Transform self sabotage into success. By discovering the positive intent behind a negative behavior or attitude, you can release tremendous energy and positive commitment. Other NLP patterns, such as The Parts Negotiation pattern as well as The Behavior Appreciation pattern, depend on this insight

In his outstanding book Sleight Of Mouth: The Magic Of Conversational Belief Change, master trainer and famous NLP developer Robert Dilts says:

“At some level all behavior is (or at one time was)  “positively intended.” It is or was perceived  as appropriate given the context in which it was established, from  the point of view of the person whose behavior it is. It is easier and more productive  to respond to the intention rather than the expression of a problematic behavior.”

Step #1. Define the problem.

Briefly state the problem with enough detail so that it is clear in your mind. It may primarily be a situation, personal problem, or a challenge. Focus on defining the unproductive behavior. Get clear on why the behavior is not useful.

Step #2. Reveal the Underlying Motives

Take a few moments to relax, breathe deeply and lay back. Now, go inside, imagine your mind has special internal messengers. In NLP, we call them “parts.” These are parts of your personality, which have characteristic tendencies or habitual behaviors. Find the part that is responsible for generating the unproductive behavior. Bring this part into awareness as though it were a complete personality.

Remember that a part is an aspect of you. It is a collection of aligned motivations. A part is like a little personality inside of you. In order to be aligned and successful, you must not work at cross purposes with yourself. This requires negotiating or working with your parts. Now imagine that you can do a role playing game with this part. Ask the part what it wanted to have, do or become, through the negative behavior or attitude. What value or benefit was to come from this.

Ask directly, “What did you wish for me to accomplish by doing this?”

Take as much time as you need to imagine and listen to the part’s responses.

Step #3. Get to the core motives.

Keep asking “why” and “what” questions to clarify the motives. Recycle each answer into a new question. Continue this until you feel that you have gotten to the core motives. You should identify a core belief along with the core value and core reasons for the behaviors or attitudes that, at first glance, seem to be unsupportive of you.