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 Recognizing hidden opportunities

Some people say 'luck is opportunity meeting a prepared mind.'

So how do you prepare your mind?

What are people who experience more of life’s lucky breaks doing differently? ‘Lucky breaks’ like synchronicity, being in the right place at the right time, bumping into the right people.

How are they thinking and behaving that sets them apart?  

Results from long term studies¹ show they share the following behaviour patterns. (Brain-based science explains how these behaviours work together. Let me know if you’d like more on the research.)

1. Connecting with people

  • Even during casual encounters like sharing an elevator, waiting in lineups, 'lucky break' people are more likely to exhibit non-verbal cues others read as being responsive and approachable.

  • They smile and initiate conversations, use gestures and physiology perceived as open - palms up, legs and arms uncrossed – and maintain twice as much eye contact.

  • Because of these behaviours, they build more successful, long lasting, trusting relationships. 

Steps you can take
Think you're more comfortable with goals, tasks and data, than relating to people? Or you’ve been an introvert from birth? Does this mean you’re out of luck? No!

With a little practice and coaching in the basics of non-verbal communications, you’ll be surprised by how comfortable you can be ... connecting with others whenever and wherever you chose.

You will need hands-on practice for this so take a workshop if at all possible. The benefits will impact all areas of your life.

If you have NLP training
Practice the A-R-T of rapport; use pacing and leading.
Research on consumer behaviour² shows: the non-verbal sensory cues people experience during business and social interactions are mostly unconscious, yet they create the feelings people have about their experience. Those feelings have more influence on future (buying) decisions than facts or product features.
2. Expect the best

Once you set your outcome, believe in it. Always expect the best, even when a goal is a stretch. At the very least, you’ll get valuable feedback. Plus you've heard those stories about overnight success ... usually preceded by years of collecting feedback.

There is a wealth of research demonstrating the power of expectations, like the placebo effect in medicine, and studies on the expectations of teachers affecting the results of their students.

Steps you can take
First, test your belief. Here’s a simple way:

  • Think of something you know is absolutely true for you. Now, how do you know? What does that knowing feel like and where do you feel it in your body?

    It may take a moment before you catch it, but all feelings have a body sensation.

Next test your belief in the outcome.

  • Think about achieving that outcome. Can you do it? How do you know you can? Keep asking until you notice where in your body you feel the answer. Sense it.

Compare that sensation with the one you had for absolutely true. They should be similar.

  • If you have anything less than total certainty, check the scope of the goal. Can you break it into several steps? Ask what has to happen first, do you need additional skills?

If you have NLP training
You have several techniques for replacing outdated beliefs and installing resourceful beliefs. You could use submodalities - the two step belief change and finish with a Swish – time based or straight anchoring. Check for well formed outcomes and ecology.
3. Visualize achieving your outcomes  – Mental Rehearsal
  • Practice is the key to expertise in any field. Mindful practice accelerates the pattern recognition that enables experts to anticipate events and respond quickly.

  • When you visualize or mentally rehearse achieving your outcome, you are practicing perfect performance (mistake free.)

Think you can’t visualize? The process below works for most people.

Steps you can take

  1. List the steps you’ll take to achieve your goal and how you’ll know when you have it – the final event.

  2. Next, imagine stepping into the situation where you’ll be achieving your goal.

  3. Now run through the activities you’ll be doing, what you’re seeing around you, the sounds you hear ... what are you feeling as you approach the ‘finish line?’ And what are you saying to yourself ... as you are there. Notice the sensations you’re feeling now, as you have it.

  4. When it’s perfect, STOP. And repeat the process whenever you have a few quiet moments. Be curious about how you’ll refine the steps you take with each repetition.

If you have NLP training
You are already good at this, so make it even better by using a Swish pattern on the final T in the TOTE. If you have a less than easy time focusing, use Cooks Hook Up for 2 minutes. You'll clear your mind and be ready to go. If others are involved you might run through Perceptual Positions as well.

4. Listen to your intuition ... and you will make better decisions.

Intuition is the result of unconscious processing. The unconscious actually captures, stores and processes more raw data – sensory input – than the conscious mind is capable of tracking. So true intuition, is based on higher quality and a higher quantity of information and leads to better decisions and better results.

Steps you can take

  1. Make boosting your intuition a goal. Relaxation techniques and meditation works for some people. Others prefer an active method – like taking a walk, going into a exercise trance or runner’s trance, and the driving trance – even sleeping on it can incubate aha! moments and increase clarity.

  2. The trick is in separating valuable intuitions from wishful thinking. So track the quality of your hunches and compare the sensory signals you notice. (see belief test above.)

  3. Next, take constructive action. Putting your ideas into action, getting feedback and seeing the results, strengthens your intuition and your belief in yourself. It's the difference between believing and hoping. Hope just sits around … wishing.

If you have NLP training
Use all of the above and ... Visual Squash technique is ideal for making decisions. Also a great time management tool for anyone juggling competing priorities – work life balance issues, urgent important and not urgent but important tasks – you’ll get more of both completed.

5. Turn set-backs into feedback.

  • Look for the silver linings in the darkest storm clouds and you can often pull success from the jaws of defeat.

  • We all have perceptual blind spots, so what we see depends mainly on what we look for.

  • When you assume there is more to see, there usually is – an opportunity waiting for discovery. 

Steps you can take

  • Be curious. Examine the unexpected.

  • Use quirky humor (brains hate being bored.)

  • Use questions that help you see from different perspectives. For example, many NLP techniques were developed by changing perspectives on problems. By saying: “This is cool!" and "What else can I use it for?”

Other questions you can play with:

  • "What did I expect to happen?" "What really happened?" "What can I learn from this?"

  • “What if ....?” “What else can this mean?” “What question haven’t I asked yet?”

We can all learn from the processing pattern called dyslexia. People with dyslexia naturally see from many perspectives. It's like their mind's eye moves around seeing things from all sides.

  • Take an object you can hold in your hand and check it out from all sides. Now add a second object. Shut your eyes and imagine moving around the two objects so you can view them from both sides, top and bottom. Next think about your situation and view it from different perspectives by adding different elements and actions.

Many people with dyslexia have used this talent to innovate and lead brilliant careers. (Today there are also ways to harness dyslexia and make school easier as well.)

If you have NLP training
Use Perceptual positions, Reframing, Chunking Up then lateral and down, Anchor creativity and solution states, neutralize stress with Time Based techniques.



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