Creating V4

Author Archive for Tracy Hoobyar

One of the most valuable lessons I learned from my mom and step-dad – everyone processes at different speeds.

You see, my mom was a very quick thinker with a wicked sense of humor. My step-dad, brilliant in his own right, was a much slower thinking, processing everything before responding. Unfortunately for my mother, that often meant going days without getting an answer or input on something.

My mom, as a quick thinker, was also not always long on patience!  But she learned.  And my step-dad learned to say things to let her know he was thinking about it, just not quite ready to answer yet.

While in the early years of their marriage this disconnect made for some very interesting times, as time went on, and they figured this out, it made for much smoother conversations. 🙂

They were married for just over 30 years when my step-dad passed away, and remain one of the sweetest love stories I have heard.  I remember my mom telling me that he was truly her soul mate, and she couldn’t imagine ever being interested in anyone else.  

And I attribute a lot of their happiness on them figuring this one key piece out.

Have you ever run into that? Where you are in the middle of a conversation and the other person seems to just, check out?  They don’t finish the conversation, leaving you frustrated, irritated, and feeling not heard?

Sure!  I think we’ve all been there.

And as you know, this can lead to some huge misunderstandings and breakdowns in communication.  On both sides.

Imagine being in a conversation and wanting to respond fully and appropriately, but not being ready to. Imagine the frustration in knowing you can’t give the other person what they want, and feel they deserve, because you are literally incapable. Imagine the feeling of inadequacy that could create.

This mismatch of communication styles isn’t comfortable for anyone. Particularly when you aren’t aware of it.

Being aware, and understanding, how people’s mind impacts their response time is a total game changer in communication and relationships. It can take awkward moments and smooth them out into simple expectations.

Knowing how your partner/colleague/friend thinks, and preparing yourself accordingly, can change your entire relationship!

What about knowing your own response style?  What if you get yourself in trouble by answering too quickly, not allowing yourself time to think everything through?

How would it change your world to know what your default is, and be able to change it to better serve you?  What would it mean if you were more in control of your responses, knew what to expect, and could explain yourself to the people you communicate with.

This is easy to do once you truly understand, and incorporate, submodalities into your life. By learning and understanding what clues people give about the way they process information you can know what to expect from them.

By discovering how you process information, you can identify opportunities for growth and make the changes you need to for stronger communication.  

Do you know what your preferred submodality is?  Here’s a quick test.

Think of a conversation you have had recently. Now, notice if you are making a picture of it, hearing it take place, or feeling your yourself having it.  This will give you a glimpse into how you tend to hold memories and information.

Let’s try one more.  Think of the last time you rode a roller coaster. Remember?  Do you see a picture of yourself riding it? Do you hear it?  Or do you feel yourself on the coaster itself?

Most of us use more than one of our senses to store information, but we tend to have a preferred sense. We call this a submodality.

Understanding what your preferred submodality is will help you to understand how you think. Now, remember, everyone has a preferred submodality they think in…and they aren’t all the same!

This is where misunderstandings and miscommunications happen. When we inadvertently assume everyone thinks like we do (well, don’t they?) we can get ourselves all twisted up.

Take a few moments and really explore how you think. Discover your inner world and how it impacts you and your thoughts.  For fun, ask a few of your friends and family these same questions.  Discover how they think, and notice not only similarities, notice the differences.

The differences are where real change can happen!

We do in depth exploration and practice with submodalities and how they impact your life in the Unforgettable Practitioner training.  To find out more and how submodalities can change your communications, schedule your free NLP Discovery Session here.

A couple of weeks ago I shared my journey with yoga with you.  How my identity kept me from trying it, and my new committment to doing yoga every day.

First, an update.

I am not only still doing yoga…I notice the daily practice, combined with broken belief patterns and shift in identity, are leading to a more disciplined approach to my day and my health.


Beliefs I didn’t even know I had

I promised to share with you what answer I got when I asked myself why I hadn’t started doing yoga yet.

“Cause it’s hard.”

Haha, yep!  That was the answer.  Are you kidding me? “Cause it’s hard!?”

Wow. Was I surprised when I quieted enough to hear that answer!

Those who know me know I don’d tend to shy away from the “hard stuff,” so it never occurred to me that this would be the answer. Never!

Realizing this was what was stopping me from even trying, I set out to change that belief, once and for all.

I found some yoga poses online and in my daughter’s books. I asked her to show me some simple poses.

I chose a few that looked possible. They were incredibly simple, but I had one goal, and one goal only, for these poses.

To shift my beliefs.

That was it. It was not about increasing my flexibility or strength. It wasn’t about building myself up to full sessions.

It was simply, and solely, about shifting my beliefs.

You see, if I believed yoga was hard, and I did some yoga that was easy, my beliefs would have already shifted. Out of necessity.

So, I tried some poses.  I didn’t “do” the poses. My beliefs wouldn’t allow me to commit to that yet. (I was suprised to find out how strong my beliefs were!)

I tried some poses. And they weren’t hard!  They were, in fact, easy!  And, they actually felt good!

And that was the beginning of the end of my beliefs about yoga being hard.

And that’s been life changing.

Our beliefs get cemented throughout our lives, from various sources. Maybe it’s something our parents said. Maybe they developed after several experiences that could be interpreted one way. Or maybe it was some seemingly innocuous thing that was said at a particularly vulnerable time in our lives.

Regardless of the source, our beliefs help define our behavior, our identity, and our experience.  They color our perceptions of interatcions with others, experiences in the world, and our self talk.

They can either empower us or limit us. They can help or hurt.

And they are everywhere.

The key is in recognizing when our beliefs are limiting our choices and our lives, and then doing something about it.

One simple thing you can do when you recognize that your beliefs are limiting your life is to make note of the belief.  Allow yourself some quiet time to hear and understand exactly what that belief is.  Listen to the words of the belief. Be open to hearing it without edit or judgement.

Your beliefs are there for a reason.  They are not there to hurt you or frustrate you, and reacting as though they were will only compound the issue.

The key to successfully working with your beliefs, and changing them to something that works better for you, is to accept them. Then, find examples of times that belief does not hold true. Times that you can see, prove, that the belief isn’t always accurate.

That will begin to erode away at the belief. It will offer your subconscious options to your existing belief. It will begin to add qualifiers, like “sometimes” or “can be” rather than the concrete “always” and “is.”

Give it a try. Let me know how it works. Are you able to shift your beliefs using this technique?

If you’d like to work on your beliefs, or have additional questions, feel free to schedule your FREE NLP Discovery Session to explore how your beliefs are impacting your life, and what you can do about it!

Metaphors are a valuable tool that can help us uncover blocks we didn’t know existed. Read below as Steve Andreas shares an experience where metaphors were particularly useful. (Originally published on

What do You Experience When Someone Breaks an Agreement?
by Steve Andreas

Recently I was exasperated by someone who didn’t keep what I thought was an agreement between us. But “Exasperation” doesn’t fully express the intensity of the confusion and disorientation I felt when that happened, so I decided to explore it using Andy Austin’s Metaphors of Movement process. Connirae and I have been having a great time with this model, both as a way of helping others find solutions to difficulties, and also on occasion guiding each other.

I explained to Connirae, “It’s like they pulled the rug out from under me.” My image was that I was standing on a small rug, about 3 feet wide, and 6 feet long. Someone else was holding onto the end in front of me, and they jerked it literally out from under me. When that happened I tumbled backwards, flailing, into a tank of some kind of fluid that had been beneath the rug. The broken agreement was disappointing, but tumbling and flailing into the fluid was what created my confusion and disorientation.

Connirae said, “So you’re a person who stands on your agreements.” “Definitely!” I said. This was true both literally and figuratively. It’s always been important to me to keep my commitments.

At first I didn’t see a way out — except for the other person not to yank the rug!

At his last training, Andy Austin said, “We usually see clearly what other people can do to “solve” their metaphoric situation, but we often don’t see what we can do in our own.” This is the value of working with a partner, and it certainly held true for me in this situation. Connirae suggested that I explore taking a step to the left, or to the right, or back — just off the carpet — to see what that would be like. “You’ll be standing by your agreements instead of on them,” she said. Initially, I didn’t like the idea. It wasn’t being true to my commitments in the way I was familiar with, but I wanted to explore it.

What if I “stood behind” my agreements? What if I “stood by” my agreements? In my metaphor, there was just solid ground on all sides of the rug, so this had potential. As I tried out these different ways of “standing” within the metaphor, I decided that standing behind an agreement fit best for me. I could do this with integrity, and my position was definitely more stable. (I could also have explored what it would be like to “sit on an agreement” or be more ready to “leap aside” if the rug was pulled out, etc.)

When I tried out that new stance in the real-life context of the agreement that hadn’t been kept, it felt much better, because I remained standing when the rug was pulled out. Without the flailing and splashing, and the resulting disorientation and confusion, it was much easier to focus on what to do about the broken agreement itself.

As most of us do with our problems, I had been feeling like a victim, and focused on what someone else did, rather than on what I was doing. Within the metaphor, I could quickly realize what I was doing, and experiment with more useful alternatives. It is one thing to know, as a general principle, that I can only really change what I am doing, and that if I feel like a victim, I am probably missing what I can do in a situation. It is quite another to explore a metaphor, and find out what I can actually do differently.

One of the really lovely things about using Metaphors of Movement with a client is that I don’t have to know anything about the real-life event that the metaphor represents.

Full Disclosure: It’s not always as easy to find a metaphoric solution that works as in this example. But this time it was.

Have you ever experienced someone breaking an agreement with you? . . . If you ask the question, “What is that like?” what is your answer?. . .

And if you’d like to, you can go on to explore your metaphor in more detail as I did above. Does anything become clear to you that you might prefer to do differently?

Andrew Austin will teach a Metaphors of Movement Training in Boulder, Colorado, May 5-10, 2017. Learn more and register here.

About 10 years ago my then 9 year old daughter started a yoga business.  She wanted to help kids learn yoga as a tool for dealing with their emotions and struggles in a healthy way. She also felt she could help kids learn a healthy habit without telling them that it would be healthy.

A few years later she wrote a book that hit the bestseller lists on Amazon within 48 hours. It was exciting and, frankly, unexpected!

I was so proud of her for stepping out of her comfort zone and just doing it. (Reading and writing had never come easy to her, but she figured it out anyway)

As people started buying the book and the reviews started coming in, an interesting thing happened. We learned that she had an audience we didn’t even know about.

Her books appealed to adults who wanted to learn yoga but were intimidated by the poses or the traditional instructors.

We were all surprised!  As I was reading the reviews, a little light bulb went on for me.  While I have never identified myself as a yoga, I realized at that moment that a lot of people don’t.  (I know, I know…duh!)

For whatever reason I hadn’t realized that before. I had always assumed, I guess, that it came easy for most people, and that it wouldn’t come easy for me.

Fast forward to 5 years later and I find myself ready to change my physical health, wanting to try yoga.  Now, for me, this is a big step.

I have never identified myself as someone who practiced any sort of physical activity regularly. It just hasn’t been a part of my identity.

(For the record, I didn’t even realize that was an issue until this year!)

So, as I was determining specifically what change I wanted to make, and how I wanted my life to look, I realized I had a few qualifications for this new health program I was going to try.

First, I had to be able to “try” it in the comfort of my own home. I wasn’t ready to invest in, or commit to, a gym outside the house. There were a lot of reasons for that, but as we know through NLP, the “Why” is less important than the fact itself.

Second, whatever I did had to be able to ultimately produce profound results that I could see and feel.  I have a tendency, like many others, to get discouraged if I am not seeing progress.  

Third, while I wanted to be able to ultimately get profound results, it also had to offer quick results that were measurable, no matter how small.

Fourth, it had to be low impact. Like I said, I haven’t had a physical exercise habit (again, the “why” isn’t important), and I didn’t want to be dealing with sore muscles and joints.

Fifth, I had to be able to move at my own pace, and never plateau. If I get bored I’ll move on to something else.  

Finally, I wanted something that would build up my stamina and flexibility.  That was very, very important to me.

Knowing myself fairly well, and having studied my own motivation for many years, I also know that I do well with challenges and with timelines.

So…I created a 100 day challenge for myself and I chose yoga as my vehicle for getting healthy.  This made sense as it fit with my mentality, satisfies my requirements, and offers endless opportunities for advancement.

And I’ve started. And I’m keeping up on it.

And I’m enjoying it!

So what changed?  What took me from having a child with successful yoga books, but never even trying it myself, to someone who has committed to practicing yoga for 100 days straight?


That’s it.  I worked on my identity, and made changes that has made it easy to do yoga every day.

Now, don’t let the direct way I say this oversimplify the process.  It took work. It took time. It took vulnerability to identify what was holding me back. And it took commitment to making the needed changes.

I’ll walk you through my process, and share the specific steps, next week. For now, I invite you to take a closer look at something you’ve been struggling with. An area of your life, maybe, that you have been hoping to change and have, so far, been unsuccessful doing so.

Simply ask yourself, Why aren’t I doing this?  So for me it was “Why haven’t I started exercising yet?”

Next week I’ll tell you what my answer was. For now, focus on your answer. Ask yourself the question and be quiet. Allow your inner self to tell you the answer.  No judgement, no self-editing.

Just listen.

You might just be surprised. I was!

We’ve all heard about it.  We may have even been asked.  

“What is your theme for 2017?”

Now, maybe someone calls it “your word” or some other phrase, but the idea is the same.  A word or phrase that sums up what you would like your intention to be for the upcoming year.

It’s sort of like making resolutions, but on a broader scale.  Rather than listing out goals or resolutions for the year, choosing a theme or word for the year is about choosing your focus for the next 12 months.

Selecting a theme is a surprisingly useful activity and, done with thought and intention, can be a powerful force for your year!

The first time I chose a theme

The first time I chose a “theme” was in 2014.  That was right after my mom passed away, a year after my step dad passed and a year and a half after my dad passed away.  It was the end of a particularly challenging time in my life and I knew I needed to do something to take control back of my life.

I chose “Love.”  Having studied Psychology and NLP for the better part of my life I was well aware of the anger and resentment that could take hold.  I had coached many clients through their grief and sorrow, and was familiar with the unhealthy feelings that could inadvertently start to play a role in my life.

I didn’t want to allow that.

I didn’t want my family to have to deal with me like that.

I didn’t want to live like that.

So I chose “Love.”

I put a lot of thought into my theme that year. I had a lot of choices.  I would think of one, sit with it for a day or two, and see how it felt.  If I didn’t love it, if it didn’t resonate, I would move on.  

Once I tried on “Love” I knew that was the one!  It fit. Felt right. It didn’t feel like I was choosing it, or was going to make it work.

It just fit.

And 2014 was an amazing year of change, and growth.  I made and grew amazing relationships, not only with others…with myself as well!  

2014 was truly the year I fell back in love with life.

It was amazing, and at the end of the year, when I did my annual year in review, I realized that everything I had accomplished, the goals I had achieved, were all done with love.  

I was a believer!

Choosing a theme had become an art

So, for 2015 I had to choose a new word. Again, I went through the same process, and for 2015 my word was “Recovery.”

Funny. I didn’t really know what kind of recovery, but I knew recovery was the word that resonated with me.

So for 2015 my theme was “Recovery.”

Again, at the end of the year as I reflected back on the year I realized that, as in 2014, the goals I achieved and the changes I made related to my recovery.  Recovery from the stress, the anxiety, the pressure that comes with caring for aging parents.

Recovery from the habits that had to be built during that time but were no longer necessary. Recovery from the financial challenges created when I quit my job to care for my parents.  Recovery from the pain of loss.

It was an amazing year full of gifts and growth I would likely not have experienced otherwise.

As 2016 approached it was easy for me to find my theme.  “Intention.”  I was going to enter the year knowing my theme for 2016 was “Intention.”

And again, amazing results.  I achieved so many things because my actions all had intention behind them. I coached more people because my intention was to help people who were where I had been.  2016 was one of my best years to date!

So, as we usher in 2017 I have a new word. This year my word took a bit more work to choose.  I had a few false starts, but again, my theme ultimately chose me.  This year my theme is


And funny though it may sound, I am already experiencing a difference.  A difference in the way I approach my day, my experiences and my planning.

It’s funny. Pride is not a word I would ever have imagined would be a theme for me. Ever.

But as I said, it is the word that fit. I tried several on, several that I thought would be good, that I would like, that would fall in line with what I thought I needed to be doing this year.

And “Pride” chose me.

How can a word change a year?

Let me share a bit behind the concept. Choosing a theme word can be a very powerful experience, and it can direct and change your entire year.  And knowing that each year is a piece of your life, that means it can change your life!

Your theme for the year will help direct your attention. Chosen correctly and carefully, your theme can help direct your subconscious throughout the year. It will play a part in all of your choices and activities during the year, impacting your entire year.

So it stands to reason that choosing your theme word is important.  It must be done with consideration and intention. 🙂

As you try out different words notice how you react to them. Do you feel like you are picking a word, or do you feel like you are choosing a word that has meaning to you this year?

When you select a word, do you come up with reasons it won’t work? Is there push back that you notice, preventing you from giving full buy in to that as your theme for the year?

The key to having a successful year with your theme word is to be congruent about the theme you choose.  Make sure that all of you is in agreement with your theme.  If any part of you isn’t in agreement you won’t be able to get the full impact.

Once you are in full agreement, think about it for a few days. Notice the areas in your life that you think it may impact you. Imagine how your life would be if there were more of your theme word in your life.

What do you think?  How does it feel?  Can you see how things might change for you this year if this is your theme word for the year? What will change if this word plays a role in everything you do this year?

Do you like the results? Will these things get you the kind of life you want? Will you see the growth and advancement you’d like to see in 2017 with this theme?

If your answer to the above questions is yes, then you have likely found a great theme for yourself this year!

If you are unsure, or it doesn’t get you excited, you might want to keep looking.  

Once you find your theme for 2017, you will be amazed at the difference you will notice!

**To learn more about choosing your theme and achieving your goals register for the online workshop here.

The virus of the season

It’s that time of year again.  The time of year when stores sell out of Vitamin C, doctor’s offices and Urgent Care waiting rooms are full of coughing people and sniffling kids, and call in rates at work skyrocket!

That’s right…it’s cold and flu season.

It seems everywhere I look someone is starting to feel sick, in the thik of it, or just getting over it.  It knocked me out for a week and a half this year, and that is a rarity!

As I was laying on my couch, thinking about everything this damn virus was keeping me from, I started thinking about other “viruses” that have kept me from doing things.  (I don’t know about you, but I always have the most interesting thoughts and revelations when I’m sick!)

I remembered something my Dad first told me about almost a decade ago. I, of course, thought he was crazy, but eventually came to understand the wisdom in his words.

He told me about “thought viruses.”  Thought viruses, he explained, are thoughts that get in your head and take on a life of their own. They infiltrate your rational thoughts, often without any conscious awareness.  They can infect other thoughts and moods, and basically take control of your mind. Much the way the flu virus takes control of your body.

Shortly after I got better, or maybe while I was still sick…the timing is a little fuzzy, I had this life altering realization!

A thought virus had taken hold of me a little over 5 years ago, and I didn’t even know it!  (Ironically, it was one planted by something my Dad said….life has an interesting sense of humor, doesn’t it?)

When my Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer it was a shock!  No one would have expected it. After all, he seemed like the healthiest one of the family!  He was tall, strong, energetic most of the time, good natured…no one expected this to happen.  Least of all him!

I remember one day, after my mom had spent some time visiting with him, she came home talking about what a great visit they had. (You see, though divorced for over 30 years at the time, they remained the best of friends.)  They had laughed, reminisced, talked about me…all good, I’m sure!  😉

Of all the time they spent together that day, the laughing, the crying, the talking…of all of that one thing stuck out to her.

To her it summed up their visit, and my Dad’s experience, in a nutshell.

She told me “Honey, your Dad and I had a great visit today. He’s in really good spirits.  But he said something I’ll never, ever forget.”  I asked her what he said.

She looked down at the ground and said in a somber voice “He said, ‘I thought I’d have more time.'”

That was it.  “I thought I’d have more time.”

They went on to talk about all he had planned to do, his wishes for his family after he was gone, his regrets and his dreams that wouldn’t be realized.  They settled any unfinished business they had, and he made amends for anything he felt he needed to.

And at the end of the day, that stuck.

“I thought I’d have more time.”

I don’t know if I was more impacted by the way those words hit my mom, or the way she shared that they hit my Dad. Either way, they stuck with me.

I’ve often quoted that line in the years since.  It’s a great reminder to live life with no regrets, make the most of each day, and enjoy every trip we get around the sun.  It’s a powerful driving force on those days you’d just like to waste away, and can really drive some strong goal setting.

What I didn’t realize is that the simple sentence, “I thought I’d have more time” had taken hold in my mind in ways I never expected.

It wasn’t until this past few weeks, as I was recovering from being sick and thinking about my goals for 2017, that I realized just how much this one sentence literally changed my life.

I had taken that sentiment to such an extreme it had gotten out of control!  I worked hard to make every, single second count.


I was always working, or doing, or thinking, or planning, or worrying, or going, or making, or, or, or…

When I would put together my task lists I would have tasks due every single day of the year.

Every one!

This had so many repercussions and affected so many areas of my life I suspect I’ll be unraveling that for a while now.  I can tell you one of the biggest ways it impacted myself, and my family, is that it was hard for me to be present.  I mean fully present.

No matter what I was doing, part of me was always wrapping up what came last or getting ready for what was coming next.

I was up at 4am regularly during the week, simply because I was feeling pressure to get things done. My to do list was impossibly long, leaving me perpetually behind and feeling like I needed to get caught up.

So…fast forward to now.  I have recognized what was going on, identified the problem, and like with any virus, once you know what it is and allow yourself to acknowledge it and treat it…it goes away.

I have taken control of my time and my life back, and it is AH-MAZING!

My evenings are now my own. My weekends are full of laughing and fun and whatever I want. If I work it’s because I want to. If I play it’s because I want to.

I’m no longer running to make sure I use my time to my best ability….now I’m enjoying every minute.

And all it took was recognizing the virus, and refusing to let it run my life anymore.

Now, I’m not saying that simply recognizing thought viruses will make them go away…but it is a step. And it is an important step.

One of the most challenging things about being trained in NLP, and coaching people through so many of their own challenges, is that I can forget to look at myself.  Right?

As a coach it often seems so easy to identify the struggles others are facing, yet our own challenges can elude us.

This week I encourage you to take some time and notice your own thoughts. Are there any recurring themes in your thoughts that might indicate something has taken hold of you?  Is there something that other people have mentioned, maybe they even joke about it now, that might be a thought virus in your own life?  Find some quiet time, notice those thoughts, and notice the voices you may hear with them.

Once you identify them, you can work with them using any of the many processes NLP gives us to work with our thoughts and inner voices.

Holiday Stress Management

Holiday get togethers can be a challenge.  As we prepare for the holidays we are often anticipating family, friends, food and finances.  It’s funny. The time of year that is portrayed as the most peaceful and cohesive often involves the most stress and struggle.

Whether it’s stress from tense relationships, worry about unmet expectations, financial pressures that are tough to ignore or health concerns due to food and treats…the stress that the holidays can bring is undeniable.

One very, very useful thing you can do before the holiday get togethers is to practice The Resource Strategy.  I’ll walk you through it here, and have included additional resources below.

Think of a time, maybe at a previous gathering, when you had the bad feeling that might come up. This might be a feeling of inadequacy, a feeling of helplessness when it comes to making good food choices, frustration with certain people, or unhappiness with the situation you “find yourself in.”

Whatever the “bad” feeling is, think about what would trigger that for you.  Be specific. Think of a specific example, a time when the feeling was triggered, and identify what happened immediately before that.  Maybe it was a phrase being said, tone of voice, smell of food, location….whatever it was, it is the “trigger” for the feelings you don’t want to have.

Get “into” the experience (we call this associate into it). Feel like you are there.  See what you see. Hear what you hear.

Now take a step back.  It’s as if you’re looking at the situation as an outside observer.  From the outside, what would you tell yourself to do? How would you advise yourself to respond?  Take a look at all the options, from the outside, and determine the best course of action.

Once you have chosen the best response, jump back “into” the situation, so it’s as if you’re actually there.  This time, see yourself having the new, more resourceful response. Notice how you feel, what you see and what you hear. Notice the differences.

Finally, imagine yourself this upcoming holiday having these resourceful responses in a similar situation.  See what it will look like, hear what it will sound like.  Feel how your holiday get together will be vastly different than years past.

Here’s a quick summary of the steps to the Resource Strategy:


STEP 1. Establish the context which seems to rob you of your resources and prevents you from responding appropriately.

Identify the trigger (words, tone, analogue, place, etc..) for the unresourceful state. Identify a specific example.

STEP 2. Associate into the example at the point when you first realize you are having the undesired response.

STEP 3. Dissociate from the situation.

STEP 4. Identify the most appropriate response(s) for the “other you over there.”

STEP 5. Re-associate back into the situation, taking with you the new responses.

STEP 6. Future-pace.

STEP 7. Test using a different but similar context as the test.

To read a more detailed description of the Resource Strategy I encourage you to check out this article on our website.  

As the holidays approach many of us begin to feel anxiety about family get togethers.  Whether it is just one or two difficult relatives or you struggle with your entire family, the holidays can stir up anxiety as much as they do anticipation.

The good news is that, with the right preparation and some subtle mind shifts you will be able to enjoy the holidays without all the trepidation and nerves.  Here are 7 things you can do to prepare for a fantastic celebration that will have you feeling fantastic before, during and after your family get together, regardless of how anyone else behaves.

Remember they’re doing the best they can

Whether it’s your mother in law or the cousin you only see once a year it seems we all have someone in our life who offend people whenever they open their mouth. Maybe they are critiquing your food, your children, or they are simply abrasive.  Whatever the case, they leave a bad taste in our mouths and can taint our entire holiday.

When these “negative nellies” start spraying their negativity it can be helpful to remember that, in their mind, with their perceptions, they are truly doing the best they can.  While that’s tough to remember sometimes, somewhere, on some level, they have a good intention. Maybe they don’t know how else to behave, maybe they think they are somehow being helpful. Whatever the case, they are doing the best they can.

Their judgements are not about you

If you have someone in your family who seems to always be judging you it’s important to remember those judgements are about them, not you. They are likely judging you based on some scale that applies to them, based on their perceptions and their history.  They feel they have a right to place a value judgement on you. BUT THEY’RE WRONG.

As difficult as it can be to keep this in mind, it will lead to a more pleasant and relaxed gathering.  If you are able to remember this you will be less bothered by the quiet remarks. The comments muttered under their breath will begin to give you strength, offering you opportunities to giggle at the limited view of the world they have.  Recognize that their judgements simply show that they do not understand you and your choices.  And if they choose not to seek understanding, then the judgement will most certainly reflect more harshly on them than you.

Meet them where they are

Everyone has a conversation going on in their head.  In fact, when you read the beginning of this post you likely had a bit of a conversation start immediately.  Maybe you heard conversations from last year’s holiday celebrations, maybe you heard yourself lamenting about this year’s gathering.  Whatever the conversation, it started immediately upon mention of the upcoming holiday.

If you are able to meet your relatives in the conversation that is already going on in their mind you will have an easier time communicating.  Many of our miscommunications are because we think we know what other people are thinking.  That’s not what I mean.  I mean understand where they are…if it’s your mother in law then remember, you are talking to someone who loves their child and just wants to know they’re being taken care of.  That is meeting them where they are.

Forgive those who need it

Families are complex webs of relationships. Whether your family is one by blood, by choice or both there are often complicated relationships.  There is frequently unresolved pain or sadness among relatives.  Distant or close, this can create some really uncomfortable situations.

Do yourself a favor and forgive them.  I’m not saying forget whatever happened, I’m simply suggesting you give yourself permission to let the pain, the emotions, go from the memory.  Chances are they don’t even realize you are still angry. And if they do, it’s not hurting them near as much as it is you.  Once you allow yourself to forgive you allow yourself the gift of peace.  

Setting your intention with realistic expectations

One of the biggest reasons for unpleasant holidays is disappointments or unrealized expectations.  We all go into holiday get togethers with certain expectations, hopes for family time and creating memories.  It’s when things don’t go exactly as planned that we tend to end up unhappy and wishing for a different holiday.

When you’re getting things together for the holiday, take some time to get yourself ready too.  Remember to think about how your holidays in the past have gone. What have been the struggles and successes. Where have you been disappointed and wanting for more? Those are the areas of your expectations you can adjust this year.  Set your expectations based on your past experiences and you will be more likely to get the outcome you are hoping for.

Create an exit strategy

Nothing is worse than getting stuck talking to someone you don’t get along with.  When you go to your family’s for holiday gatherings, or when they come to you, make sure you have your exit strategy in place. Nothing is made better by feeling stuck, and uncomfortable conversations at the holidays are no different.

Go prepared. Be ready for that awkward point when you will be ready to leave. Have your excuses already prepared so you don’t have to panic trying to come up with something. Find someone you can go talk to and politely excuse yourself to go “catch them” before they walk off. What you really want to do is have a graceful way to let both of you off the hook.  They may be uncomfortable too, you never know.  Having a graceful and polite way to leave a conversation will save you both a bit of embarrassment and hurt feelings.

Prepare your family for unintended offenses

Perhaps the most difficult part of sharing the holidays with challenging family members is the unintended effect they have on unsuspecting family.  While the quirks of your family members may seem like just another holiday decoration at this point, your unsuspecting spouse or optimistic children may not understand what is happening when their beloved grandma or great-uncle says insulting things to Mommy or Daddy.

Since you likely won’t be able to control how your relatives behave it is a fantastic time to teach your family the valuable lesson that they can not control how others act, they can only control how they react.  Protecting themselves from being hurt, understanding that the offenses are not personal, and knowing how and when to gracefully make an exit need to be taught to your family as well.

Armed with these tools you will be able to better control how you experience holiday get togethers.  While they don’t guarantee that things will go smoothly they do increase the chances that you will have a better than average experience and, hence, memory of this year’s holidays.

If you have particularly challenging situations to deal with at the holidays, or hurtful or abusive relatives, the best choice may still be to stay away.  Though it may be difficult to do, sometimes the best thing you can do is to stay away from potentially difficult situations.  If you feel it will be best, then it is okay to give yourself permission to opt out of the holiday gathering.  Let yourself be okay with staying home, or doing something else that day.  Allow yourself to make the decision you know is best for you.

Leave a comment below and let us know your favorite strategy to stay sane during the holiday season!  Who knows…maybe your secret will help someone else.

My youngest daughter, Hannah, is 17 and has been working on finding her way in the world. She is busy being an entrepreneur and working hard to share her message that yes, one person can make a difference. She is also directionally challenged, so the whole experience of driving has been, shall we say, interesting?

Well, in late August 2015 she was driving home from having brunch with a friend and she was hit by another teenage girl. She was terrified, called me crying and asking what to do. Now, in a previous life I owned an insurance agency and I always taught my girls what to do in case of an accident. Take pictures, get to a safe place, exchange information, etc. I drilled this into their heads from an early age. Yet, in a time of crisis, Hannah had no recollection of what I had always taught her.

Fast forward almost two months. She was on her way to the chiropractor for a follow up to her accident, almost ready to be released from care. I was working at home when my phone rang. It was Hannah. She was crying. She had been hit. AGAIN! This time she was rear ended while sitting at a stop light.

She was also asking what to do if she was in a car accident. Now I was baffled. Not only had I taught her from a young age what to do when you’re in an accident, I had also reminded her a short two months ago. And she had actually done what she’d been told! She knew this. She had done it. Recently!

Yet here she was, in the moment of an accident, crying and confused about what to do.

This got me to thinking about state management. And how amazing it would be for her to be able to manage her own state, regardless of outside input from the world. You see, Hannah has always been a bit anxious. It’s just her personality, and we love and accept that about her.

But now, in this moment, her anxiety is interfering with her being effective in the world. And that is not very useful at all. Not for her. Not in times of crisis like an accident.

So I spent some time thinking about her car accidents and her reactions to them. I put some thought into how I could help her be more effective should a similar situation arise in the future.

So I started working with her to imagine the accident. I asked her to remember her reaction to the accident, and how she behaved and acted afterwards. I asked her to think of ways she wished she had reacted, to be more effective and in control.

We spent some time together imagining a different outcome. We not only imagined a different outcome, we worked on feeling it. Truly experiencing what it would be like to be in control of her reactions. We did this several times over several days.

It was fascinating to watch her as she ran through this exercise. Her entire body changed over the course of repeating this exercise. She went from her full body tensing up at the initiation of the exercise to holding herself with confidence and security when thinking about it. Her skin color gradually changed with repetition. Her eye movements shifted. Her tiny facial muscles changed in the way they acted as she thought about the accident.

There have been several other processes we’ve worked on over the last couple of months, but this one seems to have been one of the most powerful we’ve used.

You see, this single exercise has allowed her to feel empowered in case of an accident. By imagining herself acting appropriately she has the confidence to drive again. To not be afraid. To be confident and, because of that, a safer driver.

We all have times in our lives that we wish we were in better control of ourselves and our actions. I think we have all had the experience of having something happen to us and not being happy with our reactions.

So just for a moment, I ask you to think of one of those times. A moment when you might have reacted in a way that didn’t make you feel wonderful about yourself. Maybe you were embarrassed about the way you handled a situation. Whatever the specifics, you were less than pleased with your behavior.

Imagine for a moment that you had reacted in a way much more powerful. A way that allowed you to be proud of your reactions, and your behavior. Imagine knowing you did the very best and if you had it to do over again you would react the exact same way.

That is the gift we can give to our children, our friends, our families and our clients. That is the power of NLP and what it can do for you.



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Have you ever had that moment when you say something with very little purpose, just part of a story, and all of a sudden it hits you…a hidden limiting belief you have and when you got it?  Something you had no idea you ever believed, you never consciously thought about it, but when you heard yourself speaking you realized that slippery little bugger had embedded itself without you ever knowing?

Geez…that just happened to me the other day and I’m, frankly, still a bit surprised.  I had no idea this was sitting quietly in my subconscious, but now it makes perfect sense.

Let me tell you what happened, and you tell me if it sounds familiar.

I was headed to the store the other day with my oldest.  It was a spur of the moment trip and we were enjoying the chance to visit without anyone else around.  Just catching up on our lives, what was going on, what was coming up. Nothing unusual.

Anyway, I was telling her a story about something, I don’t even remember the higher level context of our conversation.

I was chatting away and I recounted a conversation I had had when I was probably 11 or 12.  “I said I wanted to be a lawyer or a teacher. She said I should be a teacher, they make more money.  I told her I didn’t want to make a ton of money, I wanted to help people.”

Do you see that?  Do you see what happened there?

Yeah, I was shocked.  Over 30 years later, in a conversation about who knows what, up bubbles the origin of a limiting belief I didn’t even know I had!


It hit me like a ton of bricks when I heard myself say it. And you know what’s funny?  The person who said this was in no way saying I had to choose between doing good and doing well.  That was not her intention at all.

She simply was throwing one viewpoint out there, and was probably just trying to be funny.  So a simple joke with a pre-teen installed a limiting belief that has lasted for over 30 years.  Until it was uncovered.

And the funniest part?  I’ve done a LOT of work around my own beliefs. I mean a LOT.  

But I didn’t uncover that belief until I was hanging out with my daughter, having a mellow conversation about who knows what.

You see, beliefs are funny things.  They incorporate themselves into your beings so stealthly (is that even a word?) you often don’t even recognize they are there.  They don’t always have labels, they don’t raise their hands when you ask.  They simply serve as a guiding knowledge by which you function and make decisions.

And the kicker in this whole thing?  Our minds are experts at making us right. So, even if we aren’t sure what the belief is, we subconsciously make choices that will support the belief.

Fun, right?  Yeah, it’s quite the cycle.  

And it’s fixable.

Working with limiting beliefs is insanely effective in changing your life.  Discovering what your limiting beliefs are, then doing some work to bust through them, can and will forever change the way you show up in your own life.

Whatever your limiting belief is about, it can be changed.  It can be fast, doesn’t hurt, and is incredibly effective.

You can explore these with a coach, in trainings, or you can check out the online store.  A fantastic resource for you is called Changing Beliefs by Steve & Connirae Andreas.  In it they will share how, and walk you through, using submodalities to change your limiting beliefs.  

And as a side note, notice the example they share with you. Notice how similar it is to the belief I recently realized I was carrying around.  It’s interesting how many limiting beliefs are common among many of us.  

I’d love to hear what kind of beliefs you’ve been surprised to find you have!  Drop me a line or leave a comment below to share.