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How Do You Do What You Do?

Did you know that you do ‘things’ in a very specific, unique-to-you way? Sometimes the way you do things – your behaviours – are less than useful…

  • Being nervous in certain situations e.g. public speaking, meeting new people etc.
  • Being afraid of something e.g. starting something new, dealing with money etc.
  • Uncontrollable or emotional eating

When you understand exactly HOW you do what you do – in the world of NLP, this is called strategy elicitation – you can change it and choose something more useful!

To help outline this, let’s look at the act of panicking whenever you meet new people…

Elicitation Questions

1. Think of a time when you [insert your behaviour].

> Example: Met someone new.

2. What happens when you are [insert your behaviour]?

> Example: When I meet someone new, my hands always start to sweat, go bright ged, I stammer and I convince myself that they think I’m a freak.

3. What steps do you do as you prepare to panic about meeting someone new?

> Example: I tell myself that they’ll find me boring, stupid and not worth talking to; I tell myself that I’ve got nothing interesting to say and that I’ll probably just stammer if I even try.What steps do you go through to panic about this?

4. How exactly do you know when to begin the process of [insert your behaviour]?

> Example: As soon as I think I’m going to have to meet someone new, the voice in my head starts picking away at my confidence right up until the point of actually meeting them.

5. What do you do when you’re not sure you’ve reached your goal?

> Example: The voice starts finding even more negative things to say to/about me and why someone won’t want to meet me or talk to me. And if I’m actually talking to the person, the voice starts taunting me and saying how bored they look and how stupid I sound, until I’m practically unable to speak and I’m looking for ways I can leave as soon as possible.

6. What’s the comparison you’re making?

> Example: I’m comparing myself to them, and how accomplished they are and how accomplished their usual friends and circle of people must be.

7. What lets you know you’re finished?

> Example: When I’m too afraid and nervous to speak and end up stumbling over my words, giggling uncomfortable and embarrassingly, and I know my cheeks are flaming and I’m sweating all over.  

8. What lets you know you’re successful at [insert your behaviour]?

> Example: When the conversation has finished and I can tell they can’t wait to get away from me. 

9. If you had to teach someone else to do what you do – and become the best at it – how would you describe the process to them?

> Example: You need to start by looking at how amazing the person is and how many things they’ve accomplished, and then compare it to what you’ve done. And then start asking yourself why they’d even bother to want to meet you and what on earth you could possibly say that was interesting to them. And keep this kind of line of thought running until you actually meet them – amping it up and bigging them up at the same time as belittling ourself.

Then when you meet them, you have to convince yourself that they’re not listening and are utterly bored by what you’re saying – and look for every tiny sign of this (that they glance away, that they stifle a yawn, that they smile politely but are clearly not interested) – until you have so much performance anxiety that you can barely speak coherently and clearly do come across as an idiot because you’ve managed to psyche yourself out so much :-O 

10. What would it be like if you didn’t [insert behaviour]?

Example: Life-changing. How do I do that?

The above is a subset of the full process for strategy elicitation; if you’re curious to learn more about NLP and how it can be used to change your behaviour, this video is a good introduction of how it’s taught (it’s fairly detailed since it’s part of an NLP training session and may mention things you don’t know about yet but it gives you an insight into how behaviours can be deconstructed and then changed).

If you’d like to learn more strategies like this, why not join the next group of The Game-Changer Experience →