Shadowing someone has always had the deepest respect in the Human Resources and Personnel communities. It is a natural way to learn the skills required for a role. It is natural because this is the way we learn from our earliest years. Mimicry is how we pick up language, gestures, and accents… it is the very “stuff” of Civilisation. It is also how we pick up the more intangible aspects of “Being Human” that will then dictate the results we achieve throughout the rest of our life. What are these intangibles? Well, they are our beliefs (which actually aren’t really ‘ours’ – we pinch them from people we admire or fear when we are tiny!) These beliefs and attitudes become just as much a part of our Neural Code as language, accents, and mannerisms. This has to happen for humans to work in social groups.
The Ghost in the Neural Code
Like any computer programme or application, our Neural Code has bugs in it. Some, if not most of our beliefs and attitudes need an adjustment – a tweak, a tune. We need to challenge the patterns of thought, and sometimes break the code. As a Code-Breaker, you can transform – even transfigure – your life and your look and even your outlook! Now, you can do this the easy and the hard way! The easy way is to learn from Shadowing. We learn very quickly and deeply through associating with others that we would like to be more like. The hard way is to do some deep trawling through your psyche and feng shui your beliefs and attitudes. Both are valuable.
But let’s take the easy path today – we’ll come back to the other at the bottom of this blog…
In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), we talk about “Mirroring” – as part of a more complete approach of “Pacing and Leading” in order to live in “Rapport” with others. [I’ve put these phrases in inverted commas because if you’re to dig deeper you’ll have to understand the commonly used short-cut phrases used in the NLP Community and Literature.] For some, mirroring has a bad reputation – they see it as manipulative. Shadowing doesn’t have this negative association so I wanted to point out that mirroring is a sub-set of shadowing. When you shadow someone, I guarantee you’ll end up mirroring them. Mirroring is actually a short-cut on the road to effective shadowing. So what can you do?
- Find someone you want to be more like
- Create a reason to spend more time around them
- When you’re with them, subtly shadow (ie mirror) their movements, gestures, and… breathing!
- Notice the magic that begins to manifest…
I am regularly delighted at noticing when my breathing patterns come into natural synchrony with those I love. It just happens just because we are in deep rapport. And this is the fast-track to rapport building with those you want to be closer too – like a shadow moves in harmony with the source, so two friends can breath as one. It’s no surprise that many of the World’s languages (and religions…yuk!) use ‘breath,’ ‘spirit,’ and ‘wind’ synonymously. Want to be more spiritual? Get your breathing under control!
Hint: this is just a quick blog, and a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Think before you experiment with these techniques. What is your purpose and intention? If these are good, you’ll be OK. Mirroring everything other than breathing works best when there is a delayed response. For example, if someone moves their hands about while expressing their thoughts verbally, you will look like a windmill if you move your hands about while listening to them! Instead, nod and grunt your affirmations at the same pace. Then, and only when it’s your turn to talk, use similar gestures at an identical pace. Match their volume and tone – and, if appropriate, their deliberate choice of phrases. Breathing, on the other hand, needs to be in absolute synchrony.
If you want to go deeper in re-writing your own Neural Code, here’s a suggestion…
H.A.R.P.™ – The New NLP for Today and Tomorrow
H.A.R.P.™ means “Human Associative Re-Patterning” – a methodology that enables you to re-write your neural code. So what? Well, when you re-write the code, you get more control over the results you generate in life. Which means that if you want more options, more choice, more empowerment, more influence, and more of a life to the full, H.A.R.P.™ is the fastest way to get you there. H.A.R.P.™ works through live training workshops and a mentoring scheme called, “Mentor the Dragon” – designed to ignite the fire of your “Inner Dragon” and release your Neural-Chi.
H.A.R.P.™ has a rich heritage. It is a fusion of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), + the applications of Association championed by Vanda North and Tony Buzan, + the re-patterning techniques of Edward de Bono and his family, + the understanding of attention and Scripts that comes from Transactional Analysis, + a deep love of the insights of Carl Jung, + a healthy, bang-up-to-date dose of Neuroscience and its relevance for psychology.
Dear Zebradee and Ron usually respond to these blogs, and I’m sure they, like me, would like some company in opening a dialogue. If you respond, I’d like to send you a slightly tongue-in-cheek promo I’ve mocked-up for my “Mentor the Dragon” service. God Bless Us All!