Personal Battles Part 2 – The Dangers of Risk Aversion
Many individuals face personal struggles including Risk Aversion. Here we explore symptoms and how to deal with and overcome these feelings.
Many people experience unforeseen obstacles and challenges in their career that can hinder their progress but hopefully, in time, they can find a way around them to achieve their goals. However, what happens when the hinderance is self-inflicted?
In this series of blogs, we explore a range of personal struggles which many individuals face including Self-Sabotage, Risk Aversion, Perfectionism and Self-Worth, taking a look at how to recognise the symptoms of each and what can be done to deal with such feelings, as well as strategies to help overcome them.
Sometimes also known as behavioural dysregulation, the act of self-sabotage is more common than you might think and it can be conscious or subconscious. Self-sabotage involves behaving in away which undermines your own personal goals or values resulting in the deliberate hindrance of your own success and wellbeing. It generally stems from a form of imposter syndrome where fear of failure and negative thoughts about your own abilities cause the behaviours which set you up to fail.
Classic indicators that an individual is suffering with self-sabotaging behaviour include; leaving tasks until the last minute allowing insufficient time to complete them successfully, procrastinating by over-indulging in distractions such as playing computer games, scrolling through social media or binge-watching TV, giving up with a task before you have even tried to complete it and rejecting people or opportunities for no real reason at an early stage to avoid deeper rejection or disappointment which is out of your control later on. As another way to avoid rejection, some people also find that they have a tendency to not share their ideas in meetings and not assert their own goals and desires, but of course in doing so, are sabotaging their professional reputation and their chance of reaching their potential.
The key to dealing with any negative feeling and behaviours is to firstly increase your self-awareness. Realising that you are experiencing an issue is the first step to overcoming it.
Once you are aware that your negative thoughts and fears are the root of the self-sabotaging behaviour, you can identify when thoughts are toxic, allowing you to impartially evaluate whether the stance - and the subsequent behavioural decision it will lead to - is a valid viewpoint. You may wonder whether you are striving to reach objectively unachievable levels of perfection. It can be helpful to focus on the positives and possibilities of a situation to realise what the reality of an outcome could be, compared to only considering the down-side or negative outcome.
Another useful step can be to plan better to avoid self-sabotaging behaviours, such as setting shorter deadlines to avoid procrastination, breaking tasks down in to manageable chunks and rewarding yourself for completing targets on time to positively reinforce good habits.
It can also be helpful to focus on your career goals and realise that positive behaviours and taking a risk on experiencing rejection is a part of getting you where you want to be. You may find that you don’t encounter the disappointment you were expecting at all or, even if you do get rejected along the way, you may discover that the reality of it is not as bad as you had imagined in your head and you can just dust yourself off and drive forward with your objectives.
Finally, remember that these initiatives are likely to take you out of your comfort zone and therefore you may slip back into making excuses to rationalise negative behaviours. Be aware of this possibility and look out for when you start to do it so that you can avoid it and reconsider your actions.
Look out for further blogs on the subject of overcoming personal battles soon.
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