I received an email not too long ago from someone I hadn’t seen in a long time, and it disturbed me.
Slightly more than 10 years ago, I first read about NLP from Anthony Robbins’ book Unlimited Power. It opened up my eyes to an exciting new world of powerful skills I never thought could be possible, and in that same year I took my first NLP Practitioner training.
I then took those amazing new skills and…did nothing about them.
Don’t get me wrong, I attempted to put them into practice, but after a few half-hearted attempts, I always put them aside. I didn’t know why, but somehow they didn’t work for me. The trick, I thought, must be in some more advanced skill that I hadn’t learned yet.
The years passed, and I devoured anything I could on NLP, personal growth and development. I even worked at a personal development bookstore for a while, taking a pay-cut just so I could borrow the materials for free.
I was such a wild fanatic I quickly became a walking NLP dictionary.
All that changed in ’04 when I discovered the difference between a walking dictionary and a walking example.
The Difference That Makes The Difference
When I joined the Patterns of Excellence program (I can’t believe they used that photo, that’s me holding the board for Adam!), I knew more about NLP than most of the coaches there (oh, the humility! :P).
But during the course itself, I couldn’t just talk the good talk, I had to put into use all the NLP skills I had only read about. I had to use the hypnotic Milton Model to help my team win a game, use the Parts Integration Process on my friend, and the power of anchors and visualizing to get myself to overcome my fear of heights.
I was handed the key. And when I used that key to open the doorway into life coaching, a whole new world opened up again just like it had almost 10 years ago, but this time I was a participant not an observer. And that was the difference that made all the difference.
The Key Is Action
“Knowledge is only a rumour until it’s in the muscle.”
~Papua New Guinean proverb
I’ve coached and seen hundreds of participants in training programs, and I’ve seen people who were like me all the time. They absorb new knowledge like sponges, but never put any into action. They believe that all they really need to make that change in their life is that new tidbit of information that’s just round the corner, but never the things that they already know.
While there is a lot out there still to learn, here’s an insidious truth about marketing and the power of words: everybody out there who’s out to sell a book, audio program or training course wants you to believe that their product is the next thing you’ll need to really turn your life around.
Heck, I’ve done it with my language in Life Coaches Blog from time to time. There’s nothing good, bad or indifferent about it, it’s a way we structure our language to make our stuff stand out from the millions of competitors out there and make sure our voice is heard.
(Except my stuff is good and it’s free – oh the humility! :P)
Unfortunately, some of them do it by purposefully making you feel inadequate. Like you’re not enough if you don’t buy their product and make them money. While it’s true that there’s a ton of useful information out there that can really make a difference in your life (Life Coaches Blog, Life Coaches Blog – oh the – you know :P), if you’ve already accumulated lots of it and haven’t done anything with it, you know it’s time to stop.
All the knowledge in the world is useless if you cannot put it into use.
“Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.”
3 Ways To Get Knowledge Into The Muscle
If you honestly need more knowledge to help you improve your life, this article is not for you. But if you’ve gathered a lot of personal development insights you know could improve the quality of your life but you haven’t acted on them, I’ll suggest a few things I’ve done that have helped me move from being an NLP dictionary to an NLP practitioner (some say master practitioner or better, but I’m humble – it’s about time I am, isn’t it :P).
1) Build the belief that you already have all the resources you need or can get them.
You don’t need a new book, audio program, or training course to awaken your potentials, just action on knowledge. You are not lacking, you already possess all the internal resources you need to make things happen.
2) Start small.
When I read a good personal development book, I know I won’t be able to implement everything it teaches immediately (unless it’s a really thin book). Instead, I aim to take at least one idea and put it into use, because one new idea I ingrain is better than ten thousand I only know.
Pick one good idea and focus your efforts on mastering it. Momentum tends to row, I still have problems with the basic NLP technique of using primary representational systems but am pretty confident in my Milton and Meta models.
3) Surround yourself with like-minded people.
The biggest boost to my personal growth was and is the people around me. I’m blessed to have good friends who are committed to continuous personal development. These wonderful people push and challenge me, and we have great fun discussing and discovering new ideas about NLP, communication, personal development and how to lead a greater life.
You Already Have Everything You Need To Put Anything Into Place
This post was written for the friend who wrote me that email, you know who you are but you don’t have to reveal yourself. I just wanted you to know that I know how you feel, I was there for 10 years.
It took me that long to realize how I could get out of it, and that all along I had all that I really needed to put my knowledge into action. I lacked nothing except the willingness to act and learn from my mistakes.
In the end, you cannot rely on books, or even a post like this. All you can rely on are the actions you have taken to make you who you are, and will take to make you who you want to become.
You already have learned some incredible skills, and with what you already have you can go beyond what me or any of the other Life Coaches possess, if you only allow yourself to act.