"A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it." -- Ambrose Bierce
In my last blog, I talked about all the awesome standard equipment we've been given -- brilliant brains, bodies that perform amazing functions in every moment, our incredible ability to see, hear, taste, feel, and communicate. Honestly, every one of us has all we need -- as standard equipment -- to live highly successful and happy lives.
I also mentioned that most of us are walking around with fantastic equipment that we haven't plugged in! We've stopped the flow of our natural capacities so they can't function as magnificently as they could. Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) would say that we're spending too much of our life trying to operate from a non-resourceful state that blocks the full power of our standard equipment.
And as a result, we struggle and can't seem to create the life we desire. Even if we battle to where we think we want to go, we do so at a cost to our health or our relationships. We don't enjoy the journey, and it just seems hard!
The good news (and there's only good news this time!) is that we can intentionally, easily and effortlessly, put ourselves into a resourceful state any time we choose. We literally can switch within seconds to a state in which we can think clearly and creatively, express ourselves authentically, and do whatever we need to do to feel energetic, powerful and happy.
First, let's get clear on what a non-resourceful state looks like. It includes things like worry, doubt, fear, tension, exhaustion, blame, self-flagellation, distractedness, foggy headedness, resentment, panic, anxiety, anger, distress, and sadness -- get the picture?
An extreme example would be a panic attack: You can hardly breathe much less think. Your emotions are running wild, and you don't know who to trust much less which way to go. Your body freezes and your mind goes blank. Totally non-resourceful, right?
How about a more subtle example? You're a little concerned that your boss doesn't like your work. You spend your days trying to figure out what's wrong, running the "what ifs" over and over in your head and playing out worst case scenarios -- rather than being proactive and productive. Perhaps that's not as painful as an anxiety attack, but you're still not using your brilliant natural resources as they're meant to be used.
In contrast, in a resourceful state, you feel calm, centered, and comfortable in your own skin. You feel capable and confident. Your body is relaxed yet energetic, and you're able to move with grace and power. Your mind is able to generate all kinds of options and make clear decisions. You're very aware of the environment and people around you, and you can respond easily.
Most importantly, being in this resourceful state is not dependent on your circumstances or specific events. You don't have to be winning or hanging out with people who adore you. You don't have to be a master at whatever you're doing or in the perfect environment. Just like every state, you are the one who generates this resourceful state. You bring it to the circumstance.
Let me be clear. When I talk about a resourceful state, I'm not talking about positive thinking. It's not the Little Engine chanting, "I think I can. I think I can." It's a fully experiential state where you don't have to convince yourself that you can. You simply know that you can and you feel it on every level -- physical, emotional, and metal.
So how to get there? And how do we switch to that state when you feel yourself being less than resourceful? In NLP, we teach several techniques. One is to create a "resource anchor," a unique trigger that will remind your unconscious and physiology to enter your resourceful state. An anchor can be a word or a motion. It can be tapping a part of your body. Just make sure it's unique, like touching a knuckle, rubbing an earlobe, or saying a word or phrase in a special way.
The process only takes a minute or so. The four steps to creating your resource anchor are:
- Recall a time when you felt especially empowered, confident, and capable. Get into the memory until you can really feel those feelings.
- As those "resourceful" feelings build, activate the anchor (do the motion or say the word you've chosen). Keep the anchor going for up to 5 - 15 seconds, until your resourceful feelings reach their peak.
- Stop the anchor and break fully from the memory. Spend a moment or two distracting yourself and thinking about something totally different.
- Next, reactivate your anchor (say the word or do the motion you've chosen). Notice how empowered, confident, and capable you feel!
How was that? Isn't this the state you'd prefer to be in most of the time? To make your resource anchor even more powerful, go through this process again with about three or four different memories. Remember to use the same anchor!
The five keys to this process are the following:
- Intensity (choosing an empowering memory that you can really get into)
- Timing (making sure you activate your anchor when your re-experience of that resourceful feeling is peaking)
- Uniqueness (choosing an anchor that is distinctive)
- Replicability (meaning it's easy for you to fire off the anchor when you want to), and
- The number of times the state is anchored.
Try it out and take your resourceful state on a road trip! Next time you are about to be faced with an experience where you would normally feel non-resourceful, use your anchor and step into your resourceful state instead.
Matthew B. James, MA, Ph.D., is President of The Empowerment Partnership, where students learn Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Huna and Hypnosis. To find out more about how to do the NLP process of anchoring, we invite you to watch Dr. Matt's free webinar NLP and Anchoring: Learning the Basics of Emotional Mastery.
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