How to Use Neuro-Linguistic Programming to Help You and Your Students Achieve Excellence

Laura Boynton Kin g, CHt NLP Certified Hypnosis InstructorLaura King has been helping people heal their minds and bodies for 25 years. Using her unique combination of Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Life Coaching, Laura is able to help individuals with even the most difficult of issues to create positive and lasting change. She is director and founder of Summit Dynamics, LCC and is a certified hypnotist and certified sport hypnotist. To learn more about Laura, click here

We are all products of patterns we have created our entire lives, whether it’s done consciously or unconsciously. This can be good, as we may have developed patterns that work for us, such as a way we soothe a nervous horse or daily flossing. But they can also be bad, as we may have unwittingly developed patterns that are destructive or, at best, unproductive, like putting down a competitor or drinking too many sodas.

There are eight essential principles of NLP that hold true for everyone – no matter who you are, how much money you have, how much you weigh, or how long you’ve been riding or training. Here are the Essential Eight:

  • There is no such thing as failure in NLP; there is only feedback
  • Everything that happens is neutral
  • The meaning of a communication is the response you get
  • The map is not the territory
  • You cannot not communicate
  • What you think is what you get
  • You don’t know what you don’t know
  • If one person can learn to do something, so can you

By recognizing the truth in these Essential Eight principles, we are able to begin to shift how we see the world, and start making adjustments in how we communicate. But how can you use this to take your training business, your students’ performance, and your performance, to the next level?

NLP offers several techniques to produce and reproduce excellence. The ones I use the most in my practice are:

  • Modeling
  • Circle of Excellence
  • Theatre of the Mind and
  • Anchoring

The theory of Modeling says that we can achieve excellence in anything by finding a place where it already exists and copying the traits and behaviors when excellence is present. In other words, copying success can lead to success.

This is a wonderful exercise for your students:

  • Imagine someone riding with ease, poise, confidence. . . excellence. Keep that picture in your mind for a moment.
  • Look at the person’s body position, from the tip of their feet to the top of their head. Memorize it. Put yourself in that position.
  • What are you thinking about that allows you to be in that position? What are you feeling? How do your legs, your back, your shoulders, your arms, your hands feel? Memorize this feeling so you can mimic it.

These are the thoughts and feelings you want your students to develop. This is modeling, and it’s useful to you as the trainer as well.

The Circle of Excellence is the people, images, sights and sounds, you surround yourself with that are indicative of excellence, and that exude excellence. As a trainer, you can do this mental exercise for yourself, as well as use it as a tool with your students.

Here’s how it works: Picture yourself in the middle of a circle, and then fill that circle with whatever has contributed to your excellence (trainer, parents, spouse, a horse, etc.) and whatever is proof of your excellence (ribbons, trophies, etc.). Accessing that mental image—and its corresponding confidence and self-esteem—recreates that excellence. The subconscious mind responds as if that circle is your reality.

It’s important to note that when NLP refers to excellence and what has caused it, it’s referring to what we can directly observe as the cause of excellence. This isn’t theorizing about what actions might have resulted in or contributed to a state of excellence. This is about cause and effect. What people, actions, places, and processes have contributed to your success? Visualize them and place them in your Circle of Excellence.

In my next article, we’ll discuss two more NPL techniques: Theater of the Mind and Anchoring. Until then, practice using Modeling and Circle of Excellence on yourself and your students. By mimicking a successful rider and surrounding yourself with the excellence you’ve experienced to get to where you are in life, you are on your way to achieving whatever goals you choose.