My NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) journey spans about 10 years and I commit to giving myself a training top-up every now and then to help me learn new skills. My absolute favourite trainer is Ian Ross. He is an INLPTA Master Trainer, having studied negotiation and conflict resolution at Harvard. He has over 25 years experience of applying NLP in commercial contexts.

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He, with Lynne Kerry, is a Director of Vievolve and I was lucky enough to go on one of their NLP Practice Days in December. The course was about Developing Purpose, Congruence and Authenticity in a business or personal context. In English, to me, that means living your life so you are totally aligned, making business or other decisions that are congruent with your values. I was interested in this because I feel we sometimes get caught up in the rat race and don’t give ourselves time to pause and reflect on our actions and how they represent who we are.

There were many special interactions with the rest of the group and here are some of my take-outs from the day:

  1. Authenticity is about honesty with yourself.
  2. If you are 100% your authentic self, your dark parts show up too! But those not-so-good bits of you must be fulfilling a need. They must be giving you some sort of benefit, even if it’s not obvious to you. And they make up the whole you. So be aware of these.
  3. To discover your true purpose, identify your core values – what’s important to you? There are many techniques that help you to discover your values. One way is to write down what’s really important to you, then to put that list in some order of priority. A great exercise we did was to match that list with how you spend your time. I found that family came very high up on my list, and work and money quite low. Yet I spend much more time at work than with my family, so there is a mismatch for me. I now have the knowledge of where I am, so I can do something about it.
  4. You may want to ask yourself: what’s important to me and am I living my life according to that? If you are, then you are being more congruent with whom you are. (A company may tell you that one of their core values is customer service but if you have to get through layers of pre-recorded telephone instructions to make an enquiry, the company doesn’t appear to be demonstrating these values).
  5. Another way to discover your values is to ask yourself 3 simple questions:
  •  What frustrates me and presses my hot buttons?
  •  What gets me out of bed in the morning?
  • What’s really important to me?

So, how has this course benefitted my daily personal and work life? I am more aware of the time I spend with people I care about, and am somehow more “present” with them. Yet when I am at work, I am also totally present, giving it 110%.

My NLP journey has helped me in both my personal and work life. When I advise people about nutrition, I can explore what values are operating for them and why they stay where they are – in terms of their weight or eating patterns. It’s helped me to better assess what tools to use to motivate someone to change his or her eating habits, and how to communicate more effectively. But not all NLP is the same, and some teach it so it can be used in a manipulative way, so be careful if you’re planning to enrol for a course. I have personal experience with Vievolve and can recommend them highly.

I’m pleased to announce that I am collaborating with Vievolve to bring credible NLP techniques to dietitians. We will be running a certified course especially for dietitians in February and March. More info here.

To end, a lovely quote from Socrates “The unexamined life is not worth living”.