I wanted to share from my heart something that everyone who strives to do and be more in life experiences: “Gremlin thoughts.”
Gremlin thoughts are those thoughts that tell us:
We can’t do it.
We aren’t worthy.
We shouldn’t even try—we’ll never get the outcome we want.
I have these gremlin thoughts. I bet you do, sometimes, too.
I know that when my gremlin thoughts kick in, it’s usually a sign I’m on the right track in doing something to better my life. But it doesn’t soften the sting of the gremlin thoughts. Those gremlin thoughts know exactly what to say to knock us off-kilter.
When I do branding shoots with my clients, I do interviews to discover their personal brand. I also learn what they want to achieve with their images. After all, it’s an investment to work with me: I want my clients to get an ROI on their investment!
But here’s another reason I need to know what my clients want to achieve with their personal branding images: I want to remind my clients of why they’re making this important investment. Those gremlin thoughts sneak up at the most inopportune time: like right before or during a photo shoot!
Most people don’t like getting their pictures taken because those gremlin thoughts like to kick into overdrive! We’re so self-conscious, critiquing every little thing about ourselves: our weight, our skin, our hair, everything!
I make sure my clients have a fabulous experience during a shoot. I can control for virtually everything, except for those gremlin thoughts. And if my client wants to convey confidence and charisma, the last thing I want my clients to have on their minds are those gremlin thoughts!
Why am I telling you this?
Because whether it’s a branding shoot with me, or deciding to go into business for yourself, or taking the leap in a career move, those gremlin thoughts are designed to keep you in your comfort zone. In fact, most brain scientists and psychologists believe our minds are designed to keep us safe, not necessarily happy! Those gremlin thoughts, while nasty and annoying, are really just our mind’s way of keeping us out of harm’s way. After all, if we play it safe and don’t get out of our comfort zones, then we’re “safe,” right? But you and I know being safe isn’t the same as being fulfilled. And everything we want in life is out of our comfort zone.
I can’t say that I’ve made complete peace with my own gremlin thoughts. My gremlin thoughts still like to show up in the most inopportune times. They’re so annoying! Recently I turned 50…you better believe a few gremlin thoughts came to visit me!
I will say this, though: every time I’ve moved forward, despite what my gremlin thoughts said, I’ve never regretted it. Like you, I’ve packed a lot of life into my short time on earth: ups, downs, setbacks, opportunities…and the way I’ve found to best work with the gremlin thoughts is to acknowledge them and then keep going.
Even something that should be fun like a personal branding shoot can be food for the gremlin thoughts.
“You shouldn’t spend that money on photos”
“You won’t like how you look”
“You should reschedule until you lose 10 pounds”
Because I know these gremlin thoughts exist for all of us, I help create the conditions so my clients can disregard the gremlin thoughts and get on with having a fabulous shoot. But I know it’s my clients who ultimately have to step out of their comfort zone and embrace the truth that they are worth it, that they are beautiful, and that they are doing something that matters.
Here’s also something else I’ve observed from the clients I’ve had the privilege of serving in the last four years I’ve been a professional photographer and personal branding consultant. My clients experience incredible amounts of confidence when they see their true, authentic brand come to life. It’s a snowball effect. It takes courage to choose yourself and invest in your personal brand, sidestepping those gremlin thoughts. And that courage turns into confidence when my clients see their authentic brand come to life. Who they are on the inside is truly revealed with the images we take. And that confidence snowballs in how they show up to their clients, prospects and business opportunities. That’s why I feel the impact of my work just keeps multiplying every time a client calls or texts to share a new deal or opportunity they created.
I love my work. I get to photograph amazing people who make investments in themselves so they can do more, serve bigger, and achieve more. I know that my most successful clients have their own gremlin thoughts. But they keep going. And that’s inspirational for me.
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