How to spot your gremlins

Recently, I was trying to get to a venue for a course. I couldn’t find where I needed to go, and got myself increasingly wound up, angry and frustrated. I shot off a few emails to those involved in the organisation of the weekend. The emails I sent were laced with pissed-off-ness. I didn’t feel good about not making the course, and I certainly didn’t feel good about the people who had planned where the course should be. I went to my hotel room feeling annoyed.

However, lucky for me those running the course were very well practiced in navigating life from a place of love. They contacted me as soon as they could and made every effort to get me to the venue for the following day’s session. I quickly forgot about my annoyance and got on with enjoying the course.

A few weeks later I reflected back on what had happened. Basically, for some reason, not finding a venue triggered one of my internal gremlins. The gremlin that says ‘Hannah, you’re not very clever are you? How did you not find that venue?’

And in the moment, I wasn’t aware I was being gremlin hacked. I was too busy dancing with my gremlin and indulging in the fear and anger and frustration to take a step back and assess how I was handling the situation.

It wasn’t until about two weeks later, I was able to reflect, and see how my gremlin had gripped me, and the stories it was telling me.

Most often when we feel worried, angry, fearful or frustrated we are in gremlin territory.

So it can be really helpful to reflect back once a situation has been resolved, and get curious about what was really going on in your brain at the time. And it can be even more helpful to identify the gremlin when you’re in the moment. This involves repeated mindful reflection about what’s coming up for you at any given time.

Had I sat down, taken about ten deep breaths and stilled my mind whilst I was looking for the venue, I would have been able to recognise the conversation I was having with myself. I might have been able to change that narrative, to chose an alternative way of seeing the events around me. What might my experience of that day have been like should I have approached the situation from a perspective of love and lightness? I’d have brushed off the situation as unfortunate that I was missing some good content, but grateful for a cosy bed, some nice food and a comforting film to go to. I’d have told myself I’m not stupid, it’s just an unfortunate case of miscommunication, and that I deserve a comfy warm evening, and that I am naturally creative, resourceful and whole. And I’d sure as hell not have projected my gremlin fears onto anyone else.

So in conclusion, it is worth stepping back when you feel frustrated, angry or fearful in any situation. Take a look at the stories you’re telling yourself, identify which gremlins you are dancing with, and take some action to step into a perspective of love and light instead.

If you’d like to find out more about learning these kinds of processes, drop me an email at and we can talk about coaching or resiliency building workshops.

Sending love, Hannah

*Image by Daniel Burka

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