How to Derive a Well-Formed Outcome

  1. What do I want?

Ask this question about the context you are considering. State what you want in positive terms, ie what do you want, and what do you want it to do? Where do you want it? When do you want it? Eg ‘I want to be, do or have X’. If the answer forms as ‘I do not want…’ then ask, ‘What do I want instead of …’.

  1. Is it achievable?

Is it possible for a human being to achieve the outcome? If it has been done by someone, then in theory it can be done by you, too. If you are the first, find out if it is possible.

  1. What will I accept as evidence that I have achieved my outcome?

What evidence will you accept that lets you know when you have the outcome? Ensure that your evidence criteria are described in sensory based terms ie: That which you can see, hear and/or touch that proves to you and/or third parties that you have done what you set out to do.

  1. Is achieving this outcome within my control?

Is it under your control, ie can you, personally do, authorise or arrange it? Anything outside your control is not ‘well formed’. Instructing your broker is within your control. So is buying in expertise. Asking your employer for time off is not. The time off will only become well formed if it is granted.

  1. Are the costs and consequences of obtaining this outcome acceptable?

Ensure that the outcome is worth the time, outlay and effort involved in achieving it, and that impact on third parties or the environment is accounted for.

  1. Do I have all the resources I need to achieve my outcome?

Do you have or can you obtain all the resources, both tangible and intangible that you need to achieve your outcome? Resources include knowledge, beliefs, objects, premises, people, money, time.

  1. If I could have it now, would I take it?

Are all costs and consequences of achieving your outcome, including the time involved, acceptable to you and anyone else affected by it? This is known as ecology. Consider the costs, consequences, environmental and third party impact of having the outcome.

This is an NLP version of SMART goals.You will recall on my earlier blog Practice Practice Practice where I write on goal setting.


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