NLP perceptual positions.
Before telling you about my friend’s transformational experience, I’ll first explain what NLP Perceptual Positions is.
NLP Perceptual Positions is a technique that is about giving a person the opportunity to experience a situation from multiple positions. We call them the first, second and third. When someone needs a new perspective on relationships or any difficult circumstance this is a great way of looking at things from different angles and gaining clarity through new perspectives.
In the real world, my friend Dave
So, here’s a quick story about a situation my friend found himself in and how he managed to ‘unstick’ himself with the help of using perceptual positions.
I’d not seen my friend for quite a while, and when I did bump into him again I almost didn’t recognize him at first. His smile seemed strained and his energy levels were really low. I remember a really active and vibrant person, and I never thought I would see him like this. So, I decided to take him to my local coffee shop to have a catch up over a drink and to listen to what had been happening in his life since the last time I’d seen him.
From the moment I met him I picked up on the fact he was expressing that “everything is over, there’s no time”. I recognized that the dominant thought in his mind is “there’s no time”. He was living under the impression that he would not be able to accomplish anything in his life because he was too old, he’d run out of time, life was too short now to accomplish anything meaningful.
I could see he was visibly upset, actually in tears at points during the conversation. When I asked him about how things were with him he told me that he was about to be laid off because the company he was working for was failing. Because of this, he feared he would be out on the street very soon. Not only that but he felt he may not find a job later because he was not working with his talents and because he’s not young anymore.
He had a plan of sorts, and that was to sell his car, start thinking about his bills, and somehow deal with his wife.
His VAK (Visual / Audio / Kinaesthetic) movie (another great NLP technique) was terrible. His plan was not going to help him move forward, so I got my favourite pen and on a piece of paper, started writing down every limiting believe he was saying.
Before moving forward with him, I explained that there seemed to be a number of things that he believed about himself at the moment that may not really be useful to him. Beliefs that were holding him back and limiting his choices, limiting beliefs in other words
I asked him about his childhood hero and he told me it was Bill Gates. Knowing him I knew he was into programming but didn’t know he liked it so much from childhood. I decided to use NLP Perceptual Positions with him.
To do this I had him read all the sentences I wrote down earlier. I asked him to read them once more loudly and imagine that Bill Gates was in front of him listening to what he was saying. I asked him to imagine that Bill Gates is responding to these sentences. What could he tell you about what you are saying? Will he agree with you or not? Then I asked him to imagine his kids listening to these sentences and how would they feel? How would his wife feel?
Later he recognized that the circumstance was not the problem and it may be his awareness. In other words, the things affecting his life, although having been triggered externally, had caused something to happen to him internally. The problems and issues were all in fact internal. What had been triggered, the bit he could work with and change was internal. In fact, he had full control over what he wanted to do and what he could do about making changes to improve things.
This was quite a shift.
He said his company will be there for the next three months with little work to do. This meant he would have free time to prepare for the upcoming period. He decided to invest more in learning and education. He also decided to get rid of all the useless activities he did on a daily basis.
NLP Perceptual Positions Sets In
Weeks later I met with him and he told me how things were going. He was very happy. His relationship with his wife was very close as never before, as he felt her support for him. He was also trying to move forward with an opportunity that appeared to him that would let him live the life of his dreams.
He told me that in fact the crisis he’d felt himself to be in was actually quite empowering after all. He’d not seen it this way at the time though. All he could see were the external pressures and he’d felt like he had no control. Once he realised that it was all about a change of mindset and awareness he said a world of possibilities started to open up for him.
How did it work for him?
What allowed this change of mindset for him was by seeing his situation and limiting beliefs from an outside perspective, from perspectives other than his own.
When we are inside out situation it is very hard to see the solutions. It feels like the awareness to solve the problem just isn’t there. This is when the technique of NLP perceptual positions can give you a new insight through new perspectives.
Try it for yourself
You can do this activity on your own. The next time you are faced with a problem that seems hopeless, simply write down all your limiting beliefs. Then, step outside yourself and see them from someone you look up to. Imagine what they would tell you or the solutions they might come up with. Have a go and see how your thinking suddenly changes.
Simple but effective!
You can read more here in our post ‘NLP perceptual positions – change your perspective‘
We cover perceptual positions on our NLP Practitioner courses.
Would you like to know more?
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Thanks for reading!
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- Many thanks from Chris and the Insights NLP team.