Jon Mercer, MA: Author, Personal Development Trainer
He's been called "the least likely self help 'guru' you'll ever meet," and by all accounts, that suits Jon Mercer just fine.
Jon began his career as "a guy riddled with problems, seeking answers," according to his official bio. He candidly admits he studied psychology at university only to "better deal with my own issues,' and that he originally had "no real desire to help others."
But when answers began to come to the anxiety and self-esteem issues he had struggled with for so long, he also discovered a burning desire to help others suffering with the same problems:
"For me, reaching out to others became a part of the answer, the cure for my own issues. And remarkably, people responded very well to what I had to offer. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to help people, and the support I've received back has been nothing short of amazing." ~Jon Mercer, 2008
Growing up in South Georgia, Jon had little access to help for the anxiety problems which first appeared around age 13. And perhaps most damaging of all, he suffered with a severe social anxiety that made school and social relationships difficult.
The problems continued into early adulthood, and Jon admits to having "considerable difficulty" making it through school and university: "I signed up for and subsequently dropped the same speech class 3 times. It was that bad!"
But things began to change as Jon became aware of alternative approaches to dealing with behavioral issues. He was especially influenced with the work of "rogue" psychologists such as Albert Ellis and even the Freud-debunking revelations of Ernest Becker.
He also took a keen interest in the work of Hypnotherapy pioneer Milton Erikson, and later Richard Bandler and John Grinder, the developers of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP).
Today Jon lives and practices in St Augustine Florida, and coaches individuals all over the world to "not just overcome problems, but replace them with achievements." Along with his team at Youniverse LLC, he has created many personal development programs, dealing with a wide range of issues.
His EasyCalm Anxiety Series has become practically ubiquitous online, helping more than 30,000 anxiety sufferers worldwide. Other programs, such as Social Strategies, AttractAnything and the Fire Breathing Introvert also have huge followings around the world. Jon explains their success this way:
"To be honest, I'm not sure why some of these programs have developed almost cult-like followings. I know they are quite different from anything else out there, and I try to keep things fairly low-tech and "real," not too slick or polished. Maybe that's part of the appeal. Another factor could be that I have made myself so vulnerable by writing about issues that many people consider to be highly personal or embarrassing. Whatever the reason, they've obviously hit a nerve with many people. We have some supporters who have purchased every single program or product I've ever created--then they email me asking when I'm coming out with something new! I am constantly humbled and amazed by their support."
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