Gremlins: Make Friends With Your Self-Talk

Gremlins and Negative Self Talk

How Well Do You Know YOUR Gremlins? 

Gremlins are also known as our inner critic, negative self-talk, negative fantasizing, etc. Whatever you call them, Gremlins are the keepers of the status quo.  They love to keep you locked in your comfort zone. They are also experts at blocking you from reaching (and sometimes even seeing) your greatest potential.

I work with clients on uncovering and naming their worst Gremlins.  The secret is that once you can give them a name, maybe even a face, you can begin to realize that they don’t have to be part of how you define yourself.  Say, for instance, you have a Gremlin named “I’m just not good enough to…”  What does he/she look like?  Sound like?  The more you can get to know your Gremlins, and realize they don’t have to be part of you, the more you can separate them from yourself, and then make conscious decisions about whether to listen to them or not.

How Do We Know When Our Gremlins Are Talking?

A wonderful analogy was made by a student in one of my workshops several years back that really shows the power of naming them and knowing they don’t have to control you. she compared it to the classic movie A Beautiful Mind, based on the true story of the brilliant Nobel Laureate in Economics John Nash who suffered from schizophrenia.  Similarly, think of your Gremlins like the “people” who followed John Nash around in the movie.  In the beginning, they completely ruled his life.  But as he became aware of the fact that they weren’t real, he could consciously choose to ignore them and go on doing what he needed to do in his life!  But like Nash, in order to not let them interfere, we have to be conscious of what they are saying to us.

Three Important Facts In Dealing With Gremlins

  • Everyone (no, not just you!) has this negative self-talk chattering in their head.  The difference between letting it rule us or moving on in life comes from how well we are able to recognize them for what they are ( or I should say AREN’T) and ignore their messages.
  • They never go away.  You can learn to ignore them and let them have their say, but you cannot completely destroy them.  They will learn to be quiet and harmless, but will never completely leave.
  • The closer you get to what you REALLY want in life, the LOUDER the Gremlins are!  Or if you are up to big stuff in your life—they will always be hanging around.  Remember, they like to hold you down in your comfort zone.

So how do you begin to learn to tame them?  By getting to know better the creative, resourceful, and powerful being that you truly are!  It involves becoming more familiar with your dreams, values and authentic self.  In fact, helping people to make this part of you more real is what my job is as a coach. To hold your magnificence for you, even when you forget, or get taken over by your Gremlins.

Your challenge is to begin to listen for what your Gremlins are saying to you that holds you back.  Simply begin by just noticing, not arguing or struggling with them. Once you can begin to notice them, then you can start to make conscious choices about whether to believe them or not.

Beyond Setting Goals: 6 Reasons Your Resolutions Aren’t Working

So here it is a month out from all those New Years Resolutions! How are we doing with those goals? I spend a lot of time with people on creating intentions and reaching for their goals. After all, isn’t that one of the main reasons people hire a coach—to support them in getting to the next level in whatever it is they are doing in their life, their business or their career? Absolutely! It really helps to have someone on your team that isn’t going to judge you. But there is so much more to this story than just creating some goals and making them happen. Here are a few things I’ve observed over the years that get in the way of achieving what you want:

Fears, Blocks, or Outdated Beliefs Are Standing In The Way

We all know about this one. Fear of change, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown—these are but a few of the things that feed our inner- critic and keep us from getting unstuck. These fears need to be identified and cleared in order begin to move forward. Becoming more aware of what these old beliefs are is the first step. You can’t change anything until you become conscious of what it is. Then you can question these old beliefs and also use wonderful tools like EFT Tapping to clear them away.

Goals Are Set By Your Inner Critic Rather Than Your Authentic Self

This is a huge one. This is what I find for a lot of my clients. For example, they come to me with a goal to reach a particular level in their business. As we begin to work through what is in their way—the fears, the inner critic, etc. and then begin also to create a vision of what they want, identifying their values and what is fulfilling for them—it becomes apparent that there is a conflict between the goal and what is important to them.

Many times we set goals based on what other people think we should do, or on what success “should” look like, and then find the process of working towards that goal to be filled with unrest and conflict.

Sometimes our inner-critic is doing the goal setting. Becoming more familiar with your authentic self you can learn to align your goals with what is truly important to you, not your spouse, your parents, the culture, etc. We take in other people’s expectations as to what we should be and want, and sometimes forget what’s true for us.

Frequently people who have gone into business for themselves find their inner critic really running the show. They left corporate jobs because they wanted more freedom or flexibility only to find their inner-critic is worse than any boss they ever worked for.

Goals Are Unclear

Perhaps you haven’t taken the time to really define what it is you want, write it down, or create a plan to get there. Most people don’t know as much about what they truly want things to be like as they do about what they don’t want. How do you get where you are going when you don’t have a good picture of “there”? These goals are more like “wishes” that live in your head with “someday maybe” attached to them. Always somewhere in the future when something else is taken care of first.

Goals Are Too Big Or Too Small

Maybe your goals are unrealistic. Even you yourself don’t remotely believe you could get them. You can say affirmations daily that you’d like to be independently wealthy, but if you really don’t see yourself being capable of achieving that, and it’s too overwhelming to break down into a plan, then it probably isn’t going to happen. Conversely, if you have a goal so small it doesn’t inspire or stretch you at all, then it won’t hold any energy and will quickly be forgotten.

Priorities Changed and You Didn’t Notice

Sometimes this means your priorities have really shifted from what you initially thought was a top priority. That goal has now become secondary. We sometimes stick to old goals because we are used to them. Maybe we keep setting a goal to be the #1 salesman, but have forgotten that we are actually a couple of years from retirement and being number one isn’t really as important as it once was. That’s great to realize! What’s important is consciously knowing that is what’s happened so you can make different choices without guilt or feelings of failure.

Life Gets In The Way

In this scenario, you aren’t doing what you set out to do because you are letting day-to-day stuff interfere. There could be lots of reasons for this, but basically, you have that nagging feeling of guilt and failure and frustration because the choices you are making are more unconscious than conscious and aren’t aligned with your priorities.

Take Another Look

So take another look at those New Years Resolutions that you haven’t been keeping up with. Run them through the list above and see if it strikes a cord. Consider the option of hiring a coach. It’s a wonderful way to help you create a structure, a support system, and get feedback and accountability that will help you reach those important goals for 2018. One of the biggest gifts of coaching is clarity. With clarity, you can begin to really know when you are working on the right things. And with clarity comes a sense of peace about what you are doing and the ability to truly enjoy the journey along the way!