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Life, as they say, is what gets in the way of your plans. And boy life really has got in the way this time!

Recently I realised that, as of September this year, I have been using NLP to help people for 20 years (where does the time go?) and, as per my last blog entry, after taking a few years out to be a stay at home dad, I was aiming to relaunch this year and doing some things to celebrate. Not now…

It’s been a couple of weeks since the lockdown due to the Coronavirus. How are you all doing? It seems longer doesn’t it? It always fascinates me how adaptable the human race is. Anyway, I digress…

It took about 5 minutes for my social media feed and inbox to be full of coaches, trainers and the like offering to help out. Some incredibly genuine and kind, some startlingly money grubbing (one trainer is offering a webinar to help struggling coaches etc to adapt to working online. They are only charging a “small” fee…!).

Being an advocate and an activist for the slow movement I don’t like to rush things. Also, I am about 40% NLP trainer and coach, and about 60% stay at home dad. Now the schools have closed I have reverted back to almost full time dad again (my wife works for the NHS, so she is out helping save the world), so at the moment I am very busy looking after my two children and keeping them safe, stimulated, exercised and educated. The parents out there will know how all consuming and exhausting that is (and it’s only just begun!)!

So here are my currently plans:

Obviously all my spring trainings have been pushed back to the autumn and I will review the situation then. There has been a rush for people in this field of work to shift everything online, including NLP Practitioner courses. But I still firmly believe that NLP is a practical subject and needs to be learnt in a physical training room. The Society of NLP has released official guideline that two days of a Practitioner training can be delivered online. The remaining five days must be carried out face to face.

I don’t want to be one of those profiteering a**holes who are flogging self help snake oil for the current crisis, but I am also self employed and have been for over 15 years and, frustratingly, I fall between the gaps of the state aid that the government is offering to help people like me.

So, this is what I am offering:

IF you are safe, secure and bored senseless, and can afford it. If you want to review, revise or update your NLP or coaching skills and knowledge, or if you want some coaching sessions to set yourself up for when this is all over (or to help you cope), I am offering one to one coaching and tuition, online via Zoom. These will be priced at £50 a session. Fortunately I have been pioneering online coaching and tuition for almost 10 years so I am used to doing this kind of thing.

Please note: Because of current time restrictions I will only be able to offer a very limited number of sessions per week.

If you are interested just send me a message to get booked up.

This entry could, if you were less charitable, easily be titled “Failure to (Re)Launch”. If you have been poking about the site on and off over the last year you may have got the impression that not a lot has been going on or, worse, think I have given up on the whole NLP training thing altogether! My social media has been equally hit and miss, going silent for weeks and then having a bit of splurge promising some things are “coming soon” to go all quiet again.

So, what has been going on?

To answer that I need to go back to 2018. or maybe a little bit sooner.

For those of you totally new to this, what happened was, well, I had kids. And because I am self employed and my wife has a “proper job” it made sense for me to become the main carer. This meant I cut right back on my training a coaching business, resulting in around the start of 2018 to stop running public courses and just focus on one to one clients and in-house work. I stopped heavily promoting myself, partly because I didn’t want to turn work away (so I thought it was better to go a bit quieter) and also, well I was looking after two very young children and anyone who has done that will know that that is a full time job all of its own and you don’t have the time, energy, or quite frankly the inclination to do much else. The plan was always to take a few years off and once the children got a little older to “relaunch” my training business and start running public trainings, etc again.

I tried to start again at the start of last year (well the autumn of 2018 really) and then again last autumn. The thing is, I was a bit premature on both occasions! My eldest had started school, but my youngest (only 2 and a half) hasn’t yet, and even though I am having help from family and some pre-schooling, things are still hit and miss where family commitments may mean I cannot sit down and do “work” for a few days (or sometimes longer).

Which is why I am only offering a very limited training schedule in 2020 and will expand it more over the next few years.

So, 3rd time lucky and all.

What HAVE I been doing in 2019?

Other than enjoying being a full time parent, watching kids TV and playing with lego you mean?!

I have appeared on three podcasts, seen some clients (mainly via Skype and Zoom) and done some in-house seminars and workshops.

It’s the classic cop out answer but there had been quite lot going on behind the scenes, you see, I made a naive error that I could just pick up where I left off on before taking an extended break. I didn’t factor in the world has moved on. I needed to catch up and update my procedures, skills and strategies (especially around marketing myself) to keep up with this new world. So there has been a lot a research and thinking about that.

It’s also given me a lot of time to reflect on how I want to change what I am doing. I realised recently this my 20th year of this! And having an extended break has really given me time to muse and reflect on what I am doing and why I am doing it. So I have spent a lot of time thinking, pondering and contemplating about what to do when I finally do relaunch.

I am still absolutely certain I want to offer NLP trainings as I still believe that it is a fantastic technology that can benefit everyone. But how I do that in an increasingly competitive marketplace with such a range of quality I don’t know. And also what I do along side that.

All that will become apparent soon and I will write ore about it in future blogs. Please come with me on the journey, I will endeavour to post more regular updates from now on!

Whats Coming UP?

My current 2020 training schedule looks like this (Corona Virus allowing!):

NLP Practitioner – NOW ONLY £999
Spring Enrolment: 11-17 May
Autumn Enrolment: 05-11 Oct

NLP Master Practitioner – NOW ONLY £1999
Module 1: 20-23 Nov 2020Module 2: 27-30 Nov 2020

All courses take place in South Wales, just off the M4 corridor.
Please contact me if you want to know more.

When I got my first website in June 2002, I wanted to do something a little more personable (back then, the idea of social media and blogging was just a glimmer in some techies eye) than just the “brochure sites” of the time. So, taking my inspiration from The Barefoot Doctor and his daily “Doc Box”, I started doing a rudimentary “Daily NLP Tip” on my site. My desire outstripped my ability and in 2004-ish I moved that over to my first blog site (blogging was just getting going) mattcaulfield.blogspot.com (some entires are still there if you want to look!), until eventually I ported everything over to WordPress site some time in 2010. By this point though I had read too many books on blogging and how to “have a successful blog” and started slavishly following their advice. I was writing “how to” guides and “top tips” like like they were going out of fashion. The blog lost it’s original purpose of being a way to connect more meaningful with readers and just became another generic promotional blog (although there were some blog entries I really am proud of, I will do a “favourite entry” digest in a future post).

When my first child was born, other than the occasion update about course dates etc, I put the blog on hiatus. Partly because I did not have time to write a blog and partly because I had lost interest.

So, now I am back to the blogging station, the idea is to return to the original idea (for more promotional style articles, focused on “how to’s” and “what is’s” please connect with me on LinkedIn) and “draw back the curtain” and write slightly more personal entries about what I have been up to, my thoughts and musings, failings and successes. You see, so much of the self help world is incredibly disingenuous, where people have “happy off’s” all the time and refuse to admit their life is anything but perfect (the only time you are allowed to discuss failings are in the past and how you overcame them to become the ubermench you are now, using the exact process you package up and sell to your clients), I am not sure why. But there you go.

So here I am going to do things a little bit differently. I am just going to write, 500 words or so, about what I have done during the week, what I have been thinking about, doing and not doing. I am not going to limit myself to just NLP to Coaching or “self help” but will touch on anything I am doing, which is mainly, at the moment, being a dad, and contemplating the meaning of life…

Who knows, some may even contain some useful tips!

I am aim to publish every Friday, but we will see.

Linked In Results

Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) is so often presented as a psychological model that attempts to explain how we think and behave (unfortunately often with little direct evidence to support its claims). It is described as “The study of the structure of subjective experience”, but what it tends to miss off is the second part of that description, “AND what can be be done with that.”

To read the rest of this post please go to my LinkedIn Pulse article here.

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In this random and unscripted episode of my VideoBlog I discuss how I tell my trainees to assume I am lying to them! Why do I do that? Well, NLP is an attitude that led to a methodology that left behind a trail of techniques. One of the main attitudes to bring to NLP is that of curiosity, to explore and test and check everything. By telling my trainees to assume I am lying to them (and I use that language deliberately, as it is emotive and entertaining and creates a more powerful state that just telling them to “check what I said”), it encourages them to be curious. If you become curious about NLP you are using the attitude of NLP on NLP, you are doing “Meta-NLP”! Curiosity is also a great stepping stone to motivation – “I wonder what happens if…?”. Not enough people are really curious about NLP and that has led to it become stale and errors creeping into the model. So I urge you to assume I (and everyone else) is lying to you and check what they have said for yourself!

Random NLP Video Blog

In this episode of my occasional, random and unscripted video blog I teach a very simple memory technique (which, ironically, I cannot remember where I learned). I apologies for the text message interruption!

 

Random NLP Video Blog
(My apologies for such a long delay in uploading this, it was recored months ago, I just hope it is worth the wait.)

Here is the first episode of my NLP book club, where I discuss Ulysses by James Joyce. For my money it is one of the greatest books ever written and you will learn more about the use of language, perspectives and the meaning of “The Map is Not The Territory” than any “proper” NLP book. It’s a tough read, but worth the effort, it will enrich your life.

You can find much more details at my Ulysses: A Reader’s Guide (with an apostrophe that is conspicuous by it’s absence) here.

I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think and leave any questions or comments on my Youtube channel here.

Your Career Survival ToolKit

“Being able to learn faster than your competitors is the only sustainable competitive advantage.” Arie de Geus

The world of careers has changed completely. The idea of a job for life or even a career for life ended a long time ago, but right now even bigger changes are taking place. In this post ‘economic crisis’ world of fast evolving technology you need much more than the normal skill set to survive and develop in business. You need the skills and strategies that give you the edge over your competitors.

You need a career survival toolkit!

What Is NLP and How Can It Help You?

NLP is so often sold as either some wishy washy self help “think good thoughts!’ type training or as an alternative therapy. In actual fact it is so much more than that, with its roots in cybernetics, systems thinking and cognitive psychology, it offers some of the most pragmatic skills and strategies available to improve your thinking.

It gives you the essential toolkit you need to survive in the modern business world.

Increase Productivity, Focus and Flow

The management consultancy firm McKinsey found that executives in “flow state” – often called the “Zone”, where you have increased awareness, focus and speed of thinking – are five times more effective than their peers. NLP looks at your mental state and teaches you to control and change you state at will.

Vastly improve Your Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

Thinking, in particularly critical thinking, could be simply described as a process of asking yourself and answering questions. To get a better answer, you need a better question. NLP gives you better questions.

Speed Up and Improve Decisions Making

“Intuition is recognition” – NN Taleb

By clarifying purpose and helping you understand what drives your decision making, including your cognitive biases, NLP can help you develop your intuition. This means you will making faster, more accurate decisions that will lead the greater success.

Accelerate Your Learning and Skills Acquisition

NLP was never a therapy, it was a teaching tool. It looked at ways to help people learn better behaviours and thought processes. These ideas have been applied directly to education and developed such things as the “NLP Spelling Strategy” and can be used to help you accelerate your learning ability.

It allows you to “model” people who have excellent skills and abilities and learn those skills yourself.

This is the closest you will get “uploading” skills, like in the Matrix.

Improve Your Creativity and Lateral Thinking

NLP has modelled such geniuses as Walt Disney, Nikola Tesla and Mozart, and uncovered the structure of creativity. By applying these strategies you can think of new solutions and create brand new, better ways of doing things. It will also, if you so wish, improve such creative skills as painting, musicianship, etc.

Make You a Much Better Communicator, Compelling Speaker, Persuader and Negotiator

Two of the most powerful models in NLP are communication models. They will help you ask better questions, create more compelling persuasive arguments and help you gain rapport quickly and with more people.

It is not surprising then that a recent survey suggested that up to 75% of Bluechip companies are looking for NLP as core competency in their staff.

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NLP training has been carried out by Barclays Bank, British Gas, nPower, Jaguar Land Rover, Johnson Controls, House of Frazer, John Lewis, Severn Trent Water, Natural England and the NHS to name just a few.

How Do I Get This Toolkit?

The best way to learn NLP is by attending an NLP Practitioner training course. To see my upcoming dates, click here.

closing the loops
When I was young one my favourite TV shows was The Rocketeer. The re-run was shown in the morning during the school holidays and I would religiously tune in. Each episode always ended on a preposterous cliffhanger that was resolved in the first moments of the next episode, but still it kept me coming back every day to see what happened. The idea that leaving a story unfinished, or a loop open, compelled people to return for the next episode has been well used in Hollywood for years!

Our brains hate unfinished material. They keep the story or activity open in our minds and desperately try to close them off. This is why you will find people who have hectic lives tend to be stressed and seem overwhelmed. They constantly interrupt a process and so their mind is trying to sustain all these open and unfinished routines.

It is one of the many theories about why we dream – to help us to close all the loops that we have opened during the day. We understand the world through metaphor and a dream is an extended metaphor that we use to attempt to organise and “file away” all those incomplete tasks, half told stories and unfinished activities.

When Richard was asked to develop a stress management program for executives at a Fortune 500 company in America, the first process he introduced was to get them, at the end of the day, to open and close every drawer or cupboard in the room, close down their computer properly, lift up and put down the telephone, etc. This seemingly odd behaviour was designed to make sure that all the physical processes they had started through the day and which had maybe been interrupted would be closed off.

The key to reducing stress and feeling less overwhelmed is to make the effort to keep as few loops open (tasks unfinished) as possible. Do one thing at a time (multitasking is a myth) and remain mindful and present throughout the day. Be aware of anything that you have not finished and take some time at the end of the day to “close off” these tasks. Whether that is to finish them off or make some meaningful plan to continue at a later date.

Contains excerpts from “Nested Loops Demystified” available now at Amazon.

perception by all 5 senses at once

Last year Cadbury changed the shape of it’s dairy milk bars and received a whole host of complaints that they had changed the recipe for the worst. The truth was, they hadn’t changed the recipe at all! It was just the customers perception of taste had been altered by the change in shape.

Assuming you don’t have any organic brain problem that stops you from utilising one of your senses, we perceive the world through ALL FIVE senses at once and by changing the input of one sensory channel effects how we represent the world as a whole.

  • Certain colours create certain associations with taste, emotion, etc (we often use colours to describe moods).
  • Sounds can create powerful emotional responses.
  • Words, both spoke (auditory) and written (visual) create an emotional response (kinaesthetic).
  • We make picture of what people look like from hearing them talk.
  • Smells and tastes can conjure up whole memories or experiences. As Marcel Proust demonstrated in his Magnus Opus “In Seach Of Lost Time“!

This natural propensity for us to create our internal representation out of all five senses means we tend to fill in gaps. This phenomena is known as Synesthesia. Usually the term Synesthesia is use to describe people who have extreme multi-sensory experiences (they perceive shapes or colours when listening to music for example) but in NLP we consider Synesthesia as a broader naturally occurring phenomena that we all experience to a certain extent. We naturally “cross over” senses when creating an internal representation.

How is this Important?

It is essential to recognise that we perceive the world in this holistic manner and draw from all five senses when creating our internal representation (NLP is often misquoted as saying that we have a preferred sense that we understand the world through. That is in fact a misunderstanding – NLP actually states we tend to have a preferred sense in which we COMMUNICATE our experiences of the world – the sensory predicates we choose to use). By changing one seemingly inconsequential sensory channel (changing the colour of packing of food for example) we can radically alter someones experience as a whole..

If you are in a field were influence is important, you need to consider how what the person sees, hears, smells, tastes and feels in that experience.