Kevin: Welcome to Maximise Potential the podcast to educate and motivate through a range of original interviews designed to help you maximise your potential. Brought to you in association with the award winning recruitment group Jenrick.
Welcome back to Episode 42 of the Maximise Potential Podcast. A short time ago I was participating in a training course run by Fiona Campbell who introduced as all to the fundamentals of NLP which is Neuro Linguistic Programming on episode 24 of the Podcast. Fiona who is one of the UKs most prominent leadership development trainers was discussing the subject of successful outcomes and how when seeking to improve our outcomes the majority of us focus our efforts in the wrong place. Up until this point I like most others had always assumed that in order to change the outcome of any situation you must focus on changing the actions that you put into it. However Fiona explained that changing your actions alone will not necessarily lead to improved results explaining how you must begin the process of change by initially focussing internally upon your thoughts and feelings. Here is Fiona to explain more.
Fiona Campbell welcome back to Maximise Potential Podcast.
Fiona: Thank you for asking me it is lovely to be back.
Kevin: I was very fortunate to attend one of your training courses and I had one of those light bulb moments. Looking back on it, it was something so simple but something I had never considered and it was that simple process of I felt that if you wanted to improve the results of anything then all I had to do was just change the actions that I put in to the process and yet it wasn’t as simple as that was it.
Fiona: Well most people, you are not the first person; I have been teaching this for a long time. Most people think that with results if you change the actions that is all you have to do but they forget that people also have thoughts and feelings about something. So most people go in, most people just try and change the action rather than really finding out what someone thinks about something and how that makes them feel. Because I’ve worked in sales as you know and the number of sales managers who when say for example someone doesn’t reach their target they are busy focussing on what did you do, what didn’t you do, what did you do and they forget to ask hang on when you thought about that target how did that make you feel? Did it make you feel uncomfortable; did it make you feel I’m not sure I’m going to get it? What were you saying to yourself? How were you thinking about that because that has got a huge impact on the outcome. Lots of people think when you are talking about sort of thinking and feeling; it is about the touchy feely stuff. It’s not. It is every single person has in our stomach area in the lining of our gut we have what is known now as the enteric brain which is full of neuro transmitters similar to what we have in our brain, the cranial brain. And these are connected through the spinal cord. So when you think about our language we talk about gut reaction, gut feelings, my stomach is churning. So people in their language are reflecting all the time what is going on in their body. Something is making them uncomfortable; something is making them feel unsure about something. That is the feelings we are talking about. So we are talking about the physical feeling you feel in your body when you think about something. It is your body giving you a signal on some level to pay attention.
In a sales situation if someone really, really believes that they can get their target, they are looking forward to it, they have got a great feeling about that. They are thinking, every time they think yep this is a certainty, yep I will be able to get it, this actually the thoughts and the feelings propel the actions to get the results because there is no doubt in their head that they are going to achieve this. On the other hand if someone has been given a target and the go ooh I don’t think I’ll get that and that is creating a real feeling of terror in some people and some people say oh I feel sick. That is the type of words that people will use. That is going to impact on the actions that they take and impact on the result. So by bringing it all together understanding that everything that is happening inside the body and all the actions we take outside of our body all pulls together to get the results. So it’s the TFA equals Thoughts Feelings Actions equal Results.
This stuff is not new at all. If you go right back to Marcus Aralias roman times our life is what our thoughts make us. If you go back to 500 years BC all that we are is the result of our thoughts. The mind is everything. What we think we become. That is a saying from Buddha. So throughout history the philosophers the people who have really sort of try to understand human behaviour have realised there is a connection between the mind and the body. There is a connection between what people think and feel to what they do. And it can be to what they don’t do.
Kevin: Go on.
Fiona: Because you can have, let me just go back to the sales example. Someone who’s feeling really uncomfortable and they think they are not going to be able to achieve their target they are not in a good resourceful state to go and talk to people. So they might start to become terrified of picking up the phone. So these feelings they are getting can actually stop them from doing the action that would make the difference. So when we say Thoughts Feelings Actions it can be Action, it can be what you do or the Action you choose not to do it. Does that make sense?
Kevin: Okay, yeah, yeah. Asking the obvious question then how do we fix it?
Fiona: People have to ask themselves or they can chose to ask themselves more resourceful questions.
Fiona: Now just for example if you think of a situation where you have got a problem. Just chose a situation. Just chose a situation that you have got a problem. If you say to yourself why have I got this problem? You start listening silently and mentally to the answers you start getting back. So your brain will give you, basically it is because, because, because, because. Your brain will keep giving you a whole list of different reasons as to why you have that problem. If you ask a more resourceful question for example rather than saying why have I got this problem you can say to yourself how can I resolve this? What choices do I have to really resolve this situation? Try that now. So thinking of the same situation you start to get a lot more choices.
Kevin: Okay yeah.
Fiona: Oh another light bulb moment.
Kevin: For everybody listening I was actually just running through something in my head and when asked that negative question there was this flood of stuff coming straight in there giving me all the reasons why this is going to go wrong and yet when I did turn it around I could feel positive answers coming in but also I felt a lot calmer. I felt more relaxed.
Fiona: Okay so by changing your thoughts you automatically changed the feeling.
Kevin: Yeah because when I asked the negative question I began to get quite tense and hopeless even I suppose is the right answer. You know this is not going to happen.
Fiona: Well can I just clarify you said negative and positive.
Fiona: Negative and positive are judgements. So the first question you were asking yourself there is why is this a problem. So if we take the judgement away, it is just a question, why is this a problem? So that question is actually compounding the fact that you believe there is a problem. So your brain will give you, it doesn’t matter what is negative or positive; your brain will give you all the reasons why. Why is a question that drives motivation. So it will tell you because, because, because, because, because. It will give you all the reasons why you are motivated to have that problem. However when you change what you say to yourself and open up the choices so the second question you asked was just what choice do I have? What choices could I have? How could I do this differently? Straight away the brain works in a different way and starts searching for lots of choices. So whether it is negative or positive that is just judgement it’s the fact that one question kept you stuck by sharing what you perceived to be a problem by changing the way you asked the second question you were able to open up the mind to look for more choices. It immediately caused a chemical change in your body that when, and in your description oh calmer. So that’s a perfect example where the minute you change your thoughts, and we can change our thoughts. It used to be thought we didn’t know how to change our thoughts but when you change your thought and start asking more resourceful questions you actually change the physiology in your body so you change the feeling and that will move you and motivate you and propel you towards action to get results.
Kevin: And I am guessing this is where a feeling of confidence comes because is what you are saying is that if you change the thoughts so the thoughts are, I am going to say more positive, our full of choices that can enhance the outcome then that is going to then release that feeling, you are going to feel better about it.
Fiona: You get motivated. You get the energy. And we talk about I’ve got energy to do this and other times oh I’ve got no energy I should be doing this but I don’t have the energy to do it.
Kevin: And that is all because we haven’t set up the thought in the right way so we have got a set of feelings that are resulting of a thought. So we have just done that experiment on ourselves as an individual. Can I flip it and say okay so if I am a manager and I am trying to enhance the performance of one of my team can I use that same technique that way or?
Fiona: Yes of course you can because what you do when you are working with the Thoughts Feelings Actions Results if you manage to find out the type of things someone is saying to themselves, the type of thoughts they are having you can actually encourage that person to ask themselves a more resourceful question. So if they are giving, if they are actually saying I’ll never be able to get my targets. You can say well just humour me for a moment and ask yourself what are the different ways that I could achieve my target and see what happens. We had to experiment with ourselves so you can actually get other people to experiment with themselves.
Fiona: And start to notice the difference. There is no right or wrong answers all you are wanting to demonstrate to someone is that when they change what they are saying to themselves there is a different feeling. They are able to change the feeling within themselves. And also one of the things I will say to people as well is would you talk to your best friend in the way that you are saying things to yourself.
Kevin: Go on.
Fiona: Very often you will find if someone is having a hard time achieving something they are beating themselves up, they are criticising themselves, I’m rubbish I’ll never be able to do this, this will never happen. Which creates feelings of discomfort and makes them feel really uneasy. So if you can actually identify to someone what they are saying and then bring to their attention would you say this to your best pal? They will look at you and go no don’t be silly. And you say why are you saying it to yourself? So by teaching people that what they are saying to themselves is affecting them in every single way. This is very powerful.
Kevin: Very powerful. And speaking of being powerful you must have seen before and after cases all the time with this. What happens?
Fiona: You will see people light up. You will see people look younger. You will all of a sudden see people who looked really worried as you said they get light bulb moments, their face lights up and suddenly they become I can do this. And because they have done this themselves their belief and confidence builds because they come out with lots of different choices.
Kevin: And you just hit the nail on the head it’s just because they have realised that they have choices.
Kevin: Rather than this is.
Fiona: Than being stuck in the so called perceived problem.
Fiona: Some of the people I mean with the podcast that you do with Maximise Potential everyone that you talk to that is influential, that has done something fantastic in their life, it is always, to look into what they were thinking and feeling is huge in how they got the results.
Kevin: I am going to ask you to sort of pull it all together now. What I was going to ask you is to help people start implementing this either within their own life or if they are managing someone what behaviour do we need to stop doing and what do we need to start doing?
Fiona: What helps people is when people come up with their own solutions. Very often people, especially managers, leaders will jump in with solutions for someone. If someone is struggling with something they will jump in with a solution and tell them what they should be doing. They will say you have got to make more telephone calls, you have maybe got to go and see more appointments but this will be based on the person who is giving the solutions the way it worked for them. However when you get someone to think okay what sort of questions are you asking yourself? And when you get them to find out the questions they are asking themself and get that person to change the questions they will change the way they are thinking which will affect the way they are feeling which will affect the actions they take and change the results. So instead of jumping in with solutions find out what is happening, what someone is saying to themselves. Find out what they are thinking. Find out how they are feeling about something, what they are feeling in their body, where they are feeling uncomfortable. If they are scared about something, if they are excited about something, oh I feel a bit apprehensive. Just question them gently to find out that. Once you have that you can then suggest that they can ask themselves different questions. Because once people believe they have the ability to change their thoughts then they create their own power, they realise that they are actually in control of the results a lot more.
So the important thing for a leader is to listen. Listen to what people are saying. Very often people will tell you what they are thinking, they will tell you what they are feeling but we tend not to take notice of it. So my advice would be to really start to listen to people, listen to what they are saying, ask them questions about what they are thinking. Really take note when they say they are feeling uncomfortable and then help them to change what they are saying to themselves. The more you start to do that, and that it takes practice. It takes practice and it takes the ability to really learn and listen, to really learn to listen properly to people. Once you can do that rather than just jumping in with helping to change someone’s actions, once someone understands well hang on a minute how I feel about it and what I am saying to myself and what I think about it also has an impact, you are doing someone a great service when you do that because that really helps that person to understand they have got the power to make the change.
Kevin: Fiona Campbell thank you once again for coming on to the Maximise Potential Podcast and sharing another excellent lesson to help us all gain a greater control over our lives and future accomplishments. We have had so many of our guests comment on the roll their mind has played within their achievements but to have Fiona break it down into the TFAR model helps us all understand how we can begin implementing it for ourselves.
You will have noted that about six minutes into the interview Fiona conducted a short interview with me to show me the impact of asking resourceful questions. Two things to note here. Firstly that I shortened the time from the original recording as the experiment did take a couple of minutes to complete. But also I would like to suggest that you try this experiment for yourself. Pausing the interview after each question that Fiona asks. Fiona and I have created an article that directly follows on from this interview so please go to the show notes to access it as I am sure you will find it extremely beneficial. And since our last podcast with Fiona she has launched a series of extremely successful eBooks which are now available via Amazon which again you can access via the show notes.
That is us about done for this episode so before I sign off I would like to send a big thank you out to the Jenrick Recruitment Group quite simply without their ongoing support this Podcast would not be here. As always I am going to sign off from Xerxes music. And the track for this episode is called ‘Let it go’. Thanks again for tuning in and we are glad you enjoyed another interview on the Maximise Potential Podcast. Bye bye.