Inner Critic or Inner Wisdom - Pinterest pinWhen I’ve talked about gremlins in the past, I’ve had people ask me how they’re supposed to tell if that voice they’re hearing is their inner critic or their inner wisdom. How do you distinguish between gremlins and what I usually refer to as “the whisper within” – your inner guidance or inner wisdom – trying to tell you that this is really not the best path for you to take?

Well, that takes a little bit of patience. It involves taking the time to be still and really look within for the answers. Check in with your emotions; when you think about what you’re trying to do, are you afraid, but still excited about it, or are you afraid and dreading it right to the pit of your stomach?

If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later! ~Richard Branson

If there’s fear, but still excitement, it’s probably the right path for you and working through the fear is the best step you can take to bring yourself closer to your dream. If there’s mostly terror or a sickening sense of dread, then listen to that and don’t do it – it’s probably not the best path, or just not the right time.

Gremlins Come Knocking…

For example: my first-ever book signing. It was in a local large-chain bookstore, and I had no idea what to expect going into it. As the day crept closer, I started getting more and more nervous as my inner gremlin popped up, filling my head with horrible thoughts:

  • I don’t know anything about book signing! What if I do or say something stupid and mess everything up?
  • What if nobody buys any books and the store manager is all disappointed in me?
  • What if nobody shows up at all and I end up sitting there all alone, getting pity stares from the bookstore staff?

Sometimes we back away from opportunities because we’re scared. If it’s something we’ve never done before, we may start panicking because we don’t want to mess up and look like an idiot in front of people. But sometimes, the fear itself is an indicator that this is something you should do.

Fear AND excitement = inner wisdom

The key to telling whether a scary new opportunity is something to pursue is if the fear you’re feeling is also tinged with excitement. If there’s fear AND excitement, that means you should go for it. If you’re flat out terrified and thinking that un-anaesthetized dental surgery would be more fun, then don’t do it.

In my case, I was both scared and excited, so I pushed through my fear and went to the book signing. And you know what? It went just fine. And with what I learned that first time around, I knew that the next one would be even better!

Are you trying to decide whether to jump on a big opportunity in your own life? Check in with your gut and figure out whether those are over-excited butterflies, or razor-toothed sharks swimming around in there. And always make it a point to chase after your butterflies… they know the way. 🙂


photo credit: cc (modified by me)

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