Friday 17 February 2012


I have a gremlin. His name is George. He perches on my shoulder and jibber jabbers at me non-stop. He is a massive pain in the neck.

Actually, he really is a pain in the neck, and shoulder. He must be a particularly fat little gremlin, he weighs a tonne. He jibber jabbers on at me all the time about what I've done, or have yet to do, or have forgotten to do, or should be doing, or shouldn't have done. He thinks he's being helpful, but I'm not so sure.

It was actually my coach, Kathy Reeves, who introduced me to George. She didn't like him very much. Every time she had managed to make some progress with me, got me to make some decision or take some action or other, George piped up and undermined it all again. George thought that decision was stupid and told me I wouldn't be able to take that action. Kathy could spot whenever George had entered the room or when he had butted in... I wasn't so good at recognising him. So, Kathy gave me some homework to do which was to try to notice when George was about, listen to what he had to say, take it with a pinch of salt and get back on with my day.

Stupid I thought. But tried it anyway.

Problem is, George knows me uncomfortably well. He knows what buttons to press. He even started berating me for being useless at being able to spot him. I was beginning to really hate George. And starting to go ever so slightly mad!

But I persevered.

I learned that George really was only trying to protect me, in his own weird little way, but that I no longer needed his help. I explained to him that actually his incessant chitter chatter was holding me back not helping me move forward.

I learned that, as real as they sound at the time, thoughts are not the same as facts, and that my imagination is not an accurate representation of what is actually going to happen...despite George's most convincing arguments.

I also read a chapter of William Woollard's book 'Buddhism and the Science of Happiness' called 'strangling the parrot'. Turns out George was my parrot! So I started practicing mindfulness, really the same advice Kathy had given me, just described with different language.

Over time all of this helped me to quieten George and his meddling jibbering and jibing.

But most fun of all? I learned an NLP trick, that if I made George sound like Donald Duck instead of the voice of impending doom he was much easier to get along with!

I don't hear from George quite so much these days, maybe he's lost a lot of weight or something, as he no longer weighs so heavily neither on my shoulder, nor on my mind.

The lovely Kathy has written her own blog post on the subject as well, so should you fancy a bit of further reading from somebody rather more experienced and qualified than myself, please check out her blog too: Quick confidence booster, speak nicely to yourself

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