On a dog walk with a friend earlier this week, I passed by a group of mums talking about how they could barely keep their **** together with their kids during lockdown. They were so relieved that the kids were going back to school but weren't looking forward to the weeks ahead of the school holidays with so many of the usual facilities likely to be closed. It had clearly been a huge struggle and in the battle to stay calm and not shout, they had lost.
I know from client calls that in some cases they had given up on homeschooling, recruited friends with older children or paid tutors. They didn't like home schooling and didn't feel their children appreciated their efforts; often telling them they didn't explain things properly or like their teacher would.
Their partner would be working elsewhere and couldn't be disturbed and they were left to manage schooling as well as the house, cooking and their own work. Many were also concerned about their elderly parents. But you know all this. We've all been through it haven't we?
But I want to tell you about how we can stay calm and be patient because we can.
Imagine the most patient person you have ever met. Who is it?
For me it would be a friend who has a cerebral palsy child or it could be my dad's carer when he had a stroke (he has passed now) or perhaps it's one of the teachers at your child's school.
What makes NLP different from other therapies such as CBT is the idea of modelling.
Modelling in NLP is the process by which we can acquire new skills. It is based on the understanding that if we find someone who has the skill we want then by copying its structure and the underlying belief, we can have it for ourselves. It is a very powerful technique enabling us to incorporate into ourselves, other people’s skills and gifts. The excellence that we model is something we think someone does better than anyone else but we too can have our own excellence. We have skills we use in another part of our life that we want to transfer, that too can be modelled.
“When we step into someone else’s shoes and reproduce what they do and the results they achieve, we are modelling.” Sue Knight
“In modelling we elicit the strategies, beliefs, values and fundamental filters and the physiology that allows someone to produce certain behaviour. Then we codify these in a series of steps designed to make the behaviour easy to reproduce.” Jeremy Lazarus
So first you find a few people who can do this really well. You observe them and work out how they do this. What do they do first, then next and so on. Notice what you see . hear and the actions you witness. If you were to go away and copy this structure you may improve your result but you won’t get the same result as them because your thinking is different. You know your thinking is different because if it were the same you’d not get the result you get now. So you need to find out what they are thinking. You need to find out their values and beliefs about getting things done by the deadline. What’s different in their thinking that enables them to have this patience. You can get their thinking and underlying beliefs by asking them directly ‘what’s important to you about being patient in this situation?’ and then go through the structure again with this answer and way of thinking in your mind.
You can also think about your own life. Is there an area of your life where you are patient? We don’t behave the same in all situations. Perhaps in a craft, in music, reading or other activity you do this with great patience. Imagine you’re doing that now. What’s the underlying belief about why you’re doing this like this? Take this belief and apply it to where you need it.
It is much easier than you think to take on someone’s belief and it starts by saying to yourself ‘what if I believed this?’ and then ‘acting as if’ you do. Once we have their structure and beliefs we can start thinking about the values they must have that underpin them. We test out our hypotheses by repeating what we have observed and taking on the beliefs and values. One by one we remove different elements to find out which parts of our model are the ones we need to replicate the excellence. Then we have our model which we can teach to others and the proof of how successfully we have modelled will lie in the ability to pass it on to others who can then get the same result.
How can we apply this to help children?
Children enjoy modelling their TV and video game heroes. When they have problems with fears and anxieties, asking them to imagine they are their hero works very well in getting them into a brave state of mind where they can conquer their fears. Ask ‘what would x do? ‘Children have fantastic imagination and can easily turn into their hero and take on their persona in order to feel brave. This is a much better strategy than crawling around under the bed talking to imaginary monsters.
If they want to be better at schoolwork they can emulate the person in their class who gets the best marks. They need to find out how this child succeeds, what is his strategy? Does he learn visually, auditory or kinaesthetically? What is his process? When does the process start? It may start much earlier than when he starts the work.
You can use modelling to acquire skills from anyone you admire. This extract was taken from 'Secrets of the NLP Masters' available from my website or Amazon.