Getting In Your Own Way?

Having a rough time at work? Usually it feels like we can’t do much to change this. In reality, we often contribute to it more than we think. How do we stop making things worse for ourselves? 

Let’s start with discussing common self-blocking behaviours. See if you can recognise any of these thought patterns.   

A Complaining Mindset

Sounds like: “Great, here we go again.” or “Typical.”

It might be tough to admit, but whinging (internally or externally) won’t help you move forward. It only intensifies the negativity you feel and prevents you from turning the day around.


Sounds like: “But what about…” or “What if…”

It’s one thing to effectively weigh up possibilities, pros and cons. When it starts to impede your productivity by raising your stress levels and blocking forward thinking, it’s time to stop the analysing.


Sounds like: “What if I mess up?” or “Nah, I can’t do it.”

Sometimes we really are our worst enemy. Self-doubt is one of the tools we use against ourselves. This negative thought pattern makes us feel as if we failed—before we’ve even tried!

Expecting too much recognition

Sounds like: “What about me?” or “That was all for nothing.”

Good leaders should recognise their team, but you might not always receive it when you expect it. If you’re spending time hung up on that missing pat-on-the-back, just give yourself one! It’s more effective to quietly acknowledge what you have done well, than souring your mood waiting for someone else to do so!

Not being a team player

Sounds like: “I’ll just do it myself” or “I can do it better.”

You probably can’t run a whole department, team, or project entirely on your own. As much as we would often like to control outcomes, it can be in our best interest to share the workload, experiences, and success. You create a more productive, positive environment by working with and building up others.

If you’ve spotted your own thoughts—or similar—in any of the above mindsets, you’re definitely not alone. Awareness of mental patterns is a great first step to breaking them.

Use more supportive thoughts to ensure you aren’t standing in the way of your success. Put your own spin on these and try them out for yourself:

  • “I won’t know if I don’t try. Let’s give it a shot.”

  • “I trust my ability because I’ve gotten this far. “

  • “I’m sure there’s something I can learn from this person.”

  • “They did a great job, good on them.”

  • “I did well. I’m proud of myself.”

  • “If I work diligently, with integrity and passion, I’ll get to where I want to be.”

Switching from a blocking to a self-supporting mindset will take some practice. Transition to a more positive way of thinking with one situation at a time. Before you know it, it will become your new habit.