“If you give your inner genius as much credence as your inner critic, you will be light years ahead of where you stand”- Alan Cohen

When was the last time your gremlins showed up in your life?

As someone who grew up in the world between the rich and the poor of Burma, I got to see both sides of the world.

While I was the witness of the dark secrets of the rich, I was also the spectator of the struggles of the poor. While a part of me was influenced by the lifestyle of the rich, a part of me empathised with the conditions of the poor.

At 8, I was into wandering around our neighbourhood, playing with street kids, selling things on the street side so I could raise money for the families who lived in thatched huts.

At 22, I moved to another country and started working in an investment bank. Suddenly, I was in a big city and surrounded by people who talked about how many carrots they ate and what ab classes they attended.

I felt like a crow among a flock of doves and my self-talk, a.k.a. inner gremlin, was born. I wasn’t fashionable enough. I wasn’t slim enough. I wasn’t eating carrots enough. I wasn’t partying enough. I wasn’t cool enough.

Before I realised, I’d disappeared down the rabbit hole where I was ashamed of myself. My inner gremlins took over the role of running my life.

Before I knew it, the self-talk turned into shame. Then into self-loathing. All because I was comparing myself with others. When was the last time you compared yourself to someone else?

That didn’t make you feel good, did it?

Bye-bye Gremlin

Then one day I woke up and found myself in front of a mirror. And I didn’t like the person looking back at me. I stripped myself naked and looked at every part of my body. First with disgust, then shame. And then tears started streaming down my face.

Out of nowhere, I said to myself “I love you. It’s not you who’s been saying mean things to you. You temporarily rented out space to a gremlin.”

That was the moment I realised that when we’re not waking up intentionally every day and conscious of our mental space, it’s so easy for something else to take over. I then made a promise to myself that I will be the Mother Teresa to my inner-child and the Guardian of my spirit and the Protector of my mental space.

Bye bye Gremlin. And hello Arabelle.

Since then, I’ve been diligently practicing my daily rituals that have not only changed my mindset but also propelled my life into directions that I never thought was possible.

We’re creatures of habit. Routines are what makes things easy for us. If you didn’t know, pay attention to which side you start brushing your teeth every morning and which side you start soaping. It’s always the same.

How do you drive a car without having to think about all the things you need to do?

Memory. Habit. Routine. Neurons that fire together wire together.

In our brain, there are neuro-pathways that create our thought patterns. Imagine walking on the same path on the grass patch. The more you walk, the bigger the footpath becomes. So when we train ourselves to think of things in a certain way, without us having to even think about it, we’re already running our operating system in the patterns.

If we can create patterns that give power to the inner gremlin, then we can also create new patterns that tame it.

5 Ways To Tame Your Inner Gremlin

So if you’re someone who has been saying mean things to yourself, comparing yourself with others, always feeling the need to fit in with, if not be better than, others and feeling that “you’re just not good enough”, you’ll find these steps helpful for you.

1. Awareness

As you know, awareness is everything. When we don’t pay attention, we go into auto-pilot mode. That’s why meditation and some other self-help practices come in handy because it helps you to create that deep connection with yourself and see yourself clearly why you are the way you are.

So the first step is to pay attention; not from the place of judging yourself but from a place of witnessing. Write out the thoughts that come into your mind throughout the day – especially the negative ones. You’ll be surprised how you’ve been programming your mind.

2. Heart vs. Ego

Most of the time, the intention of the ego is not to hurt us but to keep us safe. One of the basic human instincts is to stick to the familiar, and the ego is scared of going to places where it hasn’t been.

So when you start hearing negative thoughts, the easiest way you can identify whether it’s coming from ego or your heart is to write them down. For example, “You’re not good enough” – the ego. “Try your best and you’ll get there” – your heart. If you hear only the negative, check in with your heart to see what it would say. The heart always has something to say, but most of the time, it’s just very subtle and gentle. Write it down without any judgment.

3. Choosing consciously

Every day when we wake up, we’re always choosing something. But if we’re not paying attention, we’ll choose what’s automatic for us, i.e. the inner gremlins.

I now have a practice of waking up every day setting mini-intentions. For example, “Today I choose to be a little bit more kind to myself even if I think I’m not good enough”, “Today I choose to trust in life even if things are a bit challenging”, “Today I choose to be grateful for the life I get to live”. Just like everything else, when we choose the thoughts that benefit us consciously over and over again, then it becomes a habit.

4. Clarity

I find that the key to living a successful life (whatever your definition of success may be) is to have clarity. Clarity of where you are, where you want to be, where the gaps are, and finally, the most important question: “Who do I need to be today for me to step into the future version of myself that I aspire to be?” If we don’t have clarity about what we want, how do we know what it is that we need to choose?

5. Gratitude

Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis said that those who are grateful are not only able to reduce stress levels in their bodies by 23% but also promote their immune system and receive many other health benefits.

Gratitude is about creating the habit of consciously choosing to focus on the things that we have, rather than the things that we don’t have. When we cultivate the practice of gratitude, it slowly takes up the negative space where the gremlins thrive.


Even as someone who grew up between the two worlds knowing that I didn’t have to fit in, the part of me that wanted to be accepted wanted to fit in. Gremlins are always looking for a window of opportunity, and if we aren’t aware, they can take over the driver seat. The practices I shared above are simple, but they are transformational when we turn them into daily rituals.

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup; it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” ~Bruce Lee

 


Arabelle Yee is a writer, lover of life and adventurer, goes by the official titles of International Speaker, Life & Business Strategist and Clinical Psychotherapist at www.arabelleyee.com. Born Buddhist, taught in ancient indigenous wisdom, trained in modern healing modalities and naturally curious about life, Arabelle teaches, writes and speaks about all things mindset and how we can be the Conscious Creators of our future.  If you want to learn more about how to stop feeling stuck with the inner gremlin and start stepping into your inner genius, I invite you to check out Be Charged.Life here.


All of us have the yearning to be the best at what we do. It’s just a matter of whether we acknowledge it or we deny it out of fear of failure.

But before we talk about it, I want to first clarify that when I said ‘be the best at what you do’, I meant be the best at what you do. Not be better than anyone else – be better than your past self.

In this article, I will break down phases we need to go through to be the best at what we do, how we go about doing that, and most importantly, the mindset aspects of making it happen.

Understanding how the mind works

First of all, we need to understand that we have two levels of work; Level 1 is the Inner Work and Level 2 is the Outer Work. Level 1 is where we learn the mindset mastery and Level 2 is where we go out and make things happen – writing, speaking, teaching, etc. In order for us to be the best at what we do, we can’t skip levels. We must master Level 1 first. Without mastering Level 1, we won’t pass in Level 2 – it will be a trial and error with so much time, money and effort wasted.

Now in Level 1, there are two types of mindset; Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset. Fixed Mindset is where we are ok with mediocrity; we make excuses, we play safe and we let ourselves be the biggest roadblock in the way.

However, in the Growth Mindset we’re driven, motivated and inspired from within. We choose the path that’s less travelled. We still experience fears but we do it anyway. This is the zone where we want to operate from and this is the only zone that will propel us to move forward. In this zone, we will still face the invisible blocks but we become consciously aware of them and learn how to harness the courage.

This is where I’ll breakdown the invisible obstacles or the mental barriers that hold us back in life.

Be the best - barriers

1. Comparison

Remember I said above that it’s not about being better than other people but being better than your past self? I believe that all of us have our own limitations and opportunities. All of us are here on earth for different reasons.

We fall into the trap of continuously comparing ourselves with others. Sure we’re being programmed to do that – I understand. Magazines, movies, advertisements – all telling us how we’re not good enough ‘when compared to the models in the advertisements’. But let’s not forget our intention here – to be the best at what we do – that means to not follow the rules that everyone else is following.

So why compare yourself and come from a place of ego when everyone else is doing?

2. Failure

I know, I know – you’ve heard of this cheesy line: “There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback”. It’s watered down now that so many people are saying it. But really though, what is failure?

Is it not seeing your creation on your first go, or is it not seeing it at all?

Many people quit before they even start. Many people start but they don’t follow through. That is failure. If you tried and things didn’t turn out the way you wanted, it’s gold. Because now you have the benchmark where you started and the creation that you can refine over time.

3. Criticism

My favourite, of course. As someone who speaks up a lot about this and copped a lot of criticism from people driven by fear, I’ve learned the hard way myself in a humble way that the higher you go, the more you will receive it. People will judge either way. At the end of the day, that’s how we’re wired to understand between table and chair, white and black, good and bad, envy and jealousy.

But criticism itself isn’t bad. Some criticisms are opportunities inviting us to see parts of ourselves that we may be blinded by. And those criticising us may be doing us a great favour to go within and look at ourselves in a way that we’ve never done before.

4. Patience

Every master was once an amateur. Again, as a millennial who had little to no patience who want to get things done right now, I learned it first hand that the key to becoming the best at what I do is patience – not skipping steps, falling down a few times, getting back up, hiring help, getting education, doing the things that wasn’t very exciting but always keeping my eye on the result.

I have a practice of choosing one thing every few months to learn and improve. The last few months, I’ve been improving my patience. I understand implementation with speed is key in this day and age but injecting patience in the learning curve is king.

5. Passion and love

Confucius said “Do a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day”. I’ve taken it to heart since I was young. In other words, be ruthless about your alignment – alignment to doing only what lights you up. I have a list of things that I feel aligned to and not aligned to.

By doing that, I now have the clarity of what I will say yes to and what I will say no to. Never say YES to doing things out of fear. That way, I choose to do only what I love and that alone is enough to inspire me from within.

Phases of becoming the best at what you do

Be the best - Stages

In each phase, there are steps that we need to follow.

PLANNING PHASE

1. Pick one

Obvious, yes? If you are a creative like me, you sit and meditate to calm your mind but instead, you come up with another 100 ideas of what you can do. Well, multitasking is a myth – unless you’re born part of the 2% of the world population who can actually do that.

But for the rest of us, when we multitask, the statistics show that our productivity goes down by 20% with each task. So pick one area that you want to become the best at and continue with the rest of the steps.

2. Fill your toolbox

Even plumbers and handymen have to keep adding new tools to their toolbox in order to do the job with efficiency and excellence. I’m a lifelong student who sits in the rooms of the experts who are teaching about wealth, health, productivity, spirituality, mindset, high performance… the list goes on. Why? In order for me to be the best at what I do, I need to continuously upgrade my knowledge and experience. Otherwise, I’ll be stuck with my limited knowledge or not being able to create the impact that I want to create.

3. Set a routine

Humans are routine creatures. That’s how our brain is wired. Wake up, brush teeth, wash face, go for a jog, drink almond cappuccino. When we get out of routine, we feel something is missing.

And not following a routine is also a routine itself – be lazy, watch Netflix, go to a bar and sleep.

So how can we set a routine that will start driving us towards the path of excellence? Pick a few things that will get you fired up and be in the zone. For me it’s playing high-vibe music and dancing to it, meditating, or jumping into the pool and swimming a few laps. Also scheduling every single that I have to do each day in my calendar. I’m ruthless with my calendar because if I don’t prioritise what’s important for me, others will prioritise it for me.

4. Be different

I’ve touched on this point a little bit above. In order for us to be the best at what we do, we need to do something that’s different from what everyone’s doing, and most importantly, from what we’ve been doing in the past. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got – right? So let’s not follow the rules that everyone’s following. Let’s not be programmed by the same mental barriers that everyone’s being held hostage of and let’s not follow the path that everyone’s going.

DOING PHASE

1. Done is better than perfect

Ohhh, when I heard that, it gave me permission not to get things perfect. Being a perfectionist, I used to wait till the stars were aligned, things were ready and until everything was polished. But really, done is better than perfect. Tweak as you go. If Apple waited till they have iPhone 7, they would never have even started – we would never have had this technology connecting us with ease.

2. Consistency

Now you’ve done it, and you’ve put your work out there. But to be the best at what you do, consistency is key. Repetition is crucial. Dedication is a must.

From Okay to Excellent, it takes time and patience. How do you think Olympic champions became champions? How do you think Roger Federer became the greatest tennis player of all times? Hitting the same ball over and over. Consistency.

3. Strive for excellence

The definition of excellence is ’extremely good’. Not by someone else’s standards, or in comparison to someone else, but in the standard of striving for excellence with your own benchmark.

Done is definitely better than perfect, but it’s about upgrading that done to another level every time something is done. Otherwise it becomes complacency. Being complacent is being stagnant. Being stagnant is the definition of death!

REPEAT PHASE

This is the stage of review, feedback and refine. Watch what worked and what didn’t work. Repeat what worked and refine it until it gets better. When Henry Ford started Ford, he started with the Model T back in 1908, but today we have Fords that do all sorts of things that Model T couldn’t do in 1908 – what changed? Review, feedback and refine.


So to sum it up, you go through 3 phases; Planning, Doing and Repeating. In each phase, we have little steps that we need to take. In order to really get there, we must then combine these steps with the mindset mastery. Is it a lot? You judge for yourself. For me, if I really want to be the best at what I do, I choose nothing short of this. At the end of the day, it’s about choosing. What do you choose? Mediocrity, or being the best at what you do?

All the best implementing these and don’t forget to have fun too. If you want to get things done and become the best version of yourself, check out Be Charged.Life.


Every memory of childhood is about me spending time in nature, spending time with the animals or wandering around in the neighbourhood on my own.

Pretty much all my life, I’ve always loved solitary time and I lived with the silent feeling that I didn’t fit in… until I realised that it wasn’t true.

Opposites attract each other; the majority of my friends that I had and have are extroverts. What I didn’t know was how much I enjoyed being around them because they did all the talking and I did all the listening. This had eventually led to me to do what I do today which requires a lot of attentive listening.

Even now, people sometimes consider it a a weakness that when I attend trainings, I’m shy, quiet and that I don’t mingle with groups. Now this is different when I lead my own events and workshops. More on that later. Of course, they probably didn’t say that out of bad intentions, but for a long time, that really made me believe that I have a major weakness – I don’t fit in.

I’m shy. I’m quiet. I can’t mingle with groups. That’s what my inner-critic says.

It became an affirmation in my head which made it worse. So if you’re someone who goes through similar things, I’ve got great news for you.

As an INTP by Myer Briggs Personality Test and someone who has experienced the not-so-favourable side of being an introvert, I get you.

I’ve done a lot of research over the years, and especially recently, on this very topic, with the intention to be more like them and to work on my weaknesses. Little did I know what I’d find would change my life.

So first up, it is not a weakness. In fact, it’s a strength.

The world is set up for extroverts

If you look back at the early 20th century, women were expected to be quiet, modest, reserved, shy and mild-mannered. Fast forward a hundred years later, the requirements in workplaces and businesses have changed. We now want people who are driven, energetic, sociable, outgoing and of an extroverted nature.

The person who speaks louder, who’s more out there, and has more dominance seems to be a better fit for leadership positions. Verbal fluency and sociability are the two most important factors for success, according to Stanford Business School. I’ve been part of so many masterminds, workshops and trainings. Every time we had to pick a leader, 9 out of 10 times, people would naturally pick someone who has an out-there personality and loud voice, and exudes dominance.

As an introvert, I watch. I sit back. I learn. I listen. So I see.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that being an introvert is hard not only in the workplaces and businesses but also in the society. When we’re seen as timid and shy, we automatically lose people’s subconscious votes for us to become leaders.

So we very hard to be extroverts. In fact, back in 1999 a drug called Paxil was produced to enhance extroversion and to cure shyness.

As a result, introverts go against their natural tendency and pretend to talk confidently and loudly, however uncomfortable it may be. We then feel more stressed and take longer time to recuperate from it when we finally have the time to be ourselves.

This was definitely my experience. When I found myself in situations where I had what it took for me a leader, but my natural tendency wasn’t to talk loudly, my voice wasn’t heard. Then someone who could speak louder, but was not necessarily a better leader, was given the leadership position.

Or I would push myself to speak louder, act more outgoing, and go to networking events with a big grin as if I was a complete extrovert, just so I’d be noticed or heard. That worked, and it got me business, but then I wouldn’t go out for the next five days because I was recovering all the energy I’d used.

How introverts and extroverts operate

So before we go any further, it’s good to understand the differences between introverts and extroverts. This table only scratches the surface but this will give you an idea of how we operate differently.

On top of that, one thing that really blew my mind was the in-depth research done by a scientist named Jerome Kagan – which shows how our natural tendencies influence how we perceive the world and how we show up every day.

One thing about me that people comment on, both in a negative and positive way—depending on who’s making the comment—is that I’m very sensitive. Being sensitive has such a negative connotations, but being sensitive also comes from a place of deep care for others and also how we’re wired.

Highly sensitive people not only just pick up the slightest cues from those around us that happen within split seconds, we also feel the words and expressions of others deeply. Surprisingly, we also feel other people’s energies twice as much. In the spiritual world, we’re called “empaths”—those who feel and take on other people’s energies in our bodies.

I’ve sat in countless numbers of transformational workshops where we do deep mindset work, and also in the jungles of South America working with indigenous shamans on traditional healing modalities. When I sat in groups and circles where people experienced healing of their past traumas, I’d feel them as my own in my body. Most of the time, with healing comes a lot of pain and I would be confused as to why I was feeling so much emotional and physical pain. I used to think—because of the comments I’ve received over the years—that I was too sensitive, and simply dramatising the whole experience.

But are we really dramatising it or are our bodies made genetically to be that way?

The answer from Kagan’s research, where he monitors 500 people from infancy to adulthood, shows that although it’s not black and white clear-cut, we’re highly influenced by the temperament and the genetics we’re born with that defines how we take in information daily.

So the question is, how do we go about in our lives as introverts?

As Susan Cain says in her famous TedTalk on introversion, her way of socialising is to be in a room full of people who love to read and internally reflect, but enjoy each other’s company.

We’re all built and wired differently, and the first step is to recognise and acknowledge our natural tendencies and to optimise our performance based on it.

So here are some of the things that I would suggest and that I personally do to navigate a world that favours extroversion in interpersonal relationships and leadership positions.

Connect with people one on one

Although I can switch gears to my adapted extroverted self, I prefer to connect deeply with people one on one. So when you’re with a group of people, you will intuitively pick out a person you can connect with. Although the rules of networking is about getting to know as many people as possible and getting seen as much as possible, that one profound connection will create not only a more meaningful relationship, but also open several exciting doors.

Practice

If, like me, you give talks to large groups of people, practise, practise and practise. Find out what’s required of you, what’s expected of you and what you need to deliver. Again, connect to one person each in the audience. This will transfer that energy that you’re transmitting to the group like wildfire.

Solitary is paradise

I’m a lone wolf and I absolutely love my solitary time. This time alone allows us to reflect and go within to start the introspection process and come up with many ideas. How do you think Steve Wozniak (the co-founder of Apple) or Ghandi can make such impacts on the world? By spending alone time to recharge, reflect and create.

Listening

One of my strengths since young is my ability to listen with the intent to understand, and to ask questions that make people think. It’s what led me to where I am today in my business. Many people like to talk, and not many listen. When there’s someone who listens and ask questions, that makes people feel heard and special. That also allows you to understand people better. One of the traits to win friends and influence people—from the famous book by Dale Carnegie—is to listen, and by doing so you put the spotlight on others which makes people appreciate you more.

Use social media

From watching my social media videos and livestreams and judging my energy and enthusiasm, many people believe I’m an extrovert. The thing is, that energy and enthusiasm comes from being able to spend majority of my waking hours alone—thinking, reflecting and creating. So if you struggle to connect with large groups of people in person because it drains your energy levels far too quickly, social media is the best way to spread your message.


So there you go. Being quiet, soft-spoken and needing a lot of time on your own isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the majority of leaders who are making an impact in the world are introverts.

The key here is to honour our natural tendencies and learn ways to navigate in our daily lives so we can optimise our performance to the max. Let’s put an end to suppressing who we are and start showing up in our authentic selves. The world doesn’t need more fast-talkers, big personalities and dominant characters. The world needs more leaders who honour their true self and show up with courage, conviction and authenticity.

 

Arabelle Yee a nationally recognised Speaker, Life Strategist and High Performance Coach. She helps individuals, entrepreneurs and professionals become the best at what they do through the power of mindset. “A cross between Elizabeth Gilbert and Tony Robbins”, as her peers would say, Arabelle teaches Leadership, Mindset, Human Behaviour and how to optimise performance. Arabelle works with clients from professionals and change makers to multiple 7-figure entrepreneurs. She’s also been featured on Sunday Times, The West Australian, 7 Days News, Huffington Post and many more.