Voices, Pt 2: The Whisperer and The Gremlin

Last time, we talked about our natural dispositions toward optimism, realism, or pessimism. If you haven’t read that post, take a second and read that here!

A lot of times, a person’s optimism or pessimism manifests as a small voice inside telling you what you can and can’t make of the world. It reminds me a little of the cartoons where a character has an angel and a demon on different shoulders. As a coach, I call these two your Whisperer and your Gremlin. But instead of telling you that you should or shouldn’t do an action, your Whisperer and your Gremlin tell you who you are as a person. They’re always present, but they become most apparent when something uncomfortable or unexpected happens.

For example, imagine you’re going to a company potluck when you realize you forgot the salad you were supposed to bring at home. Immediately thoughts start springing to mind. Your Gremlin screams, “You idiot! Why can’t you do anything right? You can’t even remember a stupid salad. Now you’re going to be late and you’re going to have to explain why you’re late and everyone’s going to know how much of a moron you are.” Understandably, you feel terrible. You feel ashamed. You feel small.

At first, that’s all you hear. Then, between the screams of your Gremlin, you catch what your Whisperer is saying: “It’s okay. It could happen to anyone. You were so excited to get to the potluck that you were practically running out the door. That’s not a bad thing. Let’s go get the salad and have a good laugh about it later. And besides, now you’ll be fashionably late.” As you hear your Whisperer, you can feel your blood pressure returning to normal. You breathe a little easier. You smile. You feel BIG.

Each of us has both a Gremlin and a Whisperer, and we will always have both. But the good news is that we don’t have to be victim to our Gremlin. The Gremlin may seem loud, but that’s only because he’s got a microphone. And you can take that mic from him and give it to your Whisperer. The key is awareness; which voice is demanding your attention, telling you who you are?

The next time you enter into an uncomfortable situation, pause for a moment. Which voice are you hearing? Your Gremlin, saying you can’t or you’re not that type of person? Or your Whisperer, reminding you that you can, that you have, or that you are already a beautiful person who doesn’t need anyone else’s affirmation?

Grab that mic, give it to the Whisperer, and step out in confidence. Be BIG.

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