• Evict Those Gremlins Squatting On Your Valuable Cognitive Real Estate

    Posted on June 4, 2014 by in ADHD, Business, Career, EMDR, Entrepreneurship, Executive Skills, Goals, Job, Negative self-talk, Self-esteem, Trauma, Whole Person, Work/Life Integration


    In the entrepreneurial world, there is a specific required mindset to start a business as well as to see it thrive and succeed. A bulletproof mindset, if you will.


    An Entrepreneurial Mindset Is Rooted in Effectual Reasoning

    According to the research, successful entrepreneurs use to see success in their ventures. Effectual reasoning is the ability to imagine an end goal, using a given set of means.

    The principles of effectual reasoning lead to particular ways of thinking that separate the successful entrepreneur from everyone else.

    How the Entrepreneurial Mindset Thinks

    Entrepreneurs are most successful when they:

    • Think by actions: They do not wait for the perfect opportunity. They start with what they have.
    • Think in possibilities: They don’t need all the resources in place before pursuing an opportunity… just the important ones.
    • Think in ambiguity: They embrace surprises that arise out of uncertainty and will adjust goals on the fly rather than be held by previous ones.
    • Embrace risk: An entrepreneur’s actions are based on the acceptable downside, more than on the attractiveness of the predicted upside.
    • Think in patterns: They know how to apply concepts and patterns from existing worlds to explain innovations in worlds as yet unseen.
    • Think incessantly: There is no off button in the entrepreneur’s mind. They are incessantly curious, opportunistic, and optimistic.
    • Think internally: Rather than let others and external factors determine the value of outcomes, the entrepreneur uses their internal locus of control to direct their destiny, to work for their achievements, to delay gratification, and to plan with an eye for long-term benefits. Entrepreneurs never think of themselves as victims.
    • Think of value-add: Entrepreneurs focus primarily on creating new value for others. They seek out partnerships willing to jointly create the future and are least concerned with traditional competitive analyses and strategic planning approaches.
    • Think of making meaning: The goal is to make the world a better place starting with living their passions. Making money is not the goal but, a means to that goal.

    (Click for a summary of the original research.)

    There’s a lot of thinking going on here; a lot of cognitive processes. In other words, executive skills are necessary to be able to engage in the principles of entrepreneurship.

    The Greatest Barrier to the Entrepreneurial Mindset

    The greatest barrier, or obstacle to entrepreneurship, is a mindset that has at its foundation in a negative way of thinking about self in the context of relationships, circumstances and events. These negative cognitions are illogical, disruptive and feel real. They are the “gremlins” that either stop an entrepreneur in their tracks or cause them to work harder than they really need to.

    Think about the energy it takes to manage the many demands of entrepreneurship on top of expending the personal energy needed to manage the internal dialogue that ensues when one of these gremlins speaks. They hinder traction, action and achievement of the upper limit of potential success. The most common ones I hear in my office:

    “I am not good enough.”
    “I am not worthy of success.”
    “I am not capable of succeeding.”
    “I am broken/crazy/wrong/stupid.”
    “I am a failure.”

     You’re Busy. So Are The Gremlins

    Don’t tell me you don’t have gremlins. To some extent, I know for a fact many of you do. And, some of you live with an open buffet table that is open well after midnight.

    Your gremlins are feasting every day and are hell bent on causing all kinds of trouble.

    Making it difficult to bounce back from setbacks.
    Creating scenarios that sabotage your success.
    Amplifying the negative.
    Making it difficult to pivot when things don’t go as plan.
    Creating aversion to failure and risk.
    Making change impossible, if not downright difficult.
    Eating up emotional, physical and relational resources at a fast clip.
    Keeping you distracted, making it difficult to give your full attention to achieving your goals.
    Making it difficult to establish strong partnerships.

    How do these gremlins take up residence and squat on valuable cognitive real estate?

    The short answer is trauma.

    Hang in there, because it will all become clear, real soon.

    Not One, But Two Types of Trauma

    In the trauma treatment world, there are two types of trauma – Big “T” trauma (sexual assault, war, accidents, terrorism, etc.) and little “t” trauma (childhood sexual/emotional/physical abuse, bullying, domestic violence, etc.). Little “t” traumatic events include any single or series of events in your life that are emotionally disturbing. These events can be recognized by how they made you feel at the time: shamed, abused, rejected, abandoned, humiliated, fearful, and a sense of injustice directed toward you (to name a few). These are the broken windows through which gremlins enter and it takes a lot of effort to get them under control and evict them.

    FreedomAside from the impact ADHD has on executive skills, many of my ADHD clients struggle with their personal gremlins on a regular basis. They know they are brilliant, they know they have the resources and they know the strategies to compensate for their ADHD. But, the gremlins often cause gridlock or make individuals feel they have a weight attached to them which prevents flight. People can move, but not very far or very fast.

    Many adults with ADHD are diagnosed later in life because ADHD was not understood as well as it is today. No-one knew how to recognize it, let alone deal with it. The fallout of negative academic, work performance and social interactional experiences due to a lifetime of struggling with undiagnosed ADHD can easily lead to injuries to self-confidence and resilience (the ability to bounce back from a setback).

    The Traditional Solution

    There are a lot of solutions out there to deal with negative cognitions. All of them focused on either replacing the thoughts or managing your “buttons”. The bulk of strategies helped to identify the button, protect it so having the button pushed was less likely or how to respond if the button got pushed.

    You are already familiar with the traditional ways of dealing with negative self-talk.

    Imagine For A Moment

    Freedom!What if you could remove the buttons altogether and automatically replace them with the good stuff? What if you didn’t have to manage, protect and/or respond to the buttons? What if you could get rid of your gremlins? Eliminate the head trash? How much more emotional energy would be available to you to put towards your goals?

    Pretty cool, right?

    The Better Solution

    The better solution resides in four letters. E-M-D-R. EMDR stands for “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing”. It is a cognitive based approach to processing illogical negative cognitions in order to resolve them. In other words, EMDR is the bouncer that goes in and forcibly escorts the riffraff from your property. It is also the contractor who swoops in with a team to renovate the property so it is much less likely to be illegally occupied again.

    Click here for a video that explains EMDR better than I ever could.

    Bear in mind this was a report on EMDR done by ABC’s 20/20 in 1997 and the current neuroscience research is beginning to offer solid theories as to how it all works. For a list of current research articles, see the end of this post.

    Ultimately, you don’t need to understand the extensive scientific literature that supports EMDR. All you need to know is that it works. Efficiently.

    EMDR is not for the faint of heart, but it is quick and extremely effective. Your only requirement is to be honest with yourself, feel your feelings and trust the process. 

    Or, you could try and make friends with your gremlins and ask them to leave nicely or learn to ignore them altogether. Frankly, it takes a lot of time, effort and energy to build working relationships with bullies.

    Time and resources you could be putting into something else.

    Ready to wrangle the gremlins in your life? Call me (610-551-8203) or e-mail me (mineela@adhdadults.net) to set up a free 30 minute in office consultation to discuss how we might make it happen.

    Want to see the research on the effectiveness of EMDR? Click

    Mineela J. Chand, M.Div., LMFT


    Mineela is an ADHD & Performance coach, writer, speaker, licensed psychotherapist, EMDRIA trained EMDR therapist, and a passionate gremlin wrangler. Her mission is to help professionals leverage their strengths and help them find freedom from personal obstacles so they can achieve the level of success they know is possible.

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