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Resolutions are Like What?


A stake in the sand; an engine without enough oil; an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other; a milky, inert globe; waves breaking on a beach; a blocked American Indian healer; a rainbow that looks lovely but disappears… these were just a few of the metaphors for ‘resolutions’ that emerged from last night’s Clean Language session with Wessex NLP.

Everyone in the group had some experience / knowledge of Clean Language, so we spent the time honing skills such as using the three-part-syntax, clarifying other aspects of the syntax and ensuring that the questions we asked were purposeful (i.e. that we were modelling rather than asking ‘random’ questions).

We spent the first part of the evening modelling:

  • For you, resolutions are like what?
  • Where do they come from?
  • When they are [kept / broken] then what happens?

Subsequently those people who had metaphors that showed their strategies for making resolutions weren’t working too well, were asked: And what would you like to have happen? and some metaphors then changed.

There seemed to be a few recurring themes within the metaphors:

  • Resolutions are often in front of a person
    Although not universal, the majority of resolution metaphors were located in front of the person. Some people indicated this nonverbally, some verbally. At least two people’s metaphors involved travelling forward. Someone who did not relate to the idea of ‘resolutions’ and chose to model ‘decisions’ instead said that the choices are in front of him - they wait there and then when he decides what he wants, they go inside of him, become part of him.
  • Conflict is often present
    The angel on one shoulder and devil on the other is an obvious example of this. The stakes in the sand, which were ‘glowering’ at their owner, is another.
  • There is often something missing or not quite right
    An engine without enough oil, an inert globe, a rainbow that disappears and a blocked healer are examples of this.

It was fascinating to hear about the different metaphors and I only wish we had had more time to model them in more depth.

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

About Marian Way

Marian Way's avatar

A highly skilled facilitator and trainer, Marian, who founded Clean Learning in 2001, has developed and delivered training across the world. She is the author of Clean Approaches for Coaches, co-author, with James Lawley, of Insights in Space and co-author, with Caitlin Walker, of So you want to be… #DramaFree.

Marian is an expert Clean facilitator, an adept modeller, a programme writer and an inspirational trainer. She has a natural ability to model existing structures, find the connections between them and design new ways for people to learn. Marian was a leading innovator within the Weight Watchers organisation, which included developing the “points” strategy, a local idea that went on to become a global innovation. She is a director of both Clean Learning and Training Attention CIC, world leaders in clean applications for corporate, educational and community development. She designs our programmes and workbooks, leads workshops and teaches on all our courses. She’s trained people in Great Britain, Russia, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Japan and the USA. Marian is also a recognised Clean Assessor.

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