Costs and Consequences

February 17, 2012

Do you ever find yourself really wanting something while, at the same time, reluctant to act, reluctant to actually do anything, to achieve it? Perhaps you have a sense that ‘something’s wrong’ or a suspicion that, maybe, there is an unacceptable price to pay or undesirable consequences associated with achieving what you want?

Are you interested in a means of evaluating the outcome of your actions – before you act? Do you want to ensure that your actions will have the desired impact, check for any undesirable consequences, identify any obstacles so that you may choose to take them into account by formulating strategies for success – before you commit yourself to act?

To get an even better sense of the likely consequences of your action, do have a go at the approach described here in a Costs and Consequences Workbook. This approach is particularly useful when you have a desired outcome where you are aware of a conflict of some kind – or in the decision-making or planning stages. Consider and assess what effects a course of action may have – before you actually do it!

Checking out costs and consequences may engage you in analytic thought, gathering information from others, creating and testing out the viability of future scenarios and paying attention to your gut feelings.

Create Compelling Outcomes

February 17, 2012

A compelling outcome is like an opening gambit in chess. It sets the scene for the rest of the game, and the attention we bring to defining the outcome has a direct bearing on the flow towards achieving the desired results. A well-formed outcome can be compelling and makes the difference between wanting something in theory, and making it real.

Make large, clear mental pictures of the outcome to work towards, with yourself doing what you are compelling yourself to do. This alone keeps the intention and enthusiasm on track, providing momentum and motivation.

A well-formed outcome describes something we want, in sensory based, positive terms. It includes a description of what we want it for and the terms, conditions and contexts in which we want to have it. It includes consideration of different approaches and time frames, costs and consequences to interested parties, and whether it is within our control.

How to create a Compelling Outcome (NLP Well-Formed Outcome)?

Ask Yourself

1. What do I want?

Ask this question about the context you are considering. State what you want in positive terms, i.e. what do you want, and what do you want it to do? Where do you want it? When do you want it? E.g. I want to be, do or have X’. If the answer forms as ‘I do not want..’ then ask ‘What do I want instead of …’.

2. Is it achievable?

Is it possible for a human being to achieve the outcome? If someone has done it, then in theory you can do it, too. If you are the first, you can find out if it is possible.

3. What will I accept as evidence that I have achieved my outcome?

What evidence will you accept that lets you know when you have the outcome? Ensure that you describe evidence in sensory based terms i.e.: What you can see, hear and/or touch that proves to you and/or others that you have done what you intended.

4. Is achieving this outcome within my control?

Is it under you control, i.e. can you, personally do, authorize or arrange it? Anything outside your control is not ‘well formed’. Instructing your broker is within your control. So is buying in expertise. Asking your employer for time off is not. The time off will only become well formed if you get it.

Ensuring personal control and other people’s consent draws attention to preparing the project. If an outcome depends on another’s consent, it is not well formed. Any permission should be negotiated early, or it can become a sub outcome. Outcomes can be nested at different logical levels. Nesting parts of an outcome can ease its passage and completion, often sooner than we thought.

5. Are the costs and consequences of obtaining this outcome acceptable?

Ensure that the outcome is worth the time, outlay and effort involved in achieving it and you include any impact on important others and the environment. ‘Ecology’ describes whether an outcome’s costs, time frame, and consequences including benefits are acceptable. Is the outcome worth the effort, time and other costs involved in getting there, including strain on valued third parties, and is the result worth having and keeping? Does it support or detract from our life style, relationships, and other factors that matter? Does the time frame fit?

6. Do I have all the resources I need to achieve my outcome?

Do you have or can you get all the resources, tangible and intangible that you need to achieve your outcome? Resources include knowledge, beliefs, objects, premises, people, money, time.  Are all the necessary resources available to achieve the outcome in the time frame and within cost?

7. If I could have it now or at the appropriate time, would I take it?

Are all costs and consequences of achieving your outcome, including the time involved, acceptable to you and anyone else affected by it? This is known as ecology. Then consider the costs, consequences, environmental and third party impact of having your outcome.

An outcome is stated in positive terms and so helps our thinking about what we want, not what we do not want. If we describe what we want in detail we can recognize it when it happens.When defining evidence of the desired outcome, we need to describe something we could see, hear or feel and point out to someone else. That is sensory based evidence. It is the only reliable evidence for a well-formed outcome. We can apply it equally to £10M in the bank or to happiness, love or peace.

Change Roller Coaster

April 14, 2011

We all live in an ever changing world and we handle change every day. Some changes are imposed upon us by changing circumstances, others we want to make to enrich our lives, some we hunger for, others we battle against – and many we hardly notice as we integrate them into our lives. Recognise natural human reactions to change and stimulate the thinking about quite how to make changes work for you.

Take a look here to see a few brief notes about the nature of the human reaction to change – and top tips about how to make it work for you.

Fresh Thinking

January 9, 2011

Do you want to freshen up your thinking and happenings around some of your relationship issues? If you do, this exercise could be just the thing to have a go at.

Why not have a go at the short exercise in this Different Shoes – Different Views workbook?

Positively Done

January 9, 2011

Boost your self-confidence by recognising the reality of your own actual experiences.

‘Positively Done’ is a simple exercise that encourages you to truly recognise your achievements, so adding to the strength of your self-belief, self-awareness, self-confidence and self-recognition – for today and all your tomorrows.

Here is a simple workbook for you to have a go at the Positively Done exercise.

No Can Do But Want To

July 19, 2010

There is something that you want to do, but you think you can’t – for all sorts of reasons. Try this simple approach to open the door to possibility and find a way to make it so.

Think of something where you are saying: I CAN’T DO ____

now, notice what happens when you say: I can’t do ____ BECAUSE _ typically, a list of obstacles appear and you are tempted to walk away

now, notice what happens when you say: I CAN DO ____ IF ____ typically, a list of puzzles appear and you are tempted to find a way

hmmmm …

  • puzzles have solutions
  • faced with a puzzle, the brain goes into gear to find a solution
  • I can do if increases the chances of finding a way

When you examine each IF, you may also gain insight into the true blocks.

Works for me. Simple, but powerful.

Create Future History

June 21, 2010

Imagine a future and discover ways for you to make it so. Here’s a brief workbook which introduces a simple technique that works for me. Create Future History workbook

As you will notice, this is about imagining the way it would be and what may need to happen to make it so. All I’ll say is don’t underestimate the influence your imaginings can have in getting clarity and confidence in your future actions. Why not give it a go on a mildly challenging goal you have – and notice the difference, if any, that it makes for you.

“My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.” Charles F. Kettering


May 24, 2010

yet – turning today’s impossibilities into tomorrow’s probabilities!

Think about it. Notice something that, for you, just now, you consider unlikely or impossible. e.g. I can’t do ____! Now, just add that little word yet e.g. I can’t do ___, yet! Perhaps you will notice how that little ‘yet’ opens up your mind to the possibility of someday, maybe, if …. and you have given yourself the chance to play with the puzzle of quite how you may be able to do ____ in the future.

Works for me 😉

Stressors From Within You

May 15, 2010

When we were children, we learned how the world worked by watching and listening to the people around us. They gave us a set of values that they believed would help us to get on in our lives. For example “It’s a good thing to help other people, and people will like you if you are helpful”. I doubt if anyone would argue with that. The trouble is that our most strongly held beliefs and values can get out of perspective when we are under some kind of pressure – and drive us to behave in ways which are unhelpful to us, and give us even more stress – our stressors from within.

Try this simple questionnaire to find out your unique blend of the five major drivers of  ‘stressors from within’ that you favour.

Most people experience all the stressors from within at different times, but generally have two or three that crop up regularly. Go here to see a general description of the groups and their characteristics.

Consider challenging and changing the power your values have over what you choose to do. As the saying goes “If you do what you always do, you will get what you have always got.” It is not unusual for the idea of changing the power  of your drivers to feel a bit uncomfortable. Please do take the trouble to overcome that initial discomfort and challenge those values. It could be well worth it for you and those around you.

Remember that it’s not the values themselves that cause our stress problems – it’s when we let those values get out of perspective that they become stressors within ourselves. For example, if you’re just about to leave work and notice that there are too many spaces in the heading on your report, and you have to run for the train because you couldn’t leave it until you’d edited it, your ‘be perfect’ driver is having a negative effect on your stress.

Get real. Get purposeful.

May 14, 2010

LEADS the day is a great way of creating specific, realistic expectations for your day. It is easy to do, takes a maximum of 15 minutes to do each day – even on the busiest of days to be, it often takes me less than 5 minutes to do it. Do LEADS the day, fresh each day – get real – get purposeful – get results. Savour the pleasure of your flexible, responsive, focussed efficiency.

  • List the things [outcomes and/or tasks]
  • Estimate
  • Allow for the unexpected
  • Decide on priorities
  • Scan list at close of day

In my experience, through doing LEADS the day I am inspired to set realistic expectations. I am creating my day’s agenda Today. I am blending items from the world of demands. Add those things together, and I ‘get purposeful’, using my energy and time effectively, focus with clarity on intentions for the day. At the end of day Scan, I get useful insight on the ‘not done’ stuff whose time got hijacked by the unexpected, and get a buzz from noting my achievements. Each day starts fresh.

List Demands on your time and energy come from lots of places, some of which you can predict like your To Do lists, Projects, scheduled Appointments and such.
Estimate Make an educated guess at quite how much effort and time this piece of work will take.
Allow In real life, we all know that the unexpected happens [best laid plans of mice ‘n men, ‘n all that]. The unexpected is predictable in the sense that you just know such stuff always comes up – unpredictable in the sense that we do not know, specifically, quite what it will be.
Decide REMEMBER – this is about Todays’s priorities rather than priorities in the overall scheme of life!
Scan At the end of the day, scan your list – timely reminder if anything critical is still outstanding. Note the items ‘not done’ and learn from the experience of the unexpected taking priority. Note the items you have done, and take the greatest pleasure in declaring the DONE!