Time for Change ?

Katie Woods-Ruddick
Head of HR & Training, Hays Travel

One of my biggest learning experiences in learning with regard to NLP is around how you are personally responsible for what happens in your world and with that comes with choices……………..

Once you understand that and accept it, it opens up a whole and very powerful world. I have realised that no-one can make you feel anything / do anything (without force of course!) and that freedom and acceptance is quite liberating. If you have had a bad day at work / a difficult meeting it is only you that can choose to let it affect you and maybe take it home, or you can choose to reflect note some personal learning, perhaps address the situation if appropriate and then move on!.

With this freedom comes the realisation that at times we cause our own problems by the way we choose to react or by not addressing a situation so in order to be as effective as possible it requires you to be brave at times (or you can choose not to and accept that’s not you).

Finally, when things are not working the way we want them to, the only way forward is to change, we cannot make others change therefore the best way forward is for us to change, the way we do things / react whatever it takes to get the best outcome! A very powerful life lesson, that if applied can have amazing results at work and at home.

Recently I realised that the job that I had been doing for the last 14 years didn’t inspire me the way it used to and it felt the right time to change. I knew I would have to make some tough decisions but to the alternative was to stay in the role that no longer fitted completely with who I am. So after much thought and discussions both at home and at worked I came to a compromise of reducing my hours to enable me to explore other opportunities elsewhere.


  • You are personally responsible for your own universe
  • You make your choices – and have to live with the outcomes so make them wisely!
  • If something is not working your way then change as doing the same thing the same way will bring the same results so make that change!

Diary of an NLP Business Practitioner ……Starting in Fibber Magee’s In Lancaster !

Jim Maguire
Communities and Leisure Manager at South Lakeland District Council

Picture the scene, 6 baby birds sitting in their nest waiting for the wise mother bird to return with a worm or at least that’s what it felt like on the first morning of the recent NLP Business Practitioner course. 6 newbies eager to be fed. That was some weeks ago now and what a trip it has been………………

With only a couple of days notice before the course started and faced with reading Sue Knight’s book my journey began in Fibber Magee’s Irish pub in Lancaster. Long story for another day ……..but it involved Sue Knight, Guinness and Mozart.

Chapter 1 flew by. This was easy!
Chapter 2 took a little longer.
Chapter 3 almost a week. This is going to be heavy going.

Day 1 of the course came and off we set.
Nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught that was coming:

5 Pillars of NLP. Prime Directives of the unconscious mind. Countless pre-suppositions. Milton Model. Meta Model. This was a foreign language…… I never got French so this was going to be difficult.

Day 2. OMG. Melt down day! Enough said.

Day 3 I began with a work meeting and so I missed an hour or two. But then clarity ! The clouds were clearing and the fog of confusion started to lift after all “we have all the resources we need”. Right?

Day 4, 5, 6 are a blur of timelines, logical levels and parts integrations.

And then it came exam day! Everyone else had a quiz but I had an exam.

Needless to say we passed. I never understood what all the fuss was about thanks to Guinness and Mozart this was easy, right?

So back to work and what’s changed. I was asked by a colleague “what’s it like then?”

What’s what like?

You know…… NLP!

Difficult to explain in a word say I…….. Amazing will do…… No wait enlightening…… Or thought-provoking.

No amazing….. That’ll do….. Yep…… Amazing.

Along the way I’ve dealt with a bogey man, cured a chocolate habit and found a new place to be when it all goes pear shaped.

Since finishing the NLP Business Practitioner I’ve also been accepted as a Chartered Fellow of the Management Institute and been accepted as Mentor on their Mentor programme. Amazing what a bit of self belief can bring.

I have one tip.

BSPOT (5 Pillars)

Behavioural Flexibility
Sensory Acuity
Psychology and Physiology of Excellence
Outcome Thinking
Take Responsibility

Using the Outcome Frame and putting myself at Cause*

Wendy Harbutt, Director of Dramatic Improvement
(And delegate on the NLP Business Practitioner at Eynsham Hall Oxfordshire in January)

Above and beyond the value that my NLP learning has added to my coaching practice, and to my work with others, is the value that it has brought to me personally. So being what I call ‘deliciously selfish’ for a moment, I’ll share an epiphany I had whilst on the NLP Business Practitioner programme with Florence.

It came when I was letting my mind consider what I wanted in life, using an Outcome Frame**. I noticed that lots of what I was doing wasn’t really in tune with what I wanted and I found myself thinking through all the reasons for this. I noticed that most of these reasons came in a voice that was ‘at effect’ ie things I was doing because I felt I had to, mostly for others. I realised that I hadn’t really checked that assumption on some significant parts of my own life and so I resolved to do that checking. It may sound trite to say that this moment changed my life, but it’s true. Or rather what I’ve done as a result of that thinking….. is changing my life. Having that clear point of focus has brought a perspective that has simplified my thinking and the result is that I not only feel much clearer, but also feel that what I want to have happen, is possible for me to achieve !


* Cause and Effect… when we put ourselves at cause this means that we take responsibility for what happens to us, when we are at effect we blame others or circumstances. We are at our most powerful when we put ourselves at cause !

** Outcome frame is one of the ‘frames’ of NLP. Framing in NLP terms refers to the way we put things into different contexts to give them different meanings. If we alter the frame, we alter the meaning.

The Mastery of Leadership – New Book by Dr David Fraser !

David Fraser (informal)Dr David Fraser author of ‘Relationship Mastery’ has a new book out in March called ‘The Mastery of Leadership: Presence and Practice in Transformational Change’ ….and I have been privileged to read the draft copy……………

His new book is less of a ‘how to do leadership’, and more of a’ how are you thinking about leadership ?’. I think it is a book which stimulates reflection, challenges thinking and one that will tempt the reader, (and certainly this reader), back between its covers time and again to savour the questions it poses. In a changing world ‘leaders’ need to evolve and change…….and this book is an excellent tool to support this process. Having read it…….. I am now looking forward to going back to the start, to see what further treasures it holds !

“A powerful book full of grace and wisdom” (Gene Early, Internationally recognized leadership advisor)

ANLP Accreditation Achieved!

I am delighted to announce that ANLP have approved the content of my ‘open’ courses for accreditation:

  • Personal Effectiveness at Work
  • Introduction to NLP/Personal Excellence at Work

This means that all delegates (from September) will now receive an ANLP Accredited certificate on completion of the course, whether they attend as an ‘open’ course or if the courses are run in-house for their organisations !
A nice addition to your CV as well as your skill base !

Powerful Learning…..is best shared !!

Alyson Staines
Farm Executive Manager

I was lucky enough to participate in the Personal Effectiveness at Work course earlier this year and the ongoing effects of the learning have been great! It’s given me a new found level of confidence and (when I take the time to think) a new way of doing things……..

On a weekly basis since the course I’ve integrated the pre-suppositions (of NLP) into our team updates emails; looking at how the week has gone and what may be coming up the following week, I choose a suitable pre-supposition and share it with everyone.

I work for XLVet UK Ltd, a membership organisation made up of 52 independent veterinary practices. I’m part of the head office operations based at Dalston near Carlisle in Cumbria however we also have colleagues in Ripon, Derby and Essex. As the ‘team’ have grown, we’ve found that there’s no substitution for regular face to face meetings, one such meeting gave me the perfect opportunity to deliver some more of my learnings.

I was tasked with organising the whole event – a forte of mine so I’m told, so decided on a steamer ride down Ullswater, lunch in Glenridding then a return boat to Pooley Bridge. The fact that the weather was beautiful, we got to watch a wedding and a flypast was also accredited to my seemingly superb organisational skills! I accepted the positive feedback most graciously.

During our ‘team building’ day out, I was to deliver a communication message so chose the Johari Window model and a little bit of Transactional Analysis. It was going to be an interesting challenge as at no point were we going to be in a meeting room environment so with a bit of thought, transformed myself into a human flip chart and went armed with a rucksack full of sharpie pens and paper. As it turned out the boat was a little too busy to deliver anything without involving a load of unsuspecting tourists. However, that part of the day was used perfectly ‘structuring time’, there were positive stokes a plenty so by the time we reach our destination we had all but reached ‘intimacy’. (Reference: Structuring Time model, Transactional Analysis.)

The session began with Johari Window, with everyone happy to get involved. It created some fantastic discussion about the importance of ‘Open Book’ behaviours for effective working relationships and the consequences of working with/ or being seen as an ‘Interviewer’, a ‘Bull in a china shop’ or a ‘Turtle’. We learnt a little more about each other and I believe gained a better understanding of the different environments we work in and the challenges we face.

Sadly time beat us but I was happy that the group got so much out of that part of the session. I received some fantastic feedback and everyone is keen to continue my session during our next meeting in November, sunshine and a wedding at Scotch Corner could be a tricky one to pull off!

Congratulations on achieving NLP Business Practitioner!!!

Congratulations to Amanda, Beverley, Andrea, Hayley, Steve, Andy and Kerry on achieving NLP Business Practitioner!!!

And some of their ‘Personal Effects’ ……

….the course was excellent. Florence is approachable, inspiring and patient. She is a personal role model for NLP- she reflects how adopting NLP behaviours and attitudes- can not only make you a better coach but a better person….Beverley Little Retail Staff Development Manager, Hays Travel

I would highly recommend this programme to anyone wanting to improve their management skills within their organisation………… There was exactly the right mix of activities to ensure effective learning took place.Kerry Glaister Project Officer – Employment & Training, Riverside

Fantastic; from an initial position of scepticism toward the topic after being involved with other similar training/management sessions where I never got much out of it, Florence’s training style made it so worthwhile for me………. Inspirational; she made the whole course flow so naturally……..Her enthusiasm for the content made it easier to learn.Steve Balmer Independent Financial Consultant, David Allen Wealth Management

When is a Goal not a Goal? (new year resolutions and how to get an A grade)

By Jill Harrison – NLP Trainer and Associate

When is a goal not a goal?

When there is no ball…?

When there are no nets…?

When there are no players…or players that didn’t bother to turn up for the match?

Any of the above, really!

Most new year’s resolutions are goals that are formed with the best of intentions and huge dollop of motivation, especially with the relative excesses of Christmas indulgencies making themselves known on our waistlines along with the onset of conscience-prodding summer holiday ads on our screens. By new year many of us are ready for new beginnings; a fresh start; a healthier lifestyle.

…and then, after around 3 weeks, most (88% according to one piece of research) of our resolutions fail. We give up. We lose motivation. We don’t have the willpower. We choose instant gratification over our long-term, and perfectly genuine goals.

Now those of you who know anything about goal-setting will know that in order for goals to succeed we need to make them SMART (look it up if new to you)  – don’t we? Well, yes… certainly, in order to know that the goal is do-able, and to know that we have reached a goal such as a target weight loss, going to the gym three times a week, stopping smoking…or…or…or…then of course we need to know where our goal nets are, and we need to know that the ball has crossed the goal line.

So why, then do even the most achievable and clearly articulated new year resolutions fail? And how do you go about getting that A grade in succeeding in what it is you really want? Well, according to Benjamin Zander, the world renowned orchestral conductor and inspirational teacher of music, GOALS are GRIM. While Zander acknowledges that goals are necessary as part of the process towards ‘Getting an A Grade’, they also set us up to either succeed or fail, win or lose, get there or get lost along the way.

When it comes to our personal aspirations we are more likely to recognise and celebrate small moments of success if we do not set ourselves up for all or nothing / win or lose in the first place. As an alternative, Zander encourages us to:

1 Remember that ‘It’s all invented’

All those rules – those shoulds, musts and ought-tos that limit us from becoming who we want to be are merely illusions that we take on board when we really don’t have to. Go for the desires that make your eyes light up, fill you with passion and life, and let go of concerns about what others think.  In the words of poet David Whyte (from The House of Belonging) ‘Anything or anyone who does not bring you alive is too small for you’.

2 Stand in possbility

Think of yourself as already an A grade student at what you want for the new you and you are more likely to applaud the mistakes and set-backs you will inevitably make along the way and see them instead as opportunities for new learning and growth. And if it is too difficult to reach your goal…simply move the goal-posts!

3 Don’t take yourself so seriously

I have nothing to add to this. Get over yourself – life will happen anyway.

When is a goal not a goal? When it is a goal not worth having as a resolution because it is doomed to fail from the outset, because however SMART the goal is, it doesn’t fill you with the stuff that brings you alive enough to trump those moments of instant gratification your unconscious mind will demand of you before very long.

So to get the most out of your new year…set your compass in the direction of your desires, have goals along the way (as yardstick markers rather than as the destination), go easy on yourself when you do succumb to instant gratification – then check your compass direction, re-set it if you need to – and enjoy what is happening along the way, mistakes and all.

Back-o-the net!

Oh, and if all else fails, try these resolutions:

1. Stop making lists

B. Learn to be consistent

7. Learn to count

Take a look at Benjamin Zander’s talk on ‘How to give an A’ to find out more:


Is Yours an Inny or an Outy?

By Jill Harrison – NLP Trainer and Associate

Character preference, that is!

So what do you think? Is your character Introverted or Extroverted? And how does your preference influence you in the worlds of work, home and pleasure?

Carl Jung placed attention on the Introversion / Extroversion spectrum early in the 20th century. He suggested that, rather than having a pure polarity of one or the other, we each sit along a continuum, with a preference for Ambiversion somewhere in the middle. Jung proposed an Extrovert places attention on the outside world and the person appears outgoing and energetic, whereas an Introvert has a focus on the inside world of the self and veers towards more solitary and reserved behaviours.

So for many of us these preferences will then shape the career and development choices we make in life and in business. We play to our innate strengths.

So I am now left wondering why this (recently) self-confessed Introvert has made career and development choices that demand she is an energetic, fun and inspirational leader of group education sessions at work, and a bouncy fitness and zumba instructor in her spare time?

It was a lightbulb moment (I love those ephiphanies that set off a chain of thoughts and realisations) when, listening to a radio programme recently, my wandering thoughts filtered out a very simple incisive question that the presenter used to establish whether or not one’s preference is for Extroversion or Introversion:

How do you like to re-charge your batteries?”

Now, if you like to party the night away, or feel completely energised around lots of people, your preference is…you guessed it…Extroversion.

And if your choice is to retreat to somewhere quiet, or immerse yourself in a good book, or perhaps spend quality time with one or two close people, then Introversion is your pattern.

So this very simple question blasted through my long held belief that I must be an Extrovert! I must be…I train groups…I jiggle around to Latin inspired music. Those things must mean I’m an Extrovert. Right?

Well no, it seems my long held assumption was wrong! And it is such a relief!

While my work and fitness roles may be typical of Extrovert behaviours, to me they are skills, they are not who I AM. Express that last sentence in a different way. I AM not an Extrovert, but I have learned the SKILLS of Extroversion in a number of contexts. And when my day is done, I need to re-charge my batteries with some quiet and a bit of head space (rather a challenge with children – one of whom is a teenaged drummer!).

To me, this distinction between who you are and what your skills are is a crucial one.

So should I now change what I do because of this revelation? Not at all. In fact, I intend to do more uncomfortable stuff and continue to age disgracefully! It is my belief that our innate character preferences (and Extroversion / Introversion is just just one labelled example of these) can often keep us within our comfort zones. And that unless we stretch ourselves and experience a degree of discomfort from time to time, we may become stagnant and miss out on some vital growth.

Not that I think we should attempt to be a square peg in a round hole. My caveat here is that any movement towards a stretch and personal growth will best serve you when it fits with who you are, what your purpose is and what you value most.

So go on, you’ve already asked yourself the question. What is your preference? Is yours an Inny or an Outy? How is this affecting your choices in life? And where could you benefit from a stretch – even if that means a bit of discomfort from time to time?

Who knows what talents you or your team might discover…?

To check out your preferences further, and for more information about new thinking around Introversion / Extroversion, follow the links below:



Ted Talk* (link below) The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain.


*TED conferences bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or fewer).


Law of Jante

By Eleni Sarantinou, Coach, Trainer Co-Author of Everyday NLP and much missed friend.

The Law of Jante; a Scandinavian concept and as a strong believer of everyone’s good intention that I am, I am all for the initial beautiful thought behind it. The Law was meant to work on equality and harmony among people promoting modesty and humbleness. The aftermath of this law’s application though could be characterized as detrimental to the Scandinavian self-confidence, to put it mildly.

Consisting of 10 main rules including ‘You’re not to think anyone cares about you’ and ‘You’re not to think you are good at anything’, it is clear that the law’s creators and followers were not aware of the unconscious mind.

The unconscious mind of people is the most powerful tool in the universe and feeds on compliments and re-assurance. It thinks and processes information like a child around 7 years old no matter how old we are. Try to tell any child how ‘not’ special they are, how ‘not’ really anyone cares about them and how ‘not’ good they are at anything and see how happy they will look and act.

The ideas of the Law of Jante are not unique to the Scandinavian society who basically went a step further and put a name on them; every country has similar ideas against individuals standing out. Aesop’s fable ‘The fox & the grapes’ describes the exact same behaviour such ideas promote:
Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked, ‘Oh, you aren’t even ripe yet! I don’t need any sour grapes.’

The fable’s wisdom is that people who speak disparagingly of things that they cannot attain would do well to apply this story to themselves. The Law of Jante at its best hopes ‘not’ to compare with others and as a result it promotes to ‘only’ compare with others and neglects each and everyone’s talents, individuality, diversity and personal journey. The creators and followers of such ideas choose for a weak path, the path of excuses, the path to bring everyone else down to their level instead of acknowledging shortcomings and figuring out new ways to achieve what they want.

How many more decades, centuries need to pass before we start feeling proud about each other’s successes and feel them like our own? Choose to get inspired instead of first calculate the ‘advantages’ the ‘chosen’ had over us, before we feel envious?
Someone once asked me: ‘You can handle failure but can you handle success?’ only to make me realize that I was raised and trained to constantly be prepared for a new challenge, problem and drama for me to handle, making me feel more comfortable when in trouble than in bliss & triumph, running faster to help people in need than to share people’s moment of glory.

I am asking you: ‘Don’t we all have the right and the responsibility to change ‘that’ for us, our children and the generations to come?’