An Accurate Reflection with Paul Adams

In today's episode, we'll hear how Influence Ecology has helped Paul Adams see an accurate reflection for himself - and how he helps his customers do the same. Paul shares how he's growing his company with a team that genuinely supports his aims - and where their freedom to check his "inventor" hubris is cherished. Paul Adams and Sound Financial Group help those making annual incomes of $300K to $2M secure their financial independence. Like Influence Ecology, Paul and his team are hired to help people confront their naivete so they live satisfying lives.

From time to time, I’ll explain Influence Ecology and our approach by telling a story about the ABC television series American Idol. The award-winning series involves discovering recording stars from unsigned singing talents. The winner receives a record deal with a major label.

In one audition listed in the category of “worst of the worst” from Season 4, Mary Roach, sings “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King. When finished, a gobsmacked Simon Cowell asks, “what made you audition for this competition!?” Mary replies, “all my friends told me I was an awesome singer.” Simon responds, “Mary, not only can you not sing, you have one of the weirdest voices I’ve ever heard in my entire life.” Mary responds, “many people around me have told me I have an amazing voice…random people I don’t know have agreed.” With great care, Paul Abdul says, “Mary, they lied to you…”

…and we all know why – we live amongst people who don’t want to kill our dreams. They want to give us hope. They want to stroke our confidence and make us feel good about ourselves. Sometimes we even surround ourselves with people too much like ourselves and we can fall prey to a group bias for thinking we’re winning when we’re not…or making the right choices when we’re not.

In Mary’s case, her friends and family could have told her she was a mediocre singer. They could have saved her wasted time, an emotional toll, and international humiliation. They could have said to her that if she aspired to sing, that through practice, she might sing one day and if good enough, possibly consider American Idol.

So, how do we find our ignorance, challenge our hubris, and confront our naivete? Where can we find a means to see a correct reflection of our selves as others see us? Who gives us an accurate read of ourselves and our aims – before we spend time, energy, and money – before we make poor choices?

In today’s episode, we’ll hear how Influence Ecology has helped Paul Adams see an accurate reflection for himself – and how he helps his customers do the same. Paul shares how he’s growing his company with a team that genuinely supports his aims – and where their freedom to check his “inventor” hubris is cherished.

Paul Adams and Sound Financial Group help those making annual incomes of $300K to $2M secure their financial independence. Like Influence Ecology, Paul and his team are hired to help people confront their naivete so they live satisfying lives.

Here’s the interview.

Below you’ll find a transcript of this podcast episode that has been edited for your reading pleasure. You’ll also see links at the bottom of this post where you can find more information on the people and ideas mentioned in the episode.
Produced by: John Patterson & Tyson Crandall

“You could tie that to anything else, your health, your marriage, to parenting. And all of the options get a lot easier if we’re measuring them against a future state that we’re solving for.

Highlights from the original interview with Paul Adams

“I can think of so many things where I thought of something one way, and now I think of differently and I can articulate it. Like how somebody thinks about a particular money issue, they can articulate, ” thought this way before, now I think way differently.” And it’s very difficult to do when it’s something is all encompassing is what you teach in Influence Ecology. I’m different with my spouse, my wife now, I’m actually different in the ways I’m helping my church be able to be effective in certain areas, different with my business, different with my children.”

“What I think of when you mention the thinking, doing cycle. And the idea that we have to do both is, I think about it as, how I look at whether or not somebody knows something. And so often people will say things like, “Well yeah I mean I know how to do that.” How often they’ll say, “Well I know what it takes to get to $300, 000 of income, all I’ve got to do is go do it.” Hmm. And how upsetting it is to them to just say, “Uh, You don’t, know how, because if you knew, you would have had it, by now.” And if you just pause longer and say, “I think I know how,” and then go try to do what you think is going to work, and then adjust.”

Here’s the latest interview

John Patterson: Here we are with Paul Adams. Paul if you could take a moment and introduce yourself.

Paul Adams: My name is Paul Adams, I’m the founder and CEO of Sound Financial Group… Live in the Seattle, Washington area with my family. I’m married, with my wife Kristen for a little more than 10 years. And three kids, who by the end of this year will be, seven, eight and nine years old. So it’s a busy life out here with us. And we spend a lot of time traveling in our RV. I think we’re racking up about 80 nights a year, staying in our RV.

John Patterson: That’s fantastic. And you designed your whole life to do that, so you could kind of have it all, right?-

Paul Adams: Yeah definitely. We love the outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and one of the thing I really enjoy is the level of autonomy that comes with having constructed an enterprise in a way, that it would care for my aims, instead of the other way around, where most people are, really sacrificing their own personal aims, to feed their career or feed their business. And over the last, about three, four years, who’ve really constructed the business, to make its primary purpose, caring for building the life that we want.

John Patterson: And that kind of leads me to the last time we were together, and why I wanted to talk to you today. This is a… an episode in the series that we’re calling where are they now? We interviewed you some time in the past. Do you know how many years ago that was?

Paul Adams: No, but I remember where I was. I was in Vancouver, Canada, for the interview. So that had to be like three and a half years ago is what it seems like.

John Patterson: Yeah, something like that. So it’s been a little while. And it’s worth just noting what’s happened since. The last time we were together, we talked a lot about accurate thinking, we talked a little about what happened out of your participation in our programs, and the life that you designed. So first of all, I’ve told your story, a few different times because, I love… I was just on the phone today, by the way, with Trisha Tyler, know you have a close relationship with Trisha Tyler. And Trisha is one of those people that just has… designed a life of surplus and being able to enjoy a great life, and you know, she’s getting her pilot’s license. She and Jeff are about to take off on an amazing adventure for 19 days, and all that. But you really have designed a life… that many people would admire, in a variety of ways. You’re known in all kinds of ways, now even more known. Say a little bit today about your recent podcast. You have designed a life, you can travel and play as you want. You’ve designed a life where you don’t have to look back, you know at the end of some career and say, “Gosh I wish I could have spent more time with my family and with my kids or things that matter to me with my church, or my community. And everything else.” So you’ve done a really amazing job about that, and we… again we talked about that last time. I want to just take a moment, anything you want to say about all that.

Paul Adams: I would say that, you know, you mentioned a little bit about, one of the things we’ve got coming up now that’s much closer than it was prior, is we will leave on our one year, RV trip, June 1 of 2020. And it’s taken a lot of… I don’t want to say… work. But it’s taken a lot of thinking, and a lot of subtracting things out of our lives to make that a reality. To now it’s like, pretty much all the pieces are in place.

We just need to finish actually planning where we’re going to be and when. My business partner Cory Sheppard has bought in that we’ll be down to a three day work week. That I’ll be doing things down to a three day work week before the trip begins. So that it makes it seamless for the team. We’ve made the company entirely location independent, so we still have a mailing address and office location, but none of us need to be anywhere, in particular, to be able to do what we do. So if, one of our staff said, “I want to go live in Japan for a month.” They could do that. And that was something that wasn’t real last time we spoke. But most importantly is that idea of every time a business option comes up, some of which were huge opportunities that I’ve actually declined. And the whole reason to decline them was, they were going to require that I travel the country and speak at a lot of conferences instead of a few conferences I most want to speak at. That that would clog up my capacity and prevent me from being able to do this trip. Or that being more involved in some local associations. Those would not allow for… I was able to serve on my church board for a while, like about five years, and then said, “Okay, now that needs to come to an end because we’re getting ready to go on this trip.”

All of those things are only possible because we set that aim, that flag in the future and then every time an option came up, we always filtered the opportunity through “Will that get us closer to or further away from these major life objectives?” You could tie that to anything else, your health, your marriage, to parenting. And all of the options get a lot easier if we’re measuring them against a future state that we’re solving for.

John Patterson: I could just stop right now because…Well you probably know when you interview someone, you have to pull out examples, and you have to pull out things that illustrate a thing you just said. And you just did that beautifully-

Paul Adams: Oh thank you-

John Patterson: By the way. And I think it’s a testament to your own work with clients, to help them think accurately. And I’ll just congratulate you. It sounds like you’re thriving. If we can though, let’s just take a second and think about if… Let’s imagine we have a new listener here with us today. Somebody who’s never heard an Influence Ecology podcast. They don’t know anything about what we’re talking about. You’ve been on a journey that started many years ago, here with Influence Ecology — I know that you and Kirkland known each other for a little bit longer before-

That. But in terms of what you might say to a listener, a new listener, about your own journey. We’ll get to what’s happening now, because we’re here to talk about where are they now. So we’re going to leave the where are they now, for just a minute, but if you think about just talking to a brand new listener, who wants to sort of take the first couple of steps, towards the journey you have. What would you recommend at them?

Paul Adams: I would say, first, if you’ve not done it, find out with you and if you’re married, with your spouse or partner, what is it you actually want from your future. And you know when we meet with our clients, one of the things we often ask is, if we were to meet three years from today, looking back to this conversation to today, what is it you’d most want to have accomplished personally, professionally, financially, to be really happy with your progress over those three years? And even though, almost all of our clients have household incomes between $300 thousand and $2 million a year. So these are people who… like they’re smart and they have done things-

John Patterson: Not sitting around slacking-

Paul Adams: No. And yet that is not an easy question for most of them to answer. Because most of them have spent their personal lives, reacting and responding to the needs of their business or career. So I would say the first thing to get settled in, if you’re going to lets say have a conversation with Influence Ecology or you’re just hearing this podcast, randomly somebody sent it to you, maybe you saw it on somebody’s LinkedIn, that you’re now reflecting like, wait, pause, long enough. You and your spouse, maybe it’s a long dinner together and a piece of paper to just write out, what would we actually want our life to look like three years, five years, ten years from now?

Generally speaking you could just use those three domains of personal, professional, financial. Make it super easy to just, here is where I want to go. And then look at the other people doing what you’re currently doing, the way everybody is doing it is we would talk about it being in the current. And like —  Is anybody having the life, if they’re five years further down their career that you’re in, do they have a life that you want? And actually a good friend of mine that I introduced to Influence Ecology some years ago, he realized in our planning sessions, I said so, “What’s the next stage of your development?” He says, “Oh, it’d be this role.” And I said, “How much they travel?” Because travel was something he didn’t want to do as much of. And you could see he just went, like his face sunk in the moment, because he… it had never occurred to him to look at it that way. It was always the next customer, if you’re a business owner, that next client, that employee growth, the additional office location. Or in a career that next promotion, that next big move, the next bump in pay, are all what people center on and not for a moment do they pause and say, “Wait, is that what I actually want in all the other areas of my life that actually matter?”

And if you think about it, people can ignore a lot of concerns in their life, outside of their career until they’re about 40. I think. People can hard charge, go at it, ignore their health, ignore their family, get a lot of forgiveness, because they’re getting a lot of success. And then they look up at 40, the problem is, all the habits and practices that they developed for the first 20 years, now have to be somehow unwound. It’s not like you can get to 40… Like a diabetic can’t suddenly get diagnosed with diabetes and give up ice cream. It doesn’t work that way. Neither can that person in their 40s now, realizing maybe they want to be home with their kids, now that their kids are, you know, almost, you know, double digits. They can’t just say this is where I’m going to stay home now. Because they’ve got a career that has a momentum and trajectory that they now can’t control.

And to first pause and reflect if, well what I’m doing now actually put me in the… all of these areas, personal, professional, financial, in a way that I would even be remotely satisfied with. And I think a lot of people in their dark quiet moments, maybe by themselves, or maybe with a spouse, they find out, it’s not really going to take me where I want to go. And that’s probably a really good starting point.

John Patterson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Sorry to interrupt, that’s so heavy — It’s really good because I’m wondering, I know that people are listening, that are both, customers of ours and customers of yours, or possible future customers of yours. Many people at Influence Ecology, user services, wisely I might add.

Paul Adams: Thank you.

John Patterson: And… You’re welcome. Well thank you back. In your work with people, when you have them consider that future, that three year, five year, ten year future. What do you find most people have to confront, I know you said a few things here, but, in general what are some of things you find most people have to begin to confront?

Paul Adams: So one that I don’t think is the way, it’s not the way that they digest it, so I’m going to say it this way, just for the sake of the audience, to get the concept but-

John Patterson: Yep.

Paul Adams: The first thing people have to do is locate themselves inside their ignorance. If you’re going to start excelling in some new area of performance, better marriage, better physical health, better athletic performance, better professional performance, better performance with your money. You kind of need to like… If you were learning chess, first find out what are the bad moves that you’re making, stop those. So locating yourself in what’s not working as a primary tool. And I think that a lot of that can come from being a part of an ecology, of people, where somebody else says, “You guys talk without being able to hold up the mirror.” Because we operate in our everyday life and we don’t hear about these things.

In fact, Cory and I don’t tell everybody the things that… Because people can’t take it all at once anyways. It has to be dripped in overtime, so they can take the little pieces. So I would say one of the first things people have to confront, especially when looking at their long term planning, is understanding that they don’t know simple financial mechanics. Like most people probably listing right now, do not know that if they want $200 thousand of income every year, all throughout their old age, how much money actually has to be in capital at work outside of home equity, to be able to do that. They just… No one has ever taught them because, inside their current, everyone has just taught them the things they need to know to buy the next financial product, but not to hold an entire financial strategy.

John Patterson: Now everybody wants to know that number now that you just said that.

Paul Adams: You’re probably thinking right now, “I wonder what the number is?” And-

John Patterson: What is that number-

Paul Adams: It’s just a four percent distribution rule. So, for every $40 thousand of annual dependable income you want to have, what all the scholarship says, it doesn’t not matter if you invest it in single family homes, or commercial real estate, or you have a diversified basket of stocks and bonds in a diversified portfolio. You can still only take out four percent because those assets, even if they over time do seven or eight, they trend up and down. And as they trend up and down, and you take distributions, your distributions in down years accelerates the erosion of your capital and puts you in a position, where… I’m a little country so it’s like, you’re just eating your seed corn. You got to plant the field again next year.

So we got to make sure people are at least aware, that for every $40 thousand of income that you want to have control over, you got to have a million dollars set aside. So $200 thousand of income, is $5 million capital at work. Or said differently, if you’re making $400 thousand a year a people say, “How do you feel today?” And you say, “I feel like a million bucks.” You should say, “I feel like ten million dollars.” Because that’s what it would take, to throw off $400 thousand a year. You are a really, really valuable asset to your family. And many people don’t think of what’s the capital at work equivalent needed to produce for my family every year, what I do naturally by transacting the market place.

John Patterson: Great. So let’s go back to the beginning of your journey with Influence Ecology. And I’m trying to remember your word, we would say, we point out where people are naïve you’d said, what was your word for it?-

Paul Adams: Oh, locate themselves in their ignorance.

John Patterson: God I can imagine saying that to some people, and they’d be so offended. In any case, so if you locate yourself in your ignorance, in your early days of FOT, simply said, what was it?

Paul Adams: I would say something I went my entire career doing, is I thought what mattered was facts, and not feelings. And facts don’t care about your feelings. That’s what I would literally… like that’s how I oriented to the entire world. And, that worked pretty well because I was such a high performer and I could bring in a value.

But what I realized was, this entire time, every time somebody gave me some new profile to take, or something else, I would use it to learn about myself around personality, but I ignored communicated with other people based upon their personality. Now I did it for a very different reason. The financial services industry, the reason I built out my own business so quickly is, I didn’t like the sales culture of most financial firms. So I tried to distance myself  — As quickly as possible and so much of that sales training had to do with, for this type of personality do this, for… So I just wanted to be as far away as that sales stuff as I could. But I necessarily left behind everything around personalities. And what I learned in Influence Ecology, that I did not know prior, was that knowing something about personalities actually gave me a better capacity to teach people, to help them feel understood, and to give them the ability, for their sake, not mine. But to be able to understand concepts more quickly and transact easier, to become a client of ours, so that it didn’t take so much time. Because otherwise I would just work with the people who’s… their personalities would tolerate mine. Or ones who are simpatico with mine. And I had no idea this entire time, that I had been creating that. And now just understanding those personalities, and the same thing inside my own enterprise.

And now it’s like constant sort of inside jokes about the type of personality I am, between me and Jeff, or me and Miranda, or me and Cory. And how we navigate that and how we keep me focused on the areas I’m most apt to excel at because of my transactional personality type.

John Patterson: That’s good. That’s really great. Well said. Alright so, here you are. You’ve been how many years in this study now.

Paul Adams: I think it’s been almost… I think it’s almost four years… so wait a second, I think I could tell you. Two thousand, so it just have been just three years ago, that I was on the podcast, or 2 and a half, because I started, I think in March 2016… is my guess.

John Patterson: Yeah. So you’ve had the journey up until the time that we spoke before. Where are they now, where are you now? What’s been going on since we’ve last talked. And I know you’ve addressed a few things here, but what’s your journey been about, the last couple of years here at Influence Ecology? You’re still studying with us. You’re still a part of this you know… where I’m going to see you in a few days. So you’re still here. How come? What’s happening now?

Paul Adams: Well I’ll tell you. One of the things, John, that has been the most valuable for me being in Influence Ecology is how, I mean this in a really good way, but I’ve gotten, you know we say inside Influence Ecology like I’m hard to threaten now, both not just because of income, and net worth, who are also helpful. But also, we go out of our way to control our expenses. So it makes it very difficult for one client to say, “Well I might leave” and I say, “Well I can still tell you the truth about your money, because I don’t have to have you as a client.”

That same thing has also branched over to make it that I don’t have to study as rigorously as I used to. And it’s super easy to sit back and yet every month there’s an assignment due. And I have gone through months where I’ve been, maybe conceivably, the worst student that completed an assignment that month. And yet, if it weren’t for that, and I don’t mean it like a pressure. But the cadence of another — every month. There’s another assignment due. Over and over and over again. And If I wasn’t in this study, even if I had all the same books on the shelf, I wouldn’t be able to be in a study of those books. I just would be glancing at them on my shelf, that I think is one of the biggest things that keeps me connected to the ecology. Because frankly, I’ll show up to this mid-year conference, and I will in some way be left in a… And I mean this in a good way, like if you’re a runner and somebody just goes flying past you. People that are still managing to hold all of the major concerns that they have, and get their studies done, and then there will be somebody that might see me and go, “Oh my gosh, like I’m taking too much time in my career. Maybe I need more time with my family.” And they’ll take that from me and we end up being like that old biblical phrase of ironing sharpening iron, in the room together, to be in the position where here we are, all learning from the same… We’re all drinking from the same well but applying it to our own lives, in a way that-

Actually makes it faster for all of us to learn because we see it applied in different environments over and over and over again.

John Patterson: Great. That’s really good. And since we were last together, there have been a few changes in your, staff — So you now… I’ve noticed Cory is part of many of your marketing endeavors — Jeff and say a little bit about what’s happened there and why?

Paul Adams: Yeah so Cory became a partner this last year, and in no small part, became a partner because of, not just the value he was able to bring prior, but going through the fundamentals of transaction program, made him… like the best way I can think of it, like made him the $6 million to me. Like, he now understood who… more about what it was like to deal with me and my personality, and where to get the most out of me, where the enterprise could get the most out of me. To point me like… I can be like a guided missile in a client meeting, as long as I have something that I’m focused on.

But outside of client meetings, I could be a guided missile that’s just come off the launch pad and gone in every direction like… Something launched out of North Korea that splashes down to the Japan sea accidentally. That’s the problem. But now he’s better able to listen to my concerns, execute on behalf of the enterprise, where now we’re basically down to, I have one direct report which is Cory, all the rest of the team reports to Cory, and it really makes it where… while I interact with everybody, there’s something in the enterprise that I don’t have to worry about. And Cory was able to understand how to really fill that role and bring that degree of value to me and to the enterprise. I think in part because of some of the things we both learned in FOT, that allows us to have a similar enough background, that we could execute that.

Now, Jeff coming in to the enterprise was… Oh yeah —

John Patterson: Hold on with Cory for just one second — For just like a… am I curious about the.. Now I’ve know you for a while, you’re a… you identify as an inventor personality as we teach it. And inventor personalities are often lone rangers and, independent, and, you know, my idea or the highway, and different things like that. Right? So, you and I haven’t talked about this, but I had wondered, as I watched Cory saddle up to the inventor. I had wondered about that for you and what you had gone through, what had transpired… for you, and starting to work with somebody like that. And yes I can see that he would, knowing what he’d learned in FTO, be kind of a natural, but what did you deal with?

Paul Adams: So, Cory worked with me prior to FOT for about four years. And, the way the relationship for the most part worked, I think prior to that, and I hope not speaking out of school, so nothing like John, having never talked about something with you before, and then we’ll just talk about it in front of the world here.

So I think, I think Cory, what he was able to do because of FOT is, in certain ways come along side me and in stead of just kind of navigating that inventor personality, is in certain ways, being able to stop me and say, “Paul, I think we need to pause here and do these three things next. Or we need to pause here, not push any further because we need to… there’s some relationship stuff we have to do here.”

Where I’m somebody who I think I can kind of swing judge side when I need to, swing performer side when I need to, I don’t do anything on the bottom side on the transaction cycle. I don’t even like fixing stuff at my own house in terms of actually work in action. I have two tools in my tool box, a cellphone and a check book. I don’t do stuff. I create stuff for other people to do John, is my primary thing.

John Patterson: I understand-

Paul Adams: So what he was able to do though, in learning from FOT was how to re-direct me, without betraying his core personality, not wanting conflict with me. And with that shared — Language set that we both agreed to and being able to say, “Hey Paul I think you’re doing that thing.” And I was able to do the same thing with him, with out that, little bit of an over archering, or overpowering personality type, that people are going to say yes to because he’s the boss. Or because he sounds — Like he’s got it all together and that could run us into problems in the future. So that is the big difference that I thinks come from Cory participating in FOT. And I cannot tell you enough how, what a key thing I think it is so many people become partners in an enterprise. And the only language they share, is the language of that enterprise. And to have those two people do the fundamentals of transaction program together, would be absolutely gold I think for most organizations with partners.

John Patterson: You may or may not know about the work were doing in enterprises. Do you know anything about that?

Paul Adams: Just a little bit. TCX I think-

John Patterson: TCX. Yeah. Transactional Competence across teams, generally speaking. And to their teams that work together. And what we found is that when people understand the transaction cycle as a fundamental framework, and personality again as a fundamental framework. Then it allows them to coordinate action in ways, share a common language, share a common tool, ask the question where are we in this transaction? What is next? Who’s the right role for this transaction? And so far it’s been fantastic. It’s been really great. So, you started to bring up Jeff? Anything else about your team?

Paul Adams: Well I will say one thing that I think could get lost, people may go listen to the other podcast, but I think if it weren’t for… We did a lot of online meetings prior to Influence Ecology. And it wasn’t until learning the transaction cycle, understanding all the key components, that I was able to revisit an entire business model, like in the financial services, financial advising, financial planning world. People are used to people being across the desk from each other, coming into that beautiful office and the trappings and all that. In fact I just spoke to a guy right before the podcast who managed to do a three year trip with his family, in a boat across the world, who owns a financial advising firm. He flew back every quarter for a week, to get all his client meetings done, in about a week and a half, and then fly back out. And to me I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, that seems so horrible.” He says it was bad, like it was… he was totally smoked after a week and a half back in his office, to then be able to fly back to his boat, to continue the three year trip. And we’ve now changed how we transact with people in a way that they actually feel better, because they can access us whenever they need to, wherever they are, it’s not just about wherever we are. And that wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have that transaction cycle, and I never could have translated it to my team, and my company, and my employees, without having the simple framework of the transaction cycle to do that. SO just that shared background, I can’t say enough about.

John Patterson: That’s really great. I think we can move on, but anything else you want to say about your team-

Paul Adams: No that’s great. The one fun one is with Jeff. You talk about accomplishments etcetera. Here’s a guy, we actually had him on the podcast, there’s… Our podcast, which is called your business, your wealth. You can find it or Instagram it @wealth podcast or you know, look on any of those socials for it. It just happens to be the one tag I remember.

But he joined us after becoming a client, after handling being the primary person, handling he and Trish’s finances together as a married couple. And not realizing that they had already crossed the finish line to financial independence. Like they had just kept accumulating capital and when he joined us and I said, “Well, you know, you’ve been looking, you’ve kind of open into a career, you don’t really have to work, but you want freedom. Why don’t you just teach people to do what you’ve already done successfully?” He’s like, “Well I don’t have 20 years in the industry, like you do” I said, “Yeah but you do have the accomplishment of already having your money handled. And that’s a pretty hard one for anybody to beat. So you’ve got more swagger than most advisors out there that have been doing it 20 years.” And he says, “Okay.”

And so that’s kind of what instigated him joining our firm a little over a year ago. And he does bring that level of confidence and clarity to people, and an inquiry into the future that they want. And he was pretty open about how his was mostly out of habits to save like crazy, not because he even knew how much was enough. He was even of the scarcey mindset that there would maybe never be enough, he had to keep saving. And even that has cleared up for him and he’s able to translate that to clients.

John Patterson: That’s great. That’s really great. I wanted to turn out attention to, why do you think so many people here at Influence Ecology come to you, and your team for help?

Paul Adams: That’s a good question. I think there’s a few reasons. One is, I think our relationships with everybody with whom we meet. Whether it’s somebody off the podcast, or where I’m a guest somewhere, speaking somewhere, is that we start every potential conversation with somebody, who’s a potential client. Every potential client relationship just starts with, lets have a meeting, via zoom, where we just share our philosophy. We’re not going to make you an offer, we’re not going to ask you to open your financial kimono. We are only going to share with you how we look at the world. Because inside most financial firms, they are slightly changing their narratives, their language or maybe even the perceived philosophy, based upon whatever is most important to the client.

So that first meeting, made probably many listeners have been in a first meeting with some financial person, where they’re asking some personal questions, etcetera. And they’re kind of figuring out what’s going to best take care of you, that might have you become a client. And we don’t… we can’t do that because we would now have like hundreds of hours of audio and video and print media out there about our philosophy as a firm. So I can’t change our philosophy for that person we’re meeting with. What I can do-

Is I can say, “this is how we look at the world, what we think is going on, why retirement doesn’t work for most people, especially not people at higher income ranges. Not in the way that society teaches us, because that’s spent, nothing bad about the 90%. But they’ve designed it for, most families making under $150 a year, which doesn’t work the same for families making over $300. And when we kind of open that up and really discuss the things that most people affiliate with financial institutions never talk about, it builds a fair amount of trust. And then when we finish, we let people know that, you can apply to become a client, or not. And if you don’t want to, that’s okay. But we’ll never call you or follow up with you again.

If you want to you can apply and then we’ll let you know, if we can make an offer, and we’ll only make you an offer if we think it’s ethical for us to do so. And I think that that simple orientation, and our ability to be location independent, makes it so easy for people to at least have an initial conversation with us. Which has lead to so many of the opportunities to work with Influence Ecology students. So I would say, that is why.

John Patterson: And how do you think our philosophies, influence enologies and yours, how do you think they align?

Paul Adams: Well, one to my experience, and I’ve been around a lot of different coaching organizations, all kind of aiming toward, work less, make more, or advance your career, build your business more, et cetera. And Influence Ecology is the only one I have ever been a part of. And I’m telling you, since I was 20, I’ve spent upwards of $40 thousand a year, some years, in educating myself. And this is the first time anybody’s actually, made as a part of one of the introductory assignments, and initial course work, you need to understand whether or not you’re thinking accurately or naively-

John Patterson: Accurately.

Paul Adams: With bunch of naivete. Are you ignorant or not basically? Do you have any idea how much money it’s going to take, and how good your doing toward that end, and I think it speaks to yours and Kirkland’s ethical commitment, to not just care that people make more money, but to care that people are setting themselves up for the future because, nobody I’ve ever been around does that. And I would challenge people like, have you ever been a part of a program that literally says like, “these are the numbers, these are the metrics, here’s a calculator. Can you actually do the math to even know where you’re at?” And too often people can’t. And it’s prob… I’m going to… I’ve never asked you about this but I imagine it’s the part of the assignments that get people most agitated… in their early course work.

John Patterson: Yeah, it is. It is absolutely. And I think it’s worth taking a second and saying something about it because, in the early days, or in the early studies of influence ecology, many people are confronting their naivete, or their… their ignorance. As you call it. And their confronting that naivete about a variety of things. And we do want to, as we say here at Influence Ecology, hold up the mirror, so that people have the opportunity to see, or observe something that they may never have. And too often we live in a world that will simply say, you know, “You go for it! Do it! That’s a great idea!”-

Paul Adams: It’ll all work out.

John Patterson: Yeah! It’s awesome! I want that too Fantastic idea! You know not too many people are going to say, “Dude that’s a mistake. That’s going to… Or hold on a second, what’s your aim here? I don’t understand why you’re doing that.”

It is unfortunate, but we don’t often live amongst a group of people that will mirror back to us, the kinds of behaviors, practices, ethics, activities, that actually work against us.

And so Influence Ecology has been designed to do that.

Paul Adams: Yes.

John Patterson: And so as you mentioned, even in a relationship, or in a many areas of life, what people do is they come here and they have aims, and many different conditions of life. And our job is to A, have them think accurately about most things. B, begin to look for the naïve. C, construct transactions to satisfy those things, in reality, not as a fantasy.

Paul Adams: Yes.

John Patterson: And when we do that, when we do that well, people, you know, can go spend a year in an RV and to have all their aims met. It’s fantastic.

Paul Adams: Yep. And it’s funny, when you talk about aims and, you know, I’m sure in other podcasts you’ve covered them more in detail. But being able to anticipate what they’re going to be and address them in advance, is now something that’s just… I don’t — I’m not saying that I do it right all the time. But one of the things I’ve had to do, is actually design a physical work out regiment, that will work. When I’m in an RV for a year because otherwise I’ll have a massive breakdown on my health and an inability to workout consistently if I do not have the structures, the things in reality needed in the RV to do it. And close enough by, and construct in a way that I will do them everyday. And that is like one thing that could ruin my life, and being on the road for a year, is if my health fell apart.

John Patterson: Yes. Alright well sir is there anything else you want to say to the public before we sign off?

Paul Adams: You know just for those of you that are Influence Ecology students who have contributed to my life, whether that could have been you being at a conference or on a conference call, that I may have listened to live, or listened to recorded. Nearly everybody in the Ecology has given me, something for me to chew on, to reflect on. Or something that you may have just said about yourself, or something you’re dealing with on a podcast, that caused reflection for me. Nearly everybody in that room, that’s been in that room more than once, has contributed me in some way. And if it weren’t for you and Kirkland having constructed this long before I ever became a student, I would have never had that opportunity just from the… just the bottom of my heart. Thank you guys for being here and having created this environment, that I just got to step into as a student, write relatively small set of checks, compared to the checks you guys had to write early on to build all of it.

And to all the other students that take time to be on the calls, on the podcast, share your thinking, get up in front of the room and share something that you learned. There’s probably something about nearly every student in my notes of something I’ve learned from them at a conference so, thanks to all of them and thanks to you and Kirkland.

John Patterson: Well Paul, thank you so much for being a guest today. It’s a pleasure-

Paul Adams: Well thanks for having me.



John Patterson: In this episode’s talk, we’ll hear a segment of a webinar on the value and cost of people’s personality in transactions. While many people around us are eager to point out our value, or perhaps, we’re quiet eager to let people know about our value. It’s very unlikely that we’re surrounded with the opportunity to have a mirror reflect back to us, the cost we are in transactions. So we can lower our cost. And in doing so raise our value. Here’s the talk.

John Patterson: You can start to look at your own personality from this framework. So for example, if you tend to be a little more skeptical, you enjoy the narratives around facts, judgements, assessments. People count on you to keep the standards, keep the guidelines, let everybody know how things are run around here. You know, those kinds of things.

If you’re a producer down at the 6 o’clock place in the transaction cycle, you might be much more objective if things are what they are. It’s black and white, it’s on or off, it’s in or out, this is the checklist, let’s get it done. We do this, it’s just simple. It’s all black and white, where at the top of the transaction cycle, you have a personality and a better personality who’s a little bit more subjective.

Subjectivism `as a philosophy is simply that everything that I can experience is just an interpretation of the mind and those things are malleable, they change. The producer would say, “No, no, no. This table’s not an interpretation. If I leave this room, this table’s still going to be here.” The inventor would say, “No, no, no. Who knows if it’s really there? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s an interpretation. Maybe there are possibilities we have not considered about what is real and what isn’t real” right, you can hear all of that. Or performers, performers really are able to construct narrative in the moment. You can call on them to stand up in front of a room or… you know, go talk to somebody, and they’re always able to construct proper narrative. They’re able to construct that narrative because they are steeped in the present moment, in the now, with people, amongst others, in relationships. Their biology is wired on, “Are we good? Are we good? Are you good? Are we good? How’s our relationship?” It’s all that sort of stuff.

So you may start to identify personality from that perspective, and I have an entire sort of chart, if you will, that we might come back to in a moment. I know people love it, so I’m not going to look at that for just about a sec But I want to do is have you consider perhaps which personality that you might identify with for the moment and start to address perhaps, the asset you are. Because every one of us is an asset when our personality is aligned with the proper role in the transaction.

An inventor’s, as we said, tend to be future based, idea oriented people, they’re self reliant and highly subjective in their thinking. While performers tend to be present based, relationship oriented people who are inclined to be highly flexible in their thinking.

Producers tend to be short term and objective in their thinking, and are highly work oriented doers. And judges tend to be skeptical people relying on standards, competence and evidence, prior to taking action.

Skepticism, skepticism simply is, “I don’t know yet. Show me the evidence. I’m not sure I agree. Show me the evidence.” So when our assets are aligned with the proper place in transaction, then we tend to accelerate those transactions. However, we also tend to grind transactions to a halt, we stop them, because we’re… our personality is also a liability if our personality is misaligned, with the proper role in the transaction.

So an inventor may tend to halt transactions with new ideas, or need to control. And may avoid or dismiss relationships or judgements, in other words, may tend to dismiss the personalities on either side of the transaction cycle. In other words, going here, and this is the same for all the personalities, so an inventor may tend to dismiss sort of the value, of the other personalities in the transaction. Especially the one that follows it, right?

So as we said inventors tend to halt them that way. Performers tend to halt transactions with relationship concerns. Like a little bit too concerned for relationship, so they got to stop everything and make sure we’re good. Or they tend to stop transactions with mood campaigns. A mood campaign is a kind of, “Oh my gosh, isn’t this amazing? Don’t you just love this? I love this food. Don’t you love it? Gosh I…” They’re campaigning for mood. Or they may avoid or dismiss commitments or facts.

Producers tend to halt transaction with premature, unnecessary doing. They’re always quite ready to get to work on something where, we’re just talking about some ideas here, just hold on. And they may avoid or dismiss completion or flexibility. Producers tend to like things to be consistent as they are. You know let’s just get the procedure set up, once and done.

Judges tend to halt transactions with authoritative evidence, or confrontive standards, “No, no, no, that’s not the way we do things around here.” … Right? And may avoid or dismiss vision or repetition. So we want to begin, as I said, point to both the asset and the liability of our personalities in transactions.

John Patterson: My special thanks to our guest, Paul Adams. In our show notes you’ll find links to connect with him, and all the links to websites, books for downloads, mentioned in this podcast. The Influence Ecology Podcast is produced by Influence Ecology, LLC in Ventura, California. This episode was recorded July 15th, 2019 and was produced by Tyson Crandall and John Patterson. You can find a transcript for this and other episodes at This episode is made possible through the assistance of the Influence Ecology Faculty, Staff, Mentors, and Students around the world. Co-founder Kirkland Tibbels and our colleagues comprise an international collective of professionals who are active in the development of the philosophy of Transactionalism and the discipline of Transactional Competence. Kirkland is considered a leading philosopher and authority in the field and he has authored more than 500 papers on the subject, study, and discipline.

This episode includes contributions by Karal Gregory. The podcast theme is by Chris Standring and titled ‘Fast Train to Everywhere.’ You can subscribe to the Influence Ecology Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or via email at

If you haven’t yet offered a rating or review, I ask that you take a moment go to iTunes or your podcast app and let us know what you think. This helps us more than you know.

Podcast Bonuses:

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Sound Financial Group
Your Business Your Wealth Podcast
Paul Adams on LinkedIn

Influence Ecology is the leading business education specializing in Transactional Competence, having published and contributed to the only comprehensive text on the subject, Transactionalism: An Historical and Interpretive Study by Trevor J. Phillips. Co-Founder Kirkland Tibbels has authored more than 500 papers on the subject, study, and discipline of transactional competence and is a sought-after lecturer at universities, major corporations, and civic organizations around the world. 

Influence Ecology’s curriculum includes conferences, webinars, online tools, podcasts, and mentorship utilized by men and women in over seventy countries around the world. Our membership includes an international assembly of accomplished professionals, faculty, and peers from a variety of countries, industries, and cultures.

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