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!



Our 2013 Experience and 2014 Plans

2013 Practitioner Training - exericse

2013 Practitioner Training – exercise

Now that I have come up for air and am recovering from producing and participating in the Real World NLP Practitioner Training I can begin to fully appreciate its impact – both on us, the trainers, and on the participants.

I don’t believe I have ever seen a group that bonded so deeply, or supported and learned from each other so well. I’d like to think that part of that was because of the way we structured the training. One element we changed was to skip the attendee introductions at the beginning, so that they could get to know each other through participating in the exercises. We didn’t want people to label each other by their profession or their own self-perception, but to be discovered and hopefully seen more authentically. And I think that was the case, even though at first it seemed to cause a little frustration.

The daily ½ hour Aikido sessions led each morning by our wonderful German Master, Heiko Kirmis, had us moving and interacting playfully and gracefully (well, some of us were not so graceful!); which helped us activate our brains for the days input. The last two days we had a female example of the moves led by our Assistant Producer, Caitlin Ewing.

Our feedback surveys showed that the demonstrations and “real world” contexts of the exercises were really valuable and we are delighted, since our intention was to make the NLP processes understandable and accessible in real life situations. Attendees also indicated they wanted more time to practice, to understand and go more deeply into the exercises, so we will be altering the structure to accommodate that in our next training.

The Transactional Analysis section with Abe Wagner was a big eye opener to everyone, helping them quickly identify ineffective behaviors in themselves and others, and to use the NLP knowledge of body postures, movement, anchoring, and states of excellence to move into more effective ways to communicate and behave.

The warmth, gentle direction, playful exercises, and creativity of Babs Kirmis; the dynamic, interactive demonstrations of creative conflict by Mark Andreas; the deep knowledge and powerful wisdom of Steve Andreas, the spiritful day in the forest (although challenged by the rain) led by Bobbi Best; the gentle direction, support, stories and coaching by Darryl Debault; and most of all the enthusiasm and willing participation of the attendees made this training all we had hoped it to be: fun, informative and life-changing.

We also had the surprising and delightful contribution of a fellow trainer from Brazil, Gilberto Cury who demonstrated an amazing phobia, anxiety cure.

We have been encouraged to produce the next step with a Master NLP Practitioner Certification. So we are planning a full 12-day course to be given in two six-day segments for this spring (probably April for one Thursday-to-Tuesday segment and May for the next Thursday-to-Tuesday segment.) The next 12-day Real World NLP Practitioner Training will be held the summer of 2015.

The upcoming schedule will be on the NLP of the Rockies site in a few weeks, so plan to join us!

Thank you all – and join us on Facebook to stay connected,

Jan Prince, Trainer and Producer

2013 Practitioner cohort

2013 Practitioner cohort

Imagine Yourself Here: A day in the life of our NLP training

Summer Day – NLP Training typical day

Early morning: You start your day on the deck of your condo, enjoying a cup of your favorite hot beverage in the cool morning air, watching the sun through the pines, listening to the chirps of robins and the whirring of hummingbird wings. Maybe you take a quick hike on one of the trails wandering from the condo, ride your bike along the river, or walk into town to get a warm bagel from Carver’s.

A little before 9 am: You walk down to the Beaver Village conference room (maybe watching the moose walk through the parking lot on the way) and join the other fascinating people from all over the globe who are excited about learning NLP with you.

The NLP training day starts with our Aikido master leading us in easy movements that represent and integrate the previous day’s learnings and gently waken our bodies for the day. One or two of the other trainers explains the day’s principles and techniques, demonstrating a change process and how to maximize your learning. You join your cohorts in practicing how to change obstacles into stepping stones, respectfully influence others and read the subtle communication signals that indicate success. You’re encouraged to try things out, make mistakes, experiment and have fun while learning.

1:00 pm: You take a 1½ hour break for lunch maybe pulling together a healthy lunch in your condo, walking two blocks into town to eat at a local restaurant with other students,  heading across to road to take an hour long horseback ride or up to the resort to whiz down the Alpine Slide, or just resting quietly on the deck.

Back in the training room after lunch you join in the music and drumming for a little while to wake up your senses and enliven your energy before going back to the lesson and practicing techniques.

5:30 pm: You have another 1½ hour break for dinner time to eat with others or alone, take a walk in the woods surrounding the condos or swim in the indoor pool.

7:00 pm: You could choose to rest for the evening or take the opportunity to join a small group to discuss the techniques you learned that day, a time to ask questions; talk about what might not work and why, when and with what situations to use the processes; share your experiences of how you were able to see the changes in your own mind/psyche that day.

8:30 pm: You return to your room, deliciously tired, and sleep soundly with the cool mountain air coming in through the window, grateful for the new friends you have made and the changes you have experienced. As you sleep, your unconscious processes the day’s learnings in your dreams and prepares you to awaken the next day excited to find out what’s next!

Mountain Sunset – NLP Training typical day

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