You Sabotaging Yourself with Low-status Behaviors?

Posted by in Books, How the Top 10% Do It!, Self-Management Strategies for Optimal Performance

Sabotage, pliers cutting wire

Throughout this book, we have dealt often with the traits and practices of Elite and Top Performers. They are those who are successful, month after month, even in very difficult economies. What we have not discussed are those who are opposite, those that we need to avoid, who with these skills will not belong to the elevated stratosphere of Elite or Top Performance. It is easy to sabotage oneself without even knowing it; many habits that come naturally quite often prove detrimental in both a work environment and your life.




There are some people who don’t participate; they are the ones who always want to feel safe. They want to know the outcome before taking the chance; they do not show up and ask tough questions and ask for what they want. They are the people who instead only have hope. Those who succeed are willing to show up, participate, and ask for what they want. They are willing to take no for an answer and they are sure to confirm that the “no” they have received is final before they give up.


Too Nice


One way that we sabotage our success is to be over-agreeable and nice. Too many salespeople, in the first four minutes of meeting with a client, are committed to being nice and agreeable instead of demonstrating credibility. They solicit feedback from the client to reassure themselves that they are liked. In other words, they are approval seeking missiles without the warhead.



Gossip is like a virus. When you gossip, the two questions you should ask yourself are, “Is this true? Is this any of my business?” As harsh as this sounds, to gossip is to practice a form of murder, by where we assassinate someone’s character. Since they are not in the room they are unable to protect themselves.

From time to time, I work with organizations to help them create customer service standards within their teams. I ask each person to sign a contract saying this:

If you hear me gossiping, give me a gentle poke to remind me that I am slipping into old behaviors.

Gossiping is endemic in most organizations. Nothing tears apart the fabric of a team like gossiping does.


Putting Up with It


Another way to unwittingly sabotage oneself is to put up with a difficult situation as a means of avoiding conflict. Although dealing with conflict is challenging for most people (and walking away from vicious situations is often the best choice) sometimes when people walk away they are being passive-aggressive, where nothing is resolved and the situation erodes.


Told You So


Many people need to be right all the time. Some would prefer to be right rather than successful and happy. Self-righteousness always leads to conflict, even if the conflict is only in their own mind— their opinion, their position, their outlook on things, according to them, is the only right interpretation. Don’t be like that; be someone who takes that deep breath and looks for the hidden gem that will help you surge ahead of the know it all! Walking away from a know-it-all is the best way to win!

When working with teams, I often ask, “How many of you believe everything you think?” and what I discover is amazing: most people do truly believe everything they think. The issue here is that they don’t clarify their assumptions with other people. Believing everything we think removes our ability to negotiate, because we no longer have an inquiring mind.



Pouting is passive-aggressive and although it feels powerful in the moment, it is a display of weakness and frustration.

Imagine if you had someone in your life who developed a habit of pouting. You could say to him or her:

“I’m going to leave for a few hours, and when I come back, if you don’t want to talk about whatever is bothering you, I will be leaving again for the night, and in the morning when I come back if you’re still pouting, then I’m going to be gone for good.”

Your lab partner, office partner, team member, etc., will never pout again, because there is no longer any power over in it for him or her. Feeling resentful and participating in this kind of drama steals vital energy that could be used for something more productive.

It is okay for a person who does not have the skills or feels uncomfortable with their conversational skills to say in the moment:

“You know what, something happened to me, I’ve had an off day. Please give me a day and then I’ll be over to discuss it further.”

This is a fair enough response, but pouting is passive-aggressive, and is essentially holding another hostage. You will often find, that when other people figure out the rules, the pouter will change the rules all over again. It’s a loser’s game.




Without the ability to discern, we can look at people and judge them because what they are doing is not what we be would be doing in the same situation. Thus, quite often we distinguish them as being completely wrong, and then feel the need to vent.

We need to know how to deal with situations that cause stress in a healthy way. It is a myth to believe that venting relieves emotional pressure. Nothing could be further from the truth. When venters and complainers dump their frustration onto others, they feel better because they released their pressure valve. However, to do so it to steal someone else’s peace of mind…that is called energy vampirism! Maybe you know someone like that?

When we can take ourselves through this process and do a self-accounting inventory about our own traits and then correct them, we show up as an agent as opposed to a victim. An agent is someone who can take care of themselves and someone else. A victim is someone whose state of mind or state of life is caused by someone else. What do you need to become a neutral agent?

This article is an excerpt from my upcoming publication:

How the Top 10% Do It 3D front cover book

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Sigma Solutions

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One Comment

  1. Hi Alice,
    hope your doing well. It was good to have a brief chat with you the other day. When you get a minute, let me know when we could connect again as I have a few questions for you. I’d like to know also if there’s any possibility to work together in the near future. Thank you.

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