Lean Into Fear
Dr Vesna is the founder of award-winning company QT, NLP and hypnotherapy trainer, best selling author, speaker, media commentator and expert in creating quick and permanent transformations.
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney.
I come from a banking and finance background, having spent 13 years working for a major Australian Bank. The first 9 years of that as an economist which involved predicting international exchange rates, interest rates and growth. Part of my job was to sell these forecasts and the story which goes with them, to the treasury room dealers.
Utilising my strong economic background, I then moved into the field of corporate strategy, involved in working on control change programs for the bank with the focus being the implementation of change.
However, even with my move into corporate strategy I still felt as though there was something missing in my career, I still felt ‘like a fish out of water’ despite my extensive years in the industry. The progression to general manager of a bank or to the corporate echelons was not something I aspired to, it was not something which drove or motivated me. Whilst I had my doubts prior to moving into corporate strategy, I pushed them aside and continued to work day in and out for a further four years. It got to the point where I woke up one morning and did not want to go to work, a first for my as I have always possessed a strong work ethic.
I decided it was time to act on these feelings, to pursue the journey of self-development to discover what it truly was that I wanted to do when I ‘grew up’. I began my journey rather simply with a weekend seminar which focused on the subconscious mind and how to meditate. This simple start developed into a desire to learn more about the way in which the subconscious mind works. I started to explore my fears and my-self doubts with the aim of learning how I could best deal with these feelings that we often push aside. What started as a relatively simple process led to a journey of self-discovery spanning over four years and involved travelling the world in search of the answer to the question which alluded me ‘If not banking, what else?’. While you cannot put a price on such a journey, it was largely self-funded and consumed all my annual leave.
This journey aided me in identifying what it was that I was truly passionate about, while still taking advantage of my years of experience and knowledge in the corporate environment. I realised what I had been missing…working with people. Instead of dealing with numbers I needed to be dealing directly with people and seeing the change first hand. Being someone that had always dealt with numbers, public-speaking was unfamiliar territory for me so one of the major fears I had to learn to overcome through this self-development process was the fear of public-speaking. I first identified public-speaking as a fear of mine whilst I was in fact presenting to a group of senior executives at the Bank at which I was working. About half-way through the presentation, I became overwhelmed and burst into tears for no identifiable reason. Fortunately, the group was understanding although I suspect that they had assumed I must have been going through some type of life emergency to have been so emotional. It was this event and the feeling of embarrassment that made me realise that, as part of my job, this was a fear that I needed to overcome. I attended multiple public speaking seminars but found that they were focused on teaching the skills and the structures of giving a presentation, they weren’t addressing the fear or the anxiety. I found that the fear fluctuated, there would be times I would start off confident and the confidence would slowly subside yet other times I found I was shaking and seized by the fear before I had even begun. I was like a deer in the headlights.
It was not until I came across NLP and hypnotherapy that I found something that addressed the fear itself. Through learning these skills and undergoing further self-development, I was able to overcome my fear of public-speaking. It allowed me to overcome it on a deep subconscious level, meaning it was a permanent solution rather than a quick fix. It was then that I could put two and two together, my new-found inspiration and belief in what NLP had to offer and my desire to help people through my occupation. I became certified as a trainer of NLP and hypnotherapy so I could help equip others with the skills that had helped me. I have also completed a PhD in clinical hypnotherapy as part of my ongoing self-development. My training and qualifications have since allowed help others out there who share the fear of public speaking, being that I can relate to and understand that fear. Now it is something I engage in on a weekly basis, and enjoy doing so, whether it be to large or small groups.
During my journey, I took 3 months long service leave and set up my company, QT (Quantum Transformations). I developed the company to the point that it replaced the monthly income that I had been earning at the bank, and more importantly it proved to me that if you are truly passionate about something, you will find a way to achieve it. I won’t deny that there were challenges, one of the first big challenges I faced with QT was the realisation that unlike with the bank, I now had to generate the clients. I had to learn the art of marketing very quickly, to learn how to differentiate and to stand out in the market place. Underlying the need to differentiate is the need to innovate.
The Art of Hypnotherapy
Most people’s idea or understanding of hypnotherapy is derived from Hollywood, the swinging of the watch back and forth and the clicking of fingers. It is a myth that people lose control, they are in fact in a state in which they have more control of themselves. A suggestion which conflicts with the core values and beliefs of the client will not simply be accepted, the client will either come out of the trance or ignore the suggestion entirely. Hypnotherapy involves significant preparation, especially stage hypnotherapy which is something I have done both myself and taught others to do. Hypnotherapy can be used for more than entertainment, to work with one’s subconscious mind in a way that suggestions are turned into actions, rather than being subjected to the conscious analytical brain. It is most commonly used in to address health issues such as smoking or weight loss, or in to improve performance in different areas of one’s life whether be business performance such as making sales or personal performance in areas such as focus or motivation.
Hypnotherapy is just one of the behaviour change techniques that we can utilise. Another which I have studied and used myself is NLP which stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. It is based on a combination of tradition psychology, hypnotherapy, linguistics and several other techniques already in existence. Put simply it is about reprogramming our mind for success, we program our thought process through the language we use. It involves putting a meaning on certain things subconsciously, for something we wish to give up such as chocolate we would put a negative meaning on chocolate at the subconscious level. It is a level deeper than willpower which operates as part of the conscious mind. It is at the subconscious level that a habit is stored, not consciously.
My habits centre around health, not only the physical but also mental and emotional health. If you are clear about your life direction and goals and you are physically healthy and have the energy to pursue them, you will have the energy and motivation to achieve them. You will be able to overcome the challenges that truly test your commitment to those goals.
As part of my morning routine I am usually up between 4:30-5:30 and I go for my morning walk. It is a time of clarity, of focusing on the priorities for the day and making sure that my head is in the right space for those priorities. It provides me with an opportunity on a daily basis to check with myself that I have dealt with anything that I need to, that I have addressed any fears or self-doubts that have started to rise. I prepare my schedule for the day, the night before so that when I wake in the morning I know what my focus is for the day and wake up with that sense of clarity.
Advice to Self
If I could have given any advice to myself prior to undertaking this journey and to others, it would be to learn to pay attention to the little warning signs. If you find yourself acting in a way which is out of character for you, pay attention to this as it is a sign that something is not 100% at the subconscious level. Pay attention to the signs that there is something that you need to deal with, for me it was an unexplained emotional outburst. If you do not pay attention to and deal with the small signs, they will only get bigger and bigger. The first step is identifying the warning signs; the second step is then doing something about them. If you are after a permanent solution you need to commit to working on them fully on a deep level. People need to be aware that it is possible to address and work through your fears and self-doubts, and that it is possible to do so without becoming overemotional or reliving traumatic past events, however to do this you need to know how to work with the subconscious mind.
My other piece of advice which I would have had for myself is to surround yourself with a cheer squad, people who are going to celebrate your successes. Only share your successes and goals with likeminded people who are going to support you, not those who create self-doubt. One of, if not the most important members of your cheer squad is you, you too need to be able to recognise and celebrate your successes.
There are several inspirational quotes that I like, however the one that resonates with me most is that of Walt Disney who, as a big kid at heart, I love. He famously said ‘All our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them’, this was true for me and it is what I have helped clients achieve for themselves.
I would recommend an NLP book which I have written, Stop Sabotaging Your Confidence. I wrote it in response to the many requests that I had received, to provide readers with a resource which was not full of jargon or overly technical. It is very much a workbook in which the reader can use the technique to work through their self-doubts or fears themselves. The reader is involved in the process, in putting together a plan of action and is accountable to that plan.
A free chapter of the book is available on my website qttransformation.com along with many other free downloads.
I would also recommend one of my favourite books by Dr Deepak Chopra, Quantum Healing. It focuses on the relationship between the mind, its impact on our health and the physical body. It is a resource that we use in our NLP and hypnotherapy training as it is a great book for people who wish to understand the connection.