My Origin Story 2/2

Toronto Hypnosis

If you've ever been to New York, you've probably seen this one magic where there's three cards on the table and one of them is essentially the queen, and they shuffle just these three cards and if you can tell where the queen is you get to win the money that's in the pot. And if you don't, you lose however much money was in the pot. So I go up there and kind of hustled if you will. But because I used to do magic I knew how that they would force cards and stuff. So long story short, I win. And I win a bunch of money. And these very large black men are not very happy with me. And so I took the money and I ran the hell out of there. And then these three rather angry gentlemen ran after me all around Times Square and Central Park. I somehow gave them the slip but luckily I had enough money, had a considerable amount of money to survive on for the next six weeks, is what I did there in New York City.

And I'll tell you why I get into this because I've finally gotten my passport back, my visa. And I'm at JFK airport, I'm about to go home and I'm, quite frankly, feeling a bit of a failure, because I'd always dreamed of going to New York, to America, but specifically New York. And it turned out to be a bit of a nightmare, to be honest with you, a horror story. And I'm at the airport, JFK, and I'm waiting for my flight and it's been delayed. So I walk into a bookstore. And quite frankly, I was about 18 at that time. I'd probably read two books up to that point that had been forced upon me in school, and I think one of them was "Romeo & Juliet". I hated reading. I did not like reading. I did not get the value of reading, certainly books that were forced upon me.

But I find myself, and I think it was a Waterstones or maybe a Blackstone's in the JFK airport, and I'm in there and my flight's been delayed. And this is before smartphones and internet and all that stuff. So I'm looking for something to distract me, to be honest. So I'm in there, and my attention for whatever reason is transfixed to the top shelf. And no, there's no dirty magazines in there, get your mind out of the gutter, it was a bookshop. It was a respectable bookshop. It was Waterstones. And there's this book, this very thick, heavy tomb with this gentleman with a very chiseled jaw on it in and an executive suit and haircut. And I picked up that book and it was called "Unlimited Power" by a guy called Anthony Robbins, and I'm sure none of you have heard of Anthony Robbins before.

And I got on the plane, this book was huge and it's small text, quite dense, about 550 pages. And I just ate that book up on that flight home. I think I actually read that book on the flight home, I mean, crazy. I read the book. And it was this guy who was, he was helping people but he wasn't a counselor. And I always wanted to help people, but I didn't want to be a counselor. And it's also getting to perform, yet he was not an actor or a singer. And I was not an actor or a singer but I wanted to perform. And he'd put together this system of...I later learned that was a neurolinguistic programming and hypnosis and fused it all together to his system of NAC, Neuro Associational Conditioning, I believe is what it was called.

I'm like, that's what I wanna do. I always knew I wanted to help people but didn't want to listen to people bitch and complain for years and years and years and not get fixed. And I always wanted to perform. But quite frankly, I cannot sing and my acting is questionable at best. And it was at that point where I put that hypnosis tape that I'd got many years before, a couple years before, and what Tony Robbins was doing. I'm like, that's it. That's what I need to do with the rest of my life.

And I come back to the UK, and again, I was researching NLP and neurolinguistic programming and what this was. And again, the internet was in its infancy then, so it's was very hard to research this, just going to the library a lot. I bought Tony Robbins' follow-up book "Awaken the Giant Within", and it just, again, it was really a syllabus of neurolinguistic programming if we were honest there, but Tony calls it something else. And I just voraciously just ate that up, and I'm like, "Yeah, that's what I need to do."

Later on that year, a few months later, I found myself at a kind of mind, body, spirit expo, where you have all the earthy, crunchy, kind of holistic practitioners there. And I'm walking around and there's a hypnotist, and a guy, I can't quite remember his name. But he was selling, you know, audio cassettes and stuff and he'd appeared on a breakfast morning TV show called "Good Morning" in the United Kingdom a couple of times. I kind of remembered him there. He's giving away 10-minute sessions, so he did some stuff with me, kindly. And to be honest, it just honestly felt like someone was talking to me but I was very thankful of his time, he seemed like a nice guy. And I bought a couple more of his audio cassettes.

And as I'm walking around I ended up at a table for an NLP and hypnosis and Time Line therapy stand there from the Performance Partnership, which had been around about 25 years, David Shephard's company in England. And I kind of picked up their brochures of NLP and hypnosis and Time Line therapy courses they were running. And remember, I'm an 18-year-old kid essentially, and these courses were about £2,000, which is about $4,000 back then. So I didn't have that kind of money. And quite frankly, I was pretty much homeless at that point as well because I wasn't really living at home and I had no fixed abode. I wasn't quite living on the street but I also didn't quite have a home. And I had no money and I had no jobs. Oh, because that was another thing as well, I was...the government had claimed that I was suffering from deep depression and would pay most of my bills for me back then, I had that crutch.

But I knew that I needed to do this course, but there was no way for me to afford it. And I remember walking to a bank one day, I had no cosigner, I had no means of paying back this loan, I had no job. I had nothing, and I knew I needed to find the money to do the practitioner and master practitioner and trainers training of hypnosis, NLP, and Time Line with Performance Partnership. And it was about £10,000, $20,000, which is a lot of money. And it was certainly a lot of money 20, 25 years ago. But somehow I convinced the bank manager to give me a $20,000, £10,000 loan. And I took that money and didn't buy drugs, didn't buy alcohol, I didn't do any of that stuff. I gave it all to the Performance Partnership to train me on these courses.

And I think up until that point, I was the youngest person they ever had on a training. And I got my certification after doing my prac, master prac, trainers training on hypnosis, NLP, Time Line, which is all very, very good in the very, very early noughties, late '90s. And I remember, there's a lot of people in these courses, the nearest person to my age was about 10 years older than me. So I would go there, I was terrified, you know, I didn't have any social ability back then. And I'd learned all these skills but quite frankly, I had no idea how to put them into practice, how I was gonna make a living at doing this. I just knew that I needed to help people and make a change.

And then I kind of dabbled with it, really, for the next couple of years. Had another career that was going on concurrently after that when I became a fitness trainer but my passion was always the psychological aspect of what I did. And so quite frankly, I'd burned all that money, did very little with it, and then went on doing another bunch of certifications with people like Valerie Austin and a One Hour Stop Smoking course and many others. And really, it wasn't until after I started with Valerie Austin, and she had a nice system together of how to do hypnosis, specifically for stop smoking, but for other courses as well, a nice A to Z if you will on how to structure a session and what to deliver, that I actually did a few sessions and was paid for it, for smoking and for heights, fear of heights, fear of phobias.

And did okay, was pretty okay with it, but I didn't quite know how I was gonna turn this into a living. So I kind of stuck, safely in some means I guess, with being a personal fitness trainer. But I always wanted to go into this more. And I dabbled, stayed in that fitness field for some time and I moved to Canada about 8, 9, 10 years ago now. And again, I was still...I kind of knew that I needed to do something with this hypnosis but I'd gone back to what I knew in the fitness realm because I'd been very successful in there and did good work. But really, my heart was not there.

Until eventually, about five, six, seven, eight years ago, that's a big jump, it sounds like I'm lying. And in actual fact, it was probably about six years ago, I'm like, "You know what, I need to pursue this hypnosis thing more, do it more full time," even though I had been involved 20, 25 years in some form or fashion with it. And I remember I worked for a company called GoodLife, which is the big chain of gyms here in Canada, and my boss had found out about my hypnotic background, he's like, "Would you mind doing a bit of hypnosis show in one of our meetings, because they're really boring, people get tired, and it'd be good light entertainment."

And quite frankly, I'd done a few sessions, but I'd never done performance hypnosis, phenomenon, or anything like that. So I'm like, "Sure," and I just shitted it at that point. I was like, "Oh my God, I don't know how to do this. This is absolutely terrifying." So I remember, I got Anthony Jacquin's Manchurian Candidate program, and I just basically did that. I just learned it, I made lots of notes and I actually delivered it and I hypnotized someone for real in the meeting. And this was a guy that didn't like me. I didn't particularly like this guy either, we'd just not have good rapport. But I'd hypnotized him and he was a bit of a jock if you will. And I'd hypnotized him to believe that this two-pound weight on the floor he couldn't pick up and he couldn't pick up. And I'd done a bunch of phenomenon and it all worked, and people were shocked by it. And no one was more shocked than me, I'm like, "Oh, there's something to this stuff."

I ended up leaving the fitness realm and kind of getting more in my I have to do this, I have to do this hypnosis stuff and I have to do it fulltime and I have to dedicate the rest of my life to it. By hypnosis, I put all change work under that umbrella as well. So then I just got into hypnosis fulltime basically. And by fulltime I mean as I only make my living off of hypnosis and no other money come in. I cut off all the other ties, I cut off all the comfort of making money from doing things that I was good at but didn't particularly have that passion for, and just pursued hypnosis fulltime. And I'm very grateful for doing it.

So that's a little bit about my origin story and how I got involved, why I got involved with hypnosis and you know, just to tell you, it cured my asthma. I know I'm not supposed to say it cures things, but I had whooping cough, I was on inhalers multiple times a day, I nearly died of whooping cough, I think as I mentioned earlier. And one day after listening to my hypnosis tape as a teenager, I'm like, "I'm gonna take up fitness. I'm gonna take up martial arts. And I'm just going to stop taking my inhalers." I'm not suggesting that you should do that but it's something that I did because I would never ask my clients to do something that I wouldn't be willing to do.

And I never had an asthma attack after that, never had a whooping cough attack after that. It just ceased to be. And haven't used an inhaler, what, for like 22, 24 years now. I've been the most physically active that I've been. Ended up dropping, I don't know, about 50 pounds with hypnosis. Really developing social acuity and becoming an entrepreneur. And if it wasn't for hypnosis, if it wasn't for me getting in hypnosis, getting my mind right and making these changes, I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't be asked to speak at these events like Hypnoforce and the Canadian Hypnosis Conference and kind of making the kind of living that I am now and really affecting people, really positive change.

And it was all because I was a fucked up kid and I didn't want anyone to have to go through the loneliness, the agony, the anxiety, the depression that I had to go through as a kid. I wanted to be able to get in there and help people. But not help people listening to them be bitch and complain and be sympathetic, but be empathetic and help them to rapidly change their life as hypnosis helped me to do. And that's why I got involved in this, it's why I'm passionate about this. This is why I continually push the envelope and I always, if you're a change worker, always suggest that you find a start that works for you. Take from lots and lots of people, but you put your own twist on there. You don't try and be a cardboard cutout on someone else.

You get all these skills that you're gonna accumulate from many, many people, but you filter it through your own experience. Hence why people come to see me, and one of the feedbacks I get, which is actually a great compliment but in the past, it wasn't so much because I didn't get it, was you're different from everyone else. And I'm here to tell you it's okay to be different. It's okay to stand out. You don't have to be like everyone else. It's okay to be you. It's okay to polish that diamond and to be you but to be the best you that you can be. And whoever tells you you can't do it, however fucked up you think you were, I was probably even more fucked up than you and found a way out, and to be successful and to use that as my driving force to propel me to help other people get out of it rapidly and not take 16 to 18 years to do so.

Part 1 here:

Always Believe,
Luke Michael Howard CHT
Clinical Hypnotist

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