This week I got a question in my Customer Facebook Group. It was about NLP for mindset training. More specifically, which NLP techniques I recommend for triggering mindset shifts. Before I share my response, here’s something to know…
NLP is a set of communication tools. It basically takes anomalies that happen in everyday communication and turns them into something more useful. When we talk about NLP, what we’re really talking about is just using our natural ability to communicate in ways that benefit ourselves and others by directing those anomalies with a sense of purpose and control.
I like to start with that because people tend to think NLP is a thing you do. But it’s actually a bunch of different things – tools that can be applied to different situations in different ways for different outcomes.
But this post is about NLP for mindset training. So here are the top 3 NLP techniques I think are most useful for that purpose:
1. Frames of Reference
The ability to use re-framing with purpose is really powerful. Imagine you lost your job, your house, and your wife this week. Most people would be in a negative frame of mind. They’d say “My life is pure shit and I have nothing.”
But if you are present, and aware, you can make the conscious choice to re-frame your situation. Then you might say instead, “What a relief! I’m finally free of all of those burdens and I can go forward how I want!” — There are many other ways to use re-framing. This is just one example for the purposes of mindset training.
The idea is that you take a negative and reframe it into a positive. You see the situation in a new context and new light. Since the context and frame of reference have changed, you no longer have any reason to take the useless actions you would have taken prior to this switch.
If you send a bunch of freelance proposals and only low-paying clients respond, you might think, “Freelancing is total bullshit. Only people who want to earn practically nothing would do this!”
As a result, you quit freelancing, you never make ANY money with it, and you have to go back to a 9-5 job, all based on your frame of reference.
Now, what if you switched your frame and thought, “Freelancing is a challenge and once I figure out the process, my earning potential is unlimited!”
If you hold this belief, this new frame of reference, are you likely to give up? Or are you more likely to try twice as hard because your new frame tells you that you can win BIG?
Using the example above, we can see how the metaphors we use affect our mindset. Most people aren’t aware of how many useless metaphors they use every day. For example, “Life is shit” is a metaphor that describes life in a really negative way. We’re always making comparisons like this.
What this means is if we change our metaphors, we can change our frame of reference easily. “Life is pie!” is much better than “Life is shit!” It creates totally different pictures, thoughts, and emotions in the mind. It’s a tiny shift, but it makes a world of difference. Or how about these:
“Freelancing is a waste!”
“Freelancing is a gold mind!”
“Cold calling is like being punched in the face!”
“Cold calling is like being handed a blank check!
“Fear is my worst enemy!”
“Fear is my best friend!”
“Quitting my job is my worst nightmare!”
“Quitting my job is my dream!”
By changing your comparisons (metaphors) you can start to shift your mindset toward more positive outcomes. This will lead you in more positive directions and as a result you will start to create useful changes in your life rather than getting stuck in USELESS patterns of behavior.
3. Self Future-Pacing
The third NLP technique that I really enjoy for mindset work is future pacing myself. By that I mean I imagine a certain future I want. Could be my big dream, or just a goal I’m working toward this week. Whatever it is, I imagine everything I’ll have to go through to bring that vision to life.
I work my way through the steps in my mind. Eventually I reach the outcome I want, and then I just allow myself to experience that outcome. Experience it fully. Hear the sounds. See the sights. Smell the smells. What does it taste like if there are things to taste? What do I feel? You want to experience the process and end result as though you were actually living them.
The idea here is to mentally train yourself to overcome the obstacles you will likely face along your journey toward that outcome. So first you work your way through the steps. You want to really experience each step as though you were actually living it. Then you want to experience the end result.
All of this happens in the future because it’s not happening right now. If you perform this regularly, you start adding more and more weight to the imaginary scale of life. One side of that scale has all the futures you don’t want. The other side has the future you DO want.
The more you imagine the future you want, and how you got there, and the more deeply you experience that future in your mind…the more it can start to take form as you work toward it, and the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The key is to experience all of the different parts of your path and outcome as clearly and vividly and realistically as possible in your mind. Each time you do this you add weight to that scale. Eventually, it tips in your favor.
Use NLP for Mindset Training, But Know This…
While NLP is a useful set of tools, there is NO MAGIC FIX for your personality flaws. Your bad habits will not be overcome overnight by someone performing the “Fast Phobia Cure” or any other technique for instant transformation.
I’ve used NLP for more than a decade, and while the tools do effect change, they do not MAKE you and cannot FORCE you to become the person you want to be. There’s only one way to make that happen, and it’s through repetition.
You have to hit the grind every single day with a state of present awareness. Become aware of your world. Become awake in life instead of a drone to your phone, so that you can NOTICE when you’re falling back into old patterns and bad habits, and then CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE to do something different.
Do use NLP for mindset training and to help you along this path. Just know that the actual change must come from within you, not from some external NLP god.
Soot & Ashes,