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?

Under Pressure

The Pressure That Creates a Diamond

Consider the pressures exerted on you

Consider the pressures exerted on you

If you are feeling under pressure, step back a little and consider your position.

What can you change easily?

Stepping back a little allows you to see further

Stepping back a little allows you to see further

And when you step back you can see that some things would be harder to change
and it might be possible.
What difference would it make?

And when you step right back you will see that, while there are somethings you can change – and it will make a difference – some things can never be changed.

Now that you know what can never be changed, what can be changed with some difficulty, and what can be changed easily, you can consider your options.

See the big picture

See the big picture

I Always Knew it Wasn’t Me

docs in folderIt’s time to reconsider.

Reconsider the information that makes up your story.

Reconsider your notion of ‘truth’ and how things could be so different.

Reconsider the future.

Like the butterfly’s wing, each of these aspects of life as you have been living it will be linked and interlinked so that when you change one thing, you change everything.

Consider the story of the man who grew up believing he had had polio as a child. He stood with a slight stoop and walked with a limp.

Imagine the shock of discovering that it wasn’t you, but a complete stranger who had polio and somehow your records had become confused.

It wasn’t the relief and sense of release that he experienced first.

To begin with he was confused. Then he became angry but quite quickly he began to realise something about himself.

“Deep down I think I always knew it wasn’t really me” he says, “I knew I was stronger than they said. I knew I could do things they said I couldn’t do.”

Suddenly everything seemed to change for him. He grew an inch taller. He took more exercise, joined a drama group and made new friends.  butterfly

The limp took longer to disappear but as he recognised the relief, and embraced the sense of release from living someone else’s story, everything fell into place so that one day he realised that he no longer limps.

He is not sure when it finally disappeared but there’s one thing he is sure of; he doesn’t want his old records back.

The Power of Music

Do you have a favourite piece of music? Have you noticed how music can change your mood?

Jane Hanson recently investigated the ability of music to improve the wellbeing of people, discovering the exact science behind the physical and psychological effect of sounds and music. Here’s a link to the programme.

country and western

I know that I don’t like most Country and Western music, it makes me feel slightly impatient and yet if it’s Johnny Cash, I love it and I can find myself smiling unexpectedly whenever I hear his voice. Meanwhile jazz-rock fusion seems to scramble my brain rendering me unable to think coherently.

Play me some Led Zeppelin and my mood will lift. If I want to write a contemplative piece I might listen to Mahler’s incredibly moving Adagietto from his 5th symphony. When I am creating characters I often realise that I have unconsciously attributed certain pieces of music to each one.

You know what music works for you: what energises you; which pieces are calming and which are inspiring; But have you thought of using this self-knowledge to make a difference?

Here’s an excerpt from my Coaching App ‘Beyond Expectations’ to show you what I mean:


Music is not just the food of love.  Music can feed all our emotions. Woman Enjoying Her MP3 Player

Play, or remember, a favourite piece of music, tune or song now.  Different music has different effects.  Whenever you have the chance, select music according to how you would like to feel.  Music can lift your spirits, energise or relax you.  Find out which pieces work best for you.

Try creating 3 mood collections. 

What will you include in your relaxing collection?  And what title will you give it?

What will you include in your energising collection?  And what title will you give this one?

And what about the collection for lifting your spirits?

Now think back over your experience of choosing the music and deciding on the titles.  What can you learn about yourself from the way you went about it, the choices you made and your thoughts and feelings as you worked through the exercise?

How does this inform the future for you?

For more self-coaching exercises the App is available here and the book is coming soon.  


Looking at what it isn’t








though your sorrows not…

“and rejoicing in
language universal
you gave to me
the sour taste of grief
though it is not mine”
I call to the mountain

shouting disillusioned
“you have left me more
in fear than ever found another,
though it is not mine”
at that flawed and fading
massif built in hurt

“one earth-bound life from
many lifetimes, you might
take from me” loudly
calls my (though it claims it as its
own) echo
and “it is not mine”

though your sorrows not



Looking at what it isn’t

spiral 2

Sometimes the best way to understand something is to explore what it isn’t.

When you want to know what you want, most people find it easier to say ‘What I don’t want is…’

When I ask you what something is like, you are quite likely to answer, ‘Well it isn’t like…’

If I invite you to envisage the future of your choice, you might reply, ‘All I can see is how it is now!’

This list of what you don’t want, what it isn’t like, or all you can see now, is the perfect place to start because it is literally where you are now. How could you possibly start anywhere else?

Once you have described where you are now in terms of what you see, hear and feel, maybe even how it tastes and smells, you can begin to ask the next question.

If not this… then what?


 national poetry writing month 2013

 spiral 1Today’s prompt for the last National Poetry Writing day poem is an old favourite; 

Find a shortish poem that you like, and rewrite each line, replacing each word (or as many words as you can) with words that mean the opposite.

It is a favourite for me because it works equally well with both poetry and coaching. 

By looking at every word and finding its opposite, you discover far more about the meaning encompassed in a word. Your every word can tell you something about yourself when you learn how to listen effectively. And it’s not just the words themselves; in the way you phrase your language, in your pauses, your emphasis, your laughter or tears, there is meaning.

Like the layers of an onion, you can keep peeling away your language and discovering more about yourself.  This is where the Linguistic appears in Neuro-Linguistic Programming [NLP] and it is also where we find the stories so important in Narrative Practice.

And, of course, in poetry, take a short poem and rewrite it replacing each word with a word that means the opposite and, like those old magic painting books, something that was once invisible will reveal itself.


Found inTranslation

Dream French

 chateau with maze


I slept in a chateau

and dreamed d’escadrilles

I awoke et je pourrais voler

believe me now I understand

les oiseaux pourraient chanter

parce qu’ils ont la clé du ciel



Found in Translation

Today’s prompt for National Poetry Writing Month was to include at least five words  in another language. 

My initial response was to think, ‘this time they have come up with something that isn’t going to work for me’.

However, if there is one thing I’ve learned from NLP it’s the question ‘And if you could do it, what would you do?’

And, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Narrative coaching it’s that ‘It’s who I am being that makes the difference’.

So, I answered both questions by being someone who does something even when I don’t know what to do. 

It was a delightful experience: moving from one language to another; playing with translations; discovering unexpected rhymes; and finding that sometimes a mistake can lead to something unexpected.

Sometimes what we are doing in life coaching is a form of translation – moving between ways of being, and, in that translation, discovering that we can be someone we would wish to be; someone who is simultaneously ourselves and someone we did not know we could be.



national poetry writing month 2013 


This is my penultimate poem for National Poetry Writing Month. It has been a bit of a marathon but I have learned a lot about myself and my writing and I’ve had some fun along the way.  

I’ve also had a lot of interest and support, for which I am grateful.  it makes a lot of difference to know that someone is listening and has heard what I have said. Of course this is true of coaching too.  What makes the difference in any situation will almost always come down to a conversation. Conversations can take many forms and sometimes it helps to have someone listen.

Thank you for listening :)  


The Power of Emotion

Black and Red

colour disappears in the furnace
colour disappears in the night

green was lost where you went
white diminished
blue extinguished
yellow paled into insignificance
I glimpsed orange for a moment but red consumed it
grey might have triumphed but was out-trumped by black

colour disappears in the furnace
colour disappears in the night

black and red is the frame I keep you in
all other colour leached
all shades enshadowed
all tones entombed

colour disappears in the furnace
colour disappears in the night

you black and red blood sucking insect
so insignificant I should be able to step you into oblivion
so weak I could kick you out of my mind
so thin I could snap you in two
you knew what you should do
you chose to black and red
so black
so red

colour disappeared
colour disappeared


Emotional Wellbeing; the mind-body connection

Emotion is a powerful driver. Think of a time when you felt anger, love, or fear and you may notice that your body still responds even though you may be thinking of something that happened a long time ago.

Once you begin to understand your mind-body connection, you can recognise an emotional response like the churning in the pit of your stomach, blushing, or tension in your neck and shoulders, as an important indication that there is something you need to attend to.

You can deny, and try to ignore an emotion, but that will not stop it affecting you. Try using the emotion instead.

Fascinating insights can appear when you investigate your emotional responses. Try asking yourself questions such as “What colour is my anger?” and you may find yourself writing a poem like the one above.

Other possible questions include;
            Where, in my body, am I feeling this emotion?
            What shape is it?
            Where did it come from?

Answer these questions as if you are writing poetry.  You may be surprised by what you discover.



   and a surprise discovery about myself

There are just two NaPOWriMo days left after today. The challenge for day 28 was to choose a colour and allow the colour to be a guide for the writing.

I like to be a bit contrary so I picked two colours and instantly triggered a memory of something that once made me very angry indeed.  I thought I had let go of all the anger over this incident long ago so was surprised by the intensity of my feelings as I started writing.

Writing is a good way of expressing emotions that might otherwise be eating away at you.  You don’t need to publish your writing on the internet, or show anyone else at all. It is well documented that just the act of writing things down makes a significant difference to your health and wellbeing.


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