How many pickled onions is too many?
I had brought a jar of pickled onions on impulse at my local farm shop. I hadn’t had them for ages and there they were just sitting on the counter waiting for me to buy them. And I had some wonderful black bomber cheddar in the fridge which I knew they would complement beautifully. As I finished the 5th pickled onion I found myself thinking – “I wonder how many pickled onion is too many to eat in one go?”
Which leads me to pondering – how do we know when something is too much? Or indeed not enough? What happens when we don’t have an accurate gauge or barometer by which to test our behaviour?
Unless we have some sort of guide as to what is appropriate in a situation, how do we moderate our actions?
How do we know when we have eaten enough, drunk enough, slept enough, prepared enough, practiced enough, worked hard enough, achieved enough?
In terms of NLP language patterns, when we are missing a reference it is called a comparative deletion. For example, you are feeling more confident – the question is “more confident than what or whom?”; you are working better – the question is “better than what?”; your leadership is more authentic – the question is “more authentic than whom?”. We have deleted the comparison – the thing to measure it against.
The challenge with all of these examples is – how do you know? What would more confident, or working better, or more authentic look, sound and feel like? What sensory data would you need to have in order to know when you had done enough?
One way of getting tangible sensory rich evidence is to imagine you have already achieved your desired way of being – confident, working well, authenticity. Transport yourself forward in time to a place where you are being confident, working well, authentic. Associate into that experience – play yourself a multi-sensory movie with you taking the leading role – see what you are seeing, hear what you are hearing and feel what you are feeling, notice what other people are seeing, doing, hearing – really relish in the experience and notice all the subtleties. Gather all the sensory data and bring it back to the present with you. You now know what it is like to be confident, work well, be authentic.
And so you now have your gauge, your barometer against which to test and measure yourself. You can know when enough is enough.
I am curious to hear how you get on – please do let me know.
To find out more about my training, coaching, NLP or how horses can teach us valuable leadership lessons, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.