Ultimate Life Lessons – An Amazing Day on the Charisma Connection

“Charisma is an authentic power that captivates the hearts and minds others.” ~ Nikki Owen

I’ve been through many self-development and training workshops over the course of my career. All of them have been valuable in their own right, but some make such a profound impact that the experience as well as ‘aha’ moments can continue to be applied to your life long after the initial learning has been assimilated. The Charisma Connection was one such day.

Creator of the Charisma Connection: Nikki Owen

Sylvia Baldock

Sylvia Baldock

I had not come across the work of Nikki Owen before I attended this workshop, but was persuaded by a dynamic business woman, Sylvia Baldock, the Regional Director of my local Athena networking group, who I know and trust; that it would be a worthwhile investment. I’m glad I listened to her!

Sylvia met Nikki through her membership of the Professional Speaking Association (PSA) and became fascinated by her work on charisma as it tied in closely with her own expertise on Talent Dynamics and Flow.

Charisma - Sylvia logoTo cut a long story short, Nikki trained Sylvia so that she could be accredited to deliver her pioneering work.

Thirty years of research have been distilled into a life changing day of learning, laughter and limitless possibilities.

As part of the study materials for The Charisma Connection we each received a signed copy of Nikki’s ground-breaking book: Charismatic to the Core, our workbooks and access to her amazing Hypno Meditations, our online charisma profile to identify our charismatic potential as well as a follow up call with our trainer Sylvia.

Nikki’s story is incredibly moving and inspirational. You can read about her achievements, get your own charisma profile and more, on her website.

Charisma - Charismatic to the Core

I had a few doubts in my mind before I arrived at the venue, the Crowne Plaza hotel in Marlow. Could I really afford to take a whole day out of the office that wasn’t geared to my business? I was thinking of all the writing I should be doing and the meetings I wanted to set up.

All the machinations in my mind were dispelled virtually the instant Sylvia greeted me. I knew it was going to be a worthwhile day and a much needed investment in myself. Sylvia’s positive energy radiated and connected with mine before she even said a word.

Our seats were laid out in a semi-circle with all our materials in a bright and airy room scented with beneficial aromatherapy oils, and Sylvia’s warm introduction set the tone perfectly. There were eight of us in the group which meant that we could get the most out of our individual and team exercises.

“When you are being true to who you really are inside, you shine in your own unique way.” ~ Nikki Owen


Sylvia gave us a brief overview of the day and began by telling her story. It was an emotional and uplifting start which bonded us beautifully.

We then began our first exercise, which was discussing the charismatic advantage in the areas of success, engagement, resilience, talent and health.

We split into two groups and did a wonderful exercise that highlights the processes going on unconsciously in our heads and how that translates to our emotions and subsequent actions. We had to put the right terms onto a magnetic board to show what happens when we are subjected to information and sensory input. It was harder than it looks! However, with a bit of guidance from Sylvia we got there eventually.

Charisma model

According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, professor at the Drucker School of Management in California, every moment our unconscious mind absorbs over two million bits of information through our senses. Professor George Miller, Harvard Business School states that consciously we typically only process around seven chunks of this stream of information.

Who are you?

In order to create the right internal conditions for our charisma to develop Sylvia grouped us into pairs to ascertain our authenticity and purpose, which is vital to help our charisma grow and flourish.

For the first part of the exercise we sat comfortably facing our partners. Person A wore a blindfold to promote deeper introspection and person B asked “Who are you?” every 15 seconds, while remaining present and focused on their partner. As person A responded, person B made a note of their answers. We did this for five minutes and then switched roles.

Having the question “Who are you?” repeated continuously for this period of time enabled us to reach beyond our early superficial responses and reach deep into our subconscious minds to access our truth.

Charisma - youth

For the second part of the exercise we followed exactly the same format, except Person A asked person B “What do you want?”

This was an incredibly powerful exercise, and I’ve been looking through some of answers my partner Gerry wrote down.

Just before lunch Sylvia treated us to one of Nikki’s relaxing Hypno Meditations. Her soft voice spoke to us, specifically recorded with two to three dialogues speaking at the same time to have maximum impact on the brain, accompanied by binaural beats and music. Lunch was a delicious, healthy buffet, and we even managed to sit out on the balcony before the rain descended.

Survival or Growth?

The afternoon session was equally eye-opening. We began by studying the attributes of someone in either a survival or growth mindset. Again, Sylvia split us into two groups, each taking a mindset. We shared our findings and reflected on the specific behaviours and physical symptoms.

Afterwards we collectively went through the Survival/Growth models and Sylvia explained that when a person is in survival mode and typically stressed, their cells literally shut down, triggered by the release of cortisol and adrenaline. In order to protect themselves cells become closed silos by sealing themselves and moving into a protective operating mechanism. This in turn prevents other growth hormones from entering.

When we are living and working in a safe and supportive environment we release serotonin and oxytocin which increase an individual’s openness towards social belonging. This chemical reaction opens the cells so they can absorb nutrients for growth.

Charisma - survival - growth

It’s obvious to see why some businesses and organisations go from strength to strength and others fail. If individuals are placed in an environment where they feel stressed, that encourages selfish, closed thinking – a silo mentality. Nikki points out that a safe and supportive environment will actively encourage open, selfless thinking – a collaborative and caring culture. And the key to silos lies in our cellular biology!

We talked about charismatic leaders and the importance of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in attaining a growth mindset, both individually and as part of an organisation.

How to Develop Charisma

Sylvia showed us the five pillars of charisma and we covered each one in detail. These pillars were shown on a five point star. We could see how a downward spiral in the areas of balanced energy, driving force, compelling vision, high self-esteem and sensory awareness would create a silo, whereas strengthening these attributes develops charisma and improves your whole life.

“The symbol of star quality is based on the beliefs, values and experience of your past programming. The construction and constituents of each pillar is expressed through a variety of unconscious behaviours that in a work context influences a leader’s impact either positively or negatively.” ~ Nikki Owen

Charisma - five pillars - star

Charisma Constellation

We did an interesting exercise (again in pairs) to establish our charisma constellation. This powerful process meant we could engage with the depth, wisdom and awareness of our unconscious minds to gain intuitive insights about our charisma.

It involved using colours for each pillar, some of which are representative of the Chakra System.

We placed the colour squares for each pillar onto the floor in the positions and colours that felt right to us. My balanced energy point was yellow, at the start, close to my driving force which I chose orange, close to self-esteem which was green, alongside my purple sensory awareness looking towards my vision for which I chose blue.

Charisma - constellation

As we stepped on each square we had to notice how that colour made us feel in relation to each point on the star. We were allowed to rearrange the footprints until we established what felt in alignment with each person.

The Charisma Model

Thoughts Become Things

We saw the pictures of Dr. Masaru Emoto’s extensive experiments on the molecules of water crystals in samples that had been split into separate containers and labelled with worlds such as love and peace and hate and war.  The resulting images he later studied under a microscope revealed that thoughts and intentions profoundly affected the matter they were directed at.

Nikki did her own experiment in 2009, which she termed ‘The Big Apple’. It involved cutting an apple into two halves, again directing positive, loving thoughts to one half, and negative, thoughts, beliefs and emotions towards the other half. The results were astounding!

These results highlight the power of focused intent. It really shows how a leader can impact on the culture, performance and results of an organisation, or indeed a country.  Research by Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee (Primal Leadership) cite that the leader’s mood is not only contagious but it affects the bottom line.

Eliminating Limiting Beliefs

The final exercise of the day was invaluable. Sylvia discussed with us the impact that early programming in childhood can have as we grow up and thus implant self-limiting beliefs. I am always in awe of my children’s lack of guile, and of the generally open, honest and direct way they express themselves. They haven’t yet managed to sabotage their beliefs.

We paired up again with our course partner and chose a limiting belief that we wanted to exterminate. One person then asked the other various questions about their limiting belief, and in part two they asked more but different types of questions.

I had an amazing ‘aha’ insight that my empowerment doesn’t depend on anyone else. This was such a powerful exercise.

Charisma - limiting beliefs holding back

As I said to Sylvia, it’s a great feeling to challenge and destroy those beliefs that don’t serve our purpose, passion and potential. It’s liberating to cut loose the heavy ball and chain of the thoughts that hold us back.

I saw Gerry last week at our Athena meeting and she is as keen as I am for us to get together every month or so to continue our progress.

The day was rounded off with a different Hypno Meditation and Sylvia told us a very moving story. We each drew on a plate our thoughts of the day and explained a little about how we had arrived at our creations.


Lots of things ‘stuck’ for me on this day. Some of the teaching I had been exposed to before to some lesser degree, but it was taught in such a brilliant way that it affected me profoundly. The following days saw some incredible coincidences. I bumped into people I had been thinking about that I hadn’t seen for a year or more. Everything seemed to flow. I’m sure that’s because I was in a creative, growth place!

Big thanks and appreciation go to Nikki Owen for producing this material and to Sylvia Baldock for facilitating our learning in such a charismatic way. She certainly practiced what she preached!

Charisma - Sylvia logo2

I will continue on my charismatic journey. I have been starting and ending my day with the Hypno Meditations and working through the material again in my own time. I will continue to peel back the layers to reveal my authentic self. I have started to apply what I’ve learnt so that I can be a better parent and become a person who can inspire others.

If this post has inspired you, please do buy a copy of Nikki’s book, visit her website and that of our trainer Sylvia Baldock. You won’t be disappointed.

“Charisma is your birth right, it is a natural state that is within all of us, including you, just waiting to be awakened.” ~ Nikki Owen

What Happened When I Experienced Sound Therapy…

We all need a little TLC now and then, and my dear friend Laurelle Rond, a highly gifted lady who is probably the most talented, knowledgeable, kind and wise person I’ve ever had the privilege to know, was on hand to provide it.

Laurelle portrait 4Laurelle Rond began her career as a musician, singer and writer. She has developed a unique method of healing and self-discovery using sound, voice therapy and story work. With forty years of experience as a teacher and healer, she is also a published novelist and has recorded twelve CDs.

Laurelle runs meditation classes, has a private practice as a sound therapist and vocal coach and runs self-discovery workshops.

I was coming apart at the seams emotionally and Laurelle put me back together again. Literally!

Not in a physical Humpty-Dumpty way, but in an energetic way.

Quantum Physics states that our bodies are a constantly vibrating mass of atoms at the sub-atomic level. The nuts and bolts of our physical make-up are the exact same ingredients that constitute the entire universe:  we are literally one with the substrate of all that is! We are as amazing as the stars and planets that we stare up in awe at on a clear night.

Milky Way

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form, and on that basis we are as eternal and immortal as the cosmos.

However, if our energy is knocked out of balance it can become stagnant, which is when health issues can arise. Emotional and childhood trauma, stress, childbirth and all manner of events can splinter our main energy point, so that it hampers energy from travelling effectively through our Chakra system.

Perhaps I should explain, what Laurelle did for me was to bring my energy vortex back into wholeness by re-aligning my assemblage point.

The assemblage point is the epicentre of the body’s energy field, which lies roughly in the centre of the chest.

What is an assemblage point?

I didn’t really know what to expect, and I’d like to say I came away fully re-charged, but apparently my reaction was a good one! I’ll not keep you guessing any longer…

Assemblage Point re-alignment

When I arrived Laurelle greeted me with her usual warm smile and we chatted in a safe environment for a bit about my childhood and current situation. It seemed my visit was well timed; a particularly traumatic event from my early childhood had been triggered. After a decade of meditation I thought I had cleared most things, but this was sitting heavy on my chest, causing some issues with my lungs and voice.

There is a tendency to bury traumatic feelings and beliefs that arise in early childhood as they are too painful to deal with at the time. However they can get buried deep in the psyche and we become unconscious of them. I had abandonment issues, which manifested in a very emotional reaction when I told Laurelle about my experience as a six year old girl.

In my mind’s eye I saw my younger self as she sat at a window watching her father walk down the path, away from their home, feeling like she was at fault and that she must have done something very wrong.  She hadn’t meant to upset her dad. Her world was crashing in on her in that moment, she knew she would never live with him again.

I hadn’t even thought about it for a very long time, yet it affected me very profoundly when I spoke of it in a loving, non-judgmental environment. Then Laurelle took me through to her sound therapy room.

Laurelle bowl room

The curtains had been drawn. I settled in repose on her extremely comfortable treatment couch and she pulled a soft blanket over me. I was told I could relax and it was fine if I fell asleep, but that she would need to gently wake me at a certain point in the treatment when she would ask me to do an energy lock so that she could align my Assemblage Point.

Planetary Tuning Forks

Planetary Tuning Forks

It was quiet for a second as I lay there, eyes closed, ready for Laurelle to work her magic. And work it she did. I soon became aware of different sounds passing around me. They seemed unintrusive and comforting, they calmed my overactive mind.

I remember hearing what sounded like beads shaking, tuning forks, Himalayan bowls, crystal bowls and Laurelle’s beautiful, pure voice.

All the while my eyes remained closed as the sounds infiltrated my whole being.

Laurelle placed a crystal on my chest and I gradually felt the area warm up until after a few minutes my whole upper body seemed to be radiating intense heat. It was a very welcoming sensation! I had no control over my body or my mind at this point; I was in Laurelle’s capable and caring hands!

I was then told to tighten my muscles as Laurelle had explained to me at the beginning, which I did for a few seconds, after which I was able to return to my deeply relaxed state. More pleasant sounds passed through me, I was enjoying the way the healing vibrations were affecting me.

Afterwards Laurelle left me all cosy and sleepy.  It took me a few minutes to re-focus my eyes when I opened them, I didn’t want to move, I felt so calm…

Eventually I rose and sat with Laurelle in her lounge. It was at this point something very strange happened to me. The all-encompassing warmth that had filled me dissipated and I started shivering slightly. Quite quickly the trembling progressed and before I knew it I was shaking uncontrollably all over. Laurelle pulled a fleece blanket round me and we sat together quietly as my body did its thing. My mind was empty while my body felt like it was in overdrive. This went on for about ten minutes.

Laurelle explained that this was my body’s way of releasing pent up trauma; a natural, physical reaction that was both healthy and normal and that I should let it run its course. I had a drink of water and Laurelle told me I would feel tired for about 48 hours.

I spent a few hours snuggled under my duvet that afternoon and slept like a baby. Gradually over the weekend the heaviness I felt in my chest and limbs disappeared and my physical, mental and spiritual flow returned. As I write this post I’m feeling fully restored and firing on all cylinders again!

Laurelle harp garden close up

I’ll definitely be going back for a ‘tune up’. It was an incredible experience that is hard to put into words. It affects you at a fundamental level and regardless of what’s going on in your mind your cells respond…

I admire Laurelle on so many levels, as a human being, as a teacher, as a musician and healer. She understands me. What more can anyone ask of a therapist and friend?

If you live in the Home Counties area, do get in touch with Laurelle and give it a try. I guarantee you it will be one of the most worthwhile experiences you will ever have – completely life changing.