I give a lot of thought to helping people change. I’m always looking for what works, and works best, and fastest. I’m always learning, and honing my craft. I have a model of change in my mind, a three tier system. I use it extensively in my Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and hypnotherapy work in the Greater Seattle area, and connect it to the services I’ve developed, Designer Feelings® and Designer Beliefs®. I thought I’d explain it to you!
As an intro to the discussion, here’s a brief video I made:
Action, emotion, and belief.
When I meet with private clients one on one, I ask a lot of questions as to the nature of the now, and the desired changes. I ask questions such as: What are you doing? What are you not doing? When, where, and with whom are you doing (or not doing)? How are you feeling in that moment (the behavioral decision point)? How are you feeling right before then? How are you feeling after? What are you thinking in that moment? What are you saying to yourself? What images are in your mind? What stops you from change? What are your beliefs about yourself and the world? There are no right or wrong answers, and there’s no judgment involved–this is a fact-finding expedition!
I’m looking for three things. Action, emotion, and belief. They are connected. If we feel a certain way, we act a certain way. Behavior–it’s what we DO. Say, for example, someone wants to quit smoking, or lose weight, or control alcohol. When they feel stressed, they smoke a cigarette. Or, they eat a cookie. Or reach for a beer. The mind has created a strategy, shortcut from emotion to behavior to emotion, and back in a loop. I’m stressed, I eat a cookie, now I’m feeling calm. I’m bored. I smoke a cigarette, and I feel more focused. I think about the dirty dishes, I’m overwhelmed, I play on the internet. I’m entertained, and no longer overwhelmed.
Through 12 years of working with people I’ve come to the conclusion that emotion is the #1 driver of behavior. Conscious thought does not directly drive behavior. If it did, we’d have no phobias, no fears, no unwanted habits, etc. The driver of behavior is how we FEEL. The right feeling in the right moment (a behavioral decision point) leads to our desired outcomes! Yay. So, in my office at Mindworks Hypnosis & NLP, we create the desired feelings that lead to the desired outcomes and ask the mind to automate them: Designer Feelings®.
However, there is a higher level of change available to us. What controls how we feel? It’s what we BELIEVE about ourselves and the world. People have what I call “limiting beliefs” which create negative feelings which in turn create the unwanted habits or behaviors. This is the highest and most significant level of change. What creates anxiety–which is a huge driver of behavior and non-behavior? It’s a limiting belief about self. We remove limiting beliefs such as: “I can’t” or “I don’t deserve” or “I’m not enough.” Those are all false and ridiculous! They only become a reality and limit us when we believe in them. So, in my Bellevue hypnotherapy and NLP office at Mindworks Hypnosis & NLP, we create new beliefs that power people up to feel good and make the good choices: Designer Beliefs®.
So, the three levels of change are this: 1. What we do–a habit, a pattern, a response in the world. We work on this! 2. How we feel which drives us into differing behaviors–emotion, state of mind/body, such as confidence, joy, motivation. We work on this! 3. What you believe to be true in the world. When you believe in your own power, you become powerful. Henry Ford, the automaker, said it best: “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right!” We work on this.
Go big or go home!
I know as a fact, having done this work with thousands of clients over the years, that this third level is the biggest and best work I do. Because, removing negative thinking about self doesn’t only change one feeling or behavior, it changes everything. Like dominoes falling. You might come in to change a habit around food. But removing limiting beliefs will impact everything in addition to that in a positive way, how you perform at work, improve your relationships, improve learning, improve memory, your health and self care, and so on.
When you change how you think about yourself, you feel better, and habits change throughout all areas of your life. To myself I call this idea of working on level 3: “go big or go home!”
That’s it. Simple. The task is HOW to make it happen–changing beliefs, feelings, actions. That’s skilled NLP. Faster than any other methodology (when performed by skilled and creative artists) change happens. NLP is an art. This is not a science or anything that can be put in a can or made generic, it’s an art form. The work is based on an individual mind and it’s lifelong accumulation of personal strategies and thinking, and the NLP strategist finding the right “tweak” points to improve life. That’s what I do. That’s what I love.
Connie Brannan, CHt.
Clinical Neuro-Linguistic Hypnotherapist
Licensed Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming®
Originator of Designer Feelings®
Originator of Designer Beliefs®
Design Human Engineer™
Professional Conversational Hypnotherapist
Managing Partner, Mindworks Hypnosis
All content here copyright© Connie Brannan, Cht., 2019
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