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Archive for the ‘Self Help’ Category

One of your most important relationships…

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016




I remember one of my early NLP mentors tell me that: “you never want to be entirely comfortable in life”. His comment surprised me. At the time, I thought comfort was a pretty good goal: get to the stage in life where you were comfortable; have very little in the way of uncomfortable or unpleasant emotions. Surely that was one of the main goals of being able to master your thinking, your emotions, your life?


Well, perhaps…


Fast forward 16 years, and i’m standing in front of an extremely intimidating looking BBC standard camera stumbling and stuttering through a story that i’ve told with relative ease to live audiences close to a hundred times.


I’d been asked to record a training course with a fellow colleague in a studio and, i have to say, the level of challenge it was presenting had taken me by surprise. What would normally have been a simple explanation, had been transformed by the camera lens into a challenge akin to running a marathon; 5 minutes on camera suddenly felt like 45 minutes! Emotional state management? Huh…it was all over the place.


Out. Of. Comfort. Zone.


The 4 words that best described my experience.


In the background of my experience though, 4 distinctly different words could also be heard:


Exactly. What. You. Need.


It’s true, in the foreground it didn’t feel good – in fact, it felt pretty awful – but somewhere in the distance a more important voice was silently being heard. A voice relaying a simple but profound message:


That the discomfort was only temporary, but the gains from the experience would be permanent.


So how is your own relationship with comfort? What happens when you move out of it? Or when it disappears completely? When you’re thrown, pulled, dragged, or voluntarily step out of your comfort zone, even if it’s only temporary. Do you thrive? Feel a sense of excitement? Or do you melt faster than a blancmange in a microwave?


Maybe you don’t even get that far…perhaps you’ve become so adept at organising life around the avoidance of discomfort that you rarely go out of your comfort zone…


I think the relationship you have with comfort is an absolutely essential one when it comes to your personal development, your chances of success, and your on-going sense of fulfilment in life.


One of the primary things I’ve noticed over the years that stops people from taking the kind of action they need to take, is the belief that things always need to feel all nice & good before they start; that they need to be entirely comfortable with the situation before it can proceed; and that they need to be fully ready and prepared to make it possible for them to do what they want to do.


When you get down to it though, most of the time, due to the organic nature of life, it rarely works out that way. It’s in the wrong order for a start. It’s generally the experience of doing something that makes us fully ready, not the readiness that creates the experience.


Sure, you can manage these discomfort levels so that they don’t overwhelm you, and there are many things you can do to help you prepare as much as you can, whatever your goal, but at some point there will inevitably be a threshold you will have to cross – or, of course, be pulled over kicking, spitting and screaming. 


If you’re going to do something meaningful, it will provide challenge. You will be judged, stretched, thrown into new situations, and hence, by default, you are going to be out of your depth; out of your comfort zone.


Sure, it’s going to be uncomfortable to a certain degree, but if you roll with it, welcome the discomfort in as if it’s some kind of kind of twisted, masochistic friend, then you can start to appreciate the meaning it offers in the long term; the worthwhile and long-lasting purpose it fits into.



I guess, for me, this was the message behind the silent but powerful voice that was echoing away in the background of my experience, accompanied by a nostalgic memory of my early mentor lecturing me on the usefulness of discomfort.


I now happen to mostly agree with him: I still love my comfort zone – come on, it feels so nice! – but you must definitely don’t won’t to max out on it; you don’t want to become dependant on it like some kind of narcotic. Discomfort is, in fact, actually a resource. It has a vital part to play in the overall game of successful living.


It might seem like it at the time, but the discomfort we feel when we step out of our natural habitat is not our enemy. It’s one of the pre-requisites of doing something meaningful; a sign that you are stepping into unknown territory and having some kind of new and potentially enriching experience.


When we make this shift in our thinking, the act of moving out of our comfort zone can start to look – and feel – a whole lot different. All of sudden, the discomfort we feel in these situations can be seen as the resource it is; a vital cog in the machine that makes up part of the journey towards the achievement of our goals, dreams and visions. Something to be welcomed rather than treated as parasite that has to be controlled.


That way, we can work toward one of the most ‘resource rich’ places I think we can be as human beings: being comfortable with the uncomfortable… 


I know this sounds like an impossible paradox but i do think it’s possible: you can feel uncomfortable in the moment when you do something, but because you appreciate how worthwhile it could potentially be in the long run, how it fits in within the greater scheme of things, this discomfort becomes mixed in with lots of other more productive emotions.


We don’t have to get completely lost in one emotion. Emotions can – and i think they mostly do – work in a more nested structure; linking together in a complex network that allows us to appreciate what feeling bad, temporarily, can do for us at a greater level.


It’s a bit like fairly recently when I was attempting to beat my personal best for a 10K run. Around about the 6K mark, every part of my body-mind was telling me to stop…but I kept running…in fact, I sped up…In that moment, I was experiencing quite considerable discomfort but, at some level, I knew that the discomfort was part of a greater plan; part of a system that included emotions that were of far greater importance to my fulfilment than that short period of discomfort. For me this is one example of what it’s like to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.


So as we start moving rather rapidly towards 2017, what kind of relationship will you choose to have with your comfort zone? For it’s vitally important. Your success, happiness & levels of fulfilment rely on it.


How comfortable do you plan on being comfortable with? And also how much discomfort do you plan on being comfortable with? Not discomfort for the sake of being a total masochistic, but the kind that plays a small part in something more profound; something worthwhile and ultimately fulfilling.


The choice, of course, is yours to make…


All the best,


Steven Burns

The Scottish Centre of NLP


De-cluttering isn’t just for cupboards!

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Bio Picture




A couple of months ago, in the spirit of the New Year being an opportunity to make some changes, I joined a group dedicated to de-cluttering your home.  As with most things, I’ve thrown myself wholeheartedly into it and cleared out huge amounts of “stuff” that was cluttering up our cupboards and preventing me from putting away things that were lying around in various rooms because there was no space to store them.


Before I started this, I hadn’t actually realised how much pain and stress I had been feeling just by owning so many of those items and it made me wonder what had been behind those feelings.  What were my thoughts about those inanimate objects that could cause me to feel physical discomfort when I thought about letting them go?


As I delved a bit deeper, I realised that I had been holding onto some things through guilt – particularly gifts that I’d been given and items that had belonged to deceased family members.  The feelings were particularly strong if I knew that the people who had given me the items struggled financially and that it may have added to their hardship to spend the money on me.


Of course, I don’t actually know that to be true – those were just the thoughts in my head and I was obviously indulging in a bit of mindreading.


I realised it was also linked to some of the attitudes I learned whilst growing up in a family that didn’t have much to spare once we were fed, clothed and the bills paid so I was also projecting a bit of that background onto those “things” and the people I got them from.


The point is, it wasn’t real – it was all just my thoughts!


What I began to find during the process of clearing out was that the more stuff I let go, the better I began to feel and the easier it became.  Lots of the items were given away free, some were sold and some were donated to charity shops. Other things went straight in the bin because they were no longer useful (single chopstick anyone?).  There were many items that carried fond memories for me too, but I had no use for the thing itself and for these I found it helpful to take a photograph so that I could look at the picture to remind me of that person or event and then let the item go for someone else to enjoy.  Keep the memory, ditch the pain became my mantra!


So often our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves are just like those belongings that I had kept; they’re of no real use to us but we keep them around anyway.  One of the many things I love about NLP is that it helps us to open up those cupboards in our minds, clear the shelves and only put back the stuff that we really want to keep.  It also helps us to make space on the shelves for new, more resourceful thought patterns that will help us to move forward instead of keeping us rooted in the past.


I’m curious about what’s cluttering up the space in your mind-cupboards too.  What unhelpful beliefs are holding you back and keeping you rooted in the past instead of letting you spread your wings and soar into your future?  Is there an area in your mind that’s like the “cupboard of doom” where you don’t want to open the door because the entire contents are likely to bury you under an emotional avalanche?  Are there tins and packets in there that expired in 2003 but you’re still holding onto them because you don’t know how to let go?


In NLP we have so many ways to help you to resolve those inner conflicts, clear out those limiting beliefs and keep the good memories whilst letting go of the burdens that are keeping you tethered where you are now.  Just imagine what that will be like.


When you decide you’re ready to de-clutter those mind cupboards I’ll be ready to get the Marigolds on, bring out the Mr Muscle and the rubbish bags and get stuck in alongside you.


All the best!



Attack of the Russian Models…

Monday, December 14th, 2015



I think most people would agree with me that, these days, the pressure to look a certain way can be insufferable at times. Men need to be ripped bearded Anodises and women fall into one of two categories: the Victoria’s Secret model or the Kardashian.

Not only do women’s bodies need to be both toned and curve in all the right places but we need to have flawless skin, long flowing hair (lots of it), long dark eyelashes and the perfect pout and eyebrows.

Now thanks to the miracles of cosmetics and the wide spread fitness craze that has swept the country in the past few years, this is not entirely unattainable, but it does take a lot of time and effort.

If it is important to you, you will make it a priority…but what happens if we are not able to put in this time and effort? Or if life gets in the way? Should we be cast out of society as an undesirable never to be seen in public and only to be photographed with numerous filters on our photos to hide the flaws that do not fit in with today’s crazy ideals of beauty?

Ok I am exaggerating, but the point I am trying to make is that if we do not fit in with today’s photo-shopped ideals of perfection, we can be left feeling inadequate and bad about ourselves, which is, when you really think about it, ridiculous!

Recently, i know, that this pressure has increased for me. I am currently out in China on a dance contract for 5 months. I ended up doing some work with a group of Russian and Ukrainian dancers/models and, since I have been working with them, I have been getting constant stick about my body.

Like most other females, my weight fluctuates: I have days where I feel fatter and days where I feel skinnier but I eat healthy, exercise frequently and allow myself treats too.

My body is by no means perfect, I have parts that could be more toned or smaller and there are things that I am working on, but for the most part I am happy with my body. I’m a size 8 and I try to stay in good shape but unfortunately that shape is bigger than the girls I have been working with.

Even if I lost every once of fat on my body, I would still probably be bigger than most of them; they just have smaller frames than I do.

I kept being told I had to “tighten my meat” but to get a body like theirs it would take drastic measures. I have a completely different body type/shape from them and to change this isn’t something that can happen over night, but the people in charge just didn’t seem to understand this.

It did start to really get to me as I was doing everything I could and my body was changing slightly but I was finding myself constantly scrutinizing my body.

One of the defining moments for me happened as we were walking towards the stage, minutes before we were about to perform a show in Beijing in front of hundreds of people. One of the agents walking behind me, poked the back fat/skin I had hanging over a costume that was about 3 sizes too small (Russian model size) and said “You don’t go to the gym?”.

Now I had 3 choices: I was either going to burst into tears, turn around and lamp her in the face or just keep walking. It would probably make for a more interesting story if I had turned around and punched her but I didn’t, I just kept walking.

It was bad enough having to perform in a costume that was uncomfortable and unflattering in front of all of those people but to be prodded and have my “flaws” highlighted in front of everyone was more than I could take at that point. The only reason I didn’t start sobbing was because I was angry, I couldn’t believe they were making me feel like this.

At that point, in the 6 weeks I had been in China I had had 1 day off. The other days consisted of going to the gym, rehearsals and 2 performances each night. I most definitely did not need to go to the gym any more than I was and at that point I decided that was enough.

I wasn’t going to let it bother me any more or fixate on the parts of my body that were not “perfect”. Ok I don’t look how they want me to and there were parts of my body I would like to change but that doesn’t affect my ability to do the job I was being paid to do, so I went on and danced my “larger”, imperfect ass off, not to prove a point to them but to prove a point to myself and remember why I was there, doing what I was doing,

I have so much more to offer than just a “perfect” body. It may sound cheesy but beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone’s idea of what looks good is different so it is really only what you think of yourself that matters. If there are things you want to change then work to change them but don’t give yourself a hard time in the mean time.

Working in this industry, I’ve met so many girls with amazing bodies that would still change something about themselves, or have parts that they are not happy with. They end up wasting so much of their time and energy stressing or feeling bad about these “flaws”.

If you are always focusing on the parts of you that you don’t like, those are the parts you are always going to see. Instead why not see yourself as a whole and focus on the parts of yourself that you do like. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Who cares if you don’t have Kim Kardashian’s ass, Cara Delevine’s eyebrows or Miranda Kerr’s abs, I assure you, you have something to offer. Why not focus on your strengths and embrace your weaknesses; or rather what you deem to be weaknesses. Our “flaws” make us who we are too.

So the next time you are surrounded by Russian models, or feeling the pressure of trying to attain “perfection” remember these 5 things:


1. There is so much more to who you are than just how you look, see yourself as a whole.

2. There is no such thing as perfection, everyone is human and has strengths and weaknesses, admirable traits and flaws, don’t beat yourself up over your “weaknesses”, we all have them.

3. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I assure you there are people out there who would see what you deem to be a flaw as beautiful.

4. If there is something you really want to change, that is making you unhappy, then work to change it. There are loads of useful, healthy ways to change your body or mind set or skill set and loads of people who can help you get to where you want to be, so do something about it. (Keep your eyes peeled for my next articles for some useful tips on motivation and goal setting)

5. Most importantly, YOU HAVE PLENTY TO OFFER and YOU HAVE STRENGTHS! If you are feeling like crap about yourself list them. Focus on the parts you do like instead of the parts you don’t.


This is the only body you have so be proud of it and look after it. Me and my perfectly “imperfect” body will continue to wow audiences in China regardless of anyone else’s views on it.. ;)

All the best



Making Life Extraordinary…

Thursday, August 20th, 2015


Author: Hayley McGhie – NLP Master Practitioner and Yoga instructor; for more info on Hayley, click here.



What makes the difference between living an ordinary life and an extraordinary one?


I sat behind a desk for 15 years providing administrative duties. Many people that crossed my path over the years would tell me that I was wasted behind a desk; I should be doing something different. I would often think they were right but I never felt very strongly about it.


Back in my younger days I lived for the weekend. I mean: what more was there to life than being surrounding with friends, dancing the night to day and laughing my head off until the hangover kicked in.

Then boom, in 2013 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.


In the months that followed, I went through frustrating hospital visits, days lost lying in bed, and found it unbearable facing friends, and life, in general. I started searching for answers. A friend gave me a loan of a book called: ‘Anatomy of the spirit’ by Caroline Myss and I realised that the answer was simple but not exactly easy to take on board: I had to take responsibility for my own life.

The thought of responsibility may not have you bursting with excitement right now but stay with me…take a few moments and imagine the life you dream of and the person you desire to become…see yourself, like you are watching yourself on a YouTube clip…notice what you see, hear and what you are doing. Is it different than what you are currently doing now?


By taking responsibility, this could be the key to helping you make that YouTube clip become reality.

There are many ways to start taking responsibility:


* Be honest with yourself: decide to no longer blame situations and other people for things that have happened.

* Learn from your experiences: instead of feeling sorry for yourself; focus on solutions rather than on the problems.

* Be aware of the choices you make: ask yourself, ‘will this take me closer to my dream?’

* Make a decision: it doesn’t matter if it’s yes or no; as long as you remain flexible in your approach you’ll move forward.

* Realise you can take control of your future: make goals and once you achieve them feel free to make more!

* You have the power to choose how you want to feel at any time: one simple way is to think back to a time you felt that way, intensify the feeling, ramp it right up!

* Don’t judge yourself or beat yourself up for the past: it’s made you the person you are today; you are doing the best you can with the resources you have at the present time.

* Decide today that you are your no 1 priority: family and friends will understand.  If they don’t they may not be a supporting role in your life. The ones that do they will love to spend time with the best version of you.


Reflecting back it makes me smile when I remember everything that has happen as a result of my decision to take responsibility: this year I became a full-time self employed holistic coach with my own practice; over the years I’ve trained and studied consistently in NLP and yoga, along with energy healing; I’ve become a qualified seasonal Vinyasa flow yoga teacher; giving up my office job, I followed my passion for Bikram yoga and trained to become a Bikram Hot Yoga teacher. After 9 weeks of much sweat, blood and tears, in Thailand, I transformed into the strongest version of me I’ve ever seen staring back in the mirror.


The last 12 months have serious pushed me to live outside my comfort zone and I’m finding myself continually learning and developing. I’m becoming a better and more true version of myself.


It’s not been an easy ride by any stretch of the means; 110% determination has most definitely been required. The best part is, now I get to help others; to help guide them as they take responsibility for their health and their own life. I love being part of their journey and to see the amazing results they achieve, as they start living a life with purpose. To me I’m living an extraordinary life, I’m not perfect by a long shot – and don’t think I ever will be. I’m not financially wealthy (yet!) but my life is filled with all kinds of wealth that money can’t buy.

We all have the power to become the person we want to be, and live the life we dream of. Teachers will cross our path and help us along the way. Shine your light and know that you are capable of living an extraordinary life whatever that may mean for you.


All the best,




What if David Beckham had decided to be a train driver?

Friday, July 24th, 2015

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Author: Allison Sutherland – NLP Coach & Therapist; for more info on Allison click here.


Could you imagine what it would be like if Andy Murray had chosen a career in public relations or David Beckham had decided to be a train driver?  I’m sure they’d both have given it a good shot, but I’m not so sure Andy would be great at press releases or media conferences or that David would be happy in a solitary job like driving a train.


What these guys have done with their lives is play to their strengths.  Andy Murray is talented, hard-working, dedicated and single minded about his sport (but not brilliant at interviews), whilst David Beckham is equally talented, hard-working and dedicated as well as being sociable and a great team player (and much better at interviews).  I wonder what it would be like for those guys if they had chosen careers where those strengths weren’t required and I can only imagine how miserable they would probably feel.


Just like Andy and David, we all have strengths as well as weaknesses and it’s often easy to focus on the negatives and forget the positives.  Do you know what your strengths are?  I know that three of my top character strengths are kindness, honesty and gratitude so being a coach and NLP practitioner allows me to use those strengths to help my clients – and I’m grateful for that.


On the other hand, criminal law would have been a very poor career choice for me as I’d have been faced with people committing acts of cruelty and dishonesty which would have posed a challenge to my main strengths on a daily basis, just as David Beckham being stuck in a train cab for 8 hours a day would have challenged his strength as a team player.


Life is less satisfying when we have to live in ways that challenge our core strengths and values.  For example, think of someone who is really creative and loves to let their imagination run riot – now imagine they have a career or a home life where everything has to be done in rigid routine and fixed processes.  How miserable would that creative person be?


When you think about your day to day life, are there things that don’t quite seem right?  What situations or people really “grate” on you? It could be that your core strengths or values are challenged by these situations or people and that’s why they make you uncomfortable, sad or even downright upset.  So do you actually know what your strengths are?  Think now about what makes you tick, what you enjoy doing, and how those things fit with character strengths like honesty, kindness, prudence, humour, love of learning, humility, perseverance, teamwork, creativity or zest for life.


Now imagine what life would be like if you could live it in ways that play to your strengths.  Imagine how satisfying that would be.  Often we fall into the trap of thinking that a job or a life situation is just the way it is and we can’t change it – that may be true about the job or the situation, but it isn’t true about us.  If you’re able to identify your strengths, then you will be able to find ways to do the job or get through the situations by making use of those same strengths.


But life isn’t just all about what you’re best at – your weaknesses can also be great assets.  If creativity is really low on your list of strengths you’re probably good at applying routines and processes.  If teamwork is low on your list of strengths then you might just thrive in a job where you get to work on your own and shine on your own merit.  Just by looking at it from a different perspective, your weaknesses can become strengths.


Looking back at Andy Murray and David Beckham, despite their very different sports and personalities, something they have in common is that they both have coaches.  Their coaches have helped them to focus on their strengths and build up on their weaker areas until they’ve excelled in their chosen fields.


Coaching isn’t just for top athletes or top business leaders – it’s for anyone who wants to improve or change their current situation, or get better at what they do, and doesn’t quite know how.  Whether it’s a career change, fitness, business or any other goal, a coach will help you to focus on what it is you want to achieve, your motives for wanting it, how you’re going to get there and what you’re going to do once you get it.


So, if you’ve taken a career as a train driver instead of a Premiership footballer, why not book a session with a coach and get started on playing to your strengths?


All the best,




The Power of Useful Thinking…

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015



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

Can you really Transform in one day?

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Vector Transformation. Broken text


…we’ll, it depends.


A friend asked me this question the other day – can you really transform someone’s life in a single day? Surely the short time frame makes this impossible…


Compared to a whole life time of living in a particular way what can one day do? Surely making a transformational difference to your life takes time, effort, blood, sweat and tears?


Surely change is an arduous affair full of highs, lows, setbacks and failures, taking place over a tremendously long period of time?


You know what? Creating considerable and transformational change in your life does take time. I don’t care what any self improvement book or course tells you, creating a significant difference in your life to the extent where you can start to see, live and experience the fruits of your labour does not happen in a day; it happens over a considerable period of time. As the old, clichéd saying goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.


If you have goals, dreams, a mission or just ‘cool stuff you’d like to do’ then it will undoubtedly require energy, effort, learning and a good deal of persistence to make in roads and to start seeing the results of your efforts.


If your definition of personal transformation involves seeing and experiencing the physical manifestations of your goals then it doesn’t happen in a day; it takes time.


This isn’t the only definition of personal transformation though. There’s another way to look at the process that, in my opinion, makes ‘single day transformation’ absolutely possible.


At the simplest and most basic level, personal transformation isn’t really about achieving goals, increasing wealth or creating the life of your dreams.


At the simplest and most basic level, personal transformation is about experiencing some kind of significant internal shift.


It annoys me a little that transformation often gets equated with living a life of external abundance; creating a life rich with achievements like career advancement, financial wealth or elevated status. These are often some of the ‘fruits of transformation’ and obviously nice to have, but they’re not the transformation itself. That happens much earlier on the inside.


The process of Personal transformation doesn’t start with external achievements or taking massive action, it starts with an idea; an idea that takes shape, gathers momentum, and then eventually presents itself to the world in all its glory.


Perhaps it’s as simple as a sudden realisation that you can be more than you currently are; that your potential as a human being does, in fact, stretch much further than you initially thought.


Maybe it’s an innovative business idea, or a revelation about life that could have a significant impact on your levels of happiness and fulfilment.


Or perhaps it’s just a reaffirming of your own values and principles: the things in life that are most important to you.


In a world of hype and exaggeration it might seem like personal transformation is all about big external achievements but, at its heart, I think it’s really about experiencing a memorable shift in the way you think and feel; one that stirs on the inside and pesters you to take action. This, for me, is real personal transformation.


Can this be done in a day?




Find out for yourself on February 7th….


For more info on the NLP Personal Transformation day taking place on Feb 7th in Central Glasgow, check out the link below:


NLP Personal Transformation Day February 7th, 2015


All the Best







There’s life in the old dog yet…

Sunday, September 28th, 2014



You know what? I just decided the other day that I really hate the phrase “Back in the day”.


On a recent night out with old school friends we started, as we often do, reminiscing about the past. One of my closer friends that I’ve known for close to 3 decades started entertaining us with stories about the various shenanigans we used to get up to. He kept on starting each story the same way, using the phrase “Back in the day”


I’m sure you know the line and may have used it yourself… “Back in the day when we used to <fill in the blank with something you used to do when you were young> etc”.


I don’t know about you but every time I hear someone use that line I get a sudden jolt of anxiety. I know for many it’s just a turn of phrase but the thought that instantly goes through my mind is


“Today is the day! Not some time 15 years ago!”


Whenever I hear one of my friends use the phrase ‘back in the day’ I always feel that the silent implication is that our best years are behind us. That just because we are rapidly heading towards 40, some of us are going bald, some are going grey and some are going bald and grey that we no longer have the ability to be as engaged and connected with life as we used to.


I hate this implication. I also find it to be mostly untrue. So many things in life get better with age. As we gain life experience and our mind develops over time we open up the potential to appreciate layers of pleasure and meaning that we simply couldn’t see when we were young.


I remember the first time I went to see the film ‘Pulp Fiction’. I was 19 and I hated it. I just didn’t get it.  I’d heard all the reviews and acclaims of creative brilliance but the only thing that surprised me as I walked out of the cinema was how boring and pointless I thought it was.


The scenes were too long, there was too much talking and it didn’t even appear to have a coherent structure. John Travolta gets shot dead half way through the film and then miraculously appears in another scene right after it! I had absolutely no idea what the heck was going on!


It wasn’t until years later when I watched it for a second time that I realised the scenes weren’t meant to be shown in chronological order and the film did actually have a very deliberate and quite innovative structure. As I watched it through older and wiser eyes I suddenly appreciated the brilliance of the film. The acting, the dialogue and the quirky atmosphere Tarintino had created, it was utterly absorbing. Why on earth hadn’t I noticed it the first time around? Why hadn’t I saw and appreciated the genius?


The reality was the genius had always been there, it had always been a brilliant film…I just needed to age a bit to see it.


I don’t think we’ll ever gain a full appreciation of everything life has to offer but I’m pretty sure more layers of pleasure and meaning become available the older and wiser we get. As we become more ‘experienced’ we start to see layers of appreciation we couldn’t see through younger eyes.


It’s not just with films but with most things we do. If we are open and willing to look deeper then there will always be greater depths of enjoyment and fulfilment to find. There will always be more to see, learn, explore and experience, in both our current activities and the things we are yet to do.


If we start buying into the illusion that we are past our prime, in decay and that ‘today’ is no longer ‘our day’ though, then we start to close ourselves off to these layers. We’re on, as many pre-retirees, say ‘the run down’. We might as well pop into a pair of slippers, grab a cup of Ovaltine and start watching re-runs of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ and ‘Cocoon’.


There will obviously come a time when our body is failing and our mind is nowhere near what it used to be but let’s not speed it up on purpose shall we?


That’s why I really don’t like the phrase ‘Back in the day’. Sure, it’s great to reminisce about past pleasant times and it’s wonderful to share memories with friends but I don’t think it’s particularly healthy to start believing that ‘our day’ has gone.


Today is the day! And now that we are a day wiser, it’s got the potential to be even better than yesterday.



All the best



Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014


She burst into tears. I replied “Interesting!”.


Have you ever considered how liberating it would be to not get involved in any emotional drama…especially your own!?


Here’s my version of the drama process; an emotion happens because of something daft e.g. trains, work, relationship, money whatever. A wee voice inside our heads starts asking over and over again something along the lines of ‘Why me? Why does this always happen to me?’.


This begins to turn the volume up on the emotion at ever increasing rates and, before we know which way is up, we are wrapped up in an emotional drama which, of course, only serves to make the emotion worse, the voice louder and the drama complete! Sound familiar?


One concept I remember being taught a long time ago, by an excellent Yoga teacher, was the concept of witness consciousness; the understanding that the dramas of the physical world, both positive and negative, were not who you are. You are more than all of this and if you could meditate and connect enough with ‘spirit’, or whatever you personally call it, you could attain a state of witness consciousness, realise that ‘life’ as we know it is a transient phase of your existence and, therefore, you could watch your physical life unfold before you without ever getting involved in any drama.


Why would you, the dramas are mind stuff and the mind isn’t who or what you are?


It doesn’t fit me to take it quite that far but that doesn’t change the fact I loved the concept then, I still love it now and I’ve worked with it ever since albeit I’ve twisted it a bit.


So let me ask you, what would happen if you became a witness to your own thoughts? What would happen if, rather than losing yourself in your daily dramas, you stepped back as they began and just witnessed their emotional roots from a position of curiosity, like an emotional David Attenborough, fascinated by the curious behaviour of the creature that is you. What would Sir David say if his next epic programme was all about you?


The word ‘interesting’ is one of my favourite words and its one I use with myself and my clients all the time because, in my book, it’s a word of a witness. You see when I help someone hit an emotion, either positive or negative, it means we’ve discovered something together, maybe we’ve found something new, maybe it’s something old but I know we’ve discovered something! Now the fun is finding out what it is and how to make it do what we want!


So here’s a wee task for you tomorrow, or tonight if you still have time to fit in a drama before bed (if you’re in one just now even better!), feel what you feel as it starts, inside your mind step back from letting it consume you or acting on it (that doesn’t mean the feeling will go away, just you’re doing nothing with it) and just witness it. Watch it, see what it does. Don’t ask ‘why me?’, ask ‘why do that? What does it achieve?’.


One thing the great Sir David would think if he was studying the average person today? He’d be fascinated why, at times, they put so much energy into things they can’t change and so little into the things they can. But it wouldn’t bother him. He’d just think it was interesting.


After all, he’s only a witness. It’s not his drama.




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