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.

Help for Young Drivers

‘So you’ve passed your driving test….what now?’ is a new book written by Judy Bartkowiak an NLP specialist working with children and young people for those who have just passed their driving test. It contains all you need to know about advanced driving skills to tackle

-          Coping with distraction from passengers

-          Driving while tired

-          Night driving

-          Motorway driving

-          Coping with stressful driving situations

-          Driving in unfamiliar places

-          Managing road rage

It is a quick easy read with plenty of examples and exercises in a workbook format so you can apply it to your own personality and driver type (there’s a quiz to find out what sort of driver you are).


driver cover

Driving represents freedom for young drivers and it is also the opportunity to learn new skills and apply these to your driving in different situations not covered by the driving test. What you think affects what you say and do. Neuro Linguistic Programming offers tools and techniques so that you can take control of how you think and drive safely and enjoyably.

Judy Bartkowiak is an NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer and can be contacted on 01628 660618 or email Buy her books at Amazon or direct from Judy 

Communicating better at work

There are three things to avoid when we want to communicate clearly.

1)    Generalisations

These are when we suggest in our feedback that someone ‘always’ or ‘never’ does something, when ‘everyone else does/knows’. This can’t possibly be true and there is richer feedback in looking at the exceptions.

For example, focus on the positive and point out that when they did x the result was excellent rather than the many times they did not and the result was unsatisfactory.

A classic example of a generalisation is ‘I can’t…’ either verbalised or when the thing they think they ‘can’t do’ is avoided. Some people avoid applying for that new job because they ‘can’t’ give presentations. This is a choice we make to ‘not be able to do’ something. You may be in the situation where you are telling someone ‘I can’t give you more responsibility’ or ‘I can’t give you that territory’ but what if you could?




2)    Deletions

In order for feedback to be helpful you need to provide detailed examples so one can learn from it. Simply saying ‘You’ve worked much better this year’ or ‘I’m pleased with your progress’ deletes the important detail about specifics. When giving feedback be armed with plenty of precise examples to demonstrate the behaviour you want to focus on and encourage.


3)    Distortions

There are three different ways we can distort communication

  • Assumptions – when we assume we know the other person’s feelings for example ‘You must be pleased with the sales figures this quarter’. You don’t know this and it may seem like a reasonable assumption but it will be more respectful to ask the question than assume the answer.
  • Mind reading – similarly predicting the future can be unhelpful in a feedback scenario. An example of this would be saying ‘You’ll want to apply for that new job in Marketing.’ That may well be what you think but it may not be their intention at all. Again it is better to ask than mind read.
  • Cause and effect – no-one can make you feel a particular way; that is your choice alone. Putting the responsibility for your feelings onto a colleague is another type of distortion. An example of this would be ‘You make me really annoyed when you come in late every Monday morning’. It would be more respectful to simply own your own feelings and say ‘I feel very annoyed when you come in late every Monday morning’ and discuss what can be done about it. The colleague isn’t coming in late to annoy you, this is a distortion.

Do you feel criticised when you get feedback that is in any way negative? Do you take it personally?

Some feedback, however positively reframed, is still not welcome; possibly because we think it is unjustified. If that is the case, the first thing to do is ‘disassociate’. This is an NLP technique which invites us to imagine we are an impartial witness, maybe someone else in your team or company. Would they give you the same feedback? Is it possible that other people would also give you that feedback? If so, act on it and behave differently. If you want a different result it is you who has to change.

Maybe it isn’t the case and the feedback is indeed unjustified. Rather than take it personally, which we often do, take the opportunity to present your case with detailed examples and challenge the feedback……….in rapport.

Rapport is essential to clear and ‘clean’ communication, without distortions, deletions and generalisations and using the VAK preference of the other person.

Truly ‘clean language’ can be achieved by reflecting the language of the other person by simply repeating what they’ve said but adding an upward inflection as if to ask them to continue.


“I find it difficult to get on with my boss, he keeps putting me down.”

“He keeps putting you down?”


You can also get more clarity with a question like, “In what way do you feel he puts you down?” or “And how does he do that?”


We can also use metaphors to gain clearer understanding without putting your own ‘stuff’ in. For example, ‘what is it like, when you feel he is putting you down?” Note that in all cases the other person’s words are repeated, not interpreted or replaced.  Metaphors allow us to use our own images and feelings and provide much richer communication than just words and work extremely well across cultures as they transcend boundaries.

If you want to know more about using NLP in the workplace you could buy NLP for Work


Happy 7th Birthday NLP Kids

I’m celebrating seven years of running NLP Kids this week and so I thought I’d share my thoughts and feelings about turning 7 years old! That’s the same age as many of the children I treat and see in my workshops so I’m currently thinking cutting and sticking, glitter, One Direction, pink and fluffy, cuddlies and footballs.

download (2)

If only life was always so full of fun and of course it is much of the time but I see a lot of sad children who worry about making friends, bed-wetting, struggle with reading and who find it difficult to manage their anger.

Over the last seven years I’ve helped loads of children and teenagers but I’ve probably helped more parents. Why? Because if I can sort things out on the phone or on Skype, sometimes even over a coffee, without the child coming to see me, then I feel I’ve equipped a parent to cope with so much more than just whatever is facing them right now.

I remember what it was like for me as a parent of four children before I knew anything about NLP. I seemed to just swing from one drama to the next, fire-fighting and struggling to cope with my emotions. I constantly felt a failure and compared myself to all the yummy mummies around who seemed to look immaculate, stay calm, take their children to loads of great activities, holidays and still have a life themselves. I was juggling work and family but not very well really, constantly stressed and feeling guilty.

I am therefore so happy to share what I have learnt about NLP, the skills and techniques and of course how I have adapted them to use with kids which of course has been published as ‘Be a happier parent with NLP’.

Be a happier parent cover

As well as training existing NLP Practitioners in working with children and running my own kids coaching practice I also train parents and teachers in NLP and take NLP into schools. I have a new course starting in May in fact. It’s just an hour a week for 12 weeks (term time only) and its on Skype so you can do it from home. You’ll have to practice on children as part of your homework but you’ll enjoy seeing how they enjoy it and how they benefit.

Plans for this year include writing NLP for Sport and NLP for Weight-loss as well as the latest Teach Yourself ‘Secrets of the NLP Masters’ which comes out in August.

I have a series of children’s workshops happening between March and July so if you live in the Home Counties of the UK join my Facebook Group NLP Kids where you’ll find all the information about them. If you don’t and want to know whether there is an NLP Kids Practitioner in your are, get in touch because there may be workshops near you.

I am always available for a chat on Skype if you have a question so connect judy.bartkowiak on Skype or call me 01628 660618.






Limiting beliefs

This month’s workshops are entitled ‘Overcoming your limiting beliefs’ so I thought I’d write something about what this is for those of you who are wondering if it might be appropriate for your child.

Firstly let me explain what a belief is. It is not a fact. A fact is an undisputed truth that everyone would agree on and can be proved. A fact would be something like this, ‘David Cameron is our Prime Minister’ or ‘Today is Wednesday’. Many children take their beliefs to be facts caste in stone that are undisputed and universally agreed. They are not. A belief is simply something we hold to be true right now, in this moment. Things change though. We may once have believed in the tooth fairy or Father Christmas but we have since learned that they don’t exist and that it can be in our interests to believe it otherwise we may not get any presents! This is therefore a resourceful belief as it pays us to believe it.

Father Christmas

Not all beliefs have such a lovely pay off though. Many beliefs actually stop us from doing something we either want to do or need to do. They are limiting us from achieving our potential. They are often expressed as ‘I can’t’ and accompanied by body language that is hunched up with shoulders rounded, head down, eyes down and the desire to withdraw. When you see this in your child, it is very tempting to comfort, take over and do it for them and rationalise. We might reflect that we too found those things hard so it’s easy for us to understand. However, by doing this, we are colluding with them. We are confirming that this is a viable belief for them to have and that it could possibly even be a fact because as a grown-up, our views are taken to have more worth than the child’s.

In my workshops children examine these limiting beliefs and consider where they came from. Do they still want them or is there some benefit? They are encouraged to decide what positive benefit they are getting from having this limiting belief. Limiting beliefs often result in a bit of extra attention, hugs from mum, encouragement and some special treatment. We discuss what other ways they can still get the benefits without the limiting belief. These type of discussions encourage children to realise just how much of a non-fact their belief is and how they have the power to change it if they so wish.

We look at what’s stopping them from changing their belief and what form this takes. Many children see this as a brick wall , a high one that they can’t see over. We then use what are called sub-modalities in NLP to allow them to change this wall into something softer like a pizza that they can nibble a hole in so they can look through and see what could happen if they step through and take on a more resourceful belief. Some will represent their limiting belief as an annoying voice in their head saying ‘ I can’t’ or ‘Don’t be stupid’. This they enjoy changing into a silly voice that they can more easily ignore or even laugh at. Some will respond more kinaesthetically with a sick feeling or head-ache and they soon learn to tell it to go away when they realise it’s intent.


Once they’ve overcome their limiting belief using some great NLP techniques that I show them, I teach them how to anchor their resourceful and empowering belief and we all finish with giving ourselves a ‘feedback sandwich’.

If you’d like to find out more about these workshops, get dates for your child’s age or better still, book, then please complete this form or contact me via the Facebook Group NLP Kids.