• Kirkland Tibbels, The Influence Ecology Podcast, Transactional Competence, Transactionalism

Kirkland Tibbels – Founding Transactionalism (Ep. 50)

Influence Ecology launched its first podcast episode in August of 2016 and saw our listener base grow to 70 countries and counting. This episode is our 50th, and my special guest is Influence Ecology’s very own Kirkland Tibbels. You often hear him on the closing talk that underscores the primary point of each episode. Today, we get to learn about his own journey, the founding of this philosophy, and why transactional competence matters—especially now.

Kirkland Tibbels is co-founder and chairman of Influence Ecology—an international education company specializing in the field of transactional competence. Kirkland and his colleagues comprise an international collective of professionals who are active in the development of the philosophy of Transactionalism and the discipline of transactional competence. He is considered a leading philosopher and authority in the field, having published and contributed to the only comprehensive text on the subject, Transactionalism: An Historical and Interpretive Study by Trevor J. Phillips, and he has authored more than 500 papers on the subject, study, and discipline. He is a sought-after lecturer at universities, major corporations, and civic organizations around the world.

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.

by John Patterson
Produced by: John Patterson, Jason Kelley & Tyson Crandall

“I’d like for people to consider waking up to the notion that they can live a much better life if they address their indifference to certain things.”

John Peterson: Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening wherever you are in the world. I’m your host John Patterson, the co-founder and CEO of Influence Ecology, the leading business education in Transactional Competence. Broadcasting from Ventura, California this podcast features case studies, stories and lessons from business owners, executives and entrepreneurs who found real solutions, real results and real satisfaction not only with work, career and money, but in every area of life, you’ll hear how these ambitious professionals found that those who transact powerfully thrive. Influence Ecology launched its first podcast episode in August 2016 and saw our listener base grow to 70 countries and counting. This episode is our 50th and my special guest is Influence Ecology very own Kirkland Tibbels, you often hear him on the closing talk that underscores the primary point of each episode. Today we get to learn a little bit about his journey, the founding of this philosophy and why Transactional Competence matters especially now. Kirkland welcome to the Influence Ecology Podcast.

Kirkland: Well thank you John, very happy to be here.

John: That’s a privilege to have you here with us today. I’ve known you for almost 30 years, you are a very rare combination of ambitious professional, studied philosopher, distinguished Toastmaster, practiced comedian, and there’s a through line through all of that you’re often working on the trajectory and an aim, a goal in mind that weaves those bits together, can you say anything to let us know a little bit about how all that came together or the through line for those bits?

Kirkland: That’s a big question, and it’s a question I’ve thought about, how did come together, this thing being me as a character I guess, a combination of events that occurred in my life, environment where I grew up, the joy and happiness and privilege of having some of the family members I had who influenced my life in the situations that occurred, all fit early on as this personality that wanted to perform, to present and I was just very fortunate to have the family I did at that time willing to leave me alone and let me do what I wanted to do because my mother by the time I started growing up John my mother already had three kids out of the way, seven years later I came a long and she and I had a deal, while she was very strict with the first three, and she and I struck a deal early on when it was essentially just me and my little sister and my mom, and it was, stay out trouble and I’ll leave you alone.

She didn’t make me make A’s in school, she didn’t really care as long as I passed. Its more along those lines and that really left me open to pursue what I most wanted to do which was performance in all the varied ways that came together, and that led me into early on when I was 18, that’s into my first Toastmasters and I found a real joy in working with business professionals at that time, and I continued to do that as went to college in Austin, I continued to hangout and learn, and was so fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from some various dudes and very successful people in Austin and then in St. Antonio, and ultimately it was an introduction that was made to me through Toastmasters that led me to a group of people that were starting a business and it’s– I’ll have to take you through a very complex round about way of how it got there, but essentially it got there and I had the opportunity to be on the ground floor of a company that ultimately went public, and you’ve heard me say over and over, it wasn’t because I knew that’s where we were going, in fact, I didn’t know any better, but I just knew that I trusted the people that started that company and I trusted the ethic and their mission, the people that they were.

They were a lot smarter than I was, and if I was going to be successful in any way I needed to figure out how to make money and they figured out that I was best suited for being in front of people and fortunately they knew that and I knew that and put me in the right spot and surrounded me with highly capable people and John that’s how it all came together. While I also was practicing in public speaking in many different forms from standup to academia speeches to professional presentations. I was also fortunate to study with a group of young business professionals in Austin and St. Antonio in the mid 80’s, late 80’s as all of that was going on, and then was able to go from there to take my winnings and I went to film school, and so that’s completely different path after having some success and was fortunate enough to land again in the right spot at the right time for what I was up to.

Actually moved to Los Angeles, started producing film, all along I was still fascinated with the study that had begun in St. Antonio on the dynamic of human exchange, that’s the fancy way of saying it now, back then I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but it became that over time and I became more and more fascinated with it, found my inner student late in my development as a young adult. I became hungry for, and had a real passion for philosophy, but I didn’t have any formal education I just started finding it and the more research I did and the work that I would do kept leading me in a direction of what I now know is process philosophy. I didn’t know that’s what it was, I didn’t know that’s how it’s organized or categorized, but that’s where I ended up in the study of process and transaction. So John that’s how I’ have arrived here.

John: Do you not had many conversations around what I’ll call story, story arc, storytelling, but also human behavior, and those things that drive human behavior we’ve had conversations around stories that end in the hero’s transformation and the like, there seems to be at least in my observation some through line about your fascination with human behavior, storytelling and as a Toastmaster, a comedian and so forth there’s the storytelling and the art, is that all part of the recipe here, is that play a small role, tell me about that?

Kirkland: I’d say it’s plays a large role and the continuing development of how human beings engage one another, the notion that anything we do as human beings to achieve our needs and wants is done in concert with other human beings. I’ve been fascinated with that relationship, how human beings couple up, how we gather up in order to satisfy those areas of our lives that are most important to our happiness. How human beings arrive at a happy life is something that drives me and its compelled me, and what is included in that is this notion that human beings think in terms of narrative.

John: That’s actually the word that I most hear you express; narrative, I said story arc, or story-line or the like, but it’s a narrative. You got tell us about that?

Kirkland: I don’t remember the first time I heard it, it was probably back in one of the early Toastmasters clubs where great speakers understand that if you want to a point make you make the point and then you tell a story. You tell a story then you make a point, people hear themselves living in their day to day push and pull of their life in narrative and in story, and in fact people think in story. How we think about our life is story, we talk about influence of policy, we talk about mood being a narrative. One of the ways that we demonstrate that narrative, that mood is a constructed narrative is we ask people to consider the time when they forgot why they were supposed to be upset.

I know I’m supposed to be upset about something, I cannot for the life of me remember what it was, and then you start to think about it. This just happened to me the other day and I was laughing about it, I knew I was supposed to be upset about something John, there was something obviously in the background I knew and until I figured out what the story was I couldn’t remember why I was supposed to be upset, and I also noticed my biology at the time I wasn’t upset until I remembered what it was, and then I got really upset. Yes that’s right, sorry though. It just gives more evidence to this claim that human beings even feel by virtue of the story that they hold about a certain thing, that’s part of that fascination. However, it got there I’m sure if I thought about I could have remembered the day that someone said, “You got to learn that,” but it’s all part of this weaving of my own narrative that got me to investigate and study myth and then a cinematic narrative. How those things get constructed and in film school I got to take a deeper dive in those areas. That was what I concentrated on for the most part in film school was how to negotiate the stories that turn out to be told in film or in pictures and in a dialogue. That craft became something that was very fascinating me and is still is, and why I think I keep up pretty strong hand in the entertainment industry, in the relationships that I have in that world because there is probably in our age right now no greater way to convey our thinking, to convey our philosophy except through cinematic narrative, television, video, large screen or small. That is a powerful way to have a story told and to have people recognize it in a very short amount of time.

John: Absolutely, probably one of the most mass transformative bits of media that we have. Whether or not it’s television or motion picture for people to wake up and to think differently about life because of that series that they watched, or that film that they are all talking about this year. It does tend to alter things for us is that one of the reasons for that study, is it drive you to understand how to craft story that perhaps impacts us that way?

Kirkland: Yes, absolutely. There’s nothing like the feeling of hearing from a total stranger that something that you conveyed a narrative like a movie for example changed their life in some dramatic way. They chose to take an action because they related to a story. I’ve had people contact me through movies, John. They changed their mind about how they felt in particular subjects. Yet the notion that someone can walk into a building, sit in the dark watch a 90-minute film and come out with a changed mind is a pretty powerful notion.
I think we ought to take it very seriously when we think about what goes in, what we listen to and what we are willing to consider because it’s powerful. There are people who understand how to influence mood and emotion through that technique, through those tactics that people need to be aware of. But for the most part that was how it all continued to weave together. I began to listen not just to how people accept narrative and liked it and buy it. I began to listen to how human beings simply talk to each other.

Over time and through studying with the help of an awful lot of really smart people who had figured this stuff out long before I had, I came to this transactional discourse that human beings engage in exchange, what they’re exchanging essentially is narrative. With your help over the last nine-plus years, we’ve realized where those narratives are located in a series of exchanges that culminate or disappear in a process of getting what people need and want to satisfy their life. That has become the fundamental work of Influence Ecology now is to teach people how those exchanges are constructed.

What we keep finding over and over is as people begin to understand the narrative of exchange. They can have some facility with it. Locate themselves in a cycle of transaction, understand what the narratives are in that particular spot, in that transaction and move confidently with it, hopefully ethically and hopefully morally and hopefully with a reciprocal co-constitutive orientation to have our environment in a better place than we leave it. But also to defend themselves from the unethical, immoral influence that is right also in our environment.

John: For anyone unfamiliar with Influence Ecology. We are the leading business education in Transactional Competence. Having launched in Los Angeles in October of 2009. We’re in our ninth year and our student population has grown to the size of a small college. With webinar participants and podcast listeners in 70 plus countries. Our curriculum is a combination of online learning supplemented by live webinars, workshops and global conferences held in both North America and Australia and New Zealand.

As we’ve been talking about our curriculum is grounded in the philosophy of transactionalism which is a philosophical approach that addresses the fundamental nature of social exchange or human transaction. That all human exchange is best understood as a set of transactions within our reciprocal and co-constitutive whole. Now, Kirkland, you’ve authored more than 500 papers on the subject, the study, the discipline, the philosophy of transactionalism and Transactional Competence, and you’re a sought-after speaker, universities, corporations, civic organizations and the like.

From time to time I will say that you’re such a philosophy nerd. [laughs] Because you certainly in the way that somebody might nerd out about computers or biology or gardening or whatever they do. This is a subject you’re quite fascinated with and astute discussing and the like. What has you so fascinated with the philosophy of transactionalism compared with other philosophy?

Kirkland: First I’ll say I’ve tried all the other philosophies as a dart. I looked seriously at philosophy from the ground-up. What I came to was that human beings and our human condition we’re much better off when we work together. We’re much better off when we engage one another in a reciprocal co-constitutive relational way. My personal experience has been when human beings work together. When we are willing to listen and we’re willing to take other people’s needs, wants and loftiest ambitions in consideration, we are much better off, we’re much better off as an open society.

We’re much better off if we allow some sense of freedom. We’re much better off if we work together than we are, that we try to do it all on our own. Through philosophy, I began to learn how this, and I am learning how all of this got constructed. How we moved through the scientific age where we began separating everything. The moment that Copernicus looked up and said that we’re not the center of the universe, and it changed everything. We began to recognize that we’re an aspect of the universe, we’re an aspect of our environment. That the whole world actually doesn’t revolve around us. But then that took a turn in the 20th century where we begin to look at how to capture, how to use, how to turn nature into something that is for us, it’s a utility. I think we lost track of our relationship to the entire environment and we lost track along the way to our own responsibility as a species through what we’ve endeavored to create to make our lives better, and we are coming to terms with that. In many ways, we’re coming to terms with that now as a species that we may want to reconsider it.

I think the proper and the right philosophy for that is a relational philosophy, its a process philosophy. There are great thinkers who we can rely on for that. John Dewey’s later works aimed toward a transactional approach, and I’ve subscribed to that approach wholly. That we as human beings are co-constitutive, we are relational. We together constitute our environments and John we do it through our relationship and story. We do it through the actions that we take, the decisions that we make with each other, for and against great causes. In terms of a philosophy, Alfred North Whitehead, Unruh Bergson, John Dewey, Hanna Hanna Ern and many others who have attempted to articulate that. Is a journey that I would like to contribute to in any way that I can.

What is it about this philosophy that I see as hope? Is the notion that human beings do much better when we work together. We do much better when we do the thing that our environment or our nurture whatever that is that came together, that wired me up to do the thing that I do best. We’re better off if in this environment I’m doing that, and John you’re doing the thing that you’re most suited for and most enjoy doing. Together just fundamentally it just makes more sense to me that we couple up and do it together. That we seek out those who have the same ethics and the same morals and the same ambitions and the same wants in life to seek human beings, live good lives.

We’re much better off if we get together and we do it together. We’re much better off if we consider the needs and wants and aims and hurts and wishes and wins of populations around the world, and we are walling ourselves off in some isolation. If there has ever been a time where a philosophy is needed, it’s now. Have a commitment and a passion to see human beings live good lives. As far as I can tell, based on my homework and studies so far, a philosophy that is deep in process and relationship and specifically in our case, one that is transactional, that is reciprocal. Co-constitutive where we engage with one another, and the exchanges we do live a better life is the proper philosophy.

John: In the book Transactionalism and Historical and Interpretive Study by Trevor J. Phillips, there’s the history of what you could say came before this and the philosophies that gave us self-action, or interaction, or cause and effect, you’ve addressed in conversations. We’ve heard some things about science and perhaps some of the ways in which we’ve compartmentalized, segmented, separated, classified things, so much so that we now perhaps don’t consider them wholly, relationally and the like. How do we get to be this way?

Kirkland: Well, again this points to the fundamental philosophy of process. We worked our way through the process, as human beings. As we figured out that there were other ways to live comfortably, we found technology, you could say that fire is a technology. Some people point to what started the problem in the first place. We figured that out which changed the way that we were able to eat, which changed the physical structure of how we’ve evolved, and there are also people that point to language as the culprit or the gift, the greatest gift.

We continued to invent technologies that are all part and parcel of our attempt to live good lives and got carried away I think. We got away from understanding our relationship through the environment. We got away from the respect and the dignity that I think we ought to hold in what commonly we called nature, and we turned nature into a source of utility. If we could chop it down and use it, then we should do that. We began to move in that direction, and I think in a lot of ways, that’s how we got where we are is we lost touch with the very soul of the universe in some way.

We lost touch with how much we need our environment, how much we depend on our environment. We’re seeing things going on in the environment that are a cautionary tale of the influence that human beings have because we got a hold of technology and we continue to stay in that. I’m in a bit of a debate with myself right now about whether or not we’ve gone too far. I’m certainly in the inquiry with a whole bunch of people who are a lot smarter than I am, about what there’s to do about it, and how we ought to engage. I think scientists have depended on it for the reasons that are right and just and we ought to be listening to that.

At the same time, we also need to take into account the thoughts and the feelings of those who are dealing with other sides of those arguments. That we are much better off again in the process of dialogue and understanding each other’s aims, needs, wants, desires and hopes. Then we are putting ourselves in camps and fighting with each other. We got here through a process and we will continue to get whatever it is that we’re going through a process of transaction. Both Dewey and Whitehead talk about the bifurcation of nature. How we continue to separate ourselves from our environment.

Personally, that’s the direction that I intend to go. That I want to take us in a direction and we’ll continue to press toward an understanding of our relationship to the entire environment. Not just to each other, but even the non-human species and entities on which we rely. I’ll reach out and tell you, John, I think there’s probably more reliance on what is non-human then we realize. Do you remember who it was at conference this last year who reminded us that we’re more non-human?

John: Yes. Daphne Thompson.

Kirkland: The number of times people have walked at me. They said things at our conferences and through our study papers. I just read a study paper when I met these students and you are seeing they are going, “My God, this is fantastic.” What she said was, “You do realize that we have more non-human DNA in us than we have human DNA through the instincts that are dependent upon us and we depend on them.” I went and did a little homework and I have found that if we start removing all of the non-human DNA-driven stuff that lives in and on us, we can’t live. We are in a co-constitutive. We co-create each other as an actual living being.

John: Was it you that said at the conference something about, we’re all water and bugs?

Kirkland: [laughs] I don’t remember. That’s what’s so great about it. [laughs] It’s shocking, it’s entertaining and it ought to scare the living dickens out of us. We hold ourselves in such high esteem that we’re willing to be in the best case, indifferent, in the worst case, evil in how we move with the rest of our environment. I’ve a friend who says, “God is fighting back,” and we’re seeing it. We’re seeing what happens when we screw around with the ecosystem. People like Phyllis are out there doing the work on farms and people like Daphne who are building technologies and science around Eastern and Western medicine in concert with Western positions, and in concert with people who are doing things John, and I’m still looking and have no idea what the heck’s going on over there.

People who are teaching us that the birth process, for example, is a process that we’re finding many of the problems that children and women are having later on in life has something to do with this notion of going through the birth process, while in technology more and more birth process is turning into a C-section rather than the entire labor that the child and the mother must go through in that process. There’s something to look at. It’s all I’m saying, is that an inquiry is worth it. An unexamined life is not a life worth living and that means the life of the species as well in a holistic, all-encompassing environmental dialogue. As long as we stay in that dialogue, even if we butt-heads and disagree all the way through the process, as long as we stay in the process, and we can listen to each other and we’re willing to seriously listen, we’re better off.

John: How does this pertain to business?

Kirkland: What we’re finding is that in business, in commerce, in economic exchange, when people take the transactional approach, they’re taking an approach that is a relational concern for being an aspect of the environment rather than playing some flawed notion that we’re in a zero-sum game. Where John the notion that if you’ve got it, I can’t have it. It just simply isn’t my experience. Our job here is to engage the environment, engage one another in a process at exchange that has our lives be better and if you bring again, you bring to the marketplace the thing that you have to offer that I need and I bring what I have to offer to the marketplace, the things that I need and I want, we end up in an enterprise of exchange.

When we start screwing around with that, when we start making the pieces of that more important than others, when we start to be selfish or greedy, and we begin to look for ways to take advantage of situations, then we start to put ourselves in a process that I think is dangerous and in many ways has us dealing with the problems that we’re dealing with in the West right now. Look, it’s a tough question, John. Should we get together in terms of politics and government and tell you how much you are allowed to earn? Do we put ceilings on it? If that’s the case, then should we also put some floors in place? Then you start to get into a pretty slippery slope that I don’t think we figured out how to do that yet.

In fact in the scheme of things, in the broad holistic view, we have just begun in the process in terms of the amount of time that human beings have began to organize. We’ve just scratched the surface. We haven’t figured out how all this stuff works yet. We haven’t even come close to figuring out how economic exchange ought to work. How many countries have we seen end up in depressions and then dealing with recessions? It’s because we’re in there doing what human beings are prone to do, which is to try to control everything. We’re trying to manipulate everything rather than engaging in a process of help, in a process of value and recognizing that human beings got here as a species. However, we got started. We got to this point because we got very good at avoiding threat and danger. Which makes us a walking assessment, evaluating constantly on the alert critter. We’re a critter that while at the same time we’re always looking for opportunity. We are absolutely more concerned with the threat of the environment. Mostly the threat comes from other human beings today. This biology was constructed as a valuing of continual assessment and evaluation machine. Piece of our brain that has kept our species around as long as it is, is a highly threatened, always on alert, ready to strike biology. Over time through our development we’ve become more rational, we’ve become more thoughtful, we’ve become more future thinking. The thing that is always in the background always in play is valuing, evaluating every single step and move we make has some notion of evaluation in it. That leads us to this construct of technology called money. Now, the first thing we want people to recognize when they start our study is that money is a condition of our current existence and you better pay attention to it.

It is a very tough life to try to live without money, very difficult. Money is not something that if I get it you can’t have it. That’s the way we tend to relate to enterprise. When you talk about transactionalism being a philosophy that is not a tit-for-tat game. It’s not a game of so opportunistic, Fredrick talks about that one person suffers because another one has. It doesn’t have to be that way, if what we are doing as a valuing and assessment critter. We’re also taking into account that other people have needs and wants and other people need to be cared for. When we lose sight of that when we lose sight of caring for our environment.

That means the other folks involved in it, all the other folks, all the other critters. We lose sight of that then we revert back to an interactional causing factor even worse, and animalistic, it’s all about me. That informs a whole bunch of this dialogue that we’re after. That we were much better off if we recognize the resource that we are, and rather than take advantage of the resource of other human beings why don’t we look to see if we can work together to satisfy our mutual concerns? That’s what transactionalism in my mind teaches, and in business, that if I bring my goods and services to a marketplace that helps enough other people and they are able to utilize my goods and services in a fortuitous way, in a beneficial, opportunistic way for themselves to take advantage of their own opportunities and provide services back to me and we continue in that relational mode will be much better shape.

John: Couldn’t agree more. Is there anything that you haven’t addressed here that you think you’d really love said about anything?

Kirkland: I would like to ask people to consider indifference for a minute. Maybe the place to start is we get so wrapped up in our day-to-day push and pull or habits and practices that are constructed and we buy into certain ways of doing things that we lose a sense of our own creativity, we lose a sense of our relationship to everything around us and get into our own little rafts, and we lose sight of what’s possible. Because of this indifference that is so pervasive in society. I’d like for people to consider waking up to the notion that they can live a much better life if they address their indifference to certain things.

Their indifference to their relationship and their family. Their indifference to their relationship to their local community. Their difference to the ecology, to the environment. Wake people up to that there’s something going on and you have access to it. As an aspect of this environment, you play a role in this environment. You have something to say and ought to be saying it, that we’re all better off if you do, if you’re willing to do what you must to study, to learn and to practice with people who are of the same ethic and to challenge those who are not to get in the game.

But wake up, there’s something going on, and you can play the game. John if that’s what people got out of this enterprise called Influence Ecology that they woke up to their own power as an aspect in the environment we’d be much better off. If we resigned to we make no difference. If we’re resigned or we feel that the system is against us or that we can’t impact in some way make a difference to our community, our culture to our environment. We become indifferent to it. It’s only one vote, what difference does that make John? It’s only a few dollars, what difference does that make? It’s only this fuel, it’s only this thinking, it’s only this behavior. Besides, I don’t have a real say in it.

That’s wholly untrue, we’re an aspect of something that’s going on right now. If you’re indifferent to it and you’re being taken advantage of, well there you go. I would like people to wake up to the notion that they are an important aspect, element and concern in their current existence. Whatever it takes to have people wake up to the fact that they are an aspect, an element and an important piece of what’s going on here. Is the job I say that philosophers must engage. We’re better off when we do that. When we are willing to take up our own ethics, our own philosophy. When we write, when we speak, when we listen.

John: All right, good. Is there anything else?

Kirkland: I’m trying to imagine my friends back in Texas listen to this going, “What? What the hell is this?” I think this particular conversation is a serious one because people’s lives are at stake, people’s children are at stake, whether they have a place to live and enjoy their life. My seriousness really comes from a commitment that people live good lives and I think we’re in serious times. Right now I’m in a serious mood about it. That’s just where I am about it. People want to get a whole bunch of grandma on them they need to come hang out with us at Influence Ecology, come to conference. In fact, I’ve been handed more than one card or two going, “Hey, can we get to business now?” If they want some of that there’s plenty of that, what I’d like to do here in this particular session is to just let people know that we take this very seriously. This is a serious endeavor for me personally.

John: Very good. We’ve had conversations about the future, many. One of the things that’s included in that is from the time I’ve met you and we’ve spoken imagined some institute for transactionlists studies where local students can immerse themselves in this approach. Tell a little bit about that vision for us.

Kirkland: For me the thought that through writing and presentation that ultimately with help of a lot of other people in a concerted effort through academia and business and other discourse especially in media that we’re able to construct some institute, some academy or even school where people can learn not only the philosophy of transactionalism, more process philosophies in general work. But how to actually apply them in their day-to-day life. How do we get to a place where we can study together and practice? Study together and practice. Find out what we’ve learned bring it back to this institute, bring it back into this establishment. Convey what we’ve learned, inquire into it, at least there is Dewey and Whitehead and others have suggested that we learn from each other and we take it back down into our lives.

That to me is what we talk about when we talk about forming a particular establishment. Now, right now Influence Ecology is that, we’re a for-profit enterprise, we’re a business no question about it. We’re in the business of education but there is this notion that in the future from what we have been able to learn and from what we’ve been able to develop. There’s an opportunity to take what we are doing here into other discourses, into other areas, perhaps schools and the prisons or in communities that need desperately to understand the game afoot if you will. What’s going on? How to get in the game of living a good life and play it well. This is just part of the thinking and we’ve been talking to universities about what that might look like. Actually, been approached by some people with some resources, buildings, and money and said, “Look, when you start to head in that direction, I would be in.” Again, the process is beginning to take hold. The environment is going to do it if we don’t do it. Somewhere along the way, someone walks in the door with the idea and the resources to do it. That may be exactly the direction we go. That’s how some of these things work and it wouldn’t surprise me, John, if the actual folks who study with us in this ecology don’t do it themselves. They team up, walk in the door here. The folks who’ve been studying with us for six, seven, going on eight, nine years, who’ve actually put themselves in a position where they have lots and lots of surplus and resources. It won’t surprise me a bit if that’s actually where it comes to fruition.

Whatever that is, my dream and hope long after we’re gone, is that we have made an impact and we made a difference in helping people live better lives. If that happens because it looks like something else other than Influence Ecology, great. If Influence Ecology is here forever and this is the instrument and the technology and the way that we’re able to help the common woman on the street, common man on the street, live a better life then you know what? Great. We’ll do it that way, and that gives me hope, John. It gets me up in the morning and it has me continually looking at ways to move that along. I’ll just end this by coming back at you and saying, “The day that you pointed to the sky and said it’s called Influence Ecology and we start in January, so you better get to writing.”

I think I’d only had only four papers and three- were they three guinea pig classes that had run through the curriculum at that point? You’ve done everything you said you were going to do, but it is that thing that you have done your life where you were involved in a tiny little arts festival that turned into one of the biggest engagements in media and technology in the country. It’s been your pointing to the sky and helping people realize their own self-worth and value and what they contribute as an aspect to the whole that has helped change lives for many years.

Its certainly is the case with me and my experience with you, that you were the one who turned around and said, “Look, all this is great, but we got to go now.” I think I probably would’ve just kept studying if the inspiration and the motivation for you to finally quit putting up with my nonsense to walk in and say, “We’re throwing our head over the wall, we’re going, so you better get ready,” is worth acknowledging in this conversation. I couldn’t do it without you, couldn’t do it without Darrell, can’t do without Drew. I’ve started going down the list of names of everyone involved in this enterprise, including every single person who has walked in and done even a little bit of study with us. It’s all part of what makes this my favorite things to do every day is to get up and come to this job. I love it and if it weren’t for you, wouldn’t be here. Back at you.

John: Kirkland Tibbels. Thank you so very, very much for being a guest on the Influence Ecology Podcast. Great to have you with us. Very grateful as always for all of the work that you’ve done over these many years to help us all live the way that we are. Thanks.

Kirkland: Thanks, John. I appreciate it.

The Influence Ecology Podcast is produced by Influence Ecology, LLC in Ventura, California. This episode was recorded April 8th, 2018 and was produced by John Patterson and Jason Kelly. This program is made possible through the assistance of the Influence Ecology faculty, mentors, and students around the world. We’re grateful for Co-founder Kirkland Tibbels and his 30+ years of specialized study in the philosophy of Transactionalism and the fundamentals of Transactional Competence.

This episode includes contributions by Karal Gregory and Tyson Crandall. For this episode, the sound design and editing are by Jason Kelley. 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 podcast@influenceecology.com.

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.

Influence Ecology is considered the leader in the field of Transactional Competence, having published and contributed to the only comprehensive text on the subject, Transactionalism: An Historic 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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