This post provides a two-fold purpose:


  1. To provide you with a straightforward self-assessment to reveal any self-sabotaging mindsets or behaviors. And/or
  2. To cause you to recognize the actions and attitudes of others that are negatively affecting the team.

There may be great vision, a noble cause, and great potential but a team is only as strong as its weakest link. Shamefully attacking self or others will not bring resolution. However, honest consideration is needed to stand face-to-face to the elephant in the room.

The goal is shared accountability for shared success!

Neuroscience reveals that each individual has the innate ability to choose what they will think, how they will feel, the attitudes they project, the words they say, and the actions they take. The evidence of emotional immaturity and a fear-based belief of powerlessness drives us to relegate our choices to external circumstances that are beyond our control. Or…we are led right into someone else’s drama!  Our emotional health, mature relationships, and the ability to release our highest and best contribution hang in the balance of our choices.

Only the courageous should continue reading.

 Here are eight behaviors that may be leading you into sabotage:

1. Habit of Making Excuses:

When we try to remove blame from ourselves by projecting it onto others or circumstances our growth is stunted. Our attitudes and actions portray that responsibilities entrusted to us were trivial, unimportant or inconsequential. Mature leaders will hold themselves to a higher standard than anyone else expects of them; they will take personal responsibility for their lives.  Benjamin Franklin said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

2. Habit of Negative Communication:

We are contagious within our environments. What we say about ourselves and others creates a backdrop that is either toxic or healthy. Words seed thoughts; thoughts activate attitudes, emotions, and ultimately decision-making. Seeding the atmosphere with criticism, negativity, “I can’t,” “I don’t want to,” or “this will never work” propagandizes the value of the vision and the belief of a cause worth fighting for.  If people are drawn to carriers of hope, what will be their response to the toxic? Living a life addicted to crisis will never bring peace.

3. Entitlement Mindset:

This is not anticipating a benefit from investments made; it is expecting the benefits without paying the price. It is the “give me” taker who refuses to carry their weight of responsibility. It is the one who demands the perks without invested interest or labor. They challenge, insist, shout and pout until they get what they want—always wanting more. Their lack of investment requires constant oversight, quality checks, and constant reminders. They may look busy as they browse the internet, make personal phone calls, and ‘like’ all their friends’ Facebook posts, expecting all the while that they should get a promotion.

“Community cannot be enjoyed until there is an investment of your heart, labors, and resources—anything less is entitlement.”

Dr. Melodye Hilton

4. Habits of Dishonesty and Mistrust:

Building and developing the attributes of honesty and credibility are essential for success personally, professionally, and relationally. George McDonald said, “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” Trust is built when we use our skills and abilities to benefit the whole as well as demonstrate the moral and ethical character that inspires commitment relationally. When information is falsified (lying) it is blatant deception to manipulate an outcome that benefits self. This dishonesty is self-sabotage and will always harm us whether or not the truth is ever known. According to science these thoughts build unhealthy memory that releases fear-based chemicals into every cell in our body that neutralizes our ability to love life. More lies have to be generated to continue to cover past lies making an intricately woven fabrication that you have to protect from truth’s exposure. Talk about living under a shroud of stress! Keep in mind that habits of mistrust are not limited to words but are also revealed in our deeds. Wasting or mismanaging company resources, misappropriation of funds or theft will not only hurt the team you are committed to but your own self-worth.

5. Self-focused Decision-Making:

Refusing to “play by the rules” sends a message loud and clear of the devaluation of the vision of any workgroup or relationship. When “me win, you lose” drives a wedge relationally, my contribution to the team is abruptly halted. When my decisions and actions are about what “I want” and it must be “my way,” the ability to partner with delegated authority or properly lead another comes to a screeching halt.

6. Habitual Laziness:

I know that anyone can have an “off day,” but when there is a habitual deficit of work ethic it will run interference on any individual or unified goal. Laziness will assign to others every dreaded task for what is preferred or less challenging—all the while taking the credit for a job well done. This person does what they desire rather than what is necessary and they put off today what they might get done tomorrow. For these, the main reason for work is a paycheck as life is lived for amusement (action without thought). Living for the moment will cause many to miss out on amazing opportunities because it involves a lot of hard work. If running from purpose-filled work, the result will be closed doors, stunted growth, and living a boring and frustrated life.

“If you are expecting someone to do the work of your vision, you are going to be waiting a long time restricted by your lack of personal investment.”

Dr. Melodye Hilton

7. Avoid Taking Risks:

Risk carries the meaning of exposure to danger and an uncertain outcome.  Risk can be drenched in fear, doubt, and a desire to remain in a comfort zone. The emotional stretching of the unknown as well as threats of loss can be daunting. However, the truth is, no worthy goal has ever been accomplished without price-filled risk. With the challenges noted, it must be understood that human beings are wired to take risks for an anticipated reward. The neurochemical dopamine—a happy chemical—is not only released every time we accomplish goals but in all the little achievements made while on that journey. This process creates a greater quality of life. Starting out taking small risks will build confidence to do the things that were once feared.

8. Avoid Self-Development:

Life would feel like a prison if we could not increase our ability or develop our potential. The moment a tree stops growing, it dies. We do not want to be the walking dead by camping out in mediocrity. Without the release of vision, purpose, or passion I will live a frustrating stagnant life. If I don’t discover my voice all that is left is to echo another’s.  This is not the way you were created to live life!

You have already forcefully affronted self-sabotage by courageously reading this blog!


There is a treasure inside of you—discover it! You carry unique capabilities—develop them! If you need help—get a mentor! Do not let your past define your present or determine your future. Every negative self-sabotaging behavior is only hiding the real you. The depth of potential inside of you is screaming, “Let me out!” Prove to the emotions of fear that they are powerless to control you. This is not a time to compare yourself with another but to become the best version of you that you can be! It’s a step by step journey that will bring internal freedom as you know that you are giving your best. As you gain victory through managing your private world, you are then positioned to help others see the amazing person that they can be!


From one leader to another,

Dr. Melodye Hilton


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