Gremlins Got You Trembling?

Gremlins Got You Trembling?

Have you have completed all of the exercises in "Are You Bumping Into Your Stuff" and you are still stuck?  Then perhaps some gremlins got you trembling!   Oftentimes when my clients experience stop-start patterns, show signs of sabotage or an inability to meet their goals, their Gremlin is usually the culprit.

What is a Gremlin?

A Gremlin is what I call those annoying voices we all hear when we endeavor to do something new. You know the ones, right?   They usually tell you how you are going to fail, you do not have what it takes, you will be hurt, no one will purchase from you, and blah-blah-blah.  They may appear to be sweet voices such as your cute little granny  telling you that nice girls think of others before they think of themselves. Or they may be quite harsh and horrible voices that declare loudly that you are a big loser (and it is not referring to weight loss). 

A Gremlin Test

I bet you are either thinking “Wow, Rachel is reading my mind,” or you may be more in the space of “What?  I do not have Gremlins!” If you are in that category, following is an exercise to show you what I mean:

On a piece of paper, write down your desired income goal for next year. Now double it. Yep, double it. Did you feel a little twinge of, “How the heck can I possibly do that?”  If you did, you just heard a Gremlin!

Suffice it to say that there is a part in us that likes the safety of the status quo. Imagine you had a fear of heights. Even going up an escalator of the department store terrifies you. So you build your life around avoiding heights. Sitting in your first floor living room, you never notice your fear because there is no threat there. Only when someone says, “Come on…you must see the view from the fourth floor.” Ah.  That is when the fear kicks in.

It is the same way with our Gremlins. As long as we play it safe (i.e.. live within our comfort zone) we will not hear the Gremlin's voice tell us all of the things that could go wrong. Most of us are programmed to GROW. We want to increase our income, learn new things, start new relationships, and create businesses which serve our lives. I guarantee you that doing any of these activities will cause you to bump into your stuff, and you will likely find a Gremlin lurking in there.

How to Get Through This

Following is one of my simple processes to befriend your Gremlin and actually make it work FOR you rather than against you:

  1. Discover what it looks like. I ask my clients to imagine that our little furry friend has a shape. You can use the Gremlin in the movie by the same name (see clip below), or create your own version, but I want you to see it.
  2. Put it outside yourself. Let your Gremlin sit on the couch across the room. Anywhere is fine as long as it is not in your body.
  3. Listen to what it says. This is where it can become nasty. If we were to put a microphone in front of your little Gremlin, what does it say to you? Profanity and all… just let it rip.
  4. Understand that it is trying to protect you. Now this one may be a stretch initially:  Have you ever had a dog and no matter who came to the door, the dog barked? See, it is the dog’s job to alert you to danger; consequently, a ringing doorbell means that there is something on the other side of the door that the dog is unable to see and is afraid.  The dog alerts you by barking.   As a dog owner you do not just sit fearfully in your living room because the dogs are barking. No, you get up and say, “Thanks Fido…now go lay down” and then you answer the door. The Gremlin is just like the barking dog.  There is something new or scary on the terrain and it is trying to alert you to the danger. So the Gremlin's barking,  if you will, is the negative thoughts and feelings designed to keep you safe.  
  5. Ask the Gremlin what it needs from you to allow you to make some changes. Here is where your creativity comes in. This is the dialoguing process with the part of you (the Gremlin) who does not think you can handle that new opportunity or adventure. The Gremlin still sees you as the powerless child who it is trying to protect, so you ask it what it needs. Then listen to the answer (but not with your analytical left brain).
  6. Listen and you will  get a sense of it. I have found that most Gremlins do not trust us because in some way, we are not trustworthy. How many of us know what we should be doing in the way of self care or business growth, yet do not listen to our own wisdom? The Gremlin often is here to say, “Straighten up!”
  7. Give it a new job. This is sort of like the retired CEO who does not really need to be running the company, but still has valuable insights to share. We give him a watch and allow him to sit on a board. Your Gremlin has been trying to protect you by keeping you from activities it feels are scary. Since it wants to work with you anyway, give it something to do that will serve you. For example, it can be the Keeper of Your Boundaries and alert you to the fact that you are overextending yourself. I had one client whose Gremlin was going to tell her if any of the men she began dating were jerks. This is the fun part. How can the Gremlin become your ally? When my clients get this piece, it is very powerful because they use the Gremlin like a wise elder who is supportive and keeps them on track.


Is now a good time to take yourself through the above process?



About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.


  1. Although I silenced most of my gremlins nearly a year ago when I took that leap of faith and jumped into a new lifestyle and career, but I have to admit that your process would certainly locate a gremlin or two, in spite of my ability to take some pretty risky chances. Thank you for sharing, and for the chuckle which keeps that gremlin from seeming too frightening.
    Sheri Conaway recently posted…October 9, 2014 Finding inspiration in the Void. #shericonaway #blogboostMy Profile

  2. I love this exercise and I am going to do it… Perfect timing.
    Jacqui Malpass recently posted…Reasons to go on a writers retreat to kick-start your bookMy Profile

  3. Superb post!
    I love the gremlin test, and also your tips on how to solve the problem. Following those tips will help many people if they actually follow your advice.
    The Great Gordino recently posted…NFL Moment of the Week – Week 5My Profile

  4. Rachel,
    you sure talking with me hahah 🙂 I did not have a name and now thanks to you Gremlin is out of the bag haha 🙂

    I sure loved the simple test you offered here.. and then while going through the steps to how to manage these little gremlins with tact.. was great…

    I had to stop for second when I read that hey are there to protect me.. but soon I recovered and yes, I have to agree that are there to protect me according to my old thinking but now they need to change because they are uncovered and they will placed in a corner at all time to do what they like and make certain I do what I know is best for me at the time 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing.
    Nick Catricala recently posted…How do you handle conflicts in life and business?My Profile

  5. I now have a vivid image in my head of a friendly looking gremlin, with a smile on it’s face and a touch of mischief showing in it’s eyes. The mischief might trip me up occasionally but it will also dare me to extend myself. Thanks, Rachel.

    Now I need something to keep reminding me of this, so my own Gremlin is actually going to be a Gnome because I already have one staring at me through my office window, along with a plaster duck. Little things amuse me 🙂 It’s going to be a Harry Potter gnome because they can make you creative. Maybe I’ll get another and name it Zurich to remind me of the riches I can amass.
    Sue Bride recently posted…Marketing Tips That Don’t WorkMy Profile

  6. Hi Rachel,
    I can totally relate to this post and by the way I loved that movie. My daughter and grandkids watched it over and over. You are so right. There is always that little voice telling you that you can’t do something but putting a face or actual thing you can see in front of you will remind you that you will defy “him” and do it your way. My little gremlin is going to be a couple of my grandkids’ blue smurfs they left here. One has his hands in the air which makes me think. “Get real, you can’t do it” and the other has a rolling eyes look. So I think these will be perfect. Thanks so much for this post. Have a wonderful day.
    Monna Ellithorpe recently posted…Getting Classes Ready For Book PublishingMy Profile


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