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How to create a great relationship in 2021

How to create a great relationship in 2021

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What’s important to you?

Our weekly Team NLP blog where you will find inspiration and actionable advice on how to build healthy habits, resilience, and connections in our unprecedented times.

I hope you enjoyed the new e-book we sent out last week called ‘The Year that Changed Everything’.  I have appreciated all the great feedback and many of you have passed it onto friends and family too. 

As I write this week’s blog it is Valentines Day.  I hope you are having fun.  I ran a session with my Master Practitioners this morning and was reminded that it doesn’t matter if you are alone or with a partner, it is important to practice some self-love today too!  I will certainly be finding time for some quiet reading.  As it is Valentine’s Day, I want to talk about how do you create a relationship that fits your needs?  This could be important if you are single and searching for that next special person or you want to improve the relationship you are in.  One way of doing this is to find out your relationship values and to reflect on whether they are being met if you are in a relationship, or, to use them to make a more informed choice next time. 

When things are not going well in our relationship it is often because there is a values conflict between what is important to us and what is important to our partner. For example, if one of my top three relationship values is excitement and my partner’s is security, we could have an issue as I want to experiment and experience new things whilst they want to keep things as they are.  Got the idea?  However, as our values are largely unconscious so it can be very useful to find out what they are…often my clients get a real lightbulb moment when they say to me ‘now I know why that just doesn’t work for me’.

Aligning your values to your goals

I’m going to show you a powerful process that you can use to discover your values in relation to your relationship.  If your values are aligned to your partners, it will become much easier to achieve them as you’ll naturally feel motivated and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve them.  So, once you have done this for yourself it is a good idea to elicit your partner’s values too. 

When eliciting values, it is best to find someone who can work with you to ask you the questions. Choose a friend who can act as your coach.  One of the rules of this exercise is to ask them to keep going with the questioning, even when your answers dry up. This is because your conscious values come out first, as they are at surface level. Your unconscious values are those that you are least aware of and are likely to come out later and may prove to be the most important of all the values you identify.

Step 1: Elicitation

Get your exercise partner to ask you the following question: ‘What’s important to you about your relationship?’ By the way, these should be relationship in general and not necessarily the one you are in.  That is because we’re going to check out your current relationship against your values later in this exercise to ensure that they are fully aligned.

Your partner must write down the words that you say and not suggest any answers, as these are their own values, not yours. Here is an example to help you get the idea.  When you are asked what is important to you about your relationship, you say in quick succession:

  • Love
  • Security
  • Learning
  • Independence
  • Flexibility
  • Variety

You then say you can’t think of anymore. That means you are at the end of the first wave. Your partner carries on asking ‘What is important to you about your relationship?’ regardless to discover your second wave or those values held at a more unconscious level. You then say:

  • Passion
  • Communication
  • Fun
  • Inspiration
  • Personal Growth
  • Authenticity

So, six more values are identified from the second wave. 

Here is the list so far:

  • Love
  • Security
  • Learning
  • Independence
  • Flexibility
  • Variety
  • Passion
  • Communication
  • Fun
  • Inspiration
  • Personal Growth
  • Authenticity

Step 2: Hierarchy of values

Your exercise partner should now give you the list of values and ask you to pick the top 8, and then rank them in order of priority. This may seem a challenge, and yet it is important to understand the most important through to the least important.

Step 3: Re-write your list

Your exercise partner should then re-write your list in the order you have given. You may find that some of your most important values came out in the second wave of elicitation. This is quite common and means that some of your most important values were those held at an unconscious level. Let’s assume that this is the final list in our example:

  1. Passion
  2. Fun
  3. Flexibility
  4. Personal growth
  5. Authenticity
  6. Security
  7. Love
  8. Inspiration

You’ll notice that passion and fun from the second wave are now at no. 1 & 2 on the list demonstrating the importance of carrying on with the questioning. 

Step 4: How does your relationship stack up?

Now ask yourself how does my relationship stack up against these values?  Go through your list of 8 values and score your current relationship out of 10 against each value.  See the hypothetical example below for guidance.

  1. Passion – 2/10
  2. Fun – 10/10
  3. Flexibility – 6/10
  4. Personal Growth – 8/10
  5. Authenticity – 3/10
  6. Security – 4/10
  7. Love – 9/10
  8. Inspiration – 10/10

I normally break the scores into three categories:

0–4                       High risk area

5–7                       Medium risk area

8–10                     Low risk area for the relationship.

In our example, the two highest values are a high risk and low risk area for the relationship.  Unless this relationship can develop more passion your motivation to continue it will likely decline over time.    

Ask yourself where the high and medium risk areas for your relationship are and what can you do about it.  

Download our ‘Keeping Well’ video and e-book for free here !

Take care and keep safe.

Until next time.

Lindsey Agness and Team NLP

Launching our new free e-book ‘The Year that Changed Everything’

Launching our new free e-book ‘The Year that Changed Everything’

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Something for everyone to help keep you going

Our weekly Team NLP blog where you will find inspiration and actionable advice on how to build healthy habits, resilience, and connections in our unprecedented times.

I have talked before about the fact that last year I set myself an audacious goal to write a blog every week in 2020.  And I nearly did it! What a year it turned out to be with the onset of the pandemic early in the year. We were in Canada just before the UK went into its first lockdown and got one of the last flights out from Canada to get back home.  It was a testing time.  Nearly a year on, as I look back at my blogs, I realise that they tell a story of a remarkable year…the year that changed everything.  So, I decided to put them altogether in a new e-book that not only tells the story of a remarkable year, it is filled with our best tips to keep going with grace and hope.  This is a gift to you, and I hope that you will refresh yourself on how to get to or stay in a positive place where the gift of life is more important than anything else.  Please find the e-book attached to this blog.   

How did your life shift in 2020?  We talk about our values being those things that are most important to us.  How did your values shift in 2020 and what can you learn from that?  My values moved away from business and towards family and good health and I am sure that will not change once life moves into a new place of connection.  That doesn’t mean to say that work dropped off my priority list….in fact I was probably at my most creative in 2020 it’s just that I spend less time staring at the screen these days.  How about you? 

I also thought going into 2021 that it is important to explore our boundaries.  How do you protect yourself and your ‘me time’ during the pandemic?  A friend of mine just last week said that she needed to learn how to say ‘no’ to keep herself sane.  Here are some ideas building on the work of Gill Mathias:

>>> Download our new e-book !

Here are seven ways you can set better boundaries and spend less energy people-pleasing:

1 – Get Crystal clear on your priorities.

Getting clear on your priorities will help you figure out what you’re willing to spend your time and energy on. If you find yourself always putting other people’s priorities above your own, it is time to change that.

2 – Communicate what you will not tolerate.

If the people around you are always doing or saying things that frustrate you to your core, you have to put your foot down. People will never know that what they’re doing is unacceptable if you never tell them. Be that person who speaks up when people are behaving in a way that makes you feel inferior or unappreciated. If something doesn’t feel right to you, you should make every effort to avoid it.

3 – Listen to your gut instinct.

Your gut instinct is usually right. You know the difference between excitement and dread. Use that instinct to help you make decisions. Don’t feel like you need to say yes to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. If you can’t decide whether to say yes or no to someone, this post I wrote about when to say no to an invitation will make the decision easier for you.

4 – Think about the impact of your actions.

Something that’s helped me to say no is asking what type of impact an opportunity will have on myself and others. Will it improve our lives or is there something that could make a bigger impact? Think about the amount of time something will take compared to the amount of positive impact it will have. If it will take up more time than it’s worth, say no.

5 – Do things because they make you feel good.

If you find it all too easy to try and make others happy, why not let yourself be happy for once? Make sure you spend time doing things that bring you joy and help you create a better work-life balanceWe all know that self-care is not selfish – it’s necessary to live a healthy life. Schedule downtime and fun activities into your calendar. Treat them like important meetings with a client.

6 – Offer an alternative

If someone asks you to do something and you don’t think you’re the right person for the job, offer an alternative. Recommend a friend, a co-worker, or some kind of tool that could help get the job done. If you hate being unhelpful, this option gives you the opportunity to be cooperative without having to take on the task yourself.

7 – Be direct and firm with your answers.

Don’t let people talk you into or out of things. You can still be kind yet firm at the same time. Your friends might be bummed that you won’t make it to the party, but they should be able to get over it and respect your decision.

How to set boundaries

Remember that you are in control of your choices and your life. Don’t let other people dictate this for you. Set healthy boundaries and give yourself permission to do less people-pleasing.

Download our ‘Keeping Well’ video and e-book for free here !

Take care and keep safe.

Until next time.

Lindsey Agness and Team NLP