So the question remains “how do I find myself, my identity?” NLP was the saviour for me. It was many years ago when I went through a life transition, reinventing myself from a corporate job in banking, to running my own business.
It took 5 years of tumbling through jobs, upskilling myself through personal development courses and eventually stopping because I had found my passion.
Today there are courses and coaches who accelerate this path for individuals. For those who are open to spending money and time focused on personal growth, this path is available. I spent money knowing I would reap it all back. I saw it as an investment in self rather than an expense.
Why NLP and what clinched it? I resonated with the entire approach of sharing tools with clients with no need for advice. After all who was I to tell others what to do? I found this to be a safe haven and door opener for anyone remotely interested in this type of internal exploration.
NLP works with the 5 senses – what we see, hear, feel, taste and smell. Easy enough for everyone to learn. The highlight? It was filled with a toolbox of processes, the “how to” make change for specific situations;
These were among some processes of more than a hundred, that give me an idea of how specific NLP was in helping people progress in their lives. All change was effected easily via the five senses. Changing a stored memory from black and white to colour. Even kids could do this.
Sharing an important time of year, Christmas, as it rolled around one year, I focused on tapping into the five senses. The city of Singapore turned into a kaleidoscope of colour. Sounds of carols filled the air and feelings of relaxation overcame those who loved this year-end mood. A palpable excitement in the air, it was a time for giving and receiving, not to mention eating, drinking and partying. A wonderful time to try a sensory-based experiment when there was a wealth of things to feast the senses.
So contrary to many people I met who lived in deep routine where the senses were dulled. While weekend may bring respite from work there was often a bit if excitement on the social front, fun with family or some downtime.
But think about it. Could daily habits and behaviour do with a little boost or spicing up of the five senses, every now and then? Nothing radical or life changing, a mere possibility of small tweaks and shifts that could vastly improve the quality of our lives.
Doing this the NLP way, eliciting a picture of a time you had fun. Having fun stepping in and out of the image to see, hear, feel, taste and smell things differently? Both scenarios would leave you in a totally opposite outcome. This is the clincher that occurred for me.
Over the years of growing up, I heard old sayings like - “If it isn’t broken don’t fix it; don’t reinvent the wheel; don’t rock the boat.” Perhaps wise and applicable for that time, it may have served people well in the past. But today this rather rigid view stops people from staying current with their fast-changing environment.
Yes agreed, there may be a number of things, physical or otherwise, which might have relevance and need to be retained. Apart from these all else could do with an upgrade that is befitting of current scenarios.
To get a feel for how change could occur within a week, try this suggested one-week plan. Experience an intensive sensory-based week and feel free to tweak it as you go along. Remember to have fun!
Day one - view your surroundings. Be more mindful and alert to as much detail around you as possible. Focus on colours, patterns, brightness, contrast, sharpness, especially when you are outdoors. Look at the sky, grass, trees and flowers more closely. Notice at least three things you have not consciously looked at before. Make no judgments, just observe and register it with your eyes.
Day two - listen deeply when in conversation. It could be family, friends, colleagues, boss or anyone at all. Be all ears and tune in completely. Don’t rehearse your reply while they are talking or be distracted by external activities. As you listen to their words notice the quality - volume, speed, tempo and pitch of their voice.
Day three – brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. If you are right-handed, do it with your left and vice versa. Feel the toothbrush as it makes contact with your teeth. Feel the sensation as you grasp with the hand you don’t normally use. Feel the effort of coordinating this task and being slowed down in contrast to the automatic way you do it every single day.
Day four - listen to your internal dialogue. Every time you hear a voice in your mind, stop to observe the tone, pitch, quality and volume. Be alert to what it is saying. Listen and let it go. Do not react. Notice if the voice is yours or someone else’s.
Day five – eat at a different restaurant during breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you’re cooking at home try an entirely new dish. Savour every bite and mouthful you take. Observe the different textures and tastes.
Day six – use a different perfume. Take in the different odours in your home and office. Step out after the rain and breathe in deeply. Inhale the smell of freshly cut grass. Sniff your freshly laundered clothes or your child’s freshly shampooed hair. Get a whiff of the newspaper, coffee, the inside of your car or phone, watch, toast, flowers, fruit and meals.
Day seven – be mindful from moment to moment. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whomever you are with, just be present in the moment. Be in rapport with the people in your daily life. Focus on one thing at a time and do not think ahead to your next task. Breathe, walk, bath, eat, listen, look, drive and work in a mindful manner. Pay complete attention to what needs to be done first before you move to the next task.
You could journal your experience at the end of each day or record it in pictures or thoughts on your phone. Jot down what was different, what you liked and did not like. Make a note of your preferences.
List some things you want to experience more of which you feel are lacking at the moment. You could also choose one sense and repeat it for an entire week. And finally consolidate how it feels in mind, body and spirit at the end of the week.
You may wonder what this has to do with change and identity? Everything! The first step to achieving results beyond mediocrity is to know your internal self. Exercises like these help us make small changes within, that have a big impact on unleashing full potential.
As soon as I figured out how I stored information and made decisions, I could replicate these easily. I understood things and people who triggered me. Eliciting my internal self was the answer to everything for the power lay in making a decision to either change it for something better or keep it because it was working.
Sylvia is a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Trainer. She started her business in Sydney and is now based in Singapore.