Success always seemed just out of reach
Disappointed, Steve walked out of the interview feedback meeting. Once again he had been turned down for promotion. Anger built up inside and his head was screaming “what went wrong?” He was a conscientious hard worker who willingly put in extra hours. The real kicker was that he felt that the person who got the promotion wasn’t as good as him – to add insult to injury he only started a few months earlier.
Fortunately, the following weekend Steve attended one of our NLP training programmes and discovered the impact of the language we use on our minds.
Language and the mind
Let’s suggest a small but impactful language change that Steve could make. When someone asks you “How are you today?” most people reply (at least in the UK) with a fairly mediocre or indifferent response “I’m OK” or “I’m fine”. Importantly, this then becomes the image placed in both your and the other person’s minds. Consider, is this really how you want people to think of you?
To adjust your response to a simple question seems like such a tiny change to make and yet it starts a process that begins to shift the way other people perceive you. You are truly starting to create your reality through the words that you use.
There are no small words, as you speak you are creating your reality.
Language triggers images, which become your thoughts, which creates a map you then operate from. The language you choose to use also has this effect on the people around you. This could be the difference between success and failure.
There’s a vast array of effective language patterns to learn in NLP and yet this is not one of the big sexy patterns available, but the positive effects over a period of time can be both profound and tantalizing. With this in mind, let’s dig deeper into how we can create our own reality through the language we use.
Creating your reality with elegance
Here is an experiment for you to try over the next 30 days and notice your success
- Firstly, you are going to select and rate people on an ascending scale from 1 to 10 as follows:
1 = they don’t like you, and 10 = they can’t live without you. Identify and choose 4 people who you would rate at the lower end of the scale from 1 to 5 – these should be people you see and interact with on most days.
- Over the next 30 days, whenever these 4 people approach you and ask “How are you?” your consistent response will be “I’m excellent thank you”. There’s no need to go over the top, just keep it simple and as a matter of fact.
- At the end of 30 days reflect on these same 4 people and, on a scale of 1-10, consider what’s changed.
This is a good experiment to do at work or with your clients as it builds positive images in the mind. The potential of this from a personal point of view is great.
The potential of excellence
From the feedback I have received from trainees who attended my NLP Practitioner courses and have since used this little linguistic technique, the change has been dramatic. The most common and profound effect that emerges is that you start to acknowledge yourself as being ‘excellent’ in what you do and how you act. The first signs of this appear between 30 – 40 days. What success awaits you?
“Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.”Roy T. Bennett
“Won’t I sound like one of those positive thinking, jumpy up and down crowd?”
It depends on your approach, if you go over the top when you reply each time, then yes. On the other hand, just keeping a fairly nonchalant response will allow it to slip under the radar of the people around you. As with any change you want to achieve it may take time and you’ll notice that it may not feel particularly natural at first. This is because you may have had a lifetime of casually saying “I’m OK”. Sometimes you may slip and default to old language patterns – no need to beat yourself up so just go easy on yourself.
“Are you saying that just these two words will change how this person responds to me? Are you crazy?”
You don’t have to take my word for this, experiment and notice what happens for yourself.
Here’s an example. One of my trainees called Beth worked for British Rail and kept getting an ‘average’ score on her student feedback sheets. Her boss commented on this, and yet she knew her feedback could be better, and so she worked harder to go the extra mile and aimed to improve. But to no avail, as she continued to receive the same response on the feedback sheets.
Beth approached me for advice on what to do. I inquired as to what she would say to her students when they asked “How are you?” in the morning. Initially, she looked bemused and wasn’t sure but as she recalled those conversations she remembered that she would generally answer “I’m OK thanks”. “In which case”, I said, “replace that with I’m excellent thanks”.
Now I didn’t hear anything from Beth for 3 months and when she did contact me she was boiling over with excitement. She has been promoted to oversee a major new project and her ‘happy sheets’ (as she now calls her feedback sheets) consistently scored excellent.
Beth was so impressed that she began teaching her new team this simple language pattern and had little cards made up with the words:
- Words impact not only on your map of the world but also on those of the people around you
- How do you want people to think about you? Are you okay or excellent
- Track the results of this small change in language
Steve makes changes in his language and receives his first compliment
It took 45 days before Steve got a compliment from his line manager. Within three months, his line manager put him forward for his dream position within the company. When asked by his wife “you must be pleased?” he responded, “I’m feeling awesome.”
I’d love to hear the results of your experiments, so when you’re ready please let me know how it goes and post them to the address below.
Now that you have read and are beginning to digest this valuable lesson, I have just one final question for you……“How are you?”
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- Article was written by John Cassidy-Rice
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