Day 3 of 21: The Accidental Business and Brad Pitt

In day two’s post, I said: You may wonder, “William, how did you get 30+ people to contact you? What was the outcome of your program? Did you finally grieve properly over the death of your hedge fund dream, or did you grieve by getting into bar fights every weekend?”

Before I answer, I remember as a kid, as a teenager, and as a young adult, never feeling quite comfortable in my own skin. When I was younger, sometimes I wondered if my parents were my real parents.

Was I an alien from another planet? Was that why I didn’t feel as if I belonged here? I didn’t really believe the alien thing, but I sometimes wondered, because I just felt out of place.

In my late 20s and early 30s, I became a lot more comfortable in my own skin, but not quite where I wanted to be. But better. And then, well, I’ve probably said enough for now. I should probably answer the original questions.

Let’s start with the first question, how did I get 30+ people to contact me for my free smoking cessation program? I posted on Craigslist, a website that lets you post things for sale, events, opportunities, and many other categories.

And I posted many, many, many flyers at coffee shops in San Francisco. I’ve never worked so hard to purposely earn zero dollars.

I emailed people back with a simple set of questions such as name, phone number, how many cigarettes per day, etc. Despite the basic questions, only a small number emailed me answers. And of the ones that emailed back, not all of them showed up for their session.

But among the ones that did show up, 85% quit smoking in one session. Yes, eighty-five percent.

Looking back, I’m shocked. Not that educated in NLP, not qualified to create a program, and doing just about every session in a loud coffee shop, yet 85% still quit smoking. It should not have happened. But I’m glad it did.

I really enjoyed helping people. And it hit me: I had accidentally done the basics of running a private practice. If I charged money, I could have a real private practice. Long story a little shorter, I chose to start an NLP private practice rather than the mail order business.

So, I just let my mail order dream die, but not such a big deal to me. Now I had a better dream… to help people stop smoking and change behaviors by using NLP. But a new fear popped up. Very few people had heard of NLP, so wouldn’t that make marketing tough?

Sure, I’d gotten some clients by offering free help. But if I charge money, it’s harder to get clients.

And I answered my fear with a plan. Go to hypnotherapy school, get my hypnotherapy certification, and use hypnotherapist as my title. People had heard of hypnotherapy, so it’s easier to market. But I’ll just the NLP skills in my business. Problem solved, right?

April 2003, and I’ve just graduated from an accelerated course in hypnotherapy. I’d entered school thinking I just wanted the credential. But in the end, I learned that combining hypnotherapy with NLP is better than one by itself. I’d rather have a peanut butter “and” jelly sandwich.

Which reminds me… I had this very tasty British preserves or jam when I was in London a while back. Best I’d ever had. Was it the preserves, or was it being in London? Hmm…

Oh, I’ll mention again that during the 21 days of writing, I am using hypnotic techniques. If a sudden tangent or unusual sentence in the story has you confused, or feels like sand, it’s okay, as confusion is the gateway to change… Bananarama was a popular band.

After I started my private practice, I joined that hypnosis practice group I mentioned on my day zero post. (Yes, we’ve come full circle for you hypnotists in the audience.)

And in that hypnosis practice group, I taught, taught, and taught some more to improve my skills quickly. And though I felt fear not knowing if I could learn the topic in time to teach it, I used that fear as motivation to learn the material. And I used positive motivation to learn the material, because I wanted the members to be glad they came.

I like pancakes and board games, by the way.

And now we’re here in 2018. Do I still need to be in control, need to have it all planned out, and be super logical? No.Those desires now peacefully hang out with their friends, Mr. “I Like Surprises” and Mr. “We’ll Figure it Out As We Go.”

Oh, back to the the grieving over my hedge fund dream and life I’d planner for years… I did end up doing a small bit of grieving, in a cleansing way. And no, I didn’t get into bar fights every weekend. “I heard a rumor,” sang Bananarama…

I actually got to a peaceful place fairly quickly, and I think it’s because the essence of my hedge fund dream was preserved when I became a hypnotist. The essence of my old dream was to have a career I enjoyed while helping people. And as a hypnotist, I get to do both.

Earlier I said that when I was younger, I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. Sometimes I even half wondered if I was an alien, because I just felt so out of place. I’m glad to say that being a hypnotist has helped me with this so much.

Studying how we think, how to change patterns, and using this mental technology for myself has made me so much more comfortable in my own skin. I feel I belong here, doing what I’m doing. If I felt a bit lost before, now I feel damn lucky to finally be home.

Oh, one last thing. A bit after I had quit my finance job, my girlfriend, Holly, was no longer my girlfriend. But don’t feel sad for me, Argentina.

Instead of Holly being my girlfriend… she became my wife. Or to put it more correctly, she chose me to be her husband. It was down to Brad Pitt and myself, and I was lucky she chose me. And Brad, if you’re reading this, please stop sending flowers to Holly. Let it go, man, just let it go.

And to you, dear reader, thank you for reading day three of my writing challenge.

If you experience hypnosis, make progress in some stuck area of life by reading those posts, remember that the posts are hypnotic by design. And as always, please post your feedback, including any shifts you experience.

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