Change Your Life Without Labels
We’re drowning in them.
Every field has its own, and personal development is no different.
Problem is a label is never the thing it represents.
Worse - many labels are weasel words. Words that sound like they mean something definite but really say very little about the process.
Some common ones:
If you forget that labels are not the things they represent and they often are simply explanatory devices, something that someone made up, frequently devoid of any reference to the process, and applied to something “out there”; you run the risk of doing yourself harm and getting yourself seriously confused…
When you confuse the relationship between the labels people use and the processes that they underpin, you are unlikely to penetrate beneath the half-baked and often non-sensical explanations that are accepted as gospel about all manner of things.
From people in all kinds of positions and roles.
I frequently receive emails from people who’ve been given (or given themselves) a label about their ability or behaviour.
Like a great elephant that is tied to a twig stick in the ground, they have been conditioned into thinking - they are their labels.
That they can’t change.
That life is a fait accompli.
We’ve all done it.
It has nothing to do with having a “weak” or a “strong” mind.
Both are controlled by labels, what we in NLP might call a governing frame of reference. The content may be different but the structure is the same.
Being a mega master NLP practitioner or personal development guru doesn’t free you from being blinded from your own thinking.
Unless you learn to practice decluttering the labels on yourself, on a regular basis.
[This won’t bring immediate enlightenment; it will mean that mentally you’ll be a lot sharper and can feel much happier and capable even when things don’t seem to be going your way. In essence, you can smile at the rain or thrive in adversity.]
If you want to change your life, be suspicious of labels you apply to yourself and others.
For how you label things is how you treat them.
Here’s a simple 7 step process I call “The Change Your Life Without Labels” pattern.
Practice using it several times and you’ll be free from huge amounts of “personal development” work.
You’ll be free to express more of who you aspire to be and will achieve more.
Here’s the process:
1. Pick a situation in your life where you’ve stuck a label on yourself that you feel holds you back. For example, “I’m useless at X” or “I could never Y”.
2. Observe what is really going on. Eliminate unintentional use of labels from your language and focus on the doings. Write down your observations.
3. Map the process - what patterns expressed in the form of doings are creating the undesired effect? Which parts of the patterns are producing the biggest effect? Write it out as a sequence.
4. Change the process - the DOINGS - that are creating undesirable results.
For example, change the order that you do things, leave parts out, but something else in front of the first action you normally take etc. Play with the pattern, till you’ve got a new way of doing things that prevents the old way from running, and is a “better” outcome.
5. Repeat the new pattern of doings until the new behaviours and positive results become automatic.
6. Refine and tweak. I.E. apply the process in the real world, notice the results it produces, tweak to improve the quality of the result.
7. Rinse and repeat. Very quickly your mind-body will ‘pick up’ the new way of doing things.
A real-world example:
A woman came to me who complained that her boss was “dismissive” of her and frequently “failed to listen to my suggestions in senior leadership meetings.”
When I had her take me through a ‘typical’ meeting it became clear she barely said anything at all!
When she realised this, she was surprised and then said she suffered from “self-confidence” problems, which she said most confidently!
No deep psychology was required or covert NLP wizardry.
I simply had her change three things:
1. Where she sat
2. When she spoke
3. When she did her thinking about the meeting
We then rehearsed a few times how she was going to act in some forthcoming meetings, where I played the “big bad boss”.
Quickly she got a kick off the sense of power she was able to exert because as she quickly realised, her boss was so predictable!
And what can be predicted can be planned for.
A follow up two months later revealed not alone had her “self-confidence” disappeared but she now felt comfortable speaking up and where appropriate challenging her boss, the CEO, but also the chairman!
Change can be quick.
Results (almost) automatic.
Free yourself of labels.
Your inner Guru will be so happy that you did.
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