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(Central Valley Business Journal, Dec.’06)

In order to ease through curves that were slowing them down on their paths to success, some local business people made one common stop that helped them move on with increased efficiency, more energy and greater enthusiasm.

Jeff DeMello of DeMello Video & Photo Services in Stockton had been literally grinding his teeth for years as he encountered the frustrations of self-employment. In the process of growing the business, his girth also grew, and he found the extra pounds and inches were beginning to drain his energy and damage his self-image. [ ]

Kat Jackson, fueled by caffeine and driven by an unrelenting goal to achieve perfection, had been working “faster and frantic-er” for years meeting the needs of her 3in1 Technologies customers. When insomnia became chronic and her memory became alarmingly unreliable, she realized that her sense of personal wellbeing had fallen by the wayside. [ ]

Fear of public speaking stopped Carla Leilani cold as she began climbing the Arbonne International ladder of success. Anxiety attacks meant sweaty palms, a shaky feeling, and lightheadedness that interfered with the presentations necessary for building her sales. [ ]

New York Life insurance agent Jeff Palmer had been so reluctant to make cold calls that his income, as well as his self-image, was suffering. As a former golf pro he fully understood that not only golf, but every worthwhile endeavor is, in fact, a mental game.

“I knew I had to change my mind,” he states. “I had to perceive cold calling differently. The telephone had to feel as comfortable in my hand as a golf club, and I had to swing into success with a feeling of fun, not fear.”

Mark Hadley was comfortable with electronic parts, but not with people. When he decided to transition from technical services to sales at Ten-Four Communications in Modesto, he knew he would have to become a people-person — and a highly motivated one at that — in order to earn his income.

He, along with DeMello, Jackson, Leilani, and Palmer, understood the importance of asking for professional assistance. Along with hundreds of thousands of others around the world who are helping move hypnotherapy into the mainstream, they tapped into the power of their subconscious minds to redirect their focus.

“It was a little like Clark Kent ducking into a phone booth and coming out as Superman,” Hadley says of his hypnotherapy session.

“I went to a Donald Trump symposium in San Francisco and, without thinking twice about it, during lunch I walked over to a total stranger and talked my way into the VIP section. Then when it was time for questions, I looked at the long line in the aisle and I just stood up and hollered at the Donald. He gave me an answer, a big smile, and a thumbs up. Afterwards I thought, ‘Was that really me?’ and I realized if I could do that, I can do anything!” [ ]

So, can hypnotherapy help a leopard change its spots?

No, according to Dr. Ginny Lucas of Evergreen Professional Hypnotherapy in Stockton.

“But we work with people, not leopards. People walk into our office with a problem, and we help them turn it into a solution. They’re still the same person when they leave, but they’re a new, improved version of themselves.”

Her husband, Frank Lucas, explains it’s like flipping a coin. People walk in looking at the problem side of a situation. Hypnotherapy lets them flip the coin to see the solution resting right there in their own palm. He adds, “It’s the same whether your problem is nail biting, smoking, depression, cancer, or whatever. Once your self-image is ‘I’m a person with this problem,’ you feed that belief with your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. When you decide to consider yourself a person with a solution, you create a new self-image. Your new thoughts, feelings, and behavior lead you in a better direction.”

As primary treatment provider at Evergreen, it was he who helped Jeff DeMello, Kat Jackson, Carla Leilani, Jeff Palmer, and Mark Hadley set out on their respective paths with confidence and commitment.

DeMello stopped grinding his teeth instantly, and he quickly began to lose weight by effortlessly making healthier choices.

“It’s kind of odd — I’m doing things differently, but it all feels so normal.”

According to DeMello, “It’s like I’ve never had the teeth grinding problem and I’ve always eaten sensibly. It’s no big deal.”

Jackson admits, “I was doing it to myself — pushing myself too hard and beating myself up for falling short of absolute perfection. I knew that consciously, but it was the other part of my mind where I had to make the change. That’s why I used clinical hypnosis. Now I feel like myself again. I don’t even know who that other person was.”

She was so impressed with her results that she took her teenage daughter to Evergreen for continued academic excellence and athletic success. At near-pro level, criticism that in the past seemed crushing to her, now bounces off an imaginary protective bubble “like purple lightening.”

Leilani actually enjoys giving public presentations now, and laughs at how they used to stop her cold.

Palmer simply stopped procrastinating. He’s taking care of business now and accomplishes more than ever before, with enough time left over to use the reinforcement CD provided by Evergreen.

“Honestly, I don’t feel like I need it. Thing is, I really, really enjoy the CD, so why not? It’s like having a driving range in your back yard. Of course you’re going to use it! I relax every time, and I feel jazzed afterwards. A man of action!”

The Lucases have their own success story; however, they attribute their success to their clients. A “wall of fame” in Evergreen’s front office displays many articles and photos of clients who have made the news after using their services.

There is also evidence of Evergreen classes taught for more than a dozen years at colleges throughout California, one of which is called The Science of Success.

“It began as part of my wife’s Acumen Certification Training program. She mentors other hypnotherapists and, as well as paying close attention to their individual needs, she tells them exactly how we’ve achieved our level of success. She tells them, ‘If we can do it, you can too. Here’s how.’

“When we started getting inquiries about the class from people in other professions, we discovered the same basic principles apply to all fields of endeavor; so now we offer a modified version to everyone.”

The Lucases stand as living proof that what they’re teaching works.

In 2003 Dr. Lucas was awarded Small Business Person of the Year by the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce.

“To show my appreciation, I sent the chamber my husband,” she says, smiling. In recent years Frank has become co-chair of the Small Business Council and a member of the Government Relations Committee. He is also co-chair of STOPP (San Joaquin Tobacco Outreach Prevention Project) and past president of Stockton Founders BNI.

More than thirty years of marriage attests to their personal as well as professional success. Dr. Lucas began the business “without even the proverbial shoe string” and together they have developed it into a practice that includes an affiliate office in Modesto and another planned for the Bay Area.

“When you can make a good living doing what you love, doing it well, doing it with your life partner at your side, and sharing your success with others,” says Frank, “it just doesn’t get any better than that.”

The secret to their success?

“If you’re a round peg, don’t try to force yourself into a square hole just because it appeals to you,” Dr. Lucas advises, disagreeing with the platitude that we should live our passion.

“If we all did that, who would clean our public restrooms and carry off the trash? If your passion doesn’t pay your bills, work so that you can afford to pursue it nonprofessionally.

“Horses are my passion, but I don’t board or breed or train them. I just own one that I ride as often as possible.”

She believes we all have a place in life, with signs along the path that help us find it.

“If you stray, it can get ugly. Find your way back to where you belong. Then make it about someone or something other than yourself — people, animals, your community, the environment, whatever. ”

Her husband adds, “Jim Rohn says we can’t pursue success, we can only attract it. Basically, be a good person. Do good, and rewards follow.”

Carla Leilani

Kat Jackson

Jeff DeMello

Mark Hadley