Health + wellbeing

NLP: Do you practice what you preach?

- July 8, 2010 2 MIN READ

How many times have kicked yourself for going against the very advice you give your clients?

Falling into those bad traps that you know full well how to avoid is frustrating, but there are some benefits to slipping off the practice-what-you-preach wagon. Experiencing these issues first hand provides us with valuable learnings and teaches us to have greater empathy and understanding towards our clients.

In neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) though, it’s more valuable to consider how we let this situation arise and how we can overcome it.

The answers relate to our internal values and motivation, and more specifically, they relate to whether we’re motivated towards doing something that focuses on what we want, or away from something that focuses on an outcome we’re trying to avoid.

These examples illustrate the difference:

Towards: I’m going to the gym four times this week to maintain the level of fitness, energy and muscle tone I love to have.
Away from: I’m going to the gym four times this week so I don’t feel sluggish or have a wobbly tummy.

Towards: I’m going to stick to my time management schedule today because I want to achieve two projects that will have a big impact on the profitability of my business.
Away from: I’m going to stick to my time management schedule today because otherwise I’ll feel frazzled for the rest of the week.

Towards: I’m looking forward to making those cold calls today because I love getting to know prospective clients and starting new business relationships.
Away from: I’m not looking forward to making those cold calls today, but if I don’t there’s no way I’ll achieve my sales targets this week.·

Want more articles like this? Check out the work motivation section.

The difference between ‘towards’ and ‘away from’ motivation can be very subtle, but will have great impact on what you do and the results you achieve. This is a classic case of the way you behave being a consequence of what’s going on in both your conscious and unconscious minds. If the two parts of your mind aren’t in alignment, it will be difficult to consistently achieve your goals.

Think about the goals you’ve reached in the past. Do you tend to respond better when your motivation is towards an outcome or away from it?

Although some people respond well to ‘away from’ motivation, framing your goals towards a particular outcome is generally more motivational and inspiring.

Next time you’re having difficulty motivating yourself to do something, list the reasons for doing it and the reasons for not doing it. Clues that you have ‘away froms’ lurking around in your mindset can be found firstly in the inconsistent results you’re getting, and secondly in the language you use to describe the issue.

Here are a few linguistic patterns to be aware of:

Negations: I don’t want to miss my deadline.
Compulsions: I should try to win that new project, because I have to pay my credit card bill.
Comparisons: I need to sell more so I have less debt.
Fears: If I don’t finish that project I’m scared I’ll lose the client.

Switch to using different language to talk to yourself about your goals, and you’ll be one step closer to reaching them.

Are you a web-specialist with a dodgy site, an accountant behind on your tax, or a marketer without a plan? How are you going to motivate yourself to get back on the practice-what-you-preach wagon?

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"