Taming Your Gremlin

Awareness is a powerful weapon against the inner critic.  

I hope that since my previous post you have had an opportunity to observe the critic, to become aware of when it’s speaking to you and what sorts of situations trigger it.

Did you observe how gremlin thoughts start to lose power the minute you shine your awareness on them?  Awareness by itself is actually all you need to overcome some of the smallest gremlins.  They scatter like cockroaches when the light of awareness touches them.  However, for some gremlins that have been around a very long time with messages we have taken on as beliefs, we need awareness first along with some other tools to help free us from the stranglehold they place on our energy.

Get to know your personal gremlin.

Visualizing or creating a physical representation of the inner critic is a great tool to use to understand that the gremlin is separate from us, and that the messages of the gremlin are NOT our inner voice, but actually come from outside of ourselves. 

I first visualized my gremlins as cockroaches because I enjoy thinking about them scattering when I shine my light of awareness on them.  When I took a class aimed at overcoming the programming of the inner critic, we were assigned the task of creating a physical representation of the gremlin.  My first idea was to photoshop the face of a person yelling at me onto a cockroach. 

The idea made me smile, but I really wanted something I could punch if I wanted to, so I bought a puppet from Paisley’s Puppets in Oakland, and gave her a hat to wear.

This is my own personal gremlin, Kalista Kockroach Krabapple III.

I keep Kalista where I can see her daily to remind me that I am not the voices in my head. 

Create your own gremlin if the idea resonates for you!  I know for some clients, the idea of thinking about the inner critic as a “gremlin” does NOT resonate.  If that’s the case for you, that’s cool.  Try calling it inner critic or ego, or Ralph, or cluttered mind, or anything that helps you think of it as “not you” because those messages are NOT you, and we want to begin to set it apart from the self.

Physical Signals

Once I realized that these messages were not my own, it dawned on me that the reason I felt so shitty when thinking inner critic thoughts is because they are NOT true.  When things resonate, they feel good physically and lift our energy!  Truth resonates. 

Resonate means ‘to produce resonance.’  Resonance is defined as ‘the quality of being deep, full, and reverberating,’ or ‘the ability to evoke or suggest images, memories, and emotions.’  Truth does this. Capital T.

A thought that is not true, on the other hand, does the opposite of resonate.  It makes us physically recoil.  That little knot in the pit of your gut, or under your solar plexus is your physical being recoiling from something that your core essence KNOWS is not true.  This physical recoil takes place for the same reason our hand would recoil from a flame: to avoid pain.  That physical signal is a communication from the Highest Self to avoid that thought that feels so icky.

Let that soak in.  The physical sensation you get when you think a thought that feels crappy is a signal to BACK THE FUCK AWAY from that thought.  “That thought will cause you pain.”  “Don’t go there.”  That’s your gut instinct screaming to get your attention.

How does this resonate for you?  Don’t take my word for this stuff, check in with your gut.  When you read the information above, did it resonate?  Make you recoil?

Tell your gremlin to fuck off!

Once I learned that the inner critic was NOT me, and I learned to identify that physical sensation that told me the gremlin was lying to me again, I wanted those cockroaches OUT of my head!  When I would hear the nasty little bastards starting in, I visualized myself flicking them away like the tiny vermin they are.

Once when I turned to a friend with an issue I thought was a struggle, she gave me some really solid advice.  Her email contained wisdom, reassurance, validation, and these beautiful seven words:

Flicking them away and telling them to fuck off allowed me to reclaim my own power.  For me, as well as many other people, this is a vitally important step.  When I was in coaching school, we talked a LOT about the inner critic because gremlin messages are one of the biggest issues people bring to coaching. 

That’s where I learned that telling the inner critic to fuck off is a great first step, but is not usually enough to exterminate the cockroaches.  For that, we need to understand the message and it’s original purpose, because their purpose was never to get us to live small and stay scared.  That was the outcome of their message once it outlived it’s usefulness.

Understand it’s true purpose.

The true purpose of the cluttered thoughts, gremlin messages, inner critic voice is sometimes to protect us from perceived harm.  

For instance: If your father backhanded you so hard you flew across the room when you voiced an opinion that didn’t agree with his, you may have developed a message that said, “Never speak your truth – it causes pain,” or, “Never disagree with those in authority,” or, “Your ideas are NOT valid,” or, “No one wants to hear your thoughts,” or any number of other ideas that may have kept you safe in that particular situation, but are now standing in the way of you experiencing your life to the fullest.

Some messages are meant to control us.  For instance: Maybe an ex-spouse told you repeatedly that you are unloveable, and followed that up with actions that seemed to prove the point.  That message actually says far more about the ex than about you, but if self-esteem is low enough, or if you have been practicing thoughts about being unworthy, you may buy this message wholesale.  Then when the marriage ends, the gremlins tell us that no one will ever love us.  And it’s possible, that the gremlins are trying to protect us again!  They are trying to keep us out of situations that might hurt.

If any of this resonates for you, you are NOT alone!  

Are you getting a slight knot in your solar plexus, or a slight feeling of nausea?  Remember, that feeling of physical recoil means those thoughts are NOT true!

The important thing here is to understand that these messages came from outside of self.  They were intended to keep you safe, or were the agenda of outside forces.  WHERE they came from is NOT important!  You may immediately recognize where some of your inner critic messages come from, but please don’t waste time trying to figure out where or when or why your messages came to you.

Simply recognize that where you are now, those messages no longer serve a purpose, so it’s safe to start leaving them behind and embrace Truth of your awesomeness.  The faster you do, the better you feel!

Train the inner critic for a NEW job!

So, you have this really powerful voice inside your head that you’ve been listening to for a while now, and it seems like the voice is trying to help you on some level, even though it’s messages are constantly draining your energy.  How do we stop the ebb of energy into negative thought patterns and redirect it into building new, more positive thought pathways?

You’re probably getting good at being aware of your personal inner critic messages by now.  Maybe you’ve even visualized your gremlin and know it’s name.  So now it’s time to begin retraining the gremlin.  It wants to help, so let’s give it something helpful to do!

Retrain that inner critic to repeat messages that build your energy and give you motivation. 

When I first went to coaching school, my gremlin ROARED that everyone in class was more educated than me, better coaches than me, and that I had nothing to offer.  “Keep quiet so they won’t know how much you DON’T know!”

Like I said, we did a LOT of coaching on gremlins at iPEC, and I discovered that almost everyone in class had gremlins as loud and as mean as mine were!  All of us had some version of the same message: “You are not enough.”  It was a revelation to understand that I was not alone.  We are all exactly the same in our own unique ways!

So I began to picture Kalista in a little cheerleading uniform.  I mentally had her turn her dunce cap into a bull horn, and every time one of the old thoughts popped in to say, “you are not smart enough,” I pictured Kalista shouting it down with rallying cries of, “Cyndi is a ROCKSTAR coach and an awesome person with valuable insights to offer the other coaches in this class!”  Complete with pompoms.

Grow on!

How would you like to reimagine your inner critic? 
What messages would you enjoy hearing? 
What messages are inspiring for you ? 
What messages will motivate you to move closer to your goal? 
What will change in your life once you change the voices in your head? 
What inner critic message seems LOUDEST in your head? 
How would you like to re-write that one? 

What questions do you still have about taming that inner critic? 
Ask your questions in the comments below this post!


Read Rick Carson’s Book!

If you want to learn more about taming gremlins, follow this link to order Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson. It’s the preeminent work on gremlin taming and a very useful book full of inspired illustrations.  He also has a Facebook page you can access here.


For over 400 positive affirmations and uplifting reminders on my landscape photography, follow this link.

Self-Acceptance is Key

Why the FUCK does our culture teach women to loathe themselves?

Pardon my sailor mouth, but shining the light on our own Divine worthiness is one of the main reasons I became a coach and I am quite passionate that every woman learn her own intrinsic value!

If we loathe ourselves, it’s easier for the patriarchy to control us. Who will stand up and say, “We deserve better treatment,” when we believe we deserve nothing? When we believe we are unworthy, or less worthy than those around us, we are easy to control, and push around.

When people realize their value, we are more likely to stand up for ourselves, demand equal pay, point out unfair treatment, and refuse to tolerate discrimination.

I wish I had a dime for every friend and client who chooses self-loathing over self-love, or caring for others over self-care!

Nine times out of ten the thing keeping my client from reaching their goals is a lack of self-acceptance and self-care. I see it every day and I strive, to help other women realize that they deserve as much love and care as they give to everyone else! Self-love is what saved me from depression and inaction. Self-acceptance came only after I offered myself the love I was giving everyone else, and remembered my own essential value.

Those we love are no more valuable or more worthy than self.

The person you adore and will do ANYTHING for, no matter what, is ONLY as deserving of love and abundance as you are.

The person you adore and will do ANYTHING for, no matter what, COULD BE YOU, if you allow it to be.

What in your world will shift when you shift your thinking around
self-worth?

What will you be capable of when you accept how capable you are?

How will others see you if you choose to see yourself as a valuable human who deserves love, praise, abundance, health, wealth, support, and acceptance from yourself and the world at large?

What part of you is talking when you think that you don’t deserve all that and more?

Why do you feel so disconnected when you label yourself unworthy or less worthy than others?

Normally as a coach, I don’t answer the questions I pose, but I will answer that last one.

The human spirit is literally a piece of Divine grace instilled into us on our very first breath; a piece of God, if you will. Through this grace, we are eternally connected to Source, or God energy. This connection is where our power comes from – Source energy (the very same energy that created the Universe and stars)!

When we think thoughts that Source knows are not true, we feel disconnected or separated from that power. (We are never truly disconnected but it feels like we’re being pulled apart.) Pulling ourselves away from the viewpoint, or vibration of Source is what feels so WRONG, depresses our energy, and decreases our power. In fact, consistently choosing thoughts that do not align with Source makes us feel powerless.

Aligning ourselves with the viewpoint of Source allows us to feel powerful, connected, tuned-in, tapped-in, turned-on, and unstoppable!

From the viewpoint of Source, you are God. You are an infinite being without limitations, worthy of all the abundant health, wealth and love that is available in the Universe! You are Divine, and perfect in your imperfection. You are not broken. you do not need fixing. There is nothing wrong with you or where you are!
— If you are thinking “of COURSE there is something wrong with me,” – How does that thought feel? Does it twist your tummy into a knot? That’s a sure sign that you are thinking thoughts that Source knows are NOT true, so the thought literally pulls your energy apart.

All we need to do to feel love and acceptance is love and accept ourselves!

photo by Dani Navarro

Give yourself some grace!

Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself!
Take a minute or ten every day to try on some self love!

Be gracious and allow yourself to believe that you are as worthy as your children, your partner, your boss, your mentor. Practice affirming out loud how worthy and deserving you are. If you are afraid others will judge you for loving yourself, practice out of their view, when you are home alone with your dog. (Dog loves as unconditionally as God!)

Do something special for yourself. Buy yourself a present you wish someone else would buy for you! Plan a mini vacation to recharge your own batteries. What is something you used to be passionate about but you no longer “have the time to do”? Do that! Schedule some time to do things you love to do! Create art. Take a music class, a cooking class, a nutrition class, or a dance class! Whatever inspires you or lifts your energy. Do THAT for no reason other than it inspires you and lifts your energy!

How does that feel?

It might feel uncomfortable at first as most new behaviors will, but under that, how do you feel? Valued? Honored? Accepted? Connected? Worthy?

Practice your worth. Value yourself. Allow yourself to FEEL those feelings of love and worthiness. If it doesn’t feel natural, remind yourself that this is new, and will take some time to get used to.

Here are some more thoughts to move your vibration toward self-love, self-care, and radical self-acceptance.

Make your own sunshine!

Download the images with sayings that resonate and practice saying them aloud. Make them part of your vibration and part of the practice that brings you into alignment with the Universal Truth that you are valuable and worthy, simply by being.

You are fucking awesome!

Don’t Beat Yourself Up!

It’s a familiar story to most of us.  We set a goal. We make a plan to reach the goal.  Something happens that gets in our way of reaching the goal.  We realize we did not achieve what we set out to do.  We beat the crap out of ourselves for our utter, degrading failure.

Sometimes we get carried away and beat ourselves up over not just the current “failure,” but every failure we have failed up until this very disappointing failure of a moment.

Stop it!

You have not failed.  Not once.  Not at anything!  You have gathered evidence.  You have learned lessons.  You have not failed.

You have discovered a path that does not lead where you thought you wanted to go.  What do you see?  What can you learn?  Is there a new road sign now that you could not see before?  Your journey will always bring you right where you need to be to learn the lessons your Soul came to learn.

All we do when we beat up on ourselves for anything is drain our own, precious energy.

I used to do a REALLY good job of beating myself up over not sticking to my eating plan.  Over the years I have adopted many different eating plans, for different reasons (MOSTLY because I was unhappy with the way I looked), that I have stuck to with varying degrees of success.  One misstep was an excuse to fall off a plan I didn’t want to stick with anyway, and beat myself up for the wretched, miserable failure that I obviously was.  

But why stop there?  I was super good at reminding myself of all the other times I had failed miserably, compounding that “I suck” vibe, and really making it my own!

But I was missing the point, and the opportunity. 

Instead of identifying MYSELF as failed, I had the opportunity to stop and observe.  What’s really going on?  Why did I fail to achieve success?  

The old broken record would have me believe I was a failure.  But when I finally had to reject that thought because it felt so NASTY inside me when I thought it (it literally made me feel physically ill), then I began to see that I ‘failed’ at something only when I didn’t really want to achieve it anyway.

I thought I wanted to lose weight so that people would find me attractive.  Our culture promotes physical beauty as something to be valued above most other attributes, so that’s what I wanted; to be accepted by cultural standards.  But since physical attractiveness is not something that I value personally, it was NEVER going to be enough to motivate me to stop eating foods that I love!

I had not failed.  I had attempted a goal I didn’t care about, so I didn’t care if I actually reached it or not.

It’s a vicious cycle.  Attempt a goal to please others.  Fail to reach goal because it’s not YOUR goal and won’t motivate you. Beat yourself up, depleting your energy.  Try again.  Fail to reach a goal that’s not yours.  Beat yourself up, depleting your energy.  Try again.  Fail to reach a goal that’s not yours.  Beat yourself up, depleting your energy.  

Do this long enough and some people don’t have the energy to get up and try again. To break the cycle – first of all, stop beating yourself up!

Think of your self as an airplane.  

As Brian Tracy tells us in his book entitled Flight Plan – The Real Secret of Success, “Life is like an airplane journey. From the time you take off, you will be off course 99% of the time. All airplanes are off course 99% of the time. The purpose and role of the pilot and the avionics is to continually bring the plane back on course so that it arrives on schedule at its destination.”

So, why beat yourself up if being off course is 99% of life?

Set your goals and keep moving toward them.  When you get off course (and you WILL!) just gently course correct and keep moving forward.  This is the most efficient way, the way that saves our energy, and gets us where we want to be faster.

Stopping to beat yourself up is exhausting.  It wastes energy and time and makes us feel crappy. So STOP it.

Admire yourself for simply recognizing your drift! 

Then you get to choose
1) stay with the drift back toward old behaviors, or 
2) course correct back to where you are consciously wanting to go.

When I get of course now, I look for what it was that tripped me up.  I look for the emotion that I was feeling – and usually not wanting to feel – that sent me after ice cream or pizza.   I don’t clobber myself for tripping.  If it was an emotion that tripped me, I tag it as a trigger.  Then I MIGHT see it coming next time, and not trip.  Or it may trip me again.  Then I recognize it, tag it, and choose to correct my course again. It’s a process.

Maybe I recognize that the goal isn’t really something I want, but something I thought I wanted because others wanted it for me, or I thought I was supposed to want it.  In that case I can shift goals, or simply shift the reasons for my goal.

Using my earlier example: I thought I wanted to lose weight so that people would find me attractive, or so I would be attractive by cultural standards.  Actually, I wanted to reduce my weight for a lot of great reasons relating to my health, well-being, and energy levels.  When I was able to shift my focus to those things, the excess weight fell away so fast it made everyone’s heads spin, and scary health issues simply vanished.

No judgement for getting off track.

I am human, so it happens.  Daily.

Instead of wasting time in judgement and blame, I get curious and look for what tripped me up.  Then I know what course corrections I can choose if I want to.

Instead of getting out a big club and draining my own energy into exhausted depression,  I trust the process, and I get better and better at moving toward my goals.  Daily.

Celebrate!

One of the things I preach to my clients is to CELEBRATE every small step on the path toward their goal.  Those steps add up to a journey of transformation, and deserve to be thought about as the BIG deal they are!  

If you’re trying to reduce your weight, and managed to pass up the candy aisle that was your usual haunt at the grocery store?  GO you!  That is an incredible accomplishment!  Celebrate it!  

If you want to increase your physical activity, and you parked farther from the door than usual so you’d get more steps – That’s AWESOME!  Other people TALK about wanting to make changes, but there you are taking action to make it happen!  Celebrate moving in the direction of your goals!!  Woo hoo!!

Celebrations can be anything as big or small as you desire.  Whatever is fun for you that you do to intentionally celebrate moving forward and honor your amazing accomplishment.

Treat yourself to a soothing bath, a pedicure, or an extra 5 minutes in bed in the morning.  Take yourself out to the movies.  Go for a walk!  Whatever feels like a treat to you to honor the accomplishment is perfect.  One of my fave celebrations is to put on some music I love, turn it up loud, and dance wildly for 3-5 minutes!  It’s an exuberant,
joy-filled celebration that imprints into the cells of my body, and also honors my intentions to move more, and add more joy to my life.

actual photo of my exuberance captured by Jeremy

Why celebrate?

One reason it’s important to celebrate our successful steps, no matter how small, is because they are literally the foundation that supports the transformation we desire.  They are what we build on to create the health, wealth, relationships, or career we want.  Another reason is because when people do not make a habit of celebrating small successes, they might forget to celebrate the big ones.

The most important reason to celebrate your successes along the path to your goal is to say to the universal Law of Attraction, “Yes please!  Bring me more of this!”  Energy attracts like energy.  

All that having been said, I am taking my own advice.

I have some BIG news and I want to celebrate!

Today I received an email from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching.  I am thrilled, overjoyed, and delighted to announce that I am now an iPEC Certified Professional Coach!

I have successfully completed 90 hours of classroom training,
over 50 hours of peer coaching, and more than 150 hours of required classes, seminars, assignments and electives.  I have earned my
ELI-MP certificate, and my CPC certificate from one of the top coaching schools in the world, the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching.

I opened my coaching practice in November and got my first paying client in December.  Seven months later I have seven clients, every one of whom found enough value in their first round of coaching sessions to invest in more coaching sessions.  That validation is a celebration in and of itself!  My clients inspire me daily to do everything I can to continue growing as a coach, and as a human being.

Now I have completed my training and am fully certified! 

If I’m going to be honest here, part of me didn’t believe I could do it at first.  It seemed like SUCH a big goal.  But the most amazing journey unfolded when I simply focused on what I wanted, instead of what might hold me back.  The entire Universe stepped in to dance with me and open doors.

It is my passion, and my life’s purpose to help others discover the infinite possibilities within themselves, and to empower them to achieve whatever they desire.

Yes, there is more I want to accomplish, but I won’t focus on what’s next until I take the time to really savor this incredibly amazing achievement!  I went for it!  And I accomplished it despite my
self-doubts, and a pretty good dose of fear from those gremlin voices telling me that everyone in my coaching class was smarter and more capable than I was.

Now those voices work for ME, and tell me that I am a natural coach, doing a great job, and that my clients appreciate me, and value what I offer.

Go me.  Seriously.  I feel like a rockstar!

I feel amazing, successful, empowered, and unstoppable! That is the gift of coaching.

I plan to celebrate this major goal and life transformation in a really BIG way, by relaxing and enjoying eight FREE nights in Hawaii next month!  

Like seriously, GO me!  Woot!