NLP, Mastery and Success

What could your life be like if someone gave you a compass that always points the way to success?

success_compass

There are ways of thinking about your aims, goals and desires that are different – and far more powerful – than those you currently use. Ways that put more of your life under your control, making it easier to get what you want.

successThere is more to it than determination. There are activities that successful people definitely don’t do, because they know those actions lead only to failure. They know what the actions of success are – and how to repeat those time and again.

Successful people ask better questions about the things they want, because they know how to build a blueprint for success. In fact, if you can’t get the answers, even your most strenuous efforts will fall far short of the results you truly deserve.

When you make a study of success and compare the highest achievers, patterns start to emerge. Patterns in their thinking, behaviour and outlook on life. Patterns that are often profoundly different from the norm.

These people became special by their own efforts. Successful people don’t work harder than others, though they often work hard to get what they want. They’re not necessarily any more intelligent than the average person. Most were not born into wealth or privilege either. What they do have is a set of skills that many people do not even know exists.

In this course, you can learn those skills, modelled from some of the world’s most successful people.

Learn how to:

  • build a blueprint for success with 10 simple questions
  • stay totally focused throughout your master plan
  • use any results – even failure – as material for creating success
  • master your inner success system and make it work for you – even while you sleep!
  • keep your life balanced throughout the process.

Through a series of simple exercises, you will learn how to think, act and react in ways that will move you towards the things you want from life.

These new skills will be your compass, always keeping you on track, so you can have more of the things you want with less of the time and effort.

As you move through the course, you will put it into action in your life and begin to make success part of who you are.

Go here to book your place and access the material straight away.

Unconventional NLP Practice – Practical Issues

The final category of objections are all practical concerns.

  • People (will) think I’m weird
  • Didn’t work on ‘real’ people
  • No-one I know wanted me to ‘work’ on them

“People (will) think I’m weird”

When you think about it, some NLP-related behaviours can seem quite odd. Do you remember the first time you experienced ‘the swish’ for example? Or took someone into a hypnotic trance?

Those behaviours are okay within a seminar room or in a therapeutic or coaching environment. They are ‘formal’ change behaviours and belong in a formal setting. However, if you think about what is really going on in each case, you will probably realise that there are informal versions too.

Putting aside the techniques for now, think about all of the NLP skills – anchoring, meta model questions, eliciting states, reframing, etc, etc. All of those are natural behaviours we each do regularly. It’s just a question of practicing the skills in the right contexts. Then it will be more natural – for you and for others too.

“NLP didn’t work on ‘real’ people”

There’s a curious notion that the people you trained with are somehow ‘in on the secret’ and therefore more susceptible to NLP in some way. They are informed and therefore more at ease. They know what to expect and are therefore expecting the required result. This is true to some extent, but it’s not the whole story.

Many of the NLP skills work better if the ‘subject’ is not aware of them. Take rapport, for example. It works best as an unconscious skill that is directed consciously. You decide to get rapport, to fall into the same rhythm as the other person and trust your unconscious mind to do that. However, if you – or they – suddenly notice (“Good heavens, we’re walking exactly in step…”) it can weaken the unconscious effects of the rapport and suddenly you’re not in step any more.

Many of those who struggle with NLP outside the seminar room do so because they are creating a strange space for those with whom they are trying it out.

Anything preceded by a statement like “let me try out this really cool mind thing on you – it’s NLP” is naturally going to create a strange atmosphere. With that strangeness can come discomfort and a degree of resistance.

By contrast, suppose they practiced eliciting states instead – by telling funny stories until they got a laugh or even a smile. Or suppose they used their meta-model questions to clarify what was going to happen later that evening. No strangeness, no resistance and no problem. Just common-sense NLP.

“No-one I know wanted me to ‘work’ on their therapeutic issues”

This practical concern is a subset of the ‘NLP is Therapy’ misunderstanding I dealt with earlier. To stop thinking about NLP as a series of therapeutic techniques is possibly the most powerful shift in thinking you can have from that point.

Put the techniques aside for now and focus on skills because it should now be really obvious that opportunities to practice your NLP skills are literally everywhere.

What Next?

In response to these common needs, I’ve created a series of simple exercises which you can practice in the background during your day. The focus will change each week, so your skills will continue to sharpen.

nlp-skills-chart

How Exactly Does It Work?

It’s really simple:

  • There is a new area of focus each week.
  • You will get a short review lesson of the relevant background information on Day 1.
  • Each weekday you will receive an email which briefly outlines the exercise of the day.

The initial version of the program is called NLP Practitioner Integration. It lasts eight weeks and you can sign up here: http://www.nlppracticegroup.com/nlp-practitioner-integration/

Enjoy your practice!

Unconventional NLP Practice – Ethical Objections

Many people avoid certain types of NLP practice on ethical grounds. Before I really get into this, I must first say that (in my opinion) there are unethical applications of NLP. However, there is nothing inherently ethical or unethical about NLP itself.

Think of NLP as a set of tools. The ethics are dependent on the choices and intention of the person applying them. For example, a knife can be applied to prepare dinner or may be used to save a life during surgery. Or it can be used as a lethal weapon. The application itself is key.

Let’s look at some examples where a misunderstanding or misreading of the situation can raise unnecessarily limiting concerns:

  • not safe to practice NLP informally
  • unethical or manipulative to practice NLP on unsuspecting people

Informal NLP

NLP can be used to create powerful change. It’s quite natural that this should be treated with due care. However, I think it’s going a step too far to think that it’s only safe to practice NLP in ‘formal’ settings. Here’s why.

Think about this: where did NLP come from in the first place? If your immediate thought was ‘from modelling therapists’, you’re thinking too specifically. More broadly, it came from modelling effective human behaviour.

If the only applications of NLP were therapeutic, I could understand keeping such behaviours within a strict formal setting. However, what would be the sense of limiting how we apply effective behaviours? Especially considering how many of those behaviours occur naturally outside the therapy room.

Part of the goal of NLP training is to integrate the skills into your everyday behaviour. Some of the skills are already present in virtually everyone to some extent, yet are perhaps selective in their effect, or somewhat unreliable. For example, most people can get some rapport with some people. To integrate the NLP rapport skills would allow them to get rapport with a greater range of people in an increasingly reliable way – conscious access to a more reliable unconscious process.

And rapport is a skill you exercise virtually every day. Further, people anchor each other fairly frequently. Just watch some people in a cafe, bus queue or bar and you will notice this.

However, it’s much better to be aware of when we are and aren’t anchoring someone, so we can be sure our behaviour is guided by positive outcomes, rather than accident. So restricting NLP practice to the therapy room could actually be considered unethical.

And if you stopped doing all of the NLP-related behaviours in your daily life, it would be really hard to communicate with anyone or achieve anything worthwhile. So the more responsible choice is to bring NLP awareness and skills into every area of your life and move towards positive, ethical outcomes.

‘Covert NLP’

I’ve heard it said that it’s unethical or manipulative to practice NLP on unsuspecting people. I’d suggest that there is an ethical boundary here, rather than a clear yes or no. What it all comes down to is the purpose behind the use of NLP and the desired outcome.

Working towards mutually agreed outcomes is obviously ethical. And it’s not always necessary to explicitly agree the outcomes. Somebody might state their wants and you might see a win/win. The intervention itself need not be explicit in a “now I’m going to do some NLP” way. The outcome could be easier to achieve if done subtly.

If the NLP is used only to the benefit of the NLPer and against the interests of the other party, then it’s really not ethical.

Fortunately, this deliberate self-centred influence isn’t as effective as many people think. So many NLPers are caught up in the intricacy of the technology that they do not stop and realise that most people can spot a hidden agenda without taking any NLP training. Most people will know when there is something wrong, or they will intuit that the person is untrustworthy.

With that said, the full range of NLP skills are at work in many areas of daily life – and that means in the area of influence too.

For example, if you’re seeking a promotion, is it ethical to try and influence the interviewer? Before you decide, think about this: When you go for an interview, you tidy your hair and dress to impress. Isn’t that an attempt to influence the interviewer? Add in NLP skills too. Suppose you’re really good at getting rapport. Is that a fair advantage or an unfair one?

Overall, it’s a question of where you draw the line, so I’d suggest you don’t rule out using your NLP skills to mutual advantage, or in areas where you use such skills already.

 

Let me know what you think in the comments below. The final part comes tomorrow.

The Unconventional Secrets of Successful NLP

Newly qualified NLP Practitioners want to know “How do I get really good at NLP?”

It’s clear that high-quality practice is a large part of the solution. However, I know that many people struggle to practice NLP as thoroughly or as often as they would like.

Part of the reason they struggle is because of the definition of NLP they have been given or have accepted. This isn’t a criticism of the teaching or of the student either.

There are many ways to define NLP and any definition carries with it a set of assumptions. Some of those assumptions can lead to faulty thinking, or to limitations which are not useful.

Faulty Thinking

To me, faulty thinking is like faulty wiring – sometimes it appears to work well, other times it doesn’t work at all. The overall result is unreliable – and only a fraction of what you could achieve. Let’s look at some examples:

  • NLP is about techniques
  • NLP involves big change
  • NLP is therapy
  • NLP is something I only do within a specific context

“NLP is about Techniques”

Many people think that NLP is a set of techniques. How is this limiting? Think about this: how many times a day do you get the opportunity to do a ‘swish’? I’m guessing that for most of you this doesn’t happen very often and that’s part of the problem.

NLP is made up of skills, such as anchoring, rapport and a whole host of awareness skills too. How many opportunities do you get every day to subtly anchor someone? Or get into rapport? Or be aware of changes in their physiology/state/language/tonality etc? Or your own?

Even if you live alone in a cave, there are many opportunities every day to practice and master your NLP. But only if you think about NLP skills. The techniques are just examples of effective ways to apply those skills to achieve specific outcomes.

“NLP involves Big Change”

I know that the promise of NLP is great – you can transform your life and do many things you had previously considered impossible. True.

However, the idea of Big Change can be an obstacle. Not everything you do with NLP needs to be earth-shattering. It doesn’t need to turn the world upside-down. Often, the best changes are subtle and take place over a period of time. The hallmark of a good piece of NLP is to create the minimum upheaval in reaching the outcome.

Consider: If you thoroughly shake up the lives of all your practice partners, you may quickly run out of people to practice on. And do you really need to have a massive impact? It can be like blowing out a candle with a nuclear explosion – the degree of force is unnecessary and there’s plenty of fallout to deal with.

It’s also a mistake to focus on an ecological outcome, while forgetting to include an ecological process for change.

To summarise: If you’re looking to set the world on fire every time you practice NLP, this will seriously limit your opportunities.

“NLP is Therapy”

For various reasons, some NLP students get the idea that NLP is a kind of therapy. Even those who aren’t therapists can form this opinion. How, then to practice?

Those who are therapists will have existing clients and can add NLP to their existing skill-set. Those who wish to use NLP as a stand-alone therapy face a different quandary: how do they get good enough to begin working on clients? How much experience is necessary before they can ‘go it alone’?

The non-therapists are left with a bigger problem – how do they practice NLP if they’re not interested in doing therapeutic change?

If you think you need to do complete pieces of therapeutic work to practice your NLP, you’re missing all of the other opportunities around you to sharpen your skills.

NLP isn’t therapy. It does have therapeutic applications. It has other applications too. Look for them in your existing areas of interest and practice sharpening your NLP skills in those areas instead.

Additionally, therapy is a remedial mindset in which all activity is focused on fixing areas that are judged to be deficient or broken in some way. The highest goal available within that mindset is to be ‘okay’ or ‘normal’. A different mindset allows us to achieve ‘excellence’ and far beyond.

“NLP is something I only do within a specific context”

As I explained in the previous section, sometimes NLP can become rooted within a specific context. Where do you use NLP?

If your answer is that “NLP is something I only do in a (business / coaching / sales / sport / therapeutic / self-help) context” then you are missing out on a lot of opportunities to practice.

This is a learned limitation – usually related to the focus you first brought to the course, or it may be due to learning NLP within a narrow context, such as ‘NLP for Therapists’ or ‘NLP for Business’. The best way for you to broaden your opportunities to practice NLP is to broaden the range of contexts in which you apply it. And you will have a variety of mindsets to draw upon that will guide applications.

The true strength of NLP comes from its freedom of application and the intermix of ideas between those contexts. For example, hypnotic language can be used to entertain people through storytelling – and storytelling has therapeutic and business applications too.

How can you use your NLP skills to:

  • help your kids learn more easily
  • master a new skill
  • improve an existing skill
  • coach others to higher achievement
  • settle disputes at work or at home
  • set and achieve better personal goals
  • design a better business plan
  • understand your spouse or partner better
  • help your spouse or partner understand you better
  • negotiate a raise
  • negotiate a better price in a shop
  • cheer up a friend, colleague, family member

Some of these examples may not apply to you and that’s okay. They are only there to whet your appetite – to start you thinking of ways your NLP skills can be applied usefully in unexplored contexts.

And explore the small pieces first – they have power. For example, all it takes to cheer someone up is eliciting a state, using a funny reframe, or firing an anchor. It’s a mistake to apply only the big pieces, applying or reproducing a set technique – or even putting someone through a process and “turning the handle”.

I know that most NLP learning involves things you ‘do’ to completion:

  • a whole therapeutic change
  • a ‘formal’ coaching session
  • a ‘formal’ hypnotic trance
  • a polished marketing piece
  • a complete presentation
  • a successful sale

This is another limitation of learning in a narrow context. Not every change is ‘formal’ or takes an hour to achieve. You have learned these things because it’s good to have examples of how to apply the skills of NLP in combination and achieve something useful.

Instead, remember that outcomes can be big and small. And the big outcomes are all made up of smaller ones – so it’s best to practice the smaller pieces too.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. More tomorrow.

Value, self investment and self-development

Value and self-investment is a fascinating topic to study.

Since I sell my own self-development courses, I’m ideally placed to experience how people express the value of their own development. This is especially so

In some cases, I’ve seen faulty thinking, mental evasions and other expressions of inner values in conflict.

Note: I’m not saying that everyone needs, or could benefit from, learning NLP, for example. What I am saying is that some people have a strange mindset when it comes to money and value. (I’ve written about this before here).

For example, one of the most common excuses for putting off learning NLP is that “there just isn’t the money for it“. Those are the facts as they experience them.

What is really going on in their mind is far more interesting:

  • Learning a skill-set, mindset and taking on a powerful new worldview is scary
    For some, it’s stepping into the unknown. “What will it be like? Will it be better or worse than I imagine? Will I be any good at it?” It’s easy to see that none of these questions are answerable at the outset.My advice is this – take a chance. Achieving the best is within your personal control if you’re prepared to take the time and put in the effort. The only way to stop the unknown from being scary is to make it into the known. Take that step. Do that thing you’re afraid to fail at – and you can make sure you succeed.
  • Will I change?
    Some people think that developing themselves means becoming ‘someone else’. They ask the question “If I learn this, will I still be me?”Yes, you’ll still be you. Think about this: were you ‘you’ ten years ago? Are you ‘you’ now? I’m betting that you’ve changed in some ways in the last ten years. Despite that, you have been ‘you’ right the way through, so you can learn and grow as an individual without having to become ‘someone else’.
  • They haven’t ‘joined the dots’ between learning and earning
    When I ask people why they’re interested in self-development, they have lots of answers. When I then ask what they’re going to do with the new knowledge to achieve that, the result is often a confused look.I think that any good investment will pay you back, so I’m basically asking them “how will this investment in yourself pay you back?”If you’re thinking about investing in your own development, you need to ask yourself that question too. And don’t be vague.Ask:

    “How specifically will this investment in myself pay me back?”
    “How else will it pay me back?”
    “what else specifically will it do for me?”
    “How else will I benefit?”

    If you’ve really thought it through and haven’t got good answers to the questions above, then don’t do the course until you do.

    It’s up to you to make those benefits tangible, because only you know your circumstances, your willingness to learn and where you want to apply the insights or use your new abilities. A good trainer will act as a sounding board and help to coach you through the options and possibilities. Only you can predict how exactly you’ll benefit.

  • They think that if they invest in a course, that money is gone forever
    This is the mindset of scarcity. It amounts to thinking that if the money is spent on X, then there will be no money for Y. That if the money is spent on self-development, it can’t be spent on a new TV. So the decision is: self-development vs. a new TV.This is what Economists call ‘fixed pie’ – if you take one piece of the pie, that’s one piece less for everything else. We have a saying that expresses this mindset: “You can’t have your cake and eat it”. If you think like that, of course, you won’t.But self-development is an investment in the future of your self and as I said above, a good investment pays you back, with interest.So the decision is different: what future will I have from self-development vs. what future will I have from getting a new TV?And be honest – if you know it’s not going to improve your future, don’t do it. But if you can see the benefits you will gain, go ahead.

Sometimes it helps to go at the question from a different direction.

Ask: “If you could change or improve one aspect of your life, which one would create the biggest positive difference?

What would it be worth to have that?

If some self-development can help you to achieve that, would you do it?

Take some time to think it through because only you can know the answer.

Training Which Integrates Principles, Skills and Tactics

As one of many people who teach NLP, it’s good to highlight what makes my approach to training stand out from my peers. The key in my methods is the structured interplay of several levels of learning – most specifically, the integration of general principles with appropriate skills and well-chosen tactical examples.

Tactics are specific actions derived from general principles and enacted through skills. Tactics take the form “in this exact situation, do this specific thing for this specific result”. It’s easy to see that for a specific role, you will need a lot of tactics – enough to cover all the available situations. In short, tactical thinking means carrying around a very, very heavy rule book.

An example of tactical thinking in NLP is a heavy reliance on techniques for achieving any result. These are the individuals who are continually asking for “a technique for X” or “a hypnosis script for Z”. They don’t know the principles behind the techniques and only think at a tactical level, so they ask for more tactics instead of deeper learning.

By contrast, knowing the principles behind something will allow you to evolve new tactics for any given situation. However, the principles themselves are abstract, so you need to have some examples of how they may be applied to the real world as a guide to wider application.

Unless you have those examples, it can be difficult to figure out applications. Principles on their own are like trying to warm yourself by the picture of a fire. Principles combined with carefully chosen examples can be a powerful and flexible combination.

Skills are the glue that bind it all together. They are the means by which we enact our principles through the tactics we have evolved. They are the ‘how’, while principles are more about why we do that and tactics involve what we do in a specific situation.

For example, you might know in principle how a bow and arrow works. You might be in a specific situation where you are shooting at a target. Yet the skill of drawing, aiming and releasing is quite separate from the principles and tactics.

This interplay between principles, skills and tactics is something that characterises my training methods and if used correctly, can greatly accelerate and deepen learning. It’s not a standard NLP Trainer thing and I rarely teach this method to others because they don’t know it’s there – it’s largely invisible during training. With this in mind though, you can see one way that learning can extend far beyond the completion of the course.

So the correct balance between these elements, presented in the correct order is one key to the acceleration of learning.

Questions, comments? Add your two cents below.

Terms Which I Question – Metaphors part 1

While words themselves can’t hurt us, we must be careful of the metaphors we use because they often have hidden implications. The danger here is that we may unconsciously be directed or limited by those implications.

What is so important about the metaphors we use and what makes them different from other pieces of language? Metaphors are interpreters of context, so often correlate with high level change. We write the stories of our lives through our use of concepts within the limitations of our contexts, so where better to look for change than in our metaphors?

The implications of some ‘popular’ metaphors are less than useful, so it’s worth examining them here:

  • work/life balance
    The implications here are many. Firstly that ‘work’ and ‘life’ need to be in equal balance, i.e. that work should be given as much time and energy as everything else put together. Secondly that work and life are the only two areas of focus to have a harmonious life. Thirdly, that work and life do not overlap and are exclusive concepts.

    If you think that last one is a stretch, let me tell you a story that underlines the point. A while ago, I was at a friend’s barbecue and was introduced to an acquaintance of his. He was struggling with his workload and was near burnout. Part way through the conversationI noticed that he was treating work and life like opposites, rather than overlapping concepts.

    So I asked him what the opposite of work was. “Life”. And then what the opposite of life was. At this point he went a little pale. He realised that throughout our conversation he had been telling me that he was only ‘living’ when he was not working! Understanding this, he was able to begin finding ways to see work in a more positive light.

  • Leadership of self
    The key implication here is that we have an ‘internal leader’ – and an internal ‘follower’ too. Leading and following is a two-role process, so ‘leadership of self’ indicates some sort of internal division or conflict, in my opinion. I’d use a different metaphor which implies internal integration and cooperation.

A better metaphor
My purpose here is not to create “word fear” or the sort of internal censorship that came with “political correctness”. I’d prefer you examine the implications of the metaphors you use in everyday life, especially in areas that you consider less than optimum. And through such consideration, choose to live through more empowering contexts and narratives.

Real World NLP

When I started out with NLP, my first experiences were motivated by an interest in communication, so I focused most on those aspects of my development. From a scientific perspective, I was thoroughly intrigued by the NLP methodology.

I had some skills and very few specific techniques, so I got very good at asking questions and exploring through feedback. In many cases this is the best way to learn something, as the distinctions formed through experience are the most persistent and personal type of learning. In this way, NLP becomes part of experience and part of life.

Experiencing NLP

Since NLP is a way of working and a way of looking at the world, a good way to begin is to start to notice many of the things that NLP training aims to make us more aware of.

Above all, approach this in a playful way. Have fun exploring the new world this opens out.

One thing about memory is that we tend to recall things when we’re in the same state in which we learned them.

So if you’re putting yourself under a bit of pressure, then stop…

Take a deep breath.

Take your mind back to the ‘where and when’ of that learning

and re-connect with it.

Playfulness and fun are two of the states we use a lot in the process of teaching NLP. This is one of the many reasons we do that.

NLP Awareness

Notice when people you know go in and out of states. Anchor the useful ones and test your work. Have everyone around you become more resourceful and motivated this way.

Be aware of the language used by people you meet every day, their tonality, rhythm and inflection. Practice matching those distinct unconscious elements in your communication to achieve better rapport.

Listen for metaprograms and filters and tailor your communication to bypass them.

Prepare, practice, calibrate and improve.

As for the many techniques, work on yourself, help out friends and family, coach colleagues. Above all, remain open to accepting sensory feedback throughout and draw useful distinctions.

NLP Development

Keep yourself open to learning and you will continue to develop. People tend to plateau because they’ve stopped learning. Their internal model of that area has crystallised and extraneous pieces are streamlined away.

While that is a healthy and natural process, you should bear in mind that if there’s still room for improvement, you may have crystallised your learning too soon. Fortunately, our unique teaching methods can reopen the learning process and build positively on this solid foundation.

The key distinction is that a model is not reality and rules can be made to flex, bend and even break constructively, forming new distinctions. Learning through experience is essential at this point, provided these experiences occur within a specific set of boundary conditions. And all in a playful way.

Practicing NLP

Look at the world. Pay attention to the people around you. Find excellent people and ask if you can model their skills. Be curious and enjoy asking thought-provoking questions and you’ll find that everyone does something really well.

If you ask yourself, ‘how can I use these skills to great effect in work/at home/in my pastimes,’ you will benefit greatly from understanding more about the people in the world around you.

I began my journey in a search for better means of communicating. I found a lot more than that. If you make the awareness and methods part of your life, you’ll never have to practice NLP.

Just enjoy your life.

Falling down together

Let’s talk about one of the mainstays of self-help: the support group.

On the surface, it seems like a really good idea. You go and spend time with people who can understand your issues and relate easily to your experiences and your world-view. It works well for some.

However, the supposed strengths can actually be their greatest liability. Here’s how it often plays out:

You go and spend time with a lot of people who have the same problem as you. Sure, you’ll feel welcome and have a ‘sense of belonging.’ You will also be with the only people who definitely don’t have the answers you need, as they have the same filters and the same blind spots as you.

Think about it like this: A depressed person goes and spends their time with other depressed people. They talk about their problems and maybe even socialise together. They mutually reinforce each other’s opinion that the world is a depressing place. No surprise, no change and definitely no exit.

People with a problem don’t benefit from sameness, affirmation and a sense of belonging regarding their problem. Building those things through forming ‘communities of dysfunction’ can keep them stuck because if they change somehow, they’re no longer part of their social group! Deciding between having a problem or losing all your friends is not a great set of choices, I’m sure you will agree.

Strange though it may seem at first, they instead need discomfort, counter-examples and contrast in order to change because they need to be aware that something is wrong – and life can be better in ways that they value.

The first thing to remove is the choice to be stuck. This is something that Richard Bandler demonstrates repeatedly and which is part of NLP training. Bandler often creates change by colluding with the person’s comfortable and dysfunctional ‘reality’ – and then spoiling it somehow. Do this and then you can provide solutions, knowing that they’ve burned their bridges with regard to the problem. There is no going back.

So, what would a genuinely helpful support group be like? I suggest that the majority of the participants would be role-models who demonstrate positive function. And not necessarily those who ‘used to’ have the same issue, because coping is different from change.

So put a depressed person with relaxed and positive people and watch as they model their new social environment. Becoming ‘one of the crowd’ can be a massive unconscious influence for positive change, because the best hypnotic suggestions are non-verbal ones which are consistently demonstrated.

And you can do that just by being you.

Boundaries and Values – Part 2

The value of ‘free’

I’ve written about the ‘value of free’ before, though a recent experience has brought this back to the forefront of my awareness. A complete stranger contacted me several months ago about one of my training programs. They had decided they would “quite like to be a life coach”, so could they please attend my NLP Practitioner and Coach certification course (a £1749 value) for free!

Besides having a hell of a nerve, I think that people in that ‘free’ mindset somehow don’t understand that this business is my livelihood as well as my passion. Try pulling that sort of manoeuvre with your landlord or your bank manager and I guarantee you won’t get very far.

As I see it, there are several things wrong with the ‘free stuff’ mindset:

1) ‘Free stuff’ is less valued

In my experience, those who come to a paying seminar have invested something in themselves and are fully engaged in the process. They’re more motivated, tend to get better results and – most importantly – are inclined to practice. Those who have booked on free events I’ve run in the past are less likely to take the material seriously or even to turn up.

2) Investment constitutes a firm commitment

For example, those who invest in themselves take a therapeutic process more seriously. Statistics show that subsidised ‘free’ treatment has more no-shows than paid treatment.

3) Those who invest in themselves tend to be more involved and have specific outcomes

For example, training people within a business shows a great contrast with those who choose to attend our public courses. And the greatest contrast can be experienced when talking about outcomes. Many people treat a business training course as a ‘day away from their desk’ and that often translates into either a day off work or wasted time – neither of which is a positive way of engaging with the material. Needless to say, it’s good to get this out of the way beforehand.

4) ‘Free’ is a game that everyone has to play for the system to work

The ‘free’ mindset can be a tad selfish – “what can I get for nothing?” – but it’s important to look at the whole system to check the ecology. I would be perfectly happy to work for free if I can get free rent, free food, free clothes, transport, heating, electricity, water etc. and can live tax-free. I somehow can’t see that happening any day soon 🙂

5) There’s no such thing as a free lunch

Free material can sometimes have value, but it’s not motivated by altruism. It’s there to promote, to pitch, to up-sell, to build brand awareness or to educate, so your mileage may vary. In short, there is a lot of dross out there. Personally, I follow a principle I learned from marketing expert Mark Joyner – Don’t give something away that you couldn’t otherwise sell. It’s not a ‘free lunch’ but it does have substance – and is therefore a win/win.

Value, substance and standards

I think it’s vitally important to have standards. I feel great after delivering a training because I know that my trainees all measure up to a high standard of ability. Most of them don’t quite realise how high those standards are, because the training experience is so relaxed and fun. However, they consistently stand out from the crowd and I’m proud we could accomplish that together.

Naturally, I’m keen to promote more of that, so I’m done with ‘free for the sake of it’ and when it comes to my values, compromise is inappropriate.

As I said in Part 1 of this article, Life can be something of a teacher. However, it’s up to us which lesson we learn from life.