Thursday, October 25, 2012

Compassionate intent

When we talk about having compassion it is so often about having compassion for others, yet how many of us come down hard on ourselves, that inner critic always criticising, never allowing ourselves to forgive ourselves, or even to try to understand why we behave or act or feel in a way we don't like.  I'll bet the person we are hardest on in criticism and leanest on compassion is ourselves.

And this is where another of the NLP presuppositions comes into play.

Every behaviour has a positive intent.....that's often a difficult one to understand and one that possibly meets with most resistance. However, it is one of the most important of the NLP presuppositions or beliefs as understanding this begins to allow compassion for yourself and those around you.

A very important distinction to make is that of INTENT rather than outcome.   Clearly not every behaviour has a positive outcome, yet every behaviour does have a positive intent - for the person doing that behaviour, though not necessarily for the person on the receiving end of the behaviour or action.  And that intent is almost invariably to satisfy an unmet need - be that a very basic physiological need, protection, or perhaps love, esteem, confidence, peace or happiness. 

Now, whilst this is useful for perhaps understanding or at least having compassion for someone else's behaviour and actions, where it comes into its own is for understanding and having compassion for ourselves.   Every bit of behaviour, every action that we don't like about ourselves, that we are critical of, that keeps us in our own internal conflict, is created for some positive intent, for ourselves.   Seems hard to believe doesn't it?   Why or how would a seemingly negative behaviour, action or habit be doing something positive for us? 

Often when people are trying to give up smoking or lose weight, or trying to make some other positive change it is the 'thing' that stops us from being successful, that little voice that says oh go on just one more won't hurt, or that seems to automatically reach for the biscuit tin or fridge door, those actions that seem set on sabotaging our efforts to improve our lives.   With guidance through therapeutic NLP and hypnotherapy the positive intention for these behaviours and actions that get in the way can be acknowledged, understood, and once understood we can show ourselves compassion for acting in that way.  And with that compassion, the opening up to other possible ways of meeting those needs and giving ourselves love, peace, happiness, confidence, or self esteem or some other 'state' we are seeking, without the need for the original unhelpful response.

Some examples from clients in my clinic revealed the positive intention of a fear of flying was for protection and peace, smoking was for courage and making a stand against bullying, overwhelming general anxiety was for love.

It is a wonderful way of resolving inner conflict and turmoil, of letting go of behaviours, responses and feelings that don't serve us well.   And very often the crucial element in making sustained and positive change and in accepting and loving ourselves for who we are.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Seeing things differently

During our sessions, or perhaps in books or other blogs you have read you may have heard  about the NLP (neuro linguistic programming) presuppositions and wondered what the heck they are!  Or perhaps you've heard or read phrases and wondered where they've come from or what they actually mean.

Underpinning the basis of all NLP work are deeply embedded core assumptions called the NLP presuppositions.  Now, that's a bit of a technical jargon so to put simply, they are a set of assumptions or beliefs about how people operate that create the basis on which NLP works and how change can happen. If you like, they are a way to look at things, ways can be useful in making changes to or understanding the way you and others respond to situations, relationships and life in general.

These core assumptions are:
  • The map is not the territory
  • There is no failure, only feedback
  • The meaning of the communication is the response you get
  • If what you are doing doesn't work, try something different
  • In any system the element with the most flexibility exerts the most influence
  • You cannot fail to communicate
  • Individuals have all the resources they need to achieve their desired outcomes
  • People work perfectly to accomplish what they're currently accomplishing
  • Every behaviour has a positive intent
  • Every behaviour is useful in some context
  • The mind and the body are connected and influence each other
  • Modelling successful performance leads to excellence
  • Having a choice is better than not having a choice
  • People make the best choice they can at any moment in time
  • People respond to their experience not the reality itself

Clearly as an NLP practitioner all the work that I do is based on these underlying beliefs and and perhaps as you read the list you may have agreed with some of them but raised an eyebrow or two at others!   Remember these are just beliefs, useful ways to look at things and I wonder in how many and in what ways your life would change if you made the choice to believe them.

Over the coming weeks I will explore each one of these beliefs, and you might like to see how they fit into your world, and how your view of the world could change as you begin to understand these and apply them!

So, the map is not the territory.  Huh?  What does that mean?  

Each and every one of us has our own map of the world - its what makes two people go to a party and have an entirely different experience, how siblings can grow up within a family and have two different tales of family life, how two people can see the same thing in a completely different way.

HSBC bank ran a series of adverts, often seen in airport corridors, that demonstrate this beautifully

How do you understand and interpret these images?  Perhaps in a different way?  All our maps are different and unique, they are the way we see and interpret the world, yet they are not the world.

How many different maps are there of the UK?  Yet which one actually depicts exactly what the land is?  None of them.   Each one is just a representation of what the reality is - some maps will concentrate on roads, others on topography, some may be in colour, pictorial, or a model.  But not one will be the territory itself.

So when you start to think about your own map of the world, how is it different to say the way your partner, your family, friends, colleagues see the world?  There will be a lot of similarities but there will also be differences.  And it is these differences that create the misunderstandings and conflicts.    And, just by understanding that our maps all differ, we can begin to appreciate and be aware of our differences, accepting them, and finding ways to seek understanding and resolution where there is conflict.

Next time you're frustrated that someone doesn't get what you're saying or doing, or you don't understand them, just take a moment to appreciate they're simply working from a different map.  You don't have to understand their map, nor they yours, just having the understanding and acceptance that the maps are different goes a long way to making the first steps to positive change and resolving conflict within a relationship.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gettting to the nub of it works

...even if you don't know what it is, or if that is scary!

What I love about the work that I do, both as a body worker in my sports massage clinic, or with my therapeutic NLP and hypnotherapy is that to be successful I have to work with my clients on the cause and not the symptom.   You just won't get the sustained change without it. 

This can be frustrating for my clients. Why are we working on that when its this that hurts or causes me the problem, but I say stick with it and trust the process.   You have to resolve the root cause of the problem, sticking a plaster on or popping a pill may work or ease things in the short term but it will come back again, and again until you get to the bottom of it.

A wonderful reminder of this occurred recently.  A client came to me about a fear of travelling.  He'd had hypnotherapy before and it hadn't worked.   I explained that there are two parts to dealing with extreme fear or phobias -  destabilising the pattern of behaviour and installing a new pattern which deals with the 'symptom' or the response; but also exploring why the response was created in the first place and acknowledging and appreciating that there are  more appropriate options in how best to respond - the root cause.   My client looked a bit dubious about this second part and so I explained that probably the other hypnotherapy sessions he'd had just dealt with the symptom and that was why there hadn't been a sustained and permanent change in his behaviour, because the root cause had not been dealt with.  Sure enough, what came up was that the phobia's roots lay in an experience of flying home many many years ago knowing there was a very unpleasant abusive situation to deal with when he got home.  This had never been explored, in fact it had been buried so deep the client was surprised to have been reminded of it.  With some further work around the root cause, he left the session to go and book a trip, and we hadn't even started work yet on the symptoms!

It may be daunting at times to explore the real nub of the issue, we can dress it up, pretend it doesn't exist, choose to brush it under the carpet, but it will continue to rear its ugly head time and time again until we choose to face it and resolve it. 

Working with a therapeutic NLP and hypnotherapy practitioner will allow you to explore these root causes, the real nub, with empathy and support.  And it could transform your life.  Imagine a life free of those things that hold you back, that create internal conflict, how wonderful that would be.   You can have this too!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Munching a mammoth in 30 days?

There's that saying about 'how do you eat an elephant - bit by bit of course' and I was reminded of this in my own mentoring session with a colleague this week.   The issue was the elephant just seemed so humungously woolly mammoth sized that even eating it bit by bit seemed like too big a deal.  Funny then that an email should also pop into my inbox from the wonderful Connie Chapman from A Life Of Perfect Days inviting me to join her on a Transformational 90 day Challenge.   But somehow even 90 days seemed too long, too daunting, too overwelming.   Sound familiar? 

So bit by bit we chunked down, broke that woolly mammoth into an elephant and then into even smaller bitesize pieces and ended up with a challenging but realistically manageable 30 day challenge!  It was quite contagious and I challenged my colleague to join me in the challenge which was duly accepted!  And as I write this I am smiling as I originally typed  "I shan't reveal the details but know that the success of it will be clearly evidenced on here, on Facebook, on Twitter and ultimately in my diary!"  yet the challenge requires me to declare it!  So deep breath - 30 days to get out there in world what we do!   There - that wasn't so bad after all!

So how does a 30 day challenge hit the spot?  Well 30 days is only a month, in fact less than a month for 7 of them!  Its four and a bit weeks - hardly any time at all when you consider we're already into October 2012 and I last blogged at the end of July which seemed like just last week!  So it's not too long to fear commiting to, yet its long enough to create a habit, to bed down new patterns of behaviour and certainly long enough to start seeing results which will inspire you to continue on way past the 30 days!

A 30 day challenge is fantastic for making big changes or little tweaks - and once you start you'll start to see lots more opportunities in your life for other 30 day challenges.  And its great fun and a huge motivator to share with friends or colleagues - set up a facebook group or blog and declare your challenge publicly  to the world (or the intimacy of a secret group if more appropriate) as letting people know what you are doing holds you accountable and you may be surprised at the support you get, from unexpected places!

Not sure where to start, what to do for a 30 day challenge - pick an area of your life where you'd like to see change and identify the change you want that is realistic yet challenging within 30 days.  Think of what action(s) will start to move you towards that goal and commit to doing that action(s) for 30 days and hey presto that's your 30 day challenge!  It doesn't have to be anything big - start small for your first 30 day challenge and you know its funny how a seemingly small 30 day challenge will bring far greater positive benefits than you would ever thought possible!

Would love to hear about your 30 day challenge! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Overwelming Lessons from the Garden

My garden was once my pride and joy, but somewhere over the last 7 or 8 years it lost its place on my 'interest' list - so much so when I attempted to venture down the path last week I could have cried.  I couldn't get to the bottom - the 'lawn' was at least 3 foot tall, the hedges double their width and brambles criss-crossing the paths.    At that moment I felt completely overwelmed and ashamed.  How on earth was I ever going to tackle this jungle?   I had a strong desire to just go back indoors, lock the back door and deny that I have a back garden but I knew sticking my head in the sand for another year would only compound the situation.

As I hacked away at the brambles, took the hedge trimmer to the hedges and 'lawn' to re-create a path I knew I had to get a plan together, just randomly tackling the job was not going to transform this jungle to an acceptably wild but tamed rambling garden, much less a beautifully manicured one (but thankfully that's not my style!).

Some coaching questions came to mind and whilst I was hacking away I began to answer those questions and formulate a plan.   It gave me a sense of relief to realise that taming my garden is possible, and also perversely how it took my wild jungle of a garden to remind me to apply some key questions and themes of coaching to my own life!

How important is this to me?
At this particular point this is important to me - as I'm beginning to question the purpose of all the running I am doing and what value and enjoyment I am getting from that, I remember that I find peace and solitude, a time to think and just be, the enjoyment of being outside immersed in nature when working in my garden - ironically similar to what I get from my running when I'm not on some crazy schedule of races. 

How will I know when I get there
I'll wander down my garden with a sense of satisfaction and pride - I know what that feels like - I've had it before!   I'll be on first name terms with the tip employees I'll have visited that often!

If something isn't working do something different 
Clearly my strategy of do nothing wasn't working to manage my garden the way I wanted it so it was time to do something different - TAKE ACTION!

How do you eat an elephant?  In bite size pieces
In its entirety the whole project is completely overwelming but I broke it down into small chunks - daily chunks in fact.   I figured that if I fill two manageable size garden bags with clippings and weeds each day and take it to the tip (just a 2 mile detour from my daily commute to clinic) that I will start to see results very quickly - and it takes less than an hour to fill those bags!

See the opportunities
Being August, being the Olympics I am presented with a great opportunity - clinic is quiet so I have more time, the evenings are still long, my daughter is home and available to help, and the weather is good (haha - that one may prove yet to be a challenge!)

Don't sweat the small stuff - do what creates the biggest impact
Starting to clear the paths and cutting back the hedges made a huge difference - the garden now looking like it is under some control!   Once the biggest shrubs, areas of bramble are cleared I'll start working on the flower beds, though I did weed the one nearest the patio, the one that is on view!

Identify the biggest challenge or sticking point in achieving this goal
The removal of the garden rubbish is my sticking point - I purchased two manageable size heavy duty garden tidy bags which when full I can still lift and move through the house to the car, and found out the opening times of the local tip!   Once I'm onto the 'finer' weeding and the bags take longer to fill I can start on the huge pile of garden waste left over from last year's short lived attempt to tame the garden - some of it has composted down but much of my garden rubbish is twiggy and woody.

Identify the added benefits
I'm also going through a huge de-cluttering inside the house so the daily trips to the tip means I can also dispose of the house rubbish and not have that hanging around in the 'tip' pile!   Some much needed bonding time with my daughter.  The headspace and prompt to come back to my equally neglected blog!   I always knew 2012 was going to a year of change, it has been and is continuing but this has made me realise I've just allowed the change to happen rather than proactively steering it to my best purpose.

If some of this sounds familiar, not just your garden, but any areas of your life where you are feeling overwelmed with the enormity of the goal, then try applying some of these questions and see how much better you'll already begin to feel now that you have the beginnings of a manageable, realistic and achievable plan in place. Any change, whether wanted or not, can be overwelming but applying some questions, giving it some thought and attention, identifying and find solutions to the  sticking points can transform that negative overwelming feeling to one of an exciting challenge or adventure

Operation Back Garden is now on day 2, and I'm looking forward to my stint in the garden! It has rained overnight and there is a lovely fresh earthy smell in the air and an early morning coolness - wonderful!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I've already got what I need!

'I've already got what I need! '   A powerful lightbulb moment for my practice client and a strong reinforcement of my learnings for me!    

It's weekend 3 of my Smart School Diploma in NLP and Hypnotherapy and the penny has dropped - this combination of NLP and Hypnotherapy is a powerful tool - each incredibly effective in their own right as therapies but put together and 'BAM' as the wonderful Peggy Guglielmino, our tutor, likes to say!

NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming and  quite simply it is a set of tools that analyzes and changes how your brain processes information and turns it into emotions and behaviours.   Now there is only a limited amount of thoughts, memories, behaviours and feelings that we consciously experience at any one time, everything that is not in our conscious mind is stored and organised in our unconscious mind - a huge library of thoughts, emotions and memories collated over all of our life.  What Hypnotherapy does is allow you to access that unconscious mind, by directing your attention internally towards your thoughts, sensations and feelings.  Combined together NLP and Hypnotherapy enables you to access your unconscious mind and make positive and beneficial changes to the way you think and communicate with yourself and others.  

NLP is based on a number of principles, not rules, but more a way of looking at things.  One of those principles is that we have all the resources we need to achieve our desired outcome - its not talking about physical, tangible resources like time, skills, money - but internal resources such as emotional states, for example confidence, calmness, inner strength, resilience or courage.  This principle was demonstrated beautifully with a practice client....

My practice client was lacking self confidence in going back on the dating scene again, yet through explorative discussion we discovered that she has ooodles of confidence in specific areas of her work life.  A simple but effective technique allowed her first to access those feelings of confidence she experiences in her work life and then to transfer that confidence into the dating context.   I'm wondering just how quickly she will begin to enjoy her dating experiences! 

What was so powerful for me was that she was concerned I would use hypnotherapy to try and control her thoughts, to put 'stuff' in there that wasn't there before - and she was delighted to discover that in fact she already has the confidence she needs.  Just that that confidence had been 'filed' in her unconscious mind under work and not under 'dating' so of course when it came to dating - a situation she found a little scary - she couldn't find the confidence!  So all we did was duplicate and expand that confidence file and filed it under dating too!  And as an extra bonus she also now has a way of accessing that confidence file anytime she needs it - by a simple discrete physical action that no-one else would notice - whether it be for jumping out an aeroplane, speaking at a conference or any other situation when she needs an extra boost!   Wow!

What emotional states would you love to be able to access at any given time in any situation?  

p.s my unconscious mind needs lots of repetition to instill and embed all these new skills - if you would like to be part of my learning and at the same time make powerful positive changes yourself - all for free - then contact me today!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The shame of it all...

What I love about coaching is that each session with a client brings up something new, a new perspective, some learning for the client; but after the session the learning for me continues also.  A recent session about root cause belief got me thinking about why it has taken me 11 years to work out that I want to help other widows along their journey to finding life, love and happiness again.  It struck me that at times I have felt uncomfortable with other widows, and in fact in the first couple of years I avoided other widows.   Why was this so?   I thought on the surface that it was because seeing their grief, their pain was too much, I didn’t want to be taken back to that place.  But after a discussion with a friend on this very matter, and some quiet reflection on the dark drive home it struck me that actually the reason I avoided being with other widows was the shameful feeling of being a fraud, that I wasn’t like the rest of them.    A fraud?  How come?  Because the overwhelming feeling I had when my husband died was that of utter relief.  That it was over for him, and it was over for me.   There was of course sadness and numbness but most of all it was relief and I felt ashamed of that relief.  My husband had fought cancer for 9 years, 5 of them with a terminal diagnosis.  It changed him.  It changed me. The man I married was not the man who died 9 years later, and I know the girl he married was not the girl he left behind.    Occasionally towards the end I would see glimpses of the man I married, but in the main he had long gone.   My grieving actually started a long time before his physical death, amidst the fear and anxiety of impending widowhood, though the doctors never gave an indication of how much time he had.  I think, as widows, we tend to put our marriages on a pedestal, or at least publicly we do, as we may think that is expected of us.   Several widows I have worked with tell me their marriages were wonderful, and indeed they may have been.   Each and every relationship is different, and so each and every widow’s journey is different.    If my husband had died suddenly after 9 years of a 'normal' marriage without illness then I have no doubt that my grieving would have been very different.   Our marriage was what it was.  At times tough, actually towards the end mostly tough…...but we were committed to seeing it through together, even if the journey changed us and our relationship beyond recognition.  

I hope also gives reassurance to other widows out there who find themselves in a similar position, locking away the truth of how they really felt.   Let us not feel ashamed or guilty about our relief, it doesn’t take away the love and commitment we had to our husbands, but shows us to be human in our desire to see the suffering for all involved to come to an end.  

Until next time...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Take the Pressure Off

Today's Thought of the Day from popped in my mail box this morning and it resonated with me.

It said 'Often, it's not really the people or having too much to do that creates pressure in life.  It's your working and living habits that need tweaking. No one and nothing can make you feel pressured without your permission!'

When you stop to think about the pressure you are under, ask yourself who's putting the pressure on here?  What is the real source of the pressure?  Is it time?  Is it another person's needs?  Or is it from yourself?   Many a time it is likely to come from you yourself.   Pressure you place on yourself to keep up appearances, to conform to society's rules about how you should be behaving as a certain type of person such as being a mum, acting in your professional capacity, a partner, a widow or whatever your labels are.   Invariably any action that has a "I should do, ought to, must do" in the front of it will create unwanted pressure.  Who says you should, ought, must?

In the grand scheme of things do these 'things' that we feel pressured to do really matter?  Are there daily rituals and habits you can tweak or simply stop that will have little negative impact, if any, and may in fact cut out the pressure all together.   Are there things that you can let slide? 

It may be that the daily rituals and habits are so deeply ingrained in your patterns of behaviour that simply stopping is not as easy as just 'simply stopping' as they intertwine tightly with your core values and beliefs, and past experiences.  If, when you begin to explore the real root cause of the pressure and you find that it is linked to a fundamental core belief or value that you hold, then you may wish to enlist the help of a coach who can guide you through breaking that link and taking the pressure off.

Next time you're feeling under pressure ask yourself what is this really about?  Can I let it go?

Until next time..