How to Tame your Inner Gremlin – and keep it from interfering with your life

In this week’s blog, we are getting down and dirty with all things “inner gremlin”. Otherwise known as your negative inner voice, nay-sayer or saboteur. By the end of reading this post, you will know what it is and how to tame it.  This topic is very relevant to all who want to make a decision on what is next for them in their life.  And last week’s blog, where I wrote about: “What is your Why? Your life purpose revealed!”  If you have not done so yet,  CLICK HERE to download your own free printable workbook. It shows you exactly how to identify your life purpose with confidence in under one hour. How is this related to your life purpose, you may ask?

The inner gremlin is one thing which stands in your way to you living your best life.

It’s the right time to pay attention to your inner self talk. You (like the rest of us humans) have two opposing psychological forces at play in your mind. On one hand, there is the voice of your true self. That side of you wants you to have a happy, fulfilled life. A life aligned to your values and steered by  your greater calling – your life purpose.  What that purpose is, depends on you unique interests, skills, values and background.

The chatter in your mind determines your experience of life – for better and for worse.


On the other hand, there is an aspect within us which is not interested in us living an enriched life. It is rooted in our reptilian brain. It is only motivated to keep you alive. And therefore keep everything the same. In other words, the lowest common denominator.  Any imminent change – or just thinking about it – alarms this part of you. And it will actively counteract any efforts which could lead to change.


When we endeavor to change our life for the better, our inner gremlin is on over-drive.


Naturally, writing your life purpose statement threatens your inner gremlin tremendously. How dare you contemplate living a bigger life? Who knows where that will lead? It is definitely not on board with changing the status quo.  You are alive, aren’t you? What more do you want?


Procrastination is another example of our inner gremlin in action.


You guessed it, the inner gremlin is also the main reason why we put off thinking about what our life purpose is. And one of the reasons it is so hard to adopt new habits.  This also explains why people avoid asking themselves what they really want out of life. Most of us don’t have a satisfactory answer at hand, so it feels uncomfortable to think about it. The idea that you need to know the answer to allow yourself to ask the question is absurd, of course.  But logic does not prevail in this part of our brain.

We definitely do not want our inner gremlin writing our life purpose statement!


Instead of thinking about what we want to do with our life, our inner gremlin distracts us with other “more pressing” issues.  Like grocery shopping. Watching television. Social media. The inner gremlin wins again.

If you must inquire about your life purpose, the inner gremlin would prefer you ask: “What do you think you deserve?” Naturally, it has a quick answer: “Nothing much. Who are you to want something grand?” And at the very most, your inner gremlin may let you ask yourself “What do you think you may be able to make happen, given your existing circumstances?” In other words,  it wants you to play small.

The real tragedy is that over time, we accept the inner gremlin’s perspectives as truth.

What does the inner gremlin sound like?  Does any of this sound familiar? “I’m too old, young, fat, skinny, stupid, living in the wrong country.” Thinking that you are lesser than others? That the good life is for other people who have more luck or money, less restraints or are smarter? Blah, blah, blah.

These are examples of the inner gremlin at work.  It may feel very real, but it won’t serve you. And you can not succeed from that place. Worst yet, these thoughts become self-fulfilling prophecies.  We become what we tell ourselves. If you treat negative thoughts as facts, these fictions will steer your emotions, feelings and actions – as any thoughts do. Our inner gremlin is also our default when dealing with stress and overwhelm.

Don’t you agree, it is time to tame your inner gremlin? Follow the steps below.


The inner gremlin’s goal is to keep things the same. And if you don’t want the same, you need to listen to your true self instead. It’s time to take your life back. Self coaching is the best method for this. When you coach yourself, you learn to detach from that negative voice. We may not get rid of it entirely. But, through self coaching (or deliberate constructive dialogue with ourselves) we become aware of it.  And then we can choose to not let it guide us anymore.  In other words, we mindfully stop it from holding us back.

Step 1: Notice when your gremlin creeps into your inner dialogue.

This means noticing when it takes the microphone. Calling it out when it happens. Then consciously choosing to not to let it guide you.

Step 2: Use one of two methods to take away it’s power.

To avoid falling into the same negative thinking pattern, become intentional about your approach. Either of these two methods below work:

  • Option A: Call it out.  You turn your internal coaching conversation towards the inner gremlin.  Are those thoughts founded in reality or just in your fears? If it is the inner gremlin talking, don’t listen. Don’t let if influence your feelings, thoughts, and especially your plans of action. Instead, listen to your own true voice and what you really want to make happen. Give example here.
  • Option B: Ignore it and carry on with what you really want. You bypass the negative inner voice all together and carry on as though it were not there. This option is a good choice, when you don’t want to slow your momentum to spend time thinking about the inner gremlin. If you notice it keeps penetrating your thoughts, figuratively give it something else to while you write your kick butt life purpose statement.  Send it away to do your taxes. Wash your car. Or have it google its favorite topic – the many definitions of failure.

Both options are equally useful. Take the microphone away from it. Some people even imagine it gets run over by a bus.  You may even start feeling sorry for it. The more you personalize this aspect of yourself, the easier it will be to recognize it. And notice in the moment, that it is not really you.

Access the creative, resourceful and positive part of your brain to create a great life.

Yes, it is normal to wonder whether it can it be as simple as this.  Yes, it can. It will feel awkward at first, but you will get better and better at identifying your inner gremlin. As with any skill, it becomes much easier with practice. In fact, eventually, you will be able to call it out as you are talking.  And even stop yourself in mid sentence. This is not as hard as it sounds. Every single one of my coaching clients has learned to do this. Once you coach yourself, and start to detect that negative inner voice, you can challenge it. And replace it with your true inner wisdom. And live your life purpose from that place instead.

In summary: You can’t create the life you really want on inaccurate thoughts pretending to be truths. If they go unchallenged then you are not in a place of choice. Any person who has ever grabbed life by the horns, knows all about the inner gremlin. Successful people stopped blindly acting on it.

You can also have that empowered choice.

Want to be even more empowered? In my signature program, The Self Coach Approach, I show people exactly how to coach themselves to separate their insecure, negative thinking from healthy, productive, forward thinking. CLICK HERE to check it out.

Pst, or read more about it below.




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