If you had told Michael, when he was 19 years old, that he would one day earn 5-figures per hour, entertaining people with hypnosis, he would have thought you were crazy.  The only thing on his radar at that time was landing a job at GM.  Everyone’s father worked for the car company, and everyone dreamed of the hourly wage, benefits package, full pension and option for overtime that would set them up to live a fairly comfortable life.  Despite growing up surrounded by that mindset, it didn’t take Michael long to realize that dream was not for him.

This is Michael’s story, and this is what he taught me:

Words of Wisdom:

Follow what your heart is telling you and ignore the naysayers.  Don’t let the status quo, or what the world expects of you, stop you from following your dreams.

Key Learning:

People either run from pain or run toward pleasure.  I ran toward pleasure.  I want to go to my grave with very few “what if I tried that”.  I want to be able to say I tried, I failed, and I tried again.  Eventually the successes outshine the failures.

Definition of Success:

Success isn’t about money.  It is about being at peace with yourself and knowing you can get up every day and do something you love.  When I’m deep in a project I love, I could work 16 hours and it feels like 3.  Other people work 8 hours and it feels like 18.

Not wanting to spend the next 30 years inside the walls of that factory, Michael started a quest to find a better alternative.  Perhaps it was the singular mentality of that town that had him believing the only option other than GM was to create his own job, as an entrepreneur.  Not having any idea of what that would be, he started attending seminars and researching different entrepreneurial and franchising options.  Around the same time, Michael became fascinated with magic after seeing a magician that blew his mind.  He started studying magic and practicing his tricks on his fellow co-workers at GM.  Even after leaving, to open up a growing cookie shop franchise, he continued to perform magic for his customers.  Sharing his love of magic paid off when one of his customers encouraged him to do magic for the manger of a local restaurant chain.  Impressed with his performance, the manager booked Michael a regular gig performing magic for his customers as they dined.  The experience gave him the confidence to approach another restaurant, where he was able to book himself two more nights entertaining customers as they waited in line for tables.  All of a sudden, Michael was earning more money than he had at GM, and working a fraction of the hours.  Although most of that money was helping support his cookie shop, it also opened his eyes to the possibility he could earn a living doing magic.  The limiting factor for him was the thought that he would end up doing magic shows for kids’ birthday parties, a lifestyle that didn’t interest him.

Then something happened to change the course of his life forever, he went to see an entertaining hypnotist named Mike Mandel.  Completely impressed with Mandel’s performance and fascinated by the magic of hypnosis, Michael immediately became obsessed with seeing every hypnotist he could.  He sheepishly admits that he brought a tape recorder into each show and taped their performances.  During his down time at the cookie shop he would replay the tapes over and over again, dissecting the show and building a giant matrix of hypnosis shows.  As he figured out why they said what they said, and did what they did, he started to build his own show on paper.  Excitement and interest continued to grow and he came to the conclusion he wanted to be a hypnotist.  That desire was so strong, when another one of his customers offered to connect him with a local college that hired performing acts, he said, “Tell her I’m a hypnotist!”  It just came flying out of his mouth.

Leveraging his charm and natural performance skills, mixed in with some timely and clever magic tricks, he was able to land the gig.  He then had just over three months to figure out how to actually be a hypnotist.  His story starts to hypnotize me as he describes going up on a stage in front of 250 people, having never hypnotized anyone in his life.  His face starts to scrunch up, and he half closes his eyes, as he re-enacts the moment on stage when he was waiting to find out, at the same time as his audience, if his hypnosis actually worked.  To the joy of his audience, and to his own utter amazement, it did!

Over the next several years, Michael built up his entertaining hypnosis business to a point where he could finally sell his cookie shop.  Travelling across the country to various colleges and universities, he was able to make a name for himself and gradually increase his fee.  That business evolved over the last several years to include corporate speaking engagements where he ties reading minds and body language with leadership and selling skills.  He is currently in the process of writing a book (Body Language Secrets – How to Read Minds by Reading Bodies) and launching an on-line course teaching the art of hypnosis.

Thankful he can make a living doing what he loves, Michael offers some advice for others.  “Follow what your heart is telling you and ignore the naysayers.  Don’t let the status quo or what the world expects, stop you from following your dream.”  Although Michael makes his story of transformation seem fun and a little whacky, he also shares some of the challenges he faced along the way.  His biggest challenge was getting over his own fears.  Interacting with him now, it is hard to believe that he used to be petrified to stand up in front of a crowd.  Even harder to believe, after hearing his bold moves, he was affected by self-doubt and lacked self-confidence.  “I used to think they must be thinking, why is this guy bothering me,” he says with a laugh, explaining his early days doing magic.  And although I’m still impressed by the pure chutzpa it must have taken to tell someone he was a hypnotist, when he wasn’t, he admits the thoughts going through his head weren’t always courageous.  “I used to sit at home thinking, who do you think you are?  You can’t do this!  Quit dreaming and go back to work!”

Lucky for everyone who has ever been entertained by one of his fabulous shows, Michael overcame those self-doubts, while demonstrating the value of taking risks.  In his journey of Finding Fabulous, he was able to pick up an important lesson that serves him to this day.  “I will never be as scared spit less as I was that day, on that stage, when I didn’t know if I could do it.  Nothing will be harder than that,” he says with conviction.  “I figure if I can do that, I can do anything!”

You can learn more about Michael and his fabulous talent at www.michaelcanthony.com.