Induce change with this flexible and important pattern. It prevents self-sabotage by making sure a change will be acceptable to all parts. You can even apply this ecological approach to multiple systems, such those in politics.

When you think “ecologically,” you are taking every aspect of your outcome into account. You check to make sure that you are not going to achieve X at the expense of Y, if both are important to you. For example, an Ecology Check needs to be in place when you help a client to stop smoking, because fear of weight gain may sabotage your work. You want to make sure that your client is completely congruent (has no unconscious resistance) about the upcoming change.

In order to ensure congruence, parts work may be necessary to make sure that all aspects of your client are ready for the change. The client’s fear of weight gain may be mitigated by a commitment to healthy strategies for reducing weight gain, along with having more self-acceptance.

Step #1. Get into an objective state.

This pattern assumes you already have a personal problem pattern that you are working to change. To begin the ecology check, use any method that helps you gain objectivity, such as thinking like a journalist who must adhere to the facts of the situation. You may need to dissociate into the third perceptual position. From this objective frame of mind, think about your life as a whole, perhaps as if you could look down at your timeline.

Step #2. Ask good questions to do an ecology check.

A key to balance in your life is asking good questions. As a part of the ecology check ask:

  • “What areas in my life are benefiting from having this belief/behavior?” “What areas in my life may get hurt because of it?”
  • “Am I feeling  completely assured that this is something  I want to generate in my life?”
  • “What are the specific  immediate results of  it?”
  • “What are the specific long term results?”
  • “Who else is being affected by these outcomes?”

Step #3. Give this pattern  “mind share;” by making it an ongoing, recurring pattern  in your  mind.

This pattern can be even more powerful by maintaining it over a good period of time, even making it a recurring theme in your life. Keep these questions alive, entraining your creative energies through means such as writing them in  your journal. (You do have a journal, don’t you?)

Read the questions before you go to sleep so that they will be on your mind. Once you have recruited enough creative resources, you’ll get dreams, songs, words, flashes, memories, and voices …

Don’t ignore them. It’s important to notice, and acknowledge them. Your brain is highly motivated to solve riddles.

Asking good questions and giving your mind time to find the answers with no pressure, is one the greatest talents you can develop. As answers emerge, note them down.

Have a note pad or device ready so you can collect them in one place.

Step #4. Evaluate

Once you have accumulated answers, evaluate them. Realize that, right now, you have many valuable clues to success.

What do they mean about the outcomes you  appear to be headed for? Do you need to change course?

As you can see, new questions can emerge from these answers. These new questions are even more directly valuable, because they are like tools that are more refined and designed for experts to use.

Additional Advice

You can apply Cartesian coordinates to decisions in order to check your ecology and refine your outcomes. You can try this on a decision you’re considering. Here they are:

  • If  I  do X, what will happen?
  • f I do X, what won’t happen?
  • f I don’t do X, what will happen?
  • If I don’t do X, what won’t happen?


Note anything that you hadn’t thought of, or any way that these questions help you put things into perspective.

Credits for the creation of this NLP pattern belong to John Grinder and Richard Bandier.