Have you heard of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)? It’s an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy. Practitioners say learning NLP is like learning the language of your own mind. It’s powerful.
I’m particularly fond of one NLP technique created by L. Michael Hall, PhD I’ve shortened it a bit for this post.
It’s a process that allows you to pull your ideas, beliefs, understanding and inspirations from your mind through to your body by way of actions and behaviours. It starts with a principle or idea – for example, being courageous – and brings it down from the brain to the body (muscle). As with everything, practice is key.
Be forewarned: Some of these actions might seem a bit odd and you may feel a little silly doing them at first. Just think of it as an opportunity to leave your comfort zone and push into your challenge zone. Go somewhere where you won’t be disturbed. Here’s how to get started with NLP.
Identify A Character Trait
Let’s take bravery as an example, but you can apply this to any trait of your choosing.
What do you know or understand or believe about being brave that you want to set as a frame in your mind? (An example might be, “I need to be confident and open” or “I’m going to find my inner courage”.)
What idea inspires you and what would you like to “feel” in your body and become a program for your way of being in the world? (An example might be, “I would like to feel robust, courageous or invincible or powerful”. Or even, “I might get scared, but it doesn’t matter because I can do it anyway”.)
Describe The Trait As A Belief
Stand up and step forward, opening your arms high and wide with a big arm gesture while stating your principle as a belief, such as, “I believe that I am brave”.
If you need to step forward and say it again with more physical gesturing and a strong tone of voice, do it! (You should sound believable to others and yourself.) It’s OK to shout and wave your arms about!
Reformat The belief As A Decision
Once the belief is stated in a way that sounds powerful, convincing and is expressed very succinctly so that it feels compelling, reformulate the personal belief so it takes the form of a personal decision. This personal decision could be anything. For this example, I will use, “I am brave enough to go on holiday on my own”.
To do this you need to express your decision:
Take another step forward with arm gestures and in a strong tone of voice say, “I believe I am brave and I’ve decided to go on holiday on my own”.
Rephrase The Belief Decision As A State Or Experience
When you fully experience your concept/belief/decision as an emotional state, what will you experience? How will you feel?
Take another step forward and, with arm gestures, say, “When I believe and decide to be brave I feel”–this could be different for different people–for example, empowered, excited, confident, unstoppable…”. Use whatever comes to mind about how you feel–you aren’t stuck with one word or phrase.
State The actions That You Will take
Take another step forward with arm gestures and say, “The first thing I am going to do today is book a holiday on my own”. Doing this will enable you to begin to formulate specific actions that will enable you to execute your principles.
So, what one thing will you do today to make this happen?
You will do that? Really? What else will you do?
In short, all phrases are spoken while standing up and stepping forward, in order, and with a strong, convincing tone of voice and large arm gestures. And yes, both the voice and the gestures are important, even if it looks a bit odd!
“I believe _________”.
“I believe and I decide to_____”.
“When I believe and decide that I am ______ I feel _____”.
“The first thing I am going to do about it is ________”.
You can go through these steps as often as you need to firmly link your mind to muscle. You should notice how it can transform everything even more and create an even greater sense of empowerment. Only use definite vocabulary (do not use “think” or “might” or any proposal language).
A Final Thought On Courage
My last tip about being brave comes from Frasier, my six-year-old ski lift buddy. I asked him, “How do you know when you are scared?” Again, Frasier thought about it for a moment and said, “It’s when I get that bad feeling sometimes, so I sing a song to make myself feel better”.
Great advice. When you’re scared, sing a song, be brave and do it anyway.
Are you ready to let go and be brave? My latest book, Your Life Your Way, will give you the tools you need to do just that. As a master practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) myself, I can also help you with individual sessions. I currently work across Norwich and London, and offer virtual sessions too.