Sales Graph Hand Drawing By Businessman

“When your sales strategy depends on scripts rather than relationships and communications, any challenge or economic change can quickly become a crisis.”

~ Chandell Labbozzetta

How to Increase Your Sales Conversion

When your sales team and management focuses on tactics rather than strategy, you start to see the onset of what I call “Sales Sclerosis” or a hardening of the sales arteries.

Just as hardening of the arteries in your body is indicated by specific health problems – and can kill you if you ignore it – so the hardening arteries in your sales training and sales systems can be seen from some subtle indicators, long before they actually kill your lead flow.

When I was called to diagnose and cure the sales woes of a major Australian recruiting company they were already seeing their new sales decline and struggling to keep existing clients in a changing employment economy.

It turned out that the sales team had all been put through a highly tactical-focused sales training by a well-known company and they had all been told to “follow the script, or else!” Even the sales manager had been seduced buy the reputation of this company and, as sales started to slow and client retention slipped the advice was, “Just keep doing this, you’re learning and these are typical learner struggles.”

It wasn’t until the results for the second consecutive quarter showed a worrying decline that they started to doubt the sales process because, of course, ‘the pandemic changed everything.’ The truth is, that it didn’t really change everything, it just caused some disruption in an economy that had been quite stale for some years. This kind of disruption is part of life, so it should be part of your business philosophy as well.

If you’re trying to hire a sales trainer, there’s one question you need to get an answer to: “Are you teaching a fixed sales methodology?” If they say, “Yes, that’s the fastest way to increase sales conversion rate;” you should realise that it’s also very limiting. The answer you are looking for is: “No,  we teach an empowering mindset and flexible tools so you can sell anything to anyone.”

How to Develop Sales Skills and Cure Sales Sclerosis

Like so many other areas of life, building a successful sales team that delivers results in-season and out-of-season starts with your philosophy of sales. It is far, far easier to teach sales using a fixed script and system… and that method can be effective in specific economic scenarios, BUT there is a glaring problem with this approach: when the economy shifts or the perception of the economy shifts, the methodology stops working and your sales team is stuck with a tool that no longer works.

That is what happened to the recruiting company I mentioned before. The team had been taught a methodology and told to use it no matter what! There were even penalties applied if they were found to have deviated from the script – and of course, as soon as sales calls were shifted to online, recording them became painless. Instead of being tools to help them achieve results, the changing climate turned this methodology into a trap that stopped them making sales.

That’s why I am absolutely opposed to sales trainers that remove autonomy, judgement, and personal development from the sales equation. Techniques and tactics are useful, but the most skilled sales people (those who consistently deliver outstanding results) also hone their communication, judgement, and personal skills so that they have the flexibility to analyse any situation and determine whether the problem lies in the solution they are offering or in the sales presentation they are making.

Why Sales Training is Important

Too many sales people are taught that there is only one way to sell a particular item. That was what had happened in this team, even though several of them had been selling fairly successfully for some years.

When I started working with this team, one of the members was ready to quit. He had simply got sick of being forced into an uncomfortable methodology. His sales numbers had been fine at first, so he had ignored the sense of discomfort, but as his results dropped he really started to hate his job and complained that is was dull, he hated the constant rejection, and team meetings were simply miserable.

His numbers didn’t change right away, but as soon as he was given the tools to read his audience, the freedom to respond to his judgement, and the confidence to determine the root of both rejection and acceptance, his attitude changed. He started to look forward to his sales calls again. Six months later, he had developed his own style of sales that was incredibly flexible and effective and the team had started turning to him to resolve tricky sales situations where the clients’ need was evident, but they were struggling to see the value.


Developing a Resilient Sales Strategy

A resilient sales strategy is one that works in every economy. You can identify people who have learned a resilient sales strategy by their confidence, strong communication skills, and flexible thinking. Often, these people aren’t your typical extroverted personalities – they can even be quiet and reserved – which just makes their sales presentation and follow up even more authentic and persuasive.

A resilient sales strategy is a lifelong skill because it can be transferred to any context and media: one-to-many, one-to-one, TV, face-to-face meetings, life audiences, virtual meetings and it results in positive outcomes for (almost) everyone involved.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to develop a resilient sales strategy for your or your team, go to to discover more.

“If your habits don’t line up with your dream, then you need to either change your habits or change your dream.”

~ John Maxwell

Too Big, Too Small, or Just Right - Why Size Matters.

Recently, I was reflecting on a comment that Brittany Smith, a cognitive scientist with ADHD, made about habits that reinforced something I had already realised.

If your ‘habit chunks’ are too small, you don’t see any change and give up.

If your ‘habit chunks’ are too big, you get overwhelmed and discouraged.


If your ‘habit chunks’ are just right… you get results that keep your motivation high and find yourself kicking goals week after week!

I see this frequently with my coaching and training clients:

Right habit chunk size = SUCCESS

Wrong habit chunk size = FAILURE

So, how can you know if you’ve picked the appropriate chunk size for each of your habits?

Signs that Your Habits Chunks are Too Small:

Habit chunks that are too small are usually related to pre-existing habits in any area of our life. We all have habits that drive how we act and react in every area of life and these are so much a part of us that we are hardly even aware of their existence.

The beauty of these tiny habit chunks is that when we decide we want to change something we can simply expand the habit we already have in place no matter what it is.


Sandra was extremely frustrated because she was trying to grow her referral program and couldn’t get the traction, she wanted so she started looking around for yet another tool or strategy to help her.

When we looked closely at what she was doing to generate referrals it was clear that she didn’t need to start over, she simply needed to amplify her existing referral strategy with one additional step. Once that was in place, the referrals started to flow.


It happens in every area of life:

  • Exercise programs;
  • Diet & nutrition;
  • Learning and retention;
  • Budgeting and saving;
  • Productivity…

If you feel frustrated with the results you are seeing and know that your strategy has worked for other people, then you can often see the transformation you want simply by amplifying the habits surrounding it.

If Your Habits Chunks are Too Big, Then...

…You’ll probably quit before you see results!

Oversized habit chunks are usually part of a new habit that you’re trying to establish to reach an important goal. Many habit-tracking apps will alert you if you consistently miss your goals and suggest that you edit the habit in order to succeed and you should pay attention to these alerts.


Al read the book Shorter and decided that he wanted to restructure his workday and test the hypothesis because the idea of accomplishing more important work in 30 hours than he was currently doing in 60 hours appealed to him.

He plugged the habits he wanted to establish in order to accomplish this into his habit tracker and got down to business… only to discover that day after day he was failing to check off half of the components he’d identified.

When we pruned those habits back to a smaller milestone goal and he was accomplishing them all, Al’s sense of accomplishment and confidence grew and he was soon ready to add another chunk to his habit, and then another.

The habit of success motivated him far more than his failures had and now he does have all the components of that original habit chunk in place.


When Your Habits Chunks are Just Right, Then…

Like Sandra and Al, you experience success – not just in achieving the outcome, but in the personal satisfaction of accomplishing a goal. This gives you the same kind of dopamine hit that some people get from checking Facebook, the news, or drugs.

Skipping your habit one day isn’t a disaster, but looking at your week and realizing that you’ve skipped more days than you’ve executed creates a negative neuro-feedback loop that actually saps your motivation to stick to your habit. That’s why you want a habit tracking mechanism that allows you skip days that you choose to without giving you a sense of guilt.

Contrary to popular practice, guilt is a terrible motivator. It’s when you feel good about your accomplishments that confidence grows – and with that confidence the ability to achieve even more.

Habit Transformation Challenge

Habits are such an important aspect of building lives and businesses that serve our goals. Habit-creation tools are one of the most powerful aspects of NLP because once established, habits run on auto-pilot and enable us to progress towards our goals faster and with less friction.

At LifePuzzle, we consider habit transformation so important that it is a part of many of our courses and trainings (both paid and free) including:

  • Periodic 5-Day Habit Transformation Challenges
  • NLP Mastery Academy Group program
  • NLP Certification courses
  • Confident Conversion Sales Academy
  • Outsourced Sales Manager and In-House Sales Trainings

If you are interested in our habit transformation resources, fill in the form below and we’ll let you know when we are running our next course.

I’m Interested in Habit Transformation

“Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make — bombs, for instance, or strawberry shortcake — if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble.”

~ Lemony Snicket

What Dangerous Assumptions are You Making?

You probably know that not everyone shares your way of looking at situations and events, but have you ever thought just how often your assumptions lead you completely off-track?

Assumptions are risky in every aspect of our lives especially in the context of sales and business.

In my book, Confident Closing: Sales secrets that grew a business by 400% in six months and how they can work for you! I tell the story of a friend who came to visit me from Portugal and how my assumptions about what she would love to do nearly ruined her holiday before we addressed them.

In sales and business people often make some of the following deadly assumptions:

  • What the client actually wants;
  • How much the other person is willing to invest;
  • Whether they have already done substantial research and how much they know about the subject/issue;

Each of these cover a broad sweep of items that have implications for your sales process and more.

How Assumptions Affect Your Outcomes

Recently I was talking with a woman who was offering a program which was very appealing. I had followed a very effective process and jumped through all the pre-qualification hoops, so I was fairly well informed about her product and had just 3 specific questions I wanted answered directly before I said ‘yes’ to the offer.

I anticipated that we would discuss these during the sales call as promised and was rather shocked when we spend most of the call going over the information that I had previously absorbed and she didn’t start asking any questions that didn’t relate to whether I understood her proposition until the time was almost gone. In the end, I bought the program, not because the sales process was so effective… It definitely wasn’t… But because I already trusted this woman and knew the value she offered.

In this case, her assumption that I hadn’t properly understood the proposal or followed the pre-qualification process felt dismissive. Her inability to manage the time we had meant that she didn’t have time to answer my objections, and she (rightly, in my case) assumed that I respected and trusted her enough to make the commitment on the basis of what I had heard already. She took an awful lot for granted… And in a tight economy filled with uncertainty one thing is certain: you cannot afford to take the interest and trust of customers and prospects for granted.

Listen Carefully, So You Can Clarify Your Own Assumptions

I see sales people and business owners all the time who are so concerned that they won’t say the right thing, that they miss all the cues.

They assume that people aren’t biting on the bait they’re putting out there because they’re not getting the words right.  In a lot of cases they’re so caught up on what they’re going to say next or what they’re going to do next that they don’t actually hear the buying signs from the clients… And they definitely don’t hear the real questions that are being asked.

Most people actually tell you what they need if you’re listening carefully enough.  Sometimes I do role-plays with my clients where I actually get them to sell to me and it’s really interesting watching them make assumptions about what my needs should be rather than spending time asking probing questions and discovering what I really am concerned about.

No matter how well prepared you are with material that will interest your client in what you, the best thing you can do when you go into a sales meeting is to ask some questions and then shut up and listen to their answers. Then you listen some more – and if you open your mouth at all, it’s to ask questions about the things they are saying.

If you follow that advice, you will learn what you need to know to close the sale.  You would really be astounded to learn how many sales are lost just because we make assumptions about what the other person is looking for.

One of the most powerful tools of NLP is learning to ask questions and read the other person – not to manipulate them, but to hear what their problems and concerns really are.  The techniques I learned have closed more sales, and resolved more communication issues than I can count and this is especially important in a fragile economy where your prospects are bombarded with opportunities to spend.

What Are You Going to Do About It?

The Confident Closing Virtual Sales Masterclass will help you ask better questions, listen more effectively, and prepare you to develop a tight sales process that sees and seizes opportunities as they arise even in a tight economy.

Click the button below to learn more. You can attend live free of charge or purchase lifetime access along with some amazing bonuses:

Confident Closing Virtual Sales Masterclass

… but you can change that.

“The only person over whom you can and should have total control is yourself. Don’t give that autonomy away… especially to people you don’t like.”

Have you ever said things like,

  • “I will clean the bathroom when my husband stops leaving his toothpaste on the bench?”
  • “I will wash the dishes when my kids stop leaving dirty dishes in the sink.”
  • “I will forgive my mum when she apologises for making my life hell.”
  • “I will talk to my brother when he stops telling lies about me.”
  • “I will raise my prices when the economy improves.”

Ok, so your version may be slightly different to the examples above and could well involve serious physical and emotional harm, but I hope they’ve got you thinking about the ways that you are making your transformation dependent on someone who doesn’t care about your happiness or doesn’t realise that you are dependent on them for happiness.

If you often say things like this, then you are dangerously vulnerable because you have made your happiness dependent on someone over whom you have no control. Even worse, that ‘someone’ is often either impersonal (“the economy”), uninterested in whether you write a bestseller or not (“your kids”), or potentially malicious (the perpetrator).

Don’t Make Your Happiness Dependent on Someone Else!

The truth is, the only person’s behaviour and attitude you can change or control is your own. Unless you have the force of the law behind you, you can’t make anybody apologise, repay, or otherwise recompense you for any damages that you have suffered… and outcomes-at-law are often disappointing as families of murder victims often discover.

If that’s the case, then doesn’t it make sense to ask how you can control and change your own outcomes, without waiting for someone else to take the initiative? And, doesn’t the thought that you could control your own destiny and well-being excite you?

Tough Situations Can Be Overcome

Before I tell this story, I want to make it 100% clear that I’m not justifying abuse, violence, war, or other horrors. Sadly, they happen… and our best efforts don’t seem to do much to stop them. The past is past, we can only change the present and (indirectly) the future. I’d be betraying my own integrity if I didn’t share what I know about setting people free from PTSD, trauma, and other emotional chains.

One of my clients had been abused by a relative when she was 8 years old. She was 48 when we started working together and the scars of that abuse were affecting her work, her marriage, and her kids, as well as her health. During our initial H.O.W.T.O. Session I asked her if she really wanted to release the hurt and anger she had been carrying for so long. She said, “Yes,” so we went straight into a Time Line Therapy® process.

Thirty minutes later, she walked out of my office looking 10 years younger. Over the next few months as we continued to work on the habits and thought patterns she had developed every area of her life started to change for the better. Her health improved, her relationships with her husband and children were transformed, and opportunities opened up at work where previously she had been frustrated.

As she said, “Chandell, I realised during the H.O.W.T.O. Session that I’d been letting this evil man control my life for forty years! As if his original actions hadn’t been damaging enough! I love what’s happening in my life now, but mostly I love the fact that using Time Line Therapy® I didn’t have to dredge through the memory in order to release it. Before that process I don’t think there was a waking hour when he didn’t come to mind, since then, I’ve got bigger and better things to focus on.”

To the best of my knowledge she’s never met her abuser again, so she never got the satisfaction she’d clung to all those years, but she’s free of his power anyway and she’s gone on to do amazing things!

No-one Will Ever Know… or Will they?

“I’m great at covering up my feelings, so my boss will never know I can’t stand him.”

“My husband will never know how angry I feel…”

“My sister-in-law won’t know how much I despise her…”

In NLP we talk a lot about the role of physiology in communication. Your physiology includes your deportment, your facial expression, and your tone of voice. If you are angry, resentful, anxious or in any way secretly unresourceful others will detect it. They may not know what they are picking up, but they will know that something is incongruent and they will respond appropriately.

Therefore, quite apart from the fact that you’ll feel much better about

  • yourself,
  • your life,
  • and the situations you are facing,

It’s important to deal with your negative emotions and limiting beliefs for the sake of your communication and relationships with others.

This is Not Just a Personal Issue… it Affects Your Sales

In my book, “Confident Closing: sales secrets that grew a business by 400% in six month and how they can work for you” I talk about the fact that we’re all in sales. Everyday you need to sell your ideas, opinions, skills, and knowledge to friends, family, and colleagues even if you aren’t officially in a ‘sales’ position. Your happiness does depend on your ability to this successfully.

Unacknowledged limiting beliefs are often the reason why you fail to sell yourself and your ideas. Your listener or prospect picks up on your secret thoughts of inadequacy and you end up sabotaging your outcomes without realising it.

Visualise your greatest dream or highest goal:

  • On a scale of 1-100, how convinced are you that you will achieve it?
  • If you didn’t score 100%, what or who might stop you from achieving it?
  • When did you decide that?
  • Now ask yourself, what is there about this situation that I can control and what do I need to let go of to make that happen?

Most people will make excuses for themselves and provide reasons why they can’t move forward. If that describes you, then you have some issues you need to deal with so that you can achieve your goals faster and with less friction. If you’d like some help or want to learn more visit the Personal Breakthrough Session page on this site or email Ken: and ask him to send you information about booking a Time Line Therapy® session with Chandell. This powerful technique can help you quickly and easily disperse the negative emotions and limiting beliefs that are standing between you and your goals.


Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get on really well with almost everyone, while others are constantly complaining about the way other people treat them?  The answer probably likes in the flexibility of their communication system.

I used to have a very fixed idea about how people who liked me would communicate – it included smiles, positive words, and general encouragement (all good things, by the way).  The problem with my inflexibility in this area was that if someone was pre-occupied and didn’t really notice me one day I’d think I must have offended them which made me feel bad, and try to make things right.

As I studied and practiced Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) I realised that the problem wasn’t that I had an overpowering desire to be liked – the real problem was that I had such limited flexibility in my communications that I couldn’t really distinguish between people who were pre-occupied and people who didn’t like me.

We all have some people around us who we genuinely dislike and disagree with, but we also have a much a much wider group of people with whom we just ‘don’t really feel comfortable’ – and this is mostly a question of flexibility in communication.

Glass, Perspex, and Rejection

Which is stronger: – glass or perspex?  Most people in my Confident Closing workshops will say glass – although the engineering / practical types will ask questions about thickness and treatments.  Theoretically it’s true – glass is the stronger substance, but it’s not as resilient as perspex.  Resilience is a key characteristic in communication and relationships.

Because glass is brittle, if you put enough weight and pressure on it – it’s going to break.  Whereas the perspex has got some flexibility and so it’s actually going to be able to withstand more pressure.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a business owner, or just want better social relationships you need to become more like the perspex than glass if you want to survive and thrive.  You can guarantee that challenges will come your way at one point or another.  If you’re flexible, you’re able to deal with the situation more congruently, more resourcefully.

Communicating So That Others Hear You

When you focus your communication on the other person, you’ll quickly realise the truth of the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) principle that says, “The person or the system with the most flexibility will be the one that controls the system.”  If you want to control the outcome of your conversations and sales meetings then you have to able and willing to respond appropriately in any given situation.  This means you have to be flexible in your use of communication tools – not tied to a script or even an outcome, but focused on the other person.

When you focus on your prospect, or your client and really listen to their communications – the words they use, their gestures, and tone of voice – you’ll pick up the cues you need to close more deals.  In some cases you’ll realise that your product or service isn’t appropriate for them, or that they’re just humouring you and that’s fine too, because the quicker you pick that up, the faster you can get out of there, and the less time you’ll waste.

What Do I Mean When I Talk About “Flexibility in Communication”?

We all have a preferred style of communication based on our filters [Link to post].  It doesn’t mean that this is the only way we communicate, it just means it’s our preferred style – and that style includes our choice of words, the speed at which we speak, and the gestures and tones we use.  The more we can use matching and mirroring to reflect the style preferred by the person we’re talking to, the more likely we both are to come away from our interaction feeling understood.

Flexibility involves understanding our own preferred communication style, and become observant when we are around others so that we can become aware of their preferred style of communication.  The more we do this, the more we will find that others like and understand us, and we like and understand them.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) focuses heavily on recognising communication patterns, and it’s one of the things we teach in our Confident Closing Workshop at Life Puzzle.

Handwritten Sign 200x131

By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at


Our brain is assaulted by over 11million bps (bits per second) of information, but it can only process a tiny fraction of that – 126 bps to be precise.  So how do you decide which bits are worthy of attention?  That’s the role of your filters.  If you didn’t have filters, you would go into total overwhelm because of the differential between the volume of information that is coming at you, and the amount you can actually process.

You may be wondering what this has to do with your Professional Relationships … and the answer is that your ability to understand your own filters, and the filters other people use will dramatically affect your professional relationships and, therefore, your professional success.  

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) has a very clear and effective model that demonstrates how this works:

We interpret the external world through our five senses – through sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste.   Then your unconscious mind takes over.  It filters them through your memories, your beliefs about who you are, your values and morals that you have accepted from your parents or the surrounding culture, your language and whatever other filters you have in place, so that it can select the 126 bits that are relevant to you and group them in chunks of seven to nine pieces of information and make sense of them.

Therefore, your interpretation of those eleven million bits of information is going to be unique – completely different to any other person’s interpretation of the same information – and it will happen instantaneously and unconsciously.

Great … But how does that help me in my professional communications?

Imagine if you could instantly create connections with other people – connections and rapport that aren’t necessarily based on common interests, long-term interactions, or any other factors that you have no control over.  Would that make it easier to close sales and handle clients?

It did for me, and it has for many of my clients.  You see, our unconscious mind creates these filters so that we are able to handle the sheer volume of information that is coming at us, and we create a picture in our minds made up of just the information we decided to keep.  In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) terminology we call this an internal representation.  This is as unique to you as your thumbprint – no two people’s filters are the same – and it explains why two eye-witness can give completely different accounts of the same event.  We all delete the information that we don’t think is relevant and we distort and generalise based on the filters we have developed so that we can reduce the information to manageable levels.  

Your internal representation is basically a mental picture about what any given situation means to you.  The details in this mental picture influence how you feel, which determines your physical response to the situation.  Then you use that mental picture to form a response.  If you are talking to someone your response will indicate what that picture means to you.

As a listener this means that if you pay attention to someone’s language, you can quickly learn about their filters.  Thus, whenever you are talking to someone you can speak to them in a way that bypasses their filters.

Language, Learning Styles and Preferred Communication Models

In the ongoing debate about education, you may have heard some of the discussion about learning styles.  I don’t actually agree with most of the discussion around this area.  The prevailing attitude puts people in boxes, rather than opening up new options and making them resources and I think that’s a criminal thing to do to anyone – especially a child!

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) respects people’s preferences – and acknowledges that if we want to build rapport with others, we need to go over to where they are, not expect them to come to us.  Communication styles are very similar to learning styles – we all have a preferred way of filtering the world – through visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic modes (and both our preferred learning style and our preferred communication style are usually linked).  If we can quickly discover a person’s preferred style of communication, and use language that reflects it we can quickly build rapport with almost anyone.

The best communicators in the world – the people whose words everyone listens to, even if they disagree with their ideas – have very flexible communication styles.  If you are speaking to a group, using language that resonates with a variety of communication models is ideal, if you are just speaking to a single person you will find it much easier to build your relationship if you identify their preferred mode of language, and use it with them.

Their pose will quickly change from resistant to responsive.  When we teach this in workshops and our students go out and practice identifying and using the appropriate model we usually get an excited phone call within a day or two from people who say, “I can’t believe what a change this has made!  I talked with X, who is usually quite stiff and resistant, and closed the deal we’ve been negotiating for 3 months.

Handwritten Sign 200x131

By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at


“90% of your life is controlled by your unconscious mind, And only 10% of your life is lived consciously!”

When you think about it, that’s a scary statistic!

You may think that you are in control of your life, but the reality is that the way you process information and respond to situations is mostly done on autopilot.  If you’ve ever been in a situation and responded instinctively – or had someone respond to you and thought, “Where on earth did that come from?” you’ve seen the unconscious mind in action. 

It might be a strong reaction to some sound or smell that is totally out of proportion to the cause – like the feeling of sadness that wells up when you hear a song that your memory links to time of sadness or stress.  On the surface it seems like a totally irrational response, but the reality is that it is a deeply-rooted and natural outcome of a habit, belief, or experience that may be so deeply buried in your unconscious mind that you don’t even remember it.

In fact, while many people are aware that they have an unconscious mind they are usually unaware that the unconscious mind controls 90% of their lives.  That means that we are only consciously controlling 10% of our lives, the rest is directed by our unconscious mind – by the habits we form, and the attitudes we learn either deliberately or by chance.

How Learning Happens

When a baby learns to walk, a child learns to read, an adolescent learns to drive, or you learn a new skill, at first it demands all your concentration and you need to work really hard at it.  As time goes by most of those actions sink into your unconscious mind and you do them almost on autopilot.  That is why it’s so important to start out with good habits, and why your first lessons in any new skill are the most important.

We see it in top tennis players like Roger Federer – despite his very successful record he realised that he needed to make some changes in his game to stay at the top, so he changed his tennis racquet, and his coach, and developed a more aggressive playing style.  That didn’t come easily, and under stress he was still reverting to his former style at this year’s Australian Open – but it illustrates the point I’m making.  We can change our deeply engrained habits!

We can change our deeply engrained habits … but it takes conscious planning and some effort.

On the other hand, if the unconscious behaviours and habits you have are no longer working for you (even our worst habits usually worked for us at some time) then isn’t it worth the effort to change? 

I don’t know about you, but I’m a firm believer in the saying that: “Doing the same things you’ve always done, and expecting different results is insanity.”  If I’m doing something that isn’t working I want to find an alternative that will work for me, and help me get the outcome I desire.  That’s why I studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and became a Master Trainer – because I wanted to change my life, and help other people change theirs.

Facilitating that change through group training, and individual and corporate coaching is what gets me out of bed each morning.  It’s just so exciting to watch people go from one level of achievement to another as they retrain their unconscious mind and get it working for them, rather than against them.

Meta Description: The idea that you are not really in control of your actions and thoughts is pretty scary.  Most of us like to think that we are in the driver’s seat when really we’re operating on instinct.  Can we change that?

Handwritten Sign 200x131

By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at


When we have a problem, we are constantly looking for a solution to that problem.  The difficulty with that is that energy flows where attention goes – so if we’re not careful we can end up having all our energy sucked up in experiencing the problem, rather than looking for a solution.

When you have something wrong – whether it’s a physical sickness, or depression, or whatever you are focused on the problem.  But that makes it grow even bigger in our minds, and sometimes in our bodies as well.  If other people know about the problem, they are also focused on it and so the whole issue snowballs.  The other aspect of this is that sometimes we get attention from other people because of our problems.  That’s called secondary gain.  Your problem attracts attention, so you go around telling people that you want to solve it, but you’re not really looking for a solution at all – or at least, not after the first few days, because you like the attention it brings you.

Another issue is called a double bind –  you’ve probably experienced this sometime (I know I have!)  We enjoy complaining about our problem, but it also gives us a reason not have the thing we want.   Like if I don’t have the confidence to ask for business, but I also don’t really want to ask for business because I think that would be pushy, that’s a great double bind.

We’ve all been taught things that aren’t necessarily helpful or even true, but they shape the way we react and they tie us up in knots.  It might be that you were taught that it was rude to ask personal questions – so you really want to know what’s going on in someone’s life, because you’ve hear rumours or seen things that make you concerned for them, but you truly believe it would be rude and prying to ask.  So you say nothing, but you still want to know – or you do ask and feel embarrassed, as though you were eavesdropping.

Let me give you an actual example – I had a client who was in direct selling and she came into the office to do a process called Time Line Therapy™ which is about letting go of negative emotions from the unconscious level and it’s a process that takes as little as 2 minutes for most people to let go of a major negative emotion – we do it for anger, sadness, fear and guilt.  So this lady comes in and we let go of anger perfectly, we let go of sadness perfectly, we got to fear – and we always ask the unconscious mind for permission to let go of the emotion.  So I said,  “Okay, so is it okay for your unconscious mind to let go of the negative emotion of fear today and for you to be aware of it consciously?” and she said, “No.”

So I reframed and said, “I want to remind your unconscious mind that its highest prime directive is to preserve your body and keep it safe and so holding on to this negative emotion is actually not in line with its highest prime directive.  So, knowing that, would it be okay for your unconscious mind to support us in letting go of the fear today and for you to be aware of it consciously, knowing that we can keep the learning and let go of the negative emotion.” And she said, “No.”

I was pretty curious about this, because this is the first time that this had happened to me – most of the time, with a bit of a refrain to the unconscious mind it loosens it up and they say,”Yes.”

So I said, “Well, could you ask your unconscious mind why? Just tell me the first thing that comes up.”

And she replies, “Because if I let go of the fear then I won’t have an excuse.”

Ka-ching! Secondary gain!  It’s a lot easier for people to accept you saying you’re afraid to make a cold call.  They’ll accept that because fear is an acceptable excuse and then people will feel sorry for her and make excuses for her.  Whereas if she says, “I don’t want to do it” which is what it was really about, people will say “Don’t be lazy, get over it.”  So by having that excuse or hiding behind the fear I can be okay with the fact that I don’t want to do what I should do and what I have to do.

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) teaches us that our unconscious mind wants clear direction.  What could be a clearer direction than focusing your thoughts on something day-in, day-out?  And if all your friends and relations are also focused on that thing then you really do have a problem!  Maybe that’s why our forebears didn’t talk about their problems – and perhaps the idea of a stiff upper lip has its advantages – as long as we can channel our thoughts as well!

The challenge is really to find a healthy solution to the problem of energy flowing where attention goes.

Here’s the simple steps I teach my clients:

  1. Acknowledge the problem, name it, and recognise how big it is (or not) – as long as you pretend it doesn’t exist you can’t deal with it effectively;
  2. State clearly to yourself (and anyone else you talk to) that you are looking for a solution, and set a (short) timeline for action;
  3. Don’t talk about your problem, talk about potential solutions and acknowledge your deadline to anyone who asks;
  4. When your deadline comes, take the first step towards the best solution you have – it’s easier to guide a moving ship than one that’s dead in the water.
  5. Find something positive in your life and focus on making that even better.

If you take those simple steps you’ll find that although they take discipline, they don’t absorb your energy completely and the end result is that you still have energy to get on with your other responsibilities which means you’re not making the problem worse by letting other areas of your life get out of hand.

Meta Description:  Problems need solutions, but we need to be careful not to give them too much attention or we’ll be consumed by them because energy flows where attention goes and the last thing you want is to put all your energy into a problem.

Handwritten Sign 200x131

By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at


You’re probably familiar with the concept of S.M.A.R.T. Goals – you may even have tried them and discovered that they worked well … or maybe you struggled to formulate your S.M.A.R.T. Goals properly and gave up.

A S.M.A.R.T. Goal is:

  • Specific – clearly stated in precise terms
  • Measurable – you can tell if you have achieved it or not
  • Achievable – it is possible
  • Realistic – not only is it possible, it is possible for you given your circumstances
  • Timely – there is a date attached to it

When you’re setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals you don’t want to try to set too many at a time because your unconscious mind will get confused [Unconscious Mind] – and also you will probably get lazy in your goal setting process.  It’s much better to create 2-3 well-formed goals than 8-10 sloppy ones, but sometimes we get carried away by our desire to create change in several areas of our lives all at once.

One thing that often gets people confused when they’re setting goals is that they mistake a state or value for a goal.  Happiness, for example, is not a goal – it’s a state.  It could be part of a well-formed goal if you thought about it like this:-

I want to be happy …

I would be happy if my relationship with my spouse/partner involved more conversation …

I will plan to have 2 hours together talking about important things or doing projects with the TV turned off every Tuesday and Thursday …

After 2 months we should be communicating much more deeply about things that matter.

You do have to think about the specific change that equate to realising your goal, and the steps you will take to get there.

Active Visualisation Makes S.M.A.R.T. Goal-Setting Truly Powerful

The thing that really makes S.M.A.R.T. Goals dynamite is actively visualising the outcome using as many senses as possible.  Feel the satisfaction, hear the roar of approval, smell that new car smell …  The more clearly you can experience the emotion that is linked to your success, the more likely you are to achieve the goal.  If it doesn’t seem real to you, the chances are you won’t achieve it.

Posting pictures of your desired outcomes in plain view will really help keep you motivated and on-target.  So find pictures of the holiday you want, your dream home, the relationships you want to enjoy, the people you want to help and put them on your walls, your computer, or in a notebook that you keep nearby and you’ll be amazed at how many wonderful things happen in your life.

Your Amazing Magical Mind

Studies in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) show that when we send very clear messages to our unconscious mind about what we want, it helps us get where we are trying to go.  Your brain is a very powerful and amazingly complex structure and it influences your behaviour at many, many levels.  Science has hardly begun to tap the power of your mind to direct your life but there is no denying its almost magical powers.  The thing we really need to do is set up the conditions and then get out of the way.

Evidence Procedure for S.M.A.R.T. Goals

So, you’ve set a goal, and thoroughly visualised your successful accomplishment by harnessing all your 5 senses.  Now you need to to set out your evidence procedure.

How will you know you’ve reached the goal? – Make this as specific and concrete as possible.  Whether it’s an action like booking your ticket for Hawaii, or boarding the plane, or information like a specific sum of money in your bank account, or even a signed contract.  Be sure you can say, “When this particular thing happens, my goal has been reached.”

Then set 3 intermediate milestones which will tell you that you are on target.  Make them just as specific as your final goal because they will be your progress markers along the way.  Use pictures for these as well.

  1. What is my goal?
    How will I know that I’ve reached it?
  2. What is my 1st Milestone?
    How will I know that I’ve reached it?
  3. What is my 2nd Milestone?
    How will I know that I’ve reached it?
  4. What is my 3rd Milestone?
    How will I know that I’ve reached it?

If you follow this process thoroughly and focus on 2-3 goals at a time, you can’t help seeing dramatic changes unfold in  your life.  Start with just a single goal – something you really, really want and see what happens.


Meta Description:  S.M.A.R.T. Goals are a great way of giving your unconscious mind directions, but making them truly visceral adds a whole new dimension to their achievability.

Handwritten Sign 200x131

By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at

Most people in my community may be surprised to know that I am not a huge fan of “positive thinking. Before you get too carried away, let me tell you how I think about this and where it takes me. If I have a “positive thinking mindset”, I might say something along the lines of … “I really want to be well and I’m really healthy.” This is great IF I am healthy and well, on the other hand if someone suffering with some kind of major disease that has lots of physiological symptoms says that, it might be bring on some conflicts at the unconscious level.


I believe that when you are ‘thinking positively” or doing affirmations about something you don’t really believe, you set yourself up for a lot of fake realization and or disappointments. Basically, thinking positively has no value when the “itty-bitty-shitty committee” is sitting on your shoulder and saying things like… “Well, that’s really not very true!” especially if the person is faced with this symptomology on a daily basis.

This thinking was sparked by a conversation with a prospect when we sat down to have a chat about some of the challenges he had been experiencing in his life.

There happened to be a glass of water on the table. He said to me, “You know, I am a glass half-full kind of person and I’ve been reading a book about positive affirmations and positive thinking which frames the idea of the glass being half full rather than half empty.”

I was thinking about what he said and came to a really, really interesting realization. At that moment I replied, “It doesn’t really matter whether the glass is half full or half empty because in reality sometimes the glass IS half empty.” That started me thinking about the notion of half full and half empty and whether it is valid?

Suddenly I realised it doesn’t really matter whether the glass is half full or half empty. The important this is what you do with the information.” Maybe you’ve received some news that you’re not excited about that you have to swallow. Perhaps, you’ve experienced a sense of loss, and maybe there is NO positive re-frame for you as you process the grief of losing someone who was very special to you.

If you find that the glass IS half empty, the most important thing to consider is what are you telling yourself about the fact that it is half empty? And what is your ability to the respond to the fact that some of those circumstances are beyond your control?

So, the question is not necessarily whether the glass is half full or half empty. It’s actually a question of whether or not you can face the fact that it is empty.
What actions will you take today or tomorrow that will make a difference in terms of how you deal with the fact that it’s half empty?

Here’s my 3 tips for approaching a half empty glass:-

Ask myself how do I want it? This changes my state of mind to moving toward a good outcome and in the absence of focusing on the problem I may see a solution I didn’t see before.
What can I learn from the situation that will assist me or others in the future? Commit these ideas to paper.
Write it down without attempting to make sense of it. (Free associated writing) Carl Jung believed that when our unconscious mind communicated or made conscious a problem that it would cease to exist. In doing free associated writing you can sometimes make realisations you wouldn’t have by analysing/just thinking about the problem.

Finally, in order to have a new glass with new content, sometimes you have to tip it upside-down, wash it out and fill it up again with some new, fresh, clean water.

Be well and Be Empowered!

Handwritten Sign 200x131

By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at


Share This

Select your desired option below to share a direct link to this page.
Your friends or family will thank you later.