We are what we repeatedly do. I believe Aristotle said that (or at least that is the person that the quote has been attributed to).
So here is my question, “What are you repeatedly doing, and is it excellent or not?” Seriously think about that for a moment. Are you doing the same thing over and over only to “become” less and less of what you want?
You see, I’ve been there, and I’ve seen students be there as well. I’ve known people who have refused to change because they believe it’s too difficult, only to go back into the same old pattern of disempowerment. I see this as I teach tools and techniques that help individuals. Yet, like any tool, if you leave it in the garage and never touch it, then nothing will happen.
One student named Dave (he gave me permission to share this) ran this exact pattern. He has been to almost every introductory event we have offered. In the last NLP Practitioner Training I ran in Irvine, CA, he came up to me and said, “Wow, I wish I could be successful like you!”
My immediate response was, “You can be!” And he replied with an interesting comment. He said, “But I am not as congruent as you are.”
Now, I’m used to hearing excuses and limitations. However, this student had been to quite a few events and clearly had done some work. There were no more excuses, and yet he was still lacking a basic and important concept: Congruency.
I wondered, “What is preventing him from being congruent? What is stopping him from having it?”
The answer could be a variety of things including baggage from the past. However, when I asked this student what congruency means, he replied, “I don’t know.” To be clear, I understand what congruency means. My intention was to see if he had a frame of reference for congruency, and he did not.
Interestingly, a couple of other students throughout the event also asked me to help them define congruency. One student explained the term is being used a lot now, and yet no one seems to be clearly defining it.
So let’s start with the basics: what is congruency? Drawing on NLP, Huna, psychology, and the various other modalities I’ve studied, congruency is simple to define.
Congruency is having an unwavering belief in:
- Who you are,
- What you are doing, and
- What you are aiming for as a goal.
When you see someone that is congruent, it seems that they cannot be shaken from their foundation. That is a quality of having congruency. In other words, many of the things we use to describe congruency are the results of having it.
Releasing the Baggage
Let’s get specific: To become congruent, you need to be free from the baggage.
I don’t believe you can begin to gain congruency if you have fear. This is because holding onto fear could prevent you from taking an important step on your path. So clearly, you need to release the baggage from any area of your life where you would like to feel congruency.
Congruent people do not operate from anger, fear, sadness or guilt. They operate from a positive frame of reference. So you could say that the first step is clean house!
Strengthening Your Foundation
Next, congruent people have a strong internal check. While there is certainly value in discovering others’ thoughts, congruency means you wouldn’t allow those thoughts to throw you off center.
For example, I have an amazing wife, and a fabulous group of people that I work with. We routinely have meetings where we alter course for the company. In fact, just this year we brought in a consultant to help us understand current marketing trends. And what we learned is very different in comparison to what we were doing. We decided we’re going to implement these new concepts, because they are amazing!
Now that is called an external check. Meaning we are checking externally to find new information.
You might say, “But Matt, aren’t you congruent?” Look, congruency doesn’t mean that you are “above” the advice of others. Being amazingly congruent doesn’t mean that you disrespect or ignore others’ information. I can’t be an expert in everything. I have to know my foundation, and that foundation is what gives you a strong internal check.
MER vs. CBT
Here is another example: I was teaching in Tampa, and a student asked me about how to depression. I gave a solid congruent answer. The Mental and Emotional Release® Therapy (MER) we teach at Master Prac, has been clearly shown to reduce depression. One of my students, Dr. Patrick Scott verified this and compared it to CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). Not only does MER work faster and better, but there was zero relapse or re-hospitalization with the MER group, where the CBT group had both!
Another student, Dr. Rose Johnson has a student doing MER research for her dissertation (this student works with kids). The results are amazing I have been asked to be on the dissertation committee! I am not only honored they are helping bring more credibility to these techniques; they are asking me to be a part of it!
So when someone asks me if MER works, my answer is YES! And it is congruent! This technique is a part of my foundation of knowledge.
The very next question in the Tampa NLP Training was, “Is Gestalt Therapy still considered to be effective in discovering deeper issues?” My answer was, “I don’t know.” Because I don’t know…
You see, I am congruent with what I know and what I teach. I am congruent in our business model and in our mission at The Empowerment Partnership.
If the consultant we brought in asked me to change our business model from the ground up and start teaching CBT, EFT, or some other technique, my answer would be, “No thank you.”
Instead, he worked with our foundation and taught us things we did not know. So your internal check that gives you congruency comes from your foundation that you have built. And building that foundation is a life-long process.
Before I was a PhD of Psychology, my foundation was smaller (not weaker). A smaller foundation meant that my congruency did not go into as many different areas. A weak foundation means that you have not taken the time to gain a depth in your own focus or goal.
By having a solid foundation, you gain a strong internal check. You can maintain humbleness, and remembering that the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.
Getting clear on your goal
Now, last bit, because I just said that you need to gain a depth in your focus or goal. You see, congruent people have highly focused and empowered goals. The more congruent the person, the more goals they have. Not necessarily multiple goals in one area, I mean they know their direction and focus on the major areas (e.g. Career, Health, Relationships).
Without a goal, you are driving out of your house with no direction or decision as to the destination. You are wandering aimlessly along the pathway of life.
The next unfortunate side effect is that people who are goalless tend to complain about when they don’t have things. I say this from my heart; because I have been there before: why complain when you have not even set a destination? Again, an appropriate analogy is a person complaining they have not reached their destination; however, when asked, “Where are you going?” the answer is “I don’t know.”
The student in Irvine, CA who had asked me about congruency had been listening to me explain this said, “Wow, I don’t have a goal in my career!”
I gently pushed further and asked, “How would you know when you are congruent and successful?” Again, he replied, “I really don’t know.” He did not have a goal for success, nor did he have one for congruency. Now, he did point out that is why he was there at the training. I applaud that, because at least he is taking action to find his goal!
So let’s summarize:
Make congruency a habit by:
- Releasing the baggage,
- Strengthening your foundation and internal check, and
- Getting clear on your goal!
Another thing you can do is avoid complaining to others about what you don’t have. Begin to bring the complaints and excuses to the only person that can do something about it… (Yes, that is you…).
Here is your new motto: Address any and all future complaints to the nearest mirror!
Now get started!