Facing Something New in Life and want it to be successful?

Here is your first step

By Sonya Yeh Spencer, ITA NLP Trainer, Advanced NLP Coach

Are you in the process of change?  Maybe a new job, contract, project or relationship and maybe you would like this new development to be a success.  Starting on the right foot might just give you a head start.

As you continue to pay attention to the words you are reading, consider the following questions:

  • Have you ever taken the time to say ‘goodbye to the old’ and mentally prepared yourself to succeed by welcoming the new?
  • Have you ever payed any attention to the differences and similarities between the old and the new?

These are two very simple questions and when you have answered ‘yes’ to both of them, you can potentially set you up to succeed right from the start.

Saying Goodbye

When changing from one job to another, going into a new team, a new project, or a new relationship, whatever it may be¸ no two jobs or teams or projects or relationships are the same.  So why bring the same kind of baggage, thinking patterns and tools into them?  In NLP we highlight the concept of generalised behaviour and thinking across different contexts and situations.  What happens is that when we generalise, and fail to notice differences in new contexts and situations; we deprive ourselves the opportunity to experience something different.  When we fail to notice the difference, we also would not know what tools we might need to make it work.

…let go of the old emotions one has towards the old, retain the learnings and welcome the new…

People at times generalise that all jobs are the same and require the same set of skills and fail to see different jobs. Although it might have the same job title, the new job can be very different and hence require different skills to succeed. When people over-generalize like this, they are stuck.  When someone is starting a new relationship and is bringing in some of the same baggage that they had in the previous relationships and thinking “relationships are all the same”, then they will only get the same results.  What is the point in that?
To say goodbye does not mean discarding your experience, in fact it is quite the opposite.  The point is to let go of the old emotions one has towards the old, retain the learnings and welcome the new.  Here is a little exercise I do, and you can feel free to create something for yourself:

  • Find a quiet place and mentally review the old job, old relationship or team, whatever it is that you are moving on from.  You are doing this review like watching a movie.  For the NLP trained reader, you are disassociating yourself from the experience.
  • Identify all the positive learnings (from the job, relationship…) that have enriched your skills, your understanding and life. Acknowledge that all these positive learnings are now part of you.
  • Notice things that were not so good about the old and what pieces you would like to now let go of.  Decide to let it go and do so metaphorically.  I let them go by blowing them away from the movie. Others might want wave their hands to clear the screen.
  • Ask yourself where do you keep your old experiences that no longer have an effect on you and add this old job/relationship/team to it.  For NLP trained people, you have a lot of choices here; changing submodalities of the old is one of them.
  • You can also metaphorically let it go. I sometimes see it as a kite and cutting the string to let it fly away.

Welcome the New

It is important to emotionally let go of the old, so you can start anew.

  • From where you now feel comfortable, mentally imagine the new job, relationship or team, whatever is to come, and experience the sense of newness.  For new jobs, I also physically visit the place and experience the sensation of finding out where things are, the new smells, location of the kitchen, new route (potentially) to get to work (even if it is a few desks from your old place of work). For a new role in the same employer, I have re-arranged my desk as much as allowable to create the difference. For a new relationship, I imagine the newness of the person’s voice, the way they hold themselves, how they walk, the words they use, how they have their coffee and any other things that we often take for granted in a relationship.

Notice the differences

No two jobs, teams, projects or relationships are the same.  So, it requires us to work differently and gain different skills to make it a success.

  • Compare the old and the new, and notice what is different about it and how can you make it work.  For NLP trained there are many ways you can do this comparison, visually, spatially; whichever works for you.  I often write them down in two columns.
  • Identify what are the skills you might need and how you would approach things, what are the requirements here. Different roles have different focuses and requirements, so it is important to clearly understand what is required.  In NLP you might be able to use Dilts’ Neurological Levels’ format and adapt it to suit.  You can also step into your new boss’s shoes and get an impression of what is required.  Again, I often write all of these down and update the list as I progress in the new job and use as a prompt to grow the new relationship.

Once you know what skills or internal resources that you need, you can start the process of acquiring these skills and resources.  Putting all these new skills and resources into action is in many ways re-programming yourself, because it leads to changing thinking and behaviour for the better.

This changing for the better is what NLP is all about¸ so happy changing!


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