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Begin with the end in mind....

I have a devious and cunning plan” (Black Adder)

For many of the clients that I support, being ‘stuck’ seems to be an ominously persistent theme. People tell me they have unintentionally ended up in an uncomfortable place and don’t know how to get out of it. This can lead to frustration, stress, anxiety and a sense of uselessness.

There are some effortless ways of managing this. Sometimes it’s as simple as having a framework to follow. NLP is all about breaking it down and offering ways of understanding those difficulties that make it easy to solve and move toward more desired outcomes.

If you want to achieve something but find yourself not quite hitting the mark, what’s stopping you? Is there an internal conflict? Do you believe you don’t deserve it? Or do you just have a problem seeing yourself achieving your goal? What is the success formula? Here’s a useful framework:

1. Know your outcome

Successful people know where they are going. In the words of Steven Covey, you need to “begin with the end in mind”. In picturing this precisely, feeling the emotional content of the outcome and knowing why you want to take this course of action, you are setting up a powerful internal resource mechanism to motivate and give you direction to your desired outcome. Many people don’t know what they want. So how are you going to achieve your goal if you don’t know what it is, or indeed why you want it? To begin with the end in mind means that you have clarity of purpose and intent.

There is a part of our brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) that is responsible for filtering information about our external world. The way that we programme this (and yes, with NLP, it is programmable!) determines the type of information that we draw from the millions of bits of data available at any one time. Getting clear about your outcome sends a powerful message to your RAS about what it should be focussing on and what is most useful for us. What you focus on expands!

In knowing your outcome, and knowing why you want this outcome, you have set yourself up for a high degree of success. But this is only dependent on the action that you take.

2. Take action

Pubs are full of people with grandiose ideas! Those ideas usually stay in the pub! It’s easy to sit and talk about your dreams, it’s not so easy to get off your butt and do something about it. We sit and wait for the motivation to hit us, as if by divine intervention it will just happen. But it usually involves making a decision and getting on with it. Mel Robbins in her book “The 5 Second Rule” talks extensively about how we are conditioned, usually by our parents, to wait for someone else to do the work for us. She suggests that we should “self-parent” and take the decision upon ourselves to take action - success then follows. We are often hindered by fear of failure or loss. If we take the position that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback, then we will continue to move toward our outcome effortlessly.

So, by doing these things, does this guarantee success? Well we are certainly ahead of the crowd, but we need to be watching ourselves.

3. Have sensory acuity

We can often go at it like a bull in a china shop! Once we have planned and know our outcomes and have a direction, we believe that we can just turn onto autopilot and end up at our desired destination. However, we need to constantly monitor ourselves. Sometimes the initial decisions we have made will need to be adjusted. We don’t want to find ourselves hitting a wall, so we need to be aware when something isn’t working. Having sensory acuity gives you scope to notice and change the detail.

What if what you are doing just isn’t working? Do you throw in the towel? Nope. Change what you are doing become adaptable

4. Have behavioural flexibility

NLP tells us that the person with the most behavioural flexibility will have more choices and therefore the most influence on any system. So, if your sensory acuity tells you that it’s just not working, and it’s too painful to continue bashing your head against that brick wall, the simple alternative would be to change it. Einstein said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expect different results, so the message is clear. If your vision is there, you know your outcome and you have a powerful desire to achieve your outcome, assume a child-like perspective and be curious about how you can adapt your route.

There is always a way if you’re committed. With enough rapport and behavioural flexibility, you can always achieve your outcome.

NLP is all about modelling. If someone else has achieved what you want to achieve, then how did they do it? What precisely did they do get their outcome? If you can work this out, then you have a framework that you can use. Remember, genius’ leave clues, and if you can find these, you have a winning formula.

Often, there have been times in our own lives where we have achieved amazing results. Again, what is it that we did at that time that we are doing differently now?

5. Operate with a physiology and psychology of excellence

Your mindset, language and demeanour all reflect your attitude to your goals. If these are aligned with what you want, you will find yourself effortlessly achieving your outcomes. In simple terms, “walk it and talk it”! If you are in tune with your values and beliefs, your outside will reflect what your inside is wanting to transmit to the world.

If you don’t like where you are, and want to move on, NLP can offer a range of ways to achieve this. We have a tendency of over complicating things, which leaves us feeling helpless. The brain is lazy, and change work often feels like a demanding task. By offering simple frameworks, we provide ourselves opportunities to grow effortlessly.

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