Forget New Year’s resolutions, what do you really want from the year ahead?
…. If you missed December's Inspire, which involved reflecting and learning from 2012 then click here. I would suggest reading and working through it as 2013 will be a much more fruitful year if you have learned what you need to learn from 2012, so you don't repeat the same old mistakes!
This January, I am drawing on a model which others call the Four Pillars of NLP and I call Creating Success, which involves:
- Creating a Well Formed Outcome.
- Taking action and being flexible.
- Being in rapport with yourself and others.
- Being aware of what is happening.
‘Do, or do not. There is no 'try'.'
Reflect on 2012 and think about the coming year, what do you really want:
- At work: what do you want to achieve, what do you want your working relationships and environment to be like? Are you doing the job you really want to be doing?
- At home: what do you want for your family? Are there things you want to do as a family, either one-off activities or weekly/monthly activities that you want to start or continue from 2012?
- At leisure: how do you want to relax, what brings you pleasure in life, what energises you?
- In the larger world: do you want to get involved in your local community, take action to make a difference in other people's lives beyond your current circle of people?
Or have you written down noble goals and aspirations, because you think you should? What is in your heart's desire, however much your mind says, ‘That is not possible'?
I have been inspired by a new coaching client who said that at the beginning of 2012 she set herself three goals: to join a choir, learn a musical instrument and eat out at one new restaurant each month. How wonderful to have goals that are going to be enjoyable, refreshing and also involve new experiences, rather than the ‘lose a stone, exercise more' goals, which although are valid, may not be quite so enjoyable. So for 2013 I am setting up within my circle of friends an eating out club where I will organise a meal out at a new restaurant each month. Some months there may be two of us eating and other months, a big group of us. It doesn't matter. So far, the idea has been met with enthusiasm from my friends! Also, as a number of my clients belong to choirs and seem to get so much from it, I am looking for a beginners singing workshop in Oxfordshire, so any information please send it my way, I am a total beginner!
‘If your train is on the wrong track, every station you come to is the wrong station.'
Creating a WFO is a simple, yet very effective process, which gets your mind thinking about what you want and starts on the process of creating success.
A well formed outcome is about looking at what you want; exploring, rather than focussing on what is wrong or what you don't want. By stating specifically what you want, in positive terms, it gives your mind something constructive to focus on and is therefore more motivating. Otherwise you can get stuck in a negative mindset focussing on what is wrong with your life, without moving on to defining what you really want. It is also easy to create a negative self-fulfilling prophecy by focusing on the negative aspects of a situation. By writing a well formed outcome, your mind focuses on your hopes and positive outcomes, which can become a positive self-fulfilling prophecy.
You can do a WFO for the whole year, week, day or event, or for a particular activity or learning a new skill. Write down:
- Be as specific as possible, and write it down in positive terms, as your brain cannot process negatives. For example, write, ‘I want to be relaxed and confident' versus, ‘I don't want to get stressed out and feel hopeless'. Focus on both the end outcome and the process of getting there. For example, if you want to lose a stone in weight, include, ‘and I want to enjoy the process of getting fit, eat delicious food, learn from any setbacks and celebrate each step I make along the way'.
- It is important that you and your brain are convinced that it is worth the effort in making the changes. So list out as many benefits as possible for when you achieve your outcome.
- This is about giving your brain lots of signals to look out for, that will show you are on the right course to success. Think about: what will I see, hear and feel that will show I am moving towards my goal? For example, if you want ‘looking for a new job', think about seeing yourself going for interviews, seeing interesting jobs advertised, hearing yourself talking with confidence in interviews, feeling confident, wise, relaxed, etc., rather than just saying, ‘I'll see myself in my new job'.
- It is important to think ahead to possible blocks or obstacles you might encounter, so that you can take either pre-emptive action or know what to do when you face those situations.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a handout with examples of completed WFOs.
‘The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.'
The second part of Creating Success might sound obvious, but the crucial point is about being flexible. People often have vague outcomes and are unclear about what they want, but behave in very set ways. The more choices and options you have in terms of courses of action and behaviours, the more chance you have of achieving your outcome. If your first course of action does not get you what you want, then try something different.
‘Above all, challenge yourself. You may well surprise yourself at what strengths you have, what you can accomplish.'
Cecile M Springer
Rapport with yourself is about feeling positive, clear and congruent in your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Rapport can be at different levels: physical, mental, or emotional. If you are not in rapport with yourself, it is difficult to establish rapport with others. If you are in rapport with yourself, you can quickly spot when you go off centre, and take action to bring yourself back to a more centred place. Your ability to do this will positively influence the interactions you have with others. Rapport with others also occurs at different levels and will, in itself, be affected by how congruent you are.
The final part of the Creating Success Model is about being aware; sensing, acknowledging and responding to what you hear, see and feel. By being aware of what is happening you will know whether you have rapport with yourself and others, as well as whether you are moving towards and achieving your desired outcome. When you are using your senses to pick up information then you can decide on what the next course of action is in order to achieve your outcome.
‘Every human has four endowments - self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom... The power to choose, to respond, to change.'