One of my favourite presuppositions of NLP says that people are doing the best they can with the resources they have available, and the reason I like that is because I find it useful in lots of different circumstances. The NLP sense of the word resources includes not just the tangible resources that you might have; like time and budget and so on… it’s also your personal resources. So things like your energy and enthusiasm, your knowledge, your dedication – all of your internal abilities…
1. Think BIG!
If your goal isn’t a challenge and doesn’t represent an important achievement for you it’s unlikely that you’ll be motivated enough to sustain the effort required to complete it. Forget all that SMART goals stuff about ‘realistic’ and ‘achievable’. That pattern was devised for setting goals for other people who work for you in a big organisation. All the research shows that people set much more challenging goals for themselves than the goals others set for them. It’s all to do with choice, I think.
2. Look at your whole life.
If you only have goals and plans for your working life, that’s where you’ll tend to spend all your time. If you have important goals outside of work, they will focus attention outside of work as well. If you want a balanced life, make plans for all aspects of life. Remember to include your nearest and dearest in the planning for goals that affect your life outside of work.
3. Get clear about why each goal is important to you.
Your values drive your behaviour so your goals need to connect with your values if you are to take the necessary actions to achieve them. If the goal isn’t really important, it’s unlikely you’ll achieve it unless it can be done quickly and easily – and where’s the satisfaction in a goal like that? For each of your goals, ask yourself, “Why is this important to me?” and “What will that do for me?” Keep asking the questions until you’re clear about what each goal means to you.
4. Work out how you can achieve the goal.
Or at least, what are the first few actions you can take that will get you started. Sometimes the entire path isn’t clear at first, so don’t allow that to be a barrier to getting started. Identify the best way to make some initial progress and plan in time to work out the later steps as you go along. You may not know how to do something, you may need to do some research or take lessons to learn a new skill, but there is always something you CAN do to get going.
5. When you make your plans…
Set aside specific time slots to do the activities that will move you closer to each of your goals. This could be a regular time of the day, week or month, depending on the goal. If your life doesn’t lend itself to lots of routine, simply make a list of the amount of time needed for each activity and then allocate each activity to a specific time each day, week or month. The key here is to make sure that you are making regular progress towards your goals.
6. Write your goals down and keep them somewhere you will see them often.
In your diary or time planner, your wallet, as a reminder on your phone or tablet or a poster on the wall of your office, kitchen or favourite place to think. Some people like a visual representation of the goal, others prefer the words. Experiment to find out which is most motivating for you.
7. Build into your plan plenty of time for ‘standing back’ and taking stock of your progress.
As well as reviewing the plan, amending it and also celebrating your successes along the way. You’ll need to keep track of how well you’re doing if you’re going to sustain the activities for a big, long-term goal. Equally, avoid checking progress so often that you can’t see any changes. Keep the intervals long enough that you can see you’ve achieved something every time.
Today I’m going to have another look at one of the presuppositions of NLP, the one that says the mind and the body affect each other. This is one of the reasons why I got interested in NLP in the first place. I’ve always been interested in how the body works as well as how the mind works, and was always curious as a youngster about the power of the mind over the body, and whether it was possible to think yourself well…
If I’m really honest, I don’t like children very much. Shocking, I know. Not having any children of my own, I’m often irritated by the antics of small children in supermarkets and disapproving of their very presence in pubs and restaurants. I’ve been known to walk out of coffee shops full of buggies without even glancing at a menu and I love adults-only hotels. I don’t have anything against any individual child, it’s just that I quickly tire of the never-ending need for attention. Oh, and the noise!
Yes, I know that by not having children I have missed out on one of life’s great adventures. Yes, I understand that there is delight in being a parent as well as despair. Yes, I’ve been told ‘it’s different when they’re your own’. No, I don’t lose any sleep over it.
You may think I’m heartless or cold. That’s up to you. Please read on.
I know that for every child that causes me to mutter, ‘please shut up’ and every toddler that makes me wince at the sound of their shrieks that there are parents for whom that little darling is the centre of their world. I cannot begin to imagine the pain it must bring to know you’re going lose your baby.
That’s one of the reasons why I’m a huge supporter of Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice in Coventry. Zoe’s Place provides respite care for babies and children up to the age of five who have life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. Children so unwell that they need round-the-clock care. They cannot be left with grandparents for an afternoon while Mum and Dad go out to lunch or to the supermarket or to see their other child in the school play. They can only be entrusted to qualified nurses.
Zoë’s Place provides that. It’s a bright, cheerful home-from-home where these tiny tots can be looked after in total safety to give their parents a little respite. To visit, is to be uplifted and humbled all at once.
The problem is, it takes around £1.4m per year to keep the Baby Hospice open. Around 85% of that comes from charitable donations. The ‘Strictly Christmas’ event that I help to organise and dance in, is just one event that raises money for Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice.
Alongside ‘Strictly Christmas’ my friend James Sanders runs an annual Facebook auction. This year there are well over 100 lots and I provided one of them.
Brilliant Minds has a ‘New Client Package’ which includes profiling of team members, a diagnostic of the team’s strengths and culture and recommendations for the development of the team in line with the company strategy and values.
It normally costs £5000 + VAT.
I’ve put it in the auction with a reserve of £1000. Which means that you could get £5000 worth of my time to develop your team for only £1000! And at the same time you would know that you are supporting a very special place that touches many lives.
Feel free to share with your friends and colleagues!
Oh, and you’re also very welcome to bid on the other lots.
Perceptual Positions is the idea of being able to see something from somebody else’s point of view or, indeed, from a completely different point of view. If you work in a service industry, you probably will have had it drummed into you that it’s important to be able to see things from your customer’s point of view. In lots of other environments as well, we are encouraged to take somebody else’s perspective.
The thing is, it’s not that easy to do it really well…