Making 2010 your best year yet

There is still time.  So what has to happen?  The last post focused on recognizing  hidden opportunities. This one follows up with a thought provoking question.  Questions can be a powerful tool for activating your internal GPS, your Global Positioning System for achieving success.

  • The first question sets your destination. 
  • The rest lock-in the most direct path, providing detailed directions,
  • and just like using the GPS in your vehicle, questions provide ongoing feedback, a way of checking and adjusting your course from time to time.

So the question is …
What has to happen for 2010 to be your best year yet?

When was the last time you asked yourself a question like that and then thought deeply about your answer?

We may set goals, measure certain activities, even block time for specific tasks. Yet few of us take the time for deep thought about what it will take to get there. (Deep thought is the hallmark of experts.)

If you can, take a minute now and think about how you would answer the question. What comes to mind?  Write your answer down. Seeing it on paper is often an easier way of discovering the deeper meaning behind your words.

  • Is what has to happen something you’ll do, an activity or behaviour?
  • Is it a feeling or quality, like having more confidence, more energy or less stress?
  • Is there a hidden belief in what you wrote? About yourself, the people in your life or your business environment?
  • Is what has to happen within your own control? Something you can ‘do, or not do’ as Yoda would say.
  • If not, can you break it into smaller bites or contributing elements that you can control.
  • When and where will this be happening? How often? Is it something you’ll do every day? Once or twice a week? Monthly?

When you think about it logically and rationally, you probably already have the knowledge, skills and experience required. You know what to do and how to do it, right? And you may even know people who’ve achieved the results you want with less knowledge, fewer skills?

So … what are your sticking points?
What could possibly prevent you from doing what you know?

  • Distractions, lack of focus?
  • Lack of confidence during critical activities?
  • Competing priorities and time pressures?
  • Feeling overwhelmed?

‘Sticking points’ whatever you call them, drain your energy.

It’s like driving with one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the brake.  It can feel like you’re spinning your wheels, working longer and harder just to stay in place.

So the question is, what can you do starting now, that will begin moving you through those sticking points and towards your best year yet?

You can clear some sticking points using conscious, logical left brain thinking. For more see the note below.1

What about your deeper power?
There is another option, a quicker and some would say easier way of clear sticking points – by harnessing the power of your unconscious mind and right brain processing.

It’s also more fun. Because your unconscious mind is a wizard at handling competing priorities, reducing stress and handling hot button situations that can hijack your emotions and behaviour.

So if the idea of harnessing the power of your own mind sounds interesting, check out the NLP trainers in your area or look for someone offering Performance Breakthrough Coaching process. 

1 Neuroscience has demonstrated that as much as 95% of our decisions, our emotions and what we do, is controlled by the unconscious mind,  that we simply use our conscious mind to justify decisions made outside of conscious awareness.

A thought from that perennial font of wisdom …
“The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.” Anon

And one more …
“It has taken a long time for us to reach the understanding that much of what we do is not under conscious control, even though we thought that it was.”
Michael Gazzaniga, neuroscientist and author of Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Different

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Recognizing Hidden Opportunities

Some people say ‘luck is opportunity meeting a prepared mind.’

So how do you prepare your mind?

What are people who experience more of life’s lucky breaks doing differently? ‘Lucky breaks’ like synchronicity, being in the right place at the right time, bumping into the right people.

How are they thinking and behaving that sets them apart?  

Results from long term studies¹ show they share the following behaviour patterns. (Brain-based science explains how these behaviours work together. Let me know if you’d like more on the research.)

1. Connecting with people

  • Even during casual encounters like sharing an elevator, waiting in lineups, ‘lucky break’ people are more likely to exhibit non-verbal cues others read as being responsive and approachable.
  • They smile and initiate conversations, use gestures and physiology perceived as open – palms up, legs and arms uncrossed – and maintain twice as much eye contact.
  • Because of these behaviours, they build more successful, long lasting, trusting relationships. 

Steps you can take
Think you’re more comfortable with goals, tasks and data, than relating to people? Or you’ve been an introvert from birth? Does this mean you’re out of luck? No!

With a little practice and coaching in the basics of non-verbal communications, you’ll be surprised by how comfortable you can be … connecting with others whenever and wherever you chose.

You will need hands-on practice for this so take a workshop if at all possible. The benefits will impact all areas of your life.

 If you have NLP training
 Practice the A-R-T of rapport; use pacing and leading.

 Bonus
 Research on consumer behaviour² shows: the non-verbal sensory cues people experience during business and social interactions are mostly unconscious, yet they create the feelings people have about their experience. Those feelings have more influence on future (buying) decisions than facts or product features.

 2. Expect the best

Once you set your outcome, believe in it. Always expect the best, even when a goal is a stretch. At the very least, you’ll get valuable feedback. Plus you’ve heard those stories about overnight success … usually preceded by years of collecting feedback.

There is a wealth of research demonstrating the power of expectations, like the placebo effect in medicine, and studies on the expectations of teachers affecting the results of their students.

Steps you can take

  • Be curious. Examine the unexpected.
  • Use quirky humor (brains hate being bored.)
  • Use questions that help you see from different perspectives. For example, many NLP techniques were developed by changing perspectives on problems. By saying: “This is cool!” and “What else can I use it for?”

Other questions you can play with:

  • “What did I expect to happen?” “What really happened?” “What can I learn from this?”
  • “What if ….?” “What else can this mean?” “What question haven’t I asked yet?”

We can all learn from the processing pattern called dyslexia. People with dyslexia naturally see from many perspectives. It’s like their mind’s eye moves around seeing things from all sides.

  • Take an object you can hold in your hand and check it out from all sides. Now add a second object. Shut your eyes and imagine moving around the two objects so you can view them from both sides, top and bottom. Next think about your situation and view it from different perspectives by adding different elements and actions.

Many people with dyslexia have used this talent to innovate and lead brilliant careers. (Today there are also ways to harness dyslexia and make school easier as well.)

If you have NLP training
 Use Perceptual positions, Reframing, Chunking Up then lateral and down, Anchor creativity and solution states, neutralize stress with Time Based techniques.

 ¹Richard Wiseman and the Perrott-Warrick Research Unit, Hertfordshire University in the UK. 10 year study on luck;
 Kashdan, Rose and Fincham, 2004, Curiosity and exploration–facilitation positive subjective experiences and personal growth opportunities; K Anders Ericsson, Florida State U., 30 years research on expertise, various fields. 

²Consumer Behaviour Research (neuro-science)

  1. When asked about product choices, if people don’t know consciously, they will make up salient, plausible and socially acceptable reasons for what they do.¹
    In other words, customers will tell you what they think they should want, based on social influences – a tendency that has led to some costly miss-takes in consumer research.
  2. While features and benefits supply the rational reasons to justify a decision once it is made, the unconscious sensory elements of an experience have a far greater influence (positive or negative) on emotions, buying decisions and customer loyalty.¹
  3. Non-verbal cues and linguistic markers provide the most accurate information about what people want and intend to do, because they are largely unconscious. ²

¹ J. Le Doux, Center for Neural Science, NYU, Your Emotional Brain 1989
² J. Kagan, Harvard Mind:Brain:Behavior Initiative, 2002

Beliefs, wishes and goals!

A new year, a fresh start …
And I’ve decided I’ll be a more consistent blogger. Perhaps not better. Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but it’s at least a step in the right direction. 

Have you decided where you’re headed this year?
So, do you have plans? Important goals for 2008? And are they really big enough? Because if you shoot for the stars and fall a little short, at least you’ll land on the moon.

Can you get there from here?
Will what you’re doing now move you forward fast enough and in the right direction? If not, what are you planning to do differently?  I have a friend who is fond of telling his team 
If things don’t change around here, we’re going to end up where we’re headed!” And he could be right. So be sure that where you’re headed is where you really want to go!

Do you really believe you can do it?
Believing you have the ability to make it happen is essential. Do you think you should be able to achieve your objective because others have done it, but you’re not absolutely sure? Then it’s a probably more like a wish than a belief.

Beliefs – a call to action
If it’s just a wish masquerading as a belief you’re unlikely to make the consistent effort needed to achieve your goals.  Action level is the true measure of the strength of your beliefs. Do you act as if they are true? 

Test yourself – belief or wish?
Ask yourself, if you truly believed your plans were going to come to fruition, what would you be doing right now?  What one idea can you begin to put into action now, that gets you started?

Next up
What your self talk can reveal about beliefs. Or is it only a wish? Coming soon (see opening paragraph.)

Oh By The Way … Learning NLP

Why does it take so long?
So I was having lunch with a friend yesterday and he asked why the Innergize NLP Practitioner Certification was a full 12 days.  And that’s a $64,000 question.

After all, we live in an on-demand world. Information is available instantly on the web. Multi-tasking is a badge of honour and our attention spans shorten year by year. Or does it just seem that way to me?
 

How You’ll Learn NLP
 So … why 12 days?

  1. There is a lot of content, a lot of essential details that do make a difference. Digesting the information over many days means more nights to sleep on in. When you sleep, information you were exposed to during the day moves from short term memory into long term memory. (Well documented by research in accelerated learning.)
  2. I’ll be sharing NLP secrets with you, nuances usually only trainers know, because they are often the difference that makes the difference in challenging situations. Like succeeding with the people in your life who will want to challenge your new skills.
  3. You’ll learn NLP five ways, from 5 different perspectives. These are the keys to integrating NLP into your everyday behaviour, because it takes more that intellectual knowing to get results with NLP. After your first weekend with Innergize you will be using it. Even your friends will notice.

And here’s why
Perhaps you’ve read some books, listened to tapes, CDs, even taken a short workshop. Or you know someone who has. And noticed that some things work, make sense, others don’t. So what gives?

Five ways, 5 perspectives
To really use NLP I’ve found you need to experience it on five levels.

  1. You need to learn the content consciously. What you’re doing and how to layer in each element for maximum impact.
  2. Your unconscious mind needs the information too. In a format that is easily taken into your mental programming, in a way that respects you and your unique personality.  Now, you’re ready for experience.  You’ll practice the skills in small chunks layering in more and more pieces over time.
  3. You’ll learn by practicing the skills with a partner. Try them on and observe the effect, test your results and use feedback to adjust your technique.
  4. You’ll learn by experiencing the effect of the techniques, how it feels when they’re working and when they’re out of sync.  
  5. You’ll learn by observering others practice. You’ll see the effects, noticing what’s working from moment-by-moment. Bonus!! (Okay, I forgot one.)
  6. You’ll learn by sharing your experience and asking questions after each practice session.  What worked well, what needs fine tuning. Questions  about applying the techniques in situations in your own life.

And did I mention the coaching? Small class size means you’ll receive individual attention from the trainer.  Read all about the fall 2008 NLP Practitioner Training Certification Program.

Performance Breakthrough Coaching Or NLP Practitioner

So I had this call …
Since it’s Practitioner Season, no surprise that was the subject of the discussion.  The bottom line question was ‘should the caller take the Practitioner program starting September 25, or go for the Breakthrough Coaching?’ A great question.

How Would You Decide?
Sometimes the best answer to a question really is another question.  In this case, there are three I ask.

  1. Are you feeling stuck in some area of your life right now?
  2. Do you have any behaviours, habits, or beliefs that are blocking your success, happiness or satisfaction with life?’
  3. And most importantly, if you answered yes to either of these, how urgently do you need to move on?

I have had people call me and say ‘I’ve been given 30 days to change (my behaviour/my attitude/my results) or I’ll lose my job.’ 

Many times the very people who are most competent, even brilliant in their own area of expertise, have the least easy time integrating into some work environments. 

When it’s 30 days or else
Sometimes it’s a job-fit issue (think hiring miss-take), or interpersonal conflicts (read lack of attention to soft skills.) Or it could be timing as in over due for a change or stressed out.  Whatever …. These are all good reasons to go for the Performance Breakthrough Coaching.

Breakthrough sessions are a quick and very dependable way of changing habits, beliefs and behaviours in a short period of time.  They’re easy to schedule around your time and my availability, because they’re one-to-one sessions.  Just remember that rather than learning new skills, you’ll be getting results.  Even in extreme situations.

When evolution works
If life is going smoothly right now and you’re just looking to pick up the pace, the Practitioner program is well worth your time.  Because dollar for dollar, hour for hour, it is one of the best investments you can make in the rest of your life.  (Well I would say that wouldn’t I?) But wait …

I can’t tell you how often participants take me aside half way through the program and say ‘I’ve been meaning to take this training for years … just never got around to it. Now, I wish I’d learned this stuff 20 years ago. What a difference it would have made in my life!’ 

So you decide
When change is no longer an option, take the Breakthrough session.  You can always come back for the Practitioner training later (and around 50% of my clients do.)  When you want all the NLP tools, and you’re curious about experiencing the world from different perspectives, you’re ready for the NLP Practitioner  certification program.

What Is NLP?

It’s NLP Practitioner time of year
The back-to-school season seems to stimulate our drive for learning and advancing our careers, relationships and personal lives.  At Innergize, interest always peaks for the fall certification, spread easily over one long weekend in September, October and November.

What is NLP?
So I had a call the other day … and the caller wanted to know “what is NLP really?” Seems his friends and perhaps even my web site (oops!) had left him interested but also a little confused. Humm. 

A better question?
One of the least easy things for NLP practitioners to do is explain what it is in 25 words or less.  The elevator speech doesn’t come easy. After 14 years of working on it, ten as a certified trainer of NLP, I humbly offer the explanation that follows. For me, a better questions might be ‘what are the real real reasons NLP will work’ in your life.  

It all boils down to one word–Practice!
NLP is the practice of experiencing the world from multiple perspectives, to expand, enrich and provoke more choice, control and success.  
It includes tools for:

  • Achieving efficient, effective communications,
  • Creating more resourceful habits, beliefs and behaviours and …
  • Modeling (think reverse engineering) experts, so others can replicate their mental and physical strategies to achieve similar results.

With these kinds of tools, the applications are almost unbelievably broad. And that’s where I think we fall down as practitioners. We simply overwhelm people with choices and possibilities. Read on and you’ll see what I mean.

NLP has applications for business, education, parenting, sports and health. It can be used to improve performance virtually anywhere people are involved.

NLP at work
For business, NLP can improve job-fit, teach soft skills and develop emotional intelligence.  There are applications for coaching, managing and leading, marketing research and sales.  Modeling can accelerate the transfer of skill mastery and excellence from one person to another.

More rewards
Most people take the Practitioner class because they are attracted to specific tools.  Those who enjoy the most success with NLP persistently practice experiencing the world from different perspectives.  And then you’ll discover NLP offers so much more–a way of building resiliency and thriving in our changing world!

The Gap Between Knowing And Doing

The previous post suggested that most people already have a wealth of knowledge that if applied, would make them more successful.  The real question becomes what prevents us from doing what we know? Using our knowledge consistently? While answers may seem as unique as each of us, there are some themes.

Take my friend Paul who faithfully followed techniques recommend in the current success literature (media really.)  This new and improved version of positive thinking adds emotions as a critical part of the mix.  

All well and good. But as time passed Paul failed to make any progress in his life.  Even though he was working harder, he said it felt like taking one step forward, two steps back.  Know the feeling? 

Insights from neuro-science 
Doctors Joseph le Doux and Antonio Damasio, are respected neuro scientists working to understand how the brain processess emotions.  They now estimate that up to 95% of our emotions, decisions and behaviours are the result of unconscious mental processing.  Think about that.  Emotions, decisions, behaviours, running automatically without our conscious rational thinking.  

One step forward, two steps back  
Back to Paul who was using his new positive thinking + feeling techniques to achieve a very specific goal.  Here’s what a couple of questions revealed:

  • Although Paul had the skills to achieve his goal and knew others less knowlegeable who were succeeding, he still wasn’t sure it was possible for him.
  • He wanted to believe it, wished it was possible, but just wasn’t sure.  
  • The more he effort he made to move forward, the more stumbling blocks he seemed to find. The harder it was.

The fix
Once we discovered his lack of conviction, a fear lurking behind a wish, we used NLP to make the change.  Paul was able to unplug the fear, neutralize it and reconnect to a strong inner belief in himself that fully supported his goal.

We didn’t waste any time trying to figure out what caused Paul’s lack of conviction.  We simply updated his belief using a technique for working with the unconscious mind.  Neuro linguistic programming (NLP) has been teaching people how to work with their own unconscious mind for over 30 years, long before many would even acknowledge the concept.

Today Paul is seeing the results of efforts, he’s working smarter, has more energy and says he’s having more fun too!

Tomorrow ….  another theme, one that can cause you to to spin your wheels between competing priorities. 

Welcome to the Innergize Blog

Starting this blog is a first step to creating an environment where we can share practical tips, stories and ideas for leading, learning and thriving during times of change.  Sometimes even disruptive change! 

The operative word here is sharing so I hope you’ll add your own comments, ideas, suggestions and requests as time goes on.  

Why a title like communications, motivation and NLP resources?
The name reflects three things I’ve observed about life and people.

  1. The most challenging opportunities for growth you’ll have to deal with usually walk on two legs.
  2. If you look down, you’ll notice the feet at the end of those legs are often your own.
  3. Nobody ever stops in a moment of bliss to say “what is there to learn from this?” And life is learning.

I’ve also noticed that most people already know what they need to do to be more successful.  The real challenge isn’t knowing what to do, it’s knowing how to get yourself to do it, consistently.  I have a friend who believes, if we just did 10% more of what we know needs to be done, we’d all enjoy 90% more success!!

For me, this is where communications, motivation and NLP resources come together.  How we communicate with ourselves and others, directly or indirectly,  influences motivation.  And NLP is a wonderful resource for learning how to communicate in ways that will be motivating, for yourself and others.  So if you’re interested in harnessing the power of your mind, accessing more of your inner resources and assisting others of a like mind to do the same, NLP may be worth considering.  What do you think?