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Stepping Into Transition
   July 2004  

in this issue

Identifying Your Gremlin

Strategies To Tame Your Gremlin

This Month's Anecdote And Recommended Reading

Published by Philip Okrend, Personal And Professional Coach

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   Dear Readers,

Welcome to Stepping Into Transition, the monthly newsletter designed to help you navigate your way through the challenges of change into an authentic and empowered life.

  • Identifying Your Gremlin
  •   As you progress towards making the change you want in your life, one of the challenges you may face is a self-sabotaging inner voice that brings up all the reasons why you shouldn't move forward. This inner voice also known as "The Gremlin" is something each of us possesses at one time or another. The Gremlin has a job and a good intent on the surface which is to keep you safe. But by trying to keep you safe, the Gremlin tries to convince you that all risk or change is bad and unacceptable. Thus the Gremlin can keep you from achieving your full potential by holding you back.

    In attempting to preserve the status quo, the Gremlin may give you an array of excuses for you not to go for what you really want. Perhaps the Gremlin will spew you with negative self talk such as your idea or plan is "stupid", "dangerous", hopeless", or "ill-advised." Or the Gremlin convinces you to adopt the following beliefs: asking for what you want is selfish, guilt has value, worry has value, to express uncensored joy is to be silly or unprofessional. You are probably residing in Gremlin territory when you start hearing yourself use the words "should," "must" or "can't" on a regular basis.

  • Strategies To Tame Your Gremlin
  •   Awareness is the first step in defeating the self sabotaging voice of the Gremlin. The following steps will help you become more aware of the Gremlin so you can begin to diminish its influence on you.

    1. Notice The Gremlin-Become aware of the negative self talk in your head so you can start to make choices. You can choose to ignore it, you can change its negative message to a positive one, you can personify your Gremlin by giving it a name such as Whining Wendy, Hurtful Hal, Obstinate Olly, etc. You can draw a picture of it, buy an ugly stuffed animal, etc. and keep it in a place so you can see it to remind yourself when the Gremlin is talking and not you. This last strategy can help you achieve a tangible separateness between yourself and the Gremlin.

    2. Record what your Gremlin is saying so you can refute it-When the voice of the Gremlin tries to convince you why you can't create change in your life, just let the voice come out, let it vent for 5 minutes and record what it is saying by writing it down or talking into a tape recorder. Once you can actually read or hear what the Gremlin is saying, you can come up with evidence to the contrary to refute it. The act of recording will make it clearer to you how untrue the Gremlin's message really is.

    3. Get very clear about what you really want in your life- What are your values and beliefs and are you actively honoring them in your life? The more clarity you have about your values, the less power the Gremlin will have over you. When you are clear on what is important to you, you are able to exercise greater choice and action around the things you really want to do as opposed to the "shoulds", "musts" and "oughts" that the Gremlin tries to convince and manipulate you with.

  • This Month's Anecdote And Recommended Reading

    A Native American elder once described his inner struggles which is also illustrative of our struggles with the Gremlin: "Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is unhappy, insecure and full of doubt. The other dog is joyful and confident. The unhappy dog fights the joyful dog all the time." When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied. "The one I feed the most."

    Recommended Reading

    Taming Your Gremlin by Richard Carson is short, easy to read and filled with fun illustrations. If you enjoyed this month's topic and want to learn more, this is an "essential" read.

    Look out for August's issue of "Stepping Into Transition" on "Creating Empowering Perspectives." Until then. . . Phil

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