Back to Back Issues Page
Taming Your Gremlin The 5 Minute Career Coach March 2010 Update
March 15, 2010

Helping Career Changers Around The World

March 2010 Update


Do you need to tame your Gremlin?

What Gremlin, I hear you ask?

The one that sits inside your head saying: You can't do that. You’d never make a go of it. Your plan is bound to fail. You’re not good enough. Better safe than sorry.

Now do you know which Gremlin?

I thought so! Don’t worry, we’ve all got one. Some are bigger and uglier than others, some are more disruptive than others, but whatever yours looks like, however he behaves, join the club - you and your Gremlin are in good company!

Gremlins hate change
Gremlins can be a real problem if you are thinking of making a career change. You can guarantee that they will come up with every reason under the sun to stop you taking that bold step.

Basically they think they are there to protect you, but are just a bit too zealous at their job. Anything new or different poses a risk and so they want to scare you off, to keep you safe.

Get to know your Gremlin
If something or someone is giving you bother, then a good way of dealing with the situation is to start by getting to know them. The better you understand them, the easier it will be to get into a dialogue.

Maybe you've never wondered what your Gremlin looks like – why not try describing him now? Build up as much detail as you can so that you have a vivid impression of him in front of you. Is it a strong, imposing presence? Maybe, but most Gremlins are actually weak and wimpish under the outward bluster. You could give him a name too – one that describes the role he plays in your life.

Once you have got a clearer picture of him, you will find it easier to deal with him when he is showing up. Listen out for his favourite phrases.

  • You can't...
  • You must...
  • You should...
  • You don't deserve...
  • You'll never...
  • If you do this, then x!*%?! will happen (and x!*%?! will be pretty bad, of course!)

See how they are 'all or nothing' kind of phrases? Everything is black and white – well mainly black, in his book. Where do these absolutes come from? Are they really true, always, in every situation?

And how do you typically react to him and his 'shoulds' and 'musts'? What is your habitual response when he appears?

So how do you tame him?
The first, most important step towards taming your Gremlin, is just to notice when he is at work. Keep an eye – and an ear – out for those familiar messages. Once you start noticing him, and your own habitual responses to him, you can begin to play around with alternatives.

Do you have to respond that way? How would you like to respond instead? What alternatives can you think of? What would you prefer to do differently? How would you like to rephrase his tired old warnings? What new ways of thinking about yourself would be more helpful?

Gradually you will get to a point when he puts in an appearance where you can smile to yourself and think 'Ah, there he goes again, worry, worry, nag, nag. I know he means well really, but I'll just pop him in this box for now while I get on with running my life as I want to – and that includes changing my career!'.

And that will be a much more positive and productive place to be.

Find out more
If you’d like to explore your Gremlin in more detail, then I highly recommend Rick Carson’s book Taming Your Gremlin It’s a short and entertaining read but it contains many profound truths about Gremlins and how to deal with them!

I have instinctively called the Gremlin 'he', maybe because mine is definitely male! But are there any female Gremlins out there, I wonder? Do let me know!

With best wishes

Your Subscription Information

Back to Back Issues Page