July 2010 – This month, we’ll resume our discussion of the Big 4 inner blocks. Previously, we looked at Limiting Beliefs (beliefs that you accept about life, about yourself, about your world, or about the people in it, and which limit you in some way); Assumptions (expectations that something will happen in the future simply because it happened in the past); and Interpretations (opinions and judgments that you create about an event, situation, person, or experience and believe to be true).

It is now time to examine the last of the Big 4 inner blocks, the grand-daddy of them all – Gremlins.

What is a Gremlin?

A Gremlin can best be understood as the inner critic in each of us. You know that little guy standing on your shoulder, whispering in your ear, telling you not to try, never to take a risk, always to take the safe road, and to compromise your life by playing small? That’s your Gremlin, and its message is that you’re just not good enough to reach the summit of success. By playing to your innermost fears, the Gremlin is the most personal of all the inner blocks and as such is the most difficult to overcome.

Source of the Gremlin’s Power

One of the most powerful tools the Gremlin possesses is its persistence. Notwithstanding all your previous experiences and successes, the Gremlin continues to cajole you into a sense of defeat by constantly repeating its mantra: “Don’t get your hopes up, you’re not good enough to achieve that goal.”Your Gremlin is rooted deeply inside you and carries the most intense emotional charge of any of the blocks we’ve explored. Your Gremlin knows your deepest fears and thrives on them. In fact your Gremlin is those fears. When you hear its whispers, your motivation to try withers. You dread failing, feeling pain, and being embarrassed. At times you may even fear success if you believe your Gremlin’s line that you will eventually fail. Your Gremlin knows all this and preys on this weakness.

Typical Gremlin Statements

Do you hear any of these statements from your own inner critic?

  • I’m not persuasive enough to be an effective negotiator.
  • I’m not assertive enough to be a strong litigator.
  • I’m not smart enough to land and keep this job.
  • I don’t have enough experience and knowledge to successfully open and develop my own legal practice.
  • I don’t deserve great success.
  • They are going to find out I’m a phony.

Taming your Gremlin

Being aware of your Gremlin is the first step towards diminishing its power over you. Once you realize that your Gremlin exists, give it an identity and, for example, name it — you can make it even more real by drawing it, sculpting it, or seeing it in your mind — whatever works for you. The more real you make your Gremlin, the more it becomes clearly defined in your mind and the less powerful it will be. By doing so, you will discover that your Gremlin is only a part of who you are, not your whole identity. See your Gremlin in objective terms, and you sap some of its strength. Once you’ve rendered your Gremlin weaker and loosened its hold on you, you can more easily stand up to it, thank it for its concern, tell it you’ve got the situation under control, and then tell your Gremlin to take the day off.Taming your Gremlin is not a one shot deal, and works best when undertaken on a daily basis. Over time you will learn to control your Gremlin the moment it begins to formulate its thoughts. Doing so you will train yourself to overcome your Gremlin’s negative, limiting impact on your achieving your fullest measure of success.

My challenge to you this month

Increase your awareness of the power your Gremlin exerts over your life. Notice when and how it springs into action and entraps you in its confidence sapping web. What are its triggers? Consider how much more fulfilling and successful your career and life would be once you learn to control your Gremlin. Reclaim your successes and craft the life you choose by overcoming your Gremlin and all the other inner blocks.Have a great month.— AdamP.S. Feel free to contact me and let me know how you’ve managed with the monthly challenges, or any other thoughts stemming from the ideas presented in these newsletters. Of course, all communications will be kept confidential.

Consider the possibilities.

Adam J. Krim

About Adam J. Krim

Adam works as a Certified Professional Coach, delivering soft skills training seminars on a variety of topics, including Time Management, Harnessing Stress, Decision Making, Problem Solving and more.
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