Gremlins sabotaging your progress? Here’s how to deal with them.

There it was in my inbox, the invitation to deliver a talk around setting goals to my local Mums in Business group to kick start the New Year.

A great opportunity to share my expertise and show case my work!

So why was my first reaction on reading it one of abject terror and panic: ‘Nooooo. How can I possibly fit this in with everything else I’m trying to do’ was my initial thought.

Gremlin alert!Green Gremlin

Fortunately I knew that this wasn’t the whole story. My Gremlin had been awoken by this opportunity to work towards one of my business goals because taking this action required me to step outside of my comfort zone.

And there’s the rub.

Whenever we set BIG, thrilling goals for ourselves, whether it be following our passion to develop a new business or change career direction, our Gremlins will stir and start trying to wreak havoc, to keep us small and, in their eyes, safe.

Gremlins are those little voices in our heads, often running a critical commentary as to why we should NOT go ahead and do something new, stymieing us from taking any action that would stretch us into the ‘unknown’ and yet desired future.

And they will show up in a myriad of ways.

Masters of Disguise

To illustrate this point: in the build up to my recent talk to my Mums in Business group I encountered at least three Gremlins in various forms.

The first was the ‘There’s Not Enough Time’ Gremlin. As a working mum juggling many balls who received the email in the run up to Christmas (!), my first reaction was to hide my head in the sand in order to ‘avoid taking on too much’.

This was a particularly sneaky Gremlin, disguised as having concern for my wellbeing, telling me ‘I’d be looking after myself by saying no’ – when really it was a BIG, FAT RUSE to stop me from stepping forward with my goal to get ‘out there’ and start actively seeking out new opportunities for my business to grow.

Then there was Gremlin number two: the ‘Not Enough Expertise’ Gremlin who subjected me to various running commentaries ranging from ‘Who do you think will be interested in what you have to say’ expanding to ‘You have nothing original to say’ which was really just the warm up act for the real BIG GUNS Gremlin who came next.

Gremlin number three: the ‘Imposter Syndrome’ Gremlin. This Gremlin subjected me to thoughts ranging from ‘Who do you think you are?’ to ‘You’ll be found out’ and ‘You can’t do this, they’ll realise you’re a fraud’. Real stop you in your tracks stuff.

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! You get the picture, these Gremlins are really nasty critters.

Fortunately I know that they are not the whole picture and my experience from being coached has proved to me that they are not speaking my truth. Sometimes there may be a grain of truth in what they say but mostly they are trying to keep us small, and in my case with giving the talk, invisible.

Taming Your GremlinsFreedom from fear

So how do you deal with your Gremlins when you are trying to move forward with your goals?

1.Engage your Heart, not your Head

Gremlins are really our egos trying to maintain and protect their status quo and they live in our heads. But BIG goals, or ‘dreams with deadlines’, have nothing to do with our heads, they come from our hearts.

One of the best ways to ‘slay’ a gremlin is to connect to the significance of what achieving your goal will give you, what is important about it, what values will you be honouring by doing it, as outlined in my previous post here.

The Gremlins in our heads don’t stand a chance when our hearts are blazing with our ‘inner’ truth in this way.

 2. Personify them, then Dispose of them

As a coach one of the ways I deal with Gremlins blocking my clients’ progress is to ask clients to describe what their Gremlins look like, sound like, smell like, the more of a caricature and outlandish the better. Rick Carson, in his book ‘Taming Your Gremlingives some great examples of this.

Then, and this is crucial, I get them to metaphorically ‘slay’ or ‘dispose’ of their Gremlins by whatever means they choose, the grislier the better – put them in the blender, blow them up in the microwave, draw them and then shred them, flush them down the loo.

Use whatever method of disposal appeals to dispatch them from your mind.

 3. Feel the Fear……and Do It Anyway

Sometimes, despite taking the above steps, a few pesky Gremlin voices will remain. This method entails acknowledging their presence but ignoring what they say by metaphorically ‘turning down the volume’ on them, whilst turning your attention and focus to what you need to do.

As Henry Ford famously said, ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right’. So here focus on what you CAN do to move forward positively with your goal and take action. Positive self talk to affirm ‘I CAN do this’ as you take your action can also be helpful here.

  4. Hire a professional Coach

I know this stuff. And I am a professional coach. But sometimes our Gremlins are so sneakily caught up in our beliefs about ourselves that we can’t see the wood for the trees.

Recognise when it’s time to call in the professional help of a coach. I wouldn’t be here, writing this blog, developing my business – and by extension of this, myself – if it weren’t for the stalwart support of my own coach championing me and helping me ‘get out of my own way’.

N.B. In order to successfully deliver my talk to my fellow Mums in Business I used all four of the above.

And the great thing is, when you DO successfully face down your Gremlin fears, your confidence soars and just spurs you on to take the next steps towards achieving your goals.


How about you?

What goals or dreams do you have for yourself, your career and/or your business?: What’s your experience of Gremlins sabotaging your progress and how have you dealt with them? I’d love to hear from you!

Want more help to slay your Gremlins and achieve your goals?

Take a look at my ‘There’s More in Me’ career coaching programme. You can fill in the form there and then schedule a FREE consultation to get some clarity on the situation you are facing.

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