What are your goals for 2015?

I don’t know about you but at this time of year as I find myself entering arrangements in my diary for next year, I realise that I’m fast running out of time to think about what I want for 2015. It will just happen without my input. I’m not sure I want 2015 to just be a repeat of 2014. I’m not complaining, last year was fine. The kids were all well and happy, my parents were improving in health following my Dad’s stroke in October 2013 and work was by and large OK. But for me that’s not enough. I’d like more. Call me greedy but OK just doesn’t cut it. I want to start thinking about being more than OK especially as my children are growing up and needing me less for life’s practicalities. Surely it’s time for me now?



This prompts the question “What does make my soul happy?” After so many years of parenting and coaching parents and children, my life has been all about others. I’m not saying that in a ‘holier than thou’ way, I’ve benefited too of course. I’ve loved seeing clients leave happier than they arrived and I get such a thrill when someone emails me to say that I’ve made a difference in their life, whether that be through reading one of my books or coming to see me. I love the training I do as well. It’s wonderful to watch how students develop their skills and experience and then put it into practice to help children and parents in their own neck of the world.

I also enjoy co-writing the JNP chapter books with Kathy, Jim and Dona. We’re writing Book 5 at the moment and getting to grips with what giving means.

Maybe I am already doing what makes my soul happy? Is it human nature I wonder, for us to look elsewhere for happiness when in fact it is right there under our noses? I think instead of thinking about what else I could do in 2015, I am going to do more of what I did this year and enjoy it even more. Yes of course I would like more time to read, paint, play the piano, go to the gym but that would mean I’d have less time for everything else. The ‘everything else’ is what I truly value and what makes life so rich and rewarding.

What makes your soul happy? What are you going to do more of in 2015 and what will you do less of? Or like me are you simply going to recognise that you are already happy doing what you are doing right now?


Secrets of the NLP Masters – review

As an author it’s always nice to read a favourable review of your books. I’m fortunate to get reviews from grateful parents who have applied the techniques and been delighted with the result and reviews from NLP colleagues who are keen to learn more. Often my readers are both: parents and NLP Practitioners because they know how useful NLP is in so many parts of our lives, including parenting. Here’s a review I saw on Amazon that I wanted to share with you.

Secrets of NLP Masters

“Prompted by my own curiosity and enthusiasm for exploration – described by Judy Bartkowiak as ‘key drivers of NLP’ – I opened this book enthusiastically, and I wasn’t disappointed.

I like what I think of as ‘Pick and Mix’ books; books that can be read with both an open mind and, simultaneously, a mind ready to gather information relevant to my life and work; books that can teach me something fascinating. This book fits the bill perfectly.

It is a book for everyone with an interest in change, overcoming obstacles or achieving goals. For the NLP practitioner the book is full of prompts and reminders alongside new perspectives on techniques you will already be using. For newcomers it is a comprehensive and readable explanation of NLP’s powerful insights into how NLP can make a real and lasting difference to your life. If you have children, or work with children, you will find much here to throw light on strategies and techniques that work well with young people.

Of course you can read ‘Secrets’ from beginning to end, it is interesting, informative and well written, but you can also flick through and find the part most relevant to your current experience.

Its style, organisation and layout make it stand out from many of the NLP technique books I have encountered. I particularly like the chapter numbers down the right hand edge meaning that you can open the book at any page and know immediately where you are.

Each chapter begins with a selection of well-chosen quotations from people generally acknowledged to be the ‘NLP masters’ such as Gregory Bateson, Sue Knight, Virginia Satir, Tony Robbins, and others from different contexts like Albert Einstein, Carl Jung and Helen Keller.

‘A few well-chosen words at just the right time can transform a person’s life’ Joseph O’Connor

Repetition – so often the missing ingredient in books which set out to help us learn – is used with a light touch so that you don’t need to flick back through the book to find that neat ‘how to’ of a technique. At the end of each chapter you will find ‘Putting it all together’ and I suggest that if you read these first in the light of the chapter heading you will know how directly a particular chapter will speak to you.

If there was a single addition that would improve Secrets of the NLP Masters for me it would be an index. Children, beliefs, and goals, for instance, appear throughout the book and sometimes it would be helpful to be able to find them all.

The book ends with an Appendix perfectly placed to sum things up and be a readily accessible, and very visual, reminder of these two keys to being exceptional: The filters through which we make our own peculiar sense of external events and the logical levels which model the context in which it all takes place.

Knowing your purpose facilitates exceptional behaviour and if your behaviour disappoints you in any way then re-examine it in the light of your purpose. You could do well to take this book with you on the journey.”

If you’d like your own signed copy go to my website here or you can buy it on Amazon of course or indeed any Bookshop. It would be great if you could support your local bookshop and order it from them.

Delegate – Dump – Do

These three words are a gift for mums. Instead of struggling to do everything ourselves and then collapsing in a heap on the sofa at the end of the day. Learn to Delegate Dump or Do. Not everything has equal importance and let’s face it – some things we do just out of habit. Sometimes we even do things because that’s what our mum did when we were little.



When you find yourself saying ‘I must do …’ or ‘I have to…..’then stop and decide whether you want to or not. Do the things that bring you pleasure, the things you believe are important and add value to your life and do the things that draw you closer to your goal. You know the things you want to do. It might help to look at it another way. If this thing wasn’t done, would it matter? If the answer is ‘yes’ then ask yourself ‘in what way would it matter?’ If you are satisfied with your answer then do it. If you find the answer just reflects societies expectations then think again and give yourself options.

Now you’re left with the rest. Some could be done by someone else. There are people around you who have an investment in this thing that you feel should be done so spread the load and get someone else to do it by asking them. Many people find it hard to delegate because they want to control how it’s done and don’t really trust that anyone else can do it as well as them. If that’s you, decide whether you can delegate both what is done and how it is done. I read an article recently where a woman had become the main breadwinner but couldn’t handle delegating to her husband. She kept interfering in how he was doing ‘her job’. If you are delegating it is no longer ‘your job’. Allow the other person to do it their way. Maybe you will even find a better way of doing it in the future?


The rest you can dump because it has no value to you. We are not judged by how busy we are, how fast we run about the office, how many emails we get every day, how often our mobile beeps to say we have a message or how many followers we have on Twitter. You judge yourself against what is important to you, who and what you want to be.

Delegate Dump or Do. The choice is yours. Have a declutter and make a fresh start in 2015 prioritising what really matters to you.


Wake up call

I was wondering why one of my blogs wasn’t getting much traffic so I asked other members of the non-fiction writing group I belonged to to check it out for me and give me some feedback. Ouch! What a wake-up call I got!



The blog is called NLP4moms and was created to target Moms in the US with the intention of linking up with the children’s writing I do for a US self-esteem movement The #JNP Esteem Movement. As well as co-writing the children’s books I write the Parenting Kits that accompany each book and I run the Parent Forum on their website. It seemed like a good idea to point parents towards a blog with plenty of information about NLP to further their interest. And it does. But I was wondering why no-one else was reading my blog.

Well…. apparently my Blog posts are far too long, very British , too academic , not enough images and wait for it… no-one had heard of NLP!

That was such a wake up call I can tell you. Having worked for years now writing NLP books and providing coaching for kids and teens, workshops in schools and so on, my whole life was all about NLP. I couldn’t imagine no-one had heard of it . How wrong could I be?!

So very grateful for the wake-up call and now I will address all the issues and learn from my feedback in just the same way as I coach parents and teachers to learn from the negative feedback they sometimes get.

There is no failure only feedback. Watch this space!

It’s all in the mind

I’m following a discussion on Facebook that was started by someone who was feeling down about their weight and she said she’d tried all the different diets and nothing worked. As an NLP Trainer and Coach, I see a lot of parents who have a similar feeling about their parenting skills and I am fortunate to be able to help them find what works as they focus so much on what hasn’t worked. When we focus on those good days when our child does what we ask, when we make sensible food choices and get a job done well, do you find that you just shrug that off as a fluke, a lucky chance and expect the next day to be as frustrating as they ‘always’?


It’s natural to generalise a bit. After all we can’t reinvent the wheel at each new experience but when we generalise that our child never listens, is always late and everyone in the gym class is fitter than us, how is that helpful? Instead, notice when things are going well and learn what worked so you can repeat it.

Do you delete what you see, only notice your lumpy bits and miss that fabulous smile of yours?

Do you reckon that your child is ‘making you’ angry or could you choose another response? That’s distortion playing ugly tricks on your mind.

It’s your mind , take control.

Find out how you can use my practical tips for parenting in NLP for Parents. My Weight Loss book is out next month.

Understanding the retailer

This is an excerpt from my book ‘Secrets of Success in Brand Licensing’ published in 2011. I interviewed Sarah Swindell from Watermelon and Wendy Munt from Be Inspired Consulting about their experiences over many years in the retail industry dealing with licensed properties.

1. The Retailer needs a clear understanding of the licensed property

This needs to cover general strategy, marketing, merchandise plans, including TV, Movie / DTV / DVD, on-line launches and activity (where applicable). Is there any key competition already in the market place and if so why will your property be that much better? Keep the information focused and clear. They also need a detailed understanding of the market sectors and competitors that the Licensor is also targeting and an outline of any other retail deals and marketing campaigns already in-place and impact (good and bad) this may have. Understand what different angle or opportunity they can work with the Licensor to develop.

Make sure you provide:, regular market share performance updates, month on month growth and reasons for it, new licensees just signed up and in which categories, how the license is performing in other key categories, updates on activity on each licensed property, TV programming and outline initiatives of how a Licensor can help them achieve the same.


2. Understand your Retailers

Really know and understand the individual retailers you are targeting and working with, get ‘under their skin’ to clearly understand their short and longer-term strategies, challenges and priorities. These meetings will be face to face and at least fortnightly, backed up with weekly phone calls with the buyer so they are always up to speed on the latest position. Things move pretty quickly particularly in toy licensing. It’s important to have a two way conversation to build the relationship and you can’t do that through email.

Retailers all have their own unique strategies and methodology and have a clear vision of where they want to develop their business. So really take the time to invest in researching and understanding their market, target customer and core demographic, methodology both in-store and in their on-line merchandising operation before meeting them. Understand those categories on which the retailer is seeing strong sales and growth and then actively seek out suitable new licensed products within them which may be of interest to the buyer. Very often a retailer will expect a unique selling point and exclusivity in the offer. They need to be assured the Licensor has taken the time planning to ensure they give the best help and support to the retailer to achieve great sales. The key sales drivers, objective and over-all strategy for a retailer like Marks and Spencer is unlikely to be driven by Licensing.

Be clear on what the Licensors objectives are and what’s ‘in it for them’ if the buyer meets those objectives? What level of support or incentives the buyer is looking for eg early launches to market, guaranteed stock levels, trading terms, benefits etc? Get visibility of which licensees have been signed up and on what products ahead of supplier previews so that the Buyer can begin planning what space will be given to each property and on what categories.  Licensing is becoming ever more important to many retailers and is key to driving great sales in many departments, but the over-riding focus for the majority of retailers firstly has to be their own brand. Work with a retailer’s strategy to develop a joint campaign to best suit both parties.


3. Meet regularly with your retailer

You need to meet regularly, at least fortnightly especially in the toy industry where the market changes so quickly. Follow up promptly with a detailed account of what was discussed and agreed in the meeting along with any updates since. A list of any further outstanding points still yet to be finalised and a realistic timescale of when the buyer can expect to receive a response to ensure product selection will be fine and sales won’t be affected by late deliveries or failed testing.

Ideally have one key point of contact and if the opportunity is substantial and covers multi product category it also makes best sense for the retailer to appoint a key internal contact to coordinate property or brand activity internally cross departments and with the Licensor.

Always meet with personnel at senior management level. Pre-empt any issues and concerns by offering a solution and support the retailer in the run up to launch and throughout the duration of a properties life span. Work together and support the retailer and licensees throughout the product development process to ensure a truly great product is delivered creating the best possible opportunity for the property or brand.


4. Present clear, accurate information and don’t change it later on, especially after range selections! Retailers need accurate product visuals and availability information as well as knowing whether a licensee has been signed yet or not. Otherwise this causes confusion, frustration for the Buyer, loss of faith in the Account mgr leading to wasted time and potential mistakes / arguments later on!

You often only get one chance to really impress, so ensure you are fully prepared and ideally present a focused concise and exciting opportunity aimed specifically at the retailer, which will hopefully have instant appeal and be at the forefront of mind. Present to the whole team and keep your presentation focused, with visual impact. Great samples and memorable / quirky small keepsakes help keep a Licensor’s property or brand in the buyer’s mind.


Buy your copy here so you have time to read it before the Brand Licensing Show.




Overcome your limiting belief

A limiting belief is something that gets in the way of what you want to achieve, in this case , your writing. This ‘thing’ can take many forms.

It can be a voice in your head. We call this an auditory limiting belief. The voice might say

“Who do you think you are, call yourself a writer, you are rubbish.”

“You’ve got more important things to do than write.”

“Do the housework first.”

“This will never be published.”

“Press delete this is no good.”

Do you have a voice in your head? What does it say?

How does it say it? Is it a loud voice, a whisper? Is it male or female? Do you know the voice? Who is it?

Is it mocking or jeering, is it laughing at you or is it being deadly serious?


One way we can manage this voice is we can change it. Repeat what it says out loud but in a silly voice like Micky Mouse or some cartoon character you know. Make it sound really absurd and not to be taken seriously at all. Now answer it back and tell it to ‘shut up’ .

If it persists you can do this perceptual positioning exercise. Take three chairs. one is Position 1 – you. Another is Position 2 – the voice and Position 3 is an uninvolved bystander. Sit in Position 1 and tell Position 2 what you want to do and tell it that they should be quiet and let you do it or whatever you want to say to that voice. Then go and sit in Position 2, be the voice. What is your positive intention,what benefit is there in you saying what you are saying? Now back to position 1 and respond. It helps if you give yourself a little shake between positions so you can really be that different entity. When you are back in Position 1 how can you reassure Position 2 that you can meet their positive intention yourself and don’t need their protection or whatever their purpose for you might be. In Position 3 you stand back and observe what went on and suggest a solution. Back to position 1 and you tell Position 2 what you plan to do and Position 2 needs to be OK with that.

Your limiting belief might be a feeling like a brick wall and we call this a kinaesthetic limiting belief.

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You’re creative, do something with it. Can you close your eyes and imagine the brick wall or whatever your obstacle is. It could be a feeling in your tummy, is it an animal, does it have a colour? We use submodalities to change the limiting belief into something pleasant and non-threatening. Can you shrink your brick wall and then put it down for a moment while you write? Can you push it further away, so far that you can barely see it? Can you turn it into a food that you can poke a hole in or even eat? If its an animal can you sing the animal to sleep or soothe it by stroking it?

You might have a visual limiting belief. Perhaps you see a messy house and think I must tidy up first. Perhaps you see the blank page on the screen and panic? What you see is your choice. You can reframe what you see by deciding instead to see the blank page as your next story or the beginning of an idea, an opportunity to write something amazing today. We can help this reframe along by using something called the SWISH.

Imagine a TV screen in front of you and in the middle of the screen is the visual of what you are responding to. You have a TV remote in your hand. In the bottom right of the screen is a small picture of what you’d prefer to see – your published book, a page full of writing, a good review…. Now in one move use your imaginary remote to switch the images so you’re looking at the preferred image.

What does that look like?

Do it a few times and then you can use this whenever you need to.

I provide NLP coaching sessions via Skype if you’d like a bit more help with any of these techniques.