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Motivation and Personal Mastery

by Frances Coombes(more info)

listed in nlp, originally published in issue 137 - July 2007

Motivation and personal mastery begins with knowing what you want to achieve in life. Often that is where we have problems, because many of us move through life with a few goals and objectives but without a real sense of purpose. Our goals are often more about what we don’t want, rather than moving towards the things we do want. We might say we want a better job, partner, or home, but our main wish is to get away from our current situation. A popular belief is that we must have ‘things’ to make us happy.

…And so we Reduce Happiness

Often we put conditions on our happiness, because we believe that getting the things we want are dependent on other people and events outside our control. And so we begin the cycle of deferred happiness, thinking “I will be happy when…”
  • I will be happy when I meet the right person;
  • I will be happy when I get the job I want;
  • I will be happy when I get the right car, TV, house;
  • I will be happy when I am immensely rich and successful.

Actions Come from Pictures We Run

One of the beliefs held in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is that our mental maps recreate the way we see the world. Our actions come from the pictures we run in our minds most constantly. So we can change our perceptions of the world, and ultimately the world itself, by changing the way we choose to view it.

If we have a scarcity mentality then we dwell on images of what is lacking in our lives. We invest our mental energy into what we do not have, and our experience of life is “I don’t have enough of… (love, money, time, energy),” because our mind is caught up in what is missing.

Take Responsibility for Making Things Happen

Personal mastery involves taking responsibility for making things happen. It involves living your life from a creating your future stance, rather than drifting through life and reacting to situations that happen to you. People who have high levels of personal mastery are continually expanding their ability to create the results in life they want to happen.

The Power to Change Your Thinking

Here is a simple exercise to demonstrate that you have the power to change your thinking at will in order to achieve the feelings you want to have when you already have your goal. The idea is to bring those feelings forward so you are feeling them right now.

Feeling Good Before You Have Your Outcome

Think about a particular goal you want to achieve in life. It might be: “I want to become the best person that anyone could choose to hire in my particular area of expertise.”

Now imagine that you already are that person: feel it, see it, hear it, think about what are the extra qualities you possess that may not have been present before, or that you require more of.
  • Write down three main new beliefs you are holding about yourself and your abilities that make you feel happy and assured of your future success.
Start with a simple statement, something that might spring to mind is:
  • Clients/Jobs/Partners/Breaks in life (whatever it is for you) are easy to come by, because I have these beliefs or qualities.
Tell yourself that it is true, and then listen to your inner voice, and gather evidence to support your belief. For example, I know that I am a fabulous therapist, the best that anyone could possibly have because…, (then listen and gather information from your subconscious about the sort of behaviour, capabilities and beliefs that you would be holding that would support what you have said).

I Want to Feel Good Now

Tell yourself: “I want to feel good now, and this is how I am changing my thinking in order to do so.” Select the new beliefs to hold about your fabulous self, and repeat them to yourself each day. It might be:
  • I feel happier because all tasks are easy, they don’t take long to do, now that I have developed easy strategies for doing them;
  • I trust my sub-conscious to be working for me;
  • I know that new work/ clients / jobs are easy to come by.
You have nothing to lose, so try it and see how your confidence grows. Why not make up your mind to be happy now, see what you will see, hear what you will hear, luxuriate in the experience of feeling the feelings you will have when you have already got the outcomes you want, The more easily you can experience and visualize the things you want, the more easy you will find it is to attract these experiences into your life.


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About Frances Coombes

Frances Coombes Advanced Dip CBT/REBT Dip CBT offers one-to-one therapeutic coaching in North West London and on Zoom.  She is a is a CBT/REBT psychotherapist in North West London, a NLP Master Practitioner and Rational Emotional Behaviour Therapist and runs life coaching groups in London and on Zoom.  She teaches NLP at The City Lit in Central London and tutors at the City Lit and Mary Ward Centre in central London on Using REBT for Managing Stress and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). She runs goal setting and REBT coaching groups for vulnerable people for inner London authorities and charities.  

Her most recent book is Motivate Yourself and Reach Your Goals, pub, November 2013, Hodder Headline. Available on and  For extract visit To inquire or book personal development courses contact Frances on Tel: 07818 896 795; 


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