Initially as I began studying charismatic icons throughout history I realised that each ‘icon’ expressed their charisma differently. This presented a challenge. If you want to learn a new skill then you model the behaviours from an individual who demonstrates excellence in this skill. If each charismatic icon demonstrates charisma in a unique way, then how can it be taught to others using traditional leadership development tools?

In 2003 I was given an opportunity to conduct a piece of global research with Vic Conant, President of the Nightingale – Conant Corporation, who are world leaders in self-development . Our research with 2663 organisations around the world, concentrated on identifying the barriers that prevent sustainable sales growth. The barrier that leaders find hardest to resolve is a negative mindset. This light bulb moment showed me that with reference to developing charisma I had been looking in the wrong direction. If you try to adopt a charismatic behaviour, posture or gesture that is out of alignment with who you really are, at a your core, then you unwittingly convey a lack of authenticity when you communicate. This immediately blocks your natural charisma.

I discarded many of the traditional leadership development tools and began searching for methods and techniques that worked from an ‘inside-out’ perspective. I wanted to explore the principle that if an individual feels and sees their core self as charismatic, do they naturally express their unique blend of charisma with a unique blend of behaviours? Was it possible that more introverted personality types could develop charisma and does everyone have an innate ability to become more charismatic? I intuitively felt that charisma could only be understood if explored from a less orthodox perspective. I became fascinated by the tiny and rebellious world of Quantum Mechanics where the logical laws of physics are turned upside down. Dr Bruce Lipton inspired my interest into cellular biology and Epigenetics – the study of how our environment and emotions determine how the cells in our body are activated and expressed. When my autobiography was published in the early 1990s, a chance meeting with Hypnotist, Paul McKenna, during a televised interview on the Richard and Judy Show lead me into the world of Neuro Linguistic Programming and Hypnosis.

My appetite for powerful tools that work at a deep level became insatiable. I became an accomplished Dowser, gained accreditation as a Reiki Master, and trained with Tad James in California in Time Line Therapy techniques. I explored the meridians used within traditional Chinese medicine and became an advanced practitioner in Emotional Freedom Techniques. After studying and using Kirlian photography to better understand the link between auras, energy and charisma, I learned Matrix Re-imprinting with Karl Dawson that proved to be another intriguing doorway to building a more empowering reality. I got my feet burned in Portugal when I qualified as a Firewalking Instructor (never again!) – although this did teach me an invaluable lesson around the power of our belief systems. Then, former astronaut, Edgar Mitchell’s work on human potential and extended human capacities caught my attention as I became aware of the extraordinary work he was doing at The Institute of Noetic Science. My connection to a kind of intuitive consciousness was strengthened when I attended a weekly Psychic Circle with the gifted medium, Paul Wayman, who helped me to attain exceptionally high levels of sensory awareness and Emotional Intelligence. My newly acquired perception landed me a series of small projects as a Political Commentator when I freely shared my views about the ‘real person’ behind ‘The Politician’ based on subtle as well as not so subtle non-verbal indicators. My heightened sensory awareness has been a big hit in the corporate world as Leaders are astonished with how much their non-verbal attributes are silently yet powerfully communicating.

As I was beginning to see the connection between charisma, engagement and fellowship I realised that thoughts and emotions impact on physical reality. I created my own controversial experiment using apples that captured the media’s attention, not all of it in a good way – The Big Apple Experiment – which demonstrates negative thinking and focused intent causes disengagement, ill health (due to a suppressed immune system), damage in relationships, insecurity, low self-esteem and stress. Apples became my visual metaphor to show how people are affected by their emotions, at home and at work. I discovered that the quickest and cheapest antidote to what I coined as The Rotten Apple Syndrome was charisma; administered either directly from another individual (charismatic leadership) or from individuals themselves (increased charismatic presence).