Showing posts from September, 2005

Would you call a memory an anchor?

In neuro-linguistic programming, anchor is a term that designates a physical stimulus which comes to represent the constellation of perceptions and physiology that constitutes a particular state. Essentially, anchors are the tags we use to retrieve entire experiences rather than individual pieces of information. That makes them memories.

Is anchor a good term? Do memories weigh us down so that we do not slip away on the tides of change? What happens if someone drops anchor just as we hoist our sails? I suppose we pull the anchor back up again.

How would it be different if we replaced the word anchor with the word star? After all, for thousands of years, it was the stars that told men where they were and when they were and how to navigate the waters of change.

Instead of creating an anchor, we could give birth to stars.

Getting the best and the most

Someone asked me today, "Would you say you guys are the best at what you do?" We laughed and said of course that's what we would say. In truth, however, we would not say that unprompted because it's not the sort of proposition that serves us well.

I've been thinking about a similar concept as I begin to daydream about our family trip to Tuscany next spring. Because I am the mom in the family, I call this daydreaming "planning" and do it with guide books and file cards. I am tempted to say that I am preparing to "make the most" of the trip. Instead, I say that I am preparing to have an exciting and fun trip in which each of us picks the things we want to be part of the experience.

Like "the best", "the most" is a proposition that cannot lead to satisfaction. In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz separates "maximizers" who need to make the best choice from "satisficers" who need to make choices th…

Jury Selection and 2 Second Decisions

I had my first experience of jury selection this morning and was fascinated to discover that, in the Milton courthourse at least, it proceeds according to the 2 second rule. The process was this: a randomly selected juror would stand and face the accused and listen to the direction, "Juror, face the accused. Accused, face the juror." On the basis of this, either the crown or the defence attorney could "challenge" the juror, eliminating him/her from the panel. The only question was occasional clarification of a juror's occupation (e.g. where are you a manager/supervisor/executive?).

When we chunk down this process, the attorneys form their first 2 second opinion(A) based on the approach of the juror and his/her occupation. The juror and the accused form 2 second opinions of each other (B). The attorneys form a 2 second opinion of the relation between the juror and the accused (C). On the basis of their calibration of these 3 opinions (A, B, and C), the attor…

What a baby means

Yesterday, I held Abby for the first time, just 38 hours old. I thought about how babies make clear the difference between what we mean to other people and what we mean in and of ourselves.

We don't know much about how babies make meaning; we make good guesses. For a long time, we assumed they were born without meaning, blank slates. Then we engaged in the nature versus nurture debate; it was a different way of looking at the blank slate. Maybe the slate only seemed blank; maybe a better metaphor would be the rock that hides a particular meaning to be uncovered by the sculptor's chisel. Later, we started to consider that learning was a process that began in the womb. Maybe the baby's own story began before she was born.

Each of us that holds a newborn holds the same baby and a different meaning. We each have different stories into which the baby comes and in which she holds different meanings. The baby is a meaning before she has a meaning: she means before she intends in …

Chris and Michelle have a new baby daughter

Chris and Michelle welcomed Abby Lee Keeler into the world at 9:40 last night. She was 7 lbs 7 oz, has dark hair and bright eyes and is absolutely lovely. Everyone is fine and healthy and glowing with the joy of the moment.

Look at someone today and imagine that person as a newborn, freshly come into the world and completely miraculous. Hold that picture and the person as s/he is today in your thoughts at the same time without trying to make sense (or a moral!) out of the differences. Then look at the person again, this time as if you were newborn yourself, learning for the first time what faces mean.

We all know that we learn through patterns, by noticing what is the same as what we already know and adding something to that. How do we learn the first thing, that one thing that allows the chain to begin and every new bit of learning to be added to that?

Baby questions.

Relaxed and Ready

Can you think of a time when you were relaxed and ready? Go back to that moment and thoroughly live it. Notice your breathing and allow your attention to move through your body with your breath. Notice the way you hold your head and your shoulders, the tilt of your body, the tension in your thighs or the weight on your feet. Become aware of the energy patterns that move through you as you are relaxed and ready. Thoroughly enjoy this moment.

Now think of a situation where the ideal state for you would be relaxed and ready. Allow your attention to focus on that particular situation. As you think about it, allow your breathing to become deep and regular and comfortable. Notice the sounds and sights and feelings of being in this moment as you think about the situation where you would like to be relaxed and ready. Ask yourself, "do I have the resources and skills to be relaxed and ready in this situation?" Let your breathing settle. Ask yourself, "are there skills …

Waiting, Timing and Holding On

My training partner, Chris, and his wife are expecting a baby any day now. Everyone who knows them is waiting with them: all the appointments I schedule with Chris have been "baby permitting" for weeks. It's a good time for me to think about what happens when we wait.

Chris has always been a master at counselling patience (and often a master a practicing it himself!). Timing, he reminds me often, is everything. YWe do not stop moving forward even when it feels like the world is holding its breath. Or worse, when it feels like the world is pushing us backward.

Have you experienced those days of death by a thousand paper cuts, the days when so many insignificant things work against you that it seems they must have significance after all?

Two things help me on those days. The first is what I think of as "going back to first principles," that mathematical concept that leads me back to re-imagining my outcomes and testing them. Yes, I will think. That's good…

Practical Intentions

I have been thinking today about the difference between being practical and being effective. Often, we assume that they are the same thing. Maybe they are the same when we notice what actually makes us effective instead of what we think should be practical.

On a rainy fall day, it is practical to ignore the weather and get to work on some of the many things we need to do that have nothing at all to do with the weather. It is practical to do our chores, whether they are high-level management chores or the laundry. It is easy to fill all the hours in the day with chores: the nature of work is that there is always something left to do.

I wonder if that is effective. I comfort myself with being practical when I tell myself I cannot be inspired. The truth is that I could think of dozens of things to do on a rainy day that would be fun, be relaxing, be dreamy, be different. That does not seem very practical. Yet it might be very effective. Every major innovation comes from seeing the pat…

Outcomes and ecology checks

Chris took this picture on the road between Calgary and Banff last winter. We were in Calgary to train police trainers. The picture represents the outcome formation that got us there and began to point us towards our next "mountain-top" experiences.

There are many ways to form outcomes; fewer to do it with precision. When I look back to Calgary, I hear Chris at one of our first meetings, two years earlier, talking about his passion for training police to practice integrated thinking so that they could connect more effectively and more safely. I look back to the outcome I formed in my practitioner training for learning to work together, and remember precisely what that meant to me then and what it means to me now. When I think about it, I did know that true collaborations involve intensity and deep commitment and marathon-like endurance. All of those were as much a part of our experience in Calgary as Chris's outcome of making a difference for police officers and the …

Change is like breathing

It was a turning point for me when I realized that our trainings do not help people change: people change continuously and naturally. Change is like breathing: we do it while we are alive, and if we do it then we know we are alive.

We also do not help people manage change. I'm not even sure what that would mean, although if I ask myself what change is like I find myself imagining a force of nature -- rain that does not fall or falls too hard, a toddler at a candy stand, days that get shorter just as I want them to get longer. I'm not convinced that "management" is a good paradigm for such forces.

We do teach people that change can be directed: outcomes matter. Forming an intent effectively changes the way change flows through your life. It's like the moment when you decide to catch the wave. Sometimes it brings you to shore in a rush, and sometimes it carries you just far enough so that you can catch the next wave. Your choice is in catching the wave and work…

Welcome to NLP Canada Training Inc.'s Blog


Welcome to the blog of NLP Canada Training Inc.

I chose this picture to open our blog because it represents so much of what it means to use integrated thinking to perceive our integrated lives. At the time the picture was taken, Chris and I were not particularly aware of being in synch; to the casual eye, there might be a general impression of connection or even an impression of some difference. It takes a more careful eye to notice how many gestures and lines in one of us are mirrored in the other. Although the conversation may have been about difference (in approach, in perception, or in what we wanted for lunch), our body language emphasizes our connection. The truth is in the integration of the two impressions; we were different enough so that communication was useful and the communication was directed toward the tighter connection that is reflected in the picture.

This is the value of thinking with our whole selves. The whole relationship includes both the truth told by wor…