Working with young people (and their parents) means helping them understand the basics of designing a future self who is calm, confident, enjoying successful relationships, and is thankful for learning some basic secrets of happiness.
This process applies to any age!
“It is impossible to control any goal that requires other people to change.”
Case study: Lonely Lana
Moving schools had been a good decision for 14-year-old Lana but had left her yearning for her old group of pals. But her mind had played tricks on her, recalling the past in a kinder light, yet in truth, she had been quite unhappy with them. The NEW friendship group felt impermeable, and she came to see me asking for help with ‘social exclusion’.
We established that a couple of girls in the group were being really kindand friendly towards her, but this didn’t satisfy Lana and she found herself:
Dismissive of easily available friendships.
Keeping her sights fixed on getting attention from the big personalities.
Negatively mind-reading the new group’s intentions.
Negatively interpreting the body language of certain group members.
Feeling awkward and self-conscious
Fantasising that the old school friendship group was perfect.
We summarised our initial discussion in terms of her:
THOUGHTS – the group was unsure about her and viewed her with suspicion.
FEELINGS – self-conscious, unhappy, and awkward.
BEHAVIOUR – wanting to withdraw from the group.
Delving deeper into her thinking patterns she soon revealed some fundamental beliefs that were triggering her own unhappiness.
Trigger thoughts included:
“Making new friends is hard work and tiring”
“Why don’t they? …. (act the way I want them to act)”
“I have lost my perfect old friends”
These thoughts triggered her ‘feel-bad’ strategy.
She ran this strategy in her mind ‘on-repeat’.
Neural plasticity meant that those self-harming thoughts became automatic – because she had practiced paying attention to them.
Soon into our session, Lana realised that her true (unconscious) friendship goal had been to be the popular one amongst a large group of girls. But she didn’t yet realise that goal was impossible to achieve since it required:
Exhausting effort to try to change the opinions and behaviours of others.
The others to prioritise her needs above their natural ordering.
I invited her to understand that it is impossible to control any goal that requires other people to change. Trying to do that had been exhausting and frustrating, wasting energy and leading to disappointment in others and (self) generating feelings of unhappiness.
I wondered if Lana could amend her friendship goal to “I want to feel relaxed and authentic around new people”. That would require her to expect nothing back from them, just to be curious and interested in the evolving relationships.
After all, a goal like this means being in charge of a goal you can actually control!
We worked hypnotically to visualise Lana pitching up at school, looking for fun people to get to know while feeling relaxed, interested, humorous and happy. This imprinted a new neurological template which she could practise (through neural plasticity) until it became her autopilot.
We reframed her thinking so that SHE could reflect on, and positively adjust, her personal thoughts, feelings, and behaviours – it’s an inside job!
I taught her techniques for self-regulating wayward feelings.
We looked through time to visit her future-self. The person who is calm, confident, enjoying a range of successful relationships, and thankful for learning some basic secrets of owning next-generation happiness.
In 1995 fourteen wolves were released into Yellowstone National Park.
At first deer numbers drastically reduced and then deer behaviour changed as they moved into areas less visible to the wolves.
In the absence of deer foraging, flowers and trees began flourishing, which led to berries, bugs and insects, which in turn attracted more birds. And then beavers returned, building dams that provided habitat for otters, muskrats, and reptiles. Coyote numbers reduced causing proliferation of rabbit and mice, which in turn attracted hawks, red foxes, badgers, and weasels.
And once a ‘balance’ between predator and prey was established, the park’s physical geography had changed as (previously eroded) riverbanks were now stabilised by the new vegetation.
What’s this got to do with NLP?
Have you ever noticed how the mind’s internal environment can house both predator AND prey? And although people come to us seeking ‘balance’ between work, home, and play, learning to ‘balance’ their internal habitat, always positively affects management of the outside world.
What are the mechanisms for restoring the mind’s habitat to flourishing vitality? Solutions start with awareness of possibility and an attitude of willingness to seek ‘balance’.
To do this we must think on purpose! Because thoughts alone either deplete or nourish brain-body chemistry, which in turn can cause erosion OR restoration of sustainable balances within.
Keep feeding thoughts that nurture thriving, that’s all. This alone will starve what no longer needs to exist in that place.
NLP is a system for sustainable inner balance! Do more of it! And if you can’t easily do it for yourself – do it so that others in your social system may thrive. Humanity is in great need of ‘balance’. And nature teaches us all we need to know.
Discover how we can help you balance your thoughts, feelings and behaviours and change your internal geography: HERE
September always feels to me like a fresh start, a throwback to new socks, shoes and pencil cases and a renewed enthusiasm for structure after the carefree summer holidays, do you know what I mean?
This September I found a renewed enthusiasm for social media and a decision to do less, yet be more precise, with a clearer purpose of why I want to be engaging with strangers. But that world is a mire! A maelstrom of emotions driving each platform’s algorithms! And an omnipresent pressure to be popular (school day thinking again) through dramas, chaos, and vanity posts. It’s got me wondering about the challenges to stay in integrity and post with clear purpose.
Purposeis a word I like to add to my daily life anyway and encourage my clients to do the same. Great questions soon habituate such as ‘what’s the purpose of that post’?
You want to be liked and have lots of (virtual) friends?
You like the feel-good sense of validation when people (often strangers) agree with you?
You are focused on driving a sales funnel?
You get to be that ‘popular’ person?
I ask my clients:
“Who are you trying to influence and why?”
“Who is trying to influence you, and why?”
I like making new connections through social media. The world is full of interesting people doing fascinating things, but I loathe the mindless blitz of inbox pitches that arrive seconds after each new connection, especially on the business platforms.
Mostly I ignore the inbox bombardment but earlier in the month I ‘actually’ responded to an unsolicited pitch. Why? Because that person and I had previously established a business rapport through another social group that clarified our respective interests which for me, co-created permission to attempt to influence each other on said topic.
But, being connected or ‘friends’ is not a free pass and I’m staggered by the number of ‘marketing experts’ who bombard by scattergun … thus selling themselves (to me at least) as a brand of little integrity. Worse still so many blanket offers don’t even fit my world, playing some law of averages in that game ‘you’ll do’ ….
Our social media personas define our brands, and whether we like it or not, we live in a marketing web. I’m looking for authenticity and integrity, are you?
In NLP for Business, John La Valle (President of the Society of NLP) calls out ‘earning the right to influence’ and that works for me – have I earned the right to try to influence this person/these people – are we on an agreeable wavelength? Are we in rapport?’
In our Work Well model, we coach Clarity of rational thought and conscious decisions that drive the rest of the brain (emotions and actions).
So, this month’s Clarity Tip is to contemplate this key question: What are you trying to convince the world of, and are you pushing on an open door?
As Managing Director of the multi national company OTD, Chris Cummins has strong attitude towards social contribution both in terms of using ethically sourced and sustainable products, and working with charities.
In this 6 min bite size chat (episode 4 of 5 short recordings) Chris and I share some views on the importance of demonstrating acts of social responsibility. We chat about a homelessness charity and how OTD helps staff and customers become more aware of the plight of others.
OTD is also dedicated to a charity called firstclassfoundation.org which helps young people from the African & Caribbean community who have fallen out of the school system regain direction in their lives.
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