What Drives You?

A huge component of my hypnotherapy practice is finding what motivates and inspires people to create change in their lives.  If you think that unhappiness is the ultimate motivation, you are wrong-at least in my experience. Like anything else, unhappiness can become a habit, one so deeply ingrained that it is easy to reach a state of reluctant acceptance. I liken it to a cold bath: If I tossed you into a tub of freezing water it would be an intolerable shock to the system. Your first instinct would be pure fight or flight, your brain screaming "I need to get out of this water...NOW!" However, if you had been sitting in a warm bath for hours, as it cooled to an uncomfortable temperature, you'd not notice the cold nearly as much. You would still feel physical discomfort, but as your body adjusted to the temperature, it would become your new norm, and therefore bearable.

On many websites I express my desire to act as a catalyst for change, and I like to think I do play a role in shifting patients' momentum. However, the truth is that without the will for change, I am useless. I cannot create motivation; it needs to come from within. I can only try my best to help patients to find that spark and to assist them in building it into a steadily growing flame.

This is what fascinates me, the inner workings that catalyze change. For so many, the fear of change is all-encompassing. They would rather live in that bathtub of cold water than try to figure out how to heat things up somehow. My fear is the opposite: I am terrified of stasis. I could be living a life that anyone would envy: financially settled, healthy, surrounded by people I care about, and for a while contentment would reign. But inevitably, the same old disenchantments and fears would surface, that question that seems to be the theme of my very soul: "What's next?"

This is my motivation for change: this idea that nothing is permanent and that anything less than constant forward momentum is unacceptable. This, and my sometimes unlovely desire to prove everyone wrong who claims that I can't do something. The greatest accomplishments in my life have bloomed from a "no." Each time someone tells me that I can't or shouldn't do something, my desire to succeed grows stronger. Due to my aversion to boredom and my stubborn refusal to turn down a challenge, my career path has taken many twists and turns throughout the years, and I highly doubt that things will ever change in that regard. In fact, as blissfully happy as I have been with the way my practice is going, that little voice has yet again cropped up, whispering that it is time for the next thing.

And so I began to really think hard about what it is that I ultimately do here, and what else I could do to bring things to another level. In the midst of all this contemplation, one of my favorite patients came in and as we chatted, she told me that she could sense lately that I'm searching for something. I agreed, and she asked me why I wasn't doing anything about it.

Without thinking, I blurted out, "Because I feel like a spoiled bitch."

Like all truths, it came boiling up to the surface so quickly that I had no time to censor myself. It just spewed out in a moment of brutal self-awareness: I realized that I had been craving something more, but I was holding myself back. Why? Maybe because to continue searching while I'm living the dream of being able to support myself doing something that I adore seems like the ultimate in ingratitude. Maybe because it feels like I'm spitting in the face of good fortune, and how dare I look for something different when most people would kill to be in my position? That slowly simmering state of malcontent that had been brewing for months felt like my inner bratty child, one who had gotten all of the toys she wanted and now couldn't appreciate them.

I love my patients. I love that I learn as much from them as they learn from me. Because the next thing she said was, "You are totally looking at this the wrong way. Don't feel bad because you want more. You need to look at the changes you want to make as a way to help even more people than you are now. It's not for you, it's for them."

And just like that, my perspective completely shifted.  The idea of change didn't feel selfish anymore...it simply felt like the next logical step. All at once, I had clarity, and I knew exactly what the next step will be in my ever-evolving practice.  I'm keeping it to myself right now, but keep checking back for updates!