Managing Today’s Chaos

Bad News


Record snow and cold, Jihadi John beheadings, deadly hospital viruses, oh my!

Mall shootings, terrorist attack plots, measles and ebola, enough to make me cry!

Just turn on the news and you too can go crazy with anxiety after being bombarded with the bad news of at the day – especially on your 54” HD TV. So, how can you stay informed and keep sane these days?


Well, one way that works for me is to refocus my experience. Instead of thinking about me, an American woman, in the U.S., in the year 2015, I think about all the women who have ever lived, all over the world, for the last 10,000 years, and viola! — just like the Sound of Music song My Favorite Things, “then I don’t feel so bad” when I am stuck in gridlocked traffic.

I love reading historical biographies and often think of my grandmother, married at 18 to my 30 year old grandfather. Bearing 12 children at home (4 of whom died in infancy), feeding them, sewing clothes from grain seed sacks, fighting the dust storms and depression of the 1920s on a sugar beet farm in eastern Colorado… well, it puts my puny irritations in perspective.

How we internalize events, not the events themselves, determines how we respond to and feel about the external world. When we are calmer we can respond with more appropriateness. NeuroLinguistic Programming teaches many ways to manage our feelings by restructuring our internal representations of events. Here is a little exercise you can try:

  • Think of something that worries you right now, over which you have little control— for example the recent police shootings of unarmed young men.
  • Notice how you experience it: what are you saying to yourself about it; what are you imagining (visualizing) about it; what sensations do you notice in your body?
    My guess is that you are seeing and hearing it up close, in color as if it were happening now.
  • Next imagine stepping back, putting a frame around that experience, and then sliding it far away to one side. Allow it to become a very small, black and white, still photo, like the ones taken 100 years ago. Notice your experience of it now.
  • Now, think of something you know is happening right now in the world that is a sign of human compassion or innovation; for example when policemen recently spent a day pulling over unsuspecting drivers and handed them $100 bills.
  • Make sure those images are close, in color, vibrant, and the voices close so you can hear the delighted responses of the recipients. How does that feel?
    Imagine doing that automatically every day with the input you receive!

While we don’t want to eliminate awareness of the negative like a Pollyanna, we also don’t need to be the unhappy curmudgeon who is only in touch with the evil in humans either. Having awareness of and control over how we manage our experiences is what we can do with and what we teach in NLP.

I highly recommend the book Rapt by Winifred Gallagher which explores the concept of attention and how it influences our lives. Gallagher quotes poet W.H. Auden:

“Choice of attention is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences.”

So take charge and focus in a way that allows you to take appropriate action and reduce anxieties. My friend Sally put it well: In all of time, in all of places on the earth, no one ever had it as good as me.

Side note: Journalist George Will’s interesting article also puts one aspect of our situation into perspective.

Is it Information, Knowledge, or Wisdom?

imagesInformation is everywhere – and everyone knows everything because we can google it. Think of it as piles of factoids – like bricks for building.

Knowledge is knowing how to put the bricks together into something cohesive- how to construct a building.

Wisdom is using the knowledge well- should a building be constructed at all, and what materials are best for the purpose.

Everyone has information. Some have knowledge. Very few have Wisdom. Wisdom involves knowing when to impart knowledge or opinions.

Before opening one’s mouth it is wise to remember the NeuroLinguistic Programming principle:

Know what you want to happen by saying what you are about to say. First ask:

  • Will what I am about to say be useful?
  • Has my opinion been invited?
  • Am I just showing off what I know?
  • Am I fulfilling my own need to fix things?

I’ve heard it expressed even more precisely:

  • Does it need to be said?
  • Does it need to be said now?
  • Does it need to be said by me?

A passage from Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth has good advice regarding this: “Being present is always infinitely more powerful than anything one could say or do, although being present can give rise to words or actions.”

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!


How to Fail – Using the Most Proven NLP Process!

One of the most famous NLP techniques is the Phobia Cure, a manipulation of the sequence and perspective of imagined events that cause the body to react as if there is immediate danger. It has been a staple of my psychotherapy/coaching practice for 30 years.

And I have seen it fail! Let me give you an example: I was working with a young man who was about to be married in a few days and was terrified of giving a speech in front of the families and friends who were to attend. Clearly, there was no immediate or future threat to his safety. Everyone who was to attend cared about him. No matter how many times I used the technique with him, the level of fear stayed the same. What went wrong?

I had a few suspicions: was this marriage the best thing for him, was there a self-image issue, or a commitment problem? I gently circled those questions, but it was clear that at this late date he was not open to exploring these issues.

Over the years I have learned to search for additional information when someone comes to me to get over a phobia  I look for answers to questions such as:

  • Is this the only “phobia” or are there clusters of them?
  • Did this fear have a trigger event or has is been a life-long issue?
  • What submodalities (images, sounds, or feelings) drive the fear strategy?
  • Is there a compelling motivation for the person to overcome the fear?
  • Is the fear a component of a larger issue, such as a limiting self-concept?

What I learned has made a huge difference in the level of success I have had in helping people. An exciting case in point happened recently.

A dear, long-time friend was recently visiting from the mid-west. As I drove us up into the foothills I noticed she fidgeted and occasionally gasped as we came to a curve that had a drop-off. I’ve been told I am a good driver so I suspected she had acrophobia. When we encountered 12-foot high bridges that led us to the elephant enclosures at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, she really panicked. Even though she loved animals and wanted to get closer, she resisted the ramps. She then admitted that she had been afraid of heights as long as she could remember.

I offered to do a phobia cure with her but she shook her head. “It won’t work with me,” she said, so I backed off. (Remember, we always need an invitation to intervene.)

The next day I discovered that the Wildlife Sanctuary we planned to visit was on 720 acres and the only way to see the animals was to walk a mile-long, 22-foot high ramp. I showed her the website and suggested we skip the trip. “No, I have to see the animals.”  Now she was motivated!

I asked her to tell me more about the acrophobia. Her fear wasn’t so much about getting too close to the edge, but of the supporting structures failing. It also became clear that she was hyper-vigilant about many situations – being a passenger in another driver’s car, flying in airplanes – anything that involved depending on others for her safety. I guessed, from what I knew of her childhood, that the larger issue stemmed from the fact that she really couldn’t rely on her parents to provide a safe, dependable environment when she was growing up. I asked about her strategy for deciding whether or not to attempt anything novel and she said, “It has to be within my control.” So I knew I had to provide a compelling vision of her future-self being alert, in control, and safe.

I could also hear a strong auditory component in response to her fear: “I can’t do this; I am a failure.”  We would need a verbal replacement.

Once I had uncovered the larger scope of the phobia, I proceeded with the standard phobia cure which involves making a double dissociated, black and white movie of her being on a high ramp and returning to the ground safely, then having her step into the movie at the final frame and running it backward in color. We did this several times until her knees no longer got weak and her stomach no longer lurched. Then I suggested she watch a new movie of her future-self walking to a high place and being alert and safe. We imagined her doing this in several contexts and also had her say to herself: “I relax, I do my best; I am alert and safe.” Once I saw her face and body relax, I felt that the process was fitting her criteria for control, her auditory supporting statements, and her ability to be confident, we were ready to test it.

The following day we visited the Sanctuary. The difference was amazing. She was surprised and delighted when she walked the mile long ramp out and back with ease.  There were two places that were a bit scary – when the ramp went over a road and when ½ of it was blocked for repairs making the 4-foot-wide ramp only 2 feet wide. Since she was very auditory, I suggested we sing as we walked back over the same territory as we returned to the entrance. And it worked! She was fine.

As we toasted her success that evening with a glass of wine, she gloated. “Now that I know I can overcome that, I think I can do anything!”  Quite a powerful change.

Too often phobia cures are done without exploring the larger scope of a fear’s impact and context. If it doesn’t work, look for the driving submodality (it’s not always images), the motivating criteria for changing it, the scope of the fear (is it about capabilities or identity?), and the impact of making the change on the person’s safety and self-image.

In the NLP of the Rockies Master Training we explore such anomalies that exist when using NLP processes. Check out the topics we will cover in the 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