Martin Messier

September 29, 2023

Really, it's a piece of cake to excel at NLP.

There is NLP info ALL OVER the web. Here's the no baloney way to become an ace in no time.

  1. Pick one protocol, one pattern or one model.
  2. Spend the entire following day applying that technique out in the real world.
  3. Lather, rinse and repeat. Go back to step one with another technique.

For example, let's take pacing -- which you need for rapport.

Today, as you go out into the world, focus on pacing as much as you can. Pace people's walk, people's speech tempo, people's words, people's rep systems, everything.

Not only will you have an outstanding day but you'll develop much faster than most other NLP students out there.

Martin Messier

September 28, 2023

I lived in Brazil for several years.

Sixteen, to be exact.

One of the things I like best about Brazil is that people are passionate and fervent down there.

Among other things, they’re passionate about religion.

One of the common phrases that Brazilians always use when they want something is “if God so wants.” That they get what they want because it’s granted by God, and that everything they get is because of a superior power.

As far as I can tell, that belief is not enough. You also have to do the work.

God, or the Universe — or however you wish to name the force that integrates everything that exists — can give favorable conditions, but you have to claim what you want. And you do that by taking action.

And that goes for your clients, of course.

You can’t expect them to randomly take the right action. If you want to help them take consistent action toward the results they want, you have to take a few more variables into account.

Basically, the question they struggle with, is…

“How do I get myself to do what I know I need to do to get what I want?”

  • What can I do to stop procrastinating?
  • How do I motivate myself to do this?
  • How do I figure out the most effective way to get there?
  • How can I become good at doing this?

And they tell themselves…

“Ah, no worries. I’ll figure it out eventually…”

And most people take action the first day. And the second day. And most of them can make it three days, if they #hashtagFeelingInspired a little.

But that’s where issues begin.

If they need to do something for 3 days, they can get themselves inspired to do it…

  • What if they need to do it for 60 days? — that’s 20 times as long.
  • What if they need to do it for 180 days?

What if they need to do it for the rest of their life?

At that point, just getting inspired won’t cut it anymore.

You really shouldn’t let them hinge their life on something unsustainable as inspiration and “when I feel like it”.

What they need (to have a stable, consistent flow of results) is a sustainable flow of action-taking.

In short: you need to approach action-taking systematically with them. An approach that addresses more than just goals and action-taking.

CAREFUL: one thing to keep in mind here…

A human being is a complex system with many moving parts, just like — for instance — an airplane. You can’t build an airplane and, at the last moment, think: “oh no, I forgot the turbine”... and then strap a turbine to it.

Similarly, you can’t just strap these elements onto your client. You have to embed them in their “mental DNA”. The sooner you integrate them into the fiber of their being, the better…

Martin Messier

September 27, 2023

My daughter has been having a hard time identifying what she would like to pursue as a career (besides pursuing music, which she is naturally talented at).

On one hand, she enjoys studying psychology quite a bit. On the other, she told me she couldn't imagine spending days listening to people complain about their troubles.

After a particularly long conversation in which she was helping me gain perspective on my next career move, I asked her:

"Did you enjoy this conversation?"

She enthusiastically agreed.

I then pointed out to her that the principles used by mechanics to fix cars are also used by engineers to build rockets.

Likewise, NLP can be used by some to help people go from -1 to 0. And it's certainly valuable when applied to that purpose.

Yet, you may enjoy life much more if you use it to help already successful people engineer their path from 10 to 20.

Martin Messier

September 26, 2023

Different people in the NLP community understand modeling in different ways.

I had the good fortune of learning from wizard John Grinder early on in my journey. 

(Incidentally, it helped me understand a key factor that distinguishes Tony Robbins from so many other NLP Practitioners — he was taught by John).

Here is a bit from his masterpiece "Whispering In The Wind," which he co-authored with Carmen Bostic St Clair, in which he explicitly defines NLP and describes the core activity of the field:

NLP is a modeling technology whose specific subject matter is the set of differences that make the difference between the performance of geniuses and that of average performers in the same field or activity. In this sense, the objective of modeling studies in NLP is to explicate in a transferable and learnable code these sets of differences. The core activity, then, is the mapping of tacit knowledge onto an explicit model.

Notice how he explicitly states what NLP is: a modeling technology.

Not a therapeutic modality. Not a self-improvement method.

Notice he states the subject matter of the field: the set of differences that make the difference between the performance of geniuses and that of average performers in the same field or activity.

Not language patterns. Nothing hypnosis-related. Not getting others to do what you want. Not rapport.

Notice he states the core activity of the field: the mapping of tacit knowledge onto an explicit model.

I'm bringing this to your attention because if you look at the curriculum of most Practitioner courses, you'll notice they are far removed from this understanding of the field.

Martin Messier

September 25, 2023

Here's one of the key tenets of NLP you'll hear when participating in Practitioner Training...

It goes something like this: "Human beings cannot be in direct contact with reality. Instead, they create models or maps of reality that they then use to make decisions about how to behave in the world. They create these models using the three processes of generalization, distortion and deletion."

This is gospel in the NLP world.

But do you know where that actually comes from?

Hear it straight from the Grinder and Bandler Brothers Band's mouth, taken from the Structure of Magic, page 14:

So the processes which allow us to accomplish the most extraordinary and unique human activities are the same processes which block our further growth if we commit the error of mistaking the model for the reality. We can identify three general mechanisms by which we do this8: Generalization, Deletion, and Distortion.

Here's the kicker: you see the little "8" right after "[...] which we do this:[...]"? That's a a reference to an endnote.

Why don't we flip to it and see what it says... and I quote:

Again, we wish to point out that our categories do not impose any necessity on the structure of reality — we have found these categories useful in organizing our own thinking and actions, both in presenting this material and in therapy; that is, in developing our model for therapy. We suspect that most readers will, if they think about the usual meanings of the terms, come to see Generalization and Deletion as special cases of Distortion.

AKA, they made the whole thing up!!!!!!

Generalization, distortion and deletion are not universally accepted operations in modeling.

G&B just made up these categories because they found them useful!

Now, I'm not bringing this up to poo-poo them. Quite the opposite. I just want to prove to you that NLP is a creative field, and has been from the onset of the adventure.

So don't try to subscribe to the perfect and universally accepted way of doing NLP. Instead, create. Expand and improve on the code. Make it better. Experiment. Share your learnings.

Use the code you learn simply as a springboard to your own understanding and approach to modeling.

Martin Messier

September 22, 2023

Coaches are leaders and problem-solvers — whether you have the title of "coach" or or not, if you make money by enabling someone's performance, you're a coach. 

As such, your job is to communicate effectively, introduce and model empowered behavior, inspire your clients, and paint a picture of what high performance looks like for them. 

When you do this well, your clients function and perform at the highest levels. Doing it poorly can result in low morale, low performance, and boatloads of frustration. 

Really good coaches help their clients show up as the best versions of themselves through framing. 

For example, when coaches communicate that they believe their client can accomplish great things, they believe it and deliver.

OMG! Could it really be that simple?

That's not the complete picture, but it does set your interaction up for success. 

It's called the Pygmalion effect, a psychological phenomenon in which high expectations lead to improved performance. It originated with the work of psychologists Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, who found that teachers’ expectations of their students affect the students’ performance. 

On the other hand, when expectations are low, the client's performance lags, known as the golem effect. 

In her book "Captivate," Vanessa Van Edwards talks about the highlighting frame. She defines it as “truly expecting the best from people and helping everyone in your life perform, act, and show up as the best, most honest version of themselves.” 

As coaches highlight their clients while framing the engagement, it encourages the best out of each client. 

When coaches set disempowering frames, or don’t set frames at all, it can lead to challenges and requires course correction… Let’s explore these two further: 

First, disempowering frames. These result from too little conversation and direction on the front end. A good way to avoid this is to start setting the foundation during a call to evaluate fit. Then, if the client decides to enroll in your program and start hitting results earlier than expected, they are pleasantly surprised. 

Second, a frameless engagement happens when the coach fails to define the context and bounds of the engagement. This can be disastrous because the client isn't equipped to make sense of what's happening during the engagement. 

But of course, you'd never do any of that, right? After all, you're a kick-ass leader... otherwise you wouldn't be subscribed to dailyNLP... right?

So it's clear to you how important framing is to your clients' success. If you know how to frame engagements powerfully, you enable them to perform up to the standards you’ve set out right from the get-go.

Martin Messier

September 21, 2023

Why did the Ericksonian hypnotherapist switch to gardening?

Because he wanted to put his clients in a "trance plant" state!

On the heels on this hilarity, let's move right along!

One of my favorite books about NLP is John Grinder and Frank Pucelik's:

"The Origins of Neuro Linguistic Programming"

More NLPers should read it.

It shares many tales of the early days of NLP in the voice of those who were there. People like Robert Dilts, Leslie Cameron, Judith DeLozier, among others. Besides offering different perspectives, stories help us sink our teeth into organic nuggets that yield insights that abstract concepts usually don't.

(This, incidentally, is one of the main issues I have with courses.)

One of the essays is written by Stephen Gilligan. He writes:

[...] Richard and John went to visit Erickson in late 1974, I believe, for three or four days. When they came back with stories, tapes, and books, my cosmic egg cracked open. Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir had been the prominent wizards of the initial Meta-Model focus, but adding Erickson to the mix was like introducing imaginary numbers into a primary math equation of adding numbers. Whatever it was, it was (and remains) something of mysterious and melodious beauty! I remember this inner space opening up, and a silent voice said, “This is why you’re here.” Dramatic, yes, but quite meaningful for a 19-year-old kid! 

Actually, Erickson so skillfully and consistently violated virtually every Meta-Model rule that it required the development of the “Milton Model,” a sort of inverted pattern of the former. These complementary models suggested different ways to communicate with the conscious and unconscious minds. Whereas skillful communication with the conscious mind was helped when a fuller linguistic map was developed (via the Meta Model), effective communication with the unconscious occurred via Meta-Model violations (ambiguities, generalities, deletions, etc.) that invited the listener to perform their own “trancederivational” search, resulting in a creative unconscious elaboration. This movement into a dual-mind model opened up infinitely more possibilities of experimental communication, and the pleasure of ever deeper discoveries.

Notice how, in two paragraphs, Gilligan reveals why models have to be person-bound and why, as Practitioners, we shouldn't necessarily seek to mix and match models from different exemplars.

With the Meta Model, the Bandler and Grinder Brothers Band had found a therapeutic "silver bullet" of sorts. When they described its components and how to use it in "The Structure of Magic," they set up a systematic approach to using language in therapy.

However, their modeling work of Milton Erickson rapidly revealed that their Meta Model wasn't a unifying theory of therapeutic approaches. In fact, quite the opposite! By actively and intentionally violating the Meta Model "rules," Erickson was able to produce as impressive if not even more amazing therapeutic results!

The lesson is clear: don't try to shoehorn someone's performance into your current understanding of how a phenomenon works. Instead, leverage NLP's methodology and code to model any outstanding performer's behavior on its own. 

Start fresh every time. Go at the project with beginner eyes.

You may discover that the big no-no for one top performer is the big yeah-yeah for the next.

Let me illustrate this with something from my own experience...

As I open up to learning about new perspectives on trading (now that I've formalized my model), I'm running into this issue repeatedly. Here's an example: many successful traders advocate to never trade against the trend. Their refrain: follow the trend!

On the other hand, there are other successful traders who sing the EXACT OPPOSITE chorus: trade against the trend! They follow a different approach they call "reversion to the mean".

Which one is right? Which one is wrong?

That's not the question to ask.

A better question would be: under which conditions might it be better to follow one vs the other? 

Here's another one: Is it possible to specialize in both, or would it be more effective to choose one and sacrifice the other?

No right. No wrong. No true. No false.

There's simply effectiveness and useful descriptions.

Martin Messier

September 20, 2023

Here's your NLP joke of the day: 

Because it was tired of being objectified!

Why did the nominalization break up with the verb?

Keep reading to find out the answer...

The Meta Model is a coach's secret weapon when it comes to helping their clients regulate their emotions. And nominalizations are the big guns in this arsenal!

Now, if you're thinking, "What the heck is a nominalization?", I've got you covered. 

In NLP, a nominalization is a fancy word for an intangible noun, that sounds like it's a "thing" but it's really vaporware. 

You know, words like "happiness" and "confidence." 

The cool thing about nominalizations is that they let us talk about abstract concepts that are hard to define. 


They can also be troublemakers because they hide the juicy stuff that generates the experience.

So how can a coach use these bad boys to help their clients regulate their emotions? Well, first things first - we gotta get the client aware of what they're even saying. 

For example, if they say "I'm feeling anxiety," we can dig deeper. Good questions can help the client break down their emotional experience into bite-sized chunks, making it easier to manage.

But wait, there's more! 

We can also use nominalizations to uncover the underlying beliefs and values that are driving the emotional experience. If the client is feeling frustrated about their career, we can help the client identify the root of their emotional turmoil and start making changes.


But here's the one I personally like to go to...

We can use nominalizations to help the client generate new emotional states by asking leading questions. By doing this, we can help them shift their focus away from their current emotional state and begin to generate thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that will support a more desirable emotional state.

For example, let's say that one of my clients is feeling anxious about an upcoming presentation. I can ask the client questions that lead her to feel confident and calm instead of anxious. When I ask her how she feels as a result, she might describe feeling relaxed, in control, and focused.

Once my client has bridged into this new emotional state, I can help her tap into the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that would support that state, and then package them into a unique nominalization.

Martin Messier

September 19, 2023

Jerry Seinfeld was on Howard Stern a couple of years ago. Inside their hilarious exchange, he spilled this:

Jerry: I'm never not working on material. Every second of my existence, I'm thinking: "Could I do something with that?"

Howard: That to me sounds torturous, like you cannot let go! 

Jerry: Why?

Howard: So if I came over to your house and we were hanging out, you're kind of really looking for material.

Jerry: Not kind of! I'm looking for material! All the time! Making jokes is not work. It's a gift.

Howard: Like when you're with your wife, are you authentically with your wife or are you saying "oh, what she just said is universal and I can relate to that."?

Jerry: No, no, I'm not authentically with her, nor am I authentically with you right now.

Howard: You are somewhere else.

Robin: There's material in here?

Jerry: Yeah, I'm looking for a joke right now and guess what? There's nothing here. 

Howard: It sounds like a tortured life! And you say it's not.

Jerry: It is. But you know what, your blessing in life is when you find the torture you're comfortable with. And that's marriage, it's kids, it's work, it's exercise, it's not eating the food you want to eat. Find the torture you're comfortable with and you'll do well.


The transcript doesn't do it justice. You can't get all the humor without the classic Seinfeld intonation. But the gold is there.

During the entire exchange, you're hearing a battle of perceptions. Seinfeld simply presents a fact: he's always working on material. To Howard, it sounds like torture. To Jerry, it sounds like heaven. And he pounds the final nail when he reframes torture into a blessing in his last line.

Is he consciously reframing?

I doubt it.

Herein lies the superpower of NLP training: you get to catch that stuff on the fly when it happens.

Not only do you hear it happen AS IT HAPPENS, but you can pick up on nuggets to leverage with your clients later. Plus, you get to see what reframing actually sounds like in pedestrian, non-coaching or non-therapy settings.

Martin Messier

September 18, 2023

I hate cars — with a passion. 

When I first reveal this to my friends, they can't understand why. 

Here are a few reasons: 

1. They're really expensive. 

2. They guzzle gallons and gallons of expensive gasoline. 

3. If they don't guzzle gallons and gallons of expensive gasoline because they're electric, go back to Reason 1. 

4. Maintenance is expensive. 

5. Any time they have a surprise for you, it's always a bad one. 

6. The day you feel happiest with the car is the day you buy it. It's all downhill from there. 

7. They depreciate fast. 

8. They require parking space. 

I won't bore you with the remaining 43 reasons. 

Now it's a funny thing... While I hate cars with a passion, it doesn't make me feel bad. Not in the least bit. 

After I noticed this, and started paying attention to the way people hate. A pattern began to emerge. 

Take a look at this example: couples that don't have kids. I noticed many of my friends who don't have kids don't feel bad being around them. They just hate the idea of having them. 

Other friends hate fish, but don't feel bad when it's served on the dinner table. They just hate the idea of putting it in their mouth. 

The amazing thing is that all of them had long lists, similar to mine, of reasons why they hate whatever it is they hate. 

This brings us to a curious phenomenon about the way we operate, which I've tapped into again and again in my coaching of the most varied clients. Tony Robbins touched on this phenomenon very briefly at the former (much longer) version of Life Mastery, which I attended in 2000, that I decided to dive into and explore in much greater depth. 

By learning to use this phenomenon, you're able to unleash your clients' resources in unexpected ways. I can't tell you how many clients who had worked with previous coaches told me they were taken aback by this unique approach that helped them very quickly gain ground where they were previously stalemated.