The Map is NOT the Territory

Things are not always as we perceive them to be

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0.0 Introduction
0.10 “The Map is not the Territory”
1.03 Maintain behaviour flexibility
1.35 Engage in useful conversation

Have you heard the expression “The map is not the territory”? It’s a very important expression to no about for life and business.

Hi, I’m Alan Patching.

The map is not the territory is an expression from NLP that simply means the way we see something may not be the way it really is or the way someone else sees it.

Any experience we have in life we process in our mind through internal representations, and the perceptions we gain from any experience through our senses could be quite different from that other people get who had exactly the same experience.

For example you might go snow skiing, you may hate the cold, you may hate falling over, and you never want to go snow skiing again, but the people you went with thought it was the greatest experience of their life despite being a little chilly and falling over.

Exactly the same experience, two completely different perceptions. Exactly the same territory, two completely different maps of the territory.

So in NLP, we encourage people to maintain behaviour flexibility by just having the awareness to realise when you are getting into an argument with someone, whether it be in business or in personal life, we just want to say, “they are wrong” or “you are wrong” or whatever it might be – and becoming a little too defensive, it’s far more resourceful to structure that in our own mind, not that they are wrong and we are right, but rather just saying “ah, their map of the territory is different from mine”.

It would be nice to engage in a conversation to understand why the differences exist and perhaps if we work those differences out not only will we come to a resolution on this problem but we will also build a better relationship between us for future business and personal life experiences.

And that makes for a better life and business for all involved.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this tip from NLP for business and personal life, I’m Alan Patching, see you again soon.

NLP: Behaviour Flexibility

Greater flexibility of behaviour amounts to greater chance of achieving your life ambitions

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0.0 Introduction
0.50 Build Relationship flexibility
1.22 The power of non-judgemental self-awareness
2.00 Charles Darwin and flexibility

Having trouble with some of your relationships with work or within everyday life? There’s a way to over come that.

Hi, I’m Alan Patching with another tip for Transforming Business Minds and Transforming Minds … and in particular in relation in a recent post which addressed behaviour flexibility.

In that recent post I said that the meaning of any communication is really the feedback you get back from that communication.

Clearly, if someone gives you feedback of what you been putting to them in what you said or did is not favourable to them, it’s not something they can relate to, they are responding in a way that you didn’t expect and/or don’t like, then if you have no other way of dealing on that topic with that person, you’re pretty much stuck with a poor relationship situation.

But if you build relationship flexibility, if you practise whenever you have the opportunity, different ways of getting your point of view across, different ways of encouraging, persuading, influencing people, different ways of bonding when you are getting information from other people, then you will build a flexibility or a basis from which you can be flexible in ongoing relationships after that time.

For example: someone might say something to you that upsets you quite severely, but if you build self-awareness to be aware that you are upset and then very quickly say, “hang on a second, the person said it in a way that triggered me off and got me upset, but they may not have meant it that way and maybe they’re responding to something I said or did that triggered them off, so I’m simply going to take a different view instead of saying something like, ‘no you didn’t understand what I mean’, a simple change to ‘oh I’m sorry, I haven’t made myself clear’ can have a completely different interpretation from someone else’s perspective and change their reaction to you.

It’s really, really important to build that flexibility and behaviour and that flexible range of communication style.

Charles Darwin once said that it’s the organism in any eco-system which has the most flexibility that will survive the longest. And I think it’s pretty sure for the business world and everyday life as well. So, build behaviour and communication flexibility, it’s not only a good NLP principle, it’s a great principle for life – success in business and everyday existence as well.

I’m Alan Patching, thanks for watching, we will see you soon on another post.

Meaning of Communication from an NLP perspective

We communicate even when we think we are not communicating

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0.0 Introduction
0.13 It’s impossible to NOT communicate
0.40 Adjusting behaviour elicits different responses from people
1.0 Internal self-communication
1.35 Gaining control
1.50 The meaning of communication (to the other party) is seen in the response you get
2.40 The choice – victimise or self adjust

Communications are a crucially important part of every day life, and every day business. Hi, I’m Alan Patching with another tip from the world of NLP.

You know, it’s impossible not to communicate, or to not communicate – which ever way you look at it.

Just imagine you’re sitting there being completely silent – that’s communicating a message to those around you. The message could be that you’re withdrawn, the message could be that you’re insulted. The message could be you’re not interested. The message could be that you don’t like this or that.

We can’t place any controls on the way people interpret what they experience. All we can do is adjust our behaviour to get the response we want from other people by appealing to their motivational systems in a different way from what we currently are using, if we are not getting what we want.

So, for sure, no matter what we are doing we are communicating even if we don’t think we are and, in fact, sometimes when you think you are being quiet, reserved and withdrawn and spending a bit of reflecting time, notice how much internal chatter is going on, notice how much internal communication is going on and the question to ask ourselves about that, is, ‘is this the sort of communication we like ourselves to hear? Is it positive and uplifting and making us feel better? Or do we have internal chatter that’s a little bit down putting and criticising ourself and others, producing chemicals in our body that make us feel worse?’

You see the reality is we either have to take control of the thoughts we have or put up with the effect those thoughts have in terms of our feelings and even our behaviours. It’s so important to be in charge of your thoughts.

Just one other point on communication In NLP we say the meaning of any communication is the response you get, so if you go up and ask how a friend’s son or daughter is going in an examination sequence and the people get a little bit upset because perhaps their kid’s not going as well as they expected and they regard you as intrusive, you could either blame them for being overly sensitive or accuse them of being unfriendly. But a far better approach, according to NLP, would be to just accept that the meaning of the communication to those people was something to cause them to be sensitive and the response told us that they were sensitive so the truly sensible people who use the NLP principle say “Ah, the way I communicated just then caused that response so I need to change the way I communicate to get a different response from the person with whom I am communicating.”

It’s really easy to sit there pointing the finger and blaming other people for situations but when we do that we simply become victims to the circumstances we find ourselves in. It’s far better to be in control of your own life and your circumstances and NLP gives you exactly the tools to do that.

So, in future, whatever feed back you get from communication, that’s the meaning, that’s the intent it had, and if the intent is not what you wanted that’s not a matter to be blaming other people for, that’s just a sign to us … a feed back signal. Not that we failed in our communication but rather we need to change the style of it to get the result we seek and to build our relationships with people.

I look forward to seeing you on another post regarding NLP tips for life and business.

Thanks for listening.

NLP – Language

A key tip for relationships – a person’s language is usually a secondary representation of what they are feeling – body language is primary!

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0.0 Introduction
0.15 Language is a secondary representation of a person’s experience
1.16 Moving up the Conflict Sequence
1.42 Reading micro body language signals
2.20 Making adjustments in our own behaviour in response to others signals

You’re probably aware of just how important language is to communication. Well, there are other important things as well.

Hi, I’m Alan Patching.

We say in NLP that language is a secondary representation of experience. It’s an important thing to be aware of and to understand.

Language obviously gives us the words which we hope express the feelings and intentions of those delivering the words. The tone of that language and the body language of the person delivering that language also give us some very strong insights into the total feeling and message of that person and what they are trying to put over. However, there are other things that we can look for and be aware of.

You see, in the business world in particular, we’ve been told and taught to mask our feelings. If we are a little upset by someone we tend to mask it. And by the time we are dealing with someone and perhaps we are upsetting them, by the time they get to the point of showing us that they are upset, it’s well past the point of no return. In psychology language we say, “they’ve gone to a higher level in the conflict sequence” and by going to a higher level in the conflict sequence it’s unlikely the conflict will be very quickly resolved. More on that in another post. But for the moment, we can learn to read the primary representation of the person’s experience in their micro-signals.

So their language is the secondary interpretation we experience. If someone says, “I’m feeling fine”, it may be that they are feeling really ticked off and you have to guess why. But if they are feeling ticked off, or feeling fine, their body language will give us those signals, we can tell by tension around the eyes and narrowing of the lips, change in colouration of the face … micro-body language signals.

There’s a thousand different ways that we can interpret through the primary representation of internal experience – which is a persons body language. Tone, complexion, pitch of voice, speed of voice – these kind of things can tell us the way they are feeling rather than the words they use if they are trying to mask feelings because society tells them that’s what they should do.

So it’s really important to learn what to look for and how to make an adjustment in our own behaviour if we are getting a response from someone else that says “I don’t like what you are saying to me,” or “I don’t like the way you are dealing with me”.

In future posts we will be extending this theory that language is the secondary, not the primary, representation of experience and that people tell you what they think they ought to be telling you … what they think you ought to be hearing in some circumstances ,when really it’d be far more resourceful for us to be able to get the sense that we are upsetting them and we need to change our ways.

So in future posts we will be looking at some detailed aspects of what to look for from a NLP perspective, to know from the primary representation of a person’s experience – mainly their micro signals and body language, that maybe it’s time for us to change tack to get a better result.

Be with me for that one, I’ll be looking forward to it, hope you are too, for now, bye. See you soon.

NLP: Meaning Attribution

Things are what they are – and not the perception we have of them

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0.0 Introduction
0.15 Humans make the best choice they perceive available to us at a particular time
0.33 It’s important to be aware of other options of thought in reaction to life’s circumstances
1.00 Meaning attribution
1.26 Looking at other possible meanings for events
2.42 The broader your thinking option range the broader will be your choice of emotional response

Did you know that human beings tend to make the best choice available to them, at any time and in any circumstance? Hi, I’m Alan Patching, let’s explore this important NLP concept.

It is true that we human beings make the best choice we perceive to be available to us at any time. So it makes sense, therefore, in order to have a better outcome in a lot of circumstances that may be troublesome for us, for example, situations of conflict, to be aware that having more and more choices gives us more and more options for solving the problems that face us in everyday life.

Let’s take an example. Let’s say your boyfriend or your partner, girlfriend, wife – someone you’re really looking forward to hearing from – promises to give you a phone call but you don’t get the phone call. Immediately you presume they’ve forgotten, and quite often when you say ‘they’ve forgotten us’, we tend to put a meaning to that. It’s called meaning attribution, and the meaning may be ‘well, they don’t respect me enough, I’m not important enough’.

So by putting that meaning to it and getting the feeling that ‘I’m not important’, we now have negative emotions coming out of that – the negative thoughts leading to the negative emotions, and when the person comes home from work we’re likely to be grumpy with them, and all of a sudden the evening relationship is off to a very bad start.

But if we took the time to say ‘are there any other options of thought that are reasonable?’, then we might start saying ‘hang on a second, I noticed I’ve just said that they didn’t call me because they’ve never respected me enough to adhere to the arrangement, and that makes me feel bad, let’s look at the other options’.

And the other options might be:
•the battery ran out
•they got tied up with the boss and couldn’t make a phone call
•they got caught on a train that was broken down in a tunnel and there’s no signal
and any number of these sort of excuses or other reasons could reasonably come to mind.

And then you analyse each one of those and you find that ‘well, if the battery run flat and they had no access to a charger, well that may be a bit careless on their behalf, but clearly it’s not from a lack of respect’. If the boss tied them up that’s outside of their control, that’s not from a lack of respect.
And as you go through analysing all these other options, which may have been the reason they didn’t call, you’ll notice there’s not a thought process attached to that interpretation that says ‘there’s something wrong with me’. Rather, it’s sort of like ‘well, I feel bad for them and I understand’. So there’s no negative thought, and therefore there’s no negative feeling.

So by creating an option range of how to think and then choosing the appropriate thought pattern for the circumstances, you can change your reaction to it. The person then comes home from work and you say ‘oh, you didn’t call me today but I presume there’s a good reason for that and that’s great, we’ve got all the more to talk about now’.

A completely different attitude, a completely different evening. And I can tell you now, you can extend that to a completely different life and a completely different business experience.
Give it a try, creating more options and more behaviour flexibility is a very, very important part of creating a better future life in business.

Thanks for being with me. I’m Alan Patching, and we’ll talk again soon

Key words: neuro linguistic programming, NLP, meaning attribution, negative thoughts, negative feelings, good relationships, making good choices.

NLP: Accessing and Using Positive Internal Resources

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0.0 Introduction
0.15 We all have the resources to deal with what life throws our way
0.50 The power of redirecting negative thinking
1.08 Dealing with negative feelings
1.52 EXAMPLE – Sport – NLP tip for golf improvement
2.36 NLP tip for dealing with other people
2.54 EXAMPLE – clinical – NLP and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
3.22 The power of accessing positive resources gained from negative life experience

Have you ever felt quite down in the dumps and felt there was nothing you could really do to out come a situation? I think we all have, but there is something we can do. Hi, I’m Alan Patching.

An NLP principle that I think is one of the most important of all is that:

we all have the resources within us to deal with any situation with which we are faced.

And this is a very important point indeed when we are feeling down.

When things are getting a bit tough, we tend to get caught up in the negativity of it all, all our thinking becomes negative and behaviour and feelings become negative and we talk ourselves into a bigger and bigger slump.

It’s important in these times in our life to just be aware of what’s happened and to interrupt that thought pattern. And sometimes the best way to interrupt it is just, not trying to stop it completely, but try and redirect it.

If you try and push an oak tree over, you’re not going to win, it’s going to be a difficult battle. But if you’re like the bamboo and just sort of bend with it and move it around, then flexibility of behaviour is once again available.

So when we have the negative feeling, rather than say “I’m going to stop the feeling, stop the thought” which hardly ever works, it’s better to say “yes, well that’s the thought I’d just had now, but there is an alternative, there is another side to that. So, I’m feeling bad and everything looks really glum and no body likes me, but I remember, many, many times where I have had fantastic friends for a really long period of time.”

So, rather than try and stop the thinking, which hardly ever works, we just look inside for experiences which are contrary to the thinking we are having at the moment. So if we are having negative thinking at the moment, we just go with that and say “Yeah, well, that may be the way I am now, but there’s been plenty of occasions in my life, when I felt this way which was much better.”

Playing golf, having a lousy game, the balls are going everywhere, the wrong way, you can get tied up in the moment if you like, and that will just create anger and negative thinking and worse behaviour which creates more negative thinking and so it goes. But if we can just say, “that was the lousiest shot, that was really terrible, I’m not hitting it well today at all, but you know, I know I can because just three or four weeks ago I had one of my best scores yet, I was hitting it sweetly and I feel really good.” And by relating it or deflecting the current negative thinking back to a positive experience we get in touch with those positive resources from that previous good game of golf and we bring those into the present moment and things start to improve.

It’s the same in our dealings with people. We feel we’ve got a bad relationship with someone, we refer it back to some changes we made when we had difficulty with someone else and then things turned for the better, and all of a sudden now we are feeling better. We behave more positively towards that person and we get a better response.

Even in clinic situations I’ve had people who’ve suffered post traumatic stress disorder and they tend to focus on reliving the negativity of the experience. It’s really, really important, for those people, for me to bring their attention to the great resources they got from that experience. The fact they survived it. The fact they know they’ll never get caught in that experience again. And, even if they did they’d know exactly what to do about it.

Getting them in touch with the positive strength and resources they gained in the negative experience can be an important part of changing their way of thinking.

I’d encourage you, anytime, like all of us, if you are having a bit of a downer, don’t try and fight the thought. Just put other thoughts in balance of it. Just say, “yes, I am feeling this way at the moment, but that reminds me of a time in a similar circumstance where things went right’, and get some positives to balance the negatives and you will eventually start to get in touch with some of those resources and you will learn too, that all of us have all the positive resources within us to do what we need to do at any time.

Give it a go, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the results in both life and business.

I’m Alan Patching, and I look forward to seeing you in a future post really soon!

NLP: The Mind and Body are One

Using positive psychology for enhanced life and career

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0.0 Introduction
0.27 The mind and body are one
1.25 A far better approach to achieving what your want
2.00 Focus on what you DO want to achieve

Have you ever wondered why, if you’re playing golf or something like that, and someone makes a suggestion like “don’t hit it in the water!” – sure enough, that’s exactly where it goes. Or any life equivalent. Well, there’s a reason for it.

Hi, I’m Alan Patching, and we are here today to discuss another in our series of posts on NLP in life and business.

One of the key principles of NLP is that the mind and body are one, so if you are lining up for the golf putt or the tennis shot or the cricket shot, or something to do with business or everyday life, and you have a thought pattern that something will go wrong, that thought will create the hormone production in the hypothalamus which floods the body with chemicals, which tense the body up which creates a physical difference, or a physical change within in your body.

Simply because of the thought kicking off the neuro transmitters that cause the body feelings to change. And that very tensing up is likely to lead you to experience the very consequence that you’re fearful of experiencing.

So you think, “I can’t hit it in the water, I can’t hit it in the water, I can’t hit it in the water”. All of a sudden your body flows with the sort of neuro transmitters or chemicals that cause the muscles to tense up and when you take your shot there’s a great likelihood it’s going to go into the water.

Far better, rather than to try NOT to think of what you don’t want to achieve, to think about what you do want to achieve. Try this for example: If I say don’t think of a pink elephant, how did that work for you? With a blue tail? And a green trunk? And yellow toenails?

You see, when we say, ‘don’t do something’, we have to bring to mind the very thing we don’t want to do and in that split second, if it’s a negative thought, it can fire off the very chemicals in the body that cause the feeling you don’t want to experience.

So, therefore, it is a very important thing to focus on what you DO want to achieve.

So, the sportsmen who’s having trouble with the putt, we get them to change their focus away from not getting it in the hole, to sinking the putt. We change their focus away from not getting it in the water to landing it on the green. That positive interpretation of the goal you seek is so important, and it’s equally important to avoid the negative structure of the goals and objectives you are trying to achieve in your life and business.

Well, that’s one more tip from Transforming Minds and Transforming Business Minds.

I’m Alan Patching, We will see you next time. Take it easy.

NLP: Introduction

How to use NLP to enhance your life and career

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0.20 – Description of Neuro Linguistic Programming
0.31 – Uses of NLP
1.00 – We collect information through our senses
1.31 – The VAKOG of NLP
1.50 – Using NLP to improve performance

Hello, perhaps you’ve heard of Neuro Linguistic Programming but haven’t really gotten around to discovering what it can do for you. Hi, I’m Alan Patching.

And this is a first of a series of blog posts on this site concerning NLP. NLP has been called a number of things, among them:
•the software for the human brain
•a human success system
•a way of changing the way you want to be

And NLP can be used for many things:

•For changing attitudes
•for improving performance
•it can be useful in the business world,
•or in personal life,

and over the weeks and months ahead we will show you exactly how you can use NLP to enhance your performance in various aspects of your life and to enjoy a better life and career.

One of the first things about NLP is that it’s something that’s quite a simple concept even though there’s a lot of complexity in it’s techniques and the simple concept is that we pick up information with our senses. We see things, we hear things, we can touch and feel things, we taste them and we smell them. And those images that we create through those senses are stored in the brain.

What we see is stored as visual memory, what we feel and sense as kinaesthetic memory, what we smell as olfactory memory and what we taste is called gustatory memory.

So, quite often, you’ll here NLP people talking about the VAKOG and that’s just the first letter of each of the senses as they are stored: VAKOG, so that’s the VAKOG and that’s what NLP people are referring to. Now, what we are going to be looking at in the blog posts ahead is how we can use this information to change the way we think about things; to change stored memories that aren’t being very resourceful for us and indeed, to help those who work with us improve their performance as well. We will begin next week with a look at the first of some of the simple principles that make up NLP.

This is going to be one post series I know you are going to enjoy. Don’t miss it, and we will see you in Transforming Business Minds and Transforming Minds some time soon in the future to develop this concept of NLP for improving life and business.

I’m Alan Patching.


0.0 Introduction
0.15 Sleep problems
0.34 The Human Givens Institute theory of sleep and depression
1.23 Effects of excessive stress on effective sleep patterns
2.00 The toxic cycle of stress and poor sleep
2.30 Getting Better sleep

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Alan Patching with another edition of Transforming Minds, and today we are going to talk about sleep.

In past posts in the last series we spent quite a bit of time talking about sleep. It’s a major problem for individuals, for people in relationships and for people in business, because if we don’t get enough of it, we just fail to function properly, and the more and more we continue to stop functioning properly – to not get enough sleep – the worse and worse the situation gets. In fact, the Human Givens Institute in the United Kingdom is of the strong opinion that sleep has a lot to do with depression. Their argument is as follows…

One of the functions of sleep, there are three basis functions, but one of the functions of sleep is to help us deal with the stress of the day, by giving our body time to recover, and one way we do that is, during sleep, the dreams that are normally associated with taking us into deeper levels of sleep where our immune system can recover and become strong … that dreaming process gets diverted.

If we’ve got too much stress in our lives during the day that we haven’t dealt with effectively, the brain will give us dreams at night time to allow us to neutralise the stress. Now that’s a good thing. It helps neutralise stress. But if we have far too much stress and the stress continues mounting, that means we need more and more dreaming to deal with that stress.

A concern with that is that dreaming is not a very deep level of sleep – contrary to popular opinion. So, when we are doing a lot of dreaming, we are doing less very deep sleep and as a consequence of that, we wake in the morning feeling tired, and quite often if we wake in the morning feeling tired and lethargic we spend a fair bit of the next day thinking, “wow, I’m tired and lethargic” and we get anxious about having to work while we are tired, which creates more stress and therefore we dream more dreams the following night to deal with that stress. And so we create this toxic cycle ,and eventually that can, according to the Human Givens theory, deteriorate into depression.

So, if we want to avoid a lot of stress and anxiety we need to introduce relaxation on an active basis into our life and we need to introduce techniques to make sure we sleep well deeply and effectively.

Now to that end, this blog site has a couple of plans in mind, and sometime in the future I’m going to be adding some relaxation exercises completely free of charge to the resources page and at sometime in the very near future I’ve prepared an entire program for people who either have difficulty getting to sleep, having difficulty staying asleep, or wake very tired and lethargic, and that program will explain later to help people overcome sleep problems.

Of course, if you are having really severe sleep problems and they are not reacting to any relaxation etc. you really should see your family doctor and talk to him or her about that problem, because no matter what’s causing the sleep problems we need to get on top of them if we are going to have a healthy, happy, full and effective life.

Good luck with your sleep therapy, or whatever approaches that you take to overcome any problems you have in regards to that.

I’m Alan Patching, we will be back with you with another post in the very near future. Bye for now.


0.0 Introduction
0.10 Relationships generally
1.00 Avoiding the blame game in relationships
1.40 A product to help you enhance your relationships

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Hello, Alan Patching here with another edition of Transforming Minds.

One of the important areas of life is relationships.

Relationships are central to family, to friendships and to business success, and early on in the life of this blog some time ago I made quite I few posts in relation to relationships (pardon the pun). So, what is it about relationships that causes so much intrigue?

Well, I think it’s about human dynamics and interaction. It’s a complex thing and, even though we can make it simpler, we tend to take the path of making it more difficult than it needs to be. But even at its simplest form, there are so many complex emotions involved that things can get tricky, and from time to time we need assistance in that regard. So, if you are having difficulty in a relationship, whether it be at work or with your partner, the secret is to get intervention quickly because, if we don’t we are going to the blame game.

There’s a whole stack of fancy words for that like sublimating, projecting, displacement and all that sort of stuff, but we are building up a store of reasons why we are right in the circumstance that prevail and that other person in the relationship is wrong, and that’s not the basis from which to fix a situation.

Now, not everybody needs to be going off to be seeing a counsellor for every minor relationship problem. All relationships have their ups and downs, and I get asked so many questions about relationships and I don’t have the time to see everybody who wants to come see me and these people still need help, so I put together a program which is audio, video and e-Book based, to explain to people some of the problems that can go wrong in relationships and to give a wide range of tools for helping to resolve those relationships and to stop things getting any worse.

And you’ll see a link to that on the website in the resources page sometime in the future, for anybody who might be interested in seeing it. So, that program will be available soon, you can send me an email if you like at and I’d be happy to respond when the product comes out … useful to help you out and avoid relationship issues getting worse.

If you are having relationship problems and they’re beyond just a little bit of assistance, do yourself a favour and consult a qualified relationship counsellor. They can make a big difference to help you through the problems and back to a happy life going forward. People can sometimes say. ‘that can cost a lot of money’ – divorce can cost a lot more and losing business clients does as well. Think about that for a while.

I look forward to seeing you on another post. I hope you enjoyed this one. I’m Alan Patching … bye.