Merge's Blog

Are you inadvertently sabotaging yourself?

sabotaging yourselfAre you inadvertently sabotaging yourself?  A few weeks ago, I asked a different question: Would you run a marathon blindfolded?  It was in reference to how managers in organizations sometimes (usually inadvertently) set their employees up to fail by not giving them the tools and resources they need in order to get the job done!  This post prompted an email from a reader who shared the following:

[This post] reminded me of what one of my bosses used to always say when he saw people doing things in an unnecessarily difficult way.....You can climb Mount Everest in a pair of Oxfords, but it's difficult!

(By the way, Oxfords are formal lace-up shoes, usually worn by men as a necessary component of formal business attire.)

You can climb Mount Everest in a pair of Oxfords, but it’s difficult!

Which got me thinking further.  My original post was about how managers were the ones at fault … asking their people to complete tasks or fulfill responsibilities but neglecting to give them the tools and information they needed to make it happen.  But what if the guilty party isn’t your manager?  What if it’s you?  Do we sometimes, without realizing it, sabotage ourselves by wearing the metaphoric Oxfords when we should be wearing hiking boots?  Do we unconsciously follow paths or create obstacles that hamper our success?  Perhaps we continue with inefficient processes because we’ve “always done it that way”.  Or maybe we ignore valid cost-effective alternatives because we’ve invested time and energy in less productive approaches.  Whatever the reason, I’ve seen numerous examples of situations where people in organizations take the more challenging course towards their final objectives instead of looking for simpler ways to get things done.

Stop sabotaging yourself

So what will it take to not fall into this trap of sabotaging yourself?  Well, for one, self-awareness.  If something you’re doing feels like it is unnecessarily difficult, look around to see what others are doing in similar situations.  Reach out to other trusted individuals to seek their perspectives.  Ask yourself – is there another way to do this?  And if the answer is “yes”, ask yourself – why am I attached to the less efficient or less effective approach?

Are you responsible for sabotaging yourself?  Are you guilty of wearing Oxfords to climb the metaphoric Mount Everest when it would be far easier to make the ascent in hiking boots?  I’d love to hear about your experiences, or ones that you’ve witnessed.  Please share by commenting below.

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