Systemic Excellence #1 – Making the Invisible Visible

Systemic Excellence #1 – Making the Invisible Visible

Source: taken from L. Michael Hall, Meta-Relfections #46, September 26, 2011,

I train people to learn to see, recognize, identify, create, and change what is invisible to the naked eye. It’s a strange profession. But I love it. It all begins when I model what is invisible. After that, I then write about that invisibility, meet with consultants, trainers, coaches, therapists, and others and provide processes whereby they are enabled to work with the invisibility that’s been discovered. I suppose it is not all that different from the discovery of gravity, electricity, and electrons. Those processes are also invisible to the naked eye. At least we do not see them directly, we see results, affects, and symptoms of them.

What is this invisibility that I’m speaking about? It is none other than structure. The structure of experience which is the very heart of Neuro-Semantic NLP. In this field we model the structure of the experiences that we humans have, both those that we love and desire and those that we hate and despise.

We model how a person’s thinking-emoting, speaking-acting-relating behavior works.

And why? We do this because the structure gives us access to a deep understanding of what’s going on. And from there, we can both discover how to change it and how to make it work much more effectively. Ah, changing what doesn’t work very well (and what makes life a living hell) and improving the quality of what does work so that it works even much more effectively! What an area in which to work! And while some content information is needed in this process, content is minimized and structure or process is maximized.

In the past two weeks I’ve found myself talking a lot about structure. Specifically I worked with groups of coaches— those who are or are becoming Executive Coaches and those in the process of becoming Meta-Coaches and talked about the structure of facilitating a ruthless compassion conversation to get to the heart of things. I worked with a large group of people who want to create holistic wealth in their lives (the Inside-Out Wealth Training) and talked about the structure of creating “wealth” from the inside to the outside. And I made a keynote presentation worked at the Brazil PNL Congress of NLP practitioners and trainers where I had the privilege of talking about the structure of “beliefs” and how to change beliefs with Neuro-Semantics.

Now the amazing thing in juxtaposing content and structure is how seductive content can be and how we can so easily become blind to content. And when we become blind to content, we cannot see the invisible structure, even when it is right in front of us.

Now if you know the Matrix Model (2003), you know that structure is detailed in the Meaning/Intention matrices. You also know that there are four meta-domains of NLP which provide four unique and separate yet redundant models for detailing the structure. What are these meta-domains in NLP?

1. Language: the Meta-Model of Language, how we code information linguistically.

2. Cinematic Features: the Meta-Modalities (sub-modalities), how we code the representations that we use in our strategies.

3. Perception: the Meta-Programs, how we code our information in terms of thinking styles and perceptual habits.

4. Reflexive layering: the Meta-States Model, how we code the layers of our frames.

Together these models identify the meaning code of the structure of a person’s processes by which he or she constructs (creates) his or her experience of reality. And when you know that code, when you can detect it, recognize it, see it and then use it. Then the way that you or another has mapped your understandings about the territory of reality provides you your personal map for how to navigate life. And if the map structurally corresponds to the outside territory, and you know how to use it, then it will provide a useable and workable blueprint for being successful. If it does not, then the map within your mind is flawed. You have a cognitively erroneous map. And as such, if the map doesn’t work, neither will your life.

This Cognitive-Behavioral model orients us to think in terms of the dynamic structures or processes as the mechanisms that actually create or cause our experience. In other words, it is not what happens to you that determines your experience. That’s only the context and part of the content. Someone does something, an event happens, a set of influences occur— but that does not determine your response. It invites your response. It may elicit a particular response. But it does not force or fate you to it. You have choice.

You have the ultimate choice of deciding how you will process that information. You have the choice of what to think and how to interpret that event. It is here that you are essentially “free.” You can use all of the cultural frames of your family, religion, country, etc. to interpret it. Or you can choose use to use some other frames.

Yet, ultimately as you interpret things, give it meaning, use language, representations, pictures, sounds, sensations, states-about-states, layers of frames to understand it – so it is to you.

This is what is invisible in you – your meaning-making. It is invisible until you begin to express what’s inside you. Then it comes out. It comes out in your emotions, your facial expressions, your gestures, your actions, your behaviors, your ways of relating and talking. Then what was invisible is given a visible expression.

The meanings you make about “wealth,” “money,” saving, budgeting, planning, seeing value, creating value, formulating a business plan, entering a market, and the many other things for wealth creation determine your success or lack of it. The meanings you give to food, eating, exercising, discipline, etc. determines your success in living with energy and vitality. And this is what Neuro-Semantics is about: a systemic approach to human experience and functioning and it is a complete system. And as I’ll point out in the next articles on “Systemic Excellence,” it is about true NLP – Systemic NLP. But, more about that next time.

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