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Know Your "Gremlin"

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 4, 2007

“Gremlin” is coaching-shorthand for inner-critic, self-doubt, negative, or undermining beliefs. Very few of us can say we don’t have them. While the themes are similar—fear, self-doubt, perfectionism, fraud, self-criticism, and so on—the specifics are different for everyone. Most of us are unaware of our gremlins, and that gives them plenty of latitude for mayhem. In fact, their negative influence depends on their stealth. With practice you can identify and neutralize your gremlins by bringing this self-talk into the light of your awareness. You can then sift out the positive intentions among the negative messages, and simply dismiss the more malicious ones. Try listening for the negative things you may be telling yourself during the week ahead and make a few notes about the specifics. With a little practice you will become more familiar with your gremlins, and you will learn to manage them. Doing so will not only serve you—it will also serve your employees and your business.

David Peck
Leadership Unleashed
San Francisco

Reader Comments


September 7, 2007 10:14 PM

Thanks for a very articulate description of a gremlin. I think it is important to look at ways the gremlin may be protecting us from harm. Perhaps those "voices" we are hearing are telling us not to take a risk in order to protect us from potential hurt, embarrassment, humiliation or financial loss. The gremlin may have served a purpose once when we were younger and less experienced. But it's good to ask whether we have grown stronger over time and have in fact outgrown the need for protection. Sometimes when we realize why that voice started, it is easier to let go, take action and trust that we can live with the consequences.

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