Canary Coaching are spending the day tomorrow working with a fashion label in a large corporation doing mini coaching and styling sessions. I thought this article I wrote a while ago on NLP modelling and clothes shopping was particularly relevant!
Why is it that while some of us love shopping, are excited at the prospect of an excuse to buy something new and simply delight in ‘getting ready’ for a ‘do’ with friends, others hate it. Until quite recently, I was amongst those ‘others’. I hated shopping, dreaded getting invites which required shopping and getting ready left me in a heap in the corner, swigging gin with feelings of immense dread and ominous foreboding. Times of year when parties abound or weddings are in vogue, caused me to slump into a seasonal , shopping related depression!
No more. I decided to utilise my NLP modelling skills and carry out some private, informal research on how other people manage so much better than me. I decided to model the decision making process of choosing an item of clothing having tried it on. The results were enlightening. I interviewed a number of experts and non-experts to elicit their strategies, and what I found was, I think, a vital key to having good (or bad) self esteem – certainly in relation to clothes buying.
Numerous useful points came out of this model, some of which I will mention later, but most importantly, when trying on an item of clothing, each expert would not only visualise the items in their wardrobe that they would wear the item with, but they would visualise themselves wearing those clothes, in a particular situation, and being successful. An interview for example, they would try on their suit, and imagine themselves in the suit, in the interview, being fantastic. This is an excellent technique. Not only are they rehearsing a situation going well for themselves, boosting their confidence and eliminating insecurity, they are attaching or ‘anchoring’ this success to the clothes they are trying on. Later, they would try the item on at home and repeat the process, thereby cementing this future rehearsal and anchoring.
No wonder they were excited to get ready – the experts had attached all kinds of good feelings and expectations to the clothes, and knew they were going to work, because they had seen it already. Non-experts, me included, did the opposite. They blindly bought clothes, uncertain, left the clothes in a bag at home until the dreaded day, uncertain, and then put them on again, further cementing the uncertainty, nervousness and fear. A perfect recipe for low self-esteem.
I talked to my experts about where they got this strategy. A lot of them remembered with some annoyance their mothers saying to them ‘and what else will you wear it with?’ and ‘where will you wear it?’ and ‘could you wear it to granny’s anniversary as well?’. My mother grew up on a farm in Kenya, so there was no reason for her mother to give her this strategy – all that she required were some run down jeans and a t-shirt! Therefore, coming to England as an adult, she wasn’t aware of it, and has had the same difficulty as a result. The strategy therefore didn’t make it to me either!
So what now – I’m giving this model a go, and it’s working. I also gave it to one of my clients the other day who was a severe non-expert like me – in her initial interview she said ‘I would rather everyone had to look the same...I hate shopping, panic escalates, eventually just I grab and go. I don’t get excitement or happiness from shopping – on the way home I already know I’ve made a terrible decision.’ I received a text recently, following our session which read ‘This has been an excellent weekend for me and clothes shopping. Bought my wedding cardi from Gap, a shirt and two dresses!!’.
It led me to thinking, what other strategies are we receiving/not receiving from our parents which are contributing to or adversely affecting our success in life? It is amazing that
something I have struggled with for years, could be boiled down to a simple difference in strategy, which I can learn.
For those of you wanting to implement this model yourselves, this is what the experts all had in common to make the decision making process work for them.
State of mind before going shopping
Trying on the clothes
What were they aiming for?
Whatever your particular hang-ups or difficulties – the chances are that NLP modelling could make your as successful as the best!