I’ve decided to start adding more book reviews to my website, because I find recommending helpful books is often both the best way to make headway early in coaching – and it is a great way to make friends and connections. And there are few books I recommend as often as Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting out of Your Own Way, (previously subtitles “A Guide to Enjoying Yourself”).
I first read Taming Your Gremlin when I was struggling with severe depression as a teen, and I found the book incredibly helpful in my own life. TYG taught me to cut out the negative self-talk that was keeping me depressed. It also helped me realize that human beings were all a little bit self-destructive, and it takes patience and kindness to help them figure things out and be kinder to themselves: a philosophy that informs much of my coaching practice today.
Today I keep two copies of Taming Your Gremlin, one for lending out to clients, and one for myself. I like to revisit it every few years, just because it was such an influential book to me.
I won’t say that Taming Your Gremlin is going to change everybody’s life. Like most self-help books, it has one or two very important ideas, and a few useful exercises to overcome one specific problem:
In this case that problem is self-doubt, guilt, shame, and fear preventing you from going out and doing the things in life that you need to do to be happy. It focuses on how to handle that little voice that whispers in your ear when you try do something bold that tells you that you will fail. And for some people, that is a powerful tool.
If that isn’t your own problem, you might find the book strangely simple, and intuitive. If that is the case, then this book could well be a leadership tool for you, or help you understand people in your life whodo not share your confidence. I especially recommend it if you are having trouble relating to a spouse or loved one suffering from an anxiety disorder.
The author of the book, Rick Carson operates one of the oldest coaching practices around, his Gremlin Taming Institute, which trains many coaches and psychologists in how to deal with people that have crippling self-doubt, anxiety, and depression.
The author often encourages people to draw their self-doubt – their gremlin as a monster, so they can imagine him better. Putting a face to your problems an be very helpful. For me, drawing my Gremlin helped me learn that I had a love of painting, and started off a short, but very fulfilling art career:
That is something that I remain grateful to the author for to this day.