This is a system map of the basic components that constitute the world of a business. It abstracts from many on going and single instance interactions a stable pattern of relationship. This can be used for workflow analysis and strategic planning.

The components of the system: the business, the customer, and the vendor

This system map achieves its usefulness by collapsing all of your customers and vendors into the abstraction of the customer and the vendor. It can do that because the relationship between you and all of your customers is structurally the same no matter how different those interactions are at a content level. The same goes with your vendors.

The downstream flow: parts, fulfillment, and deliverables

The customer wants a deliverable, this can be a product or a service. This is something they desire enough to pay someone else to complete it for them. The business takes the parts from the vendor puts them together as a fulfillment the customer’s desire and hands them a deliverable.

The upstream flow: revenue, profit and expenses

Revenue is that money you get from your customers. Expenses is that money you pay to your vendors. Profit is where money leaves the system. Revenue minus Expenses equals profit. Once you have profit you can pay dividends or reinvest it in your business machine.

PS

I can apply this map to analyze almost any business. And will do so for money. Email me at coaching [at] edwardewilson [dot] com with any inquiries.

Posted by: Edward | November 8, 2009

Skill Upgrading

Every activity you participate in your day to day life is constructed of a series of skills that you have. If you want to improve that activity, you need to improve the specific skills that form it. This can be done with almost any activity. For example, I break running down into things like cruise speed, cruise time, recovery time, breath control, stride length. When I go for a run I concentrate on one aspect to improve it.

The first step is to go through your normal experience of it and figure out what the component skills are. Once you’ve analyzed the activity into its basic skills its simply a matter of skill drilling.

If the subskill can be practiced separately from the rest of the activity then you can practice that skill directly. If, on the otherhand, the skill can only be practiced as part of the whole activity then you simply concentrate on improving that aspect of the activity while you go through it. Don’t be worried if other aspects of the larger activity suffer while you are concentrating on a specific sub skill, that’s normal.

You should concentrate on each of the subskills in turn and then practice the activity as a whole to integrate the components into one larger skill. If you are serious about improving your performance at the activity you can make this skill upgrading a continual cycle, analyzing what components you need to work on, skill drilling and then integrating the activity again. You are only 10,000 hours away from mastery.

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Posted by: Edward | September 7, 2009

The Maxx and Trauma Therapy

“The Maxx is an American comic book and animation character created by Sam Kieth and published by Image Comics. The comic book spawned an animated series that aired on the MTV network” (Wikipedia, The Maxx).
This piece is based on the MTV animation.
The Maxx is a fascinating fictional exploration of deep trauma therapy, about facing ourselves and having the courage to grow.
The Maxx himself is a projection of Julie’s defense, the mask, over her trauma, the rabbit.
Other therapeutically useful elements that The Maxx presents is The Outback, which is a person’s unconscious territory or dreamscape; a power animal, which guides a person towards growth; a heroic or mythic self, in Julie Winters’s case it is The Leopard Queen and finally, an inner child fixed before/at the moment of trauma.
Julie starts to heal when she makes contact with child-Julie it her sacred space. This is a space where The Maxx, her trauma and defense, can’t exist.
The Maxx also shows that the trauma doesn’t have to be some kind of abuse but rather is a situation that the person just can’t cope with  at their present level of development. That experience is then encoded in their defense and on a certain line of development they remain fixed, continually acting out the trauma in its encoded form.
By putting the parts of the trauma/defense system in communication with each other that system begins to break down and from that comes breakthrough.

The Maxx is an American comic book and animation character created by Sam Kieth and published by Image Comics. The comic book spawned an animated series that aired on the MTV network” (Wikipedia, The Maxx).

This piece is based on the MTV animation.

The Maxx is a fascinating fictional exploration of deep trauma therapy, about facing ourselves and having the courage to grow.

The Maxx himself is a projection of Julie’s defense, the mask, over her trauma, the rabbit.

Other therapeutically useful elements that The Maxx presents is The Outback, which is a person’s unconscious territory or dreamscape; a power animal, which guides a person towards growth; a heroic or mythic self, in Julie Winters’s case it is The Leopard Queen and finally, an inner child fixed before/at the moment of trauma.

Julie starts to heal when she makes contact with child-Julie it her sacred space. This is a space where The Maxx, her trauma and defense, can’t exist.

The Maxx also shows that the trauma doesn’t have to be some kind of abuse but rather is a situation that the person just can’t cope with  at their present level of development. That experience is then encoded in their defense and on a certain line of development they remain fixed, continually acting out the trauma in its encoded form.

By putting the parts of the trauma/defense system in communication with each other that system begins to break down and from that comes breakthrough.

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Posted by: Edward | August 13, 2009

The Magic of Nonviolent Communication

The NonViolent communication process is deceptively simple but holds within it a key to aligning our actions with our feelings and desires.
The four components of the NVC process are observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Primary ideas of NVC are to separate observation from judgment, to own the emotions involved, to connect to the needs that drive them and to ground them in a specific request or action.
In it’s simplest form an NVC statement would be as follows: When (observation), I feel (feeling) because I need (need). Do you think you could (request)? When dealing with your own thoughts you could translate any thought into a similar structure. When (observation), I feel (feeling) because I want (desire). So I’m going to (action).
The four components are compatible with a four element model of magic. Observation is air, feeling is water, need is fire, and request is earth. The action of separating our experience and message this way is performing the actions of Solve et Coagula. The when the elements of the experience are mixed it is harder to be conscious of them. By consciously separating the experience into phased elements each one is experienced cleanly for itself and then reunited as an action or request.
Even if this process had no effect on other people I feel it would be worthwhile just for the way it creates alignment between our feelings, needs and actions. By actively attempting to frame our communications in this matter we authentically connect with our feelings and desires. This makes it easier to respond rather than react and will increase our power.
By parsing our own experiences this way we are more authentic, which does benefit us in communicating what we want and why. By organizing other people’s experience in this manner we gain a greater sense of empathy. It is easier to come to agreement with someone if we understand how they feel and what they actually need and desire from the interaction.

The nonviolent communication process is deceptively simple but holds within it a key to aligning our actions with our feelings and desires.

The four components of the NVC process are observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Primary ideas of NVC are to separate observation from judgment, to own the emotions involved, to connect to the needs that drive them and to ground them in a specific request or action.

In it’s simplest form an NVC statement would be as follows: When (observation), I feel (feeling) because I need (need). Do you think you could (request)?

When dealing with your own thoughts you could translate any thought into a similar structure. When (observation), I feel (feeling) because I want (desire). So I’m going to (action).

When the elements of the experience are mixed it is harder to be conscious of them. By consciously separating the experience into phased elements each one is experienced cleanly for itself and then reunited as an action or request.

Even if this process had no effect on other people I feel it would be worthwhile just for the way it creates alignment between our feelings, needs and actions. By actively attempting to frame our communications in this matter we authentically connect with our feelings and desires. This makes it easier to respond rather than react and will increase our power.

By parsing our own experiences this way we are more authentic, which does benefit us in communicating what we want and why. By organizing other people’s experience in this manner we gain a greater sense of empathy. It is easier to come to agreement with someone if we understand how they feel and what they actually need and desire from the interaction.

Rosenberg, Marshall B. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion. PuddleDancer Press: 2002.

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Posted by: Edward | July 8, 2009

How to Remember Names

Almost everyone seems to have a problem remembering names. This is something that I’ve become much better at over the last year. As I’ve said to people who have asked me why I’m so good at remembering names, I’m good at it because I used to be so bad at it. I made a decision that I would get much better at remembering people’s names. What follows are some of my tricks and tips to improving your name memory.
That’s the first step, making remembering of names very important for you. I was just coming out of a relationship and I was meeting a lot of new people in a context where I’d see a lot of them again. Remembering their names was a key part of integrating into that social context. I made sure to ask people’s names, to re-ask if I forgot and to use their names as much as possible. If I were to see them again I would attempt to use their name, even when I wasn’t sure.
You can always pre-frame an attempted remembering by making it a half question. For example, “I’m really bad with names, was your name Sandy?” If you are right they’ll be happy, if you are wrong they’re usually happy you tried and will correct you. Almost everyone has had the experience of having trouble with other people’s names so people tend to be very understanding and helpful when things are framed this way.
The next thing I do is visualize the person’s name just above their head. I see it a bit like an old computer game with the characters name in a box above their head. Other people visualize a hello-my-name-is name tag on their forehead. I’ll visualize their name above their head and take a mental snapshot of the now labeled face. We remember faces easier than names in part because most people have an easier time with visual recall than auditory.
To enrich this visual cue, you can also say their name again and this time, feel how your mouth moves when saying it. Try to connect the sight, the sound, and the feeling together. This might be weird the first few times you do it but it can become second nature after a while. By connecting all three senses together the neurological representation of the person and their name is very rich and you have much greater odds of recalling it.
Then I work on creating vivid associations with this person and their name. The more things you remember that the persona and name are associated with the more tied into your memory they become. I aim to connect their name to six things as a minimum. You could connect them to the context where you met them, mutual acquaintances, shared interests, what they do for a living, the meaning of their name, etc. The richer and more varied each of those associated bits are, the better. I like to visualize an image of each of those associations connected to their name a bit like a mind map.
After meeting someone a brief review of what you know about them, or what you associate with them, can vastly improve your later recall of their name. After I got to something where I meet a lot of new people I like to run through who I met and what was interesting about each of them just to solidify them in my head.
The last little trick I do is the circle of names. Basically when you are meeting with a group of people  I go through and say, out loud or in my head depending on appropriateness, the name of everyone in order of where they are positioned in space. I usually go around clockwise. This connects spatial organization and ordering to the memories. Everyone is linked to the people on either side of them and by their position in the whole group.
With those four tactics making names important to you, visualizing their name, building rich associations and the circle of names, I vastly improved my ability to remember people’s names. And so can you. Try them out and let me know how it works for you. Feel free, also, to share your best trick for remembering names in the comments.

Almost everyone seems to have a problem remembering names. This is something that I’ve become much better at over the last year. As I’ve said to people who have asked me why I’m so good at remembering names, I’m good at it because I used to be so bad at it. I made a decision that I would get much better at remembering people’s names. What follows are some of my tricks and tips to improving your name memory.

That’s the first step, making remembering of names very important for you. I was just coming out of a relationship and I was meeting a lot of new people in a context where I’d see a lot of them again. Remembering their names was a key part of integrating into that social context. I made sure to ask people’s names, to re-ask if I forgot and to use their names as much as possible. If I were to see them again I would attempt to use their name, even when I wasn’t sure.

You can always pre-frame an attempted remembering by making it a half question. For example, “I’m really bad with names, was your name Sandy?” If you are right they’ll be happy, if you are wrong they’re usually happy you tried and will correct you. Almost everyone has had the experience of having trouble with other people’s names so people tend to be very understanding and helpful when things are framed this way.

The next thing I do is visualize the person’s name just above their head. I see it a bit like an old computer game with the characters name in a box above their head. Other people visualize a hello-my-name-is name tag on their forehead. I’ll visualize their name above their head and take a mental snapshot of the now labeled face. We remember faces easier than names in part because most people have an easier time with visual recall than auditory.

To enrich this visual cue, you can also say their name again and this time, feel how your mouth moves when saying it. Try to connect the sight, the sound, and the feeling together. This might be weird the first few times you do it but it can become second nature after a while. By connecting all three senses together the neurological representation of the person and their name is very rich and you have much greater odds of recalling it.

Then I work on creating vivid associations with this person and their name. The more things you remember that the person and name are associated with, the more tied into your memory they become. I aim to connect their name to six things as a target. You could connect them to the context where you met them, mutual acquaintances, shared interests, what they do for a living, the meaning of their name, etc. The richer and more varied each of those associated bits are, the better. I like to visualize an image of each of those associations connected to their name a bit like a mind map.

After meeting someone a brief review of what you know about them, or what you associate with them, can vastly improve your later recall of their name. After I got back from something where I meet a lot of new people I like to run through who I met and what was interesting about each of them just to solidify them in my head. Reviewing twice, once after meeting and once after leaving helps.

The last little trick I do is the circle of names. Basically when you are meeting with a group of people  I go through and say, out loud or in my head depending on appropriateness, the name of everyone in order of where they are positioned in space. I usually go around clockwise. This connects spatial organization and ordering to the memories. Everyone is linked to the people on either side of them and by their position in the whole group.

With those four tactics, making names important to you, visualizing their name, building rich associations and the circle of names, I vastly improved my ability to remember people’s names. And you can too. Try them out and let me know how it works for you. Feel free, also, to share your best trick for remembering names in the comments.

If you like this article feel free to give it a thumbs up on stumbleupon.

Posted by: Edward | June 24, 2009

The Four NLP Meta Skills

Meta skills are skills about other skills. These are the skills that form a foundation that other NLP learning is based on. The meta skills are abstract and are like a particular way of organizing your more direct skills. If you have the meta skills, acquiring sub-skills will be easier and more focused. Mastering the meta skills is a major landmark on the path to NLP mastery.
Outcome Focus
Outcome focus is going into any situation or interaction knowing what you want out of it. It is having a clear and positive intention for the interaction.If you don’t know what you want how will you know if you get it? With out this the rest falls apart. The main thing in order to get it is to think before any given interaction, what do I want from this? The next thing is to apply the wellformedness conditions for desired states. They are in brief the goal must be stated in the postitives, initiated and maintained by the person who desires it, defined and evaluated according to sensory based evidence, made to perserve the positive by-products of the present condition, and appropriate to fit your existing relationships. I like to make a picture, or movie, in my head of the outcome I want along with the sounds I’ll hear and the feelings I’ll feel.
Strategic Thinking
Strategic thinking is the ability to compare where you are now with where you want to get and have an idea about what to do in order to move you in that direction. Strategic thinking also involves an understanding of the larger process leading from the starting condition to the desired outcome. Having strategic thinking makes the process of leading situations towards your desires more directed and effective. To get strategic thinking, first you want to have your various behaviour patterns trained into unconscious competence so you don’t have to think about them. Next, you want to unpack the larger structure of what is being presented to your sensory acuity. You are building a model of that larger structure in your head. Then you compare what you are being presented with your desired outcome. Finally, with your understanding of the larger structure try a technique that might move the situation in the direction you want.
Sensory Acuity
Sensory acuity is training your senses to pick out of whatever situation you are in that which is useful to you. Having sensory acuity allows you to get the information you need from people’s communications and allows you to experience things more fully. It is a vital component of knowning if you are getting the response you want. You get sensory acuity by learning what to pay attention to. For example, learning to sort for incongruities, eye accessing cues and tonality shifts.
Behavioral Flexibility
Behavioral flexibility is having a lot of options for the actions you can take and being able to switch tactics easily and smoothly. Having behavioural flexibility allows you to more easily get to the results you want. If something you try doesn’t work, you can simply try something else. You get behaviour flexibilty by learning many skills to the point of unconscious competance and bing willing to jump in and try things. The more patterns you are comfortable using with unconscious competance, the more flexible you can be.

Meta skills are skills about other skills. These are the skills that form a foundation that other NLP learning is based on. The meta skills are abstract and are like a particular way of organizing your more direct skills. If you have the meta skills, acquiring sub-skills will be easier and more focused. Mastering the meta skills is a major landmark on the path to NLP mastery.

Outcome Focus

Outcome focus is going into any situation or interaction knowing what you want out of it. It is having a clear and positive intention for the interaction.If you don’t know what you want how will you know if you get it? With out this the rest falls apart. The main thing in order to get it is to think before any given interaction, what do I want from this? The next thing is to apply the wellformedness conditions for desired states. They are in brief the goal must be stated in the postitives, initiated and maintained by the person who desires it, defined and evaluated according to sensory based evidence, made to perserve the positive by-products of the present condition, and appropriate to fit your existing relationships. I like to make a picture, or movie, in my head of the outcome I want along with the sounds I’ll hear and the feelings I’ll feel.

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking is the ability to compare where you are now with where you want to get and have an idea about what to do in order to move you in that direction. Strategic thinking also involves an understanding of the larger process leading from the starting condition to the desired outcome. Having strategic thinking makes the process of leading situations towards your desires more directed and effective. To get strategic thinking, first you want to have your various behaviour patterns trained into unconscious competence so you don’t have to think about them. Next, you want to unpack the larger structure of what is being presented to your sensory acuity. You are building a model of that larger structure in your head. Then you compare what you are being presented with your desired outcome. Finally, with your understanding of the larger structure try a technique that might move the situation in the direction you want.

Sensory Acuity

Sensory acuity is training your senses to pick out of whatever situation you are in that which is useful to you. Having sensory acuity allows you to get the information you need from people’s communications and allows you to experience things more fully. It is a vital component of knowning if you are getting the response you want. You get sensory acuity by learning what to pay attention to. For example, learning to sort for incongruities, eye accessing cues and tonality shifts.

Behavioral Flexibility

Behavioral flexibility is having a lot of options for the actions you can take and being able to switch tactics easily and smoothly. Having behavioural flexibility allows you to more easily get to the results you want. If something you try doesn’t work, you can simply try something else. You get behaviour flexibilty by learning many skills to the point of unconscious competance and bing willing to jump in and try things. The more patterns you are comfortable using with unconscious competance, the more flexible you can be.

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Posted by: Edward | May 7, 2009

Simple State Changing

Changing your state is a skill that you can learn. It is composed of three parts, noticing you are in an emotional state which you don’t want to be in, picking a different emotional state, and shifting your attention to the new state.

At first the hardest thing will be noticing that you are in a particular state. One way to work on this is to periodically ask yourself “how do I feel?” Or even “is this the best I could feel now?” If you make it habitual you will naturally find yourself asking these questions when you are in a state that isn’t serving you well.

When you are examining your present state pay attention to your breathing, posture, facial expression, muscular tension, tone of voice, any images in your head, or self talk. Just take a moment to breathe and watch yourself.

Now you can ask yourself “how would I enjoy feeling?” Feel free to give this desired feeling a name. Think about and visualize how you would breathe, hold your body, facial, tone of voice, etc.

Now you can step into the image of your prefered state and simply fake the state. Match the ways you are holding yourself with the ways you would in the state you’d like to be in. Notice how you feel as your feelings shift to fit this new state. Just breath and be in this state for a moment or two. Then go do what ever you need to do, in this state.

 

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Posted by: Edward | April 6, 2009

Four Phase Learning Process

My learning process is based on the assumption that the unconscious processes of the mind do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to learning. To take advantage of this I have crafted a four phase cycle of learning. Those phases are saturate, incubate, systemize and apply. Ideally what you are learning is a skill or topic that is going to come up in your day to day life. This will allow you many opportunities to practice or review your knowledge without a great deal of conscious attention.

Saturation

When you have decided on a skill or subject you dive into it, read as many books or articles on it as possible, spend every available moment practicing or thinking about it. Engage all your senses in it. When I’m saturation a topic I’ll even play related audio files while I sleep. The idea is to flood yourself with the topic from as many angles as possible.

It is a very good idea to take notes during this phase. Because this is an unconscious learning program it may be hard to tell where certain ideas came from down the road. Another reason to take notes is that you are increasing your saturation with the material if you are outputting it in addition to taking it in. The way I suggest you take notes is to cite the book, article or recording and to write down your own idea or comment about it. The literal content that you are referencing will be presupposed in your comment. You integrate material better that you use to form your own thoughts and you can always use the citation to look up the original material later. It is also goo dif you can relate the new material to the ideas of another author or a different subject. Associational richness will help you learn, remember and apply the material.

Incubation

When you just can’t keep up the intensity of saturation, you can stop flooding yourself with the information and trust your unconscious to continue working on it. It helps if you have continued exposure to related ideas or situations in you day to day life but you don’t need to go out of your way to get it. This phase can be very hard for some people because it seems to them that they are doing nothing or being lazy. Experience with this process will make it easier to trust that the unconscious is hard at work without you needing to look over its shoulder. You may notice bits of the material you were saturation slipping out at odd moments, this is a sign that your brain is integrating it for you.

Systemization

A good point to start this phase is if you start having startling new insights about the topic or skill. Alternately you can start when you feel like the matter has been left long enough. It may take some experience to learn the best times to switch phases. Systemizing is a review and polish activity. Write down what you understand about the topic and how its parts relate to each other and to other parts of your life. This is also a time to clean up and simplify your understanding. If you find you have gaps in your knowledge, you can directly study those missing pieces to fit them into the whole. Mind maps are very useful in this phase.

Application

Now that you have reviewed and systemized your knowledge of the topic or skill, you can stop putting direct effort into learning. Instead you should find opportunities to make use of your skill. Ideally you should stay in the application phase until it does not take special effort or attention to make use of your knowledge. Only then should you consider a new saturation phase. Remember that you always have your notes and mind maps to refer back to if you need to.

Bringing it all together

This cycle is a process for lifelong learning and can be repeated and reused with any number of skills. You can even use it to learn more than one skill at the same time if you stagger them and if they are sufficiently different that saturating one skill will not interfere with incubating another. As you gain experience with this cycle you will find that the incubation phase, and sometimes the application phase, will grow longer and longer while the saturation and systemization phases become short intense spikes. The more information you can cram into your brain in the shorter amount to time the less you are able to consciously filter it and the more your unconscious can work with it.

There can be interesting results to this style of learning such as knowing something but not knowing where you learned it. Also, you may find yourself using a knowledge set in an area it isn’t normally applied. Finally, you may become aware of implications that your sources were not aware of. Congratulations, these are new ideas that you can use.

Posted by: Edward | March 23, 2009

Operating Principles for Life

I try not to base my existence around beliefs, or content layer descriptions of reality, rather I find that having a very simple structure for action serves me best. Ultimately life comes down to what you do, not what you believe. So my operating principles are a simple structure to help me choose actions. They are as follows:

What does The Body want?
Can I live with the consequences?
Where do I start?
0-60.

What does The Body want?

Asks you to think about the outcome you want. You take action because you want to rather than because you should. If you should do something but you don’t truly want to, you will not give it your all. I use the wording, “The Body” both to remind myself to take into account bodily desires and as a holistic concept, the sum total of the situation – the body of reality. It might help to think of it this way, the sum total of the universe that you can perceive and conceive exists in your brain and the brain is in The Body. So, What does the body want?

Can I live with the consequences?

This is the most basic system of morality I can conceive. Every action, every choice has consequences. Whether you do what you want or not that choice leads to results. This question asks you to seriously consider possible results of your decisions. Think about the obvious outcomes and about the unknowns. If you can accept full responsibility for the consequences of your actions then you should do them. But if deep down your feelings tell you that you couldn’t live with the consequences of a course of action it isn’t a good action for you. It isn’t really what you want.

Where do I start?

When you know what you want, or why you are acting, and you’ve decided you can live with the consequences, it is time to decide on an action. This question asks you to think about how you will get to your goal and where you are now in relation to it. You don’t need to plan the entire path from where you are now to your goal, often that is impossible in the beginning. Better to pick an action pointing at your target and get going. As your understanding improves you can revisit this question. No matter how close or far from your goal, whenever you take action you are just starting.

0-60.

Now that you know what you want, that you can live with the consequences and where to start, START. This principle isn’t a question as you’ve already answered the necessary questions, this is a suggestion in how to proceed. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Once you know what action you are taking, focus on it and throw yourself into the activity. If you are taking action towards something that you truly want there is no point in doing it half-assed.

Putting it all together

These operating principles are nested, each one rests on the one above it. If you get stuck in the action phase of 0-60 or you complete the action, go back up and ask, “Where do I start?” If you find you have emotional resistance to what you are doing, check it against, “can I live with the consequences?” If you find yourself unmotivated or you’ve reached your goal, it is time to reconnect with, “What does The Body want?”

I hope these principles serve you as well as they serve me.

Posted by: Edward | February 12, 2009

Void the Warranty

You don’t truly own something until you’ve broken it a few times. Until you’ve voided the warranty by taking it apart to see how it works and putting it back together again and having a few extra parts left over that you keep in a jar by the microwave.

Do you own…
…What you own?
…Your relationships?
…Your Life?
…Your Self?

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