To really help us in building good communication skills, one of the key things to understand is that every person is unique and that means that how we each experience the world and what is true for us is also totally unique. We each have our own individual model of the world.

One of the frameworks of NLP is “The Map is not the Territory.” This basically means that what we perceive as reality, is not reality itself, but our own unique version of it.

How we uniquely experience the world, is through our senses. Each of us has preferred senses for communicating and also learning and the three senses we tend to use are visual, audio and kinaesthetic (Feeling, doing). There is no right or wrong or better or worse one to use and each of us will have a preferred sense, even if we are not aware of it!

Visual

Visual people have a preference for things that can be seen or observed. This includes pictures, diagrams, demonstrations, handouts, films. Preferring to read and make notes. They will use phrases such as “I see” “Show me” “My vision” “My view” “I’ll look into it” etc. 

Auditory

Auditory people prefer receiving information through listening. The spoken word of self or others, audio recordings etc. They are happy taking instructions over the phone and will probably know all the words to songs they hear! They will use phrases such as “Tell me” “Let’s talk about it” “I want to discuss”  “I hear what you are saying” “That rings a bell” etc. 

Kinaesthetic

Kinaesthetic people prefer the physical experience! Touching, feeling, doing, being very hands on. They will experiment and go straight in to assemble something without looking at the instructions first! They will use phrases such as “I feel” “Get to grips with” “I’m in control”  “I’ll pull some strings” “I want to get it done” etc.  

Generally, individuals will have a main preferred communication style, although they will use a blend of all three, with one being more dominant. Some individuals have a very strong preference, others have a more even mix of two, although it is likely one will just be slightly more prevalent, much less common is a mix of three.

Our unique perception of how the world is and how we perceive it, also applies when we are given information.

When we receive information in “chunks” we filter it to match our unique reality, or our model of the world (known in NLP as a Meta programme General – Big Chunk Specific – Small Chunk) so that we are able to communicate and learn easily and comfortably.

If the information presented is too general or too detailed for our liking we lose interest and often start feeling uncomfortable and/or impatient. This causes difficulty in communication and learning.

Big Chunk Little Chunk

 “Big chunk” people like an overview first. They talk in generalities and are bored with very detailed information. Once they have the whole picture, they make their own connections easily and jump from idea to idea. They can be vague about giving, or following, instructions. They will “switch off” if having a conversation with someone who is “small chunk” as they are receiving too much information. They may also become resentful and impatient if asked for more information by someone who is “small chunk” as they believe the information they have given is enough and will not understand why more is needed.

“Small chunk” people like lots of details, lists of information, and specific instructions. They are uncomfortable with vagueness, generalities and overviews. They reach conclusions and decisions based on small pieces of information and details. They become impatient in conversation with someone who is “big chunk” as they are not receiving enough information from them. They may become resentful or even angry with someone who is “big chunk” as they believe they are being deliberately vague or purposely withholding information from them.

Understanding and being aware of our own preference and the person we are communicating with, allows us to “adapt” to that person’s preference. For example, if you are “big chunk” and the person you are speaking to is “small chunk,” adapting to “small chunk,” will be more likely to result in a successful exchange.

When giving information to a group, where there is a mixture, using “big chunk” is preferable, as long as it is made clear in letting the group know that further information can be obtained if required. This will then meet the needs of individuals who are “small chunk,” without losing the interest of those who are “big chunk.”

Once we understand that everybody perceives how the world is in their own unique way, we can adapt to another person’s reality in our communication with them, which really helps to build rapport and encourage engagement, trust and openness, leading to good relationships. 

Article Written By Janet Wilks, NLP Practitioner and Coach.

During lockdown staying in touch and being able to communicate has been really important. Whether it is checking up on loved ones, having a chat with friends and family, it is probably fair to say we are all grateful we have our smart phones, skype, zoom and all the other ways we can get in touch, so we don’t feel isolated and on our own. A real godsend until we can meet up face to face.

A lot of us are now working from home and because of this, team, staff and departmental meetings are carried out through zoom, telephone, facetime, etc. Even networking events are now online.

While it is great that we do have the technology to be able to do this, the downside is that we can miss a lot of what is going on with other people, when we are looking just at head and shoulders, or only hearing their voices on the telephone!

When we meet face to face we communicate in lots of other ways other than speaking. Facial expressions and body language give us a lot of information. Both consciously and unconsciously and these can be missed! Technical issues can also cause problems and disrupt an online meeting, or somebody disappearing from sight because they have shifted their chair! All of these things can create misunderstandings and frustrations, which is certainly not good if we are trying to get an important point across or convey some information that we need agreement and backing on!

When we are gathered in person around a table and we can observe the reactions to the point we are making by noticing body language and facial expressions (which we are all naturally expert at, either consciously or subconsciously) if we are getting a negative response, then we would do our best to address it there and then and look for the signs to tell us if it is working!

Studies show that 7% of communication is made up of words, 38% is made up of tone of voice and 55% is made up of gestures, expressions etc., in other words body language! No wonder we are experts!

So when we are unable to read that language (subconsciously or consciously) there is a chance that communication can breakdown, because we miss the gestures and signals people may be putting out, that normally we would pick up on when we are face to face and can see the whole person!

So, how can we do our best to make sure that what we are communicating is having the desired effect when we can’t rely on body language any more to give us those signals that tell us?

Well we are always communicating! We cannot not communicate! Whether it is with words, behaviour, gestures we are always sending messages. We communicate at two levels conscious and unconscious, so even if we are not aware of it, we are still sending our message out there!

In NLP there are what are known as presuppositions, one of which says that the meaning of communication is the response we receive regardless of our intention. Resistance is the result of inflexibility on the part of the sender.

Basically this means that it is our responsibility to get our message across and not the other person’s responsibility to get the message. It is our responsibility to be clear on the outcome we want from our communication. And to have a flexible approach! Which means instead of blaming the other person if their response to the communication is not what we wanted, we need to look at how we are getting our message across, how we are communicating it and what we may need to be doing differently or perhaps behaving in a different way to get the response we want!

This applies to all communication, not just in online meetings and in business! Every area!

Once you accept and understand this, you will no longer blame other people for “misunderstanding”  “not getting it” and will realise that they are missing the point, because of how you communicated the message!

It means that you will think about how you will approach it, have a definite “End in Mind” in any communication and know the outcome that you want and have the flexibility to do things differently if needed!

So what is the outcome you want? How do you want them to respond? What can you do to ensure the message is clearly understood and there is no misunderstanding? What might you have to do differently to get the result you want?

Taking total responsibility for getting the message across in the way you want it to be received rather than berating people for not responding in the way you wanted them to means you no longer have to rely on body language to tell you how successful your communication is going!

Your flexibility, your words, your behaviour to achieve your “End in Mind” will ensure success!

Communication is also about listening and as Stephen R Covey says in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” we all need to

“Seek first to understand then to be understood” 

Often, we have a tendency to jump in and fix things by giving “good” advice, our opinion, take control and often we do not take the time to really understand what is going on with people.

This is not because we believe we are better than others at it, it is part of our survival mode.

Next to physical survival, the greatest need is psychological survival, to be understood, appreciated and validated. 

All information we ever receive is filtered to make it fit into our model of the world, our reality and how we perceive it to be. So at a subconscious level we have a very strong need for our reality to be understood by others, so that we are able to survive in a psychological sense by knowing where we “fit in.”

This means that most people do not listen to understand. They listen with the intention to reply. They are either speaking or preparing to speak, to satisfy that basic need of being understood, to ensure psychological survival. This is not done intentionally, it all happens at a subconscious level, driven by that strong need.

We seek first to be understood.

We have a need to be understood, so we never really know what’s going on inside another person, because we do not seek to understand. So when we are aware of this, we are able to use it in a positive way.

Stephen R Covey explains how we need to practice empathic listening,which is listening with the intent to understand, rather than the intent to reply, advise, control, disagree, to satisfy our need of being understood.

Emphatic listening enables us to see the world from the other person’s point of view and give us an understanding of how they feel. It gives us an insight into their model of the world. It is not about agreeing with them, it is about a full and deep understanding of their reality, how they have filtered the information to fit their perception of how the world is.

When we listen in this way, we are satisfying a huge psychological need in that person, which is in each and every one of us.

This opens the door to building rapport and good relationships, which in turn leads to successful, positive communication.

So by breaking down communication, understanding how it works and putting it into practice, we are far less least likely to get a breaking down in communication!

Article Blog written by, Janet Wilks, NLP Practitioner and Coach

Cases and deaths on the rise, lockdown in place and the possibility of stricter restrictions, businesses and the economy suffering, children not at school and it’s Winter with its cold dark days and even colder nights! It is a time when even those who before Covid 19 and all that is related to it, were happy, positive and loving life and not been prone to negative thoughts and feelings now feel like giving up, have feelings of hopelessness, feel powerless and fear for the future.

How will we ever get out of this? When will it ever end? And when we look at the situation, there seems to be no answer! So no surprise we may now be experiencing all these negative, fearful feelings, given the circumstances.

It is understandable that no matter how focused we are on what we want, know what we need to do to get it, put plans into action, we are suddenly stopped in our tracks by doubt and fear, as we cannot see a way forward because of the situation.

  We lose faith and it is replaced with fear. We have doubts about ever achieving our goals and we have thoughts that tell us that what we have set our sights on is not going to happen.

Success in the current situation seems out of reach and failure appears to be the reality. We think about giving up and giving in, that what we want is not going to happen. We feel we are up against a brick wall and not daring to dream. We reach such a low point, our self-esteem nose-dives, and our faith and belief in ourselves and in the world is on the floor, our confidence has evaporated. We are hurting, unhappy, sad, frightened, frustrated with not being able to live life as it is meant to be lived!

 We are paralysed by fear, crippled by doubt. Unable to see a way to move forward, unable to visualise how we are going to get to where we want to be.  We seem to be moving further away from how we want to live, our dream is disappearing and we listen to the voice in our head that tells us that’s reality.

 When we are experiencing this, it is very difficult to break out of the negative feelings we are having. We are caught in a downward spiral. The more we experience it, the worse we feel, the worse we feel, the more of the experience we have. What compounds it and makes it worse, is that we know what we need to do. We know we need to change our feelings so that we feel good, we know we need to give thanks and be grateful for what we have in our life that is good, we know we need to be having positive thoughts, we are just not able to lift ourselves out of this pit of despair, which of course makes us feel worse!

Well take comfort! It happens! We are human with human thoughts and emotions. It does not mean we are useless, incapable or doomed to failure. The darkest hour is just before dawn. And we are just having our darkest hour.

 Understand that these negative feelings you are experiencing are not you, they are just feelings, relax and allow them to come. Let go of the resistance to these feelings.  What you resist persists! They are not real! They are not a physical thing! Explore them and know they are not who you are, they are just emotions! That’s all! So just allow them, it’s ok. It’s fine. Acknowledge and accept how you feel and this releases the negative feelings.

 When you let go of the resistance to those feelings, they will start to ease and fade and the voices in your head will quieten.  Then you can begin to climb out of the pit!

 Finding it a little difficult to let go? Here’s a very simple effective exercise.

 Just say in your mind, or out loud “I let go of the resistance to these negative feelings, I release the resistance.” You will start to feel relief. As you feel the relief, your mind will start to open up again to possibility and with that hope!

Another very simple thing to do, is just lift your chin up and let your shoulders sit back! Look skywards. According to psychology professor Paula Niedenthal who has studied a link between posture and emotion, it will instantly help you feel better! It will improve your mood and your confidence! (So saying chin up to somebody will really help!)

Those that keep their chins and eyes down and shoulders slumped will not! (Hence downcast!)

And of course, none of us know the answer to when and how will it end, we cannot see the future but there are a few things we do know for certain!

We know that life does change it doesn’t stay the same. We know that all things do pass. We know that Spring follows Winter and then the light nights and warmer, brighter days will replace the cold dark ones.

 It happens every year! The trees will blossom, the flowers will bloom,  the sun will shine bright and warm again. It is part of the cycle of life and we trust in it, because we know it happens. So we have to trust that even though we cannot see an end to it yet, this dark cycle we are in at the moment will come to an end, it has to because that’s how the cycle works.

 And as difficult as it is at the moment, now is the time to have the faith, hope and courage that this too, will pass. We must never give up on life! Believe that life will be good again, despite what our feelings tell us, because our feelings are not who we are!

And just on the other side of our darkest hour is the dawn, a new day and a new beginning.

Everything you want to be and to have is there waiting for you! It’s just having the faith and courage to believe in all things are possible, despite the evidence and how it appears now and what your negative feelings are telling you!

So what is waiting for you on the other side of our darkest hour? Visualise it!! How will it be? What are you doing? What can you see? What can you hear? Who is there? Where are you? What is happening? Get into the details!!

So roll on the end of Dark Days and bring on the Light Nights!

Blog Written by Janet Wilks, NLP Practitioner and Coach.

So it’s the start of 2021 and New Year is the time when most people will set goals for what they are hoping to achieve during the year. Particularly this year, when we are all glad to see the back of 2020! It may be losing weight, getting that dream job, meeting “The One,” gaining a new skill, staying healthy, keeping in touch more with friends and family, whatever it is, the start of the year seems to be the time we throw ourselves into goal setting. And this time, we say, we will stick to it!!

And as we all know, often what happens, we start with great enthusiasm and motivation, then come February, that enthusiasm and motivation has waned and once again, we become unstuck!

The reason for this is that we are so wrapped up in the goal, we are ignoring the outcome!

 We are not focusing on our compelling vision!! We are not looking at what it is we really want and why and what it would mean to us and how it would have a positive impact on our lives! Basically we are focusing on the goal and not the outcome that we want! And it is the outcome that will drive and guide the goal!

It is well-formed outcomes that make general goals into a compelling vision.

A well-formed outcome is big, bold, inspiring, motivating, flexible and allows us to dream of success in anything we want to do by giving us a believable vision.

A goal is set to achieve that outcome, then what often happens is that we focus so much on the goal, we lose sight of the outcome, because the goal has in effect, become the outcome and where our focus is.

This explains why often, when achieving a goal we are left asking ourselves “Now what?” It’s because we were too caught up in the goal rather than the outcome!

The important thing when setting an outcome is to know what you truly want, not how you will get it! Know what you truly want as that will inspire and motivate you. It will give you direction and focus and a call to action!

You don’t need to know the how, just the what! When you know what you want, the how will show up! A well-formed outcome is stated in the positive, takes into account where you are now as well as what you want and you will know when you have achieved it!

The goals you set to achieve your outcome are ongoing, the outcome remains the same, the big, bold, compelling, vision! You take the first steps because it is so much easier to take whatever action is needed because you are inspired, motivated and focused on success! You are unstoppable! Your goals guide you there!

Following these tips when setting your outcomes will really help your focus and clarity.

Know what you truly want and that it is stated in the positive!

How will you know when you have it? What will it look, feel and sound like?

You know where and when you want it!

You can take the necessary action. You are responsible and in control for achieving it!

It is good for you and your life! It will have a positive, empowering effect!

Visualise! When you have achieved your outcome, what is happening? What can you see? What can you hear? How do you feel? What is happening? What is the end in mind?

If you are unsure as to what your big bold  outcome is and what it is you truly want, a good question to ask yourself is:-

“What one thing would I dare to dream if I knew I could not fail? “

 So what would it be? Write it down! You’ve nothing to lose!! You know you cannot fail!! Dare to dream!! No matter what is happening at the moment!! Or how unlikely it may seem!! Answer the question!! Without limitations!!

 When you answer this, it becomes your X Factor, your focal point. When you answer this you have your Major definite purpose in life.Asking yourself this question will enable you to give much more thought to what you really want in life.

As a result, you will take more risks, you will take more chances, you will have greater clarity and decision making will be easier!

And if obstacles or barriers seem to challenge you. This is a great exercise for keeping the momentum going and moving forward towards your outcome! It encourages you to think and focus on “The End in Mind” the desired outcome you want, at times when you may doubt yourself and the progress you are making.

Walk the Line

Imagine you have already achieved your outcome. What would it feel, look and sound like? What is happening? Who is there? What’s going on? Make it as bright and bold as possible! Step into it! Associate with it! Enjoy it! Have fun with it!

Walk from a starting point along an imaginary line to where that place is, using a maximum of seven steps. This is because when breaking down an outcome, our brain will process no more than seven steps, so makes the exercise much more effective!

Turn and look back at the time between the starting point and the end point. How did you get to your outcome? What steps did you take? What was the first step? What was the last step? What happened in between?

Go back to the starting point and notice how you now feel when you look at that end point! What is happening? What changes have taken place?

Sometimes, we can lose sight of our desired outcome, because we focus on the obstacles and barriers. It’s a bit like having a mountain between you and your end result that prevents you from enjoying the view! This exercise breaks down that mountain so your path and vision are clear of obstructions!

So just focus on what you really want, take whatever action needed and keep on going!

Then your compelling vision will become your dreamed of reality!

And of course, you can dare to dream and set your big, bold outcomes any time of the year!! Not just when a new one starts!!

Blog written by Janet Wilks, NLP Practitoner and Coach

Leeds Dock Christmas Eve Eve 2020!

Our beliefs form when we begin to make “definitions” about ourselves. We create and build our own image of who we believe we are, based on those definitions and how we believe people perceive us.

Our beliefs can support or hinder our development and growth.

A lot of our limiting beliefs we have about ourselves (“I’m not good enough” “I’m not worthy” etc.) are due to conditioning. When babies are born, they only have a fear of loud noises and falling. When we are toddlers and exploring, our parents want to ensure we don’t hurt ourselves. They use words like “Don’t” “Mustn’t” “Can’t” which can eventually lead to us have limiting beliefs of what we can and can’t do.

Limiting beliefs can also be inherited. So if you grew up hearing your parents talk about “Lack of money” or “Life is hard” chances are you may grow up with the same beliefs.

When we are young, we rely on our parents or main caregivers for our survival as we are not able to look after ourselves. They are our protectors! We have to believe that whatever they say or do is right. Our mind cannot process at a young age that they could be wrong, otherwise it is too much of a threat to our safety and security! All this happens at the subconscious, emotional level, so we are not consciously aware of it.

So if you were told when you were young “You are stupid!” “You are always so naughty!” “You are never good!” “You mustn’t do that!” This is what you start to believe is true of you! Especially if you hear it often!  Even though a lot of things said by parents to children can be in the heat of the moment, children do take it on and there are also a lot of children who never hear much praise from their parents or main caregivers!

Once we are at an age where we could (and remember this is all in our subconscious thinking) survive on our own, then we will begin to question whether what our parents/caregivers say or do is actually right! And will challenge it! (Hence the terrible teens!!) 

The good news is any limiting belief can be changed!  As a belief is based on our own perceived reality of how things are, this means it is true for us, however it is only our version of the truth! There are many more versions out there! When we change our perception, we change our truth, which changes our belief!

Any belief you have about yourself starts as an idea. It becomes a belief when that idea becomes a certainty in our minds. It becomes a certainty when we back up the idea with evidence through our own interpretation of events we experience in our lives, which are totally unique to us. It becomes our truth and our reality. This is great if you have a belief that is empowering and positive! It’s not so great if the belief is disempowering, negative and stops you from being who you want to be!

If you think of the idea as a table top without legs. It won’t stand up by itself. For it to be able to stand, it needs legs and the more legs and the sturdier those legs, the better it stands. So think of a belief as a table top with at least four strong, sturdy legs. The legs are our perceived evidence, references and experience that support the table top. They enable the table top to stand up, making the idea so certain for us that it becomes a belief.

A great example is to think about when you were a child and believed in Father Christmas! Why did you believe? Well you had all the evidence! Your parents told you about him! You sent him a letter! He was in a lot of films and on TV! He was in the stores! You got presents from him on Christmas morning! He ate the mince pies and drank the sherry/whisky/milk you left out for him and his reindeer ate the carrots! Most of the Christmas cards had Santa’s face on them! So with all that, of course you believed!! The evidence was there!

So when and why did you stop believing?

 When did you change the story? What changed that belief? What changed the perception? What was the evidence that contradicted the original evidence?

Limiting beliefs can be changed in exactly the same way that you changed your belief about Father Christmas! So you know you can do it! You already have!

Limiting beliefs are stated in the present tense, for example:-

“I’m no good at interviews.”

Applying the present tense to a negative experience limits potential. By changing the tense of the statement, it shakes the intensity of the limiting belief.

So, “I’m no good at interviews” becomes “Up until now, I have found interviews a challenge”

Putting statements into the past tense suggests there is a possibility that things can change. It gives us an opportunity to examine the truth of the evidence we have.

To change a conscious belief all we do is start with the opposite idea. Then we begin to create the new belief “I am good at interviews” by finding the evidence, experience and references to support the belief and our subconscious mind will start to take it in.

A new positive belief must contain three essential components and must be repeated

 over and over every day to take root and grow in the subconscious mind.

Make them personal by using “I”Make them in the present by using “am” and include

a positive description “Good at interviews”

Then you begin to create the new belief and your subconscious mind will start to believe it!! It has to, because it already believed it when it was the other way round! So you are just changing your story!

 The table top becomes a positive belief instead of an idea! Supported by strong, sturdy, legs!

The new belief  becomes a self- fulfilling prophecy, (just as the old belief did) and evidence, people, opportunities, events will appear as if by magic to back it up!

We live in the story we believe about ourselves! The really important thing to remember though, is that you are not the story you are the storyteller! So you have the power to create a new story at any time by changing your old limiting, negative beliefs to new, empowering, positive beliefs and have your Happy Ever After!

And with that I’m just off to check I have enough mince pies, sherry and carrots for

Father Christmas and his reindeer on Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas everybody!

CP Staffing and Events Team

Our beliefs create our reality. Even those we are not aware of! Particularly those we are not aware of!

We are conscious of approximately 10% of what we believe, so we are not conscious of much of what we believe! 90% of what we believe is in our subconscious or unconscious. In other words, we are not aware of 90% of our beliefs which means we are totally unaware of any limiting beliefs that may be lurking in there!

We can state a conscious intention, tell ourselves consciously it is what we want, but unconsciously, there may be a counter intention, a limiting belief, we are not aware of that will sabotage our conscious intention.

How many times have you set a goal for yourself applied positive thinking, consciously believed you can make a positive shift in your life and yet somehow, end up right back where you started? You may attempt this quite a few times and each time it is unsuccessful. This brings about feelings of failure, low self-esteem and lack of confidence. The reason you get into this vicious circle is because you have not dealt with the unconscious belief that is thwarting your efforts! Not surprising, as we are unaware of them! We don’t know what we don’t know!

Some of our unconscious beliefs serve us well. Putting clothes on before going out in public, checking for traffic before crossing the road. Some however, thwart us at every conscious effort we make. Leaving us frustrated, negative and bewildered as to why we are not getting the results we want, when consciously we are doing everything right to ensure success.

If you want to know what your unconscious beliefs are, look at the results in your life right now. If you don’t have the results you want, your unconscious beliefs are the reason.

It is important to uncover and dismantle these beliefs. To do that, all you need to do is be aware and acknowledge you have them and that they are in there! They will then begin to surface, as you focus on them. They will float up from deep in the subconscious into the conscious. It is important to allow them into your conscious, so you can deal with them, dismantle them and start getting the results you want!

There are several exercises and questions we can ask ourselves to uncover our unconscious beliefs, which will uncover them and bring them into the open.

Dismantling Unconscious Beliefs Techniques

Words Without Thinking

Listen to the words you say without thinking! These will tell you what your unconscious beliefs are. Write them down, reflect and analyse.

Bolstering Beliefs

Make a list of things you want that still hasn’t happened. Think about the beliefs you would need to have them. These are your “Bolstering Beliefs.”

Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper, dividing it into two columns.

On the left hand side write down the bolstering belief list. On the right hand side write down the first thing that “pops up.”

 Don’t think about it consciously, just write it down, even if it doesn’t make sense, just let it flow. It uncovers the unconscious negative belief. Once identified, just keep going! Writing down whatever comes up!

Then question it. “Is this true?” “Do I really believe this?”

Based on Results

Answer honestly. “Based on the result of (fill in the blank) what must I believe at a less than conscious level?” And “What is my unconscious belief that created this situation?” Write down what comes up!

Dominant Hand

Write down a question such as “What is stopping me from achieving (fill in the blank?)” with your dominant hand (the hand you write with) then answer with your non-dominant hand. Just start writing! As your conscious mind has to think about using the non-dominant hand to write, it means it is not interfering with the subconscious mind, which is then free to bring up answers into your conscious awareness.

Self Muscle Testing

Our bodies are great indicators of when we have an unconscious limiting belief and will react accordingly, without us even being aware of it!!

State what it is you want and immediately swallow. If you are able to swallow easily, there is no unconscious limiting belief. If you have difficulty in swallowing, it means there is an unconscious limiting belief, which needs to be brought into your awareness!

State what it is you want as you rub the tip of your index finger over your thumbnail. If it rubs over smoothly it indicates no unconscious limiting belief. If it is not smooth, feels rough and stops, that is a good indication of an unconscious limiting belief.

It’s because your subconscious does not believe it’s what you really want! It’s a lie!

A good test to show how these two techniques work is to state something you know is true, then swallow or rub the tip of your index finger over your thumbnail, then repeat, this time saying something that you know is a lie! Notice the difference?

Willpower

Willpower is a great way to check unconscious limiting beliefs. If you are having to use will power to force yourself into doing something then you need to ask the question “What is it in me that needs resolving, so I am not forced to use will power?”

It’s not that the subconscious is a bad guy! Indeed the opposite is true! It sees its job as to protect you! Because it operates from a purely emotional level, logic does not come into its thinking! So don’t be surprised when you are writing things down if some stuff comes up that doesn’t seem to make sense! It will to the subconscious mind!

To illustrate how powerful these subconscious limiting beliefs are, a few years ago I was working with a lady who was getting married for the second time after losing her first husband to cancer. She never thought she would find happiness again.

 However, there was something that was really upsetting her!

 She had bought her dress quite a while before the wedding, she had seen it, tried it on and fallen in love with it! Her dream dress!

A couple of months before the wedding, she tried it on and unfortunately, she was unable to fit into it, as she had put some weight on since she bought it!

She decided there and then to go on a diet, as she loved the dress so much and naturally that was what she wanted to get married in!!

She started with good intentions, set her goal, visualised herself walking down the aisle in the dress but, she could not stick to the diet! No matter how much she tried, she gave in and could not shift the weight!

Of course, she berated herself for being weak-willed, no discipline and lots of other unhelpful negative statements!! She could not understand when she had the greatest motivation to lose weight and wear her dream dress she just could not stick to her healthy eating plan!

We worked on uncovering the negative belief in the subconscious that was obviously there so that we could bring it into the open and dismantle it!

This is what we uncovered.

During the last few months of her first husband’s life it was obviously a very worrying, sad, distressing and stressful time and she lost a lot of weight.

So when it came to going on a diet for her wedding to “lose weight” the subconscious mind jumped into its protective emotional mode and said “No, we don’t want to do that, because when we lose weight, it’s because we are sad, unhappy and bad things are going on!” And then began to sabotage everything connected with losing weight! And of course she was totally unaware of this, until we rooted it out!

This is how powerful those subconscious beliefs can be!! They stop you getting whatever it is you want, without you knowing! And doing it to keep you safe! (In their little emotive world!) That is why it is important to write down anything that pops up when doing the exercises! Even if it seems totally illogical and irrational!

Once you have uncovered them, brought them into your conscious mind and dismantled them (and you can use your conscious logical mind for that! Just keep questioning how true and logical that belief is!) You can then set your goal and go for it, without being limited by your subconscious!

There are no limits to what you can then achieve!

Article written by Janet Wilks, NLP Practioner and Coach.

As an NLP practitioner, a lot of the work I do focuses on the Reticular Activating System or RAS for short. Simply put (I like to keep things simple) the RAS is the brain’s information filtering system and each person’s RAS is unique to them.

We receive so much information at any given time, if this system did not exist, we would go into overload. The system works by filtering all the information we receive, then files it either in our unconscious or conscious mind, based on what makes sense to us according to our perspective of the world, through our beliefs, values, conditioning etc. Pretty good system.

RAS acts as a kind of door between the unconscious and conscious mind. Everything deemed not to make sense, useless, not relevant, goes straight into the unconscious and the door is closed. Leaving us with the information we can understand and makes sense to us, according to our view of the world.

 It is important to remember, our perspective of the world is totally unique to us. We all experience the world in a way that is completely individual to us!  (Hence a well known saying in NLP “The map is not the territory.”)

To give an example, if you buy a new car that is red, it seems all of a sudden that every other car you see on the road is red. It’s not that they’ve been in hiding waiting to pounce as soon as you got a red car, it’s just that you didn’t notice them before, as your focus was not on a red car, (unless of course your previous car was red!) so previous information you received that related to red cars was dumped in the unconscious mind, courtesy of your RAS.

Then when you became the proud owner of a red car, it became relevant to you, so information your brain received relating to red cars got promoted to the conscious mind and hey presto, you started seeing a lot of red cars!(And you will be thinking about red cars now, because I’ve mentioned them quite a bit!!). The red cars were always there, you just didn’t see them, as they were not relevant to you, so you didn’t focus on them!

 When you think about the things that you want in life which for you may be success, a wonderful job, money, happiness, great relationships, it is exactly the same principle. If you are not focusing on or not sure what it is you want, you will not be aware, not notice and will miss the opportunities, people, places and everything that is relevant to you achieving what you want in life.  However, as in the case of the red cars, they are still there, you are just not seeing them! As soon as you do, your RAS will spring into action!!

It’s generally easier for us to think about what we don’t want in our lives! Maybe a little trickier to think about what we really do want!! However, thinking this way can really hold us back from living the life we’d love to live!! So……..

Do not think of a pink elephant!!!!

I guarantee you are now thinking about a pink elephant!!! The brain is a tricky piece of kit!! It has to think about what it has been told not to think about, in order not to think about it!! (With me so far?) It does not compute a negative!! So when I am telling you not to think about a pink elephant, your brain does not hear “not” it just hears “Do think of a pink elephant!”

 You probably will have experienced this for yourself! Ever been out for dinner in a white top said to yourself “Don’t drop food on it!” And of course you do? Or carried mugs of coffees and said to yourself “Don’t spill them!” And as if by magic, that’s exactly what happens? It’s all down to the brain not being able to recognise the negative command you gave yourself and just hears “Drop food on it!” or “Spill them!” It is not you being clumsy, it is your brain carrying out your command in the only way it knows how! I’m sure you can think of a few examples of your own!

So if you are thinking about all the things you don’t want, your brain will just take that as what you do want!

I don’t want to be ill.

I don’t want to be broke.

I don’t want to be out of work.

I don’t want to be unhappy.

And the brain will do its job and your ever efficient RAS will throw all the things relevant to being ill, broke, out of work, unhappy out of the unconscious mind and into the conscious mind, as that is where your focus is! The exact opposite of what you want!

There is a great exercise that will help you think about what you do want, if you are not too sure, rather than what you don’t want! And then your focus will shift!

Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the left hand side head it “What I don’t want.” and on the right hand side the heading “What I do want.”

Start listing all the things you don’t want such as “I don’t want to be ill” “I don’t want to be broke” etc., whatever you don’t want in your life write it down on your list!

Once you have completed your list of what you don’t want, then you turn your attention to what you do want! Which is the exact opposite!   So for instance if the first thing on the left hand side is “I don’t want to be ill” then the opposite of that is “I want to be healthy” which you write down on the right hand side as the first thing. Continue doing this all the way down your list until you have completed the “What I do want” column as the exact opposite of everything you have listed in the “What I don’t want” column.

And then you cross off, rub out, everything on your “What I don’t want” list and now you are left with your positively stated and completed “What I do want” list.

 All you have to do then is focus on those things you want. Imagine them! Visualise! What will you be seeing, hearing and feeling? What will you be doing? Where will you be? What will be happening? What will people be saying to you?

When you do that, the door is opened! Your RAS is activated, which will then filter all the info you receive relating to what you are focused on into the right place, the conscious mind. When that happens, not only has the door opened, your mind has opened.

 It’s opened up to possibilities, opportunities and ways on how you can get what you want, because your RAS is working in its usual efficient way and filing everything relevant to what you are focused on in the conscious mind. So what you couldn’t see previously, you can now see clearly!

So get your RAS dazzling and get the results you want!

Article written by Janet Wilks, NLP Practioner and work coach

With all the negative things that are happening right now, COVID, lockdown, job losses, economy, it is understandable that we may be living in fear, rather than living in hope, as it all seems pretty hopeless!

Fear is ok in its place and in short bursts! It is part of our built in survival instinct and can keep us alive in a life or death situation when the fight or flight response kicks in and that’s great!

However living in a constant state of fear is certainly not good for our well being and can lead to all sorts of health problems!

Hope on the other hand is the opposite of fear! It’s what keeps us going, gives us something to live for and the belief that something good will happen! Or as Aristotle put it “Hope is a Waking Dream.”

Hope is looking at what’s the best that can happen, rather than what’s the worst that can happen, which is what we do when we are living in fear!

So how can we live in hope rather than fear particularly in these challenging times?

The first thing to do is to identify and acknowledge your fears. Sit down for a few minutes and think about what is you are afraid of! Be in the present! Be specific!  Notice the thoughts and feelings that come up! Notice what is going on inside! What are you seeing? What are you hearing? What are you feeling?

Write it all down! List it all! Everything!! It gets it out of your head and down on paper! Go through the list for a few minutes and then screw it up and bin it!! Or set fire to it! Or swallow it!! Get rid of it!!  The act of doing this installs in your mind that you have identified, faced and acknowledged those fears and they no longer have power over you, because you have taken your power back!

And that frees your mind up to focus on Hope!

What is it that you hope for? Even if it seems impossible at the moment do not be limited by your perspective of the evidence available!!

I remember many years ago when there were several fairly unsuccessful attempts to make a film of “Lord of the Rings.”

“Nobody will ever be able to make a film of it using people” I declared (Meaning it could only be made as an animation) ”They would never be able to create the characters or the places as they are in the book or tell the story in one film.” And then I said those dreadful words “it’s impossible!”

Well of course, in 1974, it was true that the technology was not available, the right film maker with the right vision was not around, the actors, sets, etc. and therefore, with all that evidence I could not see how it could possibly ever happen!

Fast forward another 30 odd years, not only was it possible, it became brilliantly, stunningly real and I was there at the premiere every year for all three films!

So whenever you believe “It’s impossible!” do not let your own perspective limit your hopes! Rather than think “impossible”, change your thinking to “Maybe not possible yet” and of course “yet” could mean a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a year). It opens up your mind to believing in possibilities! 

 Sit yourself down, let your mind drift and really focus on your hopes and dreams! And believe in their possibility! Be unlimited in your thinking!! Be hopeful!!! Be present and in the now!!

So what are your hopes?  Hopefully, going on a dream holiday?  Hopefully, COVID being eliminated? Hopefully, being able to socialise again? Hopefully, landing the dream job? Hopefully, getting back to work?  Visualise! (And we can all do that because if I ask you “What is the colour of your front door” you would have to bring a picture of it into your mind to be able to tell me!)  How happy are you feeling? What great things are you seeing and hearing? Crank it up! Have fun with it!!

 Write it all down! What you are hoping for in your life? Then stick it up somewhere you can see it!! Keep it uppermost in your mind!  Play with it! Add to it!

 This will increase your belief and faith that “Anything is possible!” No matter how impossible and hopeless it may seem at the moment!

And if fear starts creeping back into your mind, you banish it with your big bold beautiful hopes!

Neale Donald Walsch an American author and speaker said “It is never hopeless, because you are never helpless.”

So when you help yourself to hopefulness you will have the energy and motivation to focus on all things positive because you have opened your mind to the hope of possibilities without a limited perspective!

And we all have unlimited perspective! It’s just that at times we don’t realise it!

When we look out on the horizon, the point where land and sky meet-how do we know there is something beyond what we are seeing? How do we know that it does not stop there?

We just know. We understand that what we are seeing is an illusion. We have no doubt whatsoever that what we see as the horizon, is due to our limited perspective of how far we can see.

We know there is something beyond, we know our vision is limited. We have an unlimited perspective of what is beyond what we are seeing!

So, if we have so much hope, faith, belief and trust that there is something beyond the horizon, even though we can’t see it, we can apply that hope, faith, belief and trust in other things we can’t physically see. We know we can because we already do it!

When we know without question, there is so much more beyond what we can see. When we totally understand we have a limited physical perspective of what is real. When we believe, completely, in the endless and limitless. How much more would we broaden our horizons of hope, faith belief, trust and limitless, endless possibilities?

Fear – Face Everything And Rise!

Hope – Have Only Positive Expectations!

And then we are truly living our lives Hope Full and Fear Less!

Article Blog, Written by Janet Wilks, NLP Practictioner and Coach.

Written by Janet Wilks, NLP Practitioner and Coach

In these very strange and scary times, it is easy to think that we no longer have control over our own lives! Imposed lockdown, the threat of the virus, job loss, redundancies, loss of income, financial hardship and not having the freedom we are so used to having, to do and go where we want! No wonder it may seem that way!

 The bad news is that if you don’t take control of your life, someone or something else will and that can lead to worry, anxiety, stress and the feeling of “my life is spiralling out of control!”

So take time to think about what you can control and what you can’t in your life right now!

The lockdown? Out of your control! Somebody else’s decision! The virus? Well probably not much point trying to appeal to its better nature! Job loss or redundancy? Not something you could control, businesses are having to close, due to the current situation which means laying off staff and making redundancies. Lack of freedom? Not being able to see friends and family? Again, totally out of your control, until the lockdown is lifted!

 It may seem at the moment that every area of our life is out of our control, which can result in us feeling frustration, anger, sadness and every other negative emotion. Not a good place to be!

There are two areas of life. Things we can control, things we cannot control.  There is no point spending time and energy worrying about what we cannot control! All the stressing and anxiety in the world will not change it and it is certainly not good for our health to live like that!

The good news is, you can do something!!

You can choose to put that time and energy into looking at what you can control in your life! Despite the circumstances! Make the choice that you are in control of your life and not events and situations! Even if you start with just one small thing, it’s a step in the right direction!

When you take back control and take responsibility for one area of your life, then the other areas start to come together. Get it all under your control by fixing the things you can in each area of your life.

Lockdown? Walks? Exercise? Learn something new? Decorate? Listen to music? Watch films? Paint? Write?

Job loss or redundancy? Update your CV? Increase your skills with a course? Plan a career change? Set time aside each day to scan the job sites? Volunteer work?

Family and friends? Zoom? Messenger? Phone? Email? Face time? Letter? Wave from the street?

Financial worries? Budgeting? Selling stuff? Cancelling that gym membership? Changing supermarkets? Have a good look at outgoings and incomings?

What will you choose to do that will put you back in charge of your life? What is the first area you will do it in and why? Make a plan! And remember if you do nothing that is still a choice!!

Once you have a plan to deal with your situation, it puts you firmly back in control. You will be energised, happier and focused. You will no longer be stuck and feeling a victim of circumstances!

There is no point in blaming what is currently going on for how awful life is at the moment! Focus instead on what you can change, what you can do next to make life better! Take control. Take responsibility.

Take action in spite of how you feel. By taking action, you will gradually start to think and feel differently. You are back in control of your life! You are in charge of it!! No lockdown, virus, job loss etc., can take that away! It’s the one thing you can always have!! If you choose to!!

And it’s worth remembering that even in everyday normal life (Not just life at the moment!) between stimulus (An event/situation/circumstance that happens to us) and response (How we respond to that event/situation/circumstance) is choice.

Events and circumstances happen to us! That’s life! What we do have is a choice in how we respond to what is happening! Whatever the situation is! We can choose! That cannot be taken from us!

Somebody cut you up in traffic? Your choice how you respond! Partner/colleague upset you? Your choice how you respond! Anything that happens to us, whatever it is, instead of the immediate kneejerk reaction, in that instant between the event and how we react, we can choose how we will respond! We alone are responsible for the choices we make! The word responsibility is just that!

Response-Ability. The ability to choose your response.

Now that really is taking control!!!

Going into lockdown, Covid19 cases on the rise, businesses closing down, Christmas on the way, dark nights here, long winter looming, not able to see loved ones, job security,  money concerns, worrying about self or family getting the dreaded virus! Have I missed anything? Have you have added a few of your own?

In times of uncertainty, which we are certainly facing at the moment, it is natural to have some worry and anxiety. It comes down to our basic need for survival and security which is built into all of us and is part of who we are! So please do not be anxious about feeling a little anxious! You just don’t want too much of it!!

A gentleman named Abraham Maslow an American psychologist even created a pyramid about it and called it “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” The 5 level pyramid has Physiological at the bottom level, which is basically all the things vital for survival such as breathing, food, water, warmth etc.,  followed by Safety at the next level, which includes health and wellness, financial and job security, safety from accident and injury etc.  Then moving up the levels the next is Love/Belonging, followed by Esteem and then at the top of the pyramid is Self-Actualisation. Maslow believed that all people have a genuine wish and desire to be everything they could be (Self Actualisation) however to achieve this the basic needs have to be fulfilled.

 Looking at what is going on at the moment, it probably is fair to say that it is a bit of a challenge to get those basic needs at the bottom two levels of the pyramid met!  However when those basic needs aren’t being fulfilled, this can lead to health issues, stress and can really affect our well- being!

Another “Survival Instinct” we have is what’s called “Fight or Flight” again, built into us and came in very useful for our very early ancestors back in the day when predators were roaming the land and man was seen as a tasty bit of lunch!! Basically, when faced with danger, hormones are released, adrenaline is released, heart rate increases, breathing becomes more rapid, pupils dilate, blood supply increases so that the threat can be dealt with by facing and fighting it or running away as fast as you can! Once the threat has passed, everything returns to normal! (It is a little bit more scientific than this, but you get the idea!)

That was ok for running away from a lion or tiger or fighting a bear, but we still have that instinct built into us and it can be triggered by  financial difficulties, illness, job loss, bereavement, tension with family members, in fact anything that can create a stress response (because that’s what flight or fight response is). The problem is that nowadays as it’s usually an ongoing situation that’s causing the response and the changes our body goes through in preparation for fight or flight don’t have anywhere to go because we are not literally fighting or fleeing! Again, not good for our health and well-being!

So although some anxiety and worry are natural feelings to have during stressful times, when it starts to take over your life and has a negative impact on your health and well-being, it’s time to fight(not flee!!) and take back control once again!

Most of the things we worry about are future based! So we get caught up being anxious about what might happen, rather than what is happening right now! The “What ifs” the “What may happen” and once we start imagining all the worst case scenarios of what could go wrong, then we are lost in our own minds! Our mind is controlling us, rather than us controlling our mind! Not a good place to be!

The mind can be distracted from this future thinking by exercising, going for walks, learning something new, or as Mark Twain said “The best way to cheer yourself up, is to cheer somebody else up!” Anything that will stop your mind going into overdrive as that really is not good for your health!

Mark Twain also said “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which have never happened!” And this is such a true statement!

Something that is very useful in getting that control of your mind back is Mindfulness!  And it is so easy to do! It’s about being in the present moment! Instead of worrying and getting anxious about what might happen, you become aware of what is happening right now!

One way to do this is when you find your mind racing off into the future doom and gloom and that internal chatter starts, just bring yourself back to now by doing something as simple as concentrating on your breathing, which you are doing now! Or look at something in the room and really notice it, which you can only do now. At the end of the day, now is all we have! When we are stressing and anxious about an imagined future event, we are doing it in the now, when we bring up a past memory we are doing it in the now! Tomorrow never comes! It is always now!

So what is happening right at this moment now? Are you safe right at this moment? Are you ok right at this moment? Yes? Then let the anxiety and worry go because all that matters is right now! Not what may or may not happen in the future! If everything is ok at this precise moment and you can stay in the moment, then you will be far better equipped to deal with anything you need to, if and when it arises.

This is not about hiding your head in the sand! This is about living in each moment, because when you are fully present (as in the present) you will have more clarity and focus to make calm informed decisions and plans, rather than those made in anxiety, fear and worry!

Anytime you feel your mind racing ahead, just bring it back to now! That puts you back in the driving seat! Rather than being taken for a ride by your mind!

Notice your thoughts! How long between each one? A great way to stay in the present!

There is a great book by Eckhart Tolle titled “The Power of Now” which I would highly recommend! He also has some great stuff on YouTube and he is the master of being in the present!

Just remember, life happens in the present! As author Bil Keane says “The past is history, the future is a mystery, but today is a gift that is why it’s called The Present!” So give yourself a gift and take back control of your mind NOW!