This week marked the anniversary of me setting up my first hypnotherapy practice, some 21 years ago! My qualifications and professional memberships predate this of course, but I set up my hypnotherapy business 21 years ago.
I am getting plenty of congratulations from people on LinkedIn, most of whom are clicking the automated “congratulations” button without any personalisation at all, which is making me feel pretty special, appreciated and wonderfully connected to those people, I must say. My penchant for sarcasm has not abated in the past 21 years either, that’s for sure.
In the last 21 years, I have worked with a few thousand individuals one-to-one for hypnotherapy, had a couple of bestselling books, sold a few hundred thousand audio products, trained and taught hundreds of people, lectured to thousands and am still here, in this field, and despite some challenges and struggles in the early days, today we are doing OK as far as I’m concerned.
I recall on my 21st Birthday having that conversation with other friends that there was now nothing left in terms of what I was legally permitted to do; you can smoke from 16 in the UK, drink alcohol at 18, and at the time, you could get an HGV license at the age of 21 – there was nothing left, I could now go and do whatever I chose, within the confines of the law. We joked that the previous 21 years had been training, laying foundations for the day we hit 21 and could then do what we wanted.
Upon reflection, I feel like these first 21 years of my business have really only been setting foundations. I’d say that it has only been in recent times that I have felt free within the field I work within – that is, free to dictate my own direction, express myself, follow what I truly believe, I think in those early days I did not know enough, have enough experience or understanding to be the way I am today. My business has a firm set of principals today, it has a vision, and has been built upon an ethos that I feel strongly about. I think I probably could have earned much more money and been much more popular if I had strayed from that ethos, but I am pleased that I have remained true to it, as much as has been possible.
For me, longevity has been key. I had a dream of being where I am today – that is; working for myself, having autonomy over my life, choosing the direction of my business with hypnotherapy and hypnosis being at the heart of what I do, using it to help others in a wide range of ways. That was the dream, in a sense, I am living the dream! (I cracked up writing that!) Whenever I set goals each new year, and commence working on new projects, I remind myself that what I have now was once a dream I had and have a lot of gratitude for this.
This week, I received a couple of messages from people who were around when I was starting out, most of them are not actually working in this field any longer, and we discussed all the people who were prevalent at the time, the different types of communication employed back then, marketing attempts, and it made me realise how much has changed and how few people have true longevity of career in this field. For anyone wanting to work as a hypnotherapist for a lengthy period of time, from nothing more than my own experience, I suggest having the following:
Adaptability: When I was a boy, my Dad was a member of the Round Table organisation, he was always a member of varying types of groups such as this. The phrase “adopt, adapt, improve” is a key facet of the organisation, almost like a motto and can be found on much of the Round Table literature and regalia. it related to the idea of adopting methods that have proved effective in the past, adapting them to the changing times and when it was possible to do so, improve them. This always stuck with me.
When we examine the history of hypnosis, we see such development, such change occurring, some turbulent times, some volatile times and some real golden periods. Likewise, in just the years I have been working in this field, I have seen such a lot of change; not just in terms of the way the field is perceived, the way people develop a career in this field, but also the ways people have navigated a business through recessions, uncertain times and traversed or worked through bad publicity, myth and misconception.
Being able to adapt has been key. Adapt to the climate, adapt to the perceptions and respond accordingly. Seriously, adopt, adapt improve should be something we all have at the heart of our hypnotherapy work with clients and with our businesses.
Hard work: Of course we all want a quality of life that an effective business affords us. However, it is tough to have a truly 4-Hour Workweek (a la Tim Ferris) when we are working with one-to-one clients in our consulting rooms each day. Then are developing our business and refining what we do at other times. SO of course there needs to be some dedication and discipline.
Additionally, hard work, dedication and discipline are not just themes of being productive. They are also about how we “show up” each day. How do we ensure we are fully present with the people we engage with, how do we ensure we recover from what we do and rejuvenate regularly, how do we reflect upon what we do, how do we ensure we do not burn out at the same time?
I recommend working hard on your mood and the way you are in general. You’ll be a good advertisement for what you do that way, but also, people will feel good around you. The people who have made the biggest impression upon me are those who make me feel good when I am around them. As a hypnotherapist and as a professional business person, that is crucial.
Love for the subject: Everything is made easier when you love what you do. Before we had children, I would take academic journals and text books (as well as sci-fi and fantasy novels, of course) with me on holidays with my wife because I loved reading about my subject so much.
I encounter numerous people who love the idea of being a hypnotherapist, but for a number of reasons, the reality of it does not live up to the fantastical dreams they have/had. Often because they’ve not been able to develop a business, or because they are not getting the results they want with clients, or just that the reality of being in a therapy room working with people who are ill, depressed or anxious is not quite as romantic as it once seemed!
For me, the love was kept strong even at the times of struggle, and it saw me through. I have great curiosity, I have a mission that is well unfinished, and it fuels my love. I tap into that often and it helps greatly.
Enthusiasm: The above naturally leads to this one. Being enthusiastic is one thing, but really ensuring people can feel and tune in to your enthusiasm is something which fuels the business and also helps you individually. People say enthusiasm is contagious and yes I believe it is, not just contagious to other people though; but also contagious to your days. If you are enthusiastic one day, there is a good likelihood that it’ll spread into other days too, and that enthusiasm will work it’s way into the way you communicate your business online, in real-life and influence you in numerous ways.
Humility: Being able to accept when I am wrong, have made mistakes or could do things better. That is, I have re-written books, updated course curriculums, developed and adapted in line with feedback, constructive criticism, evidence base and experience. I have been humble enough to admit I do not know it all and do not have the answers to everything and that there is always room for improvement. I think this is key as a hypnotherapist and hypnotherapy teacher and lecturer.
I’ve written before about my recent experiences with peer review, with the really detailed feedback from my lecture given at the Royal Society of Medicine, and the way I encourage feedback from clients, students and peers – being humble enough to listen to it and not think we know enough already, not think we know better than everyone and anyone already. Not always easy, but you will achieve more and faster, with humility.
I did not intend to write up a recipe for longevity of career as a hypnotherapist, and to be honest, I feel that 21 years is just the early days for me. I am really excited about the next 21 years, seeing how things mature, develop and grow here.
That’s it today, a bit of a stream of consciousness today. I might light some candles this weekend and celebrate.
Have some of themes here resonated with you? Then have a read of these pages:
1. Do you need help or support in a particular area of your life?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studies?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book.