Being a competent and effective NLP Practitioner requires dedication beyond simply learning the tools and techniques, it often requires a complete change in the way you think, feel and behave. Perhaps one of the most complex and hardest changes to undertake is the change in perception caused by being ultra aware of what is going on around you. This is often referred to as Uptime.
Being on Autopilot
The majority of people spend their day just doing what they need to do to get by. They meet people but never observe them, they hold conversations but don’t really listen, they spend their day going about their business without paying close attention to the world around them.
This is the natural state to be in and is relatively neutral, neither taxing nor relaxing where most people spend their time. When we watch television, listen to music or even drive the car our natural inclination is to let the automatic systems take over, we know that our mind can go into action at a moments notice should the need arise, but until that happens there is no point in staying on High Alert and the mind can wander from task to task.
Moving to Uptime
If you’ve ever been in an emergency situation then you have a very clear understanding of what Uptime is. It is your body on High Alert with every sense gathering information and your brain on overdrive. You are looking at every object, person and event, constantly analysing and processing as you go, looking for any changes in the environment that could signal a change, a threat, a danger or an escape.
When using NLP the Practitioner needs to be in Uptime; looking intently at the client, observing any change no matter how subtle, looking for clues, feedback and responses to what is going on. Being in Uptime requires intense levels of concentration to sustain and take a great deal of energy to maintain. To be effective with NLP requires an awareness of what Uptime is and how to access it on demand, the more into Uptime you can get the better you will be at using NLP.
People will often go on an NLP Practitioner program and never understand the importance of the concept and application of Uptime. Effective use of this concept can make the difference between being effective with NLP and being outstanding.
Being in Uptime takes its toll and anyone who has spent time in high stress situations for any length of time will tell you it can be difficult to switch off and can have a catastrophic effect on the body if not managed effectively. This is where Downtime comes in.
Slowing to Downtime
Where Uptime is forced hyper vigilance and Neutral Time is the general background behaviour Downtime is an enforced relaxation of the mind, senses and body. Using meditation, relaxation techniques or self-hypnosis to put the body into a relaxed state are all acceptable ways of reaching Downtime and it is important that the NLP Practitioner cultivates a way for them to move into this state so that they can recover from their periods on Uptime. It is vital to strike this balance to ensure that the practitioner avoids any form of mental burnout which can take place from spending long periods in the hyper-vigilant state of Uptime.
Each practitioner will need to find the right balance for them between Uptime and Downtime and should you find yourself feeling over stressed or brittle through your application of NLP then it is likely that you are occupying Uptime too much and need to find an appropriate release in some Downtime activity.