[Article] Is there any difference between personal and professional development?

Having come to the end of a 20-day NLP Practitioner training recently I’ve been reflecting on the development of the individuals as they worked through the five-month journey. It’s a big commitment – the 20 days include some weekends as well as taking time out from work. This means that most people arrive determined to get all the benefit of the training that they can.

One thing that became clear to each person at different times was that although they had originally committed to the course for the business benefits, they also stood to gain a lot personally.

Occasionally, this can be a problem for someone – usually the budget-holder! If a company pays for an employee to undertake training, the company wants to be sure of ROI, naturally. That’s easy to see for a lot of technical training, but less so for people skills.

What I’ve noticed with NLP training is that lots of people come to it because they want to understand more about other people. They want to build more productive working relationships and maybe to help when someone is struggling.  They get the tools to do that.

And so much more…

The thing that surprises a lot of people when they come on the NLP Practitioner training is just how much they learn about themselves. One HR Director told me, “I’d done practically every personality test there is, plus team profiles and inventories of strengths and styles. I thought I knew myself. And then I did NLP Practitioner training…”

In the early stages of this new awareness, sometimes the most obvious benefits are not related to work: it could be an improvement in diet or exercise, it might be a better relationship with certain family members or the resolution of a long-standing conflict. It might be a shift of mindset that leads to more personal confidence or even the end of a phobia that has limited life in some way. Why is the employer paying for this?

It seems to me, that it’s natural to practise something new in an environment where it is safe to experiment. Workplaces don’t always offer that. If you have the tools to improve relationships, you’re going to start with the ones that are closest and most important. And what happens is that those results build confidence in the tools and confidence in self.

With that extra confidence, it’s easier to take the new skills into the workplace. The approach is more assured and the results are more closely observed. So the new Practitioner has developed as a person and also developed as a professional. Is there really any difference?

My feeling is that – especially at senior level – the only way to develop professionally is to focus on personal development. Your relationships at work will never be better than your relationship with yourself…

[Article] Am I bothered?

‘Am I bothered?’ asked another, much more famous, redhead.  The implication being that she’s not and it’s a good thing.  Being bothered is uncool.

In that context, being bothered means allowing other people to have an effect on your state of mind. It means caring that someone is annoyed with you. It means being upset because you’re going to miss out on something. In effect, it’s a show of weakness.

So why have I chosen ‘being bothered’ as my motto this month?

I’ve noticed that when I’m busy I let some things slide.

During December I allowed email to pile up in my inbox to an extent I’d be embarrassed to reveal. But I couldn’t be bothered to file it all. I felt that I deserved a break.

There were also piles of papers, magazines and mail building up in corners of my office. An eyesore and an irritation. But I couldn’t be bothered to organise it all and put it away. I thought I’d earned a rest.

During the Christmas break, food was abundant and lots of it unhealthy. I snacked too much because I couldn’t be bothered to cook healthy meals. I didn’t want to spend my holiday in the kitchen.

Perhaps I’m not the only one.

The other aspect of this I’m very aware of, is that I became annoyed with myself for letting things slide. I was irritated by my disorganised office. I was bored with eating junk. So not being bothered to do certain things ended up being the cause of me being very bothered by the consequences!

It’s all a matter of values…

A Value is something that’s important to you like Family, Friendship,  Achievement, Challenge or Fairness. If you like, they’re the things you ARE bothered about. When your values are fulfilled, you feel good. When your values are violated in some way, you feel less good – annoyed, irritated, sad or stressed.

For example, one of my values is Order. I like my home and my office to be orderly and neat. I feel much more relaxed when everything is in its place and everywhere is clean and tidy. It ‘bothers’ me when it’s not.

That’s why I’ve decided to ‘be bothered’ this month. By being bothered to keep my office tidy and my email under control and I can save myself the stress that comes from disorder. In situations where previously I’d been telling myself ‘I can’t be bothered’ I’m now enjoying the feeling of ‘being bothered’ and getting things done that matter to me.

So, I’m bothered. Are you bothered?