I remember it well, I was new and naive and kind of scared about being out on my own in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I was there to expand The Oil and Gas Magazine into new energy regions. Being from Canada, I wasn’t sure how the business climate fared or how the system worked. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a new business adventure and I was hungry to learn.
Upon arrive to the UAE I automatically began to look for like minded people who were progressive thinkers, up to amazing things and were making a difference in the world. I wanted to be connected and align with people who were succeeding in business and being a huge contribution. That’s when, by the grace of intention, five years ago, I met Carol Talbot.
Carol and I would drop into exotic Dubai hotels and restaurant and revel in each other’s company. We were always excited swap stories of leadership, thought transition, progress, change, transformation and business over a coffee and of course chocolate! What struck me most about Carol was that she was an insightful seasoned leader – highly competent, positive, and very grounded. I went on to study NLP with Carol and became a Master NLP Practitioner in Dubai. What this actually did was deepen my insights and understanding of my own mind and I gained a whole new range of tools for business.
In the energy industry, Carol’s philosophy and response to geological possibilities was this, “The good news is that there are always valuable nutrients waiting to be unleashed in each of us. The new oil of the economy is above ground in the form of the region’s talent pool. The Middle East and indeed the world is rich in human capital and talent, much of which is yet to be realized, appreciated and put to good use.”
Carol is a Dubai-based fire starter, considered by some to be the region’s leading Master NLP Expert having worked with more than 20,000 people across multiple sectors in her twenty year career. She suggests that a fire starter is someone who ignites a new idea and then sees it through to fruition. Carol’s gift was lighting fires not only for adventurous fire walks but also lighting the fire within!
The OGM: What is NLP and why is it important for business? Carol: NLP has many different definitions—the new art and science of getting what you want, fitness for the mind or a model of human excellence. My definition is that it’s simply “the user manual for your mind!”
NLP helps you become aware of your patterns in thinking, behavior, feelings and beliefs, so you can make very rapid shifts and changes – Shifts and changes that are permanent. NLP is a “How to!” How to get from where you are now to where you want to be, what you want to have and what you want to do.
Consequently, NLP is widely used by leading businesses across all sectors, shapes and sizes for its ability to manage and motivate individuals to take responsibility for results, planning, learning and control. It also accelerates learning and the use of fresh perspectives to encourage flexibility and problem solving along with modeling excellence.
The OGM: What are the master keys to peak performance? Carol: #1. Being FIRED UP! It is essential for people to generate themselves and be responsible for the energy they bring to work. As well, there’s a consistency that’s required. For example, there is a difference between lighting a match and lighting a volcano. Light up a match, and it burns for a few seconds, and then peters out. However, the fire of a volcano comes right from the core of the earth with a power that doesn’t run out. Imagine being able to tap into that power anytime you choose.
#2. Belief: Beliefs drive all our behavior and are behind everything that we do. To understand more about the power of beliefs, I include a lot of action metaphors in our development programs. For example, an action involving a task initially perceived as impossible includes things like breaking a wooden board with your bare hand, breaking an arrow with your neck, re-bar bending and of course, the infamous fire-walk.
Does the world need more people who can break boards, bend steel bars or walk across burning hot coals of 1700 degrees Fahrenheit? Of course not! But what the world does need and what many organizations need right now are dramatic shifts in beliefs about what is and isn’t possible. Limiting beliefs fall away when our participants face their fears with courage and clarity. It’s simply amazing to watch and experience!
How it works…Recently, I was working with a 100-plus management team, over a two-day conference. The company’s targets for the year ahead were shared with the delegates—and they were given the challenge to identify solutions to achieve the revenue goal.
Boom! The room immediately filled with an air of negativity as the team “pushed back” in a collective uneasiness at the thought of taking what they seemed to perceive as a responsibility which was not theirs or perhaps too difficult.
I opted to encourage the team members to each walk across coals, heated to 1700 degrees Fahrenheit!
Within three hours, every team member had walked the coals. Everyone was highly energized, and the collective mind-set had shifted. The general consensus in the room was one of “collaborative appreciation, coupled with anything is possible.” Indeed, the revenue goals were embraced, and there followed an outpouring of relevant, realistic solutions.
An action metaphor is used to show that human potential is infinite—always more than what meets the eye.
#3. Understanding your thoughts: It is our patterns in thinking and behaving that create our response to our circumstances, not the circumstances themselves. By becoming aware of these patterns, we can begin to navigate through them, such that we have more power to choose the ones that serve us and provide the life we want. These patterns and habits are known as strategies in NLP.
Once you understand your strategy, you know how you created success and peak performance in the past and can do it every time—you know the triggers to get success. So, we “anchor” thoughts of success and repeat them in NLP to trigger success patterns. In business, we often think of a strategy as a long-term plan; in NLP, a strategy is really a specific way to organize your thoughts and therefore your resources—whether those resources are money, relationships, attraction, health and fitness, love, relaxation or time energy, etc.
Following the same pattern in the same sequence will most always give you the same result. So we embrace those already established patterns of thought that give desired results, and we release those patterns of thought and actions that take away results.
#4. Feedback: Feedback is truly the breakfast of champions and peak performance. It’s our way to measure how our thoughts and actions land in the world. How we impact results, people and performance. It’s our constant accountability tool that tells us how we are doing. That’s a daily thing!
The OGM: Can you explain perception and your “model of the world”? Carol: Here’s the thing—in your model of the world you believe you are100 percent right in everything you say, think and do. The challenge is that everyone else is also 100 percent right in everything they say, think and do in their model of the world!
To quote renowned hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, “Each person’s model of the world is as unique as their thumb print. There are no two people who understand the same sentence the same way. So in dealing with people, try not to fit them to your concepts of what they should be!”
A great deal of what we perceive as going on out there in the world—isn’t. What we perceive out there is what we expect to perceive, based on our past experiences, beliefs, memories and language. Everything that we perceive is a projection from our thoughts. In other words, whatever we’re doing inside our heads affects the results we create in the outside world! Therefore, the old adage that perception is reality holds true—for the person perceiving it!
The OGM: Personal development is considered the “soft skills” section of training and development. Why are soft skills essential? Carol: Many people are looking for answers or looking for someone to fix things, make them happy or make them well. If a man is hungry and you give him food, he’ll be hungry again very soon, so, as the saying goes, it’s about teaching a man how to fish so he can feed himself forever!
I operate from the belief that we have all the wisdom we need to be successful, healthy and happy within ourselves. In NLP, we work with others to discover how they do what they do, so if they are doing anything successfully, they can re-create it in other areas of their lives. I see that my role is to help us all appreciate that the answers are in our own hands, and offer proven tools and techniques to help everyone to do this, so they literally have tools for life!
There is a growing awareness that we create our own destiny, and that we can only lead when we stop following. In NLP, we prove that everyone is a leader. And to stop following is merely to start listening to your own thoughts, your own ideas and your own genius, putting them into play.
The OGM: You’ve succeeded in business in the UAE for over 20 years. How did you do that? Carol: My mother calls it “bounce-back-ability!” I call it “determination!” As a self-proclaimed course junkie, I’ve had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, experience, variety, adventure and learning, which has led to a passion for sharing the best of what I’ve learnt, experienced, uncovered … and found to be true! In short, I never stop learning, and therefore, I never stop teaching.
I’ve delivered motivational speeches and programs to large audiences across the five continents and have been fortunate enough to work with great companies such as GE, Wrigley, KPMG, Vodafone, HSBC as well as SMEs. I attract and enjoy working with individuals and organizations that take responsibility for their own results and are prepared to do whatever it takes to get those results!