How Thoughts Can Sabotage Your Business

How Thoughts Can Sabotage Your Business

Do you ever sabotage your business?  This would look like procrastination, not following up, not focusing on the right activities, and more.  

At one time I thought that how I spent my time was the vital ingredient in determining how well I succeeded. While that is true, I now also realize that how I think determines how I spend my time.

I once read "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" by Eckhart Tolle. Tolle is a visionary whose ideas are so powerful that they have caused millions to experience more joy in their lives. His basic philosophy is that we need to work to stay focused on the present moment and steer away from our never-ending thinking loop about the past and future. Of course, all that exists is the present moment since the past is gone and the future hasn't yet arrived. Staying fully present opens us to a whole new level of creativity and productivity. It deters us from thinking about and acting on past beliefs and habits that no longer serve us well and it prevents us from believing that the present is just a means to arrive at some future time when we will have achieved enough to be happy.

How can being fully present affect your business? An example of that would be you sitting at your computer answering e-mails and surfing the web doing "research" when you know that to move your business forward your time would be better spent on developing products or calling and connecting with prospects. What is going on in your head that causes this self-sabotaging behavior? What are you feeling at that time? Most likely, the unconscious dialogue goes something like this.

"I feel guilty because I am wasting time, which is what I always do since I know that I cannot succeed at this anyway".

"That project is so large that I do not know where to begin so I will just not start".

"If I call that person I will probably just get voicemail or they will not have time to talk to me. I will wait until another day".

"If I do not make more money soon, I will be a failure.

" I am so busy that I do not have the time to create a strategy or plan, so I guess I am stuck in overwhelm"


Where do these stories we tell ourselves come from? If you did not tell yourself those stories, which come from past belief systems about yourself and the world that you are buying into, the scene would look more like this:

  • Business owner sits at computer.
  • Business owner feels inspired to write out product ideas and does so.
  • Business owner wants to connect with people who truly need this product, so she makes telephone calls.

No mental junk. Only what is right in front of you at the moment that you are inspired to do from a peaceful place. And each task would feel like it just flows.

When we buy into past stories or spend the present dreaming about the future, we wind up wasting time now. The result could be any of the following:

  • Resigning ourselves to never reaching our dreams
  • Being regularly distracted
  • Procrastination
  • Incomplete projects
  • Avoiding important networking events
  • Avoiding making important phone calls
  • Telling yourself a story about how life or the economy is keeping you from reaching your goals.

Spend just one day working on staying present. Here is a process that I find helpful:

  1. Put a post it on your computer that says, "CHECK IN" in caps.
  2. Each time you see it, stop, take a deep breath and pull yourself out of your head and into the moment.
  3. Ask yourself if you are spending that moment doing what is important.
  4. See how you are feeling. If you feel angry, frustrated, fearful or guilty, ask yourself what story you are telling yourself that is false.
  5. Do not let your mind tell you a story about how you do not have time to do this!

This can be an eye-opening exercise. There are many techniques that can help you begin to master this idea of staying present. When you begin to do so, you will find that you are using time in a much more productive way and that your business and life will begin to flow in the right direction.


About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.


  1. Karen Peltier

    Hello Rachael.

    I think you bring up a good point about how we can sabotage our own best efforts by not being mindful. I completely agree with you that staying “present” and in the moment is the key to success in our working life. I also think it’s vital to success and happiness in our personal life as well.

    I love your idea of a post-it note on the computer as a reminder to stay in the present. Other useful reminders might be a piece of jewelry, such as a bracelet or ring, or even another object, such as a potted plant.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Karen Peltier
    Karen Peltier recently posted…10 Perfectly Suited, Eco-Friendly Gifts For Dad This Father’s DayMy Profile

  2. Well said Rachel! I am BIG on planning and I do think it’s a critical element to keep us going in the right direction. But you are so right about the amount of time that can so easily be wasted thinking about anything other than today. This is why I’ve made “planning days” a regular part of my routine. I schedule days that are specifically for planning and organizing and then spend the rest of the time doing. We each have to find our own way to maximize productivity, but this has worked wonders for me. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…The Reality Behind the Art of ProcrastinationMy Profile

  3. Love the ideas, really trying to build my business so taking these to heart.
    Rhiana recently posted…Free Online Course – Child Nutrition and CookingMy Profile

  4. donna merrill

    Hi Rachel,

    I am a fan of E. Tolle. Being in the present moment takes some reminders to do, but once done, like everything else, it becomes a habit. It comes easy for some, and others need to work on it a bit, but it is the only way to get things done.

    I see too many people getting in their own way with negative thinking. That can lead to deadly procrastination and more.

    Keeping focused on one task at a time is so much easier and quicker too. In the past, I was juggling too many things and ran into this problem. I just couldn’t shift from one project to another. So I set out for a solution: A hypnosis mp3. It was all about focusing on business and within 30 days it came to be.

    Moral of the story: there is always ways to shift our mindset and I’m a firm believer in that.

    I’m glad you raised this issue because I run into lots of clients that need to make that shift.

    donna merrill recently posted…4 Essential Steps Of Affiliate BloggingMy Profile

    • Hi Donna,

      I do believe that multitasking has become pandemic.  Speaking for myself, I want to do it all and so afraid that I might be missing out on something I suppose.  I think that I pay a price for my distractions.  I agree that it takes reminders to be in the present moment rather than rushing on to think about something else (and that something else is not necessarily more important than whatever I am doing now).  I try to commit to just BEING

  5. Tamera Donnely :

    Hi Rachel,

    I always love visiting your blog. Your posts seem to be written just for me.

    I really fight to stay focused on thoughts that move my business forward, but it is a losing battle some days. Thanks for the reminders and encouragement.

    • Hi Tamera,

      We can plant success, failure, fear, etc. in our mind.  It will return what we sow. We are the result of the way we have been thinking over the last weeks, months and years.  I hope that you come to understand that you can control your thoughts and practice doing so. When you catch yourself thinking in a negative way, stop yourself and change course.  Again, it takes practice 🙂

      Online Biz Boomer Babe recently posted…RAS: How Your Brain Attracts SuccessMy Profile

  6. Gregory Smokey Bowen

    Wow….You have described me to a tee……I catch myself beating myself out of growing my business, by talking myself out of doing whats important……It’s like I’m afraid of doing well……Don’t get me wrong, i’m doing ok and sticking to the plan …..but the plan could be way further in its progress……This is good advice … fact I am going to bookmark this page for future consultation…..Thanks Rachel……Smokey
    Gregory Smokey Bowen recently posted…I Have Some New Stuff Happening Here….Take A Look!My Profile

  7. Hi Rachel,

    People are always giving great advice without giving any ideas as to HOW to do it. Not so, with you. Awareness is an important step toward achieving a goal or making any change. Repeatedly getting into the present moment is necessary to learning how to stay there. I love your post-it idea.
    Willena Flewelling recently posted…Baby StepsMy Profile

  8. It is incredible how crippling some of these thoughts can be! My least favourite mental obstacle is procrastination. What I do is not hard, but somehow even the simplest task can be put off too long. Thank you for the tips at the end, you know I am going to try them!

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