There is a pre-supposition in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) that behind every behaviour, there is a positive intent. Our brain is geared up to protect us, to increase our survival. Any decision we take is, usually unconsciously, taken on the basis that we think it will have the best outcome in terms of our survival. Everything we do, we do it because we get something positive out of it.

A lot of the time, the positive side will not be obvious. For instance, we all know that smoking is bad for our health. However, every smoker who has quit smoking or wants to quit will tell you how difficult it is. Well, if you think about it, there may be many positive things associated with it. Of course, we know of the addictive effect of the chemicals in the smoke that trigger each time the brain reward pathways. When you go out of the office to smoke, you may enjoy either the quiet time on your own or the chat with another smoker. Smoking may be associated with meeting friends, going out. So you can see that for any visibly negative behaviour, there will be positive sides associated to it.

When during your coaching journey, you examine your current situation, it is very important to understand these positive aspects of any behaviour you wish to change as part of your goal. Only once you know the positive intents you are fulfilling with the behaviour, will you be able to understand the motives behind the behaviour. Then, when you decide on a new behaviour, more helpful, to achieve your goal, you can design this behaviour so that it still fulfils the positive intents you had with the previous, unhelpful behaviour.

Alternatively, once you have identified the positive intents behind a behaviour, you may well discover or decide that they are not all that positive after all and chose to fulfil some more positive intents with new behaviours.

Now, I am asking to think of a behaviour you have that seems odd, out of place or right down unhelpful. What are your positive intents behind it? How can you replace this behaviour? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment and commit to change it and see how it feels.

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