Happy New Year! To help you avoid possible mistakes moving into 2019, this week’s free hypnosis lesson is about my biggest professional mistake of 2018.
Just over two months ago, I was hired to host a comedy hypnosis show for a fraternity dinner.
I had been looking forward to this event for months as I had initially been in contact with the client since I was on my Spring tour in 2018.
When the date finally came, I rested, dressed & drove without properly working windshield wipers on the one day that week it seemed to rain (of course).
Upon my arrival, the client was pleased to have finally met me in person and immediately led me to the staged area.
I began my set up, a crowd began to form & within moments I was introducing myself and giving my pre-talk to start the show.
A few things I noticed that would present me with a difficult time:
- There were a slew of parents attending the event with their frat children (parents rarely enjoy volunteering to be center of attention during events like these).
- While there was a decent number of college students present, it was apparent that the majority were more comfortable sitting down to enjoy the show than to volunteer for it.
- People were jokingly volunteering/egging on their fraternity mates versus openly volunteering themselves (expect for 1 or 2).
After getting a few people onto the staged area. I did my basic induction. Due to the rush to setup up and get started, I didn’t play any music and had to keep touching base with the audience to keep their noise to a minimum.
I eventually landed on the two individuals that were the stars of the show. Side note, it’s interesting that in just about any sized venue I’ve ever performed in, that I always have at least two fantastically-minded volunteers!
After a few basic demonstrations, I began to pace on stage as I progressed to more a more intricate routine.
Upon pacing back, I noticed one of the volunteers had vanished. I stood confused for a second, before seeing him in the conjoined kitchen. I could tell by his body language, which he confirmed, he felt off with being hypnotized due to the weird feelings he experienced (like tingling (which are natural)).
I effortlessly moved onto my last volunteer, who was now hypnotized to feel stuck to his chair, with his arms and legs paralyzed. I asked if he could either replicate the Hitler or Statue of Liberty poses to prove he was actually paralyzed or not.
This request proved he was a somnambulist, as he was unable to accommodate either request. He simply sat there. I reassured him he was not in fact hypnotized and would enable him to move again.
Upon re-inducing him, a woman in the front row requested I wake him up. I reassured her I would, that the re-induction was simply part of the process and he’d be ok. She was insistent that he wake up in that moment. Confused again, I asked if he had to leave, which she confirmed.
What I didn’t tell you, the reader, was that moments after I requested him to replicate the Hitler or Statue of Liberty poses, the back of the room began to congregate into the back of the kitchen (where I had entered) and slowly rally.
It was brought to my attention about 30 seconds later that I had unintentionally touched a raw nerve with the entire room. Unbeknownst to me, until that moment, I was entertaining a Jewish Fraternity. Some members of whom had immediate family that had survived The Holocaust.
I was instantaneously overwhelmed. Not only had I not done my research regarding the establishment I was entertaining, I had completely left an unintentional horrid taste in the mouths of everyone present due to an off-the-cuff reference as a byproduct.
I was temporarily frozen with guilt & fear as a gentleman grabbed my shoulder & made it clear I had accidentally crossed a line I never even meant to approach. I was then continuously cursed at and shamed by most of the students and parents alike until I was finally packed/departed.
While the organizer themselves handled their emotions and physical reactions the most professionally, I understand the reactions of the other guests. I apologized profusely, explained my off-the-cuff reference as a thoughtless mishap & provided a full refund.
Moving forward, I’ll likely never forget that evening. I think it was the first show I ever drove away from and bawled over. I felt I not only failed my client and her guests but myself. I’ve used it as a reminder to always call ahead, gather proper information about my future clients/venues & what is/isn’t appropriate. I aspire to only touch people/audiences in a more positive (if not dramatically enlightening) manner moving into 2019 and beyond.
Needless to say, your take-away from this crazy experience of mine, is to follow the steps mentioned above. Call ahead, ask about your client/audience/venue, ask what topics are taboo to the community, what language/comedy is/isn’t appropriate, what topics are best to avoid, etc.
This week’s video explains what I know I could have done (and what you can do) to avoid this…
I believe in being a great teacher, which means being open with you, my students. To both live by example and practice what I preach but to also be transparent about my professional mistakes. This proves I’m only human like you & continue to grow from my mistakes, just as you can from any you may make.
There you have it, even those you look up to make mistakes (and sometimes cry). What matters most is if you learn and truly grow from such experiences. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hesitant to post this. I screwed up, have already gone through the feeling-like-shit phase and now the rest of the world will know (it’s intimidating to a degree).
Nevertheless, I have forgiven myself, taken measures to ensure such scenarios are avoided in the future & hope this serves as a nudge to my students to be mindful of their choices. No matter how small, your words and actions can impact someone, make sure it’s a positive one.
What mistakes have you made with hypnosis? What could you do in the future to either ensure such mistakes are avoided or are handled better? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll add my 2 cents if I think it could be of any help in your personal and/or professional growth.
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