Many people are their own worst enemies. They end up inside companies they don't like, working for managers they don't respect, doing jobs they find tedious and then wonder: "Why aren't I more successful?"

This kind of self-sabotage always emerges from internal inconsistency, according to Ron Willingham author of Integrity Selling for the 21st Century. He maintains that if you want to be successful, you must first achieve congruence between the following core beliefs:

  1. What are my basic values about people and life?
  2. What do I think my job is all about?
  3. Do I believe that I can take the necessary steps?
  4. How committed am I to taking these actions?
  5. Do I believe in my firm's products or services?

If congruence between these beliefs is lacking, you're constantly waging an internal battle with yourself. As a result, you do things half-heartedly.

And self-sabotage isn't just about failing at your job. People who deeply feel the difference between their own personal values and the values of the organizational culture frequent succumb to stress-related illnesses, like alcoholism, drug usage, and depression.

How do you keep this from happening to you? It's easy.

Start at the first core belief and work your way down, answering each question truthfully.  Then examine your answers for a disconnect. If there's not a disconnect, your beliefs are congruent, and you won't self-sabotage.

However, if there IS a disconnect, you must change the belief that is out of sync.

For example, if you're an honest person who's pursuing a career in Sales but you believe (in your heart of hearts) that selling is "inherently deceptive," you will never be successful.  You'll constantly self-sabotage because selling assaults your concept of who you really are.

To be successful at selling, you must either 1) decide that you're NOT an honest person, thereby putting your values into congruence with your concept of selling, or 2) decide that selling is a process of helping customers understand issues more truthfully, thereby putting your concept of selling into congruence with your values.

Here's another example: computer programming. If you believe your job consists of writing error-free programs but you lack the skills to accomplish that, you must either 1) decide that an error-free program is impossible or 2) train yourself until you can program that well.

The better your core beliefs are aligned, the more successful you'll be, especially since most of your competitors and coworkers will continue to fight the internal battles that come from incongruity.

It's really that simple.

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