Behavioural Flexibility - NLP Matters, Episode #013


In the past couple of weeks, we have noted that successful people invest time, effort, and imagination to ensure they meet the first of the Five Success Principles – knowing your outcome! They know that secondly no goal can be reached without targeted action, and thirdly they develop the sensory acuity to be able to check to see if they are on course.

The question then becomes, what happens if I discover that my course needs correcting?

We need to be able to adapt to the new information that tells us our course needs correcting without becoming distracted and blinded by negative thoughts and emotions like blame and despair. If we do, we are likely never to reach our goal, because we are no longer focused on things that can bring us closer to them. This brings us to the next success principle, Behavioural Flexibility. 

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Here are some key takeaways from this episode:

Behavioral Flexibility

  • Behavioural flexibility is your capacity to take all the available information that is relevant to your goal, assess what is working and what is not, and then make decisions and appropriate adjustments in your behaviour that align with bringing you even closer to your goal.
  • Successful people know the value of being flexible. They know that the more flexible they are the more choice they have, and the more they are able to adapt to changes in circumstances in the external environment.
  • The Presuppositions of NLP is a set of guidelines or beliefs that together create a powerful way to navigate the world and our relationships with fellow human beings who occupy it.

The Law of Requisite Variety

  • The Law of Requisite Variety in NLP states that the person with the most flexibility controls the system.
  • Flexibility is all about having the willingness to change. Successful people recognise that change is part of the human condition. They know that change is inevitable and that it is a part of the process of growing.
  • Adopting an attitude of curiosity about change and flexibility makes achieving your goal so much easier because all you are doing is responding to feedback without the emotional and mental baggage of beating yourself up because things so far haven’t turned out quite as you might have expected.
  • Failure is an essential part of business. When things don’t turn out how you plan, you have a choice – either learn and grow or despair and retreat.

Being at Cause

  • If you own the reasons things didn’t go your way there is no need to go on and on complaining about them. Instead, focus on what else you can do instead to get the results you want.
  • Owning your reasons/excuses means you are ‘at cause’ in the situation. In other words, you are clear that the only thing in the equation you have total control over and can change is yourself, which means you are the only person who can do something to change the situation and achieve your goals.
  • The path to being a goal setting and goal achieving machine lies in your readiness to accept that it is stepping up and making the changes in yourself, changing the strategies that you might use that will allow you to be the amazing person you already are.

With the end in mind, constantly evaluate your actions to ensure that they are taking you closer to the goal. Remember, the person with the greatest behavioural flexibility controls the system. Aim to be like the metal that is malleable and flexible. It can have many uses, unlike the rigid metal that has a limited range of uses. And, there is always more than one way to achieve an outcome. Recognise that you always have choice in how you act next.

Having behavioural flexibility can and will bring you closer to your goals, so learn to go with the flow, roll with the punches, be adaptive, resilient, versatile, elastic, and pliable, and enjoy your success!

In our next episode, we will focus on the last of the Five Principles for Success – adopting the physiology and psychology of excellence.

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Joanne Clark

Joanne Clark is an Internationally accredited Master Trainer of NLP who has been delivering NLP training since 2011.  Being on her feet in front of training rooms is where Jo loves to be and her passion for inclusive and immersive training that delivers outstanding learning outcomes is apparent to everyone in her training rooms.  On average Jo delivers 140 days of training per year in addition to online webinars, guest speaker events and group coaching. 

“NLP is at the core of all my training and coaching, it is at the core of who I am, how I interact and connect with people.  I am absolutely passionate about spreading the NLP tools across the planet as I endeavour to support Robert Dilts’s vision of Creating a world to which people want to belong.” Joanne Clark

Certified Master Trainer of NLP; Master Practitioner NLP, Hypnotherapy & Matrix Therapies; Performance Coach; Cert IV Coaching; Advanced Practitioner in Coaching; Cert IV in Business; BA(Hons); Majors in Sociology and Psychology; Parent Education Leadership Training (PELT) Certificate; Mother of four children; Private Pilot (PPL); Diploma in Life Coaching