Showing posts from January, 2014

Have you wondered how the rose feels about loosening up?

I wonder why we expect growth to be comfortable. Getting better and feeling better are frequently not the same thing.

As a coach, one of my primary functions is to help people endure being uncomfortable while they are growing. When I am the one growing, this awareness helps me interpret the signals that I am uncomfortable so that I do not quit on something too soon.

The caterpillar might actually know what it will be like to be a butterfly, and the rose might not mind giving up the tight curling petals of the bud for the splendour of the rose in full bloom. But a person knows down to their bones that it is hard to know oneself. Growth means getting to know a different self. It means going through all the klutziness and awkwardness of not knowing how big or strong  you really are.

Look around you. If someone you know is growing (physically or emotionally), don't expect it to be all giggles. Expect that growth requires support because it isn't very comfortable while it is happen…

Who should be leading affluent communities?

I listened to the mayor of an affluent community talk about the prospects for his city. Although his voice was strong as he went through the obligatory thank yous and held up well for the review of 2013, it almost disappeared before he started talking about the future. I mean literally: a member of the audience jumped up with a glass of water to ease his poor dry throat.

It seems that the community services have been financed by rapid growth, growth that will have to slow soon. Half-hidden by the pictures of new business areas and better roads, there was a scary message about an uncertain future. The mayor had solid presence. He seemed to genuinely care about people and about prosperity. But he lost his voice before presenting a vision that would lead into a new year.

A friend describes him as a mayor with heart. She says he cares about the 10% of residents who are poor, and the 30% of those who are extremely poor. Watching him, I believe that he does care, and that he thinks it will …

Does the NLP practitioner certification teach 'soft skills?'

I was watching a promo video for a program in leadership. The speaker said she taught the 'soft skills.' Hard skills, technical skills will get you a job, but soft skills, she said, would help you progress through your career.

I've played contact sports and I've gone through labour twice (the second time without drugs). I would rather do that than be torn to shreds by the words of someone I trusted. So I am not sure that I can get on board with reading and responding to people being 'soft' and manipulating stuff that doesn't fight back as being 'hard.'  I think the hardest moments in the life of any leader are the ones where she has to make a decision without knowing what is right, when she has to stand in front of people and show more confidence than she feels so that they will have courage, when she has to back off and let people make their own mistakes.  It takes skill to navigate those kind of situations and that kind of skill takes a lifetime (…

How much do you value people who make you learn something new about yourself?

Yourself. For each of us, our very own self is the most fascinating of explorations, the subject closest to us that often seems like new territory. We skate along on assumptions about ourselves because they are hard to test.

When you encounter someone who somehow makes you see more of yourself, what do you do? Some people run. Some people hide. Some people say thank you.
All three are fair responses. While knowledge is generally a good and useful thing, it is not always an easy gift to find out something about yourself that you didn't know. It's disorienting. It makes you wonder a little what else is waiting to be discovered.
There's bound to be a period of not being sure that you are happy to have the new information. Even if you like it, you know it means rethinking a lot of related parts of your life and that takes effort. If you make the effort, if you stick with awareness until it settles into knowing, you will be different. You will probably become better at predicti…

3 Presuppositions about Blogs, Personal Opinions and Information You Find on the Internet

I was concerned recently that a friend was circulating a blogpost that contained opinions that could be used in damaging ways. The response I got to expressing that concern was this: "[that the] point was delivered without rigour seems to me to be the point of a personal blog in which one writes opinion pieces."

Now I'm confused about the point of posting on the internet. Let's examine the options.

1) Blogs are for posting personal opinions which everyone should understand have been developed without evidence or logic and so can be broadcast and disseminated without evaluation.

This is not how I write a blog post. I write in the hope that it will connect with something in readers that will allow them to think more clearly and work through issues with the balance of an outside perspective. It's a conversation in which I get to do the talking and am held to the same standards I would be held with in a face-to-face conversation. If I take a strong position, I expec…

Myths of false precision in NLP manuals

I have been reading an NLP book. I won't say which one, only that it includes many instructions that include what I would call a false precision. Let me give you an example.

Anchoring is a technique that associates a particular physical stimulus with a state, memory or behaviour. In NLP, anchoring is widely used to stabilize, modify or create states that are suitable for particular situations or tasks. Many instructions will tell you to set an anchor just before an experience peaks.

This is nonsense. You only know the peak by the descent from it. You cannot set an anchor just before an experience peaks because you do not have access to that level of detail about the future, nor can you read someone else's state so accurately that you notice the difference between at the peak and just past the peak. You can pretend to accuracy, but not achieve it.

I know that the people who write this stuff believe they have developed a meaningful level of precision. There is just a lot of evid…

The paradox of follow the leader

In NLP, there are many people playing follow the leader. To some extent that is inevitable. Neurolinguistic programming is a toolkit for observing and replicating success. It makes sense to use the tools to walk the path set by a leader.

Is that enough to model what made a leader worth following?

It is important to recognize that a leader didn't have a path: she made one. You cannot ultimately think like a leader by following in their footsteps: they didn't follow in someone's footsteps. To be a leader is to have the eyes and the heart to walk where there are no footsteps.

If you are training to be a better follower, it makes sense to train with an excellent follower, someone who offers a training exactly the way they themselves were trained. If you are training to be a leader, find someone who has taken steps into an empty field, someone who loves to look at fresh footprints and know they made them.

What are you searching for when you begin to look for self-development?

It all started with a marketing exercise on search terms that would lead someone to my website at I dutifully made a list of the kinds of keywords Google suggests and realized that they didn't fit the way I write on the site and they didn't fit the way people talk when they first connect with me on the phone or at a program.
So I made a list of what I think is really going on when people say, "I heard about NLP and I've been interested for a long time. . ."
I’m stuck I want to know me better I wonder where (else) I fit I need my kids/partner/employees to understand my priorities  I have to learn more/better/faster I need to make adjustments I need to get it together Could I communicate more clearly? Could I get other people to do what I want them to do? How do I help other people without suffocating their independence? How do I teach people to “get it” faster? What do I really believe about success? What should I be doing? Is there such a thing as should? I n…