I want to reintroduce you to the “other Tom” that writes
occasionally for NLP Comprehensive.
Tom’s an NLP Master Practitioner (from the days when I owned
NLP California) and we’ve been friends for ages. He’s also
the founder of the international NLP alumni study group, the
He serves as our Planning Director and for a couple of years
he wrote our weekly email newsletter. Then he got too busy
with his other work and so it’s been a while since we’ve
heard from him.
He’s back for a visit, and Tom and I have some new
information for you. So here’s my friend, Tom Hoobyar.
Hi, Tom Hoobyar here. I’m happy to be back with you.
If you don’t already know me, you can read as much
as you’d ever want to know about me at:
I want to share some things with you that I’ve been working
on over the last two years.
One of them is story-telling, which you’ll get a sample of
in a minute. The other is investigating the concept and
benefits of various forms of Mastermind groups.
Let me begin by saying that the Mastermind context validates
The Steve Andreas’ proverb, “No one of us is smarter than
all of us”.
Here’s something that might be useful to you. Something I
learned in a Mastermind conversation.
I was on the phone recently with my good friend Perry
Marshall. We Mastermind with each other on a regular basis.
I was talking about the stress of being your own boss,
juggling work and family needs.
More work to do than time to do it in, and deadlines that
are piling up like a stack of books about to topple over.
When I’m in one of those crunches I frequently get a call
from one of my adult children with a crisis of some sort. A
grandchild isn’t studying, or there’s a problem at work, or
a question about a relationship or a pet or a recipe.
And I always want to be available to them. I don’t ever want
to be “too busy to be bothered”. So I stop everything and
dive into their situation.
Well, sometimes it’s no trouble. Easy to solve and get back
But on other occasions it may require more involvement, or a
phone call to someone, or a letter to some institution or
school. And that plays hell with my own work priorities.
I was complaining about these “beloved distractions” on the
phone when Perry said a brilliant thing.
He said, “This sounds like when you’re on an airplane, and
the attendant is rattling off the announcements like they do
at the start of the flight. Remember, they always say that
you need to put your oxygen mask on first, before you help
Ka-pow! That hit me between the eyes.
So I might want to keep my own business commitments in mind
when I consider breaking off to take care of a perhaps minor
issue in my family.
Means I have to think about where my boundaries are when I’m
When I thought about it, I realized that I wanted to be a
hero for my children when they called for advice.
But I wasn’t thinking about the kind of example I was
setting for them by my readiness to set aside my own
obligations to deal with their issues.
Now I handle it differently. I “put on my oxygen mask first”
by asking the nature of their issue.
Then I decide when I can give them the time they deserve,
and ask them if that later time will do it for them.
Usually it’s a no-brainer. I found that I didn’t get a lot
of grief from them about wanting to prioritize their needs
against my work schedule.
In fact, my daughter said an interesting thing the other
She said, “I’m glad to know that you’re not missing out on
something important by taking my call. You’re always so
ready to help me that sometimes I don’t call because I don’t
ever know when I’m interrupting you, and when my call is
Wow. I didn’t know that.
So it turns out that my asking them how critical their
situation is gives them the confidence to call me when they
My taking some responsibility for “putting my oxygen mask on
first” is helping them in two ways.
First, it allows them to call me in comfort, knowing that
I’m not stopping everything to deal with something that may
be trivial. So I hear about more issues in their lives.
And second, it shows them a way to establish boundaries
between needs and objectives that they can use with their
own kids and friends.
It’s only one of a thousand improvements I’ve gained through
So I have two questions for you to consider.
Do you follow the practice of regularly seeking comments on
your issues by interested and qualified colleagues?
And when someone calls on you, do you put your oxygen mask
P.S. You might want to keep an eye out for our email
tomorrow. Tom Dotz and I are going to make you an offer that
you might not want to refuse!