How I Tamed My “Never Enough” Gremlin

Standing on my shoulder, whispering in my ear “you’re not ready for that” my ugly little “never enough” gremlin is trying to protect me from some perceived possibility of failure.  Stretching outside of my comfort zone to do work at my growth edges is tough enough and here’s this little creep on my shoulder telling me lies.

Call them gremlins or saboteurs or voices in your head, we all have them and they will make us miserable if we let them.  The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) refers to them as saboteurs and describes it as “a concept that embodies a group of thought processes and feelings that maintains the status quo in our lives.”  This is a mental structure seemingly meant to protect us that holds us back and keeps us from getting what we truly want in life.

Rick Carson, author of Taming Your Gremlin, A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way, describes gremlin taming as “a method for meeting the inner challenge that is inherent in every activity from climbing Mount Everest to getting a good night’s sleep.”

What is your gremlin telling you?  Could it be “you are not ready to lead such a big challenge, you need more experience?”  Or maybe “your opinion is not valued or worthy?”  I discovered my “never enough” gremlin with the help of a CTI trained coach.  In the process of debriefing the results of my Leadership Circle 360 profile, I could see how I consistently underrate my leadership capability compared to the other evaluators who give me high scores.  There it was! I was telling myself that I’m not good enough. 

So, what am I afraid of?  Failure of course.  Even though I have a solid track record of leading in challenging situations, I still hold on to this fear of failure.  That is hard to accept.  Identifying and accepting my “never enough” gremlin as real is the first step to taming it.  Step two is understanding that this gremlin will always be with me, that it is neither good or bad; it just is.  Step three is when the gremlin loses its power over us because now we have options.  When this gremlin appears now, I am able to notice my options in the situation, consciously choose what I really want and sweep him off my shoulder with a motion only I am aware of.   

Please contact me if you are ready to get out of your own way and face your gremlins.

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