Trying to Find a Way Out

At the heart of the maze lies a problem

Looking for a Way Out
Sometimes we find ourselves not knowing which way to turn. By allowing ourselves to consider different directions for our thoughts, we create new perspectives, find new pathways and allow possibilities to appear where none seemed to exist.

 

Acceptance
By accepting the specifics of a situation we can often identify a hint of the direction in which an answer might lie. The ‘W Questions’ can be a good starting point: Who, what, when, where, why. Ask yourself;
       Who is with me when this happens?
       What do I do specifically?
       When and where does it happen?
       Why does it happen?
Once you have the answers to these questions, consider what is possible for you to change. Even one small change in your thoughts, behaviours or actions can trigger further changes leading you in a new direction.         

 

Trying and Trying Harder 
The word ‘try’ is defined as ‘to make an attempt’ or to strive’. Both definitions imply the use of energy but not achievement. When we think of trying we often infer that we will not succeed. Trying harder suggests doing more of the same and if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always had. Replace ‘try’ with ‘do’ or ‘be’ and notice the difference.

 

A Part of Myself with Special Needs
Within the problem is a clue to something you need. By feeling for any emotional associations you may be experiencing you can identify what you need.  Identifying and giving yourself what you need can often be the answer.

 

Hear the message in a problem
What aspect of yourself is crying out for attention or has gone unnoticed, overlooked, forgotten or denied? Allowing a problem to be a pointer in this way can help you find a new direction where you might stumble across an unexpected opportunity for change.

 

Denial
Well if you were refusing to accept that there is a problem you probably wouldn’t be reading this post! Denial rarely leads to new possibilities and it’s new possibilities that make a difference.

 

Avoidance 
Choosing to ignore a problem can sometimes seem like a good way of dealing with it but of course this allows it to persist and its effect and influence spread. A different pathway is more likely to result in your discovering a way out.

 

Metal door in stone wall with NLP CREW graffittiSomething I haven’t thought of yet
There are always possibilities that haven’t yet occurred to us. Being curious and open minded, looking up and beyond ourselves are habits and practices worth nurturing because this is where we discover that the possibilities really are endless. 

 

sweep over the past and focus on the present moment

3 – 2 – 1 Summary

An adult's hand cradles a child's hand holding seeds

Thinking about life…

  • Recall 3 positive things you have learned
  • Think of 2 ideas that you still find interesting
  • And take with you 1 value or principle as a guide right now

This brief 3 part strategy is a great way to end a day. You can apply it to a single day, a particular experience, or life in general.

I based it on a teaching strategy which asks students to summarise their learning as a ‘ticket to leave’ as described here by Laura Sagan.

The beauty of it lies in the fact that it serves as both a cumulative experience; each time you think it through you are building on all your similar past experiences; and a moment of focus; what one value or principle could you chose right now? It enables you to sweep over the past and focus on the present moment.

Secrets of the NLP Masters by Judy Bartkowiak

 50 techniques to be exceptional

Metal door in stone wall with NLP CREW graffittiPrompted by my own curiosity and enthusiasm for exploration – described by Judy Bartkowiak as ‘key drivers of NLP’ – I opened this book enthusiastically, and I wasn’t disappointed.

 I like what I think of as ‘Pick and Mix’ books; books that can be read with both an open mind and, simultaneously, a mind ready to gather information relevant to my life and work; books that can teach me something fascinating. This book fits the bill perfectly.

 It is a book for everyone with an interest in change, overcoming obstacles or achieving goals. For the NLP practitioner the book is full of prompts and reminders alongside new perspectives on techniques you will already be using. For newcomers it is a comprehensive and readable explanation of NLP’s powerful insights into how NLP can make a real and lasting difference to your life. If you have children, or work with children, you will find much here to throw light on strategies and techniques that work well with young people.

Of course you can read ‘Secrets’ from beginning to end, it is interesting, informative and well written, but you can also flick through and find the part most relevant to your current experience.

Its style, organisation and layout make it stand out from many of the NLP technique books I have encountered. I particularly like the chapter numbers down the right hand edge meaning that you can open the book at any page and know immediately where you are.

Each chapter begins with a selection of well-chosen quotations from people generally acknowledged to be the ‘NLP masters’ such as Gregory Bateson, Sue Knight, Virginia Satir, Tony Robbins, and others from different contexts like Albert Einstein, Carl Jung and Helen Keller.

 ‘A few well-chosen words at just the right time can transform a person’s life’ Joseph O’Connor 

Repetition – so often the missing ingredient in books which set out to help us learn – is used with a light touch so that you don’t need to flick back through the book to find that neat ‘how to’ of a technique. At the end of each chapter you will find ‘Putting it all together’ and I suggest that if you read these first in the light of the chapter heading you will know how directly a particular chapter will speak to you.

If there was a single addition that would improve Secrets of the NLP Masters for me it would be an index. Children, beliefs, and goals, for instance, appear throughout the book and sometimes it would be helpful to be able to find them all.

The book ends with an Appendix perfectly placed to sum things up and be a readily accessible, and very visual, reminder of these two keys to being exceptional: The filters through which we make our own peculiar sense of external events and the logical levels which model the context in which it all takes place.

Knowing your purpose facilitates exceptional behaviour and if your behaviour disappoints you in any way then re-examine it in the light of your purpose. You could do well to take this book with you on the journey.

front cover of the book

What is e-coaching and How Could it Help Me?

outline sketch of 2 people face to faceCoaching doesn’t have to be by the hour, face to face or a long drive away.

You may have been thinking ‘NLP sounds interesting’; ‘I wonder whether talking to a life coach might help’ or ‘Could a conversation about my story make any difference to my life?.

But… I can’t spare the time; don’t want to sit in an unfamiliar room with someone I’ve never met before, or don’t have the luxury of a car, train fare or live near a convenient bus route.

Increasingly I have been working with clients by email and telephone and via an Android App, and find that this way of working suits people for many different reasons and can have unexpected benefits. 

Both ‘phone (in which I include Skype) and email coaching can be a quicker alternative to face-to-face work.

Three 20 minute (or six 10 minute) emails can cover the same ground as an hour’s conversation, and more if your attention span is short or available time is limited.someone is typing a message

Email and Apps have a feeling of immediacy; you can refer to them whenever and wherever you choose.  It’s demand led coaching in the sense that you can email me instantly a thought occurs, view my reply at a time and place that suits you, take the time you need to consider and reconsider an exercise, and reply when you are ready.

This way of working can suit adults because it can easily be designed to fit around work, family and child-care arrangements. It is also particularly convenient for young adults whose anxiety might include unease about appointments, travel or meeting new people.  

Mobile phone Apps and text messages are a possibilityMeanwhile younger people are so comfortable and at-ease with their smart phones that they are already using the device for personal  development and self-help, so an App or coaching call is nothing out of the ordinary.

In a way e-coaching gives you more power and authority in the coaching process. You have more control over how much to say and when to say it. You can take all the time you need to think and rethink before responding to me. You can choose to include friends and family and extend the coaching through important conversations with the people who matter most in your life.

Some people report feeling safer because online they can cry in privacy or laugh without feeling embarrassed. This can be a significant factor in helping you feel greater equality in the conversation. You are the expert in your own life. 

So, if traveling to East Devon isn’t feasible, or one to one work doesn’t appeal, email or ‘phone me today and we will arrange coaching that really suits you and your lifestyle.

Yallah

Yallah book cover

 

Are you thinking of writing a book, self-publishing, or starting out on a new venture of some kind?

Yallah is an Arabic word meaning ‘Let’s go’  or ‘Ready?’. It appealed to me as a title for my novel not only because it is the story of a young woman’s journey into the unknown but also that of an entire society facing the challenge of threats to the fabric of their way of life. 

I also realised, eventually, that I could apply ‘Yallah’ to myself. I had spent years telling myself that I wanted to write. There was always some reason for not doing it: I was too busy teaching; there was so much research to do; I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t until a series of events including ill-health, the death of a young family member and some straight talking from a very dear friend, that I realised what I needed to do in order to be a writer, I needed to write.

As a result my novel is now available in paperback from Amazon and on Kindle.   

If you have an aching desire, a longing, to do something, my advice is ‘get started’. There’s nothing like behaving in a new way for making something new possible. In a way that’s what all my work with clients has been about and applying this notion to my own life has transformed my view of myself. I no longer describe myself as a retired teacher. I am now NLP Master Practitioner, Narrative Life Coach and author.

Yallah!

 

 

Don’t Let Positive Thinking Get You Down

Photo of young woman thinking‘I’ve lost my job’, ‘My partner has left me’, ‘My child is failing at school’.

How can we, as coaches, expect our clients to ‘think positive’ in the face of the realities of daily life?

While scientists have found that we can create positive feelings just by smiling, and on social networks one person’s happiness can spread to countless others at a click of the mouse, it can sometimes seem as if we constantly are exhorted to ‘think positive’ as if this is the answer to all the challenges we face on a daily basis.

Rereading an article by Barbara Ehrenreich in a 2010 issue of Therapy Today I have been interested in the notion that nations aspiring to happiness turn out to be ‘not very happy at all’. Why might this be?

Could it be that we think we ‘ought’ to be happy and that it therefore becomes something to strive for rather than a way to ‘be’?

Another contributing factor could be that, having expended energy on trying to be happy and discovering that there is still some residualdisappointed young man sadness, disappointment or discomfort in our lives, we begin to feel that we have somehow failed.

After all, doesn’t the phrase ‘I’m trying’ suggest that I’m not achieving the happiness I set out to achieve? Maybe the effort to think positive can, itself, be a self-defeating strategy.

Furthermore, if you believe that, in order to achieve positive thinking, you have to practise some kind of self-hypnosis, then your positivity will probably be undermined by your feelings about a strategy that seems to require a level of self-deception.  

It doesn’t sound good for positive thinking does it?

There is no doubting that our mood affects our thinking and behaviour, and I have experienced – both for myself and with clients – how a positive outlook that embraces possibility can lead to the seizing of opportunities that might otherwise have been overlooked. I have also seen how the apparently inescapable grip of old habits of thought; old patterns of behaviour, can be loosened through an unexpected glimpse of positivity, where none was visible before.

Maybe the answer lies in a paradoxical embracing of life’s difficulties… I know I am me because this, this and this, have brought me to this point. Without the experiences and the ensuing sadness, disappointment or discomfort, I would not know what I now know and I would not be looking to change.

This sounds suspiciously like positive thinking doesn’t it?
So why not give this a try?

  1. Acknowledge that life is not always easy, comfortable or happy.
  2. Identify what you have learned from negative experiences in the past.
  3. Trust that armed with this knowledge you need not make the same mistakes again.
  4. Now set out with the positive intention of seeing opportunities and letting go of old habits or thought patterns that weren’t serving you well.

This is the kind of positive thinking that make the present different from the past so that you can look forward to a future of new possibilities.

a rainbow lightens a stormy sky

One, Two, Three – NLP!

Feeling negative?

going down?

 

 

   Wish you could break out of that state of  mind?

 

 

 

Try this…

  1. Change your posture – stand taller or lean in a different direction.look up, spread your arms and breathe

 

  1. Move unexpectedly – star jumps can work wonders

 

  1. Look up – count chimneys or create a picture in a crack on the ceiling!

 

Now all you have to do is breathe the change in.

 

Sometimes all we need is to interrupt a pattern of thought or behaviour and something entirely new becomes possible.

When will it get Better?

it's a puzzleWhen will it get better?

When you want something to get better, there are things you can do to help.

Whether it’s health, wealth or happiness, the chances are there you haven’t been asking the right questions…

      Health… Have you seen the right health practitioner and identified what ‘health’ means for you?
      Wealth… Have you thought about why you want it? What it will get for you?
      Happiness… Do you know what ‘happiness’ really is for you?

What does health / wealth / happiness look like?

What will you hear that lets you know you are happy / healthy / wealthy?

Is there a smell or a taste associated with it?

How does it feel to be this way?

The Golden KeyThese questions may hold the key to your answer.

Give them some thought right now. Knowing what you really want, and what it will get for you, is often the key to where you need to look, and what you need to do, to begin making a difference. 

You know what don’t want, now it’s time to ask yourself ‘What do I want instead?’ and ‘How will I know when I get it?’

The right questions will help you know which way to turn so that you can be sure you are moving in a direction that will help things get better.

This is why NLP so often begins with the right question… ‘What do you want instead?’

 

 

Why Does it Hurt So Much?

Photo of a woman holding her head in her hands looking very unhappy

Someone says something unkind, or looks at you in a certain way, or you remember something… and you feel – not just hurt but devastated, overwhelmed, weighed down by the weight of the emotion it stirs up.

Have you ever wondered why something so small can have such a powerful effect?

Imagine yourself as a small child, so young that you don’t even have the language to explain what is happening, and someone is unkind to you. Because you don’t have the words for your experience all you can do is feel the hurt. Somewhere in your unconscious mind you store the experience away and carry it with you.

young child crying

Of course similar things happen and the emotion gets stored away, layered on top of that first awareness of how something or someone affect the way you feel. Gradually you learn that this is what we call ‘hurt feelings’.

Imagine that, throughout your childhood, adolescence and young adult life, you continue building up this emotional burden of hurt feelings without ever paying full attention to what is going on. Maybe you become good at being able to ‘put on a brave face’; ‘soldier on’ or ‘pull yourself together’.

Now, as an adult, you find that when someone who matters to you says something that hurts your feelings, your reaction can be overwhelming.  Maybe you blush a deep crimson, or you lose your temper or simply walk away crying.

What if you could see this reaction as if it were the result of all the layers of hurt feelings that have piled up since you were that tiny, speechless child, coming over you all at once?

And what if, in that same moment, you were that child again, with no understanding of what just happened, experiencing all this emotion?

a father's hand holding his child's handWhat will you say to that child now to make a difference? What can you learn so that a careless word, a certain look or particular memory will no longer overwhelm you?

Maybe whatever you think that child needs to hear is what you need to hear? Tell yourself what you know you need to hear and begin to believe it.

Notice the difference it can make.

Even now you can give yourself what you needed all those years ago, all through your childhood, adolescence and young adult life and it can make a difference to how you feel right up to the present moment.

How’s your timeline?

How do you see past, present and future?

How do you see past, present and future?

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