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Below you will find articles designed to add value and help you understand the simplicity and beauty of the tools that make up wha thas become known as NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming and related technologies for profound personal change and buisness excellence. 

This month's offerings:

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ARTICLE #1: Can People Change?

by Bill Thomason, NLP Success Coach

How is it possible for people to change? 

This question has driven a large part of my work and thought over the years. It is certainly a central theme of human potential inquiry. Perhaps you know someone who suddenly started to live a very different kind of life than they had before; someone who had experienced a "profound life change."  These people experience profound personal change that is fast, effective, relatively painless and permanent. So, what if you could model the critical elements of core change.

As NLP pioneer and developer Wyatt Woodsmall points out, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) developed from a technology called Behavior Modeling. Children learn from 'modeling" the behaviors of others, especially parents and other primary caregivers. The co-founders of NLP, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, sought out the most successful people from various fields to model their behavior. They wanted to discover the structure of "expertise." They developed Behavior Modeling and then went about finding out how specifically people do what they do well.

Richard Bandler was a student of computer information and mathematics. John Grinder was a professor of Linguistics. Since they were both interested in therapy, the first experts they modeled were therapists including Fritz Perlz, the Father of Gestalt Therapy and Virginia Satir, the foremost Family Therapist of the time. Richard and John started to systematically elicit and then "model" or "copy" the behavior of these experts. Although there are some exceptions, it was said that if anyone can create any achievement in life, and if you can get enough "quality information" about how they do it, you could produce similar results.

People Experience Profound Personal Change

So, what are the common elements among people who have experienced "profound personal change?" It seems that profound personal change is typically preceded by some traumatic event. Sometimes it is a near death experience, like an auto accident, or a doctor telling you, "Get your affairs in order."; you have 3-6 months to live." It may be that someone you know went to church on a Sunday and, while in a deep emotional state, decided to re-dedicate his or her life. From that moment on, that person lived differently.

Everyone knows someone who has had a "profound life change" experience? But how can we "model" or reproduce profound change in our own lives? And, can it be done without the trauma? It is thought that by age 4 or 5, most people have almost all their deep-level, core programming in place. This deep programming operates at an unconscious or other-than-conscious level and it drives a person's behavior for the rest of his or her life.

When we ask experts how they do what they do, they most often say, "I don't know how I do it; I just do it." However, when information is elicited effectively by a practitioner of NLP, we find that the person does know at some level. People who have had a profound life change experience report they were in a state of "deep emotion" at the time of the change. Deep emotion is one of the key ingredients of how new core decisions get in place. Core level decisions are expressed with specific language, in specific ways, including body language and gestures. People are expressing their core programming all the time in everything that they do and say.

With this information a number of approaches may be facilitated by your NLP Success Coach including:  

- Core Decisional Repatterning(c) is a 9-step process that finds the original limiting decisions and installs a new decision at a deep emotional level to replace the unwanted programming.  Change is fast, effective and permanent.

- ReImprinting is an NLP process based on Robert Dilts study and utilization of Konrad Lorenz's work with ducklings who imprint the first thing the see after birth as 'Mother.' The ducklings followed where Lorenz would go in his boots. In a similar manner people get their core programming as 'imprints' very early in life, usually by age 4 or 5 years.

- Change Personal History - the basic idea is used in several NLP patterns

-Time line or Expanding Folded Time(c) Patterns is a valuable technique that can pull old emotional 'Gestalts' or patterns of limiting behavior that tend to start with some event and recur again and again through life until they are unhooked.  What if you could simply could not find guilt, anxiety, sadness, or angry past feelings and limiting decisions any more?   

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Article #2: Listening Skills 

by Bill Thomason

Most of us think we are good listeners.  But, how many times in the last month did you experience being totally “heard,” or “gotten” by another human being.  If you are like most people, it just doesn’t happen as much as we would like.

SO, what is the big trick to listening?

Information IN - Information OUT.   

You talk.  I listen.  Pretty simple so far? 

Believe it or not; “listening” is a serious field of study at major universities.  You might think you already know a lot about how to listen.  However, you have probably also had the frustrating experience of not being heard.; maybe by someone very close to you in life.  I heard a story about a man who can tell his wife exactly what she just said, but according to her, he just does not listen.  You've probably had a question about a billing dispute and called Customer Service only to find that the person on the other end of the telephone was not listening to you.  And, how many times in the last month did you experience being totally “heard,” or “gotten” by another human being.  If you are like most people, it just doesn’t happen as much as we would like. As we define it,I Listening is more than just hearing.  When I talk about “listening” in business training seminars, I am not talking about simply what a person hears. I am talking about what it takes for you to make sure the other person in the communication experiences being heard.  I am talking about the whole communication cycle.  Consider the NLP Presupposition, “The meaning of your communication is the response you get.” 

In this understanding, MEANING is not a function of your intention, but is a function how effectively you communicate to make sure the meaning is understood.  In Cognitive Psychology, the most basic model of communication is:

Information IN - Information OUT. 

You talk.  I listen.  Pretty simple so far.  Right?

Now, let’s expand the model.  Somewhere between Info In and Info Out we somehow make sense of the information we are exposed to on a daily basis.  We take information in via our Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic (feeling) channels.  This information is processed through the nervous system and brain.  And we make an Internal Representation about what the information means to us.  OK! Next level of complexity.  (And, somewhat outside the realm of NLP and into Listening Theory) Basic human programming is that we are very good at sizing situations up quickly.  From the evolutionary point of view, if there is a tiger on the path, we have to know instinctively whether it is hungry and in search of food.  Problem is we size people up very quickly too.  Usually that is a good thing, and sometimes it is limiting.  Occasionally, we make mistakes about people.  Once we get an idea of how a person is, then it is very difficult to change our opinion of that person. 

Ladies (and men), do you know a man who is a womanizer.  If you do, how do you know?  Well, you have evidence, don’t you?  Maybe someone told you about this person and pretty soon you saw that man out with an attractive woman.  The very next day when you see that man talking with a different woman.  What is the first thought that comes to mind?  Don’t you assume that the two are together in some romantic manner.  The problem is that, as humans, once we decide that a person is a certain way, it is very difficult to change our view.  

We also make up ideas about people based on gross generalizations or stereotypes.  We all experience the world through our own unique set of filters.  If you are told that a person is a policeman, what generalizations do you make about what the person is like?  If someone you know is an alcoholic, how likely are you to believe they will stop drinking just because they say they will?  If you find out that a woman is from the South, what do think that person will be like?  What are your beliefs about people who are from New York, or California, or Canada, or Texas? 

When you have an idea that a person is hardheaded and that they never listen, how do you begin to behave around that person?  Are you more careful?  Do you become more forceful, or avoid confrontations with them?  And what if the person changes?  How much room do you have to experience that person in a new and different way? 

I say there is a cost to the compensating behaviors we have in response to our own belief mechanisms toward others and even toward ourselves.  All this, I consider as inside the concept of “listening.” For most people, beliefs about “how people are” operates at such a deep emotional level in programming that we are not aware we are making value judgments about other people.  For the individual, the value judgment is the TRUTH.  It does not occur to us as a viewpoint or even as a belief about the other person.  In addition, we tend to believe that everyone else sees that person the same way we do, as if it should be obvious to anyone.    

In a business environment, this is a big problem.  The people in a particular company all have to work together.  Ideally, you expect there to be a commitment of team members to each other.  That is one of the marks of an exceptional team and leads to exceptional achievement.  Unfortunately, it is not often the way things really are. 

A common example is the manager with a particularly strong personality who holds a particular view about things.  People are often afraid to express themselves and speak up about other viewpoints they may hold.  Creativity suffers.  People who are not being heard tend to develop blaming behaviors and relationships deteriorate.  People feel they have no room to express themselves and productivity suffers.  The manager, and therefore the company, does not listen.  Stress increases and 'sick leave' and other costs escalate.  There are lots of examples of this. It is hard to say that this behavior mechanism is necessarily bad or wrong.  Forming strong opinions about how people are is rooted in our basic nature as humans and is a defense mechanism.  On an evolutionary basis, when the tiger crossed your path in the jungle, you had to make a very rapid decision about whether the tiger is hungry and whether it is looking at you.  Otherwise, you did not survive in the food chain.  It is about survival at the deep, emotional level of who we are.  The bigger question is, “How do we break down the automatic nature of our natural pattern-making behavior when we find that it is limiting our effectiveness and the quality of relationships?”  The goal is freedom of choice about our) behavior.  Too often, we just respond automatically.  

Over 4 or 5 days in an NLP business seminar, there is ample time to mine the collective experience of the team or group involved and to entrain (install) new behaviors.  Assuming that you are now becoming aware of areas where your intention to listen has fallen short, just becoming aware and examining the areas of your life where you might make new choices is valuable.  In addition, you can call for a private consultation or inquire about a training program for yourself personally or for you business.  You can also find specific patterns that will help in my book, The Life-Change Patterns of NLP.

However, for the purposes of what we can do right here, right now, consider that one aspect of limiting listening is dealing with your LIMITING BELIEFS about yourself and others.  NLP offers patterns that are designed to change limiting beliefs and adopt resourceful behaviors.  If you have attempted to make a particular change in your life and you have fallen short, you may have been trying to make a change that is inconsistent with your deeper level beliefs about who you are.  Consider getting some outside facilitation in this case.

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Article #3: Change the Way You Feel

This pattern assumes that guilt is a negative emotion and has little or no positive purpose.  If you think guilt helps you know right from wrong, aren’t there lots of ways to tell right from wrong without having the negative feelings in your body from guilt.  That couldn’t be very good for you, could it?  Here’s the exercise:

  1. Access a time when you felt guilty about something.  Remember a specific time when something happened that caused you to feel guilt or remorse.  Pick a event with a specific beginning and ending; not the one that started with “I was born.”  A smaller intensity event is better for demonstration of this pattern.  Notice how you feel and where you feel it in your body as soon as you remember the moment and feeling. 
  2. Great!  Break state.  (For example, shake your arms and shoulders and focus on some objects in the room or other surroundings.) 
  3. Now, when you are completely out of the previous state and in a neutral state, access a good time, a happy time, before the ‘guilt’ event had ever even happened.  Go back as far as you need to and find a specific moment that was a good time, happy time, at least a few hours, day, months or years before the other event ever even happened now.  Be in that event feeling good and stay there for a few moments and notice: “Where is the guilt?”  It should be gone completely or be significantly reduced.  If this is what you are experiencing now, you are done with this step so go to the next step 4.  If not, you probably didn’t follow the directions specifically enough or you picked something too big for this pattern to be effective with.  Leave the guilt event in the past and then go even farther back in time to find a positive event, a good time and be in it as if you are there now.  You may not have previously gone far enough back to find a specific good time, happy time and now you can just be in the good time, happy time feeling great.  Again, while staying in the good time moment, ask, “where is the guilt?” It should be gone or significantly reduced. That's excellent!
  4. Now, keep the good feelings and jump up over the past events and bringing those good feelings to the present.  Experience those good feelings in the present.  Doesn’t that feel good?
  5. Now break state again.  Be in the present looking at some objects in your field of view.
Now, as you are in present time again, feeling good, you can choose to think of the thing that used to bring up the guilt feelings, and notice that is doesn’t feel that way anymore or is so significantly reduced and it will continue to feel differently into the future.  You can check it an hour or two from now, and again 4-5 hours from now and at the end of the day and again tomorrow and the next day, and find that the the old feelings are gone or significantly reduced.  Notice that you have learned to change your negative feelings. So, here's the point; if you can change the way you feel about something small like this, what else can you change.  Consider that you have just learned a simple pattern that has started you on the path of becoming the MASTER OF YOUR STATES.  How will it be different to iive your life from this paradigm.  Can you?  Could it really be this simple?  Great question!

Contact Bill at 602 321-7191 or by email at nlpskills@earthlink.net to set up an NLP Coaching Agreement with regard to changing old unwanted behaviors or register for upcoming workshops at www.nlpskills.com. 

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Article #4: Language Patterns of NLP

What your favorite NLP language pattern?  For example I might use a 'mind read' as in "I know you are wondering..how many ways I can cause you to go into trance in the next few sentences."  The beginning of the sentence holds the mind read.  You probably were not thinking about going into a trance state while reading this article, but you are now.  I have also assumed facts that are not in evidence to lead you to this particular thought.  This beginning of a sentence does not specify how I 'know' you are wondering but most people accept the sentence without questioning.  The sentence is also an example of kind of Meta-Model violation.  NLPers will want to challenge the violation to help people fill in missing information in their communication.  Since it can be said that every sentence in English is missing information, it can be valuable to help people to fill in the gaps in a more precise manner.  People could then develop a more complete map of the reality about what they wanted to express.  Not only does communication get cleaner and clearer, but many people reported challenges to Meta-Model violations often helped them deconstruct problem states.  If you think about it, it's amazing people ever understand communication from other people at all. 

NOTE: This part of the NLP 'Meta-Model' is sometimes called the Precision Model.  A challenge question to the above sentence is, "How specifically do you know I am wondering?"  For now, let's focus more on what the mind accepts and not so much on the challenges.  This article contains several language patterns. See if you can recognize some of them.

There are a number of different kinds of language patterns.  As they were developing the Meta-Model, a colleague, Gregory Bateson, suggested they meet Milton Erickson.  Some of the most basic language patterns come from modeling Milton H Erickson, MD.  They modeled his ability to cause patients and seminar participants to go into deep and profound, highly-suggestible trance states.  Milton used 'artfully vague' language that presupposes that any person will make the best connections possible for higher good of that individual and at a deep unconscious level changes will have occurred.  There's a story that Milton Erickson decided to write down all the linguistic patterns that he had discovered, you know, that could cause a person, like you, and me, to go into profound trance.  You might also wonder as you wander through the paragraph, and be curious how he went from 20 pages of linguistic patterns to 10 and then on down to 9, and then 8 pages, until he had narrowed the number down to 7 and then 6, that's right, just keep following on down, more deeply and easily relaxed, all the way down to 5.  And Milton might have said "don't ask them to go into trance this particular way or that particular way, but allow them to go into a deep and profound trance any way they want to go on down to 4 and 3 and 2 now. But, before you do, go all the way down to 1 and notice that you can allow yourself to enjoy a deep and healing state of relaxation, where time slows down and in some moment you might have become aware that you have learned something important, something useful, that you had not thought you would learn today and as you do learn, take a deep breath and come all the way back up from 3 to 1, fully awake, feeling good.

Another type of langauge patter is  a Sleight of Mouth patterns.  These Sleight of Mouth patterns are very useful in influencing change, aren't they? When you hear a limiting statement like, "I can't learn this.", you might say something like, "You haven't learned this yet." I have reframed the limitation from 'can't' to 'haven't' which puts control back in the hands of the person and added the word, 'yet,' a very powerful time-related reframe. To make sense of what was said, the person listening must represent that the learning will occur at some point in the future, don't they?

What's a language pattern you like?

Bill Thomason
Your NLP Success Coach
Certified NLP Master Trainer
www.nlpskills.com

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Article #5: All Growth is Outside Our Comfort Zone

Viktor Frankl said:

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to
choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."

I think this is the basis of NLP change work. Since all behavior can be said to
be 'unconscious,' when we bring problem states into conscious awareness, we
expand the gap or space between stimulus and response. We get the chance to
choose and that creates the freedom to change behaviors.

Another interesting point is that 'all growth' seems to lie outside our comfort
zone. I recently watched an old Star Trek movie re-run. Growth is a lot like
the Star Trek imperative to go where no one has gone before; to get 'outside our
comfort zones.' We have comfort zones around our relationships, families, work,
income, home, our friends, our routines, and the clubs and groups that we belong
to. Outside these comfortable zones, we are generally in uncharted territory.

People tend to fear what is unknown and different from them. We tend to be
stressed by uncertainty. Sometimes we stay centered and take on challenges as if
they are just another opportunity to grow. All too often, however, we go into a
defensive mode, preparing for what may never really happen. We can create whole
fearful realities and most of what we fear never happens. The positive
intention of this type fear and resistance is to protect and keep you safe. And
that's a good thing. If an ancestor were confronted by a dinosaur, he or she
could stand and fight or run away fast. Either way, the chemistry of fear got
burned up, but we live in a different world now. Our evolutionary nature is
programmed to protect us from harm and fear of harm, but most things we fear are
made up in your mind and not real and sometimes we actually create bigger
problems avoiding perceived fears. We even have fear of fearing what we fear.
Mostly we fear 'new territory' and the 'unknown.' You might say to me, "But I
have evidence that I should be fearful." What you have is conditioning and
where is it from? It's from the past. Consider that the past is a myth. Even
that probably didn't happen the way you remember. Memory is notoriously
inaccurate. (F.E.A.R. is just False Evidence Appearing Real) So, be in action.
Do it anyway, regardless of any resistance or your fearful thoughts.

The benefits of overcoming fearful feelings is pretty big. When we 'go where we
have never gone before,' we often realize that it was not nearly so bad as we
had imagined (see NLP Anxiety Cure). We learn we can do more than we thought we
could and we get more raw data to make better choices simply by moving forward.
This leads me to outcome setting or goal setting.

Setting new outcomes or goals in life is an exercise in going outside comfort
zones. We have to imagine something bigger, better, or just different. In my
NLP study of highly successful people, the lesson is that we have to risk
thinking new thoughts, doing new things, trusting ourselves and others. High
Performance involves trusting yourself and if you don't, simply doing what is
necessary regardless of how you feel. I call that courage. Get outside your
comfort zone. Do almost anything in the direction of your outcomes, right now,
immediately. Exercise your freedom to choose. And notice how it feels
differently in your body when you do act. Anchor that feeling and do it some
more.

This is a great time of year to set outcomes, planning the new year, creating
resolutions, of making decisions toward a new future.
Here are a couple of chances to accomplish that with upcoming events. If you
are in Phoenix, tonight, December 7, is another FREE NLP Wednesday Night MeetUp
(subject: Outcome Setting) at my office at NLP Coaching & Skills Training
Institute, 11811 N Tatum Blvd. P113, Phoenix, AZ 85028. It's a block south of
Cactus Blvd. on Tatum and Paradise Village Parkway in the glass mirrored
building. Come to the south entrance after business hours. Call Bill 602
321-7192.

The second opportunity is January 14-15, 2012. Register now for the weekend
Program Your Future with Expanding Folded Time(c) Patterns workshop. Come away
with written goals as outcomes, eliminate the emotional barriers that prevented
past success, and install a future so compelling you cannot help but achieve
your outcomes. Cut and paste into your browser:
http://www.nlpskills.com/nlp-events.html or
http://www.nlpskills.com/time-line-patterns-expanding-folded-time.html or Call
Bill to register 602 321-7192.

Ask me for an exercise to install 'certainty.'

Bill Thomason
Your NLP Success Coach
Certified NLP Master Trainer
www.nlpskills.com

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Locally serving: NLP Arizona, NLP Phoenix, NLP Scottsdale, NLP Sedona, NLP Tempe, NLP Carefree, NLP Cave Creek, NLP Chandler, NLP Tucson, NLP Paradise Valley, NLP Mesa, NLP Prescott, NLP Flagstaff, NLP Southwest USA.  Bill Thomason is available for coaching, speaking engagements, and training programs worldwide and has worked extensively throughout the US and Canada.

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