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NLP Technique to Navigate Change & Life Twists


Life is a continuous journey of transitions, yet there is no NLP technique to navigate the emotions of change that come in a particular order each time. It is mind-boggling to me that neither in school nor even in NLP training, we need to be better informed about how we navigate the ever-changing landscapes of our personal and professional lives.

Few people realize that transitions come in particular phases, each with its own emotions. Our coaches and teachers should know what they are, and so should we!

Owning a seminar company has come with many twists and turns since I started Global NLP Training in 2006 and have trained more than 2.5K people worldwide. The pandemic was a continuous pivot for me. Think about it – I typically train groups on four continents yearly. Then we launch in a recession. Over and over again, the emotions of change are relevant. Now, even more so than the pandemic, the world of NLP training isn’t the same. You can not just have a website anymore and have former students refer new clients.

What Are the Emotions of Change & in What Order Do They Happen?

In the summer of 2020, I created an NLP technique to navigate the emotions of change. I focused on my knowledge about the emotions of change and in what order.

The person who describes transition the best when it comes to emotions is William Bridges,
Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes. This is an affiliate link, we make a small commission at no extra charge to you.

There are 3 phases involved with transition:

Phase 1: Letting Go of the Old – Endings

We must let go of old comforts, whether the transition happens voluntarily or involuntarily. This means we aren’t experiencing the same things in our environment anymore. This comes with grief, loss, anger, discomfort, uncertainty, etc.

Phase 2: Now What? – Neutral Zone

We enter the second phase when we travel out of the first phase. The old is gone, but the new has yet quite to materialize. This phase comes with worry, confusion, anxiety, and disorientation. We may be prone to thinking negative thoughts: “What if…..”

Phase 3: New Beginnings

This is where we start implanting the new, and this is the first time we jump into a more positive outlook and begin to look ahead. From an NLP perspective, we have an easier time associating, meaning we can see, hear and feel the end of the transition. We can settle into the new version of ourselves. It brings hope, excitement, and motivation.

NLP Presupposition: “The Person With The Most Flexibility Will End Up Ruling the System”

The problem is we resist change, so we let our first or second-phase emotions get the better of us. We feel negative emotions more clearly inside the body than positive ones. And in a constant place of discomfort and danger, we are prone to settle into non-change if we have the option.

What would happen if….

1. If you moved out of the first phase quicker.
2. Then moved out of the second phase quicker.
3. To quickly arrive into phase 3.

An excellent place to start is to know the transition phases and assume that the emotions are there and need to be processed. Yet, not to be ruminated on, stuck in, or resisted.

NLP Technique to Navigate the Emotions of Change

I line up three chairs in a row, one in front of the other. What also works is imagining three circles in front of you on the floor.

Using NLP to Navigate Phase 1 – Letting Go of the Old

Sit down on the first chair, or step into the first circle.

1. Give yourself a few minutes….
2. When the emotion releases a little, Imagine you see a movie screen of yourself starting the transition; you are an observer. In NLP, we call this dissociation.
3. Keep playing the movie as far into phase 3 as possible, even if you are still determining exactly where you will end up.

Using NLP to Navigate Phase 2 – In Between

Step into the circle or seat number 2.

1. Give yourself a few minutes to be your best worrier.
2. Then, spend a few more minutes to make your worry seem ludicrous – enough to make you laugh.
3. Float your awareness out of your body. And see yourself being worried; in your mind, give yourself compassion and love in any way you deem appropriate.

Using NLP to Navigate Phase 3

Step into the circle or seat number 3.

1. What specifically can you do to step into movement?
2. What specifically would you do if you weren’t afraid?
3. If you don’t know what you want to do, get creative and think of 3 different options. Don’t attach to the outcome.
4. Float yourself into the you that has achieved the outcome. Imagine what you would see, hear and feel.

Creating New Futures

At this point, you will have stepped into a place of positive emotions and flexibility. It opens your field.

Then I immediately step into an appropriate action:

– Ask someone to brainstorm ideas with me.
– Whiteboard new ideas.
– Decide on some action or movement if I don’t know what I want, and allow myself to change my mind later.
– Set a goal.
– Research or gather information about any ideas I had.

Application of the NLP Technique to Navigate the Emotions of Change

I repeat these steps daily through Phase 1, Phase 2 until I am in Phase 3. This allows me to prime my brain and not get stuck anywhere. I remind myself that it is OK to experience negative emotions, as they come with transition.



Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes – William Bridges

(This is an affiliate link, we make a small commission at no extra charge to you.)


NLP Coaching: Phases & Emotions of Change and Transition

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