When my career as a journalist came to a screeching halt after 25 years as the U.S. correspondent for an Austrian publishing house, it wasn’t just the income I missed. Most of my friends were in the same field and I knew I wouldn’t be seeing much of them. I also missed interviewing interesting people and covering world events. But what hurt me most was the realization that my whole identity was wrapped up into my profession as a journalist.
One night, I re-watched Billy Wilder’s classic comedy, The Front Page, about the shenanigans of a reporter who cannot retire and lead a conventional life because he can’t shed his inner newsman. I had to ask myself, am I the female equivalent of the Jack Lemmon character, Hildy Johnson, and was there more to life than the thrill of the news?
It took me two years of brooding and pondering my fate until the universe took pity on me. In January 2019, Chris Howard announced that he would be teaching an online hypnosis class at a very affordable price ($197) and asked if I was interested in joining him. I’ve known Chris Howard for many years. Our first encounter was at the old Learning Annex in 1998, when he taught “Selling through Hypnosis.” At the time, I had an idea for a TV show but no idea how to sell it to a studio. Hypnosis, I thought, might be an unconventional way to go. I imagined throwing in a few hypnotic phrases and gestures when I pitched the show, and voilà, some big wig studio boss would eat up my fabulous idea.
But the evening at the Learning Annex back in 1998 didn’t go as anticipated. I don’t remember what I expected, but it wasn’t a fantastic looking, 27-year old man with a blonde bombshell girlfriend, teaching the program. I was afraid that I would be wasting my time, but the young man was not only versed in the use of hypnosis, he was also an NLP Master who understood quantum physics so well he could explain it in lay terms to the rather clueless Learning Annex audience. (To the reader who has never heard of the Learning Annex, it was a private initiative that offered low-priced, adult classes on nights and weekends. Many excellent teachers bridged the gap from conventional learning to deeper spiritual wisdom with their self-improvement programs, others would teach hands-on classes for beginning photographers and aspiringchefs. I took advantage of many of their offers until the institution sadly closed its door in 2007.)
The Learning Annex evening with Chris Howard left me longing for more. A few years later, in 2003, I got a flyer in the mail with an invitation from Chris to join him for a weekend seminar that he designed himself, called “Breakthrough to Success.” I signed up. I was curious what NLP and hypnosis could do for my personal development. I was stressed out at the time from sometimes cruel deadlines, intense interview situations and other problems that came along with being a journalist. The promise that NLP could help me to change my thoughts and perceptions was appealing. I trusted Chris Howard to deliver on his promises and, no surprise, the weekend became a life-changing experience. At the end of the seminar, when Chris had us karate-chop a wooden board in half, I knew things had changed for me. At first, I trembled and listened to a too-familiar voice in my head, my father’s voice, telling me I can’t do anything that requires physical strength. It took me three attempts until, drumroll, my board gave in and fell with a boisterous crack! to the ground. The sound was louder than my father’s voice had ever been and silenced him forever.
What is NLP, Neurolinguistic Programming, and why does it work so well? NLP was founded in 1975 by Dr. John Grinder, a linguistic professor, and Dr. Richard Bandler, a mathematician, at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC). Dr. Bandler was asked to write the definition of Neuro-Linguistic Programming that appears in the Oxford English Dictionary. It says: Neuro-Linguistic Programming: “a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behavior and the subjective experiences (especially patterns of thought) underlying them” and “a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behavior.”
“It’s all about transforming your mindset,” Chris Howard explained to a crowd of severalhundredpeople at the ‘Breakthrough to Success’ weekend seminar in 2003. “When we want to change something,” Chris shared, “we need to pinpoint what it is that stops us from achieving the success we dream of. Here, we’re going to blast through limiting decisions. If somebody tells you ‘it’s just in your mind,’ get excited, because it is. Change your mind, change your life! I am not interested in pumping people up into a hyper state of motivation only to have them go home and have their lives gradually return to ‘normal,’ as in so many peoples’ seminar experience. Our training and programs are unique in that participants not only undergo a profound change, they also take with them speciﬁc techniques to apply in their daily lives to remain focused and motivated through the accomplishment of their intended goals.”
‘Change your mind, change your career’ became my mantra this past January, when I started the online hypnosis class with Chris Howard. What did I want to do with my newly acquired hypnosis skills? Become a hypnotherapist, perhaps a stage hypnotist? I felt it wasn’t enough to know hypnosis, I wanted more: to become an NLP-master and combine both, hypnosis and the sophisticated technology of NLP, to serve people who need rapid change. My research convinced me that working with PTSD-sufferers would be the most rewarding use of my skills. I underwent an intensive 5-week training with Chris, pushed myself through long days with additional daily “home play” to either memorize scripts or work on presentations for the next day. My sleep pattern became as insane as in the old days in college before final exams. At the end of the course, I got all the certifications I need for my new career and, more importantly, the skills to face the real world as a hypnotherapist/NLP Master Result Coach.
If my story intrigues you, and you’re looking to change your mind or/and your career, check out Chris Howards new “Ultimate Breakthrough to Success” Seminar. It takes place on July 19, 20 and 21 at the LAX Hilton in Los Angeles.