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.

images (9)

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.

First review of the Prequel story

As you know I am a co-writer on The JNP project and although we are currently creating Book 4 Forgiveness, none of the books are published yet. Our aim is to make them available initially as digital books that children can read on their tablet. We will wait until there are 3 or 4 completed before publishing the Prequel story which will be free. The prequel sets the scene and introduces the characters, Jane and Jake and Jane’s talking goldfish, Oracle.




Each story corresponds to a Pearl of Power that the children earn through taking part in an adventure in the undersea world of Awesome. Each pearl relates to a character trait such as forgiveness, truth, harmony, love, giving and so on. Then they are whooshed off to Awesome by Oracle where with the creatures there, they discover through games, quizes, obstacle courses and other interesting devices, how to forgive, how to be in harmony. They then return and the story continues in the real world. Each story then has three endings; Jane’s ending, Jake’s ending and Oracle’. Children can read each one.

Each story also has an Educator Kit which can be used by teachers to give lessons on the theme for every school subject. There is also a Parent Kit which parents can use at home with lots of fun activities for their children. These can be bought on a subscription basis or as one-offs.

The website will provide free colouring downloads, puzzles, word searches and activities connected to the stories. There will be a Parent Forum where you can ask me parenting questions and an Educator Forum where you can ask one of my co-writers Jim Westcott who is also on the writing team but is also a teacher. You can ask Jane and Jake questions too!

Here’s a video of Jim’s wife interviewing one of her class about the Prequel.

It’s been amazing fun writing the books and if you’d like to keep track of them, get free copies, review a story with your child or just be involved, please ‘Like’ my Facebook Page JudyBee and follow my Blog here.


Bite size NLP wisdom from the Masters of NLP

An excerpt from ‘Secrets of the NLP Masters‘ due out at the end of the month and full of bite size NLP wisdom. 

Secrets of NLP Masters

Chapter 45. The importance of other people’s opinions

 “Team leaders can motivate the people in their teams especially well when they understand the referencing that each member of the team uses. It becomes a great deal easier to create meaningful feelings for the members of a team when you know what matters to them.” David Ferrers

“The best style is to have an internal reference with an external check. That is, we use our own values, beliefs, visions; outcomes etc. as our stabilizing gyroscope and regularly look outside of ourselves to see how it fits with the world of others and the state of knowledge. We then feel centered in ourselves, in our values, standards, beliefs, understandings, visions, goals etc. and then fully open and responsive to information and perceptions outside of ourselves.” Steve Jabba

“How sensitive you are to other people’s opinions and feedback determines how much you are affected by the achievement culture. “ Joseph O’Connor

“Have you ever noticed a person who, when making a suggestion in a meeting, glances in the direction of someone from whom they are seeking approval? It may not be the person to whom they are making the suggestion but it is the person whose feedback and acknowledgment they rely on for feedback on how they are doing.” Sue Knight

“To identify whether your children are internal or external ask them a question such as ,”At school, how do you know you’ve written a good essay?” An internal child may say, “I just know or it feels right.” An external child may say, “My teacher needs to give me a good mark, say nice things or smile at me.”  Roger Ellerton

We seem to be in age where other people’s opinions almost garner more importance than our own as we seek out Facebook Likes, Follows on Twitter and other Social Media and huge list of contacts on our mobile phone. As soon as there is a decision to make we can be sharing it with friends and ‘googling’ options. This is called being externally referenced and it is an option; the other being internally referenced. They both lie on a continuum and it is for you to decide where you want to operate depending on the situation or decision in hand.

Being internally referenced means that we go inside ourselves to interpret how we feel, what we want to do, how to respond or decide. An externally referenced person would instead, ask someone else for advice if they were auditory, notice other people’s reactions if they were visual and sense their reactions if they were kinaesthetic. This is rather a sliding scale rather than being bipolar. In some situations we might look to others for a response whereas in some situations, perhaps when and where we feel more confident, we would rely on our own judgement and decision making ability. If however you find yourself regularly at one end of the scale or the other it might be refreshing to consider being more flexible.

We make decisions based on our interpretation of the situation. As something happens we filter it in various ways. We may delete parts of what happened based on whether we tend to focus on what we see, hear or feel. We also tend to respond according to the language that is used. Perhaps the way something was communicated really annoyed you or the tone sounded offensive or it was spoken so fast you couldn’t quite follow it or so quietly you struggled to hear it.

It also gets distorted when we assume intentions that may not be there, almost mind-reading the situation. Then we might generalize, telling ourselves that this ‘always happens’ or that ‘no-one ever takes any notice of what we say’.  The next filter that comes into play is that we set the event against our values and beliefs about what is important to us, what is right and what is wrong. These come from our upbringing and experiences in life which constantly change but core values tend to remain constant. Around most subjects we have acquired attitudes from reading and discussions which have built a fund of knowledge which we can apply to the event that has occurred. Again attitudes are constantly changing as we meet new people and learn new things and this event is part of the learning process.

Past experiences and memories also play a part in forming our response to this event as we recall what happened in the past and whether you want to repeat the process this time or do something different.

People who are internally referenced go through these processes to interpret events and on the basis of the internal processing they then respond with little regard to the opinions of others. This can result in a rather abrupt, even rude response which might even be hurtful but those who are internally referenced won’t be so concerned about that aspect. When you are externally referenced little processing takes place, instead other people’s opinions are sought through various means such as posting on Social Media, texting, asking immediately ‘what do you think’ or waiting to see what others do and following. Whilst in some situations this latter approach may be workable it doesn’t encourage any independent thought or feeling which means that you may be unprepared for situations when this is required.

As a parent we forget, however old our children are, that they have an opinion. Even parents of grown up children with children of their own can sometimes internally reference because the relationship being parent/child, this is what they’re used to. This is sometimes how young people get to be so externally referenced because no-one has ever encouraged them to make their own mind up.

When our parents were children themselves they had much more freedom from parental control and had to take responsibility for themselves in a way their own children can’t. If you have to get yourself to school and are used to playing in the street or unsupervised, you’re going to be much more aware of the implication of your actions.

However old you are, when communicating with others it is not OK to do the thinking for them. Instead work on building rapport and mutual respect by eliciting their opinions, expressing your own and being willing to sit in the middle of the internally/externally referenced scale where you learn from others and can be flexible and responsible.

Judy Bartkowiak is an NLP Trainer, Coach and Author. She can be contacted here


Co- writing children’s stories via Skype

If you haven’t heard of the JNP project , you soon will. It’s been going for over a year now although the first books won’t come out until October 2014. The JNP project is a self-esteem movement for kids based in the US. Although the driving force and inspiration is Dona Rudderow Sturn, the project is supported by a huge team of educational and child experts from a remarkable range of backgrounds and with complementary expertise. This advisory committee oversee every book, website, educational guides that accompany each book, parent kits and  the marketing material. It is absolutely crucial to the project for all of us that it is the best it can possibly be and we are very conscious that we consider every book and how it could and shall guide children and their parents.

Therefore every Thursday the JNP writing team sit in our relative home/offices in various parts of the US and the UK creating adventures for the main characters Jane and Jake and Jane’s talking goldfish Oracle. Each story has a theme around self-esteem; kindness, forgiveness, harmony, truth and we spend hours discussing what each means and how we can help parents and children with the issue.





For the Forgiveness book we have Jane and Jake making their way through a Labyrinth to discover the 7 steps of forgiveness after having experienced a number of set backs at school and at home where they need to learn how to forgive. In the Harmony story they have to learn how to sustain harmony beyond the trite ‘I’m sorry’.

The stories are in three parts; the first sees Jane and Jake experiencing the theme in their daily life . In the second part they are whooshed off to Awesome under the sea by Jane’s talking goldfish where they meet various sea creatures including Jaunty the sea turtle, Monte the Magnificent Crab and the Mertwins. Every story sees the introduction of a new sea creature. In the undersea adventure they get their learning through playing a game. Then in the third part of the story they return to home and put into practice what they’ve learned. Finally there are three endings of the story and the child reader gets to choose which ending they prefer; Jane’s, Jake’s or Oracle’s.

As if 30 stories aren’t enough we are also, for each story, writing an educator kit that teachers can use in school. The kits tie in with the Common Core in the US so teachers can be sure they are covering what children need to know in each subject; math, english, science etc There is also a Parent Kit for parents at home to use to do more work on the theme using the activities and games supplied.

In addition children can download colouring pages, they can write to Jane and Jake and parents can ask me (Judy Bartkowiak Author of NLP and Parenting books) their parenting questions or Jim Westcott, their teaching questions.

You can find out more about the series by following my Facebook Page JudyBee where you can find out about my other children’s writing.

Just to whet your appetite here is one of the illustrations.



We shall be interested in making connections with potential licensees. If you would like to make contact please use this form

NLP for Weight Loss

I’m just writing my next title in the Engaging NLP series of workbooks. This one is called NLP for Weight Loss. I always felt that weight and body issues were tied to self-esteem because otherwise why would anyone be overweight if they chose not to be? So many people are unsuccessful despite all the knowledge we have nowadays, so I wanted to understand how NLP could help. After all, NLP is a workout for the mind.



Here is the introduction for the book. I’d really like to know what you think.


This is a workout for your mind not your body. So I’m not going to give you a list of all the foods to avoid or tell you to exercise as I’m assuming you know all that and let’s face it there are plenty of books around that give you this information. There are also lots of very good diets around and organisations that run classes and weigh you every week and maybe you’ve tried them. I certainly have. They are excellent and there is plenty of evidence that they are effective. They work.

They don’t work for everyone though and they don’t always work long term. People lose the weight they want to lose and then what happens? Within months or even years, on it goes again. Not for everyone but for a great proportion certainly. So why do these classes and programmes work better for some people than others? Could it be that it isn’t about the programme itself but actually more about us and how we engage with the programme? Instead of comparing the different diets and weight loss programmes and organisations perhaps what we should be looking at instead is ourselves.

You can use this book in conjunction with any other Weight Loss Programme because it is about what’s going on in your mind and how you can change it to become the slim person you want to be. It’s about raising your confidence so you believe in yourself. It’s about valuing yourself and holding true to what you want because the goal is worthwhile, because you are worthwhile. Your mind and body are one. How can you feel good in yourself when every time you look in the mirror a fat person looks back at you? I want you to hold your head high, look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘I’m OK’. This ‘OK’ for you may not be a size zero, it will be what feels good to you, whatever that size or weight is.

I want children and teenagers to read it as well because we all need to feel good about ourselves and have self-esteem. In my Therapy Practice I’ve seen so many teenagers who feel bad about themselves and guess what, they are overweight. I know losing weight doesn’t automatically make you happy or confident although lots of people think that they will be happy when they are the weight they want to be. No, you need to feel confident first. You need to feel good about who you are and set goals that you really desire and value. Once you believe in yourself, then you will lose weight.

This book is based on NLP (neuro linguistic programming) because although I have followed Weight Watchers, the Hollywood Diet, the 5:2 diet and lots of other programmes over the years, it wasn’t until I felt good about myself and who I am, what I’ve achieved and what I still want to achieve, that I actually committed heart and soul to losing weight because I prioritised ME.

As a working mum, I have always prioritised the family and thought I didn’t matter because it was the kids who were important. Then after my first three children left home I took a long hard look at what had become of the slim young woman I once was and didn’t like what I saw at all. I thought about who I was as a person, my identity. I’d always been sporty and fit yet now I was moving slower, taking the escalators or the lift, avoiding walking and spending far too long sitting at the computer. I wanted a fit and healthy time in my older years and I knew that unless I prioritised myself this wouldn’t happen.

The chances are that you are much younger than me and won’t be worrying yet about your later years but I hope you are taking a long hard look at yourself and thinking about making a few changes. The change I would ask you to consider is to read this book and give your mind a work over. I will be asking you to examine your beliefs and the experiences on which they are based. I will ask you to do some exercises, mind exercises, thinking exercises and I’ll be asking some difficult questions.

This book isn’t about food and exercise for the body it is about food and exercise for the mind, lots of it, but this kind of mind food and drink will make you slim. The reason is because the mind and the body are one. Do the exercises in chapter 1 to experiment with this concept yourself. Then read on and discover how you can make yourself a priority and build your own self-esteem ………and great new body to go with the new way of thinking.


It will be published later this year, keep an eye on Amazon or ask your local bookshop. If you want to book a consultation with me on Skype you can do so here.