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GREMLINS AND GUARDIANS – STAY ON THE RIGHT PATH

The readership of the Gremlin series has grown exponentially. This article is an expansion of the series with “the other side” or opposite of self-defeating behavior. GUARDIANS are self-esteem building character traits and behaviors. This is the first release of the guardian’s side of the articles. Guardians are symbolized by various styles of angel wings. Remember, feed your guardians and starve your gremlins!

Staying on the right path in life is not always easy, especially with your own personal gremlins. You can tame your gremlins by strengthening your guardians. Guardians in this sense are your inner strengths or positive character. You might envision them as the opposite of gremlins or self-defeating behaviors. Guardians for our purposes are self-esteem building behaviors and cultivating them displaces or neutralizes gremlins. You may have heard of the old adage, “Starve a fever, feed a cold.” Perhaps we could change it to “Starve a gremlin, feed a Guardian.” Guardians reveal themselves in various forms and as you may limit and minimize gremlins, you may unleash and maximize your guardians.

GUARDIANS – “INTEGRITY”

Consider the guardian Integrity which informs your personal character. Integrity has been defined as “doing the right thing even and especially when you are alone.” A person cannot have a little integrity as it is all or none. If one cannot be trusted then Integrity is not present in one’s life and character. Obviously, one may cultivate honesty and trust that will support the presence of Integrity. One challenging fact about Integrity is that if others perceive it has been lost, then it is difficult to regain. Integrity is received in one of four ways:

  1. One is granted Integrity on the basis of title, position, or status.
  2. One is loaned Integrity on the basis of references from friends who are perceived to have Integrity.
  3. One has earned a high level of Integrity over time one decision at a time.
  4. One is earning Integrity little by little after a failure due to a lack of Integrity.

John is a high school student and is having ongoing conflict with his mother. John has been a compliant and reasonably obedient son most of the time until recently. He got in trouble with some friends when he cut class one day. They had been drinking beer in a house that was under construction when the police happened to show up. Of course John was charged with several crimes and the one incident caused his mother to lose trust in him. In her eyes he had lost integrity. He had done everything he was supposed to do for the last three months but she still would not allow him to do things with his friends. He wondered how long it would take for him to earn his Integrity back.

Another challenge regarding Integrity is that it is seen and evaluated through the opinions of others. While it is true that “Integrity is doing the right thing even when you are alone,” when there is a failure of one’s Integrity, there may be severe consequences. Private failure may become public knowledge resulting in a loss of reputation leading to failure…a loss of Integrity.

Young people gradually earn trust as they demonstrate their honesty and consistency regarding their word. After a time of proving themselves, they may realize the presence of Integrity. However, after graduating from high school the student may find that entering college or a job, they find they have to almost start over earning trust that eventually adds up to Integrity. The point is that we go through stages of life and career in which Integrity must be earned and re-earned based on the perceptions of peers and superiors as well.

Gremlins as self-defeating behaviors are constantly eating away it the foundation of one’s integrity. One must tame the gremlins and empower the guardians. Integrity is one of the chief guardians and STAY ON THE RIGHT PATH.

QUESTIONS:

Do you possess Integrity in your life? What will you do to cultivate a  life of Integrity? How have you noticed that you lived through waxing and waning integrity through passages of life, education and work?

——————–

Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is a pastor, author, professional coach, leadership specialist, and is

a member Coach/Teacher/Speaker for the John Maxwell Team

Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | Book | Coaching| Leadership

NAME YOUR GREMLIN: Pigpen Gremlin

One way you can get out of your way is to name your gremlin. A gremlin in this sense is a self-defeating behavior that reappears in life, work, and relationships that prevents you from achieving a new level of success. Like in the movie by the same name, gremlins usually are latent and easy to live with until they are activated by external or internal factors, either past, present, or perceived future. Naming them can help you to be aware of your self-defeating behavior so you may make intentional decisions that are edifying and rewarding to all involved. The introductory article to this series is at http://renovacoaching.com/2010/10/05/get-out-of-your-way/ .

One of the under celebrated characters of the famous Peanuts cartoon is Pigpen, and for good reason. Whenever you see him there is always a dust cloud around him. It is likely that you know someone with a pigpen gremlin and it can be difficult to work with them. People with the pigpen gremlin possess two primary problems:

  1. They can be productive but even then they stir up everything in the work place leaving the mess for others to clean up.
  2. The big challenge for pigpen gremlins is that as messy as they are with materials, they stir up more dust in relationships.

The good thing is that leaders with the pigpen gremlin are intensely focused on the goal and they assume others are as well. The problem is that they hurt feelings of others along the way. If you work with someone like that and have not received a “dusting”—just wait a while.

If you suspect you possess a pigpen gremlin, what might you do to improve not only your behavior but your reputation and relationships as well? Here are several steps:

  • Cultivate self awareness.
  • Practice relational road crossing. Remember when you were taught how to cross the road as a child? The instructions probably included three words—look, listen, and feel. Applied to relationships it means to figuratively stand back and look, listen, and feel during interaction with others.
  • Be quick to apologize and fix hurt feelings.
  • Since you have a tendency to unknowingly offend people, invest in relationships on a regular basis to minimize relational bankruptcy situations.
  • Discipline yourself to do some cleaning up. Put material things where they belong a little every day.
  • Don’t use Pigpen as an excuse for bad behavior.

An executive coach can be a valuable asset to help you minimize damage to relationships and is well worth the investment.

RENOVA regards,

Do you know someone with the pigpen gremlin? What will you do to improve the relationship and even help them? Did you discover that you possess the pigpen gremlin?” What is your action plan to keep Pigpen in check?

Read the Complete Series

Introduction to Gremlins

Name Your Gremlin: Blamer

Name Your Gremlin: Denial

Name Your Gremlin: Scaredy Gremlin

Name Your Gremlin: Jekyll and Hyde

Name Your Gremlin: Pigpen Gremlin

——————–

Dr. Tom Cocklereeceis CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC

Author “Simple Discipleship,” contributing writer L2L Blogazine
He is a pastor, an author, professional coach, and leadership specialist

Email| LinkedIn| Twitter| Web| Blog| Book

NAME YOUR GREMLIN: Jekyll and Hyde

One way you can get out of your way is to name your gremlin. A gremlin in this sense is a self-defeating behavior that reappears in life, work, and relationships that prevents you from achieving a new level of success. Like in the movie by the same name, gremlins usually are latent and easy to live with until they are activated by external or internal factors, either past, present, or perceived future. Naming them can help you to be aware of your self-defeating behavior so you may make intentional decisions that are edifying and rewarding to all involved. The introductory article to this series is at http://renovacoaching.com/2010/10/05/get-out-of-your-way/ .

I am sure you have worked with or for a person with a Jekyll and Hyde gremlin. As long as you are dealing with Jekyll everything is okay, but that’s the problem. The occasional and unexpected appearance of …Hyde! It’s like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get. Quite a few years ago I worked for a small company as a production manager. The owner/boss was a good man to work for…most days, but then there were the times when he suddenly changed. His explosive behavior was usually over something relatively small but the damage he caused was enormous. A day or two after the event, he would often apologize. If he happened to fire someone while Hyde was in control, he might try to rehire them. This is the classic profile of a spouse or child abuser whose reaction to something fails to qualify as a proportional response and they are sorry afterwards.

The perspective of this article is less how to work with a person with this, or these gremlins, and more about helping yourself if you discover Jekyll and Hyde in yourself. Here are some quick tips:

  • You will know you have a Jekyll and Hyde gremlin when others tell you that you are your worst enemy, you are difficult to work with, or that people never know “who” to expect when they see you.
  • Hire an executive coach. There are three reasons you need a professional coach:
  1. You need a coach to increase your awareness of signals of which to be aware so you may control Hyde.
  2. When Hyde appears, you will hurt people and your relationship with them. You need a coach to advise you on how to fix relationships.
  3. Learn what triggers the emotional reaction that stimulates the appearance of Hyde. I can’t help but feel we are talking about the Incredible Hulk.
  • Practice presence. You will find that Hyde’s appearance is usually preceded by distractions, concerns, and a lack of focus. One way to minimize Hyde is to be in the room when others are talking. Presence means that you are not emailing or texting when you should be paying attention.
  • Keep a journal where you record when Hyde appeared. The problem is that Jekyll may have difficulty remembering what Hyde said or did.
  • Don’t use Hyde as an excuse for bad behavior.

An executive coach is a valuable asset to help you minimize damage to relationships and is well worth the investment.

Links to the Gremlin series:

  1. Introduction
  2. Blamer
  3. Denial
  4. Scaredy 
  5. Jekyll and Hyde
  6. Pigpen

RENOVA regards,

Dr. Tom Cocklereece

NAME YOUR GREMLIN: Scaredy Gremlin

One way you can get out of your way is to name your gremlin. A gremlin in this sense is a self-defeating behavior that reappears in life, work, and relationships that prevents you from achieving a new level of success. Like in the movie by the same name, gremlins usually are latent and easy to live with until they are activated by external or internal factors, either past, present, or perceived future. Naming them can help you to be aware of your self-defeating behavior so you may make intentional decisions that are edifying and rewarding to all involved. The introductory article to this series is at http://renovacoaching.com/2010/10/05/get-out-of-your-way/ .

Another devastating gremlin that prevents people from reaching their full potential is Scaredy. Have you ever met someone who has a reputation for quitting or they seldom finish a commitment. Most of the time, they never even get started because they contemplate the fear of failure so much that they fall into the habit of avoiding commitment. A sign of Scaredy Gremlin is persistent procrastination which is no more than claiming a value without acting on it. The individual has said yes but their actions say no. This dichotomy is reflected in the intense conflict the individual feels leading up to making the commitment. One might see this gremlin as the “Runaway Bride syndrome.” He feeds on fear and anxiety and the higher level of these makes him happy.

The remedy for Scaredy Gremlin is to make commitments…and keep them—doing the opposite of that which one’s emotions would lead in this case. As with people who do not suffer from the inability to commit, it is not a blind commitment to anything and everything. Instead, the individual should follow the following course:

  1. Admit that you struggle with commitment or the lack thereof.
  2. Partner with a trusted accountability partner who will walk with you through your journey to overcome this gremlin.
  3. Make some intentional small commitments one at a time. These might relate to things to which the individual has a strong feeling. Maybe it would be doing one-day volunteer work for a not for profit organization. Another possibility is to join a small hobby or study group knowing that an eventual speaking presentation may be expected. These experiences should be increasingly difficult and be of mutual benefit.
  4. Rely on the accountability partner whenScaredy Gremlin begins to present himself. Be prepared for the internal suggestions:
    • You don’t feel well.
    • You aren’t really helping anybody.
    • You’re never going to overcome this problem.
    • You can’t finish anything.

…and so on. The accountability partner should offer encouragement and dialogue to counter such expected internal conflict

Finish strong! Celebrate when you complete the commitment. Remember that there are some commitments that have no end, but should be celebrated on anniversaries and at major achievements.

Remember that the best weapon against the various gremlins is to name them and counter them usually with the opposite action to which they push.

GREMLINS- (Underlying Automatic Commitments)

More to follow in the series.

RENOVA regards,

Dr. Tom Cocklereece

NAME YOUR GREMLIN: Denial

One way you can get out of your way is to name your gremlin. A gremlin in this sense is a self-defeating behavior that reappears in life, work, and relationships that prevents you from achieving a new level of success. Like in the movie by the same name, gremlins usually are latent and easy to live with until they are activated by external or internal factors, either past, present, or perceived future. Naming them can help you to be aware of your self-defeating behavior so you may make intentional decisions that are edifying and rewarding to all involved. The introductory article to this series is at https://renovacoaching.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/get-out-of-your-way/ .

Denial is a common gremlin and usually works best in cooperation with other gremlins. You have probably heard someone jokingly say, “Denial is more than a river in Egypt.” Jokes given in that way often have a seed of truth, as they were probably pointing out your denial about an issue.

We humans have an amazing adeptness when it comes to denial. Some denial is rather harmless and comical. For instance, I know a man in his 70s and his hair gets bluer each time I see him. The explanation is that his hair is naturally white at his age so he tries to color it a distinguished gray. However, because he has severe corneal cataracts in both eyes, what looks gray to him turns out to be a smurfy blue. For years he has denied that his vision was deteriorating.

Denial is more often harmful illustrated in the following bullets:

  • The woman having an affair but thinks nobody else could possibly know.
  • A man has a family history of prostate cancer; has had chronic deep back or groin pain, but refuses to go to the doctor for a simple test.
  • The diabetic who eats three donuts and simply compensates with a little more insulin—on a regular basis.
  • The person sitting down to a double rack of ribs a month after having coronary heart surgery.
  • The woman who returns to her abusive husband only to get beat up again—for the third time.
  • The organization that refuses to change even though their community and target customer has.

The list could go on, and please feel free to add to it with your own comments.

Denial is a refusal to accept or comprehend the external reality because it is too threatening whether the reality is self-inflicted or external. It takes the forms of lying to oneself and others, ignoring, passivity, passive aggression, and even continued inappropriate behavior. (Doing the same thing over while expecting different results)

The remedy for the denial gremlin is 1) naming it, 2) brutal truth, and 3) radical accountability. The initial problem is the denial of denial, as getting the individual to the point of acceptance is indeed difficult. When there is a window of opportunity to help a person in denial—jump through it! By neutralizing the denial gremlin you will likely also eliminate some other paralyzing gremlin.

Links to the Gremlin series:

  1. Introduction
  2. Blamer
  3. Denial
  4. Scaredy 
  5. Jekyll and Hyde
  6. Pigpen

RENOVA regards,

Dr. Tom Cocklereece

NAME YOUR GREMLIN: Blamer

One way you can get out of your way is to name your gremlin. A gremlin in this sense is a self-defeating behavior that reappears in life, work, and relationships that prevents you from achieving a new level of success. Like in the movie by the same name, gremlins usually are latent and easy to live with until they are activated by external or internal factors, either past, present, or perceived future. Naming them can help you to be aware of your self-defeating behavior so you may make intentional decisions that are edifying and rewarding to all involved. The introductory article to this series is at http://renovacoaching.com/2010/10/05/get-out-of-your-way/ .

It is likely that you have known someone who has the gremlin named “Blamer,” that is, they seem to always blame somebody or something for their failure. They rarely accept responsibility for anything and even when they do, their statement usually includes some measure of blaming. If Blamer is your gremlin, you need to know two things: 1) you are sabotaging your success and relationships, and 2) your future opportunities will gradually diminish. If this is what you want out of life then keep Blamer as your pet and feed him well with criticism of others at every opportunity. On the other hand, if you desire to improve your relationships and increase future opportunities, always be aware of your latent blaming potential and critical spirit. Then,…stop,…accept responsibility,…and do your best with no excuses (another gremlin). You will enjoy improved relationships and more opportunities. However, you may need to get to the heart of the matter.

Blaming is often disguised as unhealthy guilt that has never been resolved. Remember that when you point to others there are three fingers pointing back to you—four if your thumb is double-jointed. Ask yourself several questions:

  1. Has there been a cataclysmic event in my life that provides me with an unending well of anger and resentment?
  2. Have others ever told you that you are always critical or blaming?
  3. Do you see accepting responsibility and admitting your failings a weakness?
  4. Do you repeatedly share blame stories with family and friends? You may find that it’s like a fish story in which the fault blamed on others get bigger with each telling.

I like what Rick Warren teaches in his well know book The Purpose-Driven Life: “Don’t get bitter but choose to get better.”  Forgiveness of others and self is the remedy.

Links to the Gremlin series:

  1. Introduction
  2. Blamer
  3. Denial
  4. Scaredy 
  5. Jekyll and Hyde
  6. Pigpen

RENOVA regards,

Dr. Tom Cocklereece

Hire me as your coach. I useGoToMeetingfor online distance sessions. Coaching sessions and our relationship is confidential but your success will be visible to all. Contact me for a complementary session at drthomreece@bellsouth.net .

GET OUT OF YOUR WAY!

Have you ever found yourself experiencing a challenge or failure that had a déjà vu feeling as if you have been here before? Then there is the realization that yes, you have repeated some of the same self-defeating behaviors that achieved a similar unpleasant result before. Call it DNA, mental loops, or whatever you want but you have the life, marriage, relationships, marriage, etc., that you have built for yourself one decision at a time. We tend to hope and pray for a new start only to find that after receiving it, we wind up in the same situation—wishing we had a “do over.” Of course you have heard the definition of insanity—doing the same things over and over while expecting different results.

Whether you get a mulligan or not, what will you do to change the next chapter of your life’s story? You cannot change your DNA but there are three things you can be aware of as you dig yourself out of that hole or start over again:

  1. Spiritual Transformation
  2. Change your values
  3. Tame your gremlins

Three ways you may “get out of your way” are 1) spiritual transformation, change your values, and 2) tame your gremlins.

SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION

The one act that can bring the desired change is receiving Jesus Christ as Lord. For those who have never made a heart-felt decision to accept Christ, they cannot comprehend how this step would change their life for good. One the other hand, those who receive Christ often wonder why they did not make the decision long before they did. Indeed there is a mystery to the transformational change that takes place as the new Christian’s values are changed as a result of accepting Christ. Romans 10:9-10 is one of the best Bible passages that illustrates what is required for spiritual transformation:

9 That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV)

CHANGE YOUR VALUES

Changing your values is easier said than done but it can be done! Why are values so important and how do they affect your life? Values form the template or filter through which most of your decisions are made. There are essentially two kinds of life-shaping values—intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic values are heart values that seem to come naturally to you. They were formed unknowingly and often unintentionally through experiences, relationships with family, associations with friends, and DNA. One’s DNA rarely works alone to shape one’s behavior but rather it works in tandem with one of the other factors. When one decides to change their values, they find that it is difficult to do. Intrinsic values are the basis of what are called Underlying Automatic Commitments (UACs) meaning that many decisions are made with little thought. Think of UACs as a traffic signal with the common red, yellow, and green lights, but with UACs all three lights are green. Here is a way to understand UACs:

  • Underlying—decisions are made below one’s awareness and require little thought
  • Automatic—decisions are made automatically with little intentionality
  • Commitment—since decisions are underlying and automatic, an obligation has essentially been made once two of the three “switches” have activated

As you may see, great intentionality must be exercised in order to make a decision other than that which the UAC has already mandated. This is not to say that one cannot arrest the UAC process in order to change the outcome. In fact, that is exactly what must take place but it is incredibly difficult to do. There is one exception, however—an epiphany experience with God through which HE changes the person’s “operating system.” In such cases, the template and filter through which decisions are made is transformed.

Perhaps there are extrinsic or aspirational values one may adopt in order to “fix” one’s decision-making process. This at least may change the Underlying Automatic Commitmentto an Underlying Automatic Contingency—meaning that there is an intentional pause for thought BEFORE a final decision is made.  Remember that it takes only 21 days to develop a bad habit but it takes 66 days to develop a good one, which speaks to the reason why positive change is so difficult.

TAME YOUR GREMLINS

You may remember the 1984 movie Gremlins about a cute little pet given to a boy as a Christmas gift. There were three rules about keeping a gremlin: never expose it to bright lights, don’t get it wet, and never feed it after midnight. Of course all three rules were broken in the movie and the cute gremlin became many little monsters. The connection is that even with good values and a contingency process for decision-making, you may find that you often make impulsive decisions that are almost always poor choices. Rick Carson suggests that we often listen to our inner voices that are “gremlins” created out of one’s experience and desires that become our own worst enemy. (Taming Your Gremlin, 11)

Indeed, there are some good spiritual lessons here for the one who is interested in transformation, but even Christians sometimes struggle with destructive “inner voices.” I’m reminded of a tweet by Rick Warren that said, “Before you sin Satan says “It’s no big deal!” Afterwards he says “This is so big; you can never be forgiven” Both lies.” Gremlins tear down self esteem of the person who needs it; builds up the ego of the arrogant person; influences people to make the wrong decision with “eyes wide open;” and laugh at people after the damage has been done.

Unlike the fictional movie, these gremlins are real and people struggle with them often. Apply the opposite of the first of the three rules in the movie: expose gremlins to the light. Gremlins are tamed by identifying and naming them. When you are aware of your self-defeating behavior, you can make better decisions that will change the story of your life. This article begins a series that will help readers overcome self-defeating behavior.

Links to the Gremlin series:

  1. Introduction
  2. Blamer
  3. Denial
  4. Scaredy 
  5. Jekyll and Hyde
  6. Pigpen

RENOVA regards,

Dr. Tom Cocklereece

Hire me as your coach. I useGoToMeetingfor online distance sessions. Coaching sessions and our relationship is confidential but your success will be visible to all. Contact me for a complementary session at drthomreece@bellsouth.net .

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