Tag Archives: gremlins

What does “Getting out of your own way” actually mean?

It’s a phrase you’ll have come across fairly often if you read many self-help books or coaching blogs but in my experience it rarely comes with a translation into plain English.

I know I’ve been guilty of using it without an explanation myself, so I thought I’d take this opportunity of explaining what I mean when I use it.

And here’s the disclaimer – I can, of course, only speak from my own experience.

Your idea of what it means for you to get out of your own way may well be very different – and if what you read here doesn’t chime with your own experience, please join in the comments and let us know what it’s like for you.

There’s an old Chinese saying that I’m very fond of. It goes something like

The path is smooth, why do you throw rocks in your way?

and for me, that sums up the difference between life when I’ve got out of my own way, and life when I’m actively getting in my own way.

When I’m getting in my own way everything is a struggle.

I let the Saboteurs and Gremlins influence me and I doubt my own judgement. I talk myself out of ideas and I ignore my gut instinct. Everything starts to feel like a huge effort and if I’m not careful I can end up in a very dark place and feeling woefully out of control.

Not Nice At All.

Conversely, when I’ve got very firmly out of my own way life has a natural flow about it.

I have ideas and act on them and good things result. I follow my gut instinct and even better things result.”Coincidences” start to happen and undreamed of opportunities happen along. The Universe guides my hands and all is well.

And what’s the difference? Well for me it has to do with control, and specifically with letting my conscious mind or Ego take control.

When I’m going with the flow I’m acting on instinct. I know I can trust my gut instinct because it knows, for sure, the right things to do. I’ve called it The Universe before now and that has to do with it seeming to be connected with forces way beyond me in the way that apparently external things start to go right for me when I sit back and let The Universe take control.

When my Ego thinks it knows best is when things start to go wrong. That’s when the self-doubt kicks in and the Saboteurs come out to play and suddenly I’m stumbling over rocks that weren’t there before and everything goes to hell in a handcart.

So lack of control comes about from my Ego’s attempts to regain control from The Universe, and I end up the loser.

I’ve just been through a few weeks of being Ego-led and ended up dispirited, tired and unwell – but, as my dear friend Lisa said to me the other day, “at least when you’re ill it gives you the opportunity to think about what’s led you to this place!

And I can see that, as my Ego took over, so I stopped doing all the positive, nurturing rituals that were enabling me to keep put o my own way. My Ego decided I could do without them and persuaded me they weren’t necessary any more – one look in the mirror is all the proof I need that my Ego doesn’t know what it’s talking about (one is rarely so unattractive as when one has a heavy cold, I find…)

And why did my Ego step in?

Because it was feeling threatened. Again.

Because it knows that, for me to grow and develop and realise my potential, it needs to diminish and dwindle, and it doesn’t like that.

This kind of thing happens to all of us as we go through change – the habits and beliefs of the past can be like a ball and chain, holding us back and keeping us anchored in the ways of being that we’re trying to shake off.

We’re attracted to the familiar, even while we’re being tempted by the promise of more and better.

So while it’s frustrating I know that this past month is a normal part of the process.

I will shake off my ball and chain and I will get back out of my own way. It’s good to have had this reminder because it’s shown me that what was once a normal, comfortable, familiar way of being is now uncomfortable, unattractive and dispiriting.

I’m ready to clear the rocks from my path and stride back out onto my Journey again.

But first I’m going to have another Lemsip…..


How To Cure The Back to Work Blues

What ho, Sports Fans, Happy New Year! I hope the return to Real Life hasn’t been too awful for you – I well remember having to strap myself back in when I had a “proper job” and how quickly all the relaxation and fun seemed to evaporate once the dull daily round swung back in.

My Lovely Husband has just come home from his second day back in the office this year and he’s clearly feeling it already so I’m trying to be extra-specially snuggly – I’ve packed him off to bed with a nice cup of tea for a post-work snooze while I write this.

Thankfully, I don’t have any of that back-to-work glumness any more. I’ve had a lovely long rest and enjoyed myself enormously and now I’m raring to go. I spent yesterday morning looking at goal setting and objectives and clarity of purpose with a lovely group of ladies and then went to Bristol to spend the afternoon working up my plan for the year along with my Fairy-Dust-Sprinkler-in-Chief, the blessed Eli Barbary.

I came away excited, enthused and raring to go – we have some fantabulous irons in the fire and now that Eli is firmly in charge of marketing and I Know My Place I just know that this coming year is going to be spectacular.

Some of the work I kicked off when I was Creating the Impossible will come to fruition in the next couple of weeks when my new, combined blog and website is unveiled. When that happens you’ll only have to go to one place to find out what I’m up to and to see what’s available to you if you want to work with me. There’ll be something for everyone from free downloads to details on how to apply for the next run of my VIP Programme and everything in between. The new site is going to look great and be really easy for you to use – can’t wait!

In the meantime I’ve been having deep and meaningful conversations with My Ego, the Universe and a hitherto unknown Gremlin and Moomin that have come to light over the past couple of days. They’re feeling a bit shy at the moment but when I’ve got to know them a wee bit better I’ll introduce them to you.  At the moment all I can say is that one of them’s called Miss Don’tBeGreedyThat’sDisgusting and the other one is Empress Moomin.

And if you’re thinking WTF is she on about, have a read of this

So things are very definitely starting out on the right note for me this year. If you’re having an attack of the glums because you feel like you’re stuck in a life that doesn’t suit you, try this simple exercise.

One one piece of paper write down all the things you actively like and enjoy about your life right now.

One a second piece of paper, write down all the things you actively DISlike and DON’T enjoy about your life right now.

Which list is longer?

What surprises have appeared on your lists?

If you were in control of your life and how you live it, what changes would you make?

If you’re not incontrol of your life, who is?

Are you happy with that?

As ever, please comment or lurk, whichever you feel most comfortable with.

Battles With My Gremlins

There’s a battle going on inside me, between the forces of Good and Evil.

Given how snowy it is outside, I am very forcibly reminded of one of my favourite books, The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, as the new, child-like version of me tries to stand firm against the onslaught of all the old evils inside.

They’re not really Evil, obviously, they are my Gremlins and I know they’re trying to help but it doesn’t always feel like that and the effect they have when they get their own way is insidious.

Changing to become a better version of ourselves – or, if you like, to become closer to who we really are – is not easy and a big part of us will always want to stay as we are/have been, regardless of how useful that way of being is to us now or will be in the future.

It takes a concentrated effort of will to grow and develop, and to continue with that growth and development through the tough times. I am no exception to that rule and there are times when it’s difficult to remember why I want to change.

Here’s what’s been going on inside my head of late:

Me: OK, I want to stop DOING and start BEING.

Mr Can’t Be Arsed Gremlin: Woohoo! Time to slob out. You can stay in bed all day, eat crap food, watch daytime TV, marvellous!

Me: Er, hang on….

Ms You’re No Good Gremlin: That’s right, off you go. Back into the Land of the Lazy. I knew you would, you’re the laziest person on the planet and you’ll never amount to anything.

Little Miss It’s Too Scary Gremlin: She’s not lazy it’s just all so BIG and SCARY and I don’t know where to START and I CAN’T change and I need someone to tell me what to DO and…but…and…now I’m going to CRY

Ms You’re No Good Gremlin: there we go,whining again. Pull your socks up for goodness’ sake and stop feeling sorry for yourself. You ought to get out there and find a proper job instead of sitting here whining. At least make a list of all the things you should be doing and start doing some of it!!

Mr Can’t Be Arsed Gremlin: oh God I hate lists, I don’t want to do any of those things, not even the stuff I enjoy. Why can’t we just sit here and do nothing? I like that best. Where’s the TV remote gone? OOOOH!! Look what’s on!

Me: Er, look guys, I know you’re trying to help but actually all you’re doing is making me feel bad about myself…

Mr Can’t Be Arsed Gremlin: La la la la la la la not listening…

Little Miss It’s Too Scary Gremlin: oh nooooooooo, now you’re cross and it’s all even MORE horrid and that nasty Mr Can’t Be Arsed has got me in his grip and I can’t get away boo hoo hoo…

Ms You’re No Good Gremlin: That’s it, make excuses, it’s all OUR fault of course, nothing to do with you being lazy and useless!

Me: Oh crap – where’s the remote?

The Universe: Hello all, how are we?

Gremlins: Watch out, Hippie Alert!! You’re not going to listen to all of his hippie-dippie-woo-woo crap are you?

The Universe: I’m non-gender specific actually…

Gremlins: ooooh, get her

The Universe:…and I just popped in to ask if I could help in any way?

Me: Am I glad you’re here! And now that you are here, you’ve reminded me that rather than being cross with these lovely Gremlins and myself, it would be much more useful for all of us if I was to be gentle with them and ask them what they’re afraid of…

Gremlins: oh crap, I hate it when she’s nice to us, it makes me feel really uncomfortable…

Me: oh don’t be uncomfortable. Come and sit here and tell me what’s bothering you. Please?

Mr Can’t Be Arsed Gremlin: well, you said you wanted less DOING and more BEING so I’m helping you to do nothing and she (pointing at Ms You’re No Good) keeps throwing it back in my face!

Ms You’re No Good Gremlin: there’s a difference between learning to sit back and just BE, and turning into a complete no-good-low-moral-fibre-slacker, which is what you’re making her into!! If she carries on like this, before you know it she’ll be broke and homeless! Will you pleased with yourself then, eh? Hm? HMMM?!

Mr Can’t Be Arsed Gremlin: OK, OK, chill out, blimey – I just want her to have a rest and look after herself and not burn out or get in her own way by doing too much. Sheesh!

Little Miss It’s Too Scary Gremlin: oh don’t fight, I HATE it when you fight!I just want her to be happy and I know all this trying to change stuff is really difficult and it’s easier for her when it’s not difficult…if you see what I mean…so I thought it would be better for her if she didn’t keep trying to change and then we can all carry on as we are and we’ll all be happy and comfy, won’t we? Won’t we?

Me: Ah, OK. So actually you all want me to be happy and healthy?

Gremlins: yes, of course we do!

Me: and you all have different ideas about what being happy and healthy looks like for me?

Gremlins: er….

Me: well, one of you wants me to have so much of a rest that I don’t do anything, one of you is trying to make sure I don’t turn into a moral degenerate and one of you is trying to stop me from being scared.

Gremlins: Yes! What’s wrong with that?!

Me: Well it’s lovely that you’re so keen to help, but I think I really need to explain what’s going on more clearly, so that you can really help me…how would that be?

Gremlins: (suspiciously) Riiiiiight…go on then…

Me: The thing is, I don’t want to stay doing the same things I always did. I want to try new things and I want to explore what I’m capable of, and I want to learn what “being” instead of “doing” means. I want to explore my spirituality and what it means for me and for the work I do – there’s a growing spiritual force within me and I want you to help me put aside my fears of it and about it, and learn to truly embrace it. I want you to help me to become ever more mindful, and to settle into a new way of being that doesn’t automatically give up and fall into a slump whenever things start to look a bit tricky, and I want you to remind me in a healthy way when I’m in danger of slumping, rather than beating me over the head about being lazy.

Gremlins: oh.

Me: Oh?

Gremlins: Yes. Well. So maybe, when you’re “being” not “doing”, we could try a bit of “being” as well?

Me: That would be interesting – how might you do what?

Gremlins: well…we could suggest you meditate or read one of your growing pile of hippy-dippy Mind, Body, Spirit books or go for a walk or  even…..or….no never mind

Me: no, go on, I’m interested…

Gremlins: (muttering) …or even talk to the Universe….

The Universe: my work here is done (for now)

So here we all are today, in unison, setting out once more in harmony on the Great Adventure that is life. We will have many more conversations like this one as I go along my Journey, my Gremlins and I, and there will be days when the forward momentum stops and we have to regroup.

But we won’t turn around and we won’t stop all together.

And The Universe will keep us all safe.

The Universe: oh yes 🙂

On Meeting Your Moomins

On Saturday I held a follow-up session with some of the delegates from my first True Colours workshop. We came together to explore what was different for them in their lives since we last met, and to look at some more techniques that could help them to continue to build their confidence and live more fulfilling lives.

I was delighted to hear of their progress, and equally delighted about how enthusiastic they were to do more work – to the extent that one of them suggested a whole new exercise, and invited me to join in! The results were astounding, and I’ve decided to share them here.

We had been talking about Gremlins. Gremlins are the unhelpful aspects of your inner voice, and they can lead you into repeating patterns of self-defeating behaviour but giving you messages that make you get in your own way. Gremlins start out with the intention of being helpful but they end up getting it wrong, either by cropping up at unhelpful times, or by telling us the wrong things – as an example, one of my Gremlins for years was “Little Miss Itstoo Scary” – she was trying to keep me safe and prepared for risks, but what she actually did was to hold me back from ever trying anything that had even the slightest element of risk attached. Once I’s identified her and realised how she was trying to help, I’ve been able to tell her she can have a rest now, as I’m capable of assessing risks and making my own decisions – and if you’ve read previous posts here, you’ll know that overcoming fears has been a big thing for me of late!

On Saturday, after we’d all talked about our own Gremlins, one of my participants asked if there was a positive version of Gremlins, in other words, the inner voices that are helpful and lead you into positive behaviours. We all quickly decided that if there aren’t, there should be – and we decided to discover our own, me included.

We agreed to call our positive Gremlins Moomins. (The Moomins are the central characters in a series of books and a comic strip by Swedish-Finn illustrator and writer Tove Jansson. We felt that they were emblematic of what positive Gremlins were all about). As we took a little time to discover our Moomins, I watched the smiles break out on people’s faces, turning into broad grins as we settled on the ones we liked best. Then it was time to share.

My Moomins, I decided, are as follows:

Happy Moomin – Happy Moomin is on a bouncy castle. She’s exuberant, childlike, excitable and enthusiastic, and she loves to encourage playfulness in others. Every time she bounces, she sees the world from a new and different perspective and that leads her to all sorts of new ideas and new discoveries.

Loving Moomin – Loving Moomin is carrying a huge platter of food that she’s just prepared specifically so that she can nurture those around her. She’s warm, affectionate and generous and takes great pleasure in the successes and triumphs of those around her.

Intrepid Moomin – Intrepid Moomin wears a pith helmet and carries a machete so that he can slash through the jungly undergrowth, making new paths for himself and the ones that come behind him. He’s bold, brave and questing.

As we all shared our Moomins, so we all came to share in each others’ delight at celebrating the positive aspects of our natures, and we finsihed Saturday’s session on a real high. I’ve been thinking about my Moomins, and my delegates’ Moomins, all weekend, and now I’d really like to know about other Moomins. So, if you’d like to join in and share you Moomins with me and the rest of the world, please add your comment below!