Have you met your Gremlin yet? You may not be aware or focused on it, but believe me it’s always there. Your Gremlin is that narrator in your life whose sole purpose in life is to rob you of your vibrancy and competitiveness, in essence, to make you miserable. It’s your inner-critic, negative voice and disempowering entity. It took a while for me to acknowledge mine. For the longest time he simply took control of many aspects of my life.
A Gremlin is a maker of mischief. While it cannot be verified, the Gremlin is said to have been invented by members of the Royal Air Force in the 1920’s. Gremlin was used in works written in the 1940s for “an imaginary gnome like creature who causes difficulties in aircraft. It has since taken on a life of its own and can appear in any form it desires or you acknowledge.
Gremlins are very tricky, sophisticated and have developed elaborate methods of getting in the way of our natural, excited and vibrant soul. Once you know he or she is there and how it’s trying to run your life, you’ll appreciate its creativity.
Here are some signs that your Gremlin is around:
You are paralyzed in indecision.
You compare yourself to others and make conclusions about yourself based on that.
You have done nothing or little to realize our dream.
You feel good about yourself only if you hear it constantly form others.
You think in terms of black and white.
You have been in self-pity and/or victimhood too long.
Your Gremlin might be saying:
“Who do you think you are?”
“You can’t do that.”
“They’ll find out you really don’t know what you’re doing.”
Meet my Gremlin; he has a knack of changing his features, but I know when he’s around. I named him “Firebrand” because he always tries to kindle a revolt within me. This way I acknowledge him when he appears and I let him know I am aware that he is trying to sabotage me. I’ve even met some of my coaching client’s Gremlins. At first, they may not be aware that they have one, but during the coaching process, they usually become aware and develop the ability to visualize and deal with it.
You can’t ever really get rid of your Gremlin; you just have to acknowledge that it’s there and learn to not let its chatter ruin your life. Once you acknowledge it’s there, you can do some things to minimize the negative impact it can have on your life.
In his book, Taming your Gremlin, Rick Carson mentions three things you can do to quite the inner critic in you.
Simply Notice. Don’t take the chatter in your head too seriously, simply notice, it is the first step. The two important elements of simply noticing are awareness and choice.
Choose and Play with Options. Change for a change, play with different behaviors, and consider changing the behavior. Select options that are creative and that are out of character for you. You’ll see the value in it and enjoy what it does to taming your Gremlin.
Be in Process. While it might be unsettling, Being in Process is about attitude – an appreciation that, while unsettling, your life will forever be unfolding and you future always unknown.
Taming you Gremlin can happen at any moment, with any breath. It’s an ongoing process that can be challenging and exciting once you see yourself in the process and learn to appreciate your own gift of life.
Take care, and get unstuck from the paralysis and defeat your Gremlin is trying to convince you of.