Are you ready to kick the Saturday Posse Party off right? Welcome community sweetheart Amy Kessel to the main stage. Week after week, Amy shows up with her warming presence and pearls of wisdom. I hope you love reading her work as much as I do. Enjoy! -- Megan Monique
As a life coach, I spend lots of time witnessing women as they get real with themselves. They pull aside the blinds and look closely at what has been holding them back, and with awareness and mercy they make changes that, over time, transform their lives. I learn from each of them.
Interesting, then, that I have such a hard time applying to my own life what I learn with my clients and what I know to be true. Especially when I have my businessperson hat on -- that's where I feel most insecure, and where my Gremlins have a field day with me. I'm working hard to grow my business and finding so many ways to sell myself short, compare myself to others, and stay small because it's safer there.
In my gut I know it’s time to make a Pleap (Pink leap of faith). I've been a good student, I'm putting in place all the important pieces, I'm amplifying my fledgling business sense by following my intuition and using my smarts. All that’s left now is that leap. So what am I waiting for? What’s going on inside my head? There’s a yelling match happening between my wise, grounded self and that annoying little Gremlin.
The Gremlin shows up when you want to try something new or do something brave. The Gremlin (name given by Rick Carlson in Taming Your Gremlin) is also known as The Inner Critic, The Saboteur, The Committee or The Judge. It’s sneaky, pushy and relentless. It’s the little voice that can stop you in your tracks, if you let it. We all have.
You may be familiar with the tirade -- it sounds something like this: “You’ve GOT to be kidding. You can’t do that!” or “Who would want to read that?” or "How will you pay the rent?" or “What about the children?” or “You’re so selfish!” or “You’re too dumb/inexperienced/shy!” or simply “You can’t”. The Gremlin voice is screechy and high-pitched. Your replies start out forceful and assured, then grow more and more faint. Against your better judgment, you allow the Gremlin’s accusations to erode your confidence, and you find yourself saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow…”
The good news is, the Gremlin only shows up when we’re about to challenge ourselves to do something big, something that comes from a deep place of “yes, I really want this”. So in a way, seeing it is almost like a guidepost on your journey to what you want most. It’s your gut, your intuition, that’s asking for reassurance at these times; sort of like a proving ground. You can see it as an opportunity to really take a stand for yourself and strengthen your intuition muscle. How? By staring down the Gremlin!
My coaching clients often ask for tools to help deal with self-doubt and inner critic activity. We set up a plan of action for what to do when the Gremlins show up in their lives.
1. Hear the voice and recognize it as a Gremlin. You may want to give your Gremlin(s) names, like The Pleaser or Mean Aunt Marge or SuperMom. You may even want to get a physical representation of the Gremlin; this way you can physically remove her from your world by putting her in another room. Or in a box with a lid.
Notice what characteristics Mean Aunt Marge has, what really sets her off. There probably WAS a mean Aunt in your life at one point, someone who helped you learn how to doubt yourself, so you’ve got a pretty good sense of who she is as a Gremlin. The important thing to remember here is that the voice is not yours, and the Gremlin is not you. Say hello to it. “Hello, SuperMom. I see you’re here again”. This reminds you that it’s separate from you, and it diminishes its power.
2. Acknowledge the Gremlin’s contribution. Your Gremlin often delivers messages that are not necessarily meant to be cruel – they’re simply outdated messages that at one time were meant to keep you safe. Maybe back then you weren’t ready to write that book or cross that street, and there was legitimacy in holding yourself back. But now you are ready and the voice is not welcome.
3. Discipline your Gremlin the way you would a child. Thank your Gremlin for her opinion, and tell her you won’t be needing her assistance on this one. Time for a Gremlin Time-Out. Since you have recognized and acknowledged her first, you aren’t simply pushing her away -- you’re dealing with her.
4. Recognize the mean nasty Gremlins, and be forceful with them. Sometimes our Gremlins are plain old harmful, and they need to be told to sit down and shut up. These voices are the unending, piercing ones that use loudness and repetition to catch our attention, because they have nothing else. These Gremlins are not the ones to whome we give Time-Outs; these Gremlins get sent to the back of the bus. They don’t serve a useful purpose. Use that Mom voice you keep for the really truly awful parenting challenges to expose and banish them.
5. Get quiet and listen to your deeper voice, the one that speaks your truth. With the Gremlin voice quieted, appreciate the wisdom and the commitment you welcome forth. Rest with the admission that you really want what you want, and that you can handle whatever it brings. Use that to help you plan your actions.
I'm taking my own advice, quieting the Gremlins as I own my brilliance as a coach AND an entrepreneur, and Pleaping. Yup, it's time. I'm scared, and insecure, and beneath all that Gremlin grumbling I'm calm and confident. Here I go!
What about you, Pinkies? What personality does your most familiar Gremlin have? What experiences have you had with the shouting match between the two voices? What will you do the next time your inner critic shows up to derail you from your intentions?
Taking the Pleap,
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