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Improve Your Performance with The Circle of Excellence

Neurolinguistic Programming, or NLP as it’s known, is a brilliant communications model that businesses around the globe have used for the last couple of decades. One of the many benefits of NLP is that it teaches us how to become masters of communications, and just from understanding a few basic principles. It can also help to inform external and internal communications by offering up a series of really handy tools that can smartly and quickly effect meaningful change in the way you operate and perform at work. 

In particular, there’s one tool that is well-celebrated for its ability to offer up a positive way to support your performance in the workplace. It’s helpful for boosting confidence, self-esteem and overall performance, and it’s one that anyone can learn how to do simply. Though there’s a little element of movement and creative visualisation needed for this one, so you may wish to try this one at home. Or else, involve your colleagues – it is a good team-building exercise and a good thing to try before important meetings, as a group. 

The Circle of Excellence  

Prep: Find a space where you can move around a little, you’ll need to be standing up ideally to do this, but it can be done seated too – some people do this by closing their eyes and using their imagination.  

  1. Select: Find a small area, and while standing still, think of a work situation where you would like to improve your performance or confidence, e.g. to deal with a challenging situation, difficult client or to have confidence in a big presentation.  
  1. Identify: Now bring the negative feelings you have about this e.g. anxiety, lack of confidence, worry. Bring this to mind now, really experience what it feels like. While thinking about this negative state and all the external triggers that impact you when you are in this state, try to include visual, auditory, tactile, or smell or taste stimuli to really bring the scene to life. 
  1. Break: Now break from this state of being by literally shaking it off – move your shoulders, arms and hands around and step away from the location.  
  1. Draw: Next, draw an imaginary circle ​on the floor, nearby, but not in the space where you were standing originally.  
  1. Recall: Then, recall an experience ​where you felt powerful, creative, composed, or any state that is resourceful for you – the skills you are striving for in this tricky work situation. Take your time to really experience this great state by visualising and sensing all the detail of what this looks and feels like for you.  
  1. Move: When you’re in the zone, and really inhabiting a resourceful state, step into the circle​–or jump into the circle, imagining that you are taking this helpful and resourceful state with you. 
  1. Check: Check in with yourself. Are you experiencing positive changes? Great. Now leave the circle. Breathe. Stand in a slightly different location, just a couple of steps away from your original spot and your circle.  
  1. Repeat*: Repeat step 5 and keep adding further resource states if you feel you need to. When you have enough resources that you have taken into your circle, you will have a really powerful state when entering your circle which is truly now your circle of excellence.  
  1. Carry: If you like, you can now imagine that you are picking up your circle of excellence and taking it away with you somehow by pretending to fold it up and putting it in your pocket. You can take it out and step into your resourceful state whenever you need too – the association you have built up in your mind will remember the benefits of your circle! 

*You may need to repeat the circle of excellence process a few times, depending on how many resources you are trying to develop. For example, if you would like to develop your skills in a new area, you might need courage, logic, calmness and confidence. So you may need to address two or more things (or four in this case) and to do this, you simply keep re-entering the circle. 

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