10. Preparing for the future – NLP for Rookies

CHAPTER 10

Preparing for the future

Strategies

Every single behaviour of ours has a strategy enabling it, a step-by-step process that guides our subconscious mind towards achieving our desired goal and outcomes. This basic strategy has been developed so you can apply it to any situation, goal or ambition: presentations, interviews, cold calling, appraisals, self employment, recruitment, management, training, confidence, business planning, etc.

Step 1: Know what your goal is

To create any new behaviour, your subconscious mind first needs a positive intent, the reason “why” behind your directional goal. What do you want? What do you want to achieve specifically? Your subconscious needs a target in order to know where to aim. (See the exercise in Chapter 2, “Creating our targets”.)

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To create any new behaviour, your subconscious mind first needs a positive intent.

Step 2: Beliefs and values

Is your goal congruent with your current values and beliefs? Why do you want this?

(See the exercise in Chapter 5, “Changing your values”.)

What is stopping you from attaining it?

Exercise: Manipulating your beliefs

Our beliefs drive our behaviour, but can also limit it and get in the way of our goals. If you have always had a burning ambition to become your own boss and a desire to become self employed, what’s actually stopping you?

“I’m not lucky enough.”

“I haven’t got the confidence I need.”

“I don’t have the stamina to work for myself.”

If you find the only thing standing in the way of you, your perfect career and your life is just your negative belief structure, then apply the exercise below and finally choose to change it. This is similar to the exercise in Chapter 5, but it reappears now in the broader context of the three steps described here. (You may find it easier to write down your responses on a piece of paper.)

1. Think of a positive belief you know to be true; for example, “I am a great salesman,” “I’m incredibly organized,” or “I’m a people person.”

(If you’re struggling to find a belief, use something else you know is definitely true, such as “The world is round,” “There are seven days in the week,” “Water is wet,” and so on.)

Now think clearly about this belief, acknowledge it and become aware of how your representational systems are recreating it within your mind.

Do you get a picture, have a feeling, or hear a sound? What are the submodalities of these sensory experiences?

How do you recognize this fact to be true? (For example, “I know it’s true, because I have a strong feeling about it.”)

2. Now think of the belief that is holding you back and you would like to change; for example, “I’m not a confident salesman,” or “I’m not dynamic enough to run my own business.”

3. Change the language structure of your negative belief into its positive counterpart (the thing you want to achieve). For example, “I’m a confident salesman,” “I am dynamic and I can run my own business.”

4. Now become aware once more of all the submodalities of the belief you know to be true, the feelings you get, the pictures you see, all of your sensory acknowledgements and representations of this belief.

5. Now superimpose all the positive qualities from the belief you know to be true on to the new belief you would like to create.

6. Repeat stages 4 and 5 over and over until this statement contains all the submodality qualities necessary for you now to believe this Belief statement to be true (instead of your original negative belief).

Step 3: Overcoming obstacles

Often when we are attempting to access our goals we come across obstacles that get in our way.

Fear

Fear is a common obstacle that faces everyone at some point or another. Instinctively its creation is a positive, and it actually provides us with the protection we need in order to function safely throughout our everyday life. However it can also sometimes become misguided in its behavioural direction, and can steer our behaviour away from achieving things we actually may want or need to experience. (Presentations, cold calling, sales, interviews, heights, lifts, spiders, etc.)

Most of our fears are originally created because of a negatively anchored response to a trigger contained within a previous experience or memory.

The fast phobia cure

This cure teaches us how to disassociate from our memories and their negative influence.

1. Identify your phobic response or the unpleasant experience that you wish to overcome.

2. Now imagine you are sitting in a cinema, looking up at the big screen, and being projected onto this screen is a movie detailing your experience of your phobia. (Disassociation.) It is important for you to remember that you are safe before and after the unpleasant experience.

3. Now imagine yourself floating out of the you that is sitting in the cinema seat looking up at the screen, and move yourself a couple of rows back in the cinema, so you are now looking at yourself, watching you, experiencing your phobia on the cinema screen.

4. Now repeat this process again, except this time float out of the you that is sitting a couple of rows back and imagine you are now standing in the projection booth, looking down on yourself a couple of rows back, looking at yourself looking up at the cinema screen.

5. Now imagine that whilst you can see yourself in the projection booth watching yourself in the seats, watching the film of you on the screen, you press a button in the projection booth, that re-runs the movie right back to the beginning, back to the time before your negative experience began, back to a time when you were safe.

6. Now imagine the movie has been turned to black and white. Begin running the movie through, starting before your negative experience began, through until after the experience had finished and you were once again safe.

7. Now imagine the screen shrinking right down in size, so it becomes the size of a small portable TV, and then imagine the picture on the screen completely disappearing, turning the screen completely white, the image gone.

8. Float back out of the projection booth, out of both seats and into the end of your film.

9. Now imagine running the film backwards, in full colour, really quickly. As if you’re experiencing the whole film in reverse. As you do this, imagine the theme tune to a really silly cartoon, or circus music (it doesn’t matter what, as long as it makes you laugh). If you struggle to imagine music, then do this exercise whilst actually listening to some really silly upbeat tune. Run your phobic movie right back to the beginning, experiencing everything again in reverse, right back to the beginning when you were safe.

10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 through again until you find that you are now comfortable with the experience.

11. Now imagine going into the future and finding yourself in a situation which would be likely to prompt the phobic response. If you find you have any traces of discomfort, repeat the exercise again.

Understanding there is no such thing as failure, only feedback

Your mind is always learning, but will generally have to go through a process of trial and error before it reaches a stage of unconscious competence (see Chapter 1) and produces the results you actually desire.

Unfortunately as we get older, we allow our fear of failure to influence our desire to learn, and because of this we often give up and quit before we manage to master a desired new skill. This means that we often end up missing out on the various new opportunities to learn, instead of accepting failure for what it really is, an option on the natural learning curve.

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As we get older, we allow our fear of failure to influence our desire to learn.

When you are attempting to learn any new skill, ask yourself:

What am I aiming to achieve?

What have I achieved so far?

What feedback have I had?

What lessons have I learned?

How can I put them to positive use?

How will I measure success?

The next time you find yourself frustrated and struggling, run through the above questions, pick yourself up and have another go. Practice makes perfect.

Tackling the objections of others

Sometimes, despite all of our best intentions, we can still find ourselves occasionally clashing with others. This can be because of a difference of opinion, a misinterpretation of ideas or a simple lack of common understanding and grounding. Conflict is very common in business, but it can also arise within in any situation that involves communicating with others. Remember, everyone views the world from different perspectives, and no two realities are the same.

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Everyone views the world from different perspectives, and no two realities are the same.

A talented therapist, Robert Dilts, created an NLP model that allows us to explore relationships further, providing us with a tool that provides insight into another person’s reality and perceptions upon a situation.

The Meta mirror

The Meta mirror will help you to prepare for many possible scenarios you may face:

Conflict between staff.

Interviews.

Relationship management.

1. First choose a relationship you wish to explore.

2. Now imagine three positions on the ground in front of you (you can draw circles, place a marker on the floor or just use your imagination).

3. Stand in position 1 (this is your point of view). Imagine that you are looking at the other person in position 2. Ask yourself, what am I experiencing, thinking and feeling as I’m looking at the other person?

4. Step out of position 1, break state and then go and stand at position 2 (this is the other person’s point of view). Imagine now that you’re standing within the other person looking back at yourself in first position. Ask yourself, “What are they experiencing, thinking and feeling as they look at me?”

5. Now step out of that position, break state and step into position 3 (the independent observer). Imagine looking at both people in this relationship impartially. Look at yourself in position 1 and at the person in position 2. What’s your opinion from here?

6. Break state and then go back and revisit position 2. Ask yourself, how is this opinion different now? What, if anything, has changed?

7. Finish by coming back to position 1 again. Ask yourself, how is this position different now? What if anything, has changed?

Step 4: Create the required state

Our states can be mental, emotional or physical, and they have a massive influence over our ability to perform certain tasks. If we want to achieve any particular objective, it is of paramount importance that our states are congruent with our objectives.

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If we want to achieve any particular objective, it is of paramount importance that our states are congruent with our objectives.

Once you have worked out Step 1 (Know what your goal is), spend a couple of moments thinking about what state(s) you are going to need to be in for this to be achieved.

Example

Presentation: Focused, confident, motivated and vibrant.

Interview: Focused, confident, relaxed and quick thinking.

Managing: Confident, strong, happy and organized.

Exercise: Creating states – motivation

You can switch motivation for confidence or any other state that you wish to recreate. You need to choose two anchors for this exercise. (See “Anchors” in Chapter 9.)

1. Think back to a time when you were really motivated to learn, do or start something. (Choose something that you found easy to do and that you really enjoyed learning, something almost unnatural for you not to know how to do now.)

2. Remember all the submodalities of this memory. What do you hear, see and feel?

3. Make all your images bright and strong, make any internal/external sounds supportive and strong, intensify your feelings and truly breathe all the elements of this memory in.

4. Once you’ve built this memory up to an optimum level and you can feel it peaking, anchor it to your chosen Anchor 1.

5. Repeat this step three times, until you feel you have created a really strong anchor.

6. Now remember how confident and fantastic you felt once you knew you had learned this new thing and you could do it easily, subconsciously, as though it was the most natural thing in the world.

7. Remember all the submodalities of this memory. What do you hear, see and feel?

8. Make all your images bright and strong, make any internal/external sounds supportive and strong, intensify your feelings and truly breathe all the elements of this memory in.

9. Once you’ve built this memory up to an optimum level and you can feel it peaking, anchor it to your chosen Anchor 2.

10. Repeat this step three times, until you feel you have created a really strong anchor.

11. Now think of the new thing you want to be motivated into obtaining, achieving or doing.

12. Imagine the processes, and run the memory through from the beginning to the middle and right through to the end. Imagine all the submodalities involved. What do you hear, see and feel?

13. Once you have this process clear, run it through your mind again, whilst firing off anchor 1 at the same time.

14. Repeat step 13 three times.

15. Now repeat step 13 but whilst firing off anchor 2 instead.

16. Repeat step 15 three times.

17. Repeat step 15 but fire off both anchors at the same time. Imagine the motivation and anticipation for wanting to learn something and the fantastic feeling of achievement and subconscious knowing, once you have achieved it.

18. Repeat step 17 three times, test and then future pace on to future situations (see below).

Step 5: The attainment of dreams

Once you have worked out your goals, re-evaluated your values and beliefs, overcome any objections and created the required states, the only step left for you to take is that of action.

You have to choose to turn your aspirations into reality.

If you want to become a successful billionaire, a top sales person or simply motivate your staff into action, then you must choose to actively begin implementing and practising all of the understanding you have now gained.

Simply reading this book is not enough!

Where do you want your future to lead, and have you pre-programmed your mental diary with the appropriate appointments to take you there?

Future pacing

The subconscious mind has no analytical thought, and every action it performs is a result of pre-programming and expectation, past, present and future.

So what is your subconscious business plan for the future, and is it mapped out on your time line?

1. Spend a couple of moments thinking about your goal. Imagine every single tiny detail of it, all of the submodalities involved, how you will feel, what you will see and what you will hear. How will you know when you have achieved it and what will it mean to you?

2. Create the imagination strongly within your mind and hold it there for a couple of minutes, enjoying the daydream that is your perfect reality.

3. Break state.

4. Now imagine your time line running with your past either behind or to the left of you (depending upon which feels the most natural), through yourself right now (the present) and out in front of you or to the right, heading off into your future.

5. Now imagine floating out of yourself in the present and heading off into your future to the time when your goal has been attained.

6. Imagine standing in your future, experiencing the success of your achievement, knowing all the steps you have taken to lead you here.

7. Now imagine going further down your time line, one year from now, five years, ten years, and imagine how your life will be as you continue aspiring towards the future of your dreams.

8. Spend a couple of moments daydreaming every element of this new life clearly. Truly etch out every detail upon your subconscious diary.

9. Now imagine floating up above your time line so that you are able to look down at its entirety.

10. Become aware of all the steps you have created and taken that have led you towards your future goals. Spend a couple of moments conjuring all the details necessary to appear on your subconscious business plan, your blueprint, your mental diary, both present and future.

11. When you feel you have created and understood all the details required to lead your subconscious to your perfect future, imagine floating back down into the moment of your original goal’s attainment. Associate with the experience once more.

12. Now step back into yourself in the present, and imagine yourself looking out on to your brilliant future and become aware of a sensation of excitement, possibility, motivation and ambition to begin stepping on to the path of your amazing life.

Coach’s notes

Putting it into practice

Work through and follow all of the steps in Chapter 10, or, if you prefer, to start with simply choose the NLP exercise that is the most appropriate for you and your situation at present.

All of the exercises in this book have been written for you to use as a guide, a manual to highlight to your mind a different way of maybe approaching the world around you, providing you with options and opportunity, so you can choose how you want to interpret information, respond to others, influence your colleagues or simply learn how to understand and manipulate the influence you have upon yourself.

As with any new subject, you cannot expect to pick up this book, read it once and then suddenly find yourself with all of the answers and solutions in one magic wave of the wand. It will take time, commitment and, most importantly, practice!

Some of the exercises in this book will provide you with instantaneous results, others may take a little more time, feedback, adjustment and learning.

However, luckily for you, the process of learning is already something you are instinctively brilliant at. After all, once upon a time you learned to walk and speak a new language, and maybe you have learned to drive a car or play a new sport.

There was a time in your life when you were consciously incompetent at one thing or another, but through practice, motivation, patience and time, you have learned to become better and more skilled, and are now (probably unconsciously) very competent at whatever it is.

You can learn to become anything you want to in life. The ultimate question is: What do you choose?

Go for it! The fantastic thing about NLP is that there is no right or wrong, but there is always a choice. In business you can use NLP to learn skills, overcome your obstacles and conflicts, and influence your colleagues, clients and staff. Most importantly, NLP provides you with a methodology that gives you the ability and the freedom to choose how you wish to perceive and respond to your environment, both internally and externally. Life can be everything you want it to be – so what do you choose and how are you going to go about turning your dreams into your reality?