Changing visual submodalities to empower yourself

NLP provides powerful tools that can create real change in very short periods of time. Here’s an example of how to change a negative feeling into an empowering one.

For those who may not be familiar with NLP, or neuro-linguistic programming, it is not something I’ve come up with! Richard Bandler is the godfather of NLP and I’m just starting to get to grips with some of the basics. Most of what I’ve learnt, and continue to learn, comes from watching Bandler in action. You can find loads of Bandler’s vids on

Let’s take an example: turning feelings of anxiety into feelings of confidence. Perhaps you’re not so great at social events, or you want to regain an edge you feel you’ve lost in business. For the purpose of illustration, let’s take the latter.

Close your eyes.
Remember a time when you performed really well in business. Perhaps you nailed a presentation, or successfully closed a big new client. Whatever it is, take your time to recall that memory. You’ll know when you’ve got it clearly in your head because you’ll feel yourself illuminate with energy.

Look at the picture. What’s going on? Where are you? What are the sights, sounds and feelings that make up the memory?

Now look at the submodalities of that image. Where is it in your visual space? In front of you? To one side? How big is the picture? How far away? What about the colour, how vivid is it? The brightness? The size?

Now play with all of these submodalities and see how it makes you feel. How do you feel if you make the image bigger and closer? What if you make it brighter or darker?

Changing all of these things will most likely vary the intensity of the feelings you experience.

Now for the second scenario. Imagine yourself in the negative situation. The scenario where you’re not performing well. The results are not coming in and you’re not closing the deal. But alter this slightly and make it before you actually engage in the activity. So rather than seeing yourself fail, you are in anticipation of it. This is the fear or anxiety you may experience before undertaking the activity. And this is what we will change to make you feel empowered.

Look at the picture. Where is it? This is really important – the location of the picture in your visual space. Is it in the same place as the first?

Now look at all the other submodalities of this picture. What happens if you play with the submodalities, can you change the feelings associated with this picture?

You will likely notice that by making the picture larger, closer, more vivid and brighter you turn the feelings into more positive ones.

Let’s get more specfic. If the first picture represented you at peak peformance, then to transform the feelings associated with the second image into those you experience in the first, we just have to match the two.

Adjust all the submodalities of the second image to match the first. Now move the second image in your visual space- move it to the same position in which you see the first. How does it feel now?

Hold it there and remember this new image. Every time you think of the business activity, you’ll start to see it in the same place and evoke all the positive emotions associated with it. If it slips back to the old, just move it back and readjust. Pretty quickly it will stay in the new place and your feeling will be totally different and empowering.

You’re done. You’ve adjusted the visual submodalities of a negative image to transform it into an empowering one.

Now we should anchor this state of mind, but we’ll save that for another time.

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