Showing posts from October, 2013

I'm Finished

Eeek!  Those words are scary. I am finished.

Without context, it is impossible for you to know if being finished means having accomplished something that took time or being washed up, kaput, toast.

I quite like toast. But being toast is not a good thing.

I have just finished the big edits on my new book. Tomorrow I will do some technical stuff, then post it to the publishing site and let it go.  I'll still need to support it, nurture it and worry over it, but I will no longer be able to change it.

Finished is a terrifying word. We are so used to everything being open to change, everything being in flux. The moment when we complete something is the moment we come face to face with a limit that cannot be crossed.

Of course, the book is only finished being written. Soon it can start having a life of its own, moving around the world and interacting with people in ways I might not even imagine.

And if I don't want to be finished, I just need to turn my attention to one of the proje…

What if satisfaction isn't a possibility?

Self- help gurus like to talk as though we can evade the downside of life through the right kinds of visualizations and affirmations. Just set a goal and make it so. When times get tough, they cover it up so that no one will think that they were giving bad advice.
Life happens to everyone. There are days when a good result is just not possible and there are nights when you are not going to drift off into pleasant dreams. This doesn't mean you screwed up and it doesn't mean you will never be satisfied again. It just means that there are things outside of your control, and sometimes you are going to have to deal with death by a thousand paper cuts and sometimes you are going to be really scared or angry or hurt.
When life is happening to you, you will tell yourself stories and you will tell stories to the people around you. If you are wise and good, you will tell stories about value and meaning and hope. These will not be stories about the future. You do not control the future a…

Why giving thanks is an NLP thing

Here in Toronto, it's Thanksgiving weekend.  It seems to me that thanksgiving is the most NLP of all the holidays. It involves knowing what you want and recognizing it in what you already have. When we pay attention to something, it tends to become bigger. Whether this is because we attract more of it, or because we simply notice it more, is not as important as the impact on how we experience our lives. When we recognize the value in what we already have, we feel better about ourselves and our world. Practically speaking, the fastest way to make your life better is to pay attention to what is already working.

It's hard to be thankful when you are focused on what is broken, lost or out of reach.

If you're feeling thankful now, stop reading and go celebrate. If you're not feeling thankful yet, if the holiday feels like words without meaning, then take a moment and think about what you would fight to save. It's easier to think about fighting than gratitude when you…

Editing Your Experience

What do you think it means to edit something? We are familiar with the term from writing where, to most people, it means fixing the language and formatting so that the message is clear and presentable. But we might also know, somehow, that the Oscars have categories for sound editing and for film editors. Do they also fix errors and clean things up so the message is clear and presentable?

When we edit our experience, we are stuck with the content of our raw material in precisely the same way that editors are stuck with the story, image or sound they are editing.  While minor cuts might be made, with care and discretion, most of what counts has to stay.  The editor can change the format or the grammar, can pull some parts into focus and let others blur, but the content remains. This is roughly the same as what happens when we look back at our past experience and make an effort to understand it in a new way.  What happened in the past cannot be changed.

That doesn't mean you cannot …

How to make collaboration more than the sum of its parts

The best collaboration gets almost magical results.  Working together, people produce ideas that no one would have generated working alone and everyone discovers that their skills are a fit for one another and for the task.

Yet we all have experiences of collaboration that are much less than the sum of the parts, times when we have worked with others and been less inspired and less effective than we would have been on our own.  An NLP approach to the problem is to ask: what's the difference? What makes collaboration work?

It may be that focus is the difference that makes the difference. Groups that focus on developing a shared outcome and a shared state might be more effective than groups that focus on the problem they are solving or the task they want to complete. One of the things we know for sure is that states are easily transferred from one group member to another and that the strongest state in the group is the one that is likely to dominate.

Groups that focus on what they w…