What are gremlins, anyway? Gremlins are those nasty little voices inside your head that constantly put you down and remind you that in some way, shape, or form, you are not good enough. These gremlins are powerful little creatures that live and often thrive in your subconscious. Often, we have adopted negative beliefs about ourselves from our parents, colleagues, friends, enemies, or strangers we have met along the way. Gremlins become vocal just when they think we are most vulnerable and feed into our self doubt and fears. Though these inner voices may have started working initially to protect us from being embarrassed or from failure, their continued presence holds us back from reaching our maximum potential.

We all have gremlins. It’s difficult to grow up without them, but how we manage our gremlins is the key to moving forward in a positive manner and keeping our self doubt in check.

Have you ever tuned in and identified your specific gremlins?

Here’s an exercise I use in my workshops to help bring the gremlins out into the open in order to deal with them.

Write the most POSITIVE STATEMENT you can about yourself and your career.

Here’s an example:

“I am very smart, very attractive, and successful. I am the best business coach. I offer tremendous value to all my clients. Because of my successful career in business, I am a great role model and mentor for professional women. I am a terrific motivational speaker and give great workshops.”

OK. Ready for the gremlins? Here they come.

“You may think you’re successful, but you know there are plenty of coaches who make more money than you do and have a bigger practice and are really well known nationally. And, you think you’re attractive? You know you’re not as good looking as you used to be and Mary is a lot prettier than you are and who really cares about what you have to say?”

Get the picture? As the gremlins continue their diatribe, you lose the self confidence projected in first statement and begin to see yourself as a loser, a failure, not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not successful enough.

What are the consequences of paying attention to these gremlins? When we buy into their put downs, we either don’t move forward or are so overcome with self doubt, that we don’t put our best foot forward.

Once we identify our personal gremlins and as we become aware of their effect on our behavior, we can choose to ignore their message. Believe me, it’s not easy. These gremlins have been in our heads for years. However, we can learn to silence them by not paying attention to their negativity and recognizing that they are the most powerful barriers we have to our own success.