Friday, September 12, 2014

Purpose, Presence and Play

Last night, on the anniversary of 9/11, we held a program called Purpose and Presence. It sounds like a suitably serious response to serious events.

It was also a chance to play. We laughed, a lot.

We took seriously the possibly that a dangerous world is nonetheless a world where we might focus on people we admire and qualities we want to have. It was safe, for that time at least, to open ourselves to the possibility that what we need might be available to us.  People met the interesting people in the room and the interesting people they talked about. They thought about what works. And what works is often fun.

Fun is inherently practical. By starting with the faith that you already have what you need, you can begin to notice that you have more than you thought. More direction, more support, more motivation. Fun shines the light on the good things that sometimes get pushed into dark corners while we focus on important matters.

It's Friday. Maybe you're looking forward to the weekend and maybe you're not. The elements of fun are almost always these: movement, people, imagination.  Whatever your mood, you'll find more opportunities on Monday if you manage a little fun before then.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Respect your fear - and then do the right thing

I don't believe fear is a motivation. I believe in "fight/flight/freeze." I believe the research (read Drive by Dan Pink or read Change or Die by Alan Deutschman).  Read between the lines here: if fear was really a motivation, you wouldn't have to push past it. Fear would be pushing you.

So what does that leave us to do with our fears?

I like to start with respect for them. Fear is a part of you that is trying to do something to protect your physical or emotional or spiritual well being. It's slowing you down so you have time to notice that you are running into a cliff - or off of one.  And, like every person you respect, fear is sometimes wrong.

Let me ask you - what do you do when someone you respect is wrong?  If you've started with respect for the part of yourself that is afraid, then you have a pretty good chance to make peace and move on. If you start by pushing around your fear, your fear will continue to push you around. Because your fear is you and you are a person and that's how people act and react.

I hate being afraid. I hate fear's ugly stepsisters, anxiety and combativeness. But I don't hate fear. Fear is me noticing a pattern and drawing my attention to it so that I can make a more intelligent choice. It's not always right. I'm not always right. That's a good reason to listen to my fear before I push it away.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Welcome to a new beginning

I've spent the summer integrating: allowing lots of different experiences and influences to settle into place. After two books and lots of work on the next evolution of our NLP+ and NLP Practitioner certification, it's time for a fresh focus and energy here. 

Over the years, I have heard many theories about the most important drivers of learning, satisfaction and influence. I've been taught that rapport is the key to influence. That didn't seem true. Great leaders don't always spend a lot of time or effort to meet your where you live. They allow you to move to them. I've been taught that sensory acuity was the key to success. That seemed more true, but it didn't explain how to keep your senses turned up while also noticing patterns and creating change. Some NLP trainers even feel that the key to success is following someone else's methods. While I see the merit in starting on proven ground, I can't see the key to change being the ability to do the same thing the same way as someone else.

Here's what I have come to believe is the key to being more satisfied, more successful and more influential:  be your best self.  I know - it sounds a little lame. But at any given moment, you're probably not putting your best self to work in the world. It's sometimes hard to believe, but if you go looking for more strength, more smarts, or more love, you'll probably find that they are already in you, just waiting to be recognized and put to work.

In NLP,  when we find a new perspective or an old strength to apply to a problem, we say we are integrating. This blog is called Integrate! because it's goal is to help you shift your perspective just enough to find a new resource (a strength, a memory, a strategy) to integrate into the thing that has your attention now. You might want to integrate more strength, more joy or more compassion into building something amazing. You might be stuck,  and want to integrate some movement and flexibility. You might be sad and looking for a way forward while your grieving and healing happen.

Every week, I'll add a post designed to help you get a shift or give a shift to someone else.  You'll learn that your state (your attitude and thoughts and physical feelings at a particular time) isn't something that happens to you. Your state is a choice you make to heighten your awareness of some things and forget others. 

A shift is a choice you make to find a small difference and let it grow.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The excitement of finding my book on Amazon and Kobo

Happy Canada Day! Being Canadian is an important part of how I see the world. When I started to wonder how to explain the interaction of conscious thinking, unconscious processing and the body, I naturally thought about Canada. So many different regions, each distinct and able to live well on its own, but each living better as part of a wonderful nation. That's when a friend developed this logo for me.

Over the years, my understanding of how thinking works has developed. I've built on that initial hunch that we are integrated beings where different parts retain their unique properties but also come together so that something amazing can emerge. Sometimes now, we wrap that understanding around our logo so that it looks like this:

Today, I discovered that my new book has appeared at Kobo and at Amazon. Although it was wonderful to hold the first hard copy in my hands, seeing it available for e-readers all over the world dazzles me. I now take my place with all the Canadians who are creating something for each other and for the world around us.  That's a wow.  Humbling and exciting.

I am so proud of my country. It's beautiful. We are trying to do a lot of good things together. We make wonderful music and art and books. Did you know our children's literature is amazing? Have you stepped into the ocean in BC and in the Maritimes? Have you seen the Northern Lights (I haven't really yet but it's on my list)? Can you imagine the late afternoon light in the Prairies over all those miles of golden grasses?

Because it was today when I found my book on Amazon and Kobo, I will forever have all those magnificent moments of being Canadian wrapped into my excitement at taking my small place in standing as a Canadian in a big, big world.  Here's the cover of my book:

The maple leaf forever!  Happy Canada Day!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Navigating the Writing Path: Start to Finish – I C Publishing Summer Blog Tour

Welcome to the I C Publishing Summer Blog Tour on navigating our writing paths from start to finish. I was delighted when Sheri Andrunyk invited me to be part of this Summer Blog Tour. Sheri dedicates energy, expertise and deep, wide passion to helping people find their best writing selves and take their books from hope to publication. It’s always a pleasure to take part in one of her tours.
But first, here's a peek at the cover of my latest book:

How do you start your (writing) projects?
I think of writing as a conversation, and I begin by “listening,” by imagining readers and thinking about what I can contribute to a particular state or situation. When I’m writing a short piece, this is enough to get me started. Just as I am always glad to talk to someone in person, I am glad to take what is happening in my thoughts or work and introduce some aspect that I think will help a reader smile or pause to think differently.
Longer projects begin with a combination of knowing I have something to develop and knowing that other people have expressed interest in how I think about a process. My research into how people think, make choices, and communicate is ongoing, so I don’t start with research. I start with a sense of how I would organize a workshop or course and what people would need to experience to find value in what I offered.
How do you continue your writing projects?
I have been writing for a very long time, and my short pieces usually move from start to finish very quickly. I know roughly how long they need to be, how many points I can cover, and where I need to start and finish, usually without much outlining. The most important part is the sitting with a clear head, a purpose for writing, and a sense of a reader with me.
Longer projects have longer middles. I play with lots of non-linear notes (mindmaps and diagrams and sometimes just wordplay on a page). For my ebook on goals, I began with one word in the middle of each of seven pages and then added dictionary meanings and built out from there to concepts and illustrations. For my longer books, I develop a chapter structure and then a detailed outline for each chapter before I begin to write.
Then the writing starts, usually in chunks that range from 1000 words to 5000 words a day. What keeps me writing is having a reason for writing beyond just putting words on the page. I know where the writing fits into my other work, how it will affect the people with whom I work, and how it might extend to new conversations with other interesting people. I am curious about what I will say and about how they will respond.
How do you finish your project?
I read everything out loud. I correct. I read it again. I make more changes.

If it’s a blog or social media or my website, I push “publish.” Then I look at the published site and sometimes make more edits.

If it is a full-length book, I proof it with a few trusted friends who know my work. I find out how hard it is to read, what connects, and what needs to be fixed. I do my best to make it better. I give it to an editor I trust and let her take it apart. She is meticulous and brilliant and it is painful to work through the book one comma at a time.

I read out loud a lot, to capture what I have said, to slow my eyes, and to hear the voice that comes off the page.

Include one challenge or additional tip that our collective communities could help with or benefit from.
Tip: Writing isn’t about being more “expert” than your readers or having something unique to say.  It’s about the privilege of putting words into someone else’s mind and allowing them to add their imagination to what you have written. 
Passing the Pen
And now, I am delighted to introduce you to the following contributors who will be sharing their experiences, challenges, and tips, on navigating the writing path from start to finish. Check out their links, and watch for their blog posts on Wed, July 2nd
Karen Strang Allen is a “quirky, energetic entrepreneur and mother of two young children. I love learning about the mind-body-spirit connection and applying what I discover in my daily life. I make the spiritual practical, helping you find easy ways to make your life as awesome as you are.”  Karen is also an excellent writer and a great model for anyone who wants to communicate their passion with energy and clarity.
Karen’s recent book “Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out!” offers readers a transformational process for living lives that are amazing.
Twitter: @strangallen
Twitter: @AndrewFreundKM

Andrew Freund is the Managing Director of Argrestes Consulting and a Training Partner at NLP Canada Training. Over the last 20 years, he has gained a wide variety of knowledge, skills and experience in small and large organizations in across all sectors: private, public and not for profit.  Using these resources, Andrew helps individuals and organizations leverage their knowledge, skills and resources to help them achieve the success they want.
Thanks so much for following I C Publishing Summer Blog Tour. As always, please feel free to share with friends and colleagues, and join in the conversation using the comments section below.

You can also find me at, at, on Google+ at and on Twitter @nlpcanada