The Simplest Success Formula Ever

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An iNLP life coaching student recently asked if she needed to do anything to prepare a strategy session with me. After I replied to her email, I realized that I had just discovered the simplest success formula ever!

I asked her to think about two questions in preparation for our call. (These are questions from the NLP Outcome Specification model).

1. What do you want?
2. What stops you from getting it?

What difference do these questions make?

Imagine going through your life focused on these two questions. The clarity alone would be remarkable.

Of course, getting what you want is not the end-all-be-all. There are deeper needs that always trump wants. The need for safety, food, shelter, physical functioning, and so forth take precedence over mere wants. Moral obligation also cuts deeper than wants.

However, there is something powerful and fulfilling about pursuing and finally getting what you want, especially when it is passionately aligned with your deeper values.

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. 
~Oprah Winfrey

If Oprah’s endorsement isn’t enough, then how about Princeton? Neuroscientists have been clear that the brain is wired for achieving goals. Your prefrontal cortex is designed with goals in mind, with circuitry in place to assess goals and the rewards or punishments for achieving them. For some heavy duty reading on this, here is the research.

You are designed to pursue goals and self-motivation is natural. You can’t help but pursue them. You can choose some goals for yourself, or you can let your autopilot do the job for you and see what you get. Maybe you’ll get lucky…

The real kicker….

The kicker is the question: What stops you? The beauty of this one is that the answer is ALWAYS immediate, whether or not you are aware of it. Your mind and body will absolutely answer this direct question in one of three forms.

1. Visual

When you ask what stops you, an image may flash into your mind. It could be something from the past or something you imagine in the future. This image will be related to what stops you from getting what you want.

2. Auditory

You may hear internal sounds or voices in response to the question. Some people hear an inner critic saying something like, “You can’t do it” or “You will fail.”

Others hear critical parents or relatives sounding off. Regardless, if you hear inner sounds or voices in response to the question, take note of it.

3. Kinesthetic (Feeling)

Still, others get a feeling response. A feeling of fear, dread, anger or tension surfaces immediately following the question. Sometimes people actually freeze and stop breathing, literally paralyzing themselves for a moment.

These feelings are a direct response to the inquiry. The feeling is directly related to what gets in your way or prevents you from succeeding.

Now what….

You now have the key pieces of the puzzle. It is important to realize, again, that your brain is wired to pursue goals, considering their rewards or punishments. The only reason you do not naturally move ahead is when the perceived punishment or pain outweighs the reward.

In other words, if the obstacle is too big, you tend to stay put. As soon as you dismantle the obstacle, you naturally move forward.

It is critically important to get your mind around the obstacle. If you are like most people, you really need to slow yourself down, consider the obstacle, ponder it, then make a plan to negotiate, heal or accommodate it.

Ask yourself…

What needs to be healed? 


Who or what needs to be dealt with in your life?

What fears need to be addressed?

What are you options, given the circumstances?

And so on…

Accept the obstacle. Don’t minimize it. Get some help if you need to. It’s important.

When you slow down enough to see, hear or feel things that are getting in your way, roll up your sleeves, put on your thinking cap, consult with someone helpful and deal with it!

Move ahead >>> encounter obstacle >>> negotiate obstacle >>> move ahead some more >>> encounter obstacle >>>>>>

Welcome to progress!

About Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is a retired psychotherapist, Master NLP trainer, and practicing life coach. He and his wife, Hope, founded iNLP Center in 2011. For information on coaching with Mike, please visit his coaching website AHA System.

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