So much of what attracts people to NLP is their desire to create or experience a change for themselves. Sometimes it’s a good idea to have an experienced friend help. Dr. Bandler has a great phrase that you may have heard “Either you will change or die while I’m trying!?”. It’s his tenious resolve to get the result for the client that allows him to go further and push the edges of the technology and lead to even better and newer ways of doing things. I’ve noticed this pattern in many other very skilled NLPers and Master Trainers who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the client to the outcome they want.
So what are the key patterns that exist in doing great change work. Here are three that new and even experienced NLPers sometimes miss, yet are core to making the process occur even quicker than you can imagine.
1. Figure out what the heck is going on!
It would be a stretch to say that people are conscious .. I mean when you think about it that from moment to moment we are all getting trigged by events and activities that que a specific response in us .. more often this happens entirely outside our conscious awareness.
Personally I wonder if this is a game in the system – to keep people stuck in a loop of repeating patterns that often don’t serve them such as busy, stressed out, tired, in fear to name a few. That’s not to say we all can’t be more aware of the patterns and processes operating in our life. Of course we can, but that’s for another post.
Although much of the time we think we are “consciously choosing” a specific path or choice in fact it is often a repeat of a “well worn neural pathway”.
For example I was talking with a client recently who said they wanted to exercise more .. new year and all and I said “great, so ….?” .. “well the thing is, I just can’t get myself to exercise” and I said “cool, what do you do instead?” and they said “mmm, never thought of it that way, I guess it’s just that when I come home, I think to myself “God, I’m tired” and I see the TV and big comfie armchair with the amazing leg extender and think to myself: “I’ll relax for ten minutes here and drink a brew” …
and next thing the client is sitting there for the whole evening .. and does this every night of the week!
As a wise person once said – discipline will get you started but it is habit that keeps you going.
In this case the client had a habitual pattern with a lot of continuos momentum of doing the same thing over and over and the trigger was outside his conscious awareness.
If you think about your own life, I’m sure you can spot a few of these type of patterns.
So the key lesson here is don’t even bother trying to create a change with yourself or anyone if you haven’t got a really good idea about how the process is working. What’s the glue that keeps the whole show running? With practice you will get quicker at this. Inference and being totally present to what is being said and NOT said plays a key role as does quickly coming up with hypothesis and testing them on the fly with your client (simple Q&A process and noticing the responses you get) will help greatly.
The NLP toolset gives us very powerful tools to do this, a good starter is mapping out the triad of a behavior – looking a the what you or the client is doing with their body, how they are focusing and how they language the bevhiorual pattern to themselves is key.
A step beyond that is to understand their broader worldview that this pattern is operating in … what is the context that this behavior fits within? What needs does it serve and what are the friction points that could occur if you introduce a change without taking the other bigger goals the pattern is looking to serve.
2. Get Immediate Leverage!
If you or the client are serious about creating a change now .. then you will want to get immediate leverage. Something that will get them wired up so that change is the ONLY choice right now.
There are many ways to get leverage but the bottom line is .. no leverage then most likely no lasting change will happen. Period. And that leverage to work best needs to be something they immediately experience in their gut right there with you. Or if not immediate you need to build it up layer upon layer so that they do.
One of the approaches Dr. Bandler and others in NLP use is “get your client so fed up with the problem – they can’t live with it anymore”. This is a very sound approach.
Another way is to get them so fearful of what will happen if they DON’T change now they can’t live with it going on for one moment longer.
A 3rd for now is to figure out what is most important to the client and create a link to losing that very thing if they do not change the problem situation right now.
Whatever way you do it, ultimately you are looking to put the squeeze on the client (in the best sense possible!) so that change will happen today.
The 3rd guiding principle I’ll leave with you for today is …
3. Destroy the old pattern BEFORE you introduce a new pattern of responding
There are many many ways to create change, however whatever avenue you take you will want to ideally destroy the old patterned way of responding before introducing a new way of dealing with it.
Failure to do this is a core reason why so many people try to introduce a new pattern of behavior such as saving, going to the gym, losing weight etc but spring back to the old pattern within a few days or weeks.
You will want to wire the clients nervous system so that there is only one dominant way of responding to a specific situation or at least one major group of responses with the same positive outcome. If there is still strong associations to the old way of responding you can guess which pattern will kick in and over-ride so to speak, when the context comes up that they want to respond differently in.
Making it Practical:
Review the 3 guiding principles for creating lasting change above and identify which pattern is missing in a change you are looking to introduce in your own life. Figure out how you can implement the above for your own specific context and then get busy making a new change happen.