How is your progress towards getting what you want in life? Not getting what you want? Do you, in fact, know what you want?
If we do not know what specifically, how will we know that we’ve got it?
NLP outcome setting gives us a framework for becoming clear about what we desire out of life. Keeping our goals specific ensures we can achieve them.
For instance, we all want happiness but since this search is ongoing throughout our lives, we might find ourselves dissatisfied that we never achieve this, because we haven’t truly defined the signposts and milestones of what happiness means.
The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this:
Decide what you want.
But if we can set big goals, then break them down into smaller, more easily accomplished daily parts, we will become more aware that we can actually achieve more than we think. So if one part of happiness for Tom means being able to give something back to the community, then by setting aside two hours a week for community work, he would have achieved some success towards his goal.
So, set goals for the various aspects of your life – mental, health, emotional, financial, career, family, relationships, social, spiritual, etc.
Write down your goals, and look at them to keep them in mind.
Here is a useful framework that will enable you to begin this process of tying up your loose ends towards an achievable game plan:
1) Positively Stated
What do you want exactly? If you have several outcomes, what would make the greatest impact if you achieved it?
E.g. “I want to be fearless” is still being stated in a negative manner and that will often result in inflating ourselves with more fear! A positively stated outcome in replacement would be “I want to be confident.”
2) Self Maintainability
Can you achieve this goal yourself, regardless of what other people do or say? This leaves no room for blaming or resigning to fate and destiny.
E.g. “I want to be confident and I will remain composed and jovial in my speech. Even if there are objections or disagreements, I know I can deal with them by listening and preparing myself ahead for those possible objections. Whatever responses will be feedback for improvement in the next round.”
How specifically will you know when you have achieved your outcome? What is the feedback? What would you see, hear and feel, that will let you know you have achieved your outcome?
What are the milestones along the way that will let you know you are on the right track? It is crucial that we recognize those moments of intermediate achievements. “Inches make champions,” said American legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi.
E.g. “I know I have achieved confidence when my speech is clear, has a vibrant tone, my points are clearly understood by the audience, and there is active engagement from the audience with questions and dialogue, as well as witnessing smiles on their faces.”
Where, when and with whom do you want it? Under what circumstances do you want this outcome to be used?
If it is in your work context, how specifically do you want to utilize it? Is it in a seminar room (where)? Is it during training or a sales presentation (when)? Is it together with your own team members or with people from a particular department (with whom)?
What stops or prevents you from already having achieved your outcome? What resistance are you encountering? What is missing or needed from the plan? Who are the people who might object?
Being aware of where and what the ‘cracks’ are will lead to better preparation in terms of allocation and sequencing of resources and strategies
What resources do you already have that will assist you in reaching your goal? What other resources do you need?
What behaviour, state, ability, skills and beliefs do you have that will help you to achieve your outcome? Have you ever in the past been able to achieve an outcome like this? Do you know of someone else who has been able to achieve an outcome like this? What did that person do?
What are the additional references that are required? E.g. from books, trainings, etc.
What will you gain or lose in the process of achieving this outcome?
As we are all interconnected in one way or another, our thoughts which manifest through our actions, speech and behaviours, have an impact on people and the environment around us. In the pursuit of your goals and outcomes, are you achieving them at the expense of something or someone else? This is where balance comes in.
8 ) Worthwhileness
What will achieving this outcome mean for you? What is so important about having achieved this outcome?
What is the higher purpose of this outcome? This often involves your underlying values and beliefs.
What and when is your first step in getting this goal into reality? The knowing will only remain as knowing if it is not acted upon.
Breaking it into key initial manageable steps will lead you towards manifesting your outcome. What can you do now to bring yourself one step closer to your goal? E.g. send an SMS, email or make a call, get out of the house.
Above all, it is also important to maintain a level of behavioural flexibility rather than rigidity, allowing for a series of tests, feedback and adjustments, in order to increase the level of success towards a sustainable outcome.
Q. Five birds sat on a windowsill. One decided to fly off. How many birds were left?
A. Five Is there a gap between what you decide to do and what you actually do?
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is NOW.
If you tried to do something and failed, you are vastly better off than if you tried to do nothing and succeeded.
The most important thing to keep in mind is continuous progress.
When you’re through changing, you’re through.
As we keep on changing and improving our lives, know that all NLP skills and processes can provide an easier and smoother path of progress.