Section 1: Social Ego
By the afternoon of September 5th, 2020, an old nightmare had come to fruition. I got one of my popular social media friends on board, spent over $1000 on production, spent 2-3 days filming and helped edit the entire thing for hours… but my heart sank.
My first ever in-person YouTube episode collaboration with my friend Only Jayus flopped. While our previous collaborations easily surpassed 100’s (if not 1000’s) of views per day, HYPNOSPOOF had technically “failed”.
First and foremost, for those unaware, the concept behind HYPNOSPOOF was to personally teach Jayus how to hypnotize others by first explaining all the ridiculous myths that surround it. I would then proceed to demonstrate said myths in public as pranks, helping to convey their ridiculousness.
When Jayus reached out to me in October 2019 and suggested I create a unique virtual collaboration we could both post to social media, I was psyched. I literally brainstormed various possibilities until the official idea hit me about a day before we were scheduled to film.
That episode was titled “Mind Controlling Jayus”. To-date, it’s one of my most popular YouTube episodes (right behind “Hypnotizing Jayus (Skypenosis))”. Everyone loved it so much I was convinced they’d flock to see our first ever in-person collaboration since we met 3 years ago.
However, the primary fear I had about “Mind Controlling Jayus” ended up coming true for “HYPNOSPOOF”. That fear being there would be few present at the live premier and then the views would die down after that. While we had one of our best premier turn outs to-date (nearly 20 active viewers the entire time), the views did in fact die down the next day.
When I woke the following day and checked the numbers, my spirit was immediately crushed and my emotions plummeted. The episode barely surpassed 100 views. I felt like a failure. This would eventually lead to partial depression.
Now, three months later (in retrospect), I realize my ego expected the episode to receive a similar amount of attention as our previously successful collaboration. The moment I realized it wasn’t receiving said attention, I allowed it to negatively influence my self-worth.
Not-so-coincidentally, during our time in California, Only Jayus opened up on the Between Takes Podcast about experiencing these same psychological hardships when using social media. Considering she’s become a paid TikTok influencer, she has admitted to emotionally viewing her TikTok views in the same way that YouTuber like myself have viewed our YouTube views.
In summary, it’s good to be proud of a great finished product that you invested time and energy (and potentially money) on. The trouble comes when you let the attention your product receives dictate your self-worth.
This is a psychological challenge that many of today’s youth face. For example, it’s well known that platforms like Instagram consisted of countless profiles portraying unrealistic high-end lifestyles most viewers could only dream of obtaining. As a result, many followers would experience depression and worthlessness for failing to live up to these superficial standards.
In the same way those who yearn to obtain the money and notoriety of celebrities they follow, social media influencers can experience the same depression, anxiety, stress and/or worthlessness if a piece of content they publish fails to meet or exceed the same level of attention/response as their other content.
This can prove especially true if they heavily invested themselves into a project with their time, money, energy and emotion and desire the world to see, enjoy and react to it. That, unfortunately, is exactly what I experienced. I invest the most amount of time, money, energy and emotion into HYPNOSPOOF that I felt semi heart-broken when the views and reactions failed to meet my high expectations.
This is likely why older and wiser entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuck attempt to help younger generations to distance themselves from expectations. As many memes on the internet will tell us, our expectations rarely (if ever) equate to reality.
In other words, had I rallied the team up, invested in production and helped with the hours of editing simply for the love of the process (and to be self-satisfied with the final product), I likely wouldn’t have felt so disappointed.
Therefore, my biggest mistake of 2020 was creating something with the expectation that people would flock to and react to an idea-turned YouTube episode to help me feel validated (aka feeding my ego).
Needless to say, I took a bit of a break from YouTube after that. I edited and uploaded “Streachnosis 2020” in October which wasn’t even a finished concept. I did so, however, to help drive my audience’s attention away from the fact that I stopped working/recording for over a month as I worked on my self-worth, emotions and decided how I wanted to move forward.
During this time I actually noticed I felt stretched thin between constantly recording/uploading entertaining clips to my entertainment channel (Jon Wayes) while trying to keep up with free weekly lessons on my teaching channel (HypnoKick).
As a result, I made the decision to only post one free hypnosis lesson a month. This helped me…
- Lessen my monthly work load
- Not feel so rushed to develop HypnoKick’s next free lesson
- Create longer/more thorough lessons each month
- Devote more time to improving the Members Area for students
- Avoid overwhelming myself by spacing out the above
- Reduce my stress & improve my mood as a result
2020 has felt like years of craziness jammed into 365 days. Given the amount of stress/anxiety/despress/etc it’s caused so many, we all deserve whatever time and space we desire to keep our heads straight. So if you’re reading this and have felt stressed/overwhelmed recently, I invite you to take some “me time” for yourself this weekend!
For the rest of you that desire more HypnoKick ramblings from this year’s last free hypnosis lesson, here are three additional lessons 2020 taught me.
Section 2: 4 Lessons
Lesson #1: Virtual Vetting
The image above was taken from my first double hosted virtual comedy hypnosis show with HypnoKick student Hypnotic D.
As mentioned in an earlier HypnoKick lesson, it’s possible to hypnotize skeptics, even if you’re not physically in front of them.
During this particular show, I was fortunate enough to meet Hypnotic D’s friend Blake who was skeptical on whether or not he could actually be hypnotized. Long story short, whoever was hypnotizing him before did a mediocre job considering I was able to hypnotize him in about 10 minutes (and he became one of the stars of these virtual performance).
I wasn’t as fortunate when hypnotizing another fellow during my self-hosted virtual hypnosis show months later. This time I met a gentleman who had studied hypnosis in the past and performed a good deal of self hypnosis.
While I interpreted this to mean he’d potentially another somnambulist, I didn’t consider what he had hypnotized for during his past self hypnosis sessions. Turns out he had hypnotized himself throughout the years to recognize certain trigger words and phrases that could be interpreted as “controlling”.
Since I didn’t previously vet him before the show itself, all his body language kept telling me was that he wasn’t letting go and fully giving into the experience. As per HypnoKick’s Virtual Hypnosis Training in the Members Area, I had apparently said something in my induction that triggered him to wake up to avoid being controlled.
Now, anyone that knows me (including Ryan now), knows that my intentions are to control and manipulate my stage volunteers for my own personal gain. However, Ryan’s self hypnosis was so intricate that certain words I was using in my induction triggered him to exit trance as a psychological measure to help keep himself safe.
When we spoke post-performance and he agreed to a detailed interview for HypnoKick’s Virtual Hypnosis Training, I was impressed with his practice. It’s not often I meet someone who’s been psychologically training themselves for years to pick up on linguistic nuances to keep themselves safe.
Thankfully, he provided some general examples of how to improve my (and my students’) hypnotic inductions. This interview alone opened my eyes to how we could all easily tweak and improve our inductions to make them that much more effective for timid/hesitant volunteers.
This also proved to me that vetting interested volunteers before a virtual show is just as beneficial as vetting them before in-person shows. For example, the schools that hire me for After Prom hypnosis tend to have a higher turn out volunteer-wise if I mingle and perform strolling before the main show.
Virtually speaking, this was my approach with the University of Notre Dame when they hired me to virtually hypnotize some of their dorms. I got on a call with all the interested volunteers, did my thing and after about 10 minutes I knew who I’d use for the show.
Therefore, yes… you can approach virtual hypnosis like regular stage hypnosis and simply “kick” the non-responsive volunteers back into the virtual audience while continuing to focus on the responsive volunteers for the official performance. On the other hand, HypnoKick’s Virtual Hypnosis Training will soon be teaching how your non-responsive volunteers can still serve as key proponents in your production.
Lesson #2: Reality of Virtual
As covered in HypnoKick’s last lesson, virtual hypnosis was a blessing for many entertainers. While many of us were forced to cancel our prescheduled/ prepaid tours, some venues quickly adapted and requested virtual performances. Alternatively, other clients agreed to post-pone until 2021.
Not only were Hypnotists still hired to perform virtually but it led me to focus on my international reach. I’m intrigued by how many people (especially from older generations) never even considered virtual hypnosis or hypnotherapy. I say this from the perspective of being a professional Hypnotist that had to explain to an older woman this past year that the Hypnotist I was referring her to for therapy could provide the service via phone or video call (she was flabbergasted).
This is one of the reasons HypnoKick published the Virtual Hypnosis Training in 2020. I’ve practiced virtual hypnosis for the past five years but rarely spoke about/publicized it. Until COVID-19 had an international effect on people and jobs, I didn’t realize how much people needed this training.
This allowed those willing to adapt to continue their business. They may not have gotten as many entertainment bookings (let alone for regular booking price) but it was at least something. What’s more, with the media-induced panic, stress and anxiety, it also served as the perfect way to provide basic virtual hypnotherapy training to those interested in helping others.
Of course, as is often the case with technology, there was a catch to virtually delivering a service that was regularly provided in-person: Glitches. This could range from general connections freezing/disconnecting to people’s audio cutting out and camera’s relaying a distorted picture of individuals.
I noticed a heavy amount of audio glitching in November’s “Thanksgiving Hypnosis” YouTube episode. So much so I felt the need to include an audio warning to inform viewers why the audio sometimes glitched and sped up to the point of nearly sounding like an inaudible robot on speed.
It wasn’t until HypnoKick’s recent VIP Hypnosis Webinar that I considered the idea of screen recording my virtual meetings/shows. The result was flawless. Everyone in the webinar could be seen an heard during the recording’s playback.
Whether my internet just wasn’t up-to-par during the the recording of November’s episode or it was the platform I was using, if you’ve experienced technical issues with your recorded Zoom call playback, I’d suggest screen recording your next hypnosis session/ business meeting.
The caveat to screen recording is that sometimes those featured in your recording either don’t want their name publicized. When screen recording virtual calls on some platforms, the platform will automatically display the person’s name (meaning your screen recording will capture it).
If this is the case with someone you record a virtual call with, you’ll need figure out how to respect their request in an editing software. Same goes for those who don’t mind being heard in a recording but don’t wish to be seen.
Lesson #3: Music
Music brings communities of people together. It can be soothing, uplifting, motivation or comforting. Hearing music live in person is clear, crisp and enjoyable. This is why incorporating music into your stage hypnosis shows or hypnotherapy sessions can improve their effectiveness.
Whether your goal is to entertain or help people, music has the scientific power to help your volunteers and clients achieve their desired results. In fact, a Harvard Medical School published an article explaining how those who listened to soothing music before, during and after a procedure were calmer and less stressed/anxious than those who didn’t.
This is due to how our brain’s neural pathways react to certain types of music. In the same way that our brains have the natural ability to enter into Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta states of consciousness, music can help guide our brains to any of these levels as well.
That’s why listening to ambient/ nature sounds/ soothing instrumentals while relaxing, meditation, napping, sleeping or practicing hypnosis helps many of our brains achieve these relaxed states more quickly & efficiently. It’s also why listening to upbeat/ energizing/ hype music helps people work out, because it increases brain activity, awareness and blood flow.
When I first studied the effects of music on the brain and how it could help me improve my hypnosis, my old friend told me how his coach told him to listen to something upbeat/ fast/ energizing to help improve his running. After all, how easy would his run have been if he blasted Enya’s “Only Time” in his ears? Probably as effective as peacefully passing out for the night to death metal.
On a side note: Some individuals are wired differently psychologically. One of my old music teachers used to play in a band. When she finally had her child it used to pass out every time it heard her play because that’s what it became used to in the womb. I’m neither a scientist nor neurologist, so maybe that’s just a coincidence but I think it’s interesting either way.
The point behind this lesson is that while music is proven effective at help us induce certain states of minds, it can be tricky via virtual calls. Reason being, unlike listening to it live in-person, virtual calls tend to pick up only certain music notes.
This can range from high musical or vocal pitches to noticeable bass drops. As a result of virtual platforms naturally picking up these musical notes, it can cause lower/less prominent musical/vocal notes to be picked up immediately beforehand or afterward. This causes music played through a microphone on virtual calls to sound rather choppy.
I’ve found finding clips of music that have a relatively consistent relaxing tone work well. It’s best to research music before your virtual call to see if it fits the purpose (let alone length of) your session/ meeting.
I once played a YouTube video of music during a virtual show and a few minutes in realized it was a compilation of different music. Parts of the compilation included louder/quicker paced music while other parts were more calming. It was an interesting experience manually turning the compilation up and down throughout the induction.
So, while music will help you achieve your goals with virtual hypnosis (potentially even improve them), be sure to research the best music before each session. This way everything runs smoothly and neither you nor your volunteers/clients are startled like a rick rolling experience. If this reference confuses you, simply google “Rick Rolled” 😛
Here’s a video recap of this month’s lesson…
Section 3: Conclusion
My hope is that this year’s last lesson provides an aspiring or growing Hypnotist proof that even professionals experience emotional hurdles. We’re all human and have some degree of emotion. The goal is to gain better control of your ego to help yourself avoid emotionally spiraling.
While this lesson provides a wealth of emotional insight, some may still feel a bit lost in terms of actually getting started on their hypnosis journey and positively impacting lives through comedy and/or therapy. If that’s you, I’m proud to inform you HypnoKick’s Members Area can accommodate you.
With HypnoKick’s newly released New-Age Stage Hypnosis Training, the Members Area now contains 4 step-by-step hypnosis trainings. Each training explains how to achieve your hypnosis-related goals at your own pace, from home, so you can rock 2021!
So regardless if you’re a bookworm, hobbyist or aspiring professional, you’ll find everything you need to kick-start your hypnosis journey here 🙂