The evening I arrived in Bangkok, a day before my NLP training was to begin, I had such an overwhelming feeling and expansion in my heart, I knew I was in the right place and made the right decision to be here. [Click here if you missed previous NLP post].
I was ready to put my heart and soul into this course in order to gain the most from a personal development perspective. What you put in is what you get, and I was all in!
Exciting things were going to happen!
I guess I should start with the definition on ‘What is NLP’? The initials NLP stand for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Instead of giving you the technical and official definition, I’ll provide you with my own. If you want the technical, you know where to go.
NLP is a set of tools that enable you to be your best person, to achieve your desired goals, to fulfill your dreams and transform your life by making changes at [reprogramming] the subconscious level.
For me, these changes can occur at the subconscious, emotional, energetic, mental and physical levels; I see them as interconnected.
In this short space it’s impossible to provide you with all the learnings covered in over two weeks of 13 hour days; I’d have to write a book! I will provide a couple of basic principles and highlights, which I can assure you will not even begin to scratch the surface of the amazing tools available.
First have you ever noticed that many people live their lives on auto-pilot? Doing the same thing over and over every day and getting the same results? Have you ever wondered why you think you really, really ‘want’ to make a change, you set your goal and identify the actions but don’t follow through or simply give it up?
Your Subconscious Mind
Have you ever started a fitness program with the goal of becoming more healthy? Did it last?
Could it be that a belief in your subconscious conflicts with your goal? If so, it’s highly unlikely you’ll achieve your desired outcome and instead, fall back into your usual patterns.
So would thinking and being analytical [consciously] about your goal always enough to achieve it?
Why not? Your conscious and subconscious must be aligned, ‘singing the same tune’, they must be simultaneously dancing to the same song.
On various occasions, I’ve sat in corporate meetings and by observing emotional reactions or behaviors, had the distinct thought, ‘I can clearly see how this person was as a child’.
I later learned that, up to approximately the age of seven years, your mind is in ‘observation’ and ‘absorbing’ mode. It does not yet analyze the information, events or emotions surrounding it.
All of this observing, absorbing and emotions are stored in the subconscious. It also stores our values and beliefs, and all your memories. It suppresses any negative memory, emotions, experiences until it is ready to deal with it.
This is how I believe I can see those amazing adults pulling a temper tantrum in a corporate meeting, as if he/she were a five year old, and they’re not even aware.
NLP Model of Communication:
Did you know that 2 million bits of information are thrown at you at any given second?
Do you think your mind can handle this? Of course not, so what does it do to cope? It deletes, distorts, and generalizes information.
Do you get overwhelmed by emails? What do you do when you can no longer read several hundred a day? Most of us delete some without even looking at them. Some get automatically filed in a general topic folder, and others you may actually read. You read some correctly and get the intended message and then you may read others and only see what you want to see in them and completely miss the original intent of the sender.
Well this is is an example of deleting, generalizing and distorting information and this in turn forms your ‘internal representation‘ of the world.
This then creates an emotional state, which then forms your behaviors.
Why do I tell you this?
First, to help you see why every ones view of the world is different. We all have different ‘views’ for the same ‘neutral’ events based on what we delete, distort and generalize.
Do you have a sibling or friend who experienced the same event at the same time, but have a completely different take on it?
Second, if you change your emotional state, you can change your behavior and results. How do you change your emotional state? By changing your internal representation and /or by changing your physiology.
How do you change your internal representation? Well, remember in my previous post I said the NLP Breakthrough session was like doing a ‘clear out’? That’s exactly it!
One way is to have a clear out and refill with new, values, beliefs, attitudes, etc. You reprogram your subconscious mind.
It's like a clean dump of your email files so you can start with a clean slate with new and better habits to manage your emails better in the future.
The Four Clouds
How do you reprogram? In NLP, you focus on clearing out what are called the ‘four clouds’.
Limiting Beliefs: such as ‘I’m too old/young to do…’, ‘I don’t have enough education to..,’ ‘I don’t have the experience to …’, ‘I don’t have enough money…’, I’m not a creative person’, ‘I’ve never been good at learning languages’, ‘I don’t have limiting beliefs’, etc.
Remember mine: ‘not worthy, not deserving, not deserving of love’.
Negative Emotions: such as anger, fear, sadness
Negative Thinking: ‘I’m not going to be healthy because it’s too difficult’. ‘I’m not going to attend that event because xxx makes me angry’.
Inner Conflict: I want to build my business & I want to spend more time with my family.
By removing these clouds, which are mostly subconscious, you begin to make new empowering decisions.
There are many NLP tools and techniques used to remove these clouds, such as Timeline Therapy, Parts Integration, Values Realignment, Submodalities, Anchoring and so much more.
Jonathan used a number of them with me as a part of my previous ‘breakthrough’ session. Remember how, after removing my clouds, my personal values had drastically changed [values realignment]? Voila, they were completely different, it was so amazing!
Cause > Effect
Remember in my previous post I said:
‘…I knew deep down, it hadn’t mattered how I found myself in the circumstances, it hadn’t mattered what occurred up until this point. I just knew there was something about ‘me’ that needed to change.’.
I took full responsibility for the decisions I made in life that brought me to that point in time.
I could have said ‘I am this was way because I was abused xxx’, or ‘if my parents weren’t alcoholics then xxx’, ‘this happened because my boss did xxx’, or so on and so on, you get the drift.
It’s called Cause & Effect. In order for you to make change, you must be on the ’cause’ side of the equation. Here’s a great example I pulled off the web:
It’s worth a side note here that NLP is not ‘done too you’; you are in a partnership with your coach and you’ll have to ‘pull your weight’ to make lasting changes and achieve your desired results.
Take a moment and think about your life, are you at the cause or the effect?
A couple of years after my ‘breakthrough’ session with Jonathan, I found myself in a position at work where I was responding to an individual in a way I did not like of myself. It appeared the person was intentionally ‘pushing my buttons’. I was reacting, and my frustration was showing outwardly.
I’m generally good at being balanced and certainly seeing situations for what they are. This case was different and I felt my reaction wasn’t as professional as it could have been.
What did I do?
I phoned Jonathan, of course! I wanted see/know what it was in me that was causing me to react the way I was. I wanted to change my response.
One lesson I learned as a result of this coaching session with Jonathan was, ‘if you change the inner, the outer will follow‘. If you change yourself, your external environment will follow. Another way, if you want to change the external world, you must change your internal world first. Your familiar with the saying ‘Be the change you want to see…’, right?
The exercise we did, I now know, is an NLP technique called ‘Perceptual Position‘.
I’ve always made a habit both personally and professionally of mentally putting myself in the other persons shoes. It’s actually a part of who I am. This technique is, as we say here in Thailand, the same-same but different.
#1: When I did this with Jonathan, I basically put myself in my shoes regarding the situation. I would see, hear feel my reality.
#2: Then, I put myself in the other person’s shoes.
The key difference is that it is not looking at the other persons point of view or being in their shoes as ‘you’. In order for it to be effective, you have to see their reality; ‘be them’ [to the extent you can]; be their mind, be their views, be their emotions, be their physiology, etc. See, hear and feel as they are.
#3: Lastly, you place yourself in a position as an ‘objective or disassociated observer’; no conflicts, bias, emotions involved. The analogy Jonathan used ‘be a fly on the wall’. You then observe the other two positions and take the learnings.
I loved the analogy of the ‘fly on the wall’ so much at the time, I placed a sheet of paper with a picture of a fly and the words ‘fly on the wall’ high above my desk in my office as a reminder. It made for fun conversation for those brave enough to ask.
During the NLP course, I volunteered for a demonstration of Perceptual Position. I did this because a couple months prior, I had a personal situation that brought up some strong emotions of resentment which caught me by surprise. I thought I resolved these and moved on prior to the course, but as we were in class it came to mind, so I figured, ‘why not?’.
Whoow, during the demonstration, I began to have an emotional release, in front of 30 people! About what, I had no clue.
What I realized here and while performing other NLP techniques is that:
‘the problem that presents itself is not always the problem‘.
It may just be a trigger or representation of something you need to let go of or resolve. Remember, the subconscious represses that which it isn’t ready to deal with, when it is ready, then time to take the learnings and let go!
I’ll share one more personal experience.
The Breakthrough Session [#2]
At the NLP Master level, you must fully demonstrate that you can conduct a ‘breakthrough’ session. I partnered with my course-mate, Tara and we each conducted and developed a personalized ‘breakthrough’ session.
Now, remember when I said, ‘the problem isn’t always the problem‘? I was initially stuck in ‘finding’ a problem, you know, after having done soooo much clearing throughout the course.