Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Driving Instructor

This is his story. A story people know that you can identify with. And as you listen to this story I could say to you that this is an amazing story, couldn’t I?

The driving instructor who shall be called John was a very successful driving instructor who was well respected by his colleagues and people, like me, who were taught by him found it very very easy to learn how to safely and quickly reach their destination. And, in fact, he was such a popular instructor that people, like you, preferred to be taught by him because his pupils stood out from the pupils taught by the other driving instructors of the driving school.

After many years John begins to get bored with teaching the same thing day in day out because nothing changes in the world of learning how to drive. It stays the same. The feelings of boredom that John felt were not helped by the fact that he had to go up, only out into his own reality of his own driving school.

One day, one of John’s friends tells John of an amazing magician who has arrived in the town. Every evening the town theatre is packed full with excited townsfolk wanting to watch how easily and effortlessly the magician transforms the volunteers on stage.

That night, John is sitting with the expectant crown waiting for the magician to appear on stage. The atmosphere is electric, lights, sound, action All of John’s senses mixed into a cornucopia of the purest pleasure ever imaginable. As if by magic the performance is over before it has even started, didn’t it?

Night after night John returned to the theatre watching more and more of what the magician is doing; hoping to learn, himself, some of the brilliant tricks and illusions that perfectly captivated him and the others.

And John wanted to learn more because the more he thought about what he saw on stage the more his desire to learn from the magician took over his every thoughts and feelings. Feelings which he never before felt and which gave him comfort from his feelings of boredom of being a simple driving instructor.

As luck would have it John knew the manager of the theatre and the manager arranged for John to meet the magician after the performance that night.

John was so excited. There is he, John, the simple driving instructor about to meet the Great Magician, the captivator, the transformer.

John stands outside the dressing room door of the Great Magician and knocks on the door. The door opens and as John walks in to three four questions pop into his mind that he must, maybe, could, not should ask the magician.

“Good evening, Master Magician”, says John almost as a whisper.

“Good evening John” replies the magician. “And what is the one question by the very nature of this question, if you were to ask me, would answer all the other questions you have for me, right now?”

John stops dead on his feet not knowing what to ask. He pauses for such a long time that he, John, thinks that eternity has passed by… by the time he comes to reality and his senses the magician simply smiles, and the feeling of his smile allows John to begin to relax and to ask his question.

“Master Magician, your skills are second to none. Nowhere, anywhere have I seen such performances of transformation where normal men and women have changed for the better. I want to learn this transforming brilliance and magic”.

Again, the magician radiates that feeling with his smile and says to John “John, I am not a magician. I, like you, am a humble person who likes words and people. And liking words and people is my magic. Have you ever wondered that when I am on stage how carefully I speak and listen to the volunteers changing themselves? For you with your driving instructors skills and experience can easily and effortlessly do what I do, can’t you, now? In the words of my own great teacher ‘just do it’”.

John could feel the energy of the magician’s words envelop him like a flowing balloon of confidence of the realization that he, John, is a magician like the Master Magician standing in front of him… now.

John thanked the magician for his wisdom and with a confident grip shook his hand knowing that he, John, has now made the right decision.

We now fast forward the story 12 months into the future and see John with his own successful driving school. Happy in the thought that with his choice of words he can now easily transform those people who soon discover that by listening to the sound of John’s voice you can learn the perfect way to drive.

That was an amazing story; isn’t it?

Monday, 29 March 2010

The Bendy Bus

A good coach is like the experienced driver of a bendy bus. The driver is flexible, on one hand being able to help the bendy bus take tight corners very slowly at the pace of both the bus and the driver, and on the other hand, to smoothly and elegantly facilitate the bendy bus to glide round the corners which give the bus a much greater berth; with the driver giving the bendy bus more control.

The bendy bus is able to travel along all types of roads from low speed local roads to major roads with multiple lanes of traffic. The driver knows which lane to take, even if the bendy bus does not.

When the bendy bus gets tired, the driver will stop and get out and let the bendy bus recharge its batteries and fuel tank; ready for its next journey and destination.

The driver and the bendy bus put together an agreed itinerary with a timetable.

The driver of the bus steers the bus through thick and thin. Over difficult terrain the driver helps steer the bendy bus till the bus gets to familiar territory; no matter how unfamiliar and difficult the terrain is. The driver will sometimes even push the bendy bus safely to its limit because the driver knows the flexibility and the limitations of the bendy bus. The speedometer and noises from the engine of the bendy bus will give the driver a clue.

With experience the bendy bus is able to adapt to all types of passangers; from those passengers who are only onboard for a single ride to those passengers who regularly use the service. The driver is always there on the sidelines observing, listening and getting a feeling for how the bendy bus is developing to its own needs and the needs of the passengers; and regularly feeding back as to the progress of the bendy bus on its voyage to its destination.

Would you say this is a good coach?

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Penultimate day in Orlando

Not one for fast and high rides, I decided that Universal Studios would be much more my thing. I had just missed the shuttle bus so the concierge suggested I should walk, after all Universal was about one mile from the hotel. The directions sounded easy enough. Turn right at Universal Boulevard and go over the bridge. As I started to make my way over the bridge I realised I was high above a large motorway. Here we go, spin the feeling the other way, make it faster and more importantly remember to BREATH.
Fairly painless queue through security to get into the park; why did they take an electronic finger print? Immigration already have that and a photo. Oh well, American insecurity I suppose.
The Jaws ride was fairly inocuous. We were told that we would get wet. Water and jeans don't mix. I should have worn shorts even with my legs as the weather was really warm. Getting wet was just a threat. I disembarked from the boat dry.
Next the Simpsons ride. This ride was indoors so I had no idea what to expect. Would the cart we were in move like a roller coaster. I hope not as we had no seat belts. Although the cart moved and jolted I screamed my tits off as the animation which surrounded us was rather realistic. Krustyland will never be the same again. A white knuckle ride for me was this one. All good fun and more adrenaline.
The 4D Shrek queue was rather long, however I patiently waited. It was worth the wait as the effects were realistic as we were there with Shrek, Fiona and the donkey.
Twister was a disappointment. A resurrection of a scene from the film was not that realistic.
Terminator 2 and 3D this time in a large theatre. Live actors as well as film. Well produced and worth a visit.
Much walking about the park with rest stops. The weather was sunny and hot. I didn't have any sunblock so by the time I get back to Amsterdam the colour will have been sucked off me.
Did I enjoy Universal? In general the park was worth a visit. Would I go back again? Not on my own. Next time with company.

Last days in Orlando. Yet more adrenalin.

Now that the course has finished I am officially a tourist and can do touristy things which I did do now.
The squirrel was a hoot. It was minding its own business ambling through the car park and then suddenly ran up the nearest tree making a noise that I have never heard a squirrel make and its tail was cocked up . I was really curious as to what the squirrel was up to as well as why it suddenly ran up the tree.
As soon as I saw the advert I knew I had to do it. In fact, in my introduction on day 1 of the course I told everyone I was going to do it. So I just had to do it. Getting there was easy. It was only a few minutes walk from the hotel and only one major intersection to cross. The noise the building makes is like that of what I can imagine an annoyed and firey dragon makes as it sucks the air in and spurts it out. Paying was easy, so too was signing and initialising the rather extensive health waver. I collected the DVD, relieved myself as I thought that would be prudent to do so before hand, and climbed the stairs. Did I say climb the stairs up the blue and orange coloured building? Thankfully there weren't too many and I did feel safe going up the metalic stairs. In the waiting area there were 6 of us; one wasn't going to participate. I wonder why? We were then introduced to our instructor who gave each of us the appropriate clothing we needed to wear. A brief safety practice then ensued.

More shirts, more jeans and a pair of All Stars. I hope everything fits into the case and I am not over weight... well... that the suitcase isn't overweight.

Many of us have exchanged business cards and have said our goodbyes. I wonder if we will keep in touch. I already have had 3 Facebook friend requests, so that's a good sign. More of the guys are leaving today. Even more handshakes, hugs and goodbyes.

The suitcase is packed and everything fits, just. The case feels a lot heavier that it did on the way here. So only time will tell as I sit here waiting for the taxi to the airport which will be here in about 4 hours time.

After the safety practice the 5 of us were moved to benches outside the area. One after the other had their minute of fame. Then it was my turn. The feelings I was experiencing at that moment were excitement and fear. Fear of the unexpected and excited because this is something I have wanted to do since I arrived and now it's my chance. I gripped the edges of the open entry space, bent my head back with my chin in the air and let go. OMG I am really doing this. I am skydiving. The instructor is giving me hand signals, I have forgotton what he wants me to do. I smile and relax as I was told and am getting a huge adrenaline rush as the wind pushed me around the chamber. This must have been one of the longest minutes I have experienced in a long time. Finally my time is over and I am pushed towards the exit door to sit down and get my breath back. Soon enough it's my turn again. This time the instructor held onto me and pulled me with the full force of the wind all the way up to the top of the wind tunnel and all the way around the circumference of the chamber, then back down again and OMG here we go again all the way up and round and round and back down. My 2 minutes of fame are over as we then watch the instructor show off with what he can do. I collect my DVD (proof I did it) and certificate and slowly walk down the long stairs back to reality in Orlando.

The squirrel had seen a duck slowly waddle through the car park minding its own business and didn't like the look of it and so had run up the tree. The noise it was making sounded like a warning sign for other squirrels. The duck minded its own business, opened its wings and flew away in the other direction. The squirrel relaxed, slowly slid down the tree and went in the direction of the mini golf course at the edge of the carpark.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Trainer Training Day 6

Today is the last day. Final recorded presentation. I thought I would try a metaphor I have never tried before. Let's see if I can remember it. Doesn't matter if I can't as I have it recorded on CD and can transcribe it when I get home.
Here's the jist of it... When I visit new cities and countries I like to visit and explore galleries (why.. colours, textures, feelings). I have never seen a room called "work in progress". Only completed art is shown. Like you, I wonder why.
Change state... before I came here I thought about what I needed to bring to facilitate my learning... visualise my brain as a huge sponge and an excessively large and vast white canvas.
Change state... on the first day I was able to add some splashes of colour to the canvas. By the end of the second day sponge saturation and even more colour added to canvas.
Change state... wake up in middle of night and see that my canvas has been ripped to shreds. Wednesday's child is full of woe... gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts. Someone broke into my room in the night and wrote the initials RB on one of the pieces of the canvas (do a Richard evil eye and mouth movement to the audience).
Change state... as the days progress, the canvas magically rearranges itself and colour and texture is added.
Change state... I am very proud to announce and to reveal to the world that my canvas is incomplete as this is my work in progress.

I received really great feedback from 2 of the trainers in the room and some of my colleagues also gave me very favourable feedback during lunch. One even said that I was talked about during lunch. It was something to do with my big bad wolf metaphor (see yesterday).

Graduation time. Much congratulations to everyone and amongst everyone. Photos galore. The Japanese contingent are a hoot. They took some nice pics with me.

Best place to eat in Orlando so far....

... has to go to..........
Trey Yuen Chinese Restaurant, 6800 Visitors Circle, International Drive.

Trainer Training Day 5. Another recording and a "work in progress".

"What's the direction you are going?" This was a question asked by Richard in the morning, although in hindsight especially for the last day tomorrow I think it was more of a hint, an instruction. Give me the big picture with your direction and I will be happy. Let' see what happens tomorrow. The idea that I have is the blank canvas that initially gets some colour and is then smashed to pieces and then begins to be rebuilt. I am a work in progress.
More nested loops practice. Time distortion then followed. An exercise whilst in trance; find the time distortion dial and play with it. Open eyes and experience slow time. Try it, you will enjoy it. I certainly did.
Here we go again. In the afternoon we had to do our presentations, again they were recorded. Our DVDs were placed in a box and picked out at random. So there was of way of saying, "I will go first", as no one does. Well I do to get it out of the way. Obstacles, known as music, were put in our way. Let me explain. I must have been the 34th person in our group of 40. My 5 states and stories were prepared. I started... the music suddenly was played as church music and there was me about to appear as Al T Wolf. Oxymorinic to say the least. My states and stories were up the spout. Then some "sexy" music was played. Total change of tact... I was the naughty school girl like at my last day at TT dressing up. At the feedback session I was asked what I did well.. all I could say was "I enjoyed myself". And so did the audience enjoy my performance. What to improve on..... don't speak on the beat.... use the spaces between the beat. This is why I am a "work in progress".
I am exhausted and on a total high.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Trainer Training Day 4. More chaining and stations

The day began with Richard doing what Richard does best. I must spend time and watch one of his DVDs and transcribe what he is saying and to study the patterns.
The main exercise of the morning was chaining anchors of excitement. Groups of 3 and with each "subject" in a light trance to elicit 5 instances of real excitement; elicit and anchor the first, compress it and inject it; elicit the second, anchor it and inject it with the first... till all 5 anchors are injected at the same time. Wow, what an exercise and great guys to work with.
Stations, stations, stations.... the mime artist (non verbal communication); the play acting (states and congruency); the 4 elements (earth, wind, fire and water); the dance room and being earthed; energy work (Neil to do the exercises at home); timeline work (watch where the client is painting their picture; Neil, remember to do the mirror image of the audience's timeline when presenting; taking resources from the past and installing them in the future). The slow everything down room- great to practice time distortion and practicing s p e a k i n g s l o w l y; the elephant's graveyard (paying attention to the whole audience and great improvisations everyone).
John then spent some time with us giving us additional tips about sound systems, bastar** in the audience; formal v informal postures (with a great exercise) and the example of the classroom scenario of pace (both guys formal), pace (both guys formal), change to slightly informal (lead) and the other guy follows.
Richard ended the day with a group trance which reviewed our experiences to date and with the invitation to experiment now and in the future.
What a day!!! I am tired and totally elated. The shift in confidence in everyone since the first day is INCREDIBLE.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Trainer Training Day 3. What a day.

The day began with uncle Richard introducing us to nested loops and he revealed a little about how he uses nested loops so effectively. He also discussed and demonstrated with us how to select demo subjects. The demo subject is really the stooge because what he was explaining is that although he is putting the demo into a trance, it's the rest of the audience he is focussing on and putting everyone into a trance state. A nice exercise followed in which we had to do just that. My audience was 3 and I had fun. The second time around was much better and I was more comfortable. I really need more practice with this.
Stations, stations, stations.... these are 15 minute drills of different topics we go through; such as, conversational postulates and embedded commands; choice of words and being in a congruent state; language ambiguities; modal operators and tag questions; talking through a mic and seeing the wave on an oscilloscope; voice inflection down and its importance; using noises in presentations; body positioning and voice.
Then it was recording time number 2. We were recorded making another presentation using what we had been taught so far... well what I could put together of what I had learned. I went first in my group of 40 and there were some technical challenges with the "music anchor" and the mic... however, I went ahead anyway. After the presentation we each had individual feedback from one of the trainers. For me a good tip was how to handle technical interruptions beyond my control. My voice pace and tonality was nice and steady. I need to be more grounded and not move so much. Good use of anchors and my fellow participants liked my "stories".
Today was a long day... so much information... good to practice what I learned and I can't believe that's half the course finished already.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Trainer Training Day 2. Chaining/anchoring states and voice rhythm

My spot at the mic yesterday must have made an impression as my different striped shirt was commented upon. We have another 4 days to go and I have a different striped shirt for each day. They have been warned (meta model violation here... who specifically).
Richard's nested loops first thing were as entertaining as ever. I wish I knew shorthand as I would love to have noted them down for deconstructing later. The main morning exercise was spent with each of us elicitating 2 states separately with an audience of four (let's start small) and then anchoring the states and testing the anchors. Were we able to elicit those states in our audience? Richard's comment was "you are all trying too hard". We were thinking about it too much and not just going with the flow and doing it. "You are making pictures in your head. Stop it as it's distracting the audience". I think that it's the equivalent going inside and of being self selfish.
Feedback from my "audience" was positive. Point to note: Neil, use your tonality better.
John was with us for the afternoon. Brain juice, neuro "trance" mitters and neuro in big biters.
First voice and rhythm. A rather hysterical exercise. We were split into four different groups (according to rows) and had to play a rhythm which was then "orchestrated" into a complete composition. Our group had the disadvantage of making the rhythm with a sound that covered the people sitting in front of us with spit. Let's anchor that right now. Test it just with the sound of a spit :-)
Now mix the four different groups and let's play the composition. Oeps we did try and we made music of sorts.
Next the rotation exercise with the hips, then to add voice to the rhythm. Remove the hip rotation and just use our voices. Oh dear, I am speaking to the rhythm and not in between so I am sounding rather strange. This one is difficult and needs more practice
Next up we had to elicit 5 states. This I enjoyed as I love using metaphors. First time around feedback was "more differences in tonality". Second time around I was much better and my rhythm is greatly improving. Third time around (yes I wanted the practice) I elicitated and anchored a great suspense state. Feedback, shoulders up and back for the positive states.
One of our group was from Japan and elected to do the exercise in her native language. Wow, this is the first time I have seen the equivalent of a short play in Japanese. A language that not only uses words but is very reliant upon body language to accentuate augment the words. A joy to experience.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Trainer Training Day 1. Trial by microphone

After registration about 120 of us excited and anticipating participants waited to be let into the auditorium. And here we went. A real multinational and cultural mixed bunch we are. I was expecting far more Americans and was very wrong. Never assume. Participants from Canada, USA, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia, Thailand, India, Ecuador, Hong Kong, China and several countries I have forgotten. Most noticeably are a contingent of 31 from Japan each linked up to a translator.
The morning session commenced with Richard selecting 4 demo subjects who were apprehensive or nervous about standing in front of an audience... it's all about changing what we do to ourselves before we get onto the stage.
Cue the anchor music.
Each of us then in turn had to come up onto the stage and present ourselves and to speak into a hand held microphone. I had never used a mic before let alone focus on my positioning, angle to the audience and finding the soft spot with the mic. I didn't know whether to swallow it, lick it or to spit onto it. All our efforts were recorded on our own DVDs... This first attempt was to establish a baseline. My baseline.. well I am curious to watch it at the end of the course as I have no recollection as to what I did while I was on stage.
Feedback to self... even though you are using a mic, remember to use your voice and to breathe.
To close the first day we had a few exercises with Richard... repeating words backwards to different tempos and to look at his face and to follow his finger with ours (some unconscious fun).

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

First day in Orlando

Yesterday was my first full day in Orlando. Breakfast and then deciding what to do. There was a storm in the morning (some wind and rain) which the concierge said would clear by lunchtime. And it did. So, I decided to go shopping to one of the plentiful Malls. According to the map the nearest was a short one mile walk away. So, I walked and walked and walked. American miles seem to be much longer than European miles. Maybe that's just my perception.
Crossing the roads at the big junctions was rather a challenge. Not because of the direction of the traffic. Rather, the sequencing of the traffic lights. The white hand never appeared in my favour.
The Mall... well is like any typical American shopping mall. American customer service is American customer service. Although, the new one on me is to be asked "did anyone help you today?" as you pay for the goods.
I have yet to find somewhere that serves a decent cup of filter coffee without having to go to Starbucks or somewhere like that.

What am I reading.......?

..... Paulo Coelho "Eleven Minutes".

Orlando and Charisma Enhancement/Trainer Training

Well, after an almost 15 hour door-to-door trip here I am in Orlando for Charisma Enhancement and Trainer Training with Richard Bandler and John La Valle. The trip took longer than expected because of an hours delay in leaving Schiphol; however, big iron bird managed to catch up with the head wind (or is it tail wind) and we arrived 15 minutes later than the expected arrival time. Even though I am not a giant I am so glad I booked a seat with more leg room. Watching Inglorious Bastards on a rather eccentric portable entertainment system helped passed the time; fast forward, rewind enz.
Immigration into the USA was relatively painless. What then was confusing was that I had to collect my suitcase, walk through customs and then to put it on a conveyor belt wheels up and watch it disappear. A10 was where I was told to collect it. We had arrived in a hub of the airport and had to travel via a slow theme park ride to the main terminal. Once there more security, shoes off as well as the rest. The Dutch passanger who had sat next to me on the flight was well pissed off with this. "Welcome to the USA", he said rather sarcastically.
Tired as I was I left the terminal to have a cigarette. Wow, what an enjoyment. Well, the cig was until I found I was on the wrong floor. Drop offs only. Another elevator and I was in a taxi en route to the hotel.
The hotel is a confused 2/3 star. There are towels in the bathroom that I have no clue what to do with. The room is bigger than any hotel room I have stayed in in a long time.
A few drinks in the bar to help me stay awake, then I went to bed at around 11.30 pm. Sleep was mandatory and was not very satisfying. The guy in the room next door had set his alarm for 06.30 am. Oh well, I managed another hour afterwards.
Note to self... post on for those who moan about the airco in the rooms of this hotel...... Do as I did.... pull the bloody plug out. That will shut it up.