048: The power of NLP with Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage. He is also co-founder of the iNLP Center. With students in 63 countries, iNLP Center offers online certification in neuro-linguistic programming, life coaching and hypnotherapy. 


Welcome to The Art of Living big. My name is Betsy Pake entrepreneur, author and personal success coach. This is the show that brings you stories and small ideas to help you live a big life. I hope this once a week podcast will inspire you, motivate you and encourage you to think differently about what could be possible for your life. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now let’s go live big. Hey, welcome to another show of the art of living big. I am here today with my friend Mike bun grant. Hey, Mike.

Hey, Betsy. How you doing? Hey,

I’m good. Thanks for coming on the show today. I’m really excited to get to talk and pick your brain and share a little bit today.

Yeah, me too. And thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

Yeah, tell everybody a little bit about yourself and what you do, and then we’ll get into it.

Okay, my name is Mike, Don drent. And my wife hope and I run the eye NLP Center, which is an online certification center, we teach neuro linguistic programming. And we have a life coach certification or about to come out with a hypnosis practitioner certification. So it’s essentially an online school that offers online programs blended with live online training. For people who want to learn these skills. We have students in 63 countries. That’s crazy. It is I know, we started in 2011. And I remember when the month we got our first student after putting together just our practitioner training, it took a year to put that just that program together. Yeah. And it was just a thrill to get, you know, our first student to now. Yeah, six years later, we are just rockin. We have students from all over the world, we have a lot going on a very engaging community and a lot of fun.

Yes, it’s an awesome community. And I took your training, which is how you and I connected, which was awesome. So let’s talk about what NLP really is. And I will tell you, like how I found it, and I think I had heard about it like in college. Right? You know, so, I mean, I graduated from college. I don’t know 25 years ago or something. But yeah, yeah. But I remember like learning a little bit about that. And, and then last summer, I read a book, I’ve heard about it again, and I thought I want to look into that I read a book and then found you guys and took your training and it was amazing. And the community’s amazing and the online training that continues is amazing. But tell everybody what NLP really is.


It stands for neuro linguistic programming and I know that doesn’t necessarily help with it because it’s not the best name in the world. But NLP there is a group of students and professors at the University of Santa Cruz in the early 1970s, who were into psychology Gestalt therapy they were they sort of formed this I don’t know I guess encounter group or what have you, and decided to figure out how the most gifted therapists work. And there were three in particular Milton Erickson, the famous hypnotherapist was a psychiatrist with hypnosis training. And then Virginia City or the family therapist, family systems. And Fritz perls, Gestalt therapy fame. So they did they engage in what they called modeling. Their theory was if somebody is really gifted at something, then there’s a way you can break that down into a process that you can teach to other people. And they spent time with some of them like Milton Erickson, they actually spent time with Milton. And watch Tim observed him broke down what he did, and with a lot of really gifted people, you say, hey, how did you do that? And they go, I don’t know. It’s just what I do, right? They can’t necessarily teach what they do. So with these observers, john grenda, Richard bandler, and several other people that sort of in their community, Frank Pugh selected Robert dilts, and Leslie Cameron bandler and Judas delozier. They started to break down these processes and teach them and so it’s NLP kind of came became about Who does something extraordinary? How do we break that down into processes that we can teach other people? So it’s kind of a transfer of skills. And from there, it turned into Well, when we think of problem solving and help helping people get past obstacles in their life. Why don’t we go find people who have gotten past those obstacles and figure out what they did. So for example, let’s say that you have someone who has a phobia, you know, I see the snake I, I panic when I see the snake. Well, the traditional viewpoint would be, let’s study the phobia. Let’s study the history of the phobia. And let’s study the the problem, which is a very valuable thing to do. There’s nothing wrong with that. This group of people who originated and LP decided to take the different approach of let’s not just study the phobia, let’s find someone who used to have a phobia, and now is no longer afraid. Let’s find out what they did the mental process that they went through, because if you think about a snake, one person sees a snake and panics, the other person sees a snake and either gets curious or becomes alert or remains neutral, or what have you. Right? They’re doing something different in they’re perceiving the snake differently. Because the snake is just the snake. So what’s the difference? And they figured that out, and they figured out a process the process that a that turned a phobic person into a non phobic person, and so that we can now utilize that process, which in NLP is called the fast phobia cure.

They’re not great at naming things. But so now we have that process. And lo and behold it, it works like a charm. So yeah, the webinar that I just gave this morning is, was on what we call the naturally slender eating strategy. People who make really good decisions about food, moment by moment, make a decision, they see things hear things feel things in their mind as they’re making decisions about food. And they do it very differently from people who over eat or eat impulsively. What’s the difference? And can we teach? How people who are successful in one area? Can we teach that mental process they go through to people who need to learn it. And so that’s the philosophy behind NLP. And so many different techniques and methods and models have kind of flowed from that process over 40 years or so.

So it’s really like a way of seeing and feeling and hearing life, you know, differently so that it helps support your goals?

Yes, absolutely. I would say that would be a great way to characterize it. Yeah, I was

really interested in this. And I’ve actually used and I’ve talked about some NLP strategies on the podcast before you know about making and breaking habits, and you know, some of those little fun things that you can really have a huge impact on your life if you put into into into place. But also, and I was curious, I’m going to jump on that webinar later. But I’ve been curious, because I’ve been using some NLP stuff with my clients that are looking to lose weight, too. And so you know, some of the, you know, just some of the different NLP strategies really to help support whatever it is that their goal is. And so I find this super fascinating, because really, it’s stuff that anybody can learn. It’s really just about shifting the way you see the world and then doing things in a way that we already know, gives you the outcome that you want.

Right, exactly. Exactly. That is and in, in very specific ways. In other words, in NLP, we, it’s not just about Okay, so go and, you know, do this or do that because this is what successful people do. It actually breaks down the mental strategies that put you in the frame of mind, so that you’re more likely to do it. So literally, when you’re thinking about something in the case of the naturally slender eating strategy when you’re thinking about food, and picturing food in your mind. And then the next thing that you do in your mind, imagine tasting the food and then the next thing you do in your mind, imagine the feeling of the The food in your stomach after you taste it, and lo and behold people who are who are naturally slender, tend to do that, see the food tastes, the food, feel the food, imagine how the food is going to feel in their stomach after they eat it. And then they decide whether or not to eat it based on how it’s going to make them feel. Whereas people who eat impulsively see the food, imagine tasting the food. And if it tastes good, they eat it. And they deal with the consequences of how it makes them feel in real time later. So just adding that one little step very specific step makes a big difference in the decisions that you make about food. And most people are not thinking that structurally at that with that level of detail about the decisions that we make, but it really breaks down pretty simply.

Yeah, I love that. Because really, it’s about really following through with the entire thing in your mind before you do it. And that helps you make a better decision.

Right? Exactly. Exactly. And as we naturally make decisions we are do we are engaging in these mental processes of how we see hear feel things and so on and so forth. Our decisions are made up of are these mental processes, whether or not we’re aware of them for the most part they remain unconscious and we become consciously aware of what we want to do after we’ve already been through that mental process. So in NLP brings up the makes that mental process conscious so that we can now have some influence now we have to have some choice about how we make the decision.

Yeah, you know, I love that I, I have been a weightlifter for many years and a competitive weightlifter, I used to own a CrossFit gym and competed competed in the Pan Am’s and all of this, well over the last year, my strategies have really changed in terms of my working out. And so I’ve been using the NLP to bring it back. So to think to myself, like when I used to work out before, like, I really loved it, it was like a spiritual time for me when I would have that time out in my garage gym, to to do that workout. So what was I thinking? Right before? You know, like had if you back it up? Isn’t that right with with NLP if you kind of back up and go, Okay, what was happening right before that triggered me to want to work out. And I realized I had sort of bypassed some of that, you know, I had pushed it aside because I got busy with other things. And then soon I got out of the habit of that being a trigger or even something that I thought about. And when I started adding it back in lo and behold, I have that same feeling again, like oh, I want to go back out to the garage. And then and then I immediately acted on it right? So that I reinforcing that. That’s what happens.

Right? Yeah, that’s it exactly. It’s you’ve described the process really, really well, which is, we we, we need to slow down and often back up and become aware of the process that we go through including the triggers, as opposed to just letting them happen unconsciously on autopilot, and living with the results, right. So every decision we make, every action we take, however it is that we motivate ourselves and so forth, there is a very specific, structured process that our mind goes through to, to get to that end result, whether that end result is a feeling of motivation, I want to go do this, or a feeling of that ends in procrastination. You got there through a series of mental steps. And again, most of the time, it’s unconscious, we just sort of go with it. But in NLP, we learn to slow down back up, take control of that process. It’s just a great way to live consciously, right and deliberately.

Do you think that you can achieve anything if you use these processes?

No, I don’t think I don’t, I don’t believe that.

Like, what’s the limit? Like, what if somebody wants to really make changes in their life? Like, what’s kind of the limit? I mean, I realized I couldn’t become an Olympic athlete, but like, yeah, that’s what’s the limit? Would you say? Is that an easy question to answer? Is that am I confusing?

It’s a clear question. It’s, it’s an it has an interesting answer. And I’ll just sort of think out loud about it because there’s going to be a limit. I like to play tennis. And I’m very comfortable with the idea that I could never beat Roger Federer in A tennis, I’m comfortable with that I do not have the same capabilities, nor experience time on the court, what have you genetics? Whatever factors go into making Roger Federer, perhaps the greatest tennis player ever to walk the earth? I am not going to beat him. All else being equal and a tennis match. I don’t even know if I could get a point. Maybe a point, right? I’m comfortable with that that represents a limitation that I have. And so right there, we kind of established that, you know, we have limitations. So no, and there’s even a presupposition in NLP that says anyone can do anything, you just learn the strategy that you know, you need, and you can do it that I don’t believe that’s true globally. Yeah. In fact, I think accepting our limitations is really healthy, Mm hmm. In that if I go, Hey, I, I need to get X, Y or Z done. And it needs to be done a certain way, I do not have the skills to really do a good job. But if I don’t accept that limitations, that limitation, I’m likely to try and not do a good job and fail, and so on and so forth, as opposed to saying I don’t have limitations, I’m going to bring someone on my team that can do that well. And now I’m more likely to succeed. So the big question is, how do you know what your limitations are? And that one is, is always open for debate, because we don’t want to impose unnecessary limitations on someone. Mm hmm. And we also don’t want to delude someone into thinking they can do something that they can’t do. So yes, we do have limitations, there’s kind of a principle in there that, you know, when things are really outside your limitations, outside of what you can do, then you either need to gain more capabilities, which would be really smart, or accept that you have these limitations and engage in workarounds and so forth. And at the same time, you don’t want to limit yourself unnecessarily. So where you draw that line, is always an open question that we really need to be mindful of. And I don’t know where I shouldn’t be the one to tell you, Betsy, where to draw the line for you.

Right? Yeah, yeah. Right.

But it’s an open question. And we shouldn’t just think I can do anything, anything the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve. No, I can conceive a flying to the moon. But I won’t achieve that. I’m never just going to start flapping my arms and fly to the moon. So we can conceive and imagine lots of things that we can’t achieve. However, where do you draw that line? It’s a question to explore. And often we have to learn through experience, and so on and so forth. So it’s simple, but it’s complicated. At the same time, we just need to be very mindful of it.

Yeah. I mean, I think that makes a lot of sense. So you take what, what, what limitations you have, and you work within the rest, and then you try to make that as efficient as you can. And that’s what NLP is really great with?

Oh, absolutely. I, I firmly believe that if you are in a position where you want to expand your skills and become better at something, a better communicator, better at it really, any kind of skill, then, wherever you are right now, I’m sure you can expand and I’m not going to tell you what your limitations are, I believe you’ll bump into them. But you definitely can improve from where you are right now. I think that’s a very safe assumption.

One thing that I found when I was going through the training, which was so awesome, I learned so much. I almost feel like I learned more about myself in that process. There was

Yeah, there

was a lot of lessons and things that you had to try and I try I mean, my poor kid was like subjected to all kinds of testing by me of me asking, you know, and yeah,

oh, ping me, right. Yeah,

what it was so fun. But one of the things I found before I had a career for over 20 years in sales, and I was always really great at it, it came really easy to me and that like I really enjoyed it. And I found that so many of the communication aspects of NLP were things that I just knew how to do, like, naturally. Mm hmm. Um, what? What do you think about? Because then I would when I started to discover that I was like, Oh, I already do that I already did that, you know, I knew how to do that, which was really a cool thing, because I realized those were skills that I was born with or had developed on my own. But, but then you hear people say, like, don’t use NLP to manipulate. And I had that moment where I was like, was I manipulating people? Because I never ever thought of it like that. It was really just that I felt like my communication was really clear. So what do you say to people that bring that aspect of NLP up? Like, you can go out to a bar, whatever, and manipulate everybody around you?

Yeah. Well, I think you bring up two points. So let me address both of them. The the fact that you discovered that while you were selling successfully, and then you took NLP and discovered that, hey, I’m doing some of this stuff in my sales. That’s a really common experience. And it’s because the, the methodology of NLP was modeled after people who do things well. So if you naturally do things, well, NLP is going to shed light on how you do it, specifically, because this is sort of how the whole model was created. Just watching people who do things well, and learning specifically what they do. Now, usually what happens in that case is once you become aware of how you’re doing things, well, you actually can improve and do things even better based on that awareness. So it’s very helpful in that in that regard. I don’t know if you had that experience or not. It’s like, you’re like, Oh, well, hey, I did. This is what I’ve been doing the whole time. And now I’m aware of it. So does it give you more choice to do that more often? or right, make further refinements to it? Right. That’s a common experience.

Yeah, I like that. And I think anytime you’re aware of your behavior, it’s helpful to you whether it’s supporting you or not supporting you like it’s helpful.

Yeah, exactly. And then the question of manipulation? That’s a fair question. It’s actually a really important question. And it’s, it’s beyond NLP. Of course, when people say don’t use NLP to manipulate, I would say, Don’t manipulate doesn’t

matter. Right, right. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. manipulation is an issue where, if you think about it, if I’m communicating with someone in order to influence them, and I’m doing it with integrity, so I’m wanting to sell a product, and I’m selling that product with integrity. I want to be influential. I want to convince this person to buy my product, I want it to end up in a sale. And

I want to be a really good communicator, a crystal clear communicator about it. Yeah,

absolutely. Absolutely. I want to put my best foot forward and be as influential as possible if I’m acting with integrity. However, I’m also keeping in mind the best interests of my client, if the product is really not a good fit for them. I’m not going to try and force it on them. When I enter a manipulate for a manipulate frame of mind, I’m really trying to take advantage of someone and so whether or not you use NLP, if you use NLP, you’re learning level of influence may expand. The question is does it expand according to your integrity? Or does it expand and enhance your manipulative abilities? Well, I say if you’re looking to learn NLP, to increase your manipulative abilities don’t come to the NLP center. I don’t want to teach. Right, right. Yeah, our aim and my background is mental health. I learned NLP in college as getting my degree to become a mental health counselor, I practice in mental health. For me. NLP was all about personal development and growth and so forth. And again, that’s an area where you want to be as influential as possible and have as much skill as possible in order to help help the client and so that’s kind of my background and where I come from. There are in the field of NLP which is just sort of been this grassroots movement. over many, many years, there are manipulative people who have learned NLP, and have used it to teach other people to manipulate, and so on and so forth. And this could be in the area of sales, it could be in the area of dating, it could be, you know, all kinds of personal power gurus and so on and so forth. And that they really put a kind of a disgusting spin on NLP and sell it as this tool to get people to do whatever you want. Well, to be cut to be that kind of manipulative person, you don’t need NLP as a tool. I mean, there are grifters out there. There’s all kinds of snake oil sales people. I mean, there there are manipulative people out there. And unfortunately, some of them have gotten a hold of NLP. And it’s given in some circles NLP a bad name? Well, I want nothing to do with them. And in fact, there are people who have inquired at the idle fee center saying I want to use NLP for this. And I say, Well, I don’t we don’t do that here, right. Oh, yeah. Yeah, no, I don’t want to train you here. So a minute manipulation is sort of the mindset of wanting to take advantage of other people for your own gain. And if you have that mindset, go away. I don’t want to teach you. But it is very different than using NLP to be more effective at what you do. And to help people using NLP and integrity is a is a wonderful tool,

right? Yeah. Yeah. I like that. That’s a great way if you’re a manipulator then it has can have nothing to do with NLP. It’s just that you’re using it in that way.

So it’s a tension. Yeah.

So tell let’s talk about well, actually, now, I just thought of something I want to ask you like Tony Robbins, he uses NLP doesn’t he? Is that like the kind of thing he uses?

Tony Robbins took as his kind of his start into his whole business where he wrote the book, unlimited power and so forth. He, he took the NLP practitioner training, he was an NLP student, and being Tony Robbins, almost like I think it was like, after the first weekend of training, he went nuts and went out, went on a radio show and started, you know, sort of talking about it, breaching NLP. And then ultimately, he wrote his first book, and all of it has its base in NLP. And it’s been kind of a back and forth thing over over the years. Ultimately, he changed his name in order to kind of, I guess, solve some problems that he had with. I don’t know, I don’t know what they were that I think they may have been legal issues where there’s a settlement or whatever. I don’t know that whole story. But yeah, he ended up changing his model to I think neuro associative conditioning or something along those lines. But he got his start with NLP. And regardless of what you think of Tony Robbins, I mean, his whole thing is not not my style. Yeah. But he actually did a lot for the field of NLP in terms of making it popular. So many people first heard about NLP by reading something of Tony Robbins. Yeah.

I mean, I think that’s maybe what reignited it for me was I saw something on the eye accessing cues that you had, that he had shared somewhere, you know, somewhere along the way, which was an NLP thing. So yeah, so I was curious about that. I know, he does lots of other stuff and has lots of tools, I’m sure. But yeah, but that’s something someone Someone might know. You know, where they would go. Oh, yeah. Okay, so that’s the kind of one of the tools he uses. Okay, so let’s talk about how people can really how could they could find you like how you can help them because I’ve taken the class I got certified at the AI NLP center, and I’ll have a link inside the show notes, as well as on my page under the courses in shop, you’ll be able to just link to your site from there, but but tell because I like the wide range. So you don’t have to want to be certified in NLP, although you could get certified and just use it for your personal, you know, advancement. But there’s also you’ve got some other some other tools and there’s some sales tools and some stuff. Can you talk a little bit about what you have? Sure.

So it’s I NLP center.org. And there are, there’s actually a like, as you said, a whole range of programs. Programs if you want to learn NLP, then the the right program would be the practitioner, NLP practitioner and the NLP master practitioner certification, there’s two levels of certification. And it is a certification we get, I would say about a third of people who join the certification program are not necessarily looking to use the certification for professional reasons. They want to learn NLP and use the skills and whatever it is they do even if it’s just for their own personal growth, right. Because as you go through the programs and learn the skills, you are applying them to yourself, you’re practicing them with other people, you may be getting involved in our community and other people will use the skills with sort of with you being the client, and so on and so forth. So people want the personal growth experience, they end up with a certification because that’s how you learn NLP take the practitioner certification program. And then there’s a you know, we there are life coaches and mental health counselors and professionals in business and health care and education that they want the certification for professional reasons. And you know, it’s, it’s all the same, it’s all the same course. When it comes there, then we have for salespeople, this is for people who are you know, in, in a sales career have a sales job, we have what’s called the NLP sales practitioner certification. And you can read about that on our site as well. It’s many of the basic NLP techniques. However, all of the application, the ways that we teach them you to apply those techniques are all in a sales context where you are interacting with your customers.

Yeah, which is really helpful. It’s really like a really great communication tool to help them really expand that communication piece.

Yeah, and a big part of it is understanding your customer. So when your customer comes in, your customer already has a way in which he or she is motivated, already has criteria in, in their mind that serve to determine what decision that they’re going to make. And so on and so forth. And the question is, can you understand what those are? Can you understand specifically how the client gets motivated? Can you build rapport with the client, the way the client needs to build rapport, it’s all about being able to understand specifically, the nonverbal communication of the client, so that you can present you can make your present presentation in a way that fits for the client. Because whether that your product is right for your customer or not, you want to present the make your sales presentation in a way that is your speaking your clients language, then they can make the best decision possible for them. And you have the best chance of making the sale. If the product is right, if it’s a fit.

Yeah, I love that. Yeah, so just really great personal growth stuff in there. So so we’ll have the link inside the show notes. And I appreciate your time so much. This was really fun kind of diving into it and letting people know how they could best to get control of different areas of their life just by learning some of these techniques. So thank you so much, Mike, for coming on.

You bet. Thanks, Betsy, appreciate you having me.

Thanks for having me on your journey today. I want to invite you to jump inside our free Facebook group. You can find that at SS lB community.com that stands for start small, live big community.com and we can just continue the conversation in there. And as always, here’s a little message from my husband.


Meet Betsy!

I'm Betsy Pake!

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Hey There!

About Betsy

Hi I’m Betsy and I’m a subconscious change expert.
By day you can find me digging deep into the unconscious beliefs and identity of my clients so they can move past self-sabotage and lack of confidence and gain traction in their career and life.