• John James & Lauren Kato Robertson, The Influence Ecology Podcast, Transactional Competence, Transactionalism

Scaling Up! with John James & Lauren Cato Robertson

In 2012, John James and Lauren Cato Robertson started studying with Influence Ecology to develop their massage therapy business and now co-own the Academy where Lauren first trained. Their journey underscores many of the lessons that come with first expanding, then scaling their business. As John James says: It’s been pure joy and frequent discomfort.

In this interview, you’ll hear a very transparent view of what it’s like to start and grow a successful and expanding business. We first interviewed the business partners in May of 2017, where they spoke about the early days of working together and going from generalists to specialists. Now, you’ll hear how they’ve continued to transact powerfully and thrive.

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 & Tyson Crandall

There are times where I literally stand in the bathroom, look in the mirror and go, ‘I have no freaking idea what I’m doing.’

It scares the hell out of me and yet I’ve just stuck with it. I’m not going anywhere and what’s so different is I’ve reached out for help in the areas where I don’t know what I’m up to, don’t know what to do and I reach out her help very quickly. That’s made a huge difference.

John Patterson: So first of all, John James, Lauren Cato Robertson, welcome back to the Influence Ecology podcast. It was great to have you here some time ago. I think you both know that from time to time we use your offer as an example in our fundamentals transaction program because you did such a great job, in applying a lot of what we teach to what you do and how you do it.

I was eager to have you both back because you may know it, but we’ve been doing a little bit of a, where are they now, podcast interview with some people and finding out that people have studied with us for all of these years are really doing some amazing things and that includes the both of you. So I just thought it would be great to have you back. How are you?

Lauren Cato Rob: Great. Happy to be back.

John James: Yeah, very much so.

John Patterson: Good. Well, let’s do this first. Let’s take a moment and have you both introduce yourself, just briefly. Just say who you are, what you do, and if there’s any of that you want to say about, how long ago you studied here, that’s also fine. But just so people can get a sense of who you are.

Lauren Cato Rob: All right. I am Lauren Cato Robertson and I am John’s business partner. We co-own a massage academy in Plano, Texas called Ke Kino Massage Academy and Institute of Healing. Inside of that organization, we also have the C-Section Recovery Center, an advanced clinic, an intern clinic, and a walk-in clinic. So education therapy, all sorts of pieces to that.

I am involved personally in management and all the kind of stuff that goes with that. I’m teaching our business and ethics curriculum and I am a practicing massage therapist. I have been working with Influence Ecology for I think five or six years and I am one of eight people who has completed every program you guys offer. Very proud of that fact.

John Patterson: Good. Go on James.

John James: Well, I in part could say ditto, there’s a lot of the same things. I’m the CEO and co-owner of Ke Kino. Lauren and I also co-founded and co-own the C-Section Recovery Center. The company that we designed and built within the curriculum and Influence Ecology. I’ve been with Influence Ecology, I don’t know, six or seven years, it feels like.

John Patterson: Is it 2012?

John James: It’s a little bit longer than Lauren. So, by maybe a few months.

Lauren Cato Rob: I think that’s six months.

John James: That sounds right. Here at Ke Kino, we’ve been here at Ke Kino, we acquired Ke Kino going on a year and a half ago. So, we’ve been here applying and transactional philosophy and I’m also involved in teaching the business class. I still have a practice here as well, I wear many hats and just like Lauren does.

John Patterson: That’s fantastic.

John James: I also have a wife and three kids in Melissa, Texas. So about an hour North of Dallas.

John Patterson: I know you’re in the thick of it, right? You’re in the business, you’re in the thick of it. You’re in the day-to-day as we all are. We know the ups and downs, the headaches, the joys, the oh craps, all of it, right? There’s all of those kinds of things. But over here, looking back at you guys, when we first met you were massage therapists. Is that the best way to say it?

Lauren Cato Rob: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John James: Yes.

John Patterson: Okay. And now you own an entire school. You own an academy, you own a school that teaches people a whole bunch of stuff, and we’ll get into that in just a minute. But, throughout this journey you… I’m going to sum up from my viewpoint, you’ll fill in blanks, but you started out where you were, you began to specialize, you got more specialized, you got more specialized.

You started to find a real niche and specialization grew and more and more successful. An opportunity came along for you to not only do what you do, but to teach what you do and to expand all of that through the acquisition of the school. You acquired the school and now here, a year and a half later. John, I think you said you’ve tripled your net worth in this whole time.

So there’s a lot that’s there, and if I were simply listening to this podcast as a massage therapist, I may never ever imagine my life would go that way. So I think there’s something worth, first of all, just stopping to acknowledge about what you have accomplished. Again, I know you’re in the thick of it. It’s not all flowers and roses, right? There’s a lot. But at the same time, it’s extremely phenomenal and worth celebrating. So, first of all, kudos to the both of you.

John James: Thank you.

Lauren Cato Rob: Thank you.

John Patterson: Yeah. Really, proud of you.

Lauren Cato Rob: It’s worth celebrating.

John Patterson: Yeah, it is. And just want to hear anything about that journey in general.

John James: So one of the things I would say first is that, the opportunity of acquiring the massage school was a strategy. Because the question had come up about what were we going to do next regarding the success of C-Section Recovery Center. So it’s success had allowed us to do something like acquire the school. I guess if a lot of people will look at it they’d go, “Yeah, that’d be great if I could do that.”

John James: But it was very well thought out. It was actually very much tied to our aims. For example, if it had been any other school in Dallas, we wouldn’t have bought it. It was very specific to this school and for a lot of reasons. So, I think that’s one of the reasons why it worked. Because it seemed impossible to be really… The amount of money we were talking about, it seemed impossible.

John James: But because it was so well thought out, it wasn’t impossible. So I think that, that really made a big difference because it wasn’t a new thing really. It’s connected to our previous aims. It was very much an extension of what we had already been doing. So I think that made a difference.

John Patterson: So do you mean that the teaching this or owning a school or something, that thinking occurred earlier and was a part of a strategy or it was a means in which to satisfy some larger, grander aims?

John James: The aim was how to grow the C-Section Recovery Center and I guess one of the possibilities would be that we dump millions and dollars into it and take it nationwide or something like that. That really wasn’t a route that we were prepared to go. But a question, and Lauren can speak to this as well, a question in our conversation with Kirkland Tibbels came up about, how to scale that business.

John James: One of the possibilities or one of the things that came up was the condition of life’s education. A problem that we were finding of finding qualified help, and then the light bulb started to come on of, “Well what are the ways that we can find qualified help is to get involved in the creating it.” Lauren I’d love for you to give us some input here too.

Lauren Cato Rob: In my mind, even before we had the conversation with Kirkland before, even before C-Section Recovery Center even existed. I had this thought of having a community of therapists come together to study and practice and support each other. That’s kind of the, I would say the other piece of what this business has become is a resource for therapists to use each other for help.

Lauren Cato Rob: Because often we leave school, we go off into our single room all by herself when we never talked to another therapist again. So having a place where everybody can come and commune and have real discussions about how to elevate this profession, how to support each other better is a big piece of it for me.

Lauren Cato Rob: Then in the discussion of C-Section Recovery Center and scaling that up, it’s been incredible to see the therapists in the building, they’ve really taken it on as a project where they’re like, “How can we help those clients?” And they’re starting to find little areas of specialty within what they were already doing, that are things that John and I weren’t already doing.

Lauren Cato Rob: We didn’t have to retrain anyone for the most part. We just brought people in who were already doing really good work, and figured out how do we apply this to the same client base. Then we’ve done a little bit of additional training with people where, we’ve taught John’s breathing technique and some other techniques like that. But, I couldn’t have predicted how easy it has been to get other therapists on board with what we’re doing.

John Patterson: That’s great.

John James: What Lauren is saying, makes me think about how, I’m not sure we realized the deficiencies we had in talent. It’s just been the two of us, until we had a building full of talent. We began to go, “Oh, that’s what it looks like to be autonomous.” Is that, we were like, “We didn’t know we didn’t have that.” Because we didn’t know that existed in a way. So what we’ve found is that we were servicing these clients at a better level than we had before we got here.

John Patterson: Can you impact that just a little bit, because that’s an amazing bit of thought. There are people that are hearing that for the first time saying, “What? What do you mean by that? We didn’t know were auton…” Can you just say a little bit more and give that some clarity for people who may not understand any of what that means?

John James: Well, I think our culture or the current teaches us that autonomy is some sort of state of independence and some state of not needing anything from anybody. I always say that autonomy is independence through dependence. The definition that you guys taught us is, that it’s having more help than we need. I guess you could say with just the two of us, maybe we had some sort of autonomy going.

John James: But as we moved into a larger environment, and we started working with more people, we realized that we haven’t even scratched the surface of what it would look like to truly use all of the resources that are available to us, that we take for granted or that I certainly do. There were a couple of practitioners here in particular, I’m thinking of one person in particular and when we got here I was just shocked at how talented he was and that, he immediately became a resource for us.

John James: He was doing something that our clients not only needed, but we did not do at all. So we didn’t go and try to learn what he does. We created a relationship with him and I’m hoping a really lasting one. And so we started to experience a different level of autonomy, I believe.

John Patterson: That’s fantastic. Lauren, anything to add?

Lauren Cato Rob: Well, I mean one thing that feeds into that same idea is, we’ve had a number of practitioners in the community who are people who are extremely qualified to help us, who’ve been practicing 25, 30, 40 years, who have approached us going, “I want to be a part of what you guys are doing and how do I do that?” We’re actually having the problem of, “Okay, we really want some of these practitioners who are working at this level up here.

Lauren Cato Rob: How do we bring them in without causing a breakdown for them in a major transition? How do we continue to support the people we already have that we love and appreciate and who are doing a great job.” But also, there’s a balancing issue now between all of the amazing help that’s available and what we can actually support given the limitations of space and time. Yeah.

John Patterson: Absolutely. Absolutely. Welcome to the problems of scaling up. So, it’s fantastic that you’ve expanded the environment in the way that you have. Is there anything else that you want to share about what’s happened, or what new opportunities or discoveries have you had now that you’ve expanded your environment to include all those others?

John James: One of the things that comes to mind for me really quick is that, I’d always heard from you guys that the more successful we become regarding transactionalism, is the more declining we will do.

John Patterson: Yes.

John James: Man, I wanted so bad to experience that life. I maybe had time periods where we were experiencing it with the C-Section and Recovery Center, but once we moved here, it’s a totally different story. We have more offers, offers to come join us or to be a part of this organization or just a variety of different things.

John James: So we do find ourselves pausing and checking our aims and then accepting or declining offers. We certainly experiencing that. I don’t know that you guys made that as a promise, but if it was a promise you made, well, we finally got it. It makes it a little easier to build an organization of this size when there’s people coming to us rather than us having to go to everyone.

John Patterson: Yes.

John James: The more we decline or the more we counter offer with people, we find that people are more careful about how they approach us and what kind of offer they show up with. We’ve had people here in our building that show up with the best that they’ve really thought it through. They’re thinking of ways they can be more helpful. And of course, we’re thinking of ways that we can help them and help them to meet their aims.

John Patterson: That’s great.

Lauren Cato Rob: I would say that one thing that has been really exciting, I think, is that not only do we have all these seasoned therapists and therapists who are working with us and in our offer and C-Section Recovery and other things, but then we have this whole new category of students.

Lauren Cato Rob: We have a class right now where we’ve got a chiropractor, a Reiki master, a yoga instructor, a high school graduate, a naturopath, all these people who are coming in who already have a set of skills. They’re not headed in this direction because they couldn’t figure out what else to do. They’re here because they really want to be here and they want to learn this art.

Lauren Cato Rob: There’s just been this amazing transactional back and forth with the side of the staff that is experienced and knowledgeable and helpful. Then this whole group of students who are just thirsty for knowledge, and there’s all this transacting back and forth across the aisle, so to speak.

John James: It’s like a performance dream

John Patterson: It’s a what?

Lauren Cato Rob: Yeah, it’s a performance dream.

John James: Like a performance dream.

Lauren Cato Rob: I went here, I was a student here and that did not exist when I was a student. If it did, it was little and it was individuals finding those relationships. But, under new management it’s been very much encouraged to get to know everybody in the building, get to know who your resources are. Make sure that you get to know these people while you’re here as student, because they’re going to be the people who can help you as you move out into the world, into your careers.

John Patterson: That reminds me of something, you said you went to the school and not too many people got to then later on a school they went to. I think that’s the unique accomplishment to you. I’m interested in your… I’ll say it this way, Influence Ecology where, we’re in our scaling years. There’s some scaling up that’s been going on and it’s pretty amazing and I sometimes have to look back and think, “My God, how did we get here? How did this happen? How did this come together so quickly?”

John Patterson: All those kinds of things and from time to time it surprises me or, I get a sense of what we’ve done here. I’m just wondering for the both of you, here you are, five years or seven years or however many years later, what’s that like for you as a human being moving through all of this, this quickly? What are you going through?

Lauren Cato Rob: Do you mean, as far as owning the school or going through Influence Ecology?

John Patterson: Owning the school, but more than that, accomplishing what you’ve accomplished. You now have a tribe around you, you have a school, you have a group of people around you, you have an environment of people, you have people coming to you with offers. So that wasn’t happening five or seven years ago for you, right? So what’s that like?

Lauren Cato Rob: I think for me it’s, I kind of pinch myself. Like, “What? How did this happen?” It was such a natural progression of events over the last few years. I think being in partnership is a big part of how that has gotten the ball rolling. Having both personalities involved and having both of us and our spouses in Influence Ecology, we’re kind of inundated and surrounded by this world of work. So for me, I kind of pause. I can’t believe I’m in the position that I’m in. It’s not that it’s not deserved and I love it. I love what we’re doing is just not something I ever imagined.

John Patterson: John, for you?

John James: For me, there’s these two competing experiences going on. One is, kind of living my dream in a way. For me at practicing, January will be 28 years for me. I’m looking at legacy and that’s not something that we’ve honed in on yet, but at some point for me, this is legacy. So there’s that.

John James: The other part of this, is it’s been the hardest project I’ve ever done. It’s been so difficult and it’s just required so much more of me and I’ve been in that knowing-doing gap a lot. [inaudible] of where I have an idea of what needs to be done, but I’ve never done it before and I’m just… It’s this kind of dichotomous experience going on of cheer joy and discomfort.

Lauren Cato Rob: Absolutely. Absolutely.

John Patterson: I think we can all relate. We can all relate. Yeah, it is. We’ve been dealing a lot here at Influence Ecology with knowing, and you talked about the knowing-doing gap. But also fitness, and the kind of fitness that it takes to do things, the kind of fitness to do what you do, to know what you know. The fitness to manage a school, run a school, run a business of a school.

John Patterson: Nothing can prepare you for the fitness required and oftentimes it is the case. I can see Lauren is nodding, yep, yep, yep, yep. John, I think you’ve put some of that in your own notes as well. Nothing can prepare you for discovering that you aren’t fit, doesn’t mean you’re not prepared.

John Patterson: You have the ambition, but you wake up and say, “All right. Well, I know I’m not fit. I’m clear I’m not fit. I’m still going to go forward and I’m going to develop my fitness.” And it’s very uncomfortable. It takes a large amount of humility, the willingness to know to admit to yourself and to everyone else, “Here’s what I’m good at, here’s what I’m not. Hey, I’m working as best I can. I’m developing my fitness.” So any comment to all of that?

Lauren Cato Rob: I mean there’s been a massive knowing-doing gap here. All I can say is, “Thank God everybody didn’t just quit as soon as we bought the place.” Because, the people who were already here, don’t have the knowing-doing gap. Their knowing-doing gap was, “How do I have new bosses?” They weren’t used to having somebody on site. The previous owners were in Florida.

Lauren Cato Rob: So they were pretty independent here. I think that really worked to our advantage because, they were already doing everything the previous owners did… I mean they did some work, but it wasn’t a huge amount. Thank God for Jeannie and Annie, say their names on air, because those two, and the other people here, I don’t know how we would’ve done it without their guidance.

John James: Yeah, it’s like we acquired a business full of friends and business partners. I literally think they care about it as much as we do. Not any less. I don’t know, maybe somebody is faking it but I don’t think so. It’s really amazing to watch and be a part of that and have acquired something, I just feel really fortunate.

John James: There are times where I literally stand in the bathroom, look in the mirror and go, “I have no freaking idea what I’m doing.” You mentioned that, it is so uncomfortable for me as an inventor personality. It’s scares the hell out of me and yet I’ve just stuck with it. I’m not going anywhere and what’s so different is a reached out for help in the areas where I don’t know what I’m up to, or I don’t know what to do. I reach out to her help very quickly. That’s made a huge difference, to get help.

Lauren Cato Rob: We had a moment a couple months ago where Jeannie, she’s the judge who runs the place. She was my kinesiology and AP teacher, all that stuff. She came in, to John and I one day and she went, “For two people who have no idea what they’re doing, you guys aren’t doing a bad job.” I went, “Coming from you, that is high praise and I will take it. Thank you.”

John Patterson: It reminded me of the major conference just recently, just last week. There was a whole conversation about what it means to be an ambitious adult, and you’ll hear a little bit more about this. But, there’s a few things I’ll share with you and I’m dying to get your response to them.

John Patterson: So first of all, we said that adults let the environment do them, ambitious adults build environments to do the heavy lifting. So I bet that resonates with you. We might be wrong about our fitness and assume we know what we’re doing. Then asking for help is a demonstration of ambitious adult. I’m interested in that particular comment. So asking for help is a demonstration of ambitious adult. John, you just talked a little bit about that. Anything else about that?

John James: The question I would ask myself, “How can I get through this without bothering anybody or getting any help?” Or, “Looking like I don’t know what I’m talking about.” Is probably more appropriate. I don’t do that anymore, I still want to look like I know what I’m talking about. But, by having help, with this recent issue, I immediately thought of someone, thought of two people, coaches that I thought could help me.

John James: Along with the PRP training I was doing with Influence Ecology and I reached out to her and 48 hours later I was in. It fixed the problem that I was having, the problem being that I seriously was considering that maybe I wasn’t qualified to do this job. I went ahead and allowed myself to go there and go, “Yeah, I’ll promise myself if I find that out, then I’ll walk away from this.”

John James: I’ll be honest, I think I found out, I’m absolutely not qualified, but I am really ambitious and I’m getting qualified as fast as I can and I care a lot. I’ve spent about three months with that coach, and I think I’ve found that it’s plugged the gap. I found that I had some naiveté in certain areas around being fit.

John James: Having organization, that’s being organized enough to run a company or my environment being suitable to run a company and found out that we actually have some things we need to take care of. As those things are getting taken care of very quickly, I think maybe I can do this.

John Patterson: That’s fantastic. Well, first of all, I’ve got to say I’ve known you now for all of these years and for you to say on a public podcast something like, “I discovered that…” However you said it, “I realize I may not be fit.” Or “I’m not fit for this.” First of all, congratulations for the transparency and for the ambition. I find that there is of course, the natural tendency to look like we’ve got it together and we know what we’re doing.

John Patterson: But for many people who are launching enterprises or who are creating value in the marketplace. They’re doing their best guesswork. Now, thank goodness you’re surrounded with lots of help where you can say, “I’m not fit, I don’t know what I’m doing, this isn’t something I’m familiar with. I have a specialization that has a lot to do with treating people who are in pain. But running a school? Those are different worlds.” Right?

John Patterson: So that you’re dealing with yourself about closing that gap, bravo to you both. Bravo, bravo, bravo, because I think that’s a real strength to be able to admit that. Because of course, you can now find help and it’s in abundance. I mean there’s a ton of it around. So, congratulations John.

John James: Thank you. Thank you.

John Patterson: Well, we’ve got about ten minutes left before… I’m going to have to jump here. We’ve talked a lot about some things I think that are very valuable to our listeners, especially because people will want to know where are you now, what are you going through?

John Patterson: Certainly you can hear that there’s all kinds of growth and with growth comes all kinds of new levels of fitness and dealing with where you’re naive, not fit and everything else. Is there anything else that we should know about where are you now? Let’s look at the goodies of where are you now? What’s happened?

Lauren Cato Rob: I think one thing that there’s a change in the way that we work, that has largely been influenced by the work with you guys in applying the distinctions of transactionalism in the philosophy to bodywork. Looking at primarily, of obviously we are dealing with condition of life health. What we’ve come to, through this study is that, in dealing with people’s health in our treatment rooms, we can’t ignore all of the other conditions of their environment.

Lauren Cato Rob: That we’re really looking at it even more holistically than we were before, and looking at what is, “How is your relationship, how is your spirituality, how is your education affecting how you’re able to deal with your health?” So there’s a lot of that happening here and I think being injected into the curriculum, into what the students are coming out knowing is that, this isn’t just rubbing oil on a body.

Lauren Cato Rob: I mean, it’s great if somebody wants to go work in a spa and take care of people in that way. That’s totally, totally respectable and legit. But one thing that we’re really trying to do here is make sure that our students get a different level of education on that philosophical, ethical level of, “How do you really provide valuable help to somebody?”

Lauren Cato Rob: And, how do you develop as a therapist in a way where you’re actually able to really help somebody go through something really… Process something really deep, as opposed to the old narrative is, “Don’t deal with that, just be quiet and rub lotion on people and know your place.” Almost. Part of the purpose of us being here is changing that narrative, changing on the basement level of education, how students are looking at this profession.

John James: I think, a long time ago I had this idea for a book, and it was called the touch revolution. Typically, [inaudible] I just had the idea of the cover and the name, there was no content. What it was coming from is that I felt like that health care in general was returning to something that they had lost. It’s rather unbelievable that they lost it, but they did.

John James: We’ve gone through a pretty significant period of time where Western medicine in particular quit touching their patients. I worked in physical therapy for many years and I remember one time thinking about the days I had gone without seeing a physical therapist touch a patient. That’s not the case anymore both of those industries are changing.

John James: One of the things that makes me so proud of this industry is that we’ve been around as best we can tell about four thousand years and we’ve always used touch. We never left it, we’ve always been here. Why that’s significant to me is I don’t think that we’re the followers here. I think that we’re the leaders in this industry, in the healthcare industry.

John James: It reminds me of midwives a lot. The midwives that stayed, if you meet a good old midwife, man, they’re just so valuable and they’ve always been there. They’ve always been there with the philosophy that the mother can do this. And we’re always here with this philosophy that the patient can do this, “You can do this, you need to be touched more, you need to breathe more.”

John James: We just felt like that we’re leaders in that and that if someone wants to use touch, as a way to express themselves or as a way to make a living, that they should come here, because we’ve got our hands around this. We really can help a person turn that into a career.

John Patterson: It’s fantastic. So for the [inaudible] I can hear some satisfaction in some of the higher conditions of life and the commitment to contribute, the commitment to make a difference. Some of the transactional traditions of life like spirituality or self actualization, legacy and the like. Some of what you’re attempting to do. I’m interested in… By the way, I love what you just shared. I couldn’t agree more.

John Patterson: I’m interested also in some of the other conditions of life now, in terms of what happened? Last time we were together was what, three years ago maybe? Something like that?

Lauren Cato Rob: I think so.

John Patterson: Three years ago. So, what’s happened to your money? What’s happened to some of those more fundamental conditions of life? What’s happened to your work, what’s happened to your money, what’s happened to your identity? How have those changed for you?

John James: I started a project probably three years ago on correcting my money, I guess you could say and correcting my credit. I have a credit score, well over eight hundred now. I just kept working on it. I just really turned it into a project. I did not do it alone, I got some help. In that time period, my wife quit working to stay at home and work and take care of our children. So even with the loss of that income, we’ve done really well. So the condition of money, I would say it was an area that I’ve worked on a lot.

John James: Spirituality wise, Lauren and I both have been working with a shaman from South America for the last three years. We’ve involved that person who in our community as well. So I’ve worked on that condition a lot. As far as my identity, I would say that it’s changed a lot. Those are the main things I’ve worked on.

John Patterson: Okay, great. Lauren for you, anything about that?

Lauren Cato Rob: Well, we just bought a new house, so that’s exciting. So that’s part of-

John Patterson: Congratulations.

Lauren Cato Rob: Thank you. Money and environment are improving. I mean, I think about when I started FOT, I was living in a one bedroom apartment next to a busy street and hardly making any money. I mean, three or four hundred a week and things are very different now. It’s nice and I mean, it’s not extravagant or anything like that, but it’s nice to be able to go and buy the house that I wanted to live in, to do some renovations and things that we’d wanted to do.

Lauren Cato Rob: On a fundamental level, the basic biological needs that were problematic in the beginning are no longer. For me, I think the biggest change has been in my health. I came into this program really desiring to make some changes to my health and doing some things right, but not all things right.

Lauren Cato Rob: Looking back, I couldn’t have done all of them at once. It took the deliberate practice over the last almost decade to get me where I am now. I don’t know if you know this, but I actually had a fibromyalgia diagnosis about seven or eight years ago.

John Patterson: I didn’t.

Lauren Cato Rob: Well, when the doctor said it, I said, “Please don’t write that down.” I haven’t been back to her since, and I said, “Okay, well.” To me hearing those words, goes, “We don’t have anything left for you.” So I decided to go work on other things. I work with a trainer two to three times a week and I eat really well and I feel really well. I have good health for the first time in my life. So, to me that’s been the most significant development of the last few years is that, I feel capable of doing just about anything physically.

John Patterson: Right. That’s really great. Well, I’m proud of both of you. Influence Ecology, we celebrate our 10 year anniversary this year and we know the number of businesses that start and fail. We know the number of businesses that don’t make it to five years. We know the number of businesses that don’t make it to 10 years.

John Patterson: We’re headed into our annual member conference, looking at our satisfaction for the next 10 years. What does 10 years from now look like? I bring that up only to say that you guys have been on a journey and I hear it only taking speed. I hear it growing and expanding and I hear you’re surrounded by some really valuable help.

John Patterson: You’re so smart to ask for help and to put yourself in an environment of the right people and I just couldn’t be more proud and I couldn’t congratulate you more in any way. Bravo.

Lauren Cato Rob: Thank you.

John James: Thank you. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Lauren Cato Rob: Amen.

John Patterson: Back at you. Back at you. Didn’t we learn a lot together, right? We learned a lot together. All right. John James, Lauren Cato Robertson, congratulations to you both. Thank you for being on the podcast today. Really appreciate it.

John James: Thank you.

Lauren Cato Rob: Thank you for having us, John.

Kirkland Tibbels: Remember, deliberate practice includes practices that are designed by someone who understands how to develop your fitness there, it’s repeated a lot, that feedback is continuously available. Qualified feedback, is the kind of feedback where if I want to perform at a very high level, I may want to seek some really qualified feedback.

Because all the while I might self-manage or I might get somebody a little bit better than me, a little more fit than me in the same skill or ability to provide feedback. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to really shortcut my training, my learning, by finding someone quite qualified to be able to say, “No, no, no. Listen, if you do that, you’re going to spend a year later, trying to undo all that stuff. Let’s get you serving properly from the get go. Let’s make sure that you truly know how to serve the tennis ball.” For example.

Begin to seek qualified feed back from those who have demonstrated or evidenced their fitness, in the thing that you seek to accomplish. I think that’s an important point for all of us, as we have ambitious aims, as we are always pointing out around Influence Ecology, “Get help.” But don’t just get any help, get some help from qualified feedback. Those who are qualified to offer it.

Finally, just taking a look at the other elements in deliberate practice, highly demanding mentally. In other words, it’s intense. It really is it. It is intense. This kind of practice is a kind of focused practice that requires an intensity of action and thought. It can’t be done for long periods of time because it is just simply demanding mentally. And finally, it’s not much fun.

Now I know some people that for them, deliberate practice is everything and in fact we have a lot of people with Influence Ecology because of their ambitions. For them deliberate practice is a lot of fun. In fact, it’s how I know I’m at work on my improvement, it’s how I know I’m at work on achieving some of my aims. So while it’s not much fun, it’s repetitive, you’re mostly going to have someone qualified saying, “Nope, not it yet. Nope, not it yet. Nope, not it yet.”

That’s good. Not much fun, but good and so I’m inviting you to find the fun in it. All right. A few things just to wrap. Remember, this year of ambition, lots of pigs, just as many valleys, but don’t worry, as long as you’re continuing to develop your fitness, your fitness may move along the needle from a two to a five over time. Continue to work on your fitness. It will improve

John Patterson: My special thanks to our guests, John James and Lauren Cato Robertson. In our show notes, you’ll find links to connect with them and all the links to websites, books, or downloads mentioned in this podcast.

The Influence Ecology Podcast is produced by Influence Ecology, LLC in Ventura, California. This episode was recorded July 23rd, 2019 and was produced by Tyson Crandall and John Patterson. You can find a transcript for this and other episodes at InfluenceEcology.com. 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 podcast@influenceecology.com.

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

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.