Mastering the NLP "Circle of Excellence"

One of the methods you can use to summon up your confidence in a crisis is a mental technique from NLP (neurolinguistic programming) called the "Circle of Excellence." It doesn't actually create competence in a skill you desire. Rather, it assumes ability in its place so it gives you the ability to summon up the confidence for performing a skill.

For instance, you can use this to get rid of the fear of speaking when you have to give a talk, or boost your confidence for sports or other high performance needs.

Here are the steps for using the Circle of Excellence, which you need to practice ahead of time in order to be able to draw upon it at will:

Step 1. Imagine an invisible circle on the floor. In your imagination, make it about 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in front of you, something large enough to walk into. You can draw chalk on the floor if you like when you are first training to master this mental technique.

Step 2. Go inside the circle and imagine a time you were wonderful at what you want to be doing. Imagine that everything went smoothly, you were bright, funny, happy, confident, full of energy and a great success at your task. You were balanced, creative, powerful or any other positive state of your choice where you were balanced and centered. You want all your chi to come up and flood your body with the good feelings of confident performance.

Now if you don't have this particular personal history, just pretend you have this personal history. In your mind, you can use visualization to even step-into-the-shoes-of role playing of a movie hero, a living legend, or anyone you admire to get into that state you want.

Your brain cannot tell the difference between a REAL history and an IMAGINED history or the history of others, so all you have to do is emotionally capture that feeling of excellence using whatever role models or scenario playing that works for you. An outside observer should actually see physical, noticeable changes in your breathing and posture when you've got it, otherwise the resource state you're trying to access is either being poorly accessed or is of too low quality. That means keep practicing until "you've got it" and it "clicks."

Step 3. Develop a full visual, auditory, kinesthetic representation of the state. Use all your sense to actually FEEL what it's like to be in that state. See yourself in the circle being wonderful. Visualize it fully. Feel the greatness and calm. Feel the fullness of chi.

When you have added enough resources, step automatically into the powerful state you've created within the circle. As soon as you step into the circle, imagine it's as if you step into that person, that set of states, that set of superpower being.

Step 4. Move into the circle of excellence. Step into the picture of yourself. Anchor this as a resource state so that you can bring it up at any time you require it. In other words, figure out how to draw upon this state at will by practicing it, and then associating some mental cue with its bringing forth. That might be tapping your fingers, holding your arms in a certain way or whatever.

You don't have to use meditation all the time to handle some of the mental scenarios that come your way. As Buddha said, use what's virtuous that works. Hence, if you come under high performance pressure frequently, you can use this little trick to practice summoning the mental state you need at will.


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