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Post Irma – Helping Out The Best Way I Can

Some of us were really fortunate to get through Irma untouched.  Some maintained power, while many lost more than just power – they lost treasured memories, businesses, homes and sadly, even loved ones. We lost time. We lost resources. We lost money. We lost faith. We lost our minds. There is no way to measure the impact of any loss or compare the stress of one loss to that of another. It’s all stress and it all takes a toll. The community is collectively stressed.

As a small business owner, this period of recovery translated into cancellations as clients now direct their attention to more basic needs, the needs of their families, and their own businesses. Completely understandable.  Yet, now I find myself with a very open schedule – a rare thing for a business typically booked solid three weeks in advance. So, what to do with that available time? I observe neighbors helping neighbors clean up debris, I see restaurants serving free meals, I see strangers sharing resources like gas, electricity, water and even opening their homes. Should I come to your house and wield a chainsaw and clear that tree trunk? Could I best serve by sweeping debris from your gutter or delivering a casserole? Do I run an extension cord and power strip from my house and invite folks to stop by for a charge? Should I just passively donate to the Red Cross from my phone? No, I believe my time and skill is worth far more to my community than my money or my sweat. I believe my ability to help others create Powerful Positive Change is the best resource I can share.

So, here’s what I have determined will have the greatest positive impact. Next week, September 18 – 22, I am offering complimentary Tapping, NLP and Stress Reduction Meditation and Mindfulness Sessions. This is open to anyone. Anyone. Sessions may last between 30 – 45 minutes. These sessions are complimentary and all I ask is that if you schedule, you show up. First come first serve. There are only a limited number of spots available and when they are gone, they are gone. Please don’t book a time unless you intend to honor your appointment. Please understand, to protect the privacy of my clients, you must book in advance as walk-ins cannot be accommodated.

Research shows that unresolved stress not only damages your body, but also primes your subconscious to react quicker not only during the next crisis but also in anticipation of it. More important, stress may cause you to misperceive situations as more stressful than they really are. Under stress, it’s nearly impossible to think rationally to make the kind of sound important decisions necessary to protect yourself, your loved ones and your home. The goal of our time together will be to help you enjoy a noticeable shift in your physical and emotional state, through the use of some of the most powerful tools in my field.  You can read more about these tools on the ABOUT THE TOOLS page of my site and read more about the clinical effectiveness of these techniques below:

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT / Tapping) has been shown to rapidly calm the nervous system and reprogram the stress response and even prevent traumatic events from imprinting on the subconscious. Read more about the effectiveness of EFT / Tapping with Veterans with PTSD. 

• In clinical trials, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) has been shown to significantly reduce stress while reprograming neuro-associations and creating new neural pathways to change how you perceive and relate to stressors. Read more about NLP’s effectiveness on the Stress Level of Critical Care Nurses. 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction & Meditation has produced statistically and clinically significant decreases in PTSD and long-term resolution of anxiousness and depressive feelings by and through simply connecting to your breath and returning your focus to the present moment. Read more about the success of MBSR with Female Trauma Survivors. 

There is no catch. No pressure to book anything beyond that session. Just come in and let’s relieve some stress. Let’s get together and calm the stress response, recalibrate your inner peace and get you, and our community, back on track. What have you got to lose but some stress?

Call me at 941-681-0117 or email danifoxhypnosis@gmail.com to schedule.

*Note: Per Florida Statutes, we will not be working on any pain or any diagnosed physical or mental health condition in these sessions unless you provide a referral from your doctor or mental health practitioner. No warranties are extended and specific outcomes are not guaranteed. Individual results will vary.  Offer will not extend beyond Friday, September 22, 2017.

I Don’t Chase Clients

I Don't Chase Clients - January 13, 2016

If you know me or have worked with me, you know I don't chase clients.  If they call me to book an appointment and never return my call, I don't try to hunt them down.  If they miss an appointment and don't call me, I don't call them.   If after several sessions, they suddenly drop off the radar and don't book for a week, or a month, or a year, I don't email a reminder of all we have left to do.  And when they do book or call, I don't remind them how long it's been.  If they cancel an appointment or no show, I don't call or hound them to reschedule.   That doesn't mean I don't have boundaries.  It doesn't mean I don't care.  I just don't chase them to schedule.  Client's have to want to do this work, MORE than I do.  That's how it works.  That's WHY it works.

Despite having leading edge training in some of the most powerful techniques in influencing behavior, and despite having advanced skill in shifting people from one mindset to another, my approach to attracting and retaining clients is very simple - care for the client experience.   That begins with simply extending compassion to real people with real problems who are doing the best they can.  This means meeting clients where they are, instead of where they could be (on my calendar and in my constant contact database.)   See, I know the best way to motivate a client to schedule is to start with a motivated client.   And when they come (and they always do) it's my priority to do whatever I can to NOT add stress to their situation.  Otherwise stress creates a pressured client who will all of a sudden become. . . wait for it. . . .and unmotivated client.  And then my job becomes twice as hard.

Sadly, I am inundated, (as we all are) with examples of how many marketers are NOT leading with a concern for the client experience.  It seems, these days, the prevailing approach targets an individual's sense of regret, guilt, fear of missing out, entitlement, embarrassment, and even shame for NOT biting on the call to action.  This pressure is demeaning and pushes me as a consumer further and further away from products and services, making it twice as hard for the marketer to bring me back.  In my mind, I would rather start fresh with someone new than pick up with the marketer who shamed for NOT buying.   Frankly, for the marketer I see more time, money, and energy wasted than revenue generated or value created.   For the consumer, I see all of that AND emotion wasted.  How can anyone be a motivated client under those conditions?

No surprise to learn that my approach to the client experience was fostered by my work at Disney -- the leader (hands down) in marketing with the exceptional guest experience as it's driver.  The principles are timeless and transcend any industry, product or service.  If you begin with the end in mind -- shape your marketing approach around what you want your clients to experience, you will make so much more than a sale, you will make a relationship built upon powerful emotions with positive associations to you and your brand.  I know it works because I have seen my practice grow in this model without relying upon the marketing practices described above.

It's not enough to just create a picture of that experience, you have to build a process and support it with a mindset and set of practices that produce the result.  A 30,000 foot view of that approach looks something like this:

  1. Potential clients are people, not leads.  They are real people with real problems who want real solutions.  They are thinking about parting with real money and investing real time to buy your product or engage your service.   Whether you target market or use the buckshot approach, they need to feel like more than just a demographic hit or piece of buckshot.  So they need your focus.  They need to see and hear that you understand them and have their best interest in mind - even if you are NOT the right fit for them.  This fosters a sense of trust and positive association with you.  Even if they never buy from you, the positive experience creates a relationship, which lends to more referrals -- and all you did was listen and extend basic human respect.   You may remember from the movie Miracle on 34th Street, how Macy's became an ambassador of goodwill  by sending shoppers to Gimbel's for items they didn't have in stock.  Same idea.  Always be working for the best and highest interest of people's needs -- not what you want to sell them.
  2. People are on a journey, not in a sales pipeline.  They have an idea of where they are, and where they want to be and they have some idea that your product or service will play some role in getting them there.  All you can really do is educate and inspire them as to how your product or service is a natural compliment to where they are going.  And then respect and honor their choice and timeline (see previous comment about the motivated client).  Build your transactions and touches around their readiness, not an arbitrary automatic schedule delivered by your content software based on when and how many times they opened an email.  Resolve to become a gardener.   Plant the seeds, cultivate the relationship watch with joy what grows on the journey.  It will likely exceed your expectations and theirs especially when you extend patience for their process.
  3. Cake takes better than carrots.   Don't be a afraid to dole out something free to recruit, retain or recover a client -- with no quid pro quo and no strings attached.  I'm not talking about a note pad with your logo on it, or a beer koozi.  I'm not talking about free sessions necessarily or a free recliner, but I do mean something in and of itself useful to the client even if you never saw them again.   I'm talking something of value, that gives a the client a real feel for their value to you -- not the other way around.  Serve up some cake.  Make it something that is satisfying and memorable -- something that builds powerful positive emotions and again, fosters that positive association to you and your product or service.  Free consults definitely fall into this category as long as they do not end with violations of point 1 or 2 above.  Pressure on the heels of a free gift is a not only a rotten carrot on a string, it creates indigestion and a negative association.
  4. Treat clients like you want to be treated.   So this should feel like a no-brainer. yet, when I check my email and see that buckshot approach to getting my attention again -- 10 emails in a week  from that pet store "Oh No! Fido is Running Out of Dog Food." Or when I visit that service provider and she hands me 5 more discount coupons to give to friends and family.  Or another key in the mail from Joe's auto dealership down the street.  I'm insulted.  Seriously, who thinks I need to hear from them that that much?  Who thinks I didn't pay attention last time I was handed those coupons or that key?  Understand, if you take the buckshot approach, statistically you will land on people.  But at what cost?  The repeated attempts at communicating lose meaning and the message no longer becomes targeted marketing.  Worse, it's annoying and you alienate potential clients who were better fit for you than the ones who got shot. Treat clients like they are smart and pay attention and guess what, you will attract smart focused clients.  More important, they will come looking for you because you DON'T operate like everyone else.
  5. Be grateful, let go and trust.   When I meet people, I sit in a place of gratitude for the encounter regardless of where it leads.  I listen.  I share.  And if the opportunity presents, I educate about what I do and how I can help.  Then I let it go and trust.  I trust I have created a foundation of compassion and respect.  I trust that the right people who need this work are finding their way to me.  I trust that clients can see the care for their experience in every tool and transaction.  I trust that the positive association they have made with me will serve them at the right time.  While we working together, I empower them with as many tools as I can to do this work on their own, and to transition them back to their own resources as quickly, and efficiently as possible.  Then, when they are ready to move on - no pressure, no guilt, no shame -- move on.  Positive associations throughout and all the way up to the end.   And it works.  No one ever attracted, retained or re-gained a client through pressure, guilt, shame or desperation.  If you let gratitude be the undercurrent for the entire experience, you will attract more clients and experiences to be grateful for.  This usually shows up as referrals.

So somewhere, there is a business coach who is going to want to revoke my coaching cert and my MBA for what I shared.  And somewhere else, there is a marketing maven who rolled her eyes through this entire post.  That's okay.  They are not my clients.   I understand this approach may not be for everyone.  There are certainly many industries for whom more statistically predictable models are employed to drive a financial bottom line.  But not for me.  The bottom line of the work I do IS the client experience.  And because of this, somewhere, there's a client breathing a sigh of relief for missing her appointment tonight.  She'll call me tomorrow when she remembers and be received with compassion and respect.  Then she'll get right back on the schedule and we pick up where we left off.  She'll be grateful.  I'll be grateful.  Positive associations all around.  Fertile ground to grow a relationship and cultivate change.

I'm proud to report, this approach has yielded a thriving practice of clients who feel no pressure to schedule and yet they do.  No pressure to reschedule and yet they do.  No guilt when they're ready to move on, and when they do, they usually send me a nice testimonial.    Their experience is generating referral upon referral such that I do very little through traditional marketing outlets and still book 2 to 3 weeks in advance.  Clearly, something is going very, very right.  I don't have to chase clients.  I create meaningful relationships and they just keep coming.

If you like this post, please share it and honor with me with the opportunity to be in service or inspire someone else.

Thanks!

Doing Better Than Just “Getting By” During the Holidays

December 9, 2014

The holidays typically offer an interesting mix of joy and wonder combined with a healthy dose of toleration neatly tied up in a bow of humility. Even if extended family isn’t involved, where there are gatherings, there are expectations. Where there are expectations, there is opportunity for frustration because rarely do people or situations ever quite live up to our expectations.

So usually, this time of year, many of us are anxiously planning our strategy for “getting by;” arming ourselves with defensive comebacks and early exit plans. But what if you could go into the holidays with calm assuredness that everything will be okay and trusting that you can not only handle what happens, but you can do it with compassion, acceptance and love? Take a minute and breathe that one in. Doesn’t your body feel better already?

Well it’s absolutely possible if you engage, one of the basic laws of the mind – “that which is expected, tends to be realized.” If you go into this holiday season with some different expectations, you CAN really experience something you can handle and feel good about. It’s not denial. It’s called re-framing and it’s easier than you think. Start with the base idea that the “characters” you anticipate running into are just doing the best they can with their given resources. Then expect to see that “best” in everything they do – not the worst.

That may be a challenge knowing Cousin Bob is notorious for knocking back one to many over dinner, or that Aunt Susan is the family gossip. You may think “how could that possibly be their best?” Still, when you change your idea about what you expect to see, you change your filter for what you will see. Consequently, the experience changes for you. Their “best” doesn’t really change, rather, how you perceive it changes. It doesn’t mean you allow inappropriate behavior, it just means that in those moments, you expect to give the kind of compassion and understanding that gives this “season of giving” it’s name.

Observe how having this positive expectation in advance, allows you to extend compassion for those “characters.” Anxious feelings fade, and you can visualize your ability to connect to the resources you need to truly handle everything with that calm assuredness. Expect the best of yourself this holiday season and so too will it be realized.

Want more information about how to transform relationships through NLP, Hypnosis and Life Coaching, click here.  There’s time to squeeze in a few sessions before the family comes to town.

Happy Holidays!

Perspective thy name is . . . . . “$1000 Worth of Damage”

November 17, 2014

This morning, after dropping my daughter off at school, I performed the usual Monday morning ritual – that of grocery shopping for the week. The dinner menu and grocery list in hand, I headed into the major retailer down the street dressed in a sweatshirt, yoga pants and ugg boots. Yeah, I’m THAT girl. Just a quick stop, in and out, and then back home to prepare for Monday’s clients. I wasn’t there but 20 or 30 minutes before I was back home with my stash. On my way to unload the trunk, I noticed what looked like mud on my rear driver’s side panel, much to my dismay as I had just treated “Zippy” to a car wash on Saturday. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it wasn’t dirt after all. It was pieces of dangling black paint and white transfer paint from the car that had apparently gotten too close for comfort in the store parking lot. Stepping back to take in the bigger picture. . . yeah. . . a dent too. “Bummer,” I thought “Guess I’m not going to make it to my dentist appointment this morning“ followed by a sigh of relief. “The universe works in mysterious ways,” I smiled. 

I brought in the groceries and called the retailer who informed me that while the video surveillance tape is available, I would have to file a police report before we could look at it. So I called the Sheriff and went through all the steps to file the report. Then, a quick 15 minutes online to file a report with the insurance company.

I continued to process my feelings about the situation while trying to get on with my morning routine. I transitioned through all the emotions including anger, disbelief, disappointment and frustration at whoever did this. My gut wrenched, my shoulders tensed. I mean, how do you choose to just walk away from what is easily $1000 worth of damage that you knowingly caused? “$1000 worth of damage” I repeated out loud. “Who does that?”

Then I chuckled because the words instantly reminded me of an incident that took place almost exactly 1 month ago to the day. On October 16, I was in downtown Tampa working as a Supervisor in Training at The Florida Institute of Hypnotherapy, haven driven my mom’s car into town that day. I was parked in the garage for over 10 hours, and at the end of the day, I came down to find that someone hit my mom’s car in almost the exact same manner. The damage looks nearly identical. $1000 worth of damage. In this case, the person who hit the car, left a very long note punctuated with as many apologies as phone numbers through which to contact her. When I called her that day, the apologies continued. Come to find out she is an attorney in the same building, just two floors down from where I spent the day. She was just so distraught and eager to resolve the situation. I felt so bad for her. She took responsibility but still clearly felt like that wasn’t enough.

I remember feeling that there was no room to be upset or angry or disappointed, there was only compassion for this woman who was clearly suffering over this incident more than me and in a way I could never imagine. It was so easy to be warm, kind, humorous and playful with her on the phone because that’s how compassion moves. And by the end of our discussion, you could hear that her heart was eased and fears assuaged. Everything was going to be okay. .. at least for her. I still had to tell my mom someone hit her car. LOL

If you know me or have worked with me, you will know that I commonly yield to the notion that every behavior – every choice to respond or not to respond, is the safest, most comfortable thing for the subconscious to do in a given moment. This is true for how we act upon ourselves and also how we act upon the world, regardless of how it serves other people or doesn’t serve other people. It is also true for how we, the observer, perceive the behaviors of others – their responses and lack of response. In this situation with the attorney, while her reaction may have seemed over the top in my eyes, it was the safest, most comfortable thing for her – it just so happens that it served me. Now as I turn my attention back to the individual who hit my car this morning, I have to apply the same standard. Driving away, not leaving a note, not reporting the incident was the safest, most comfortable thing for him or her to do. It just so happens, that it did NOT serve me.

And therein lies the lesson, and I now find my body is easily off the hook. All People deserve compassion regardless of their story, guilt, action or inaction. And more important, I can still extend compassion, even if the result does not serve me. The person who hit my car deserves compassion. I don’t know what they have going on. I don’t know what “damage” he or she may have suffered as a child or continues to suffer as an adult. It doesn’t matter. I can still have compassion.

Compassion for others may not be the easiest thing to extend, given that sometimes others do not bring to a situation what appears to you to be their best effort, but it’s the key to moving forward. It’s the key to creating and manifesting positive attention from the universe. Anything less, keeps our bodies and minds locked into a vibration of retribution and restitution. And we know how the universe responds to that.

Does a “$1000 Worth of Damage” to a car even come close to the cost of the damage we inflict upon ourselves and others through withholding compassion? Doesn’t even come close in my book. Somewhere out there, there is person who knows they hit my car today. They know their choice caused another person emotional and financial impact. They know they fled the scene where video surveillance is used. Worse, they will probably be living in fear for the next few weeks of the Sheriff’s office knocking on their door. But still, for him or her, leaving was the safest and most comfortable thing to do. Clearly, he or she is suffering a whole lot more than me. So, I have compassion for this person and send a vibration out the universe to bring them closure and peace.

I am grateful for the universe, for priming me with the lesson last month, so as to be able to extend now to someone NOW the compassion they need and I need to move forward. And I am grateful for my getting better and better at this every day. . . without requiring priming.

And so it is.

Patterns, Patterns Everywhere

July 3, 2014 – I’ve always been fascinated by patterns. When I was a kid, it would drive people crazy. Put me on a playground, and I was more likely to study the distribution of children across the space or the size and height of the child in relationship to the size and height hopscotch square, then I was to actually play on the playground.

I remember being mesmerized by the two MC Escher prints we had in our living room, lingering endlessly on the critical intersection where one pattern morphed into the next. Imagining myself walking up and down and through the stairs or flying alongside the black and white geese. Becoming one with the pattern.

And in my bedroom – sleeping beneath a hand knitted blanket of alternating green yellow and white chevrons. And in my closet a colorful array of shirts and dresses, neatly arranged and organized by color – of the rainbow. Absent any patterns, a pattern in itself.

Fast-forward into high school, and I excel in geometry and the patterns of math. And for fun join the colorguard – which is really just synchronized movement through patterns, choreographed music.

In college, I am drawn to music composition and theory – patterns in music. And anthropology – the study of patterns in human culture culminating in a senior thesis examining the non-metric cranial traits of pre-Colombian peoples to discern familial patterns in ancient burial grounds. Patterns.

And in Grad school, more of the same. I’m a faithful student of the continual process improvement model, the foundation for creating change through the study of patterns and improvement of process.

And well, now, I’m a certified clinical and transpersonal pattern hunter, living the dream . . .in a world of patterns.

Looking back, at no point, did I ever entertain the thought of having a career helping others break free from some of their patterns and learn to trust others. Teaching, yes. Training Yes. Helping other’s turn on their light bulb. Of course. But getting into the minutia of other peoples stuff to help them with their own patterns? No thank you. Too messy. I didn’t even like getting into my own stuff. I remember the frustration, and anxiety of not knowing my purpose or what direction to take my life – failing to notice that purpose was having its way with my life already. Purpose expressing through a pattern. But the evidence was there all along. I was too caught up living with the effects of being in a pattern to notice the pattern itself.

Sometimes you have to look back on your life, zoom out to see the true trajectory of where it’s really going. Where I used to see a child’s survival adaptation to some . . . how do I say. . .inconsistent messages growing up, I now see the building blocks of a divine purpose unfolding over an arc of time. All because of patterns. Thank God for patterns. My crazy obsession with patterns, may just be the thing, that helps you change your life.