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Archive for the ‘NLP Concepts’ Category

Would you pay interest on money you haven’t borrowed?

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

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Author: Allison Sutherland, NLP Coach. For more information on Allison or click here

 

No?  I wouldn’t either.  In fact, nobody in their right mind would do that – it’s crazy!  It’s just like spending lots of time and energy on worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet and might never come to pass.  Isn’t it?

 

Don’t get me wrong, we do need to prepare ourselves for future situations such as interviews or difficult conversations.  It would be silly not to, but what I’m talking about isn’t planning; it’s just worrying.  I’m talking about when we go round in circles asking “what if” again and again without actually deciding what to do.

Take a moment now to honestly consider how much time you spend worrying about what might happen tomorrow, next week, next month or next year.   If you’re completely honest with yourself you might be surprised at how much time and energy you waste on such a fruitless activity.  I’ll wait a moment while you let that sink in …

As you’re thinking about that, you might also want to consider that your brain doesn’t know the difference between something that’s really happening, something that you’re watching (i.e. a film) or something you’re imagining.  When you spend time worrying you trigger exactly the same physical responses in your body that you would get if it was actually happening.

So, as you’re imagining that difficult conversation or potential bad news  your body is releasing cortisol (stress hormone) and possibly adrenaline, triggering your fight or flight response, suppressing your immune system and generally just messing up your physical health.  If you tend to be a worrier, there’s a high chance that you are doing this to your body a lot of the time.  Is that what you want?  How much interest have you paid on that non-existent money already?

The good news is that there are ways to stop this cycle and train your mind to find better things to do with your time and energy.  If you’re wondering how, read on!

 

So how do I stop?

The first trick to learn is identifying those unhelpful thoughts.  You can practice this by exploring some of the common thoughts you have.  Maybe they go something like this:

“Oh no, I might have to speak to him tomorrow and he might be in a bad mood and say something about “that thing” and then I might get upset.  Maybe I just won’t bother going.”

“What if I get made redundant?  What will I do?  Could I get another job?  What if I can’t?  OMG I’ll end up losing the house and I’ll be homeless and won’t be able to feed myself …”

“I’ve got that interview tomorrow.  What if they ask me something and I can’t answer the question?  I’m going to look stupid and then I’ll screw the whole thing up.  It will be a total disaster.”

Did you notice that those thoughts are full of what ifs and maybes?  None of it is fact, it’s all just speculation and building things up out of all proportion.

Once you’re able to identify when you’re catastrophising like this, it is easier to take control of those thoughts and to question their validity.  You can start to ask yourself what facts the thoughts are based on; how likely it is that these things will happen; where is the proof; and whether it’s even your problem to worry about.  Challenge your mind to prove to you why these things are even worth considering.

 

Develop strategies

If you do decide that there is a valid reason behind those thoughts, develop strategies for what you’ll do if it does come to fruition.  Let’s use potential redundancy as an example.  There are many ways that you could devise strategies so that you are prepared for any outcome that you can imagine.

Maybe you could choose to look at the job market to see what options are available; perhaps you could submit your CV to some agencies and let them do the legwork; when they offer interviews you can decide which ones to attend; if you do go for interviews it’s then up to you to choose whether you accept any job offers.

By taking these actions you will be able to stop worrying because you’ll know what job options you’ll have.  Other things you could do include reviewing your household budget and identifying where savings can be made; looking at alternative housing to see what’s available; looking at jobs closer to home to reduce travel costs.  There are always options that can be considered, even if they’re not perfect it’s still better to have alternatives to fall back on.

 

But I’m not being made redundant so this doesn’t apply to me

Great!  In that case, think about what areas of your life you DO feel anxious about, identify those “what if” thoughts, challenge them and think of strategies you can put in place.  You can decide how you will handle all sorts of things that we fret about such as health, relationships and money.  By taking time to think through some strategies for your “what ifs” you will feel much more in control.

 

Strategies provide calm!

Now that you have your plans in place, take a moment to assess how much better it feels to know that if one of these events happens you know how you’re going to deal with it.  Notice how much calmer your mind is now that it has plans instead of worries.

If you find that you’re still struggling to do this on your own, it might help to talk it through with a trusted friend or family member.  Of course, if you want completely impartial assistance it will be worth investing in some coaching to help you focus and find the strategies that will really work for you.

Whatever you choose to do, choose now to stop paying interest on that money you never even borrowed.

 

All the best,

Allison

 

 

The Power of Useful Thinking…

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

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Author: Emma Gwynne – NLP Coach & Professional Dancer; for more info on Emma click here…

 

Recently life threw a huge spanner in the works for me. Just to give you a bit of background, on top of doing this NLP stuff, I am also a professional dancer. For the best part of the past year – alongside other projects – I’ve been working towards a contract performing out in China over the summer. It’s a contract I delightedly took on last year, is my largest earner, and pretty much my dream job. I got to travel China doing what I love with my closest friends, and had been offered the same opportunity again this year.

 

Through unforeseen circumstances out-with my control, the contract was cancelled 4 weeks before I was due to leave; all the hours of work, my full wage for the summer, my dream job, all gone, just like that. Not only did this mean going back to the drawing board with bills to pay and no form of income, but it also meant – because of the other opportunities I was getting while out in Asia, and the time I would have had to work on them – that I had to completely scrap my business plan for the rest of the year.

 

Understandably, my initial reaction was panic: what the hell was I going to do now? I was devastated and couldn’t believe this had actually happened; something I had been looking forward to, and working towards all year.

 

I spent a few days moping around as you can imagine; I was utterly bewildered as to what I should do next, and, although it wasn’t anything I could have controlled, I felt like a failure. To make things worse it is my birthday soon and I am turning 28.

 

Now that may not seem old to a lot of people but in my industry it’s ancient, especially when girls a decade younger than me are coming in and booking the same jobs as me. The thought of starting from scratch at this stage was making me feel like I wanted to give up; to chuck it all in. I’m sure there are other jobs out there that are not so difficult, not so cut throat and full of rejection, but I know that not pursuing my passion and doing what I love will make me feel rubbish, so it was a catch 22 really.

 

I was at the point where I had no answers, so I did what is normally done when you are looking for answers: I went on Facebook!

 

Over the years – as I am sure many of you have too – I’ve seen loads of articles on positive thinking and they often have some good points; but in a situation like this, when I am still feeling immensely disappointed, it’s not easy or even natural to think positive.

 

That’s when I released that I didn’t need to think positive: I needed to think usefully!

 

It is entirely ok to feel upset when something doesn’t turn out the way you had planned or wanted, but there comes a point where the only option is to accept what has happened and move on. Years ago I would probably have given myself a hard time for feeling bad, but again what would I gain from this? Absolutely nothing!

 

Continuing to feel like a failure or dwell over what could have been will not bring my contract back, or get me other work; it will only prolong my anguish so what’s the point of thinking like that?

 

Instead I decided to think usefully; I decided to look at what my options are now.

 

OK, they may not be as appealing as what I had originally planned, but all I can do is make the most of the situation that I am in, and use the skills I have to get me where I want to be.

 

Ok, I may be 10 years older than some of my peers and competitors, but I also have 10 years more experience that I can use to my advantage.

 

I may have bills to pay and my largest form of income has now disappeared, but I will find work; the type of work I want without settling. I may need to be slightly more creative in how I go about it, but if I want it enough I will find a way to make it work.

 

You don’t always get to choose what happens in your life, things constantly change and I’m sure at some point, in most peoples’ lives, they will experience disappointment or set backs, in either their personal or professional life, but you do get to choose how you deal with it.

 

So what do you do when life throws a spanner in the works?

 

1. Let yourself be annoyed, pissed off, disappointed, angry, sad etc. It’s normal to feel upset when things don’t go to plan.

 

2. Think usefully: are the thoughts you are having about the situation giving you anything? If the answer to this is yes then that’s fine, even if they are negative thoughts – that can sometimes motivate people. If that works for you, then that’s good, but if all they are doing is making you feel bad then what is the point?

 

3. Turn your focus to a solution: what other options do you have, and how else can you get what you want or to where you want to be? Remember, you will only fail if you give up, or put a time-frame on your goals.

 

4. Remember the other things in your life that you have to be grateful for: When something happens we are often so focused on that one aspect of our lives we forget about everything else. Although you may not be in the situation you want to be in, I am sure there are still people out there in the world who would give anything to be in your shoes.

 

5. If all else fails speak to someone: friends, family, the lovely people here at the Scottish centre of NLP. There are plenty of people, including myself, who coach others purposely to achieve the goals they want, or in dealing with difficult situations. There are also loads of tools you can use to aid progression in achieving success in all aspects of life; but that’s a whole other article, for another time. So……

 

When life throws a spanner in the works you can let it knock you down or you can think usefully, using it to build something new. The choice is yours. I chose to build .

 

All the best,

 

Emma Gwynne

How do you like your Change – Fast or Slow?

Monday, May 12th, 2014

 

At the end of our recent NLP Practitioner course one of our students asked a wonderfully crafted question. I can’t remember it exactly but it went something like this –

 

 

If you were to cast your mind back to when you were on your first NLP course assuming you had the knowledge and experience you have now, what advice would you give that ‘younger you’ to help them as they embarked on their journey as an NLP Practitioner?

 

 

Apart from the fact that it put me in a seriously DEEP state of trance! I thought it was a terrific question.

 

On further reflection I think the following advice is what I would give. (I also think it’s useful advice for people who have a casual interest in NLP but have not yet done an NLP Practitioner course)

 

The advice is this —

 

 

Change doesn’t always HAVE to happen fast!

 

 

There’s a bit of a myth in the NLP world that some people seem to have bought into that change HAS to be super fast or NOT AT ALL. Almost like a boom or bust, black and white kind of mentality.

 

Now don’t get me wrong here, I love and believe in fast change and think it firmly has a place in NLP. Phobias can generally be overcome in about an hour and emotional issues can often be released in anything from one session to five depending on the person and situation. Fast, flashy change is great and one of the reasons why NLP attracts the huge attention it does.

 

Without negating the usefulness and validity of fast change, I personally think the most useful and powerful type of change is the gradual and more sustainable one you make over a longer period of time. For me, who you become over a matter of months and years as a result of deepening your NLP skill and applying the tools and techniques to your life on a continual basis absolutely kicks the ass out of fast change any day.

 

I found out recently that in pretty much every culture there’s a variation of ‘The story of the fast and the slow’, ours in the UK being that of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’.

 

The moral is of course that in life there can often be two types of people. Those who sprint off in a blaze of glory stealing all the limelight and those who take their time, not appearing to be doing much at the micro level, but in the grand scheme of things making steady consistent progress.

 

The former in the story, as we know, starts to believe in their own hype, rests on their laurels and eventually becomes complacent. The later continues to plod along making gradual but significant progress until, to everyone’s sudden surprise, overtakes the sprinter and finishes first in the race.

 

Stories like this aren’t just cute little parables that families all around the world tell their kids at night time. They are cultural memes that act as vehicles for passing on important and useful historical learnings. Story telling acts as a ‘time-binding’ function, helping pass on the learnings of the past to the next generation and the fact the story of the ‘The Fast and the Slow’ has been told for many generations across many different cultures suggest that there could be something important to learn from it.

 

I know we live in a time where people want things NOW! In fact sometimes YESTERDAY! But it’s simply not useful to invest so much of your energy into the concept that change HAS to be super fast or not at all. A far more useful approach is to look at where you want to head over a longer period of time and then make gradual but significant progress towards getting there. Sometimes you’ll get a big breakthrough and sometimes it’ll feel like change is taking a little longer. Sometimes you’ll want to make a quick, dramatic impact and sometimes you’ll find it works better to steadily work away at making more subtle improvements.

 

Hey sometimes it’s fun to be the hare for a while. To arrive in a blaze of glory, to show off and bedazzle. It’s exciting and dramatic but if that’s all you’re about then you’ll wake up one day and realize that there’s a whole bunch of tortoises staring back at you from the finishing line with contented smiles you can only pretend to have.

 

Making an instant impact is important but don’t forget the longer and ultimately more important game. Life is as they say – A marathon not a sprint.

 

All the best…

 

Steven Burns

 

 

Top 3 Myths of Hypnosis

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

 

Look into my eyes, look into my eyes…and sleep! You are now under my complete control and will do everything I say…

 

It’s funny how, when you ask people about their opinion on hypnosis, you get a lot of responses that are close to or in some way related to this.

 

I first trained as a hypnotherapist when I was 22 and ever since then, when I’ve told people about it, I’ve had some pretty weird looks and often some even weirder questions.

 

The all time most popular question from the men (usually asked in a kind of ‘half joking, half serious way’) has to be: “Can you use hypnosis to get girls into bed?!” Closely followed by a genuine request to ‘Make Darren dance like a chicken’ (Act like a tumble drier is one of the stranger ones)

 

My female friends tend to ask a lot more intelligent questions…Usually ones involving the practical applications like relaxation, weight loss and confidence while remarking how fascinating a subject it is.

 

However, I did get asked by one woman at a party if I had ‘brought my watch with me’because she would ‘love it if I made her stop eating!’ I said I could but asked if she realized that stopping eating would in fact lead eventually to death!”

 

She looked at me kind of strangely and re-stated with complete conviction that she really needed to stop and I had free reign do my ‘voodoo magic’ on her…

 

I think the general perception of hypnosis has improved a lot over the years but there are still lots of misconceptions about what it actually is and how it works. Stage hypnosis certainly doesn’t help but I think it would be a bit rich to criticize given that the high level of intrigue surrounding it is probably one of the biggest factors in making hypnosis so widely recognised.

 

It does lead to a lot of misinterpretations about hypnosis though that can sometimes get in the way when you are either working with a client or training people how to use it.

 

Here are what I consider to be the 3 main myths of Hypnosis and hypnotic trance. Hopefully it will clear things up a bit and help give you a better understanding into what is, in my opinion,  one of the most useful therapeutic and personal development tools we have available.

 

 

Myth number 1 – When you are in a hypnotic trance you are zapped, zonked out or in some weird unnatural state.

 

This is a favourite…That idea that when you are hypnotised you ‘get put under’ and that you are in some weird, zonked out state of mind as if your brain has been stopped in some way. The truth is hypnosis can feel a little strange (in a very pleasant way) but it is by no means unnatural.

 

Hypnotic trance is a perfectly natural state that we go in and out of at various different times of the day. It can often be like a ‘deep daydream’ or similar to the feeling you get when you becoming so absorbed in what you’re doing (like reading a book, watching a movie or playing a video game). An hour can go past and it feels like it’s only been ten minutes, people can walk past you and you don’t notice them and the world around you can almost feel like it’s disappeared because you’re so engaged in what you were doing.

 

There are lots of different examples of ‘naturally occurring’ trances we experience on a day to day basis. For example, have you ever driven your car on a routine destination (perhaps to your work) and then, when you arrive, you can’t fully remember how you got there? You don’t consciously remember every turn, road sign and roundabout but you know you managed to navigate the journey safely. Perhaps you kind of went into auto pilot or maybe even a little daydream while at the same time feeling comfortable that you didn’t have to have your full conscious attention on the road. We all experience this from time to time, sometimes everyday and it’s a common example of when we drop into a hypnotic trance.

 

A more comical example is the ‘elevator trance’ (one that I frequently succumb to). You step into an elevator, punch in your floor number and patiently wait for your destination to arrive…The doors open and you walk out only to notice that you are, in fact, on the wrong floor! The turn back round with your tail between your legs (while checking to see if anyone noticed) and head back in the lift.

 

It’s an understandable opinion that hypnosis is a weird, unnatural state of mind but it is utterly misinformed and untrue. It’s a perfectly natural, enjoyable and useful state of mind that we all go into at various times of the day and the hypnotist’s job is to guide the person into this state of mind, deepen it and then put forward suggestions so that they get the changes they want.

 

Myth number 2 – The hypnotist had complete control and can get you to do things you don’t want to do.

Again this is a common myth that can often concern people when you mention hypnosis and one that is definitely born from stage hypnosis. Let me be clear about this…hypnosis is very powerful and can most definitely influence people to change deeply held emotions, behaviours and mind sets. However, the power it has is held by the hypnotic subject rather than the hypnotist.

 

There’s that phrase we often use that ‘there is no such thing as hypnosis only guided self hypnosis’ which is very accurate about what really goes in the trance process. As a hypnotist you are a guide that helps the hypnotic subject through an exploration of their own mind to find different ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.

 

You may be thinking though - ‘Well that’s all fine and dandy but what about stage hypnosis?’ ‘Surely that gets people to do things they don’t want to do?!’ Well, I know it seems that way but the truth is a bit different. The hypnotic subjects know fine well what they are getting themselves into when they volunteer. They know it’s an entertainment show, a performance and that they are going to be asked to do things they wouldn’t normally do. By walking on the stage and volunteering they are essentially saying ‘I am okay with this’ at a subconsciously level and possibly a conscious one.

Stage hypnotists also go through something called a ‘selection process’ where they work their way down from a large number of volunteers to just a handful. This process is designed to highlight the ones who are highly suggestible and deep down feel the most comfortable with going along with pretty much everything the hypnotist says. There are also a lot of other psychological factors involved such as crowd psychology that add to what is already a very persuasive hypnotic environment.

 

The kind of hypnosis that is used on a one to one basis shares some similarities but is not the same.

 

Essentially the subject is the one who makes the shifts and changes and the hypnotist acts as a guide. The more skilful a guide you are the better a hypnotist you are…The trick is to weave your words in such a way that the person being hypnotized attaches their own meanings and reaches their own solutions as opposed to you ‘just telling them to do something’. It’s a highly skilled craft and can be truly mesmerizing to watch and listen to when it’s done well.

 

 

Myth number 3 – Not everyone can be hypnotized…

This one has probably been covered already indirectly but I think it still merits its own mention. I’m not exactly sure when and where this popular myth was created but I think it may have come from a time when the main style of hypnosis was ‘Authoritarian hypnosis’. This is where you are very direct about how you induce trance and give suggestions for changing behaviours, emotions and mind sets. This type of hypnosis can work with a small percentage of people and is certainly worth doing as part of the hypnotic process but if it’s the only approach you have then there will be a large number of people who will not respond. (Both in going in trance and making changes)

 

Modern day hypnosis is about utilizing the hypnotic subject’s experience of the world to guide them into trance and then allow them to explore further. It’s about recognising that trance is a naturally occurring state and that everyone goes in and out it at some point during the day. Given the discovery that trance is, in fact, not some weird unnatural state this myth should really be confined to the bin.

 

People are often a bit confused, however, after they are hypnotized as to whether they were in fact in trance. Some will even convince themselves that they weren’t because it didn’t feel that much different than relaxation, meditation or being in a daydream. This is more of a reflection on public perception of what trance is than the reality. Because trance is something we have all experienced then it does feel similar to experiences we have already had. That doesn’t make it any less useful though it just leads to people mistakenly jumping to the conclusion that they ‘ couldn’t get put under!’

 

For more information on hypnosis feel free to comment and/or get in touch. We’re always happy to chat about it. If you fancy learning hypnosis check out our weekend seminar that’s coming up soon:

 

The Art of Hypnosis Glasgow

 

Take care

Steven

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
Steve

 

Beginners Guide to Modelling with NLP Part One – Myths of Modelling

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Modelling (not catwalk modelling:-)) has to be one of the most underutilised skills in the field of NLP. I think because of how effective the techniques are in NLP modelling often gets forgotten.

It seems to be rapidly changing into some lost treasure hidden in a far far away land in a far far away time. Something that was once hailed as magnificent and enchanting but is now becoming a bit of a fading memory and lost art.

This is a HUGE shame as modelling, in my opinion, is one of the most useful skill sets you can develop.

Modelling is essential a way of ‘mapping out’ how a person does something and then using this map to either learn this ‘something’ for yourself or teach someone else to do it in a fraction of the time it would normally take.
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Peeling Back the Layers of Fear…

Monday, February 11th, 2013

 

One of the most commonly asked questions in Personal Development has to be “What would you do if you couldn’t fail?”

 

It’s a pretty decent question and, when you fully consider it, it does open your mind up to new possibilities.

 

For some reason though, I’ve never really been that keen on it. I’ve asked myself the question countless times and always seem to come up with daft answers like ‘World domination!’ or ‘Befriend Hugh Hefner and get free access to the playboy mansion’ (joke:-)).

 

I’ve never really found it that useful though…It’s possibly because I know how essential ‘Failure’ is to learning and growing that I don’t particularly see it as a something you have to ignore or hide from.

 

I MUCH prefer the question – “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

 

For a start I love imagining a place without unnecessary fear. It makes me feel a feeling of serenity I can’t quite describe.

 

Above all though, it just seems to have a way of helping me quickly tap into ‘The Real Me’. The one that sometimes hides behind the curtain of fear.

 

The one that taps me on the shoulder every now and again and says – “Emm…excuse me but why don’t you take me out more often? We have such fun when you do!”

 

Fear definitely affects our sense of clarity about who we are and I think it’s really important to re-connect as much as possible with this ‘Real you’. I think the question is a great way to start the process.

 

So tell me “What WOULD you do if you weren’t afraid?”

 

What’s behind the curtain?…go on, pull it back and take a look. I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised. :-)

 

Take Care

Steve

 

Being Congruent — Lance Armstrong

Monday, January 21st, 2013

 

Just finished watching the Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah.end_g_lance-armstrong_mb_576

 

I’m really curious what people thought of it and the full ‘Lance coming out’ thing.

 

Personally, at the same time as feeling really sorry for the people Lance trampled on over the years to cover up his lie, I couldn’t help but get some kind of strange pleasure watching it.

 

I found it totally mesmerizing and fascinating how someone could keep hold of a lie for so long (and actually sue those who said anything to the contrary).

 

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that level of self deception on such a public scale before.

 

They showed footage of a previous interview where he spoke out against doping and he was SCARILY convincing…It was amazing the extent he managed to believe his own lies.

 

What I didn’t find as convincing was his apology on Oprah.

 

In NLP we have something called ‘congruence’. Congruence is basically when our body language, voice tone and intention match the content of what we are saying.

 

Incongruence is where we say something that mis-matches what we feel on the inside and it becomes obvious through our non-verbals and ways of expressing.

 

The only time I saw any real congruence in his interview was when he either talked about how it had affected his kids or when he occasionally let slip that he believed he had to dope because ‘everyone else was doing it.’

 

For me, the apology for doping and the decade of deceit was a pretty blatant example of someone ‘just saying something because they think it’s what they are supposed to say’.

 

Personally, I don’t think he really meant it.

 

It was a bit like a kid being made to apologise for stealing his sisters toys. He doesn’t really mean it and he’s only doing it to get some supper and stay up a bit later.

 

I don’t know how much later Lance will be able to stay up but the whole episode has been disturbingly engaging…

Steve

 

Anchoring – The Power of Association

Monday, December 24th, 2012

 

What is an Anchor?

 

In the 1920’s an experiment was carried out by John .B. Watson and Rosalie Raynor called the little Albert experiment. The experiment involved taking an 11 month child (named Albert) and putting him through a series of emotional tests.

 

The experiment began by sitting Albert in a chair while one of them secretly snuck behind him and struck a suspended steel bar with a hammer. Right at the point that Albert started to cry (with shock from the loud noise) the other one flashed a white rabbit into his field of vision.

 

The experiment was then repeated at regular intervals until all the psychologists had to do was flash the white rat in front of Albert and he would instantly start to cry.

 

What they had succeeded in doing was to transfer the feelings of shock and fear associated with loud noises to the sight of a white rat.

 

Now aside from the fact this has to be one of the most unethical experiments I’ve heard of, it does demonstrate an important and useful phenomena…the power of association. 

 

Probably the most famous example of this ‘conditioning process’ is an experiment carried out by the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov.

 
Pavlov was interested in how these ‘conditioned responses’ were acquired and he made the breakthrough while carrying out different experiments on dogs. (The now famous ‘Pavlov’s dog’ experiment).

 
As we know dogs tend to salivate quite a bit when a plate of food is placed in front of them so every time Pavlov fed his dogs he would ring a bell in the background. He then repeated the process over and over again until all he had to do was ring the bell (without the food) and the dog would salivate.

 
Pavlov had created a link, an association a ‘conditioned emotional response’ in the dog. He had linked the sound of a bell with a feeling of hunger in the dog.

 
Many years later NLP drew from this research and developed the process now known as anchoring.

 

 
Anchoring is the process of associating an internal response with some kind of external trigger so that this response can be quickly re-accessed when needed.
Anchors come in many shapes and forms. For example, many people feel strong feelings of patriotism when they look at their national flag. The sight of can act as an anchor for those strong feelings.

 
Another common everyday anchor can be found with married couples. Most couples have what they describe as ‘Their own song’. When they hear it they’re catapulted back to when they first met and feel the feelings they felt back then.

 
For me every time I smell candy floss I’m instantly taken back to when I was 10 years old going to the fare.

 
Anchors are a tremendously powerful part of our life. Its how the brain makes connections and they really can literally make or break your day.
Whether you realise it or not you’ve been involved in the anchoring process all your life.

 

By learning NLP you start to become consciously aware of this process so that you can use it to more to your advantage.

 

 

Different Types of Anchors

 

Generally speaking there are five different types of anchors. You can find these five types with examples below:

 

Visual Anchors

 

A flag, traffic lights, friendly face, a smile, certain colours, symbols,

 

Auditory Anchors

 

Music, an alarm clock, scraping nails down a blackboard, the sound of your parents voice, an ambulance/police siren.

 

Feeling/touch Anchors

 

Slipping into a warm bath, a hug from someone, feeling of soft sheets, comfort of a chair, warm fresh clothes against your skin.

 

Smell & Taste Anchors

 

Candy Floss, the smell of a favourite food, perfume, aftershave, Mum’s home cooking, the taste of our favourite food, chocolate, sucking on a lemon.

 

Creating an Anchor

 

There are three main aspects when it comes to creating an anchor:

 

  • Intensity
  • Timing
  • Uniqueness

  1. Intensity: In order for the anchor to be effective you must produce a powerful emotional response in the person you are influencing. The more powerful the response the more likely the anchor will work later on.
  2. Timing - When a person experiences a strong emotion they do not experience it in a linear fashion. The intensity of the emotion tends to operate in a wave-like form. It is therefore important that the anchor is applied when the person is experiencing the emotion at its peak. If it is applied before or after the peak the anchor may still work but it will not be as powerful.
  3. Uniqueness - Once you have produced a significant emotional response in someone and the intensity is at its peak, it is time to create your anchor. In order to achieve this you must apply some form of external stimulus that is unique. This may be a gesture, a unique sound or touch. Whatever it is it must also be easily identifiable and reproducible. Examples of unique stimuli are as follows

     

  • Raising an eyebrow.
  • Biting your bottom lip.
  • Making a hand gesture.
  • Whistling.
  • Tapping a pen on the desk.
  • Saying a word in a unique tone of voice.
  • Touching someone on the shoulder.
  • Standing in a particular place on the floor.

 

So how do we use anchoring?

 

Well the simplest way is to link pleasurable feelings to you and your message.

 

If you have happen to notice a time when a person is feeling a particular emotion strongly, then you can anchor it and then use it to get them to feel that emotion at a future time.

 

This is particularly effective when you are motivating someone. Imagine you had a friend, work colleague or member of your team who, from time to time, is completely motivated, driven and excited with life.

 

However the rest of the time they feel sluggish, de-motivated and lethargic. If you catch them when they are at the peak of their motivated state and anchor the feeling, you can then fire the anchor off at a later date and make them feel motivated again.

 

There are lots of ways to use anchoring both day to day and in the therapeutic sense. Generally speaking though, if you just make an effort to experience positive emotions with people then those feelings will eventually, through time, becoming linked to you…to your face, your tone of voice and your general demeanour.

 

For more information on how to use anchoring check out our NLP Introductory Day or our Licensed NLP Practitioner Course.