NLP and The Four Agreements

NeuroLinguistic Programming and The Four Agreements

by Jan Prince

As a life transitions coach I am always on the outlook for resources to share with my clients.  Most recently I became reacquainted with a book I had read years ago:  The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz.  The book is an easy read (actually I found myself wanting to edit it down) and very approachable.

It’s  tenant is simple:  we live in a dream world created by the rules our society uses to “domesticate” us.  We are indoctrinated first by our parents, then educators, then our particular society.  That “societal dream world” creates beliefs about ourselves and others that often cause us to feel powerless and unhappy.

Ruiz, a surgeon and Toltec shaman, suggests we can free ourselves of these limitations by adhering to four “agreements”:

Be impeccable with your word:  Say only what you mean; avoid using the word to speak negatively to yourself or about others; use the power of the word for good.

Don’t take anything personally: Be aware that what others do and say is a projection of their own reality, their own belief systems.  Even your own thoughts are a result of your conditioning and they must be examined objectively and challenged when they are harmful.

Don’t make assumptions:  Avoid misunderstandings and problems by asking questions and by expressing what you really want.  Don’t assume you know what motivates others.

Always do your best:  Avoid self-judgment and regret by doing your best and understand that “your best” will change from moment to moment and improve as you evolve.

These agreements have been invaluable to my personal growth and to the lives of my clients.

They are simple yet challenging to live.

NeuroLinguistic Programming has made it easier for me to comprehend and manifest these principles.  While the Four Agreements explains what to do, NLP offers the knowledge about  how to do it.

The NLP practitioner training I took in Colorado almost 35 years ago, taught me how to identify and change limiting belief systems, how to challenge assumptions (my own and others’) using specific questioning techniques, how to manage emotions, and how to create new habits more easily.

These skills not only improved my life, but gave me powerful tools I use to help others as they encounter the obstacles that life presents.

I highly recommend both the book and the NLP training.

Jan Prince

Come learn more about NLP and how to implement principles like those found in The Four Agreements at our NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner trainings taking place this summer in Winter Park, Colorado.

July 24 – August 5, 2017.

You are also invited to participate in Connirae Andreas’ Wholeness Process taking placing August 6 – 8, 2017 right after our NLP Practitioner trainings. This training does not require any previous NLP training.

To learn more about our NLP training and the Wholeness Process visit our  events page.

A little of “this” and a little of “that”: the power of one word




Joe’s energy was charged with tension in our first session. He was anxious about his job performance — afraid of getting demoted for missing deadlines. He avoided his boss for fear she would fire him. She was a no-nonsense, hard-driving woman who didn’t praise very often but was generous with criticism.

Jane was an energetic entrepreneur who had set high standards for herself: she wanted to take her sales company from $500,000 a year to $1,000,000 in 9 months.

Both were candidates for high blood pressure and ulcers. Both were out of touch with their own bodies, even though they worked out and were in “great shape.”

A good number of my clients come to me in order to overcome anxiety. Today’s culture of immediate turnarounds and internet relationships often causes tension, alienation and unhappiness.

When clients come to me they usually have heard about NLP and have expectations of immediate relief. Quite a bit of difference from the old “psychoanalysis twice a week for years on end” program, so I try to give them a few tools in the first several sessions that at least give them a bit of control over their situation.

First I examine with them their external circumstances — is there indeed a cause for the concern? In Joe’s case, he had not checked with his boss to see if he was really in trouble so we strategized the best ways he could approach her and find out how she evaluated his work. With Jane, we analyzed whether or not the big jump in income was realistic (it was), and what would happen if she didn’t reach her target (not much). In both cases the external stressors were not life and death — very manageable.

The next step is to help them identify what we in NLP define as submodalities — the physical location of where the sensation of anxiety manifests itself (usually in the stomach, chest and throat), what size, color, sensation, movement, sound, temperature, and shape it has.

For Joe it was between his gut and his chest; was dark, almost black; was tight and shaky; about the shape and size of a dumbbell, and equally heavy. No sound was associated with it. The level of anxiety on a scale of 1-10 was a 9. We tried several NLP and EFT processes to lower the level but got little movement. So I decided to try something new.

“Put your one hand on your gut and one on your chest. Feel your body there and hold it with compassion.”

Joe’s face relaxed a bit.

“Now say aloud: This is anxiety.”

This helps a person own the state but defines it as part of themselves, not their whole being.

Then I asked him to say, “That is anxiety,” aloud several times, pausing between statements to notice the effect. After three or four rounds he looked surprised. “It’s gone!”

With Jane, her anxiety manifested as an agitation in her mid and upper chest and a tightness in her jaw. I had her hold her chest and go through the same steps as Joe. Within moments we had the same results: the anxiety was gone.

I wrote down the simple process for both of them so they could do this on their own. Weeks later each is much calmer and able to analyze and take action to address their problems.

Try it yourself — and notice that the word “this” brings a feeling close, the word “that” moves it away.  Simple and powerful!

We will be experimenting with the power of words in even more ways in the NLP Master Practitioner Training. If you’ve completed your Practitioner training and want to increase your effectiveness in with world, join us this spring!



The Meaning of “Master”


“According to traditional conceptions, the function of a master is not limited to the teaching of doctrines, but implies the actual incarnation of knowledge, thanks to which he can awaken other men and help them in their search simply by his presence. He is there to create conditions for an experience through which knowledge can be lived as fully as possible.” 
– G.I. Gurdjieff, Meetings with Remarkable Men

Include our remarkable women trainers in the above quote, and that is what we intend to deliver in the NLP Master Practitioner training this spring.

“In the beginning there was the Word.”

I just had an inspiring talk with one of our Master Prac trainers, Charles Faulkner. His two-day section in April will focus on language: how it works and how to work it. Taking a “principles-based approach” to language —in contrast to examining individual patterns —Charles will show how Meta-Programs, Sleight-of-Mouth and other advanced language patterns are all aspects of the same system of distinctions (and there are only a handful of them). This will expand what you learned about the Meta-Model and the Milton Model in your Practitioner training as well as open the possibility of conversational change.

This won’t be about memorizing new processes but about deeply understanding and being able to generate useful language in our conversations with others.

The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Through modern neuroscience and linguistics, we are only beginning to understand the power of language — something poets, healers, and even politicians have practiced over the centuries. Charles has been studying language for decades and will be sharing his knowledge and skills with us by demonstrating what language does, how it does it, and what we can do with it to expand awareness and growth to facilitate perceptual and belief shifts in ourselves and others.

Master Trainer Lara Ewing has been practicing the elegant focus of attention through language for equally as long as Charles and will teach in our May session.

Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.” – Martin Heidegger

Isn’t it time you changed that in your life?

When you join us, you will be sharing the wisdom of some of the best Masters in the field.


Movie review and the Disney Creativity Model


Saving Mr. Banks movie poster

Image property of the Walt Disney Company

Last Friday two friends and I saw the movie Saving Mr. Banks, the story of how Walt Disney finally convinced author P.L. Travers to give him the rights to make a musical of her book Mary Poppins.

It took him 20 years to accomplish the task!

The trailers for the movie had me expecting a funny, frivolous experience – it was anything but that. I highly recommend it, especially to those interested in NLP. All three of us are NLP trained and had fun discussing how Disney was finally able to crack Mrs. Travers’ code. Without spoiling the movie for those who haven’t seen it yet, here are some of the things we discussed:

One aspect was his ability to envision his outcome so vividly that it kept him motivated to complete the project in the face of two decades of yearly rejection. His objective was so clear and his purpose so compelling, he never lost sight or belief in his ability to win her over.


That said, his plan to win her over failed until he uncovered the motive behind her recalcitrance. Even after the initial hurdle, he struggled to build rapport until he finally understood the values underneath her resistance. His response to her objections was: “How do we fix this?”

The results were nothing short of magical.


Disney Creativity Model

The Disney Creativity Model

In the 1980s, NLP innovator Robert Dilts codified Disney’s winning strategies and called it the Disney Creativity Model.

In the NLP Master Practitioner training, we teach and apply this strategy within the context of individual goals as well as in group or company situations. I have used it myself many times to achieve personal goals and have facilitated dozens of meetings using the strategy to help companies move toward big visions.

If you would like to experience the powerful energy and success strategies employed by Disney and used by many companies since Dilts’ codification, join us in the Master Practitioner this spring.

See, hear, and feel you there!


Top 7 questions asked about NLP training

1. What is NLP training?

Neuro Linguistic Programming is the study and application what works. We are told by motivational speakers, business gurus, and mentors that we should solve conflicts peacefully, manage our emotions, understand and establish good relationships with our colleagues, friends and family; but how often do they show you HOW? NLP is the HOW!

What body movements, internal mind strategies, language patterns accomplish this? That is what NLP teaches.

2. Why get a certification?

A certification from a reputable training organization will open the doors to further advanced training; some coaching institutions and corporate consultants are looking for people with NLP certified training.  The medical information company for whom I was a liaison paid for my training to help with communications between doctors, nurses and editors.  It is a plus on a resume!

3. 12 days is hard to set aside, why shouldn’t I just do a home study?

Home study can help people understand the concepts of NLP.  Only experience and practice can incorporate it as a natural habit in your life. Interacting on a daily basis with people of different personalities from all over the world will help you apply the principles and techniques over and over until they are second nature. Not to mention the life long friendships you will develop.

4. How is the summer intensive different than the extended weekend format?

Both have their advantages. For those who can’t travel or don’t have the power to take the vacation/time out of their lives to focus on themselves, the weekend format is fine.

For those who want to immerse themselves into the learning; share the experience with fellow travelers, enjoy nature in the mountains (watch a moose wander by outside the training room window), spend the evenings discussing the day’s experiences with qualified coaches, and have a summer to remember for life the summer residential is It!

5. What will I learn that will make it worthwhile?

You will learn how to turn obstacles into stepping-stones; how to understand and respond to others effectively; how to understand and become friends with yourself; and how to manage how you feel. Conflicts and objections will change from scary circumstances to be avoided to interesting possibilities.

6. Why your training?

Never before has such an experienced team of NLP experts been gathered like this.  Their backgrounds vary from therapy careers, NLP developers, business consultants, teachers, and business owners all NLP master trainers providing the most in depth, widespread experience ever offered. The cost has been honed so that it is the most economical, well-spent time and investment we could offer.

7. Who comes to these trainings?

CEOs of large companies, entrepreneurs who have to sell their ideas, people who manage teams of all sorts, sales managers, therapists, coaches, parents who want ideas about how to relate to their kids better, individuals who want to up their game in life, and teachers all have benefited from NLP trainings in Winter Park.

Check out these video testimonials about NLP Training