A while back now, I was running my hypnotherapy diploma and NLP practitioner training. Near the end of the weekend, one of the delegates, a gorgeous lady, struck a note within me… She overcame some minor doubts in her own ability… Then got comfortable with herself, trusted herself… Knowing herself … And connected with the other student she was working with to such an extent… That I could feel the love she was expressing with her work, she cared, she connected and I was delighted…

You cannot do such a thing if you do not know yourself.

Do you watch Heroes? Well the first season baddy Syler, slowly became one of the good guys and his special power is that he can find out how any person ticks… Including himself. It is a gift that is very much valued among the other super heroes… And probably would be even more so if he did not take the tops of peoples heads off too!!!

Many schools of thought think that the single most important being in the realm of personal development is…


This is all about getting to know you and knowing how to move your own development forward. Very few of us ever actually realise what is in that mirror.

The most critical variable for your success in achieving what you want is you. You knew that though, didn’t you?

Many people I work with therapeutically, as well as many of my students or people within audiences have waited for something to happen… Lightning bolts to fire up their backsides from high above… Don’t tend to happen very often… Although if you stand in the middle of a golf course in a storm pointing your metal umbrella at the thunder cloud, you may increase your chances…

It is easy to assume that external circumstances have to be just right for you to make the breakthrough you want in life, but in fact, even if the circumstances are favourable, you may well only be able to take advan­tage of them if you are in the right frame of mind.

Investing in Yourself

I think this is probably the single most important thing we can do, at every level. Many people have learnt to put other people and their needs first, and keep only the remainder of their attention for themselves. In my experience as trainer and therapist it needs to be the other way around.

Only if we nurture ourselves adequately will we have enough resources available to nurture others. You can’t make a journey if the petrol tank is empty – and if you start off when petrol is low you may run out.

Investment can happen in many ways and at many levels. Consider how much you invest in yourself in the following ways:

– Time on your own

– Relaxation

– New stimuli

– Presents and treats

– Fun

– Off-duty activities

– Doing things you like

– Being with people who make you feel good

– Praising yourself

– Appreciating your uniqueness

– Spending money on yourself in ways that enhance your life, your skills, your opportunities

– Honouring your needs.

Having a therapist or a coach is of course one way of investing in yourself. There are some things that really require the help of others, but how about you also learn to be able to coach yourself. So how good a therapist are you towards yourself?

– What is the first improvement you can make then in coaching yourself?

– What might you do next?

Well that is what this blog is all about. Lets start with this unusual notion:

Building Rapport with Yourself

Most people don’t think about needing to build rapport with themselves, only with other people. When there is rapport, then you have more influ­ence, and suggestions can be offered, and are more likely to be accepted. This is true with other people, but it’s also true for you. So you need to estab­lish this approach with yourself if you are to help yourself most effectively.

I spend much time writing up self-hypnosis techniques for you here and I shall be doing in the coming weeks to help enhance our theme… However, it is a much tougher task to gain real success with self-hypnosis if you have no rapport with yourself!

Building rapport with yourself is just like building rapport with some­one else. It takes careful attention, and a genuine respect at a deep level. Often people act in ways which undermine their respect for them­selves. Sometimes, for instance, instead of just being critical of a specific behaviour they jump to having a bad opinion of themselves as an entire person.

When one person builds rapport with another, lots of modern personal development has shown that they need to start from ‘where the other person is’. We step into their world and find common ground as we proceed.

That’s how it occurs naturally; and that’s how it can be done deliberately. This means acknowl­edging the other person’s position and what’s important to them, and showing that acceptance verbally and non-verbally. It means accepting how you are at this moment, rather than leaping in with judgements or suggestions for change.

Exactly the same applies if you want to establish rapport with yourself. Start from where you are — warts and all. You certainly don’t have to pre­tend that everything about yourself is wonderful, great or marvellous. No needless whooping or razz-ma-tazz is called for!

Rapport fails with unrealistic praise as on unrestrained criticism or unleashed ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’. We know we aren’t perfect: but we need to be reminded that we’ve been doing the best we can at times… And reminded of the good we do and are being…

I tell all my students as often as possible that the really effective helpers are those who act on this respectful assumption that we are doing the best we can. Equally, this is what works when we coach ourselves. That best can probably be improved, once we know how. Even when things are going well it’s important that you maintain this respectful, purposeful, supportive rela­tionship with yourself.

Honouring Different Parts of Yourself

Do you sometimes use the phrase ‘a part of me wants this and another part of me wants something else’? Do you sometimes feel like there is a part of you pulling you in a different direction to another part of you?

This is a very common experience and may indicate some lack of internal rapport. In its more extreme forms, it can reveal a conflict between different values, goals or interests you may have.

Ultimately, we all need to find ways to create harmony within our­selves. We can utilise the ability we have to interact with ourselves internally to enquire, respectfully, what each part wants, to track those wants back to their deepest intent and to help each part of ourselves recognise that it is valued for its attempts to achieve something important for us. If you actually do this, you’ll be surprised at how much informa­tion you get, sometimes in words, sometimes in images or sensations.

One of these well-intentioned parts is what Gallwey called Self 2, which he recognised as playing a highly sig­nificant role in our internal dialogue. This internal voice tells us how we should be doing and what we ought not to be doing; it exhorts and some­times bullies us; it frequently criticises, reminds and belittles us. But it is also, in its own way, trying to do its best for us. We need to establish rap­port with that moralistic, judgemental voice just as much as with any other part of ourselves: we need to enquire what it is trying to achieve.

Often it is to save us trouble, embarrassment, failure or pain; but we don’t have to stop at that. Sometimes we need to take issue with that voice and continue the dialogue rather than meekly giving in; sometimes we need to explore other ways of achieving the same aims; sometimes we just need to refocus our awareness on what is actually going on, because it may be rather different from what that part fears or foresees.

Dealing with that voice is an important part of developing an effective developmental role with ourselves.

Next time you notice, by tuning in to your internal dialogue, that you’re giving yourself a hard time, pay attention to what is being said and then step back and evaluate it. Is it reasonable, useful and credible? What effect does the tone in which it is being said have on you?

Frequently, simply changing the tone and volume of such internal dialogue enables people to benefit from the content of what’s being said without feeling bad any more. Or disputing what was said inside your head and saying something else, more progressive, for example.

Have a think about how you relate to yourself and whether you truly have rapport with yourself… Then take an honest look at the person in the mirror…