Overcoming the GRUFFALO Syndrome: Tapping into Infinite Value and Confidence

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So now you must be asking the question, what is a Gruffalo?

Did he accidently spell buffalo wrong?

The answer is no.

You read correctly and now I’ll explain why understanding the analogy of the Gruffalo is essential for an entrepreneurs high performance and confidence. It’s also essential to preventing the top diseases and disorders of the 21st century, that could be silently developing in your body as you read.

A Gruffalo is a massive eating machine with mounds of matted hair that cover his entire body. His teeth are razor sharp, his claws are big, his eyes are orange, his tongue is black and has purple prickles all over his back. Before you slough this off as a childish nursery rhyme, know this. The Gruffalo analogy, once you understand it, will help access higher levels of emotional performance. The Gruffalo waits for you at the kitchen table while you get your coffee, he sneers at you from across the board room, sits at your dinner table and tries to sabotage the entrepreneurs life.

Sadly, the Gruffalo controls most entrepreneurs in this world.

What Is Your Gruffalo?

As you already may know the Gruffalo is a mythological creature, a creature created by a mouse to be exact. The story goes like this. Once there was a mouse who was walking through a deep dark wood when all of a sudden he was confronted by a sly fox. The fox invited the mouse over for “dinner”.

The mouse could see the fox’s intentions instantly and in a moment let the fox know he couldn’t attend this momentous occasion because he was meeting a “friend” called a Gruffalo. After a long drawn out explanation of all the deadly attributes of the Gruffalo; specifically the Gruffalos favorite food: roasted fox. The fox decides it’s better for his life not to stick around and shoots into the brush.

The mouse goes on to meet a hungry owl and an appetite driven snake who were informed by the fox about the mouse’s large fierce friend the “Gruffalo”. With every explanation, the mouse gets better at explaining his terrifying friend the Gruffalo and even better at relating the Gruffalo with his predator’s worst fears. The story goes on to explain that what he created in his mind, turned into reality… He comes face to face with a real live Gruffalo!


The Gruffalo trys to eat him but in his craftiness he tells the Gruffalo, “Gruffalo don’t eat me, walk behind me then you’ll see that everyone in the forest is scared of me”. From sheer curiosity, the Gruffalo sets him down and soon sees that the snake, the owl and the fox are all terrified when they see the little mouse.

The Gruffalo is the entrepreneurs made up story, to make themselves look better than they are, or cope with pain in their life.

Your Gruffalo blocks you from living to your full potential. From accessing high performance. From cultivating the most authentic relationships, and being your most productive self.

So what is the Gruffalo in your life? What inauthentic story are you telling about yourself? About what you’ve accomplished? About who you are? What lies are you believing that are embedded in your story that inhibit you from experiencing your full potential?

Let me get real to give you an example of what some of my Gruffalo’s have been in the past:

  • Telling myself that I make more money that I did (holding me back from massive growth)
  • Believing an issue in my relationship was “no big deal” (when in reality, if I didn’t kill the story, it could have distroyed everything)
  • Creating unrealistic expectations for myself based off of other people’s stories (people will always put their best foot forward on social media and in conversations… live your life, don’t fall into the performance depleting “comparison trap” of comparing your life to some embellished version of someone elses).

As you know, I work with high performing executives and entrepreneurs around the world. These are common emotional Gruffalos that they have all dealt with. If you kill your Gruffalo, you take your entrepreneurial performance to entirely new levels! So what’s yours?

Gruffalo Syndrome Is Bigger Than You Think…

Gruffalo syndrome can be embedded into you from your childhood.

I remember when I was around 12 there was a new kid named Chase that came on the scene in middle-school. He had one of the nicest Schwinn bikes any of us had ever seen. He also had a brand new Quiet Flight surfboard that all of us were envious of.


Chase had the best stories, the most thrilling adventures, was extremely brave and told us about how “cool” his parents are. One time we were playing kickball when all of a sudden, this high-speed police chase came rushing down our street. The ball just so happened to roll out in the middle of the road right in front of the cars. Without hesitation, Chase jumps after the ball, does a Jet Li roll maneuver and rescues it, within feet of the speeding getaway vehicle!

I clearly remember the day shortly after his stunt that all of us discovered Chase’s Gruffalo.

He propped his mom and dad up like they were supermodels from Argentina. It was the last day of summer and we all were walking up out of the surf, when an older lady smoking a cigarette approached us telling Chase that they had to leave town because her sister was ill. All I remember was thinking, there’s no way this old smoker lady is Chase’s mom!

After all Chase’s mom was a super model from Argentina not a cocktail waitress from Heehaw. The 1989 Lumina she drove up in didn’t match one of the three Beamers they had either. The mask came completely off one day when he was pulled out of class because his dad was discovered for insurance fraud. Chase created stories to make himself look and feel better than what reality actually was.

It’s a story that is all to common amongst entrepreneurs today.

This analogy hit me like a ton of bricks when I was cuddled up on the couch with my 4-year-old daughter Ali watching the story about the Gruffalo. We all want to be valued, and we all want to feel good about ourselves. After working with all the CEO’s and entrepreneurs we have at Designer Health Centers, we know that it’s better to face your Gruffalo and kill it, then let it keep on living a lie, or distorting the truth. We do this as a coping mechanism, which may help in the short-term, but always blocks your ability to access high-performance and live your life to the fullest.

We all have our Gruffalo’s, in Chases circumstance he was trying to hide the shame of his family. I remember for a time in my own life I was never satisfied with my performance, I was looking for perfection in places where perfection wasn’t the issue but rather my search for approval from a father whom I never got it from. In order to make up for what was lacking I made myself feel better by making my accomplishments a lot more significant than they really were. Perhaps for you it’s not a father, it may be a partner in business, a competitor, a colleague or an unrealistic ideal.

It’s easy to convince ourselves we’re not hurting anyone by keeping things grandiose in our own heads when in reality it is most lethal. Because nobody else can see it but ourselves, we think everything will be “just fine”.

Yet in reality your Gruffalo will grow bigger, the roots grow deeper and eventually we convince ourselves there’s nothing wrong with us, it’s everybody else.

The Gruffalo Syndrome like most things starts with something simple, something harmless.

“I deserve to have a business like that,”

“I’ll fudge the numbers this once, just so the investors can see we mean business,”

“I’ll work nights, weekends, holidays, whatever it takes. The family will survive.”

It then spirals into larger issues that take us deeper down the rabbit hole. These “small” things become habits which eventually continue to grow and grow. We begin a lethal game of comparison to everyone and everything around us. I’ve got to get better, faster, stronger, richer, wiser and wealthier. As we all know there’s nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves. Please don’t misunderstand, there’s nothing wrong with thinking larger than life, that’s how great ideas change the world. Hard honest work is the salt that seasons every ounce of progress in our world. Having a spirit to win is in grained in every single one of us; it’s a healthy aspiration that should be cultivated and not dismissed.

Zig Ziglar had it right.

The issue with all of this is when the ideas, the habits, the success and the desires become untamed mammoths. Insecurities and negative core beliefs that go unchecked, unchallenged and eventually convince us they’re completely normal feelings and ideas. We buy into a lie that in order to have real value and worth we must have this false identity as a companion.

The top high performers in the world have one thing in common, their Gruffalo’s are in check.

Not necessarily gone but controlled, acknowledged for their falsity and consistently held up to the powerful light of truth. They have mastered being truly at peace with who they are and where they’ve come from. This has allowed for ultimate transparency, congruency and limitless value in every dealing they confront whether personal or business.

At Designer Health Centers we’ve found that when it comes to living your best life possible and overcoming blind spot challenges it’s essential to address the physiological stress. Physiological stress develops silently and eventually leads to disease and dysfunction. At the core of it is unchecked, unaddressed symptomology that has been building for months, years and even decades.

Ponder these staggering statistics for a moment:

  • 1 in 1,000 people will make it to good health by the age of 60. Not believable? That’s exactly what I thought until I started focusing on cause-related healthcare and began noticing that every single one of my patients over 60 were on at least 3 medications. Look around you and ask how many people do you know sixty and over on no medications? 58? 55? It’s getting younger and younger.
  • The number one killer in America right now is heart disease. It claims 800,000 lives a year.
  • Every 30 seconds there’s a new cancer diagnoses. By the time you get done reading this article there will have been over 15 new cancer diagnosis’.
  • 1 in every 2 women over 30 are on at least one medication.
  • The #1 cause of bankruptcy in the U.S is medical bills. The #1 cause of divorce is financial burden.
  • 90% of your nervous system dictates function. The other 10% is feeling. That means that before you ever feel a single symptom in your body disease/dysfunction has already been building in your body long before the symptom showed up!
  • Iatrogenesis: Physician induced death; has taken more lives this year than every single terrorist attack around the world since 2010. This means you take a properly prescribed drug, over the counter medication or a recommended physician approved surgery and there is a chance it could lead to death.

The response that most of us have to statistics like these is “it’s not going to be me”.

From a psychological standpoint this makes perfect sense. As human beings we automatically deny anything that threatens our well-being by telling ourselves it could never happen to us.

Your mind actually does this subconsciously. Take for example the news. We see bad things happening all the time; we’re constantly exposed to acts and events that are unthinkable atrocities. In order for you to become desensitized and essentially “turn off” negative images and sounds, your brain goes into a type of safety mode which signals to you that those things you’re watching can never happen to you. The most lethal part about this process is it also shuts down reality and blocks reasoning pathways that allow you to be able to take hold of the moment and truly delve into devastating lifestyle habits that could be taking years off your life.

I would love to be able to share with you how Designer Health Centers has gotten to the bottom of silent disease causing stressors that, most of the time, go undetected with most of the mainstream diagnostic tools used for disease detection instead of cause related prevention.

Click here to sign up for a customized consultation with me and learn the underlying causes that you may not know are having devastating effects on your health.

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