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Gremlins – the Fourth of the “Big Four” Blocks to Success

“To grow, you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny.”Alan Cohen

This week, we’ll discuss the last of the Big 4 energy blocks. If you’re not achieving what you want to, it’s most likely one of these four that’s keeping you stuck. In the past few weeks, we looked at:

  • limiting beliefs – things you accept about life, about yourself, about your world, or about the people in it, that limit you in some way;
  • assumptions – expectations that, because something has happened in the past, it will happen again; and
  • interpretations – opinions and judgments that you create about an event, situation, person, or experience and believe to be true.

Now let’s examine the last, but certainly not the least, of the big four energy blocks. The gremlin is the most difficult to overcome, because it’s the most personal and holds the most energy.

Another name for the gremlin is the inner critic, or the judge. It is within every one of us. You know that little voice in your head? That voice that tells 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 the foundational message from your gremlin’s warnings is that you’re just not good enough to reach the summit of success.

Regardless of any evidence to the contrary, the gremlin’s annoying voice continues to whisper: “It ain’t gonna happen.” This debilitating message bubbles up in many forms: “I’m not smart enough, experienced enough, and attractive enough.” It all comes back to a simple and quite vicious block: “I’m just not good enough to cut it.”

Your gremlin is highly personal. It is rooted deeply inside you and carries the most intense emotional charge of any of the blocks we’ve explored. Your gremlin thrives on fear. When you hear its whispers, your motivation to try just withers. You dread failing, feeling pain, and being embarrassed. You can even be scared of succeeding if the gremlin convinces you that you’ll fail eventually.

So what are some typical gremlin statements? Have you ever heard any of these statements from your own inner critic?

  •      I’m not effective.
  •      Who am I kidding, here?
  •      I’m not smart enough to really do this job right.
  •      I don’t have enough experience.
  •      I don’t deserve great success.
  •      They are going to find out I am a phony.

Lessening the Gremlin’s Power.

Being aware of your gremlin is the first step towards lessening its power. Once you realize your gremlin exists, give it an identity. Name it (but don’t give it the name of anyone you know! That just gets confusing). And then, if you’d like, make it even more real by drawing it, sculpting it, or seeing it in your mind – whatever works for you. In doing this, you discover that the gremlin is not you. Then you can separate its voice from your champion, sage, genius voice. By seeing the gremlin in objective terms, you sap some of its strength. Gremlin work can be quite involved and is most effective when you are guided by a certified coach.

The Big 4 hold you back from living the life you desire and prevent you from making conscious choices. The Energy Leadership process will allow you to examine the energy blocks in your own life that are holding you back from reaching your unlimited potential.

This week, just notice when you hear that gremlin voice and tell yourself, “Oh, that’s just my gremlin saying that.” Then you can decide whether it’s true or not. That’s when you can truly break through your own glass ceiling (your gremlins) and achieve extraordinary results!

If you’d like more of an explanation of Energy Leadership coaching, read Bruce D. Schneider’s bestselling book, Energy Leadership, and call us at APEX Leadership Coaching (682.200.1412 or Info@ApexLeadershipCoaching.com).

“Self-pity is our worst enemy, and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in the world.” ~ Helen Keller