If you look at the vast majority of hypnotherapists websites, or flick through the hypnotherapist section of the Yellow Pages, sadly you’ll notice that very few of them stand out from the others in any way, shape or form. Therefore, some get picked at random by the person seeking the services of a hypnotherapist and end up choosing someone based upon their initial criteria, probably influenced a great deal by price.

Yet, those that stand out and seem like they do not conform to all the norms, whilst maintaining the levels of professionalism, qualification and so on, are likely to thrive. Let me explain a bit more on how the more unique hypnotherapists are more likely to succeed…

Last night, here in Bournemouth, the hypnotherapy peer support group that I run for Hampshire and Dorset had another marvellous turnout and we welcomed in Gary May, founder of the Association of Sales Professionals and persuasion expert and he spoke to us about his own persuasion paradigm and how hypnotherapists can use it and benefit from it… Man oh man, it should be compulsory for hypnotherapy training schools to see and hear this stuff. Awesome.

I received unanimous positive feedback and encountered some of the hypnotherapists really motivated to go out and apply what they had learnt to enhancing their hypnotherapy business. Gary is very kindly going to run a webinar on the same subject that I am going to have in our members area in coming weeks, so those that were unable to be with us last night also get to hear this material.

During the evening, we were encouraged on more than one occasion to delight in who and how we truly are and waht makes us unique, what makes us stand out, understand what we know about ourselves as Gary spoke of his Differetiation model.

I’d like to share with you my own thoughts on what is more of a philosophy that I think very rewarding regardless of your field, but particularly pertinent to any hypnotherapist looking to enhance their business.

I have written about it before… Here in England we have Shrove Tuesday in February, which is the beginning of Lent in religious terms and that is when people should use up the remains of their larder before they fast. Typically, this would be flour, eggs and milk – Pancakes!! Shrove Tuesday has become known better as pancake day here in England, but I don’t mind that because as well as being an atheist, I love eating pancakes.

So indeed, we have pancake day and I make pancakes with a variety of toppings. I have been to a great deal of pancake celebrations and I want to tell you about one particular occasion that serves as a very interesting metaphor for what I am going to talk about today.

I made a big load of pancake batter – I made it with wholemeal flour so the pancakes were not as they usually are. They were received well and eaten by all. In England one of the traditional ways to eat pancakes is with lemon juice and sugar. We had all kinds of toppings and things laid out – I mean lots and lots of choice.

One of my friends is very English and fanatically kept on saying how wonderful it was to have Lemon juice and sugar and everyone agreed and the vast majority of people there ate the pancakes I made to my recipe with the topping sold to them by one of my friends. Interesting. I piled on strawberry jam, natural yoghurt and toasted almonds on to mine and scoffed the lot down. Yummy!

As a side note, if you ever get the chance to read “The Fountainhead” by a favourite author of mine, Ayn Rand, then please do so.

The lead character has red hair, so I liked him instantly! The real reason I liked the main character is because of his sense of individualism. I am not going to get political in this blog, I just want you to think about how much you think for yourself because this is important in so many aspects of our own personal development. How much you actually allow yourself to be an individual, how much you celebrate your uniqueness, how comfortable you feel sharing that with the world, all effect whether you blend in to the masses of sheeple, or whether you stand out in some way.

How individual do you allow yourself to be? As a hypnotherapist, do you absolutely conform to some beige-wearing, magnolia painted, bland, nice yuck-o-rama styled template of how someone else has dictated you ought to be… Or do you dare non-conform, do you dare embrace all your idiosyncrasies?

By the way, I have magnolia painted walls in a couple of rooms at home and wear biege clothing… I have nothing against these things, there are metaphoric examples of what I mean… When I ranted on about this at one of my hypnotherapy trainings, a couple of my students defied the theory by turning up the next in biege and making it look sassy! Bless. πŸ™‚

Thousands of years ago, the first person discovered how to make fire. What a moment that must have been! And what a shame no-one was on hand to record that moment and put it on YouTube. That person may have been thought of as being in league with the devil, clearly that person was some kind of baddy, or some kind of warlock or witch… You get the picture I am painting, right? However, from that momnent forward, humankind had fire to keep them warm, to cook their food (I mean raw steak every night of the week must have been getting monotonous!) they could also light their lives at nighttime, though some may think that could have impaired their nightvision… All in all, it was something that gifted human kind.

Since then, throughout the ages, people have invented cool stuff, raised important issues, create new trains of thought, introduced radical new ideas.

Whatever the person did or said… In the history of what they did or said, the glory often began with that person paying in some way for their courage and daring to stand up and stand out and shine.

Throughout those ages, there have been people who took the first steps down new pathways equipped solely with their unique vision. The reactions and the responses these people received often created misery, sadness or problems for them in the initial instance. Those amazing creators, thinkers, artists, scientists, inventors, philosophers all often found themselves standing alone against the people or the insitutions or establishments of their time. So many beautiful new thoughts have initially been opposed in this world.

It is potentially a cynical thing to say I suppose… But those that stand out today, are often made easy targets.They are swiped at by those in the shadows… So it does take bravery to shine, and be the real us celebrating our individuality. Yet ultimately, we are rewarded greatly… Especially if you want to be a successful hypnotherapist.

I want to suggest that we can all make a unique contribution to the world and life – in the way we are and the way we allow ourselves to be. We do not have to invent anything other then our own existence with our own vision.

So many people that I work with in my hypnotherapy rooms, my hypnotherapy students, those hypnotherapists that I mentor and supervise… Are afraid of failure or success. Afraid of what others might think. Afraid to go against the grain of establishments and associations. Afraid to do things differently to their peers. Afraid of doing things that their teachers or parents would not have done. As a result, so many of those run the risk of living a life flavoured with dissatisfaction.

Our brain is what we are blessed with from the day of being born and our mind is born out of that as life goes by. The function of our reasoning mind dictates the vast majority of who and how we are on a day to day basis, so lets take control of our minds and allow them to be free for us to use as we choose, no? I believe this is so important to find true happiness and also to achieve the kind of success that we look for.

Every single mind is individual.

I bet my mind is different to yours and yours is different to everyone else you know. There is no such thing the as a shared consciousness or a collective brain despite many big groups of people claiming it to be true, there is no evidence at all to suggest such a thing. We are each unique. Your mind is unique, isn’t it? As an entire human being, you are unique and though you may think it is cool to share certain facets with others, you are not the same as any other person out there.

Many of us find safety and protection in numbers and I understand that, how about getting naked every now and then though? Please, not literally… The next time you leave the house, or the office, have a very good look around you. How much of what you see would have existed if someone had not designed and built it? Wherever you are reading this now – look around you – all of that stuff was an idea in someone’s mind once. Someone who thought their own thoughts.

How much of your creative, critical thinking faculty are you using today?

There generally two ways we can choose to exist day-by-day… With the independent work of our own mind or as someone fed by the minds and influences of others. How much of what you are doing today is because you truly chose to do it? How much of how you are communicating yourself to the world is because you think you should be that way, or because it is actually who you really are?

We are often taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. How often have you thought critically this very day and have disagreed? Of course, we do not have to go around arguing for the sake of it, however, have you disagreed with something because you felt differently in your mind? have you applied an intelligent line of enquiry to what is going on around you, the things you are reading (look at my previous two weeks blog entries for me harlping on about critical thinking).

We are often taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. How many times did you go against the current today? Again, I am not suggesting that you be different just for the sake of it, just that you do what fulfils and inspires you. We are often taught that it is a virtue to stand together. When was the last time you stood alone? Metaphorically, when was the last time you chose not to have lemon and sugar on your pancakes and had your strawberry jam, natural yoghurt and almonds? When was the last time you wore jeans and t-shirt to work? Heck, I run my trainings in ripped jeans… Someone complained about it once and I got told by the bureaucrats at the Hypnotherapy Association that I had to advise prospective students of it, and it now is clearly stated in my course prospectus… Hahahaha, the ridiculousness of it!!

For today, how about you police your own mind and look at what you put into it and how you make the decisions you make and how you express yourself. So come on fellow hypnotherapists, fellow members of the human race, don’t allow yourself to be one of those people lurking in the shadowns sniping at those that dare to be colourful… Embrace your foibles, be proud of them, communicate as the real you, enjoy being you and the rewards you’ll get from standing out will enhance your satsifaction, and your business!