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How We Sabotage Ourselves

Lissa Rankin's picture


I'm SO freakin' excited. As many of you know I’ve been invited to rock the stage with Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Cheryl Richardson, Doreen Virtue and other teacher/authors who have inspired me at two Hay House conferences (one in San Jose this coming weekend and one in NYC in Fall 2012).

The minute I found out, I lapsed into a sort of happy shock, in which I couldn’t feel my feet, so I decided it was time to meditate to get back in my body and integrate the news. The lashing that ensued between my Inner Pilot Light and my Gremlin was a throw down so epic I had to share it with you because I suspect it might sound familiar to you. The conversation went something like this.

The Throw Down

Inner Pilot Light: Congratulations Lissa! You’ve worked so hard for this and it’s about time everybody is figuring it out.

Gremlin: Oh, you fraud. Wow, you’ve really pulled the wool over their eyes on this one, haven’t you? But they’re gonna find out the minute you open your mouth that you can’t hold a candle to those people. You might as well just back out with your tail between your legs before you make a big fool of yourself.

Inner Pilot Light: Who’re you calling a candle there, bucko? I’m a bonfire, baby, and I’m raging, so back off buster and go hide in your hole.

Gremlin: You’re probably gonna freeze the minute they give you the mike. There you’ll be in front of 3,000 people who paid good money and you’ll forget everything you wanted to say. Not that you have anything original to say anyway. I mean, it’s all been said before anyway and you’re just mouthing off about shit nobody cares about anyway, so why don’t you just shut your pie hole and get over yourself?

Inner Pilot Light: Wow, someone must not have gotten enough love when you were a little baby Gremlin. Come here, hon. Let me snuggle you. There, there, nice Gremlin.

Gremlin: Back off, bitch and quit spouting off worthless platitudes that are only glib attempts to make Lissa feel better about her crappy self.

Inner Pilot Light: That’s it. You’re impossible. I’m not speaking to you anymore. Lissa is the shit, and the message she’s teaching will change the world and heal so many people. This is what she was born to do. Like The Universe has been lining all this up so she could just skip along the path and serve as an agent of love, healing, and positive change. Like people need what she’s doing like they need blood, like they need oxygen.

Gremlin: Oh zip it, won’t you already? Get off your freakin’ high horse and quit being such a narcissist! Here’s how it goes. Nobody really cares about you, Lissa. You’re not worthy.  This was all some big mistake and they’ll realize they screwed up soon enough. You’re just one big failure and you’ll never amount to anything, no matter what conference you get invited to speak at.

I Couldn’t Take It

The voices in my head got so loud that I started shaking and had to open my eyes. I needed to move. I needed to hike or do yoga. But I wanted to get back to my meditation so I could tell my Gremlin to go to hell, so I put on Lady Gaga song and took a little dance break, then I closed my eyes in front of my altar and decided to join in on the conversation.

The Threeway

Lissa: Gremlin, to quote you, “Shut your pie hole.” I know you’re just this evil figment of my reptilian brain and you’re not real. Nothing you’re saying is true. You think you’re protecting me but all you’re doing is getting in my way and making me feel like crap. So go away. My Inner Pilot Light and I are on it. We don’t need your slimy little self anymore. Oh, and here are some peanuts (shoves fistful into the Gremlin’s mouth.)

Gremlin: Hrrumph mmmth rargh.

Inner Pilot Light: You tell ‘em, Lissa! (Pulls out pom poms) Kick that Gremlin to the curb, baby. Or maybe he needs a hug. But you’ve got me, love. I’ve got your back. You’re so on this. Let me take over and you know you nailed the TEDx talk. Let me shine and you’ll beam from that Hay House stage like you were born to be there.

Lissa: (hugging the Gremlin, who is spitting out peanuts) Gremlin, I know it’s your job to protect me and that you’re just trying to keep me safe. But here’s the thing. I am safe. Life is full of risk, but I’m not afraid. And you only make it harder for me to get out of my comfort zone, where I must go in order to do what I must do. (Patting the Gremlin on the head) So chill out dude, and don’t take it personally when I put this muzzle on you (muzzles the Gremlin, forcing it over the peanuts).

Gremlin: (whimpers)

Lissa: Here’s the thing Gremlin. We’re not talking about death or dismemberment here. What’s the worst thing that can happen? I get up on stage, forget my speech, wing it, do a little tap dance, and look kind of foolish. Or let’s go even worse. Let’s say they shine the spotlight and I completely freeze until some hook drags me off the stage.

So what? Nobody dies. There’s no torture involved.

And what’s the likelihood of that happening? Remember how I ROCKED that stage at the keynote at the BlogHer conference in front of 2,500 people? Remember how they gave you that standing ovation at Sonoma State University?  I know how to do this. And it’ll be fine.

So shut the f*ck up, Gremlin! This risk is worth taking and the upside is HUGE. I’m SO grateful to have been asked and you’re a fool for thinking I should do anything but bow and accept the invitation graciously.

Inner Pilot Light: Let’s rock this, baby!

Lissa (sighing): Geronimo!!!

Banishing Fear For Better Health

I can’t tell you how often conversations like this pop up in my head. I used to think they were real, that the Gremlin was a true voice and not some figment of my lizard brain. And these evil voices would lead me to sabotage myself or fail to do something risky that might have led to greater joy, freedom, and happiness in my life.

Now, the voices are still there, but I can identify them, assess them, weigh risk, and muzzle them. Which is so much more effective than getting in my own way.

Managing your fears is key to living a wholly healthy life. Not only does fear sabotage you personally and professionally; it also raises dangerous stress hormone levels that weaken your immune system, raise your blood pressure and heart rate, increase your risk of cancer and heart disease, and negatively affect your brain biochemistry.  In other words, Gremlins are hazardous to your health!

Does Your Gremlin Get Naughty?

Does your Inner Pilot Light come to your rescue when the Gremlin starts spewing evil nothings? The more you fan the flames of your Inner Pilot Light, the more you’ll be able to dissociate from the voices of the Gremlin. To strengthen your Inner Pilot Light, sign up for daily reminders of how awesome you here.

Want to see me win out over the Gremlin at my Hay House Event? I Can Do It: Ignite - San Jose is March 17-18th. You can purchase tickets here. Can't make it to the live event? Check out the LIVE streaming option here

Tell us your stories. How do you deal with the Gremlin? How do you strengthen your Inner Pilot Light?

Feeling grateful for blessings and Inner Pilot Lights,


Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.comPink Medicine Woman coach, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.



Suzanne's picture

These Are Comfort Words

This is exactly what I have felt for years. I'm a fraud. I have nothing important to say. I am just full of wishful thinking and 'who do you think you are'...
I am so happy to hear this is not an uncommon thing. I mean in my work, I know it isn't but you never really think anyone's voice is as loud as yours, you know?
Please know how comforting this is for some of us to hear.
Thank You.

Kirsten 's picture

Do you really want to succeed?

Great piece which illustrates how we may have our hand on the destruct button all the time... I find in some cases this can become a habit. I work with people as a coach who say they want things to be different, but then realise that changing or indeed confronting Gremlins, takes a little effort (whereas wacking the destruct button may not be!).
Perhaps we are at a cross roads all the time. On one side "same old, same old" and on the other hand "personal success". More often than not I find people are afraid of success and not of failure. Just imagine things going right, everything coming together and you shining...it is possible if you can believe it!

Lois Kubota's picture

I think you're right

Just as I was reading your comment, the gremlin in me said "yes, but when you get successful it's a lot more work!" But then again, maybe I'm just lazy!

Anonymous's picture

We have to trust ourselves

Just the other day I was talking to a senior about her medicare plan and I gave her a figure and she said "wow, you really do know what you're talking about". Now that was really cool. I keep saying I'm a specialist when it comes to selling senior plans and I guess I really am.

It really takes a lot of study to be really good at something. I always double check myself and call resources because I always worry about giving out wrong information.

Maybe I should just breath before I doubt myself

Gena's picture

Gremlins happen to the best of us

I'll confess that being a post-bacc student has truly robbed me of my self-confidence and sense of self. It is so demoralizing -- thank god for my blog! In any case, thanks for a good kick in the pants to resist that gremlin.

Lisa Rothstein's picture

Thank God it's Not Just Me!

I do this all the time -- and I've been very clever about concealing the fact that I am a fraud: I acquired an Ivy-league degree, somehow managed to pull the wool over the eyes of everyone on Madison Avenue for years, even fooled a couple of competitions into giving me screenwriting awards and an agent to sign me.

How can so many people be so BLIND? :-)

Of course, when it comes to the inner gremlins, one of my coaches says to "Thank them", because they're just trying to protect you.

I say screw that... I believe that they are just the devil spawn of my critical mother come to make me feel 2 inches tall when she is unavailable.

Thanks for reminding another imposter that I am not alone!


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