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Archive for April, 2013

Do you crave complete control of your inner and outer world?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

When I was having a bit of spring clean the other day I came across one of my old notebooks.

When I first started learning NLP and hypnosis and being interested in personal development in general I used to always keep a note book in my back pocket to write down any ideas or sparks of insight that came to mind.

I couldn’t resist a quick flick through it to see some of the things I had wrote and the first page I opened had a list of goals I had written.

I had actually come up with the goals while on my NLP Practitioner course back in 1999 and I couldn’t help but laugh a bit when I read them. The first two were:

1.To have complete control of my inner world. Complete control of my emotions and be able to feel what I want when I want it.

2.To have complete control of my outer world. To be able to make enough money so I can do what I want when I want.

Now bear in mind I was only 22! and had just been introduced to NLP and how powerful it was. Even so, I couldn’t help but feel there was a slight sense of ‘megalomania’ about them!

It amazed me how much my goals have changed and also how many times I used the word ‘control’ when now a days the word has pretty much been deleted from my vocabulary.

I used to really crave control…complete and utter dominance of my inner and outer world.

It went on for a while until I realised I was slowly building a jail cell around myself.

I think a lot of people are the same. The word ‘control’ brings up a lot of stuff for people, especially if they feel ‘out of control’.

It’s the thing people think they want when they’re struggling to cope with what’s going on in their life but it’s definitely not what they need.

Have you ever craved control?

Do you still crave it now?

Maybe it’s something you try to get on the inside by controlling people and/or things on the outside. Maybe it brought you to self help, personal development, NLP or some place else.

Because the reality is you can never have it. It’s a bit like trying to catch a firefly flickering through the night. It seduces you into thinking you can capture it but every time you get close and reach out it flies off into the dark.

Rather than trying to control I think it’s much more healthy (and useful) to be comfortable when things are out of control.

This is a much more useful skill to develop…

The more you accept that some things just can’t be controlled the more comfortable you are when you don’t have it.

The more comfortable you are when you don’t have it the more you can relax, be in the moment and ‘in flow’.

Your vision starts to open up to the outside world and it’s much easier to improvise and respond to what’s going on.

And it’s waaayyy more pleasant…Speaking from experience, trying to control is a heck of a lot of work.

You don’t have to let go of it completely, just enough to realise that all you can ever do is attempt to do your best.

Sometimes you’ll surpass yourself, sometimes you won’t because of lots of potential reasons. At the end of the day that’s really all you can do.

The rest is in the lap of the gods and there really is no point in torturing yourself over it.

So what’s it like for you when you feel completely comfortable…not being in control?

Fully consider and reflect on the question…Notice where it takes your attention.

Kind of bends the mind a bit doesn’t it? :-)

I like to think we all have our own little books of old beliefs, notions and concepts we used to buy into…Things that, when you look back, seem a little silly while at the same time, rather cute and innocent.

For me ‘complete control’ is most definitely in there.
Take care


Do you dare to be vulnerable?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

What’s it like to be naked while everybody else is clothed?

A friend text me the other day to tell me they hated my blog post on forgiveness. She said it was patronizing and simplistic and that politics shouldn’t be used as a springboard to discuss forgiveness. Ouch!

It was probably quite a big leap to go from politics to forgiveness and she did have a point with the simplicity thing.

It was a very simple concept I wanted to get across about the tendency for people to hold onto resentment rather than learn from experience and move on.

In truth the post wasn’t really about politics or even Margaret Thatcher, it was about not letting harmful emotions do you damage and instead using them to fuel more productive behaviours and ways of being in the world.

It was a strange feeling though to get that kind of *cough* constructive feedback :-) and it got me thinking about a book I’m reading at the moment. It’s called ‘Dare to be Great’ by Brene Brown.

Her main argument is that anything worth getting or doing in life requires an element of vulnerability.

At some point you’re going to have to put yourself in a place where the quality of what you’re doing is judged or assessed and sometimes that judgement won’t be entirely complimentary.

How true is that?!

She also makes the really interesting statement that ‘vulnerability is the cradle that holds all of our worthwhile emotions’.

At first I thought this was a bit of a sweeping generalisation but as I analysed the things I considered ‘worthwhile’ I struggled to find any examples to the contrary…this idea returned to my thoughts as I read the text.

When you really think about it, any sort of challenge you undertake that’s important to you requires you to be vulnerable.

It requires you to step out of the shadows and risk judgement…possibly even condemnation and consequences. If not then perhaps it’s not really a challenge and not as important as you think?

There’s a wonderful NLP type book called ‘The Heroes Journey’ by Robert Dilts and Stephen Gilligan. It’s based on the work of famous mythologist Joseph Campbell and describes the different stages a hero or heroine has to go through when they embark on a quest.

One of the stages of the journey is called ‘Crossing the threshold’.
This is where the hero or heroine leaves the comfort of their home and sets off into the unknown to explore a new adventure.

One of the things they have to accept when they cross the threshold is that their current skill or knowledge WILL be seriously tested and may even fail them and it’s only at this point that they start to develop and transform.

In other words, if they want to progress through their journey and claim the golden elixir, they have to accept a certain element of vulnerability and there really isn’t any way to avoid it other than trot back home with your tail between your legs.

When you think about the different elements of your life, how is your own level of risk taking?

Could you increase it a little? A lot?

What would happen if you did?

How are you with vulnerability? Does is spook you out or do you see it as inevitable when pursuing the things you want?

Everybody has their own threshold before they start totally freaking out and you don’t have to go all out and do the scariest thing in the world.

It can be something as simple as pushing yourself into the limelight just that little bit more than you have been.

So…what do you think…Do you dare to vulnerable?

There’s a good chance you’ll be judged and assessed and it can sometimes feel like you’re naked while everyone else is clothed but it does provides a huge springboard for you to transform and grow.

Take Care



Who ever said change HAD to mean ‘burning your bridges’?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

So anyway…I’ve been meaning to ask this for a while -

Have you read 50 shades of grey? I haven’t and don’t think I will…but I DO really like the title!

When Brian and I were running our Licensed NLP Master Practitioner Course last week a theme popped up every now and again that seems to affect quite a lot of people.

It was the notion that people are scared of and can also sometimes be threatened by change.

The idea of change can seriously raise people’s ‘stuff’.

Change has mostly very positive associations for me but I know that’s not the case for everyone. In fact, for most, it can be pretty scary.

Perhaps it’s an unexpected change in your personal or work life or that you see the people around you changing while you seem to be standing still, it can often create angst and jealousy at a pre-conscious level out with most people’s awareness.

Why the heck is that? What about you…how are you with change?

Do you thrive? Does it always excite you? or does it sometimes freak you out a little?

What about your friends, family and work mates? When YOU change does it unsettle them? Do they embrace it or does it sometimes feel as if they try and ‘bring you down to earth’?

I’ve certainly found the later of these pretty common in my own life and it can definitely be quite difficult to manage at times.

I think there are lots of reasons why change can unsettle people but I find it mainly comes down to two things.

Firstly, a person’s threshold for difference and secondly, the idea that change HAS to mean that you are about to lose something.

In life we are constantly balancing the two forces of familiarity and difference.

On one hand we all need a base level of familiarity to function, feel comfortable and secure while, at the same time, we need an element of difference to create variety and spice things up a little.

Too little difference and we start to feel bored while too much can make us stressed or sometimes totally freak out!

If you’ve ever had a life changing event like the ending of a long term relationship or suddenly losing your job you’ll know the feeling.

In reality it’s not necessarily a bad thing (in fact most people in hindsight say lots of good stuff come from such events) but, at the time, it can be massively stressful simply because you just don’t know what the feck is going on!

So much difference and unfamiliarity has suddenly been thrust into your life that it can be hard to adjust initially and find your balance.

Most people find their balance eventually but it can take time to re-establish.

Everybody has their own threshold for difference…Some people can take lots of it and generally thrive on change and variety (these are also the people who have a low threshold for boredom) while others start falling off the edge with very little.

How is your threshold? How much familiarity do you need to feel comfortable exploring something new and different?

The second main reason is a trap that lots of people fall into.

The belief that change HAS to means we are about to lose something.

This is one most of us succumb to at some stage. It’s very easy (especially if you’re into self help!) to buy into the illusion that change HAS to mean the disintegration of one thing with the replacement of another.

Sometimes of course it does but a lot of change is actually about learning something new IN ADDITION to what you already do well.

Whoever decided it always has to be all or nothing?

This is actually one of the main reasons why ‘you changing’ (especially when you change dramatically) can often freak out your friends and family.

It’s not because they don’t like you and want to ‘bring you down a peg or two’ it’s that they don’t want to lose you! They think that just because you’re changing it HAS to mean they’ll in some way lose the special relationship they have with you

Again, sometimes this can be the case but it’s most certainly not the only path.

To completely obliterate an old behaviour and replace it with a new one is often called in NLP ‘sloppy work’.

To create new more empowering choices so they rarely if ever have to use the old way is much more elegant and healthy.

I love the metaphor of the shapes.

If you were an unhappy square who desperately wanted to change you might decide to become a triangle. For a while you’re a blissfully happy triangle, life is good!

Then, after a while you start to become unhappy again. You yearn for the ‘good old days’ when you were a square but you don’t want to go backwards so you decide to change again only this time you become a circle.

Again life is good! It feels different, fresh and new…being round is good!

Then after a while you start to get restless again…

You think to yourself, ‘what the &^*! I’ve changed twice now I’m still not happy! What’s next? A hexagon, pentagon? A two-dimension regular polytope? (it does exist btw!)

Well perhaps rather than changing to another 2 dimensional shape you could move to the wonderful world of 3D and become a cube…

Because within a cube you can also fit a circle, a square, a triangle or perhaps even a teradecagon if you wish.

By becoming a cube you increase your depth…you open the avenue for additional choices without necessarily destroying the old.

Sure, you might never want to be a circle again but you still have the choice if it feels right.

In actual fact, you’re not really changing at all, you’re transforming.

You’re increasing your flexibility and range of choices rather than replacing old with new.

Sure they’ll be times where ‘burning your bridges’ is the most useful thing to do and there’ll be times where a problem really does need to be exposed and extinguished but to suggest these are the ONLY avenues for change is nonsense.

There are *cough* ‘50 shades of grey’ in most things if you open your eyes and do a bit of exploration and there is often a way to include new ways of being in the world without destroying the old.

Maybe I will read the book after all, what about you? :-)

Take care


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