Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why I teach NLP

Obviously, I have given much thought to why I do what I do. Running a small training company might happen by chance if one started with a prosperous career in corporate training. It hasn't happened by chance for me. I made an unlikely choice. I continue to wake up most mornings knowing how many other ways I could work that would pay better and require less effort. I also wake up knowing that the one and only reason I teach NLP is that I love what I do.

There is probably no "real" reason for love of anything - there are explanations that inevitably fall short of the whole story. Love seems to be a quality that emerges from tangible benefits and then grows beyond them. That being said, here are three of the reasons I love what I do.

3. The opportunity to make it new every day. I am sometimes accused of being a control freak. It's more accurate to say that I am a freedom freak - I believe that I am at my best when I am making choices and I love situations that wake me up to the choices I make and offer me new choices. NLP does that. It's sufficiently edgy and sufficiently open that I am forced to invent it in new ways - by the "market," by my clients, by my own curiosity. As a teacher, I am required to open myself to my material and my students and find the best match - to follow a learning contract rather than a textbook. I never have to do something knowing it's a compromise. I get to choose the best option every time out.

2. The chance to cross lines and mix metaphors and pull information from different streams. As an NLP teacher, I am an artist (I craft raw materials to produce something elegant that opens new possibilities in the way people interact) and a scientist (I am interested in replicable results) and a merchant (I sell stuff). Sometimes, it seems impossibly hard to balance and blend the streams. More often, it seems to me that the the mixing of the models is what keeps my work grounded. It allows me to meet my students in their models of what works, and to stay focused on the results they get when they permit me to influence them. At a university, I might make the material more important than the results. Working in NLP, I have to test the material by the results it gets.

1. I am crazy in love with people who are fully awake and engaged. I would have said "passionate" but "passion" is a word that seems to be losing steam. I don't want to be elegantly observing my own experience: I want to jump in and live it and I want to connect with other people who are wide awake. This happens when I teach NLP. I wake people up. They become more curious, more engaged, more interesting. They begin to feel the restlessness of hope. They show themselves to be cool and funny and effective and sharp and compassionate and courageous. They learn that the people around them have amazing qualities waiting to be invited into the conversation and amazing things happen when they make the invitation. And I am crazy in love with the whole process - the hope, the awakening, the connection, and the results.

I really love to teach NLP. That's why I do it.

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