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How we sabotage ourselves in EMS

10 ways to avoid self-betrayal and achieve our goals


“To create the life we dream of, we must not betray ourselves. Not honoring our best selves can destroy our confidence and get us stuck in a cycle of joyless comfort,” writes Abbas.

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I didn’t go to the gym again today.

I didn’t apply for the promotion I was excited about.

I was late for work again today.

To create the life we dream of, we must not betray ourselves. Not honoring our best selves can destroy our confidence and get us stuck in a cycle of joyless comfort.

In the book, “The Alchemist,” Paulo Coelho explains that we all have our own personal legend – our destiny – the life we dream of that is possible for us all. He explains that when we betray our personal legend, the act of self-betrayal burdens us.

Coelho asserts that we are here to fulfil our dreams, no matter the obstacles or hardships we face. If we aren’t following our dreams and pursuing our passion, we are not fulfilling our own personal legend. When we commit acts of self-betrayal, we can get off course in our lives, creating hardships for us, and pushing us further away from our destiny.

Here are the ways self-betrayal can show up in our lives:

  1. Betraying others. This can present itself as gossip, being dishonest with others or simply not supporting another team member. When we betray others, we are betraying ourselves.
  2. Denying our own needs. Not setting boundaries allows us to be taken advantage of and breeds resentment. Saying no to the things that don’t bring joy or get us closer to our goals is important. Maybe that overtime shift isn’t serving you.
  3. Being inauthentic. Choosing to act in a way that’s not who we truly are will not bring a true sense of belonging and will create superficial relationships. Most EMS folks can pick up on inauthenticity, it’s part of what we are attuned to do in our work environment. Our coworkers will pick up on disingenuous vibes. To live fully, we must embrace who we are.
  4. Not doing the work. Being inconsistent in getting to the gym, failing to answer emails or not following through on projects robs us of opportunities and deflates our self-confidence. I like to call these acts of self-sabotage.
  5. Being unkind to ourselves. Allowing ourselves to fall and make mistakes is instrumental to our personal growth. Learning to accept and forgive ourselves quickly allows us to practice this with others. When we’re kind to ourselves, we are kinder to everyone.
  6. Seeking external validation. Seeking external validation can be a slippery slope. As we progress in our careers, it will be essential to understand how important self-validation is. If we find ourselves running after external validation, we will easily get off course.
  7. Chasing money in place of our dreams. A comfortable income is a gift, however, feeling purpose in our work is part of our destiny. Staying with an employer or job we don’t enjoy out of comfort, or fear of failure or change is self-betrayal. Chase your dreams: it’s your destiny.
  8. Ignoring your inner voice, instincts and gut feelings. Trusting our intuition is paramount to staying the course. The voice inside us is always speaking. Learning to listen to it will keep us on our path.
  9. Chasing status over purpose. We don’t have to be in a leadership role to be a leader. Purpose drives status, not the other way around. Chase your purpose.
  10. Settling for less than you are capable of. We know when we’re not living up to our full potential. Each of us has a destiny, denying our best selves will not get us there. Apply for the promotion, do the work and never give up.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” — Paulo Coelho

We all have the potential to live the life we dream of. When we stop betraying ourselves, we begin the real work towards the life of our dreams.

Andrea is the owner and author of The EMS Professional. With over 20 years of EMS industry experience in various leadership roles, including field training officer, supervisor, quality assurance and compliance manager, EMS director and programs management, Andrea is skilled in system management, training, education, administration and project management. She has work experience in frontier, rural, suburban, and urban EMS systems.

In addition to her leadership experience, she brings years of experience working in the ambulance and emergency department. Andrea holds her National Registry Paramedic license, Community Paramedic certification and Instructor Coordinator license in addition to her formal education and degrees. Her unique consulting approach is detailed, honest and highly personalized. Andrea offers a variety of EMS leadership and wellness courses to EMS agencies and departments. She’s an avid blogger, national speaker, podcaster and consultant. You can contact her at:

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