Congratulations to Laura, Jamie, Graham, Dave & Deb!

Congratulations to these five talented people who completed their NLP Business Practitioner qualification with me in April………..

I am brimming with pride to have been part of their development! Dave Mason shares his personal story in this edition ….so read on !
If you would like to share in their learning and success the next course is starting in October…………sign up now to take advantage of an ‘earlybird’ rate or contact me to get more details on [email protected]

Learning NLP ? Better start with me then …

Dave Mason
Regional Administrator – Region 3 London and Central East
Riverside Care and Support

I’ve recently successfully completed my NLP Business Practitioner course. I loved the journey of the course, Florence and the fantastic group I worked with in The Lake District……………………little did I know at the start that the first person I would be using my skills with was me !

I was sailing through the course and loving every minute of it until it came to revising for the test……….. in the run up to the test. (Gaining the NLP Business Practitioner is first and foremost about being it ….and you also have to know it…hence the test …….or questionnaire as Florence likes to call it !)

For a bit of background, I suffer with depression (I have been in remission for a good few years). I also have a brain that doesn’t shut down at night when I sleep, so to combat this I am on fairly powerful medication to shut me down to help me sleep. The medication works a treat, it shuts my brain down and I get at least seven hours sleep at night, and here is the but… this means that my brain doesn’t process information and mull it over very successfully overnight in the same way that many other people do, which makes revising and recalling information studied the day before somewhat challenging. I hadn’t realised this until I started revising for the test.

What I would like to now do is share with you how I overcame this using some of the techniques I had learned on the course. So along with everyone else on my course after Part 2, I went home and got stuck in with revising, and in my head this soon went from being a test to an exam and something that I dreaded because it became a pass or fail – notice the limiting belief that I gave myself here?

This change from test to exam gradually happened over time as I realised that nearly everything I had revised the day before wasn’t being recalled when I thought about it and looked at the same information the next day. This is when I started to realise that my recall of information wasn’t great. I was worried, so I thought to myself that I would look back at other times in my life where I had revised for tests and been successful. I looked for things I had done differently then and now to see what I could change, my patterns where the same so I was confused.

I looked deeper and discovered that this was the first test that I had revised for since being on this medication and that was the issue. I decided that this wasn’t going to stop me from successfully passing the exam, so I started with positive self-talk. Several times a day I would say to myself “I can and will remember everything that I have seen, practised, heard, read and written about NLP” and you know what, it started working.

I was still really worried though and had a long chat with my manager about it, (he has also completed the course), and he reassured me that it was more about knowledge of the subject than a pass/fail exercise. That helped and on the Friday before Part 3 of the course my partner and I both took the day off so I could revise. He was brilliant, we sat at the dining room table and he just asked me questions about NLP and I answered, I was surprised by how much I could recall. So buoyed by this I sat down and started writing down my knowledge to see how much I could recall in the same way that I would be doing on the day.

My results weren’t that bad and then I had an idea… to reframe the exam (as that was my belief at the time) to a written conversation about NLP. Go with me on this and I will explain how it works…………..

So in a conversation one person asks something and you reply. My reframe was to see the written questions and answers in the same way that I had had the conversation with my partner. It worked, when I thought about the test (notice that it has become a test again) I wasn’t worried. I decided to future pace to see if this approach would work, I walked forward and saw myself writing down answers confidently, I walked past that and saw myself celebrating after the test, I walked back. Job done, well nearly, I still had issues about recall that I needed to sort out, I knew that I could do this, I just needed an idea.

That idea came on the last day of the course from an unexpected place. We were working on the ‘spelling strategy’ where you place a word in your visual remembered cue and associate it with a positive and happy memory, if it worked for a word… would it work for revision?

Only one way to find out… so that evening back in my hotel room I associated into one of the happiest times of my life (just after I had successfully ridden a motorbike through a river in Australia) and I tried it out by holding my revision notes up in my visual remembered cue and reading them out loud a couple of times, I then broke state and to my delight I could recall them! I then realised that that isn’t how I would be doing the test so I sat at the desk and placed my notes on the desk up and to my right in my visual recall area and copied them down into my notepad. Happy with my work I went to bed and had a great night’s sleep.

The morning of the test I chose a place to have my written conversation where I was comfortable and looking out towards the lake. I opened the paper, associated into my happy place and my written conversation flowed, just as I had future paced, I finished the test and was confident enough to not read back what I had written. I was so proud of myself just for completing the test and answering all of the questions that I wasn’t worried if I had passed or failed, in my mind I had achieved what I wanted to do and that was to successfully complete every question of the test. Now it was the waiting time, my time came and Florence and I had a chat and I clarified a couple of my answers, but I had passed! I was like Tigger on caffeine I was so happy, and yes………… I did anchor those feelings in case you were wondering.

That was the first time I put my learning into practice for myself. If I can achieve this at the start of my journey what else can I achieve? I just remember that I need to keep an open frame and believe that I have all the resources that I need. I have since tried out other things with great success, but those are stories for another time. Until then enjoy your NLP journey as I am enjoying mine !!

Illuminating Questions……..How do you feel about feeling that ?


Virginia Satir, (the family therapist who was one of the first people modeled by the NLP founders Bandler and Grinder), asked her clients two questions at the start of a session with regards to the issue they were presenting :

How do you feel ? And ……..How do you feel about feeling that ?

I was reading Robert Dilt’s ‘The Hero’s Journey’ on holiday when I came across these questions ….and was fascinated to notice it was the answer to the second question that was the real issue to be addressed. For example, in answer to the first question someone could be sad about losing a loved one…….and in answer to the second question they might say happy to know that that person was so important and so loved. That gives quite a different perspective doesn’t it ?

So many times I have questioned myself for feeling what I considered to be the negative emotion of apprehension before doing something new. Now applying the second question I feel comfortable that this makes me prepare well. So it not only helps me to see the positive intention of that emotion…….. but elegantly highlights what needs to be addressed and what needs to be left alone !

Try out these questions for yourself ….and maybe you too will see a use for them in your life and work ! How do you feel about that suggestion ? …..And how do you feel about feeling that ?