beyond that, to really just shed even more. Of the things that aren’t serving me as they’re coming up in my business as well.

[00:23:20] So to give a more specific example, like I started this particular business through the podcast. So my podcast is I bring people on that resonate with this idea of like, are my business problems, me problems. And I just record a live coaching session diving into whatever’s present for them. So that day can walk away with a realization many times that, you know, in 30 minutes we can get to something that they’ve been struggling with for like decades.

The Initial Roster of Clients

[00:23:49] Right? So that’s how I got my initial like roster of clients. And I’m coming to a point now where I think the, the, the park has just becoming a [00:24:00] way to create content and. One of the patterns I had in the previous businesses, as well as like I could be behind the scenes of like the ads and the funnels and all of that, or like the success stories in the studio.

[00:24:17] I didn’t have to be the front person part of the brand to attract the clientele that we did have. And that was really convenient for like the hiding aspects of my personality. That. Got built up in, in, in like my childhood and the patterns that I had. So now they’re resurfacing again, like going back to previous conversation in that, because I’m now at this bottleneck of my business where it’s like, okay, the podcast isn’t really going to be the thing that I thought it was going to be as far as like the, the path to getting to my next stage of my business, I’m going to have to become visible.

Inner Child Work

[00:24:56] That’s probably the reason I’m doing more podcasts like this. That’s [00:25:00] now coming up for me. So as far as like your question of like, what are the concepts that I’m like diving into? So a lot of inner child work as well, like that that’s been very present in this whole process as well. For anybody that’s read the five personality types by Stephen Kessler.

[00:25:16] Just the realization of the enduring pattern. So basically just for, I mean, it hasn’t read this. So we develop these personality patterns as ways to cope with not being able to get our needs met in childhood and he breaks it down into like five different patterns for me. The most dominant one is this enduring pattern where.

[00:25:36] Basically like I on the surface will appear to be very like complicit with whatever’s going on. Internally, I’m trying to like resist, right? So classic example of this is like, if you have a country that’s occupied by somebody and then like you, you don’t put up any resistance, but like, then they ask you to like help them build stuff.

[00:25:59] And then you [00:26:00] self-sabotage their bridges. Right? So you like look complicit, but then you just kind of endure until it’s your opportunity to like exercise your own autonomy. Cause it was repressed and some other ways. So I know we’re kind of diving into a lot of different things, but to answer your questions.

[00:26:14] Working with the Inner Child

[00:26:14] Draskco: Inner child work and it really exploring how this pattern shows up in my business and in the visibility that’s going to be required to take me to the next stage.

[00:26:24] Miriam:

[00:26:24] From LeaveBetter

[00:26:24] Miriam: Hey, this is Miriam jumping back in. Are you looking to go to the next level in your life or business right now? That’s what lead better is about my friend. We give you the coaching to level up, have those breakthroughs so you can stop the self-sabotage that keeps you where you are currently. Let’s make, self-improvement a way of life, Joe, to leave better.com and download the free resource that’s there today.

[00:26:48] We change them regularly. So go and see what’s new at leavebetter.com. Now back to our interview.[00:27:00]

Back to Draskco

[00:27:02] Okay, so this is a question I don’t ask hardly any of my guests, but you, feel very open to me. So what do you think you’re chasing in the business right now, or just in general in this chapter of my life in your life?

[00:27:21] Draskco: Actually, I would say, and I’m just kind of tuning in right now.

[00:27:28] Answer comes out.

[00:27:34] So the surface level bit that comes up is like, self-actualization kind of like the, like the more okay. I like, I want more out of myself. Yeah. But when I get honest and like tune in deeper, I think it’s actually like a deeper sense of self-acceptance. Mm. Right. Like to [00:28:00] realize that I’m healed so that I can accept myself like the conditions of that.

[00:28:05] So, yeah, I would say that’s my answer. And thank you for asking that question. Cause it it’s it’s it’s it’s a relevant one.

[00:28:13] You’re welcome.

[00:28:14] Miriam: So self-actualization self-acceptance so that.

[00:28:26] Draskco: So that I can experience myself as whole. And then what, what do you want to do with the whole, you

[00:28:37] express like unapologetically express and show up in the world to the degree that I fantasize about wanting to, to, to express in a way that lines up with what I can [00:29:00] fantasize about, possibly being a thing someday, bringing that more to the now.

[00:29:07] Miriam: I appreciate just your willingness to be so willing to explore and be vulnerable.

What the World Needs

[00:29:14] I mean, that’s just unusual there, and I don’t know who this quote is attributed to, but it’s kind of like, and I’m probably not going to say it quite right, but Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what you need to be alive, because what the world needs are people who are alive. And one of my fundamental beliefs and why I’m doing the business I’m doing is that I believe we each have something unique to contribute to the world and that we get in our own way.

[00:29:43] We are constrained from giving that thing and what our world needs. I mean, our world is a mess. What our world needs, what our planet needs is each one of us living out our best selves, our best version, bringing that thing, whether that is [00:30:00] service to some form of humanity or service to the planet or service to you know, I mean, there’s just no end to the places that we can bring our good.

[00:30:11] And I hear you saying you want to live. Fully alive so you can bring your good, your unique Draskco. . Good.

[00:30:19] Draskco: Yeah. You’re absolutely right. And thank you for prompting that and asking that question. I mean, as an aside, it’s only fair given that I do this to people live on air from the giving end. So it’s only fair that I actually receive it as well.

Feeling the Resistance

[00:30:33] But also again, in full transparency. So like, as you were saying that last piece. Like I could, I could feel the resistant parts of myself, like checking out and like not listening. Right. So I know that what you’re saying is relevant to this stage and this chapter that I’m in right now, because everything you were speaking about was related to that, that unapologetic expression, right?

[00:30:57] Like that people need to see my. [00:31:00] Authentically expressed in the world. So yeah. Thank you very much for asking that and taking me there cause it’s 110% of.

Pay Attention to What Happens in Your Body

[00:31:10] Miriam: You’re welcome. And I appreciate you underscoring that resistance piece because one of the things that I’m sure you work with your people on, I work with my people on paying attention to what happens in your body, noticing where are places opening up and where are these hands like pushing against that resistance.

[00:31:31] And a lot of times people initially assume that resistance means. Ah, see, it’s bad. The door’s closed. I need to go the other direction. And usually resistance means, Hey, push on that a little bit more and figure out what’s behind it. Something important is behind it.

[00:31:50] So let me

[00:31:52] take a little bit of a turn. Many of my listeners are business owners and entrepreneurs, and they’re going to be like, oh my gosh, you [00:32:00] get a little more practical. Some are going to love that we were in this more ethereal place. I believe we need both.

Key Insights or Processes

[00:32:07] What key insights or processes do you think have moved your business forward?

[00:32:16] Draskco: As far as like the tactical parts of the business, or like the working with myself, either one, it could be a mindset or it could be, Hey, I hired an assistant well, is this is always good. I’m a firm believer in doing that as quickly as possible.

[00:32:31] My current assistant that I have with right now, because especially earlier stage entrepreneurs will always get into that trap of like, well, I wish I could hire somebody, but like, I can’t. So, you know, how do I do that? Like, My current assistant that helps me with a lot of these reach outs and, and, and just like the kind of grunt work of getting people into my world.

[00:32:53] Bartering is Alive and Well

[00:32:53] Draskco: She initially came on to the podcast. We, you know, we did our thing. She wanted to continue with coaching. Wasn’t in a position to [00:33:00] invest in doing the coaching. And because I knew that part of what she did was also VA work. I was like, well, listen, if you’re willing to trade some VA hours for like an hour of, of my coaching time, I’m more than happy to do that.

[00:33:14] And that’s the relationship that we have right now. So like she gets the coaching and she’s slowly growing her business. And yeah, she’s at a stage that most of my clients aren’t, but that’s totally fine. Like I can help her navigate both the business and the internal bed. So she’s getting a lot out of that.

[00:33:31] And I’m getting, you know, all these hours. I don’t have to spend doing all this, like reach out work and stuff like that. So I just bring that up because so oftentimes we’ll default to like, this won’t work instead of asking what, how can I make it work? Right. And I think there’s a lot of people out there that could find a equivalent.

[00:33:52] Barter type situation with somebody that does, especially if you’re like in a coaching consulting type business, like there’s a [00:34:00] lot of real estate in your head that people want access to. They all might also be willing to trade their time for it. So bachelors one that I would throw out there as like, should different way to think about something that I think is very critical.

Tracking Things

[00:34:12] And then as far as. A personal tool for me. So I do really well when things are kinda tracked consistently. So it’s not like I have spreadsheets or whatever for, for everything, but I do like that sort of visual type tracking.

[00:34:27] One of the things we use, even in my programs is this thing of like earning rocks. So you had mentioned earlier that like, people don’t sit with that resistance or they don’t really know what that process is.

[00:34:39] Like, like the way that I start my coaching, like one of the first habits that people work on is. 10 minutes of doing nothing. And the reason that I have that as like the first thing we do before we dive into like the other tools, et cetera, is unless you can build up the emotional threshold to like sit with the parts that are [00:35:00] uncomfortable, that are trying to surface that want to emerge.

[00:35:04] It’s gonna like, it’s, it’s gonna work against you when we try to actually do the work of, you know, releasing and working through and reframing or whatever it is that we end up doing. So. If you can increase that tolerance where you don’t have to run away from feelings and you can sit with them and be with them and see them, et cetera, then that opens up the space to actually manage, you know, what I call thought hygiene and all the other aspects.

The Mason Jar

[00:35:30] And the way that we do this is, and I have it like right here. W what I’m showing up here is it’s a Mason jar of rocks. So I have everybody collect either a hundred rocks or a hundred marbles or a hundred whatever. And every time you do a process like this, so initially we start with like the, do nothing, and then it might translate into using some other tool, but they put a rock into the Mason jar.

The Visual Representation

[00:35:56] And this is like just a visual representation of like I am [00:36:00] investing and earning rocks and I’m trying to get like, it’s, it’s a visual representation of my commitment to myself to use the tools that can actually move me forward. And I’ve used this for like, stuff like that. I’ve used it for. How many times I apply a particular tool to like work on my thoughts, how many times I like whatever it is that’s present that I’m trying to work on.

[00:36:22] I will use the rocks as a way to count that I find that that’s a very simple, but highly effective way to maintain a practice. That is malleable enough to accommodate whatever, like it could be. Meditation could be, do nothing could be, do this. Prompt could be check in with myself. Tho those, that would be my answer for that.

Apps vs a Physical Thing

[00:36:43] Miriam: I love that example. The thing that’s so beautiful about it is, you know, there’s 430 apps that could do the same thing, but it does not work with your brain the same way to click a little thing that says now you’ve done it 47 days or three days or whatever. I even, I have [00:37:00] some paper things where I will, you know, check a box and that’s actually better than clicking a button, but a jar with rocks is a thousand percent better and I’ve done something like that with little tile things, or you can make it pretty, or you can make it even do even use whatever it is that you want to use.

[00:37:18] But when your brain sees that and it sees it accumulating. When you have that, like, eh, maybe I won’t, whatever, there’s some other part of your brain that goes, no, I want to put a rock in the jar. So it’s extremely effective. I love it. Let’s transition a little bit into leadership because you, you demonstrates a leadership personality.

[00:37:42] What kind of beliefs or actions have made the biggest impact on you as a leader?

[00:37:50] Walking Your Own Walk

[00:37:50] Draskco: Trying to walk your own talk as much as possible. I think that is especially in coaching, you know, I think that is, I’m a firm [00:38:00] believer in that the degree to which you can. Work with somebody or the degree to like how far you can take them or the degree to which you can navigate somebody else’s, you know, trauma or in our world or whatever is going to be equivalent to the degree that you have done it within yourself.

[00:38:17] Or like you only go as far as. You can only take somebody as far as like you’ve gone yourself. So I try and live by that ethos as much as I possibly can, because I think it is the thing that’s in most integrity with the work that I’m doing. Like, I don’t want to ever be in a position where I’m asking somebody, Hey, you know, can you do a hundred rocks if I’ve never like gotten to a hundred rocks myself.

Keeping Count

[00:38:40] Right. So I keep a count of how many I’ve done. For that particular reason, right. If I’m going to ask them to do something, that’s it. And to me, that kind of encapsulates. Well leadership. Like I think if you just telling people what to do without authentically embodying, whatever that thing is before [00:39:00] then, you know, you could argue, okay, maybe like that’s management or like ordering people around, like whatever the semantics you want to use.

[00:39:06] Like it’s not really in integrity with me. So for me, it’s always to what degree am I walking my own talk and. Am I a hundred percent always consistent with that. No, but I’m also very willing to be like, yeah, you know what? I screwed up here or I could do this better or whatever relegating a part of walking your own talk is actually owning your own faults, owning where you also need to grow, owning where my blind spots are, which also I said before, coaches need coaches and I’ve always had coaches to some degrees.

His System

[00:39:40] That’s my system to like, make sure that the mirror is also reflected back on me so that I can show up in the most authentic. In integrity kind of way. Yeah, I appreciate we’re not, it’s not that you have to be perfect. You have to have intentionality and then you have to own the spaces where [00:40:00] it’s like, I wanted to head that direction, but I didn’t.

[00:40:02] Miriam: Anybody who has children is familiar with that saying. Not as I do. And of course that never works. And the interesting thing, when you’re talking about business, you know, if you’re a solo preneur, maybe it doesn’t matter quite as much now it always matters. But when you manage other people, when you have other team members, you know, the CEO.

Being the Mom or Dad of Your Company

[00:40:25] They are the mom or the dad of that company. And I can’t tell you, the companies I’ve been in where there was like, this is our policy. We treat people with respect. We don’t yell at them. We, you know, whatever. And then the CEO loses it and yells at them. And I’ve been in many companies where that’s not the case, but I have that in somewhere.

[00:40:48] It is. And then you end up with this. In congruence between what is said and what is modeled. And that is one of the ways I think people self sabotage themselves.[00:41:00]

[00:41:00] You’ve mentioned several books. , is there any one in particular, either that you tend to gift to people a lot or you recommend all the time, or you’re currently reading where you’re like, this is awesome.

[00:41:12] Draskco: Yes. I mean, I guess the number one thing. Preface that with is like, I think books, like people will often come into your life when you need them. And I think it’s this thing that you read at that time that was so pointed and you look back on and now you’re like, okay, that was good.

[00:41:26] But like, it’s not really that relevant anymore. So you know, that. I’m a firm believer with that when it comes to books. So I’m like always, like, if you want me to give you a book on a particular topic, like what’s the topic, but on a more general sense, like one that I recommended, I think more than any other was Loving What Is by Byron Katie.


[00:41:47] Right. And even just like inquiry is something that I use quite a bit, even in my own work and with my own self. And I think it’s such a good primer for people to. Realize a lot of things [00:42:00] on like, acceptance. Like we spoke about that earlier and then really like a very solid process on how. We project so many things on to other people and like really understanding that distinction of like the three types of business.

[00:42:17] So we have God’s business, your business and my business. And like the more time I spend in God’s business and other people’s business, the less I’m actually spending on mine, which really then becomes a big part of the suffering. So. It opened up that world for me when I initially read it and then really started just practicing a lot of inquiry on myself.

[00:42:37] So for those reasons and the concepts that it can unfold for people, that is one that I would recommend.

[00:42:44] Miriam: All right. Thank you.. I asked that question mostly for me. I figure other people will get benefit out of it, but I love to read, and I like to hear what people are reading and what’s brought value to them.

Talk to Your Younger Self

[00:42:56] If you could turn back time and you could speak [00:43:00] to a younger version of you someone who is just starting business, what advice would you give to yourself?

Making Peace

[00:43:09] Draskco: So the first thing that pops into my mind when you ask that question is what I would tell them is to make peace with. And for somebody, anybody follows Gary V like he usually says this quote by like the macro patients and then like micro speed, meaning, make peace with the fact that the things you want are going to come a lot slower than you actually think they are and make peace with while you hold the space for that patience to Excel and accept.

[00:43:48] That is not the reason to not like execute in the micro. So in like the, day-to-day the moment to moment with speed, with fervor, with enthusiasm, like that’s really [00:44:00] where it’s at. And even with that, the statement still holds. Cause I think that’s something that screwed me up. In the path, especially with the first business where I would want things to be happening more than they were actually happening.

[00:44:14] So again, fighting with reality, and that would pull me into all of these holes that oftentimes I think even led to like depression and things like that. So that is one thing that I would definitely pass.

[00:44:27] Miriam: . The thing that I value about that as somewhere out there is a younger version of someone who needs to hear that, you know, and you’re encouraging that space in that person to pay attention to those variables.

The Nature Conservancy

[00:44:41] One thing that my company likes to do is just as a thank you to our guests do a gift to a nonprofit and I listed out a couple and he chose the nature Conservancy, which I love because they buy up land and preserve it for.

[00:44:57] Our children and our children’s children. [00:45:00] And that’s one of the ways that I like to do good in the world is to look for other people who are doing it and support them. So I was excited when you chose that this has been such a fun interview.

[00:45:12] Before we get off, how can people find you.

[00:45:15] Draskco: Yeah, so that part’s really easy. Everything’s that up level mind. So whether you go to Uplevel, mine.com and you can dive into everything that’s related to the podcast, the, the program, the contact more about me or, you know, Uplevel mind coaching on Instagram is probably the next other place.

[00:45:32] But off level of mine is the podcasts on Spotify, et cetera. So anything you want to do with me, you will find that it Uplevel mind. So that part’s pretty simple. That’s great Drasco. You are my first Serbian friend and what a great experience. So thank you so much. Thank you as well.

Ending Credits

[00:45:54] I hope you enjoy this episode. If you want to pursue [00:46:00] more in the self-development realm for you and your business, contact us at dot com, where you leave better. And in addition, you leave the people in earth around you better as well. Think about this where you are currently is as a result of the decisions you made six months.

[00:46:17] Similarly, the actions you take today set you up for six months from now. So do something today that pushes you toward that next level of you. One last thing before you go become the dealer of growth in your sphere of influence by sharing this episode with two friends. And if you’d like to help me personally leave a review because yes, that actually does help now go be intentional.


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Introverts and Self-Sabotage-Transcript

Introverts and Self-Sabotage

Introverts and Self-Sabotage

Introverts and self-sabotage in the corporate world. I am so excited to have Jennifer Marcou here with us today. Jennifer is a leadership coach who helps emerging leaders find and use their voice scale, their leadership, and then find confidence and happiness at work. She says, it takes more than doing great work to be successful finding and using your voice, leveraging your strengths and obtaining balance can help you create success and realize joy at work.

I’m so excited just to hear more about the work you’re doing and the way that you. Are helping the people that come across your path. So I just want to say, as you know, leave better is about helping people shed the behaviors and the attitudes that sabotage their movement toward their next level of growth or success in their business or their life.


Our tagline is wisdom and practicality for self-sabotage in business and life. I’m so excited to hear the wisdom that you’re going to benefit others with and helping them reach their next level. So welcome, Jennifer.

Excellent. Thank you. I love that wisdom and practicality. I hope I can deliver.

Absolutely. Okay. Why don’t we start out with you giving us a brief description of who you are kind of currently in whatever way you choose to define our, and then who you’ve been the various roles that you’ve had.

Introducing Jennifer Marcou

Excellent. All right. As you mentioned, I am a leadership coach. I focus on introverted women in tech and stem. And I’ve been doing this on my own and my own business. Marcoux coaching for about two years over two years.

Marcou Coaching

And interestingly enough, my first day in my own company and being a leadership coach was.

18th of 2020, which was the week that our governor here in Washington state closed down everything for COVID, which everyone would say, well, that was a horrible time to start a business, but it was actually an amazing time. And so previously I had worked at Microsoft for about 10 years and marketing digital marketing.

And previous to that, I’d worked at American. For over 17 years. And so a lot of corporate experience, but I always had a dream to have my own business. I just didn’t know what it was until about 2016. And so it took me about four years before I actually acted on it, but I could not be.

Fantastic. Can you just help our listeners understand?

What Are Your Roots?

How do you trace the roots of the questions that drive you or the passions that drive you from your earliest life, that background of your childhood?

I think while I grew up as an only child and my parents got divorced when I was in fourth grade and never had any step sisters or brothers. So I had. A lot of experiences, both through my dad and his wife and my mom and his, her husband. I think what inspired me most when I was younger is my mother.

Mom was the Inspiration

She was working she was in advertising, kind of breaking the glass ceiling. In many cases. She moved me from Seattle just herself and, and myself and I was 12. To New York city to make it in New York as an advertising executive, and then ultimately ended up starting three different businesses, including advertising a travel business, a safari company and then ended up doing documentaries about Cowboys.

She’s always been this inspiration for me, because she just is passionate. She finds her passions and goes after it. And so I wish You know, I kind of wish I had that advice or that insight earlier in my adult life. So I would go off and do my own business earlier. But I do think she’s always been that inspiration to go after my passions and do what I really.

She sounds like an amazing person. One of the reasons I’m doing this podcast is to meet amazing people like her and to spend time with people like you. I love hearing how someone’s background influence. What it is that they’re doing now. So as a leadership coach, and as someone who’s been involved in the corporate world, surely you have seen a lot of self-sabotage.

Self-Sabotaging Mindset: Avoiding Conflict

I’m going to ask you to comment on something in your own life that you saw that was a behavior or a thought or a mindset. You knew, like in hindsight you go, wow, that was really holding me back. And when you became aware, you shifted and changed it, and then we’ll talk about what you’re seeing. In other words,

Absolutely. So there are lots of things that have held me back, but the, the one I wanted to I think I want to talk to today is about avoiding conflict. So I am very much a person focused on harmony and balance. And growing up as an only child, I don’t know what sibling rivalry is. And so especially when I hit working full-time in a large corporation, there is always conflict.

Introverted and Quiet

And so being introverted and kind of quiet and not liking conflict, I would just avoid conflict. So what that resulted in is people would walk off. Because they knew I wasn’t going to fight back and I would just take it because I said it’s not worth the fight. It’s so uncomfortable. And I know my worst, so I’m not gonna fight back.

And I had the the honor to have a leader. I was probably. Six years into my corporate life at American express, you’ve got me a coach and helped me realize the toll that avoiding conflict was taking both on me personally, but also professionally. And in fact, my leader had said, if you don’t address this, you’re not going to move up in the organization.

And so the coaching was as simple as just documenting when there were. That was the beginning, just becoming aware of when they were there were conflicts. And then it got to the point where I had to take some action in it.

Taking Action

And I remember this conversation, a conversation I had with a colleague who essentially kind of disrespected the results of a program I had.

And I had to go back and say, Nope, Or not correct. And I was so nervous, my hands were sweating and my heart was beating. But I was able to, you know, give him the feedback and say, well, that’s not right to, you know, kind of push me or step all over me on my, and my programs. And that was a huge step for me because after that I realized, oh, That wasn’t as hard as I thought it was.

And so over time obviously spent a lot more time focused on tackling those conflicts and addressing them forward facing and just got better at it. I can’t say that I love conflict. In fact, if we have to negotiate anything in customer service at, at home, I always put my husband on it. He loves to do that.

I Can Negotiate

But I certainly have proved to myself that if I had to do it, I absolutely can. And I wish I had realized that sooner because I, I I was holding myself back and I was, you know, kind of not feeling great about that. And I was not getting ahead as fast as I would like to, because it was an issue.

That you do need to deal with conflict. And my realization is that when you deal with conflict, there’s actually a ton of learning. Not only for me personally, but from a professional perspective and the learning for the other person. And sometimes where you think you have conflict, you don’t actually have conflict until you, you know, you realize that through communication.

Self-Sabotaging Mindset: Not Being Yourself

And so it’s a, it’s an important point I learned, I wish I had learned it or. In terms of your question of what is hope, what do I see holding others back? And I saw this both as people leader at Microsoft, I saw that at an American express. And I certainly see it in my leadership coaching business that especially as I mentioned, I coach introverted women and they very much hold themselves back and I’m using generalizations, but the theme is around.

Being Uncomfortable Being Yourself

Being uncomfortable, being yourself. Part of that is driven by these women are in generally in male dominated organizations or industries. Part of that is they’re introverts. So it’s kind of scary to raise your hand and say, you know, here’s my perspective. And part of that is just, you know, society saying, well, this is how.

And I feel like early on in my career, I felt like I did a lot of should be. This is how I should be as a professional at work. I should wear the suit. This is when this dates me by when we used to wear suits and pantyhose, and I should do these things and realizing no, I actually can be myself. And so helping women.

I mean, you know, all my coaching clients, but in particularly introverted women realizing one, identifying who they are and then two being comfortable of, you know, being open about that at work and not having to look like an extrovert or to be the one who’s allowed us in the room because it’s just not natural.

Working with a Different Brain

I think, you know, one of the insights that has really helped myself as well as other introverted people is realizing the introverted brain. It’s wired different. So it’s not a choice that introverts are act like this it’s actually, the brain chemistry is different. And so once people realize that they’re like, oh, there’s not something wrong with me.

It’s actually just part of my biology. And then the question is, okay, now that you know that, what do you do with it? How do you leverage those strengths instead of trying to fight to become something, you know,

Oh, so well said, what, what would you say as you both are an introvert yourself, and as you have coached into words, what would you say are some of the just unique strengths that come from that particular type of person?

The Ability to Listen

Absolutely. Number one. Strength is. The ability to listen and really hear not only what the words are that are being set are, but also what’s happening behind the words. I actually used to work for an extremely extroverted woman and we would go to meetings and we would walk away with two diff totally different stories of what happened in that.

Because in that meeting, she would normally talk 80% of the time and I was observing. And so I said, oh, Joe, didn’t like that idea. Or Jane really loved that idea. And she was like, well, how do you know? Because I could see their facial expression or the way they were sitting, or the tone in their voice and all the little nuances of, of their communication, even if it wasn’t verbal communication.

And so that’s when I realized, wow, I have this strength, you know, I was certainly wasn’t speaking up in the meeting like my boss, but I have this strength that was a detriment to her. And so we were actually a very complimentary team because she had a strength to speak up and I had a strength to listen and really see what was happening.

Sit and Write

Another strength that a lot of introverts don’t think as a strength is that ability to sit and write. Before they speak. And the reason why a lot of introverts don’t think that is a strength is because we’re constantly pressured, especially in the U S to, you know, speak up, raise your hand, lead out in front speak your mind.

What’s what are you thinking? And for an introvert, the best answer you can give is when you’ve had time to think. And come back to it. Whereas an extrovert, the best answer you’re going to get is when you ask them on the spot. And so realizing once we realized that that is the way your mind. Then you’re able to use tactics in a meeting to say, well, let me think about that.

Let me get back to you and certainly get back to that person either verbally or written. But that ability to think allows an introvert to really do some much deeper thinking to get to the core of an issue or get to a solution that no one else has thought of. And so the key is enabling creating an environment, especially as a leader, creating an environment where.

Introverts do their best thinking because that will create, you know, much stronger team at enabling and not, and that’s true of both extroverts and introverts and enabling them to contribute at their highest level. I love what it is that you’re saying and it rings true. I also am an introvert and I, I just hear and validate what you’re saying.

Our World is Coming to Accept Introverts

And I’ve experienced it. It feels to me like our world is. Becoming more open to the unique strengths that come from either type of person. I feel like businesses are making more accommodations for those sorts of things and it’s to their benefit, which is a good thing. I would say that our listeners are.

And I would categorize them as people with an entrepreneurial mindset, either they’re entrepreneurs themselves or they like that way of thinking or they are people who are interested in pursuing their next level of growth. High performers are just people who love growth. I want to ask you a specific business question.

Figure Out Who Your Audience Is

What insights or processes has moved your business forward? Hmm. So, as I mentioned, I have been a marketer most of my career. And you know, the number one rule in marketing is figuring out who your audiences and be customer focused. And so when I started my own business it just kinda came naturally.

I have to figure out who my audience is. And so can I coach, you know, many different people? Absolutely. But what I did was think about where my passion, they who was I coaching that it was just so excited to coach with. Or when I would talk to a prospective client you know, who was that person that I was really excited and just enjoy the conversation.

Tech Industries and Introverts

And I kept coming back to, oh, it’s introverted. It’s introverted women. And then, you know, coming from Microsoft, obviously I had a lot of clients in the tech industry, so I named it as tech, but I expanded it actually in the last year to really stem. And what differentiate. Stem and tech, although tech is in stem, but this idea of much more analytical women in industries where they’re tech, they tend to be dominated by men.

And the combination of being female and an introvert kind of puts you down a couple levels in terms of your ability to speak up in meetings. And especially in industries where meetings are important to kind of communicate your points of view that I said, oh my God, The, you know, introverted women, there’s tremendous opportunity, tremendous ideas, that ability to think kind of offline and take time to think those ideas are not coming out.

And so that is a win-win. I can help introverted women and a win for me as a coach. Help give them tools and feel like I’m having an impact that they’re going to be having an impact. And so there’s nothing like special about what I do. It’s enabling these women to truly find themselves and have confidence in themselves and just be themselves.

Be Crystal Clear on Your Target

That’s what I’m super excited about. So I guess the, kind of the takeaway here is be crystal clear on your target. And you know, then you say, especially as a small business and you’re like, well, if I’m so specific, then what happens when that man who wants to hire me? He says, oh, you only coach women.

Well, you know, we’ll, they can coach me. And it seems like your market becomes much more. The reality is men still come to me and extroverts still come to me. And so while I’m very specific about my target and on my website, I’m very clear about that. It has not stopped me from other people being attracted to my coaching either because of the introverted side or because an extrovert who wants to be more introverted and feels like that would be a good match.

And so I keep focused on who I really, really want. To a target. And I put that into the ether. And I think people are then self attracted or attracted to my messages. Then well you know, come to me from, from a business perspective. And so it’s a win-win, I can help them. And I’m doing, you know, working with a client that I love.

Niche Down

What I hear you saying is don’t be afraid to really niche down or niche down.

You should be able to say who your client are, your target audiences. And someone says, oh yeah, I know someone. Right. Oh, Jane would be a great client for you. So that is another powerful way to get more, especially in a small business and, you know, service business, like I am in that’s a way to get referrals as opposed to I’m a leadership coach.

Well, what do you actually do if it’s so general? You’re not sure who to refer to me. So.


Hey, this is Miriam jumping back in. Are you looking to go to the next level in your life or business right now? That’s what leave better is about my friend. We give you the coaching to level up, have those breakthroughs so you can stop the self-sabotage that keeps you where you are currently. Let’s make, self-improvement a way of life, Joe, to leavebetter.com and download the free resource that’s there today.

We change them regularly. So go and see what’s new at leavebetter.com. Now back to our interview.

I love it. That’s pretty clear. Tell me some beliefs or actions that have made the biggest impact on you as a leader.

Reach Down and Help Those Beneath You

I think I had gone to some I dunno women’s event and one of the speakers, she, I think she was actually head of diversity at school. And she had given the advice reach while you. And so I think when most people hear that phrase, they think, oh, I’m climbing up the ladder and I’m going to reach higher so I can get a higher level.

No, actually it’s about as you climb up that ladder, you reach down and help those below you. And so that inspired me so much. Cause I feel like I got a lot of help when I was starting out my career. Had some great leaders. I had some great mentors who were able to pull me up through the organization.

And I felt like. Not only that I owed, you know, to, to pay it back or pay it forward, but I also so desired to help other other people. And so that I think was the start of my focus on really developing and growing people. And, you know, that was mentoring people before I was a people leader. And then when I became a people leader, I just fell in love with the idea of developing and growing.

Leaving Microsoft

And so before I left Microsoft part of the transition and the change that I made to become my my own leadership coach was I would look where my energy. And I color-coded my calendar. And so anytime I had a one-on-one with my team or I was mentoring or coaching someone, I would highlight that in the green color.

And I look at my calendar and all the green on my calendar just made me so happy. And that’s when I realized, well, this is what would, what, what a job look like that I could do this, all of this. And so certainly I pursued looking at full-time coaching within a large corporation and, and there at the time there weren’t many opportunities or it was more like a hybrid HR role and coaching.

And then I realized, well, this is what I gotta do. I got, I got to go do coaching full time. And that idea, even though I don’t have direct reports that I can continue to grow, I feel like through coaching I’m no longer climbing up the corporate ladder, but sharing my. Experience to help others. And that’s why I like especially in, in my target is I didn’t mention mid-level women.

Mid Level, About to Become a Leader

So not, you know, execs, who’ve already made it and not people just starting out at a college, but that mid-level about to become a people leader or a new people leader, or perhaps just became a leader of people, leaders. So in those phases where there’s a big transition and helping them grow in their career so they can move higher up in the ordinance.

I love this example of a color, coding your calendar, and basically doing an assessment of your life and your time. I have heard that what gets measured is what can grow or change. And you found a way to sort of measure something that was intangible.

Measuring Joy

It’s kind of like trying to measure joy. You were measuring your energy or your.

Satisfaction in that hour. And I think that there are spaces where people can do. And gained so much insight, whether it is the entrepreneur saying, okay, what activities bring 80% of my revenue or what activities make me crazy? What kind of clients or people or customers do I love working with or for, and what kinds do I hate?

There’s just so much. Information. I love that tip. That’s something that I think people could really use and apply in so many different ways. Let me ask this question. What, I think that many, many people are always looking for resources. What is a book that you’ve read that’s helped you or that you highly recommend?

Playing Big

Oh, I have so many but I will pick one playing big by Tara Moore. It is targeted to women. However, I have used that with men as well. So I think it’s equal opportunity. And in this book Tara talks about a couple of things that have really I’ve integrated into my coaching practice. And in fact, I’ve gone through her facilitators course and completed that.

I’m able to use some of the tools and techniques in there, but one of them is this idea of the inner critic. These critical voices, these negative voices that seem very realistic. And we listened to them our entire life about, oh no, you can’t do that. You’re not smart enough. You’re you know, they’re going to think you’re stupid.

The Negative Voices

You’re going to lose your job if you speak up. So all those negative voices and using a technique to be able to. That volume. And on the flip side, this idea of an inner mentor, inner wisdom, is that true voice, the voice that you when you make a decision or make a change in your life that cool calm, collected voice and that ability to bring that voice out and make it louder than those negative voices.

And so in two of the chapters, she talks about quieting that critical voice and bringing out that, that true wisdom. Voice. And she also has many chapters on, you know, what’s the big leap that you’re going to take. What is your calling? So defining what you really want to do, and I’m realizing there’s a chapter on actually female communication challenges.

True Wisdom

And we as females generally will say, well, just give me a second and we use the word just now. I just can’t do you have a second? And that word is very. Subservient and it’s as if you know my question or my comment is not important. I’m just trying to justify it in some way. And there’s many other kind of questions or statements like asking a question.

Does that make sense? Again is undermining what I have just said. And so there are actually I just coached someone the other day where we went through each one of them. She was like, yes, I do that. I do that. I do that. And so we just started see, I just used just, we started with taking just out and it’s really hard because he’s these The language, things that we use every day we don’t realize how that is landing on others.

The Ability to Adjust

And so the ability to change, adjust, tweak a little bit in your language when you’re writing an email, I used to search for just and take that out. Cause you don’t need the just and I’ve noticed I’ve stopped using. Does that make sense question at the end? But it does take some time to adjust these things.

So I think this book has a lot of things about big ideas and visions of what you want to do. But also very practical guidance and some historical and societal background of why women do these things that enable you to take. And it doesn’t have to be huge thing. It’s just, you can do baby steps and baby steps, but moving toward a goal of something bigger.

Hmm. I love it. So it’s Tara Moore playing big. Yes. Okay. Very good. All right. Let’s wind up with a couple. This has been such a great interview. I’ve just enjoyed. So much, and I’m going to go out and buy that book as soon as we get off the podcast. But when if, if you could turn back time and talk to yourself when you were younger what advice would you give yourself?

Trust Yourself

I would give myself advice to just trust myself. I think I spawn spent a lot of time on the should I should be like this, or I should be like that, or I should be at this level. And I spent a lot of time stressing and being anxious about trying to make it to the next level. What people were thinking about me or trying to modify my, my behavior so that I was looked more extroverted than what I really am.

And so I would just love to whisper in my ear, just trust yourself, trust yourself, trust your instinct. And I feel like that only, it just took time for me to realize that. So that’s that wisdom that you get when you’re older, that you wish you had when you were in.

I think there’s something magical about people in midlife and, and older who choose to continue to grow. Not everybody chooses to continue to grow. Some people just get old, but there are some people who get wise and part of what I’m trying to do as. You know, the, this project of this podcast is how do we tap into the wisdom of the people that are around us and then make it practical.

So far, everything you’ve said today feels both of those things. It feels very wise and very practical. And I, I just appreciate what you’re saying. There was adjust in there too. I’m going to have to work on that. I appreciate what you’re saying about trusting yourself this, this next, or this last question might feel repetitive.

Our Inner Wisdom

And so you’re free to take it wherever you want. But I think about the wisdom that lives inside you and that lives inside me. And I wondered if you could leave us with a sentence that encapsulates much of who you are and what you would want to leave the world.

It reminds me of I’d done some work in the last year and a half on my calling. Originally I had a mission and then I worked with some folks who helped me create my calling. And my calling is people experience awe and a profound connection to the universe. And when I wrote that, I wasn’t quite sure.

What that meant I was, what was I supposed to do with that? It was something I felt in my heart. I feel it when I look at Mount Rainier, I feel it when I connect deeply with someone, that connection that sense of awe. And I think it is one of those kinds of presents that you just keep unwrapping and finding out what that means.

Coaching is my Calling

And so for, for me right now, that means coaching. To help unwrap who they are to find the wondering are in themselves and the realization that it’s not them against the world and people trying to judge them, but it’s about actually human connection. And coming to that as you are. And I think over time, I’m going to learn more about what that means and what I could do with that.

But it is something kind of a mantra that I keep with me that I continue to discover what it means. I love it. That’s a very profound thought and a wonderful place for us to end.

How to Find Jennifer

How can people find you, Jennifer? You can reach me through my website. Markku coaching it’s M a R C O U M. Or email jennifer@marcouxcoaching.com or just LinkedIn.

Jennifer. I love it. Well, you absolutely have wonderful things to offer you. You know, people, I, every conversation I have with you, I come away feeling both grateful and uplifted. One of the things leave better is wanting to do is to challenge people, come and address yourself, sabotage either in business or.

And then leave better and then go do better and do something good with that new growth, that next level, whether it’s a level of income or a level of confidence or whatever. So one of the things we want to model is that there are plenty of ways. To leave other things better.

Mercy Ships

And we asked, I asked you before the podcast started, I gave you a couple non-profits that we would like to sponsor in your name and you chose mercy ships, which is a nonprofit medical organization where they offer.

Surgeries to people with disfiguring tumors or cleft palates in Africa. And so that’s what we’re going to do. As soon as we get off this interview, I’ll send a donation in and your name and I’m excited just to profile mercy ships.org and Jennifer Marcou coaching. And thank you again so much for just graciously sharing your time with us and your wisdom.

Yes. Thank you. This has been a tremendous, and I love that you’re bringing this wisdom and practicality together, and I can’t wait to listen to the other podcasts.

Wrap Up

I hope you enjoy this episode. If you want to pursue more in the self-development realm for you and your business, contact us at leavebetter.com where you leave better. And in addition, you leave the people in earth around you better as well. Think about this where you are currently is as a result of the decisions you made six months ago.

Similarly, the actions you take today set you up for six months from now. So do something today that pushes you toward that next level of you. One last thing before you go become the dealer of growth in your sphere of influence by sharing this episode with two friends. And if you’d like to help me personally leave a review because yes, that actually does help now go be intentional.


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Self-Sabotage and Your Business Mindset Transcript-Noah Koff

Noah Koff


Self-Sabotage and Your Business Mindset

Noah Koff  [Recorded 6_20_22]

[00:00:00] Miriam: Okay. I am so excited to have with us Noah cough. He is a business and leadership coach for product creators who wanna better their business and life ahead of schedule, which is what we all want is to do things ahead of schedule. So welcome Noah. Thank you, Miriam. It’s lovely to be here and to have the opportunity to tell my story.

[00:00:22] I’m excited. All right. As you know, leave better is about bringing wisdom and practical steps to help people shed the behaviors and the attitudes that sabotage their next level of growth or success in business or life. So I’m super happy to hear where our conversation goes. I know it’s gonna be rich and full of wisdom and practical tips for our listeners.

Let’s Start

[00:00:45] why don’t you just start and give us a brief description of who you are currently. And then who you have been previous roles and kind of how you got from a to B. 

[00:00:56] Noah: Great. Yeah. So today I’m a solo [00:01:00] entrepreneur and I’m five years into building my own business that started out in, as an agency business.

[00:01:09] And, and today it’s focused on, business and leadership development for product creators and startup entrepreneurs. And before doing this, I was. An operator of. Consumer fitness business, which I had built to 5 million. And, and I was accountable for a, you know, a multidiscipline team. So I was able to learn, quite a bit about how to double business and how to make profits as well as, run a purpose.

[00:01:50] Business. The business was all about fitness and wellness and, and helping busy women, high performing women, get a workout. [00:02:00] And, and that’s, , that was the business that I did before. What I’m doing now, in addition to, to those roles. I was also a startup executive and, and it had built, , as an entrepreneur, I had also built two of my own businesses in London before, moving to Portland almost 10 years ago in Oregon, where, where I lived today.

My Journey as an Entrepreneur

[00:02:24] So my. Adventure. My, my journey as a, as a entrepreneur has had multiple chapters, lots of, lots of ups and downs, lots of learning, lots of fun. I’ve been able to build a great network, with all the different experiences. I’ve. It sounds like it. I love that you have something across the pond. So explain to me, because I have never talked with someone who has done business, both in London or, you know, England, and then also here, I’m certain, there are some things that are similar and I’m certain [00:03:00] that there’s some things that are pretty different.

[00:03:01] Miriam: Do you mind just like throwing out a couple. Similarities and a couple differences. 

Working in England

[00:03:06] Noah: Absolutely. Well, so the funny thing about working in England is that although we do share the same language, the culture is quite different. Words mean different things. You know, if you were to say boot. You know, to, to an American, they would, they would think you’re talking about a shoe and in England, it’s, you know, the, you know, the, the back of your car, it’s your trunk.

[00:03:30] You know, so yeah, words are different and their meaning is different, but also the way that, and the culture in which people do business is quite different. Americans tend to be right to the point and much more. Get right into the business and there’s no, entree, or appetizer, and Brits love to have chit chat in advance.

[00:03:52] They love to talk about, you know, sports. They love to complain about the weather. Cuz it’s [00:04:00] always raining. They love to talk about traffic and you know, stuff like that. And so. That’s a real part of, part of it and, and Brits love drinking tea and having biscuits. And so that’s, that’s all part of doing business.

[00:04:14] You know, you’re either having tea or you’re at the pub and that’s, that’s where Brits like to do business and to make deals happen. And so, yeah, if you wanna have success doing business over there, you, you definitely want to, Yeah, warm people up and have the right setting in which people will, 

[00:04:33] feel comfortable. And, and, and that’s quite important if you go right into business with a Brit you’re probably not gonna have a great connection or, get very far. 

The First Practical Tip

[00:04:45] Miriam: Interesting. You know that right there feels like the first practical tip for our listeners and for myself after every podcast, I always write down a list of the things I’ve learned from my guests.

[00:04:56] And mm-hmm, one of the things I hear you saying is take into account the culture [00:05:00] of the person you’re working with. I feel like many of us. Want to and have global, businesses. And, just because they speak English doesn’t necessarily mean they think the same way. It is a little bit, confusing because I understand what you’re saying.

[00:05:15] Noah: Americans kind of wanna get right to it. 

[00:05:17] Miriam: Mm-hmm and, I think sometimes, and maybe this is conjecture on my part, but Americans get, get, can get kind of anxious either in a, come on, chop, chop, let’s get this going. Or, oh my gosh, they’re gonna think I’m wasting their time. If I schmooze with them. 

[00:05:35] Mm-hmm and depending on the culture and probably just about any other culture would like us to use more words.

Demonstrate You Care—With Time

[00:05:41] More time demonstrate that you actually care about me as a human being before, you know, just jumping into the bottom line and Americans are like, oh my gosh, don’t waste my time. I’ve only got 30 minutes. Can we stop talking about this? What is it you need or want. [00:06:00] Yes. Yes. And humor. Right? This is a huge thing that the, the Brits do so well.

[00:06:07] Noah: Not only cracking jokes, but making fun of themselves and being self depreciating is a great sign of intelligence. And, and. And bonding and connection and kind of, and affection. So that, that is, can be very disarming or, or even painful for Americans to get have jokes kind of thrown at you you know, from strangers, but in England, that is a sign of affection.

[00:06:35] If someone is making fun of you. So tho those are some pitfalls. Those can definitely. Those can definitely trip you up. And I, I think that humor is so underrated in business and I love bringing that in playfulness and color and fun. And that’s that’s really what makes, what can make business and, and communication and interaction more enjoyable.

[00:06:59] Self-Sabotage Mindsets

[00:06:59] Miriam: I [00:07:00] love it. That’s so good. Let’s transition into this topic of self sabotage and we’re, we’re gonna bounce around a little bit, but one of the things that I have just become so aware of is that all of us want a good life. All of us want a better life than maybe our parents had, or then we previously had.

[00:07:24] And we get in our own way. And I’ve seen this with the entrepreneurs I’ve worked with. I do a lot of coaching with business owners. I’ve seen this with the, you know, the non entrepreneurs because I also am a therapist. So I spend a lot of times in the office working with just regular people. We get in our own way.

[00:07:42] So what are some of the self sabotaging mindset? I’m if, if you’re willing to go there for you mm-hmm I would like to know kind of what you saw in your past mindsets, thoughts, behaviors that you felt sabotaged your forward movement. And then [00:08:00] how did you overcome them? Absolutely. No, I’d love to talk about this area.

[00:08:04] Self-Sabotage with Perfectionism

[00:08:04] Noah: This has been huge for me, for me personally perfectionism and overthinking things has been a big. Obstacle. And because I have overcome a lot of this, you know, and, and definitely still work at it. I, I catch myself triple thinking and it’s something that I’m able to help or, you know, my clients with I’m able to see it because I’ve been through it myself and this can be such a obstacle for people.

[00:08:38] You know, wanting to go over things endlessly and, and get you know, over analysis or, or analysis paralysis. It, it really does completely stop you from making progress with, with whatever that is and the way that I’ve overcome this is I’ve. [00:09:00] Coach I have, I work with coaches today and and I have accountability partners that, that help me take messy action.

[00:09:08] And that is that that’s really, really powerful when you’re able to move from. You know, wanting to get things perfect to just getting it out there. Get, you know, 80, you know, to 20% effort is often good enough to get 80% results. And so this is a whole era that I, that I love to help people recognize, investigate, and then move through.

[00:09:33] Miriam: Yeah. What do they say done is better than perfect. 

[00:09:36] Noah: Yes. So that’s a big one is you know, overthinking and perfectionism. 

[00:09:42] Self-Sabotage with Self-Doubt

[00:09:42] Noah: Another one for me is self doubt. Am I good enough to be doing this, selling this thing offering this, this area of expertise you know, we are all comparing ourselves constantly to, to other [00:10:00] people.

[00:10:00] That we see because social media is our dominant way of consuming content today. So, so, you know, social comparison and competition really leads to self-doubt. And I see this a lot with, with clients as a obstacle and, and something that can be very yeah, it can very much stop people and self sabotage.

[00:10:26] So, yeah, those are, those are the top ones that I see that are very common with all different personality types. 

[00:10:35] Miriam: I would agree with you. So when you’re talking about the self doubt and the comparison space, how would you coach someone through that? 

[00:10:46] Self-Sabotage with Comparison–Unleash Your Genius

[00:10:46] Noah: Mm-hmm mm-hmm well with.

[00:10:48] Comparison. You know, when you’re comparing yourself to what someone else has achieved or an award that they’ve got, or a promotion or a raise, or a, you [00:11:00] know, a, any of those things, what what I like to bring people back to is. Is is you and, and being yourself because you are the only person like you in terms of where you’ve grown up, you know, your area of genius and, your skills and experience.

[00:11:23] So there’s no one like you, no one that has had that unique ex life experience and area of genius. And so rather than. Comparing and feeling unsatisfied that you are not, that that person really lean into your area of genius and your uniqueness and double down on that because. That is your gift to the world is, is really those things and, and learn.

[00:11:57] So learning to, to [00:12:00] recognize those, those things lean into them and really go for it. Can move people move people out of that and, and into a, a better place. 

Hire for Your Weakness

[00:12:10] Miriam: That is a fantastic idea. I I’m forgetting this specific entrepreneur coach who was talking about. Instead of trying to beef up your weaknesses, hire for your weaknesses and beef up on your strengths or your genius.

[00:12:28] And I love this notion that we each have something that is so uniquely us, that nobody else can bring in quite that way. 

[00:12:39] And one of the things I chat with my adult children about is why don’t you compare you to you? Is this version of you better? Then last year’s version of you or yesterday’s version of you, what’s your, your hopes and desires for next year’s version of you?

[00:12:58] Noah: Yes, [00:13:00] exactly, exactly. And what I like to help my clients with is unleashing that yeah. Best version. Yeah, that genius. I, I run a mastermind called unleashing your genius and, and that so good. That is about removing the obstacles, the self sabotage, the behaviors that get people exactly, as you said it to, to their best version of themselves and to the, you know, the life and future that they imagine.

[00:13:30] When it’s Time for a Change

[00:13:30] Miriam: It’s so good. This is gonna jump back into your history just a little bit, but I find that after people have lived a certain amount of time and done a certain amount of things, they start to see this common thread that runs through, even though the jobs might be different. Mm-hmm the skill set might be similar.

[00:13:49] How do you see that flow and what made you wanna create this company?

[00:13:53] Because I think that they’re all. interrelated at some level mm-hmm mm-hmm 

Why I Built My Company

[00:13:58] Noah: I’ll start with your, the [00:14:00] last part, which is, you know, what made me and, and, or inspired me to create the company. I had worked for other people and I became. Really unsatisfied, building other people’s dreams.

[00:14:14] I reached this point where I was in my, in my mid forties and I thought to myself now, or never, you know, it’s time for me to build my own dreams and, and, and live the life that I’ve imagined. 

[00:14:30] I had already built a couple successful businesses, so I had the, the confidence that I could do it again.

[00:14:37] And. And I had seen a, an opening in the market to help people, you know, double their business specifically in e-commerce.

The Market Need

So there was, there was a market need that aligned with my my own genius area and, and and success. And, and then I had this self-belief and confidence that I could do it. So those were the [00:15:00] right ingredients and, and this trajectory for my career.

[00:15:05] Has really come, come from being great at, at working with people to you know, to, to improve performance, to and to have. To, to help people you know, move through this learning process of making something, learning a skill set and, and realizing a dream you know, a dream or a vision. And that that’s very much what a product entrepreneur has.

[00:15:32] They, they have a vision. And they have this great product, but they might not know how to get the right eyeballs to learn about this. And, and they may not have the right skillsets to have their product flying off the shelves. So instead it’s collecting dust and, and no one wants that. That’s really crushing for a, for a product entrepreneur to, to have this vision and, and to not have any traction in the [00:16:00] market.

I Love Building Teams

[00:16:00] I, I also love building teams and helping Helping figure out, you know, and prioritize the right the right people to hire and, and how to go about you know, financing the the expansion of a team or, or a company. So I I’ve learned these different areas of building blocks to, to building a startup.

[00:16:20] And so that’s, that’s all in demand knowledge. Yeah, that that’s been my own path. I, I think the common thread for me is, is really helping people reach their potential PE individuals and teams and, and helping visionary people make things happen. Making the, the dream a reality. Yeah, this is an aside, but the conversation is making me think about this.


[00:16:50] Miriam: When you look at an entrepreneur who has an idea and who is fairly independent, as most entrepreneurial types are, and mm-hmm many of them [00:17:00] have I can do it myself. I can figure it out myself. I mean, I think that’s part of that spirit mm-hmm and that basic mindset mm-hmm How, how long do they have to maybe the, maybe this is unanswerable, but how long do they have to try something out before, try and fail and try and fail and try and struggle and try and succeed a little bit and try and try without inviting other people in before they get discouraged enough that they abandon the idea or, you know, just stop and go back and get a regular job.

[00:17:34] I. My coaching can be expensive. And you and I both believe in it. We’ve both been on the receiving ends of it. And we both offer that as a product. How do we help our prospective clients understand,” yeah, it’s expensive, but it’s worth it because it expedites the process and gives you hope.” 

Hiring a Coach

[00:17:55] Noah: So in my business, I’m all about helping my clients with results. Right? [00:18:00] Right. Hiring a coach and working with me is all about getting to your intended goal and result and, and high value outcome as, as fast as possible. And so the benefit of working with me or with another coach is always gonna be better than staying stuck in your pain and problems.

[00:18:20] That you’re in today. So either you can delay getting out of that pain and problem getting unstuck, or you can, you know, continue to be in that place. And, and, you know, the, the, the, the pains and problems get worse, you get more isolated, you damage your relationships, you know, you know, there’s all kinds of Things that can crush you about life when you’re, when you’re stuck.

The Benefits

[00:18:46] And so I, I think that the benefits are always gonna be better than the investment and, and ultimately, I, I work to give my clients tons of value so that there’s [00:19:00] like a clear return on their investment that we can measure and quantify. And, and that’s, that’s important. Not, not all coaching programs can do that.

[00:19:11] With business coaching. I can, because I can anchor things to you know, revenue and profit and things like that. 

[00:19:19] Miriam: Yeah. Makes sense to me. It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re out on your own and it makes all the difference in the world to have someone walk alongside you to create some accountability, some encouragement.

[00:19:31] Noah: Yeah. 

[00:19:31] Miriam: Some Sometimes a little bit of like chop, chop, we’re having a meeting, you said, you’d have this done. And you haven’t had, you know, sometimes a little bit of that. Right. All of it. And yeah, I find with my clients that I just become very fond of them as human beings. They’re good. Good people. So, absolutely.

[00:19:49] Overcoming Self-Sabotage Raising Funding

[00:19:49] Noah: All right. Let me ask this question. I always think it’s interesting. As entrepreneurs, we have our businesses and we are working on these [00:20:00] various things, but always in the background of our mind, there’s some concept you’re thinking about and chewing on and rumbling around, and maybe it’s a product or maybe it’s not, or maybe it’s about life, or I don’t know, but what concept are you currently chewing on?

Current Concepts

[00:20:16] mm-hmm right now, we’re in this unique bubble in the world with what’s going on in with, you know, in the markets and a lot of my clients and, and a lot of people that I talk to, I talk to, you know, five, 10 people every week. And a lot of people are struggling raising money for their business and they’re, you know, running out of runway.

[00:20:44] So. I’m working on solving that problem and helping entrepreneurs with a really quick training that helps them to solve the three big problems that, that they face [00:21:00] raising money.

Problems Raising Money

You know, one is not having the, the language to speak to the entrepreneur in their own language. So not having, not being able to speak to an investor in their own language.

[00:21:13] Mm-hmm, a second one is not having way too much detail and just overwhelming your in, you know, Audience and, and investors with way too much detail. And the third is the energy you bring to to the pitch. And these are the, the deadly curses for raising money. And so right now I’m working on a mastermind that will be next week, that will help.

[00:21:38] I hope I’m only, only only have space for, to work with 10 people, but I want to help Help as many people as I can solve this problem so that they can keep their runway open to the finish line. And I know that that’s, that’s a problem. That’s impacting a lot of, lot of entrepreneurs out there.

[00:21:59] [00:22:00] Yeah, I would agree with you. And I think it’s gonna get infinitely worse before it gets better. Mm-hmm unfortunately, I mean, at the time of this recording, we are in June, 2022, and I think we haven’t seen the worst of the economic stuff yet.

A Commercial

Hey, this is Miriam jumping back in. Are you looking to go to the next level in your life or business right now?

[00:22:23] That’s what Leavebetter is about my friend. We give you the coaching to level up, have those breakthroughs so you can stop the self sabotage that keeps you where you are currently. Let’s make self-improvement a way of life. Go to leavebetter.com and download the free resource that’s there today. We change them regularly.

[00:22:41] Go and see what’s new at leavebetter.com. Now back to our interview, 

[00:22:46] Take Action, Celebrate Small Wins, Work Out

[00:22:46] Miriam: let’s transition into what beliefs or actions have made the biggest impact on you as a, as a leader, as an entrepreneur. 

[00:22:56] Noah: Mm-hmm mm-hmm well, [00:23:00] Actions wise, the big thing for me is taking consistent massive action. That, that mindset of not waiting, not sitting on action, but, but taking action every day and.

Celebrating Small Wins

[00:23:17] And also with that celebrating small wins every day, as opposed to expecting some monumental wins. I think big monumental wins are overrated. And I think the small everyday wins are really underrated. And that’s why. For me personally, taking massive action every day is what I practice and what I also teach my clients.

[00:23:45] That’s what moves you forward in life and in business. So that’s one. And another is, is really having a daily workout of some sort having some way to refuel the tank with [00:24:00] energy and optimism and feeling good. Energy wise, don’t wait for this vacation or this, or, you know, holiday period don’t delay that it, it, wellness and fitness is, is really.

A Daily Practice

[00:24:16] A daily practice and a daily ritual. And I really embrace that myself and, and I encourage my clients to do that as well. And relating to that is also mindset and meditation and you know, breath work and that’s, that is really transformational for, for myself and, and for my clients that I work with it, it helps us remove.

[00:24:42] The roadblocks that get in the way all the time is a lot of it is in our head. You know, most of it, most of the problems, most of it, most of the problems are in our head. And so, so we have to have. Healthy habits and rituals that become part of our, our whole [00:25:00] lifestyle. And and, and you don’t need a home gym.

[00:25:03] You don’t even need to have a gym membership. You, you can do these things with no equipment at home and, and they make all the difference. 

Brendan Burchard

[00:25:12] Miriam: Yeah, I would agree. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Brendan Burchard, but he he talks about high performance habits and mm-hmm, one of the things he says is that nobody ever says to a power plant.

[00:25:26] Boy, I hope they find some more energy. Mm-hmm he? You say to a power plant. Best power plant generates energy for us. And he said, our bodies are the same. We don’t need to wait around till we find energy. We need to make energy by movement. Yes. And all the things you just described. I’m very intrigued with B breath work.

The Literature on Breath Work

[00:25:48] I know from the literature I know from listening to zillions of podcasts, it makes a huge difference. Mm-hmm do you have Trouble getting your clients [00:26:00] to. Except or like be willing to try it. It’s, it’s a little bit out, further on the edge of what’s known among people. And I, I do think entrepreneurs happen to be more on the cutting edge of mm-hmm body optimization and that sort of thing.

[00:26:16] Mm-hmm high performers as well, but I’m curious what your experience has been with breath work with your people. 

[00:26:21] Breath Work

[00:26:21] Noah: I’ve had no resistance from any of my clients doing this. And, and we often not all the time, but we often start a session with breathwork mm-hmm and this doesn’t need to be long thing, but it can really shift the energy and just kind of bring back to the here and now from.

[00:26:43] What has been and where things are going. So, yeah, I, I love that. It, it it’s the thing that happens before a good session. It is really some breath. Nice. So you’ve basically trained your people. This is how we start, you know, how, what [00:27:00] is it that you have them do at the beginning of a session that you guys do together?

[00:27:04] Yeah, we do this together. It’s, you know, we close our eyes. We settle down our breath to you know, just natural breathing and with our eyes closed, then we do. You know, between five and 10 deep inhales and exhales with, you know, let inhale, let exhale go. Inhale. Let exhale go. Simple. I am a, a practitioner of yoga and have been for decades.


[00:27:34] So I’ve learned some of these things with yoga and I, and I’ve incorporated them into my coaching because it works for me. So I, I wanna help my clients with the same tools that I practice and, and, you know, yes. 17 seconds of breath work, you can completely change your outlook and energy. So it doesn’t need to be 10 minutes.

[00:27:59] [00:28:00] You know, it can be one minute. 

[00:28:03] Miriam: yeah, I love this. I’m writing it down in my, what I learned from this podcast, just to remind myself. Just because I know that this is a thing doesn’t mean that everybody knows this is a thing and I can model it for people. 

[00:28:18] Do you have a. Morning, routine or an afternoon routine. Do you wanna share that? Do you wanna walk through some of that for our 

[00:28:25] Morning Routine

[00:28:25] Noah: yes, I would love to. So my morning ritual is this. I wake up and I do a headstand for five minutes. Whoa. Yes, that’s awesome. And I’ve been doing this for close to 15 years. 15 years probably six days a week, some, some weeks, seven days a week, five minutes.

The Science Behind the Headstand

[00:28:47] Can you tell the science behind it? Or why? Why are you doing a, a headstand? Yeah. So the science behind it it’s really to change your blood flow. You are the inversion. It changes the [00:29:00] flow of blood and it’s, it’s very detoxifying. So it’s, it’s not only good for your body, for your physiology, your You’re cleaning out your system and making that system more efficient.

[00:29:14] But it also is great for your head you’re you, you’re getting all that blood flow to your head, which is great for fighting fear and anxiety. And so just amazing benefits. I’ll be honest. It took me probably two years of practicing to get into a headstand. I worked with a couple different yoga teachers in London, and it was a big deal for me personally, when I, when I got up there for the first time I had a fear of falling.

[00:29:47] That was my, that was my fear is falling over, which was completely irrational. Right. Cuz it wasn’t gonna hurt myself, but, but that was a fear. And. So I was able to overcome that [00:30:00] and learn this ritual. And so I do that. I, I do that every day. That’s part of my ritual and then I do some stretching. And some breath work.


[00:30:11] And I do a seated meditation. And as part of that, I do a, like a gratefulness practice and those are the things that’s my sandwich in the morning just before going running. And then I, I go running with my dog and that really sets me up. That gets me up to a plane. And so, yeah, so this is, this is my morning ritual and.

[00:30:36] You know, six days a week, something like that. That’s how I start my day. Wow. I love this.

The Headstand

Okay. So I gotta ask you a couple more questions about the handstand or headstand, cuz I’m genuinely interested. Did it take you a while to work up to five minutes as far as just your you’re not used to that kind of pressure in your head, right.

[00:30:56] And whatever, I mean. Were you like 15 [00:31:00] seconds and then 30 and then a minute. And then yeah. Yeah, it does take time to build up to it for certain, with the core strength mm-hmm . And, and this was so long ago now that I’ve been doing you know, 50 breaths or, or 40 or 50 breaths. So it does take some time to build up, but once you get there, It’s like riding a bike.

[00:31:22] You, you know, if you continue to practice it, you don’t forget it. And you have the muscle memory and yeah.

Feet Up

And there’s also a, a great product called feet up, which is it’s a, a. Thing that you can buy that just makes it easier to get up into your headstand, which takes a lot of the pressure off of your neck and your shoulders.

[00:31:46] So that’s good for us. Middle-aged people who, you know, don’t wanna have all that pressure on your neck, ultimately over time that leads to back problems and pain. And so I started [00:32:00] using that. Over time and it it’s, my back is a lot happier. Very very cool. I love it. How about an evening routine or end of work routine either one mm-hmm

[00:32:12] Yeah. So evening routine for me is also yoga and breath work. And I do this thing called an inverted child’s pose, which is. Just a way to stretch my stretch myself out and prepare myself for sleep. And so it’s again, it’s maybe five minutes of breathing, not a big deal. You know, you can roll out a towel or a yoga mat if you have one.

Preparing for Sleep

[00:32:40] And that really prepares me for sleep and getting better quality, deep sleep. I’ve noticed that since I started that in integrating that into my routine, I’ve just gotten better sleep and, you know, we really can’t get Enough good sleep. You know, particularly as a dad, an entrepreneur, [00:33:00] that sleep is the best workout that you need because it’s, you know, storing away all the information from, from the day and, and it’s healing.

[00:33:09] You know, your body and your mind. So, so I, I take these things really seriously and and it’s, I believe that tomorrow starts today. So you really need to invest in the day that you want to have by, by doing these things and, and embracing these types of rituals. Yeah, what I love about this is you don’t just know it up here, but you’re taking action on it.

[00:33:32] Miriam: I have had many of my clients say, “yeah, yeah, yeah. I know sleep, sleep. I know!” Yeah. But are you doing the things that help you get good sleep? It’s one thing to know it, it’s another thing to do the actions necessary to get there. So this is tremendous. Okay. Two more quick questions.

[00:33:53] The Four Agreements 

[00:33:53] Miriam: What is a book that has helped you or that you highly recommend or that you buy a lot [00:34:00] for people 

[00:34:01] Noah: One of. Books that I really love is The Four Agreements. Yes. And that is, it’s just ancient wisdom and it’s so relevant. And timeless and I think it’s a great foundation for, you know, how to be a good person, a B good human being simple things like, honoring your word and following through with your word and things like that.

[00:34:29] So, yeah, I love that one and it’s, it’s also a pretty quick read as well. So it’s You know, easy for people to, you know, sit down over a weekend and, and get it. 

[00:34:39] Miriam: Yeah, I would agree. That is a really good book. Okay. If you could turn back time and talk to yourself when you were younger or just starting your business,

[00:34:50] what advice would you give yourself?

Find a Mentor

[00:34:52] Noah: Hmm. For me, it’s work with a mentor regularly. That for [00:35:00] me is huge at, you know, as advice for young people because. You know today, a lot of people, they get their wisdom from YouTube. They get free advice from different influencers and, and it’s cobbled together stuff.

[00:35:17] That’s not relevant even to them. It’s yeah. For such a general audience. So my advice is. Find someone who has a path in life that you really looked up to that aligns with your own sense of purpose and values and try to seek out regular check-ins with them to get wisdom and guidance on how, how you can, how you can develop into the, your best self and, and how to unleash your genius.

[00:35:51] And seek out that, that consistent advice that’s going to be a life changer, maybe even a life saver for [00:36:00] you. 

People for Different Seasons

[00:36:00] Miriam: Those are wise words. I know in my own life, I have almost through every season of my life had someone. Like that obviously different people for different seasons. And they did make all the difference in terms of catapulting my life forward.

[00:36:16] From where it would’ve been to something, you know, further and better. Mm-hmm, definitely in my own life. I look for people to invest in as well. I always think you should have someone. you know, 10 steps ahead of you and someone, 10 steps behind you that you’re helping. Yes. Then someone who’s walking alongside you at the same level where you’re encouraging each other.

[00:36:38] This has been just such a fun interview 

Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary

[00:36:41] before I ask how people can find you. At the end of each interview, we like to gift our, Guests with a donation in their name.

[00:36:50] Noah: And so I was talking with Noah and asking him what, what would he appreciate and he chose best friend’s animal sanctuary because he’s got dogs, [00:37:00] a, a dog or dogs. Just biscuit. Just one, just biscuit. What kind of dog is it? She’s a golden doodle. Oh, so good. Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary is really working to reduce, the amount of animals that are killed in shelters. Instead, they’re getting them in foster homes and they’re getting them adopted. And they’re goal by 2025 is to, End this. So we’ll send a donation in your name and, thank you so so much for being with us.

How to Find Noah

[00:37:27] Tell us, tell our listeners how people can find you. You can find me  at noahcoff.com, which is N O a H K O F f.com. Perfect. Well, I hope that they look you up and ask you for some input. This has been a joy to have you on the podcast and just look forward to more interactions over time. Thank you. You Miriam.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Music by Tom Sherlock

head shot Miriam Gunn

If you are curious to know more, please contact me!

As someone who has been a therapist for over a decade and has been coaching people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to address your concerns.

3 Ways To Sabotage Your Business

ways to sabotage your company

3 Ways to Sabotage Your Business

You know your business can achieve more, but you also know you are being roadblocked. 

What is getting in your way? 

A myriad of factors, but in the end, they all boil down to you. 

In other words, you sabotage your business by the choices you make and don’t make. 

Sometimes, you are aware of the way you bottle-neck your business, and other times, you are unaware, because it is more of a blind spot.

I hope this article helps you understand the some categories of behaviors that owners, CEOs, and founders tend to sabotage their businesses with. And that you find some practical ways to help yourself stop these non-productive behaviors. 

I want for you to experience the success and happiness that comes from a business that thrives and scales due to smooth operating systems within your business. 

Why Should You Listen to Me? 

First, let me introduce myself—I am an entrepreneurial and executive coach and therapist (and business owner myself) who has spent over 30 years helping others reduce their self-sabotage so that they can reach their next level of success and freedom in both their lives and their businesses. 

Each of us are masters at self-sabotage in our own unique ways. 

The following article will draw attention to several possible ways to sabotage your business, in the hopes that you can recognize these behaviors and commit to make some changes toward more rewarding behaviors! 

1. Hiring the wrong people / Not firing the right people.

    • Failing to fire someone. 
    • promoting someone, rather than dealing with their bad behavior. 
    • Hiring family / friends.

It is not uncommon for founders and entrepreneurs to hire family members or friends. Initially, this feels awesome, because the relationship are warm and you don’t have the “get to know you” period of time that makes hiring a new person difficult. Usually you trust the person. What could go wrong?

But often something does go wrong and when it comes time to fire them, many owners feel like they can’t. Sometimes these owners are just nice and they feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility for their employees families, which is good, however, not at the expense of their company.

Often you find that a “bad” employee will drive out the “good” employees. Learning how to set standard of performance metrics and then actually ending a person’s employment with your company will prevent a form of sabotage that, curiously, is fairly common in the companies that I have coached in. 

I think that there is difficulty knowing what is the right course of action vs doing the right course of action. A leader in self-development, Brendon Burchard said often, “Common sense is not common practice.” I couldn’t agree more.  Many owners / CEOs that I have coached have said to me, “I know I need to fire them, but I can’t because of ‘x’.” Later, after they finally DO fire them, they said, “Why did I wait SO long?”

I have seen people who need to be fired cost the company tens of thousands of dollars before they are cut loose.  Be honest: is this one of the ways you sabotage your business?

Promoting the wrong people

Under NO circumstance should you promote the person with the bad behavior just to get rid of them! This is a space where the owner / CEO has to have the foresight and backbone to do the hard thing, so that the company can thrive. (And so that the other employees are not incredibly frustrated with the poor management). Unfortunately, this is incredibly common in larger corporations and governmental agencies. Don’t let it be true of your own company.

In short, do not hire relatives without some clear guidelines as to how you will keep nepotism out of your corporate structure. Make it clear to yourself and to them what their standard of performance is and keep your compensation of them the same as others in your company working similar positions. There is no better way to create unrest in your company than to treat family and friends differently than your other employees.

Cue The Office where Michael Scott hires and then won’t fire his nephew…

Ways to sabotage your business—scene from the office

2. Poor Leadership is a key way to sabotage your business

Even if you are a company of ONE, you can still practice and exhibit good leadership in your company. Especially when you are a solo-preneur, it is easy to make excuses and foster bad habits. Later, as you add more people to your team, the infrastructure of clear leadership is not in place to help you and others succeed in your company. Start living now they way you wish to live when you have a larger company, in terms of leadership.

When a leader does a poor job of leading, the whole company does not achieve its potential and team members become frustrated, sometimes even to the point of looking for other employment.

What employees want from their leader

As I have coached other corporate teams, I have observed that people want a couple of basic things. Namely, the ability to grow and learn new skills and advance within the company or their field. Additionally, they want low drama and a non-toxic work environment. Finally, they want clarity of priorities and the ability to feel like their time and efforts count toward something.

With the absence of any of these three qualities, your employees will feel less satisfied and be more likely to search elsewhere for their employment.

Leadership on a larger scale

If you have ever wondered why there are so many books on leadership, it is because it is a dense and complicated subject with many facets. No two companies are alike and each needs something slightly different from their leader at each growth stage. However, there are some common aspects of leadership that are consistent across all companies, regardless of size.

Clarity of Vision / Clarity of the Next Actions

An owner / founder has to be crystal clear about what they are trying to accomplish within their company. If an owner has difficulty visualizing success, he or she will struggle to communicate their vision well.

The human brain is pretty good at figuring out the “how” once it knows the “what.” However, depending on the kind of brain you have, figuring out the “what” may come easy to you, or it may be quite difficult. Some people are wired to see the vision and others are wired to see the “nuts and bolts” of how to get there. You need both kinds of people in your company.

Once your vision is in place, then the actions take shape. I know several business owners that delay important choices by over analyzing or finding other less important things to focus on. The net effect is that they put off key decisions and hamstring the forward momentum of their company.

As a leader, you have to focus you and your team on the things that will take your company to its next logical level.

Feedback and growth

Here is a sabotage landmine: Not recognizing your weaknesses. Or being told about them, and not accepting the feedback. Any time someone does not try to improve or to work around their weakness—this is a key failure of leadership.

Sadly, I know of several CEOs where are not very open to the feedback of their team members. As a result, with one in particular, the company is losing potential revenue because of the high turnover of employees. The team members don’t respect the way the owner leads.

Additionally, hire for your weakness, and work like crazy to grow. If an owner struggles with having negative self-critical thoughts, there is a good chance that the over all ethos and culture of the company will be less positive. Motivation may come from fear, rather than desire to succeed. After a while, people hate coming to work and then the internal structure of the business begins to fail.

As a side note: part of good leadership involves praise and celebration of wins. Whether the work of our employees or ourselves. Positivity is extremely important for the morale of the team.

Not taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally

I’m not going to elaborate on this topic, because there is SO much being written about this. However, it goes without saying that when you don’t take care of yourself, your team sees this and they model after you. If you work 100 hour work weeks, then they think it is expected of you. If you work through lunch, they will too. If you eat junk food, they will too. Being a leader is a bit like being a parent. And the “do as I say, not as I do” motto just does not fly. People model what they see. Give them something worthwhile to model after.

Robert Iger, CEO of Disney

I am reading The Ride of a Lifetime; Lessons learned from 15 years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Here are several of the principles that Robert Iger lives by:

        • Optimism
        • Courage
        • Focus
        • Decisiveness
        • Curiosity
        • Fairness
        • Thoughtfulness
        • Authenticity
        • The relentless pursuit of perfection

Your leadership principles don’t have to be his, but you DO have to be clear on what you are working toward within yourself. Failure to do so is one of the ways you sabotage your business. Also, as a side note, check out this article on ways women sabotage themselves at work.

3. Poor Management of Tasks

Procrastinating what needs to be done

Especially in a new or young business, where you may be a solo-preneur, focusing on activities that may be summed up as “busy work” may prevent you from working on the activities that will move your business forward, like the generations of leads and sales.

It is easy to get into the habit of responding first to the “loudest” noise, as opposed to the most important action to move your business forward.

Sometimes, it is difficult to identify the next step that will move the machinery of your business forward. For example, which is more important: networking with other entrepreneurs or checking in with the the national or financial new? Do you really need to check in with your social media accounts again? Check in with your email once more? Often, I find that entrepreneurs do these behaviors in an effort to feel busy and like they are accomplishing high things, but in reality, it keeps them from having to do the difficult lifting of the activities that will really move their business forward, like creating a lead magnet or pushing into hiring a sales person.

Here are a couple other ways to sabotage your time management: Allowing constant interruptions. Letting outside influences disturb your workflow. Constantly worrying about what could go wrong.

Not Delegating

When you are a solo-preneur, you have to do everything. But at some point, you absolutely have to outsource work. Speaking from experience, it is difficult to trust someone else with tasks you know you can do faster and better. It takes a lot of work to train someone.

However, the truth of the matter is that you cannot be everywhere at once and failure to build a good team of employees mean that your business will not scale and you will hit a revenue ceiling.

We kid ourselves that we are brilliantly multi-tasking, instead of realizing that we are engaged in high-paced and inefficient task-switching. We fool ourselves by thinking we will not burn out. We delude ourselves by thinking we are succeeding as we work all the time.

At some point, you have to recognize that others can do some tasks as well as you can—and sometimes even better. Learn to delegate. Failure to do so ensures that you sabotage your business for a while longer.

In Summary

This article could be a book! There are endless ways to sabotage your business. However, these are the low-hanging fruit.

      • If you truly work on hiring (and firing) the right people,
      • Exercising your leadership skills
      • And utilizing your time well

You will see your company grow and reach that next level you have been hungering after.

I have found with the companies I have coached, that it is difficult to reach these goals alone. Sometimes, it is nice to have someone else in your corner, on your team, cheering you on and providing that feedback that is so necessary for growth. If you would like to explore that, reach out to me and let’s have a conversation about how coaching can help you and your company succeed.

head shot Miriam Gunn

If you look at the above list and find these ideas helpful in the functioning and success of your business, consider hiring LeaveBetter for some additional coaching. There are many other questions like these in key realms of business development that are strategic to the ongoing development of your business and life.

Reach out to me and we can get started working on that, or on your personalized Life Plan. As a certified coach and therapist, this is what I do best: helping people like you achieve the skills you need to reach your next level in your business and life.

Ways Women Sabotage Themselves at Work

As I have spent time coaching within the corporate sphere, I have unfortunately noted that there are several ways women sabotage themselves at work. In addition, women still are not being treated as equals, I think contributing to the problem. There have been huge strides forward and there are some stellar companies out there doing their best to level the playing field, however, we’re not there yet. 

Curiously, when I observe women in corporate venues, I can see that they also have room to grow in terms of professionalism (men do too, but that isn’t the focus of this article). We can chicken-and-egg the question about what predisposes women to these self-defeating behaviors, or we can just acknowledge that they exist and move forward, making changes along the way.

How others perceive women

Really, it comes down to how you act, how you sound, how you respond, and how you market yourself. (If that doesn’t sound like “everything” I don’t know what does!) 

The following article outlines several ways women sabotage themselves at work. If you recognize these in yourself, pick one to work on.

ways women sabotage themselves at work


Being too thin skinned

Sometimes co-workers don’t like your ideas. Get over it. Be a team player and participate and if they don’t give you an award at the end of the day, have a strong enough self-esteem that you can move forward. In other words, assume the best of people’s intentions. When given feedback, do your best not to become defensive. Rather, ask: what can I learn from this. And if it’s truly a toxic workplace, get out and get a better job. No one should be abused at work. But also, we don’t have to be wilting lilies at the first sign of heat.

Gossiping about other co-workers.

Depending on the company, I have seen men gossip just as much as women, however, they really aren’t labeled as that. Senior executives tell men to “stop wasting time” and women to “stop gossiping.” It’s an interesting dichotomy. 

However, all the more reason for women to stop doing it, because it is a cliche’ of all that wrong with women in the workplace. Gossiping always has a flavor of something negative—i.e. no one every gets upset with someone talking someone up. Above all, be the person in your company who is known for saying nice things about people. And keep it brief and get back to work! Standing around talking in the break room is a sure way to lose your co-workers’ respect.

Trying to be “one of the guys”

It is not uncommon for one woman to be in a meeting with a bunch of men. Because of this, there is a temptation to fit in and swear as much as they do or tell off-color jokes if they are. However, there are few situations where this makes other men respect you more. You need to be who you are (the best version of who you are). I’m not suggesting that you be judgy about how they act, but you can actually raise the level of professionalism by not joining in poor behavior. And, if you have the relational capital, call them into something better. We all would like our cultural competence to raise a bit. in other words, model the kind of behavior you would like to receive.

Sharing too much information (or not enough)  

Within several of the companies that I have coached in, there is a problem with women treating their co-workers like their best friends. They share intimate details about their health or their relationships or their vacations. Some sharing is collegial. Too much is annoying to those around you who are trying to get their own work done, and it doesn’t make the person who is paying you feel good that their money is being wasted on non-productive chatter.  

On the other hand, I recently was acquainted with a woman who shared little to none with her employer or those around her about her health situation. She had a recurrence of cancer and was on an oral form of chemotherapy, of which she skipped the middle dose each day, because it made her too sick to work. At the time I spoke with her, she wondered if that skipped dose was going to lead to her mortality. I knew the owner of the business and he would have gladly given her time off or permission to do the work at home, had she told him how sick she was. This was a case where she shared too little, and it was definitely to her detriment.

Being overly concerned with offending others

Un(fortunately?), women are socialized to be kind, accepting, nice, collaborative, etc. Because of this, it is not unusual for a woman to go along with a plan that they don’t like or don’t think will succeed, because they are being “supportive.” Sometimes they do voice their opinion, but often, it is not strong enough for others to take notice and the bad plan moves forward anyway. Being willing to stand up for your ideas goes along with having a thicker skin and not being overly concerned if you offended someone in the normal course of relating. However, I’m not suggesting you be offensive. What I am saying is that you don’t need to turn yourself inside out with remorse when you tell someone you don’t think their idea will work or that their behavior is not ok.

Letting people waste your time

This is the flip side of the talking too much or gossiping with others. In order for someone to do the above behaviors, there has to be someone listening! I often coach other women and men to say things like, “I’m so happy your vacation was amazing—I”m sorry to cut you off here, but I have this deadline and I have to get back to work.” In other words, it is YOUR responsibility to stop people from wasting your time, not theirs.

Being invisible / taking up too little space

Sit at the big table. Speak up in meetings. Enough said.

Using qualifiers instead of being direct

Women have a tendency to speak with qualifiers. I’m not sure if this is because we are socialized to be less direct or if it is because women tend to get their feelings hurt where others are direct with them? Regardless, it is in your best interest to learn how to speak directly when you are working with men. (And, actually, most women prefer direct communication as well).

“Perhaps you would consider giving this proposal a tiny bit of your time. You might find it of use (or you might not). But it could give you a bit of a boost in your meeting.” 

Versus: “You need to look at this briefing. It’s got information in it that will help you with your negotiation.”

Direct does not equal rude. Rude is rude. Direct is clear. 

Direct: I would like to do this in this manner.

Indirect: I have some ideas, but whatever you want to do is fine by me. But I kind of like this one.

Rude: We always do it your way—this time we’re doing it my way because I am right and you are wrong.

Moving Forward


There are literally hundreds of ways women sabotage themselves at work—these are only a few of them. However, these are a good place to start. I recommend any of the books below (and they all have a substantial reading list in the back of each book).

If you want some individual help, consider hiring a coach! See my article here for how coaching can help you.

Regardless, of what you do to here’s no reason to up your game, do something! And, above all else stop sabotaging yourself at work and otherwise.

Some books to read: 

Nice Girls Still Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel, PhD

Hardball for Women: Winning at the Game of Business by Pat Heim and Susan K. Golant

Power Talk: Using Language to Build Authority and Influence by Sarah Myers McGinty

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg


Because everyone deserves to win in business AND in life.


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