Give Your Gremlin a New Job Description

I spent the weekend in Atlanta going through some intensive coach training. One of the things I love about these trainings is the personal awareness and growth that I experience. Knowing that, however, inevitably my Gremlin—that inner critic we all have that tells us we’re not good enough—shows up in all its glory.

The purpose of our Gremlin is to keep us playing small as a way to protect us. Often we can actually remember the incident that created the Gremlin. It may have been a time when we experienced great embarrassment, or some other fear or pain. Your subconscious created the Gremlin to keep something like that from ever happening again.

For me, a big part of my Gremlin was created in the second-grade when the teacher wouldn’t give me permission to go to the bathroom and I peed my pants. I later got called up to the front of the room and all the kids laughed at me.

It makes sense that my Gremlin would try to protect me from having that kind of thing happen again. It explains some of the extreme nerves that I have about speaking in public, and why my face and neck can flush bright red when the eyes of an audience look my way.

As we grow and develop, we become capable of handling a similar situation, but if we don’t take our power back from the Gremlin, we may never give ourselves the opportunity. We may never stretch to become the best version of ourselves out of fear of experiencing the worst, and if we do stretch, the pain created by the Gremlin can often make us quit before we reach our goal.

In other words, we can expect to encounter our Gremlin when we are about to step into being Who we are truly meant to be.

When we acknowledge our Gremlin’s presence and understand the reason it was created, we can begin to understand why it’s showing up today. Once we have a solid understanding of the Gremlin—and can truly begin to appreciate that its purpose has been to protect us—we can consciously begin shifting the negative catabolic thoughts and energy that it generates towards positive anabolic thoughts and energy that supports us in meeting our goals.

To do that, give your Gremlin a new job description. Let it know that you can now handle the situation and tell it how it can support you in meeting your goals, rather than holding you back. And then harness that energy to move forward.

To quote Henry Browne, “When you know that you’re capable of dealing with whatever comes, you have the only security the world has to offer.”

By taking your energy back from your Gremlin, you are letting your inner light shine. Letting your light shine at its brightest is a beacon for others to follow, and is Who you are meant to be.

Together we can do it!

Photo by Apple\’s Eyes Studio /

12 thoughts on “Give Your Gremlin a New Job Description

  1. Excellent Hanna….So true. I have a gremlin who I try to keep on a short leash and it seems to get shorter over time. I’ll go sit down with it later and find out when and where it was born. Thanks:)

  2. Everything you’ve written is so true, especially this part: ‘we can expect to encounter our Gremlin when we are about to step into being Who we are truly meant to be.’ The devil always shows up when we’re just getting ready to flourish. Happened to me in my life a few years ago and it’s happening to someone else I know right now, too. Gremlin, devil, whatever we call it…this is so very true and so very tragic when we can’t (or won’t) overcome the negative thoughts. I really like your positive message in this blog post and I hope a lot of people read it and take your advice to heart. Don’t let fear win, folks! You’re made for more than what your fears tell you that you are 🙂

  3. I too love the term Gremlin. I get what your saying but everytime I convince myself it’s no big deal to speak in public, my hands start sweating. I’ll keep at this Gremlin. As always, I loved the post.

  4. Fabulous post, Hanna.. I am sure you have read Rick Carson’s acclaimed classic, ” Taming your Gremlin”. I particularly like the part about the Catabolic and Anabolic thoughts.

    At the beginning of my blogging, I had written a small post on ” Underlying beliefs”. It all boils down to our commitment and the passion behind that. Where the energy is, we will find ourselves.

    ” Failure to commit is the high cost of low living”

    Cheers and God bless.


  5. Pingback: Liebster Award vs. the Gremlin « randomreasoning

  6. Pingback: Blow the Whistle on Negative Self-Talk | Goss Coaching

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