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  • Natalie Bristowe

An insight into the Power of NLP and how it can transform your life

NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming…and if you’re thinking oh wow, that sounds complicated…you are not alone, I promise I felt the same once…my intention in this article is to bring you some clarity and a good understanding of what it is and how you can use NLP to transform your life into one that seriously lights you up!

What is NLP, and what does it stand for?

NLP is the study of excellence, it is the study of what works in order to produce results! NLP was founded and developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970’s. NLP is a collection of tools, techniques and strategies for modeling excellence.

To break it down, N stands for Neuro - this relates to our nervous system and how we perceive the external world through our senses (through what we see, hear, feel, taste, smell). This aspect considers how we interpret these experiences, and how this influences our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

L stands for Linguistic. Language is a key component of NLP. Both verbal and non verbal, and how we communicate to ourselves (self talk) and others. Language shapes our perceptions and behaviours. This aspect focuses on the power of words and how language can be used in a way to create positive behavioural change.

P is for Programming. I like to think of it like you might a computer. We also run internal programs that lead to our results (what we do/what we don’t do). This refers to the idea that individuals can ‘reprogram’ their thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviours in order to achieve specific goals or desired outcomes. NLP offers a wide range of techniques and strategies which help modify and transform behavioral patterns effectively.

The NLP Model of Communication

The NLP Model of Communication provides a really valuable framework which demonstrates how we perceive an external event, and apply meaning to our experiences. This helps explain why two people could respond to the same external stimulus completely differently.

Let me break it down for you….to begin with every single second we are exposed to 11 million bits of information. Every single second!!! And our brain can only hold 126 bits of information per second. Imagine just how much information you are missing out on, how much information is out of your awareness….

So - HOW does our brain select those 126 bits? This process is done outside of our conscious awareness. All of this input goes through an internal filtering system, which deletes, distorts and generalizes information based on our past behaviour patterns, experiences, values, beliefs and memories.

When I say unconscious mind - we all have a conscious mind and unconscious mind. The conscious mind is the part of us which is logical, rational, aware, in charge of making decisions.

The Unconscious Mind (UM) operates below your awareness. It houses your habits, beliefs, emotions, and memories, shaping your behaviours and reactions without you consciously realizing it. The main role of your UM is to preserve and protect your body. Think about it….it is the part of you that keeps your heart beating….your blood pumping…your breath breathing….it does all of this with no conscious effort….how incredibly powerful is that. The UM will always take the path of least resistance, it is a pattern finding machine - and hence deletes, distorts and generalizes all the incoming information in order to make sense of the world easily.

So let’s recap. Every single second, 11 million bits of info comes in through our senses, our UM deletes, distorts and generalizes all this information through an internal filtering system, leaving us with 126 bits of information - this then becomes our perception of that external experience. This becomes our reality..

This internal representation is then intimately coupled with a state (happiness, sadness, joy, fear, excitement), which is intimately coupled with a physiology…shorter breath, increased heartbeat, what is actually happening in your body…and this combined leads to behaviour, and the action you take or don't take.

So - let’s use an example of the external event being a job description for a senior role at work. Two people could apply for this role, both at the same current level, both with the same number of years and experience. One person’s experience of the opportunity might be “Yes, I have got this - I feel I would be a brilliant candidate for this role. It will challenge me, and I can see there is room to learn and grow” - they would feel confident, excited and motivated by applying for this role. They would take action, and apply for the role.

The other person's response is “Oh no, I cannot go for this. I am not good enough, they would never choose me because I don’t have enough experience. They will judge me for not knowing it all right now.” They feel fearful, anxious and would decide to stay in their current role, in their comfort zone.

Two very different experiences of exactly the same external event. These responses will be a reflection of the filters running at the unconscious level. Where the first person has an empowering belief system, open to learning, growth and opportunity. Whereas the second person has a less empowering set of beliefs “I am not good enough”, “I am not worthy of success”, low confidence and low self-esteem.

Understanding this Model of Communication brings awareness to our unconscious programs which are limiting us. And with awareness comes power and the possibility of change.

NLP Provides the tools and techniques to modify and transform those filters, beliefs, memories so that an individual’s perception of an external event is more positive, empowering and drives them towards taking action and behaving in a way which leads them towards their desired results.

NLP is employed across various fields including personal development, coaching, therapy, sales, business growth and leadership. It is an incredibly powerful approach for helping individuals overcome their limiting beliefs, improve communication skills, and achieve their goals by harnessing the power of their mind and language.

If you are interested in hearing more about NLP and how it can help you start creating the life that you want, reach out to me here.

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