INSIDE-OUT PSYCHOLOGY – Meta Reflections 2015 #19

April 27, 2015

A central theme that you will find throughout Neuro-Semantics, a theme that is consistent with everything we do, is the idea that human experiences inevitably involve an inside-out psychology. This is most explicit in the modeling of wealth creation that I did in the early 1990s and the title of the book, Inside-Out Wealth. It actually took a good bit of time for me to truly understand that. That’s because it is so easy to assume that wealth is an outside-in experience. This is what most people are taught, what is predominant in most trainings on wealth creation, and what seems most natural. After all, money is an external thing, isn’t it?

Yet the answer is that it is not. What we call “money,” what we typically count as money is not actually an external thing. This is what Dee Hock, former CEO and founder of Visa discovered. And if money is not, wealth is even more so not an external thing. If this isn’t immediately obvious to you, you can read more about it in previous “Neuron” issues (see for the back issues and/or see the book, Inside-Out Wealth.

This principle actually holds true for every human experience. It holds true for Games Slim and Fit People Play (2001). Health is an inside-out thing. You can’t buy it, you can’t insure it, you can’t have it delivered to your home. If you want it, the experience comes from the inside-out. First, you set your own understandings, beliefs, values, intentions, decisions, etc. for it and then—over time— you actualize it in your lifestyle. So also loving relationships. To get love and to have lots of experiences of love, first become a loving person on the inside (Games Great Lovers Play, 2002).

Would the same thing be true of leadership? Is authentic leadership an inside-out phenomenon? Yes of course! That’s because real leadership is not a position, a title, or a status that someone gives you. Typically position, title, and status are signs that recognize that a person is a leader. Yet do you need these to be a leader? Of course, not. Many great leaders had none of these. Think Martin Luther King, Jr. And if effective leadership involves the skill of “bringing out the best in people” this speaks about a high level competency that is within a person (see Unleashing Leadership, 2007).

What about Coaching? Yes, the same thing. Great coaching is an inside-out process. That’s why the person of the coach plays as important a role as the coach’s skills. In fact the skills are really only truly effective when it comes from the being-ness of a caring person. That’s why being the person who has developed his or her own unique synergy of compassion and challenge then enables a person to compassionately challenge by one’s very presence. So no wonder there are times in a session when a coach doesn’t have to do anything—just hold the space. That’s because what happens in coaching is not that the coach adds “formula X” to the client. It is rather than the coach, like any leader who brings out the best in people, does so by enabling the person to unleash and unfold the gifts and resources that are clamoring inside to be released.

Inside-out psychology means that all of us create our own psychological experiences from the inside-out using the power of our internal resources. This goes to our four fundamental powers of thinking, feeling, speaking, and acting. Owning and developing these essential functions enables us to step up to taking control of our thoughts and states and to then use our powers of influence on the world and on others (speaking and acting) in ways that enhances the quality of life. This explains why we use the pattern called The Power Zone in Neuro-Semantics as the most essential pattern, a pattern which informs every other pattern. To do that we invite people to step up to owning their powers, to put them “at cause” for their own lives and responses, and to awaken them to all of the choice points of life where they can access being the navigator of their own life, rather than a victim.

This inside-out psychology explains why NLP and Neuro-Semantics focus on the inside world of meaning-making. As a cognitive psychology, these self-actualization models knows that the secret key to everything lies in a person’s meaning constructions. As you construct your inner world of understandings, believing, intending, deciding, identifying, permitting, etc.—so you experience your outer world of work, relationships, budgeting, money, career, hobby, fitness, etc. In this, the quality of your life is a function of the quality of your meanings.

It is only when a person understands this inside-out principle in life that ongoing learning, personal development and training, and accessing one’s highest and best states makes perfect sense. Until then, adult learning, reading, studying, and training seems like something to do in a remedial way, or something extra that you might want to add to your life. Understanding the inside-out principle brings the realize that these processes are the key to every important value in life. And when you realize this as an “Aha!” everything changes. Then being becomes your orientation, purpose, and direction. Then doing takes second place. After all, the best doing comes from the highest being. Then having comes third.

In modern life we have it all turned around. Most people put having first—having all of the things that our modern consumer society puts before us as what we need to have if we want to be happy and successful. Some people make this not only the first purpose of life, but the only. They only have “life” if they have the latest toys. They have to be “in” with the latest brands, and the more expensive the better. Others put doing first and as the purpose of life. So they are always on the run—doing, achieving, experiencing. And for most, being comes in at a far distant third, if at all.

Being is less empirical and less objective, and so most treat it as less important and some treat it as non-existent because it is so internal. Yet being living your highest meanings and expressing your best self is the greatest success and brings the greatest joy in life. And that’s why we focus on the Inside-Out in Neuro-Semantics. Are you ready for that inner game? That inner journey?

The Third International Conference of Neuro-Semantics

** Coming Soon! **

Hong Kong – June 26-27, 2015 Hong Kong — 18 International Speakers and 16 Workshops

Pre and Post Conference: Group & Team Coaching


L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.