Many people want to learn NLP to ‘develop’ themselves.
Like maybe you want to enjoy better relationships. Or a more rewarding and fulfilling career. Or get to feel a greater sense of peace and meaning. You might have read a few articles – or even a book or two – about how you can make your life ‘better’, and discovered how NLP can help you enjoy more clarity, more congruence and even more freedom to feel, act and experience life the way you want it.
Many people would call this Personal Development.
It is even something that some people value. You might have met someone who explicitly values experiencing personal development in their life. Or in their relationships. And that way of thinking tends to lend itself towards setting and achieving increasingly challenging goals.
There is another terms that could be used in contrast to this that I’m going to refer to here as Personal Evolution.
While Personal Development focuses on consistent, incremental progress, maintained by the development of more resourceful habits, I like to think of Personal Evolution as the concept of allowing ourselves to take things to the next level. Rather than getting better in our current job, recognising that the next phase of our development is to launch into a new industry, or go into business for ourselves, or start a family, or go back to school. Personal Development is valuable and helpful for almost everybody though the changes are of a different quality again to Personal Evolution.
(Dr John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair led a workshop on this topic some years back, and the term has resonated with me ever since.)
There is a third concept I’d like to offer here: Personal Innovation.
Innovation is creating value from creativity. So in contrast to PD and PE, let’s consider Personal Innovation as a process of creating significant, valuable shifts in our personal experiences and performance. This could take the form of recognising that you can get paid more for doing similar work in a different company, industry or place. Or maybe by bringing together some of the diverse skills you have been developing to create a totally new value proposition for your personal or professional life.
I’m not sure if these terms are explained here in a way that is accepted by everybody. The probably aren’t. And I’ve restrained myself from doing too much searching this time since I suspect that they will be useful regardless of the answer 🙂
One of the things that I’ve been experimenting with recently is to notice how it feels when I think about something I am doing from the different perspectives. For example, I have been training in Aikido for several years now – and I really enjoy it. As I think about my aikido training in terms of my ‘Personal Development’, I think in terms of refining and polishing my skills, practising and striving for excellence. From a ‘Personal Evolution’ perspective, I think in terms of how the concepts of Uke and Nage have influenced my thinking, in martial arts, in my work and in my most intimate relationships. Yet as I think about aikido from the perspective of ‘Personal Innovation’, I think about how my aikido training synergises with other experiences, how my mistakes and challenges in aikido offer metaphors and lessons that I can harvest, and how I can use that synergy and harvest in new and different – even innovative – ways.
If you allow yourself to feel the terms – either in the abstract or applied to your life or some facet of your life – do they feel the same or different to you?
I wonder how you might represent them. I wonder how you might be already harnessing these concepts yourself.
If you’re familiar with NLP, do particular aspects of NLP seem more relevant to one or two of these frames? Of your favourite aspects of NLP, does distinguishing between PD, PE and PI make sense? Where are PD, PE and PI really just the same thing?
What do you think?