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Rewriting Life’s Script: From Priest To Emotional Expert | John Faisandier

Today’s Guest John Faisandier

John Faisandier is a former Catholic priest turned entrepreneur, trainer, and author. His mission is to help people manage their emotions in the workplace and in life. With over 20 years of experience in this field, he's developed a successful program that's been recognized with training awards and is implemented globally. John's diverse career background, including teaching, counselling, and mediation, informs his work and his passion for storytelling. He is a frequent contributor to industry magazines and professional journals and has authored a book called "Thriving Under Fire: Turn Difficult Customers into Business Success."

  • John went from being a Catholic priest to a psychodramatist after experiencing a health crisis and feeling constrained by the structured environment of teaching. He found self-development through therapy with a priest and pursued psychodrama as a way to help himself and others. It took him 10 years to qualify and he eventually left the priesthood to work as a full-time psychodramatist.
  • He talks about his experience of transitioning from a priest to a new identity and how the change in status brought newfound freedom and appreciation for serving others.
  • He worked as a psychodramatist with drug and alcohol patients in a residential hospital setting, where he helped people deal with intense emotions from their past through corrective role-playing experiences. He learned how to manage himself and others in these intense moments, which led him to develop a course on Thriving Under Fire (TUF).
  • John discusses the importance of connecting the body and mind in therapy, reframing past experiences instead of just "getting over" them, and learning emotional management skills to handle difficult conversations and manage one's own feelings. He emphasizes that the unconscious drives behavior, and that addressing emotional moments requires not only conscious effort, but also the right tools and training.
  • Learning simple steps in emotional management can make a significant difference in customer service, business communication, and personal relationships. John's ultimate agenda is to help people have successful relationships at home.
  • John recharges his batteries by doing his own work and dealing with his own demons. He allows his feelings to come and go, is non-judgmental about himself, and has someone he can talk to when needed. He focuses on good sleep & eating habits, appropriate workouts, fun activities with friends and maintaining good relationships.

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John: there's a lot of doing your personal work and working out why you want to do something, you know, shift out of a secure job and take on risky entrepreneurial thing. Um, you know, Doing the personal, your personal work and working out why, you know, what do I really want? Who am I even, um, what dealing with that issue, what will people think of me? I would just highly recommend is really doing your own personal work you know, dealing with some of the gremlins and the baggage that you've inherited.

Matt: Welcome to Push To Be More with Me your host Matt Edmundson. Now this is a show that talks about the stuff that makes life work and to help us do just that today I am chatting with my very special guest all the way from the other side of the world. John, uh, Faisandier. Butchering his surname already, uh, from TUF, thriving under Fire about where he has had to push through what he does to recharge his batteries and to be as well as well where he sees the future going.

Now, the show notes and transcript from our conversation will be available on our website On our website you can also sign up for our newsletter, and each week we will email you the links along with the notes from the show. Automagically. They get sent direct to your inbox, totally free, so make sure you sign up for that.

Now this episode is brought to you by my amazing company, uh, Aurion Media, which helps entrepreneurs and business leaders set up and run their own successful podcast. You know what I have found running my own podcast to be insanely rewarding. It opens doors to amazing people like nothing else. I've seen, I've built networks, made friends, had a platform to champion my customers, my team, and my suppliers, and I think just about any entrepreneur or business leader should have a podcast because it's had such a huge impact on my own business.

Now of course, that all sounds great in theory, but in reality, There's a whole host of problems to deal with from distribution, getting the tech right, getting the strategy right. I mean, the list goes on. You see, I love to talk to people, but I'm genuinely not a fan of all that other stuff, which is part of the reason why we set up Aurion media and built the team so that they can do it.

I get to chat and they get to do the rest, which is brilliant, if I'm honest with you. So if you are wondering if podcasting is a good strategy, a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at That's A U R I O N media dot com. You'll also find a link to them on the podcast website as well, which is

But do check them out. So that's today's show sponsor. Let's talk about today's guest, John Faisandier. Now he is an absolute legend and you're gonna love his story. He's a former Catholic priest turned entrepreneur, trainer, and author. His mission is to help people manage their emotions in the workplace and in life.

Now, with over 20 years of experience in this field, He's developed a successful program that's been recognized with training awards and is implemented globally now. John's diverse career background, uh, including teaching, counseling and meditation, informs his work and his passion for storytelling. He is a frequent contributor to industry magazines and professional journals, and he has even authored a book called Thriving Under Fire, Turn Difficult Customers Into Business Success.

What a great title for a book. John. Great to have you on the show, man. How are we doing?

John: Great. I'm very well, thank you, Matt.

Matt: Uh, good. Good. Thank you for joining us, uh, from Sunny New Zealand. Uh, it's morning for you. It's evening for me. We'll see how this works.

John: We'll talk about midday, shall we? Then? We'll,

Matt: Yeah, that's right. Mid middle of the day. Middle of the day Now, John, listen, let's, um, let's start off with my podcast question cuz I, I'm really keen to hear your answer to this question. And so the question goes like this, uh, because the show is sponsored by Aurion Media, the podcast agency. If you did have your own podcast, And you could have anybody on as a guest to interview from past or present that's had a big influence on your life.

You know, I don't whether family member, author, podcaster, um, who would be on your show and why?

John: Yeah, well that's, I mean, uh, what a question. Um, because there are so many,

Matt: Hmm.

John: that have influenced me. And, um, but right this minute I would say, um, our recent former Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, I watched, she, she gave her valedictory address to Parliament, uh, two days ago.

Matt: Mm.

John: And, um, I watched that and she was such an inspirational person. Um, it was a brilliant speech. Um, acknowledging the thing that she, uh, she's so authentic, that

Matt: Yeah.

John: Um, and, um, so she was just there in the house. Um, you know, she, I mean, she, she led our country through the pandemic like no other country. So we've, we've had the lowest death rates and, and morbidity rates from, uh, The Covid pandemic than any other developed country by a long shot.

Um, and she, she took all those hard decisions about locking down and doing all sorts of things like that. And, um, and, and so, um, now in the post pandemic recovery, I guess you might, that's where we are. Uh, the vitriol against her has, is in, in social media, is, has increased hugely and so she, and she realized that she's now become a divisive, uh, um, person, you know, in, in politics.

So she resigned, but not because of that. She also was exhausted. I mean, she's had. And, uh, five years of, uh, we had this big terror attack in Christ church where, um, uh, you know, a lot of people were shot. Um, there was, there's a volcanic eruption which killed a lot of, um, tourists in White Island. Uh, then she had the pandemic and a couple of, you know, several other huge big things, let alone running a government.

And she's done it brilliantly. Um, and instead of, uh, hanging on or, or remaining and being divisive, she's never been involved in divisive politics. She's always wanted people to work together. So she, so she, she resigned and, um, uh, plus she's, you know, absolutely exhausted and this young woman, and she said, um, Uh, I, she had a daughter just, uh, in her first year of, uh, being the Prime Minister and said, I don't want my daughter Neve to be known as a former Prime minister's daughter.

I want to be known as Neve's mother. And to me, this kind of, um, or authenticity to me is, is such a, an important word, and that's why I'd like to have her as a guest on the podcast.

Matt: That's really interesting. Uh, the, I, I mean, I, I'm with you. I would love to talk to Jacinda because at the start of Covid, She was in the press a lot here in the uk. Because she was doing some things so differently in New Zealand. Uh, and there was a social, I remember the social media campaign that was going around saying, can we have Jacinda as as Prime Minister and here in the uk, please.

Uh, which, uh, which tickled me and I saw in the press today, and not today, was it yesterday that I read that she's now been appointed trustee of. Prince Williams, um, EarthShot Prize. And so I, I, it's, it's interesting to see how she's sort of getting, uh, sucked into the royal family side of things. Um, but yeah, a really interesting

John: I think it was cause of the royal family. I, I don't think she's, uh, is necessary interested in the royal family, but she's really interested in the planet

Matt: Yeah.

John: and making, making, uh, you know, in, in climate change who's been, you know, big for her even though she's not part of the Green Party. But she's got a lot of those failures and hasn't been able to implement a lot of what she wanted.

And this, the, the, uh, Earthshot will give her a chance to really do that.

Matt: yeah.

John: And hopefully she doesn't get involved in, you know, in, um, the, uh, um, what do they call, you know, the, the royal family, uh,

Matt: Oh, the feud.

John: the, the carry on and,

Matt: yeah.

John: and she won't, if anything, she'll be, she'll help resolve it, I'm sure.

Matt: Yeah, I'm, well, I think maybe she should probably sit down with William and Harry and just go, right chaps, let's have a conversation. Um, but no, I, I, I agree. I, I I would, I would very much like to talk to Jacinda. So, uh, Ms. Jacinda, if you're listening, uh, both John and I would like you as guests on our podcasts.

This is your formal invite. Because why not? Right? Why not? I, I know she's a regular to the show. So is Prince William. Uh, so, you know,

John: Yeah.

Matt: so listen, uh, John, let's dig into your story a little bit and um, I read in the intro that you were a Catholic priest turned entrepreneur and. One word that I didn't use, which you used to describe yourself, when we had a sort of a precall, which was a word I'd never heard before, uh, was a psychodramatist.

And so you've sort of already, we know there's this fascinating story because how do you get from being a Catholic priest to a psychodramatist? And I, I'm curious to, to dig into that story a little bit.

John: yeah, yeah. Well, it was a, um, quite a time, um, I've been, um, I've been, uh, working and ordained for about, uh, seven or eight years by the, when I, uh, I was working in a parish in Christchurch, in New Zealand, and um, actually they, uh, I had took, I'd been teaching already for five years. I. And didn't like the, the, the, um, constraints of a secondary school where I was teaching.

This is cause I've got a deep entrepreneurial spirit and the idea of being boxed in, um, and knowing in, in, seven months time on, um, Tuesday afternoon at two o'clock, exactly where I would be. This is not entrepreneurial. Anyhow. I kind of had a, had a bit of a crisis, a health crisis, um, which, you know, got generated from there.

When I went to, uh, the superior, the boss of the order and said, I, I need, I don't wanna teach anymore. He was very upset. Said, all right, I'll send you to Christ, to Christchurch and the parish, but I know in six months you'll come back to me and say you don't like that either. He was a bit of a nasty chap. Six months later, when I was down in Christchurch, it was a bit of winter and all of a sudden I go, I was living with some old men in this parish and I went, ah, I need to do something. I do not wanna go back to him and say, uh, I'm going to.

Matt: Mm-hmm.

John: I don't like this. So I then I, I sought some, uh, a therapist who, it's actually a priest. He, um, so that's when I began my journey of self-development really. Uh, and he then, uh, went off in the ne for the following year to, uh, study in another city. Put me onto uh, uh, his supervisor who was a psychiatrist and a psychodramatist, and that just was my transformation personally. Um, psychodrama is, psyche is the mind drama is to act out.

So instead of just talking about, um, these things, You, you, you're able to act them out somehow or put them out in a concrete form, which is a fantastic way of working for everybody actually. But for, for, you know, um, some people like it even more. And, uh, when I went to, I went to this workshop, one of the first workshops I went to, and they said, why, why are you here?

You know? And I said, well, I'm here to help my parishioners. Um, and I, you know, I want to help people. And, um, The guy running it actually was a, was a minister from Australia. He was a, uh, the Uniting Church and he could see right through me and, uh, And, um, and said, yeah, fair enough. You do. But I realized that I was there for myself.

Matt: Mm.

John: And, um, that got me on a journey of learning, not, not only doing my own work, but learning how to use this method. Uh, took me about 10 years to qualify. Um, even in that, It was a 10 week full-time course that I, I said I need to do a sabbatical. So I got, I got leave to, um, go to this course in, in Australia.

And, um, that allowed me to free myself up, work out what I really did want. Um, I'm, I'm a natural helper of people, you know, and, uh, and actually I needed to help myself. As well as helping other people. So that, and what I learned about myself and all of that kind of stuff then allowed, gave me the freedom to leave the priesthood.

I didn't have to stay stuck in a place that I was not happy. Um, and, and then I got some, uh, I, I got a job just soon after I qualified, finished. It was very intense, um, learning. Um, Friend came down, she was, uh, in a, at a hospital, um, up in the, up in the mountains, um, and said, we've we're looking for a full-time psychodramatist.

Would you come?

Matt: Wow.

John: So I did. But nearly five years working in that hospital with drug and alcohol rehabilitation

Matt: Wow. Well, we'll get into the psychodrama, um, John, because I'm, I'm curious to dig into that a little bit if we can, but I'm, I'm also curious to ask if I can, what was it like for you, um, when you'd made the decision to leave the priesthood? Because that sounds like a, to me. I, I, I mean, I, I, I've never been a Catholic priest, so I don't know, but.

It sounds to me like that was a big deal. Right? And I don't wanna just brush over that. Was that a big deal for you? Was that a complex decision to make or was it actually pretty straightforward?

John: Yeah. And well, um, in the end it was straightforward.

It was just about say goodbye, I'm off. No, um, it was very complex, um, because of the, um, um, the social status. Like I'm, I came from a working class background. My father worked in the gasworks shoveling coal. Um, was, you know, one of his jobs. And, um, by the time I'm ordained and I've, I've got several degrees, um, you know, you have access to anybody's house.

People, you know, people welcome you in, they trust you immediately. There's a huge status involved in it. Um, a lot of my colleagues have remained, of course, that that status has been lowered hugely because of the whole scandals with pedophilia and stuff

Matt: Oh yeah. Yeah.

John: that they're not necessarily connected with themselves, but it's that tainted whatever.

Um, so yes, uh, it, it was big. Um, but. The, my final year I was doing full-time study. Uh, in fact not, this is another big story, but I wasn't the, the local bishop where I was on contract to, cuz I belonged to an order. He, he didn't want me in the Diocese, so I, it meant I could study. But I also was doing, I had joined, um, An improvisational theater group called Playback Theater.

Matt: Hmm.

John: is kind of linked. Uh, and we used to rehearse every Monday night and tell stories as part of our rehearsal. And so I got to tell my story. Every Wednesday night we had a group where I was learning psycho drama and so I was able to, to do. We practiced on one another. So we did our own work. And, um, and then every Friday I met one-on-one with this, um, my trainer, the psychiatrist.

So I was working through my personal issues. I did a year of that by the, by the end of that year, I felt very clear and it was, and in that sense it was easy. But during that year there were, there were quite a few tears and, uh, and angst and whatever else. So, yes, it was, uh, and making that change, I guess, for anybody, whether, whether it's uh, some, some of the people listening, In who might be in, in, um, you know, in corporate jobs and who want to be entrepreneurs.

You know, there's a lot of doing your personal work and working out why you want to do something, you know, shift out of a secure job and take on risky entrepreneurial thing. Um, you know, Doing the personal, your personal work and working out why, you know, what do I really want? Who am I even, um, what dealing with that issue, what will people think of me?

You know, if I, if I go off and, uh, you know, become a clown or something like, you know, I dunno what, what, uh, you know, set up my clown business. Um,

Matt: It's tough.

John: Yeah, it's, it is, it's, it's not dis dissimilar to anybody making any change, whether it's, um, even getting into a relationship or getting out of a relationship. Uh, what I would just highly recommend is really doing your own personal work

Matt: hmm.

John: uh, um, you know, dealing with some of the gremlins and the baggage that you've inherited. Yeah.

Matt: So it is fascinating because I imagine, I, I mean, I'm thinking about, you know, um, your journey from the priesthood to entrepreneurship. I'm thinking about people's journey from full-time employment saying to being an entrepreneur, cuz I did that. Um, you know, my wife was, she was, I think she'd just given birth, uh, to our first child when I decided to give, give up work.

Um, you know, picky moments. Uh,

John: What were you thinking?

Matt: Yeah. And, uh, fortunately it's all worked out, but, um,

John: Yeah,

Matt: but I, I'm kind of curious because. I'm assuming John, and correct me if I'm wrong, that actually for you, I mean you talked about status, but I'm also imagining there's quite a bit of your identity tied up with being a priest.

Right? So doing the work is, is that figuring out an actually what your id, your new identity is gonna be?

John: Yes, yes, absolutely. Um, W one, and for me it, it was actually freeing, uh, because I remember, I, I, my first job I got was with the race relations office. I've, I've always been involved in, um, Cross-cultural things here. As an 18 year old, I lived in Tonga for a year, and so I kind of, and then had done quite a lot of stuff with Maori people.

Um, but when I was a priest, uh, I would always be, if, if there was, it was mealtime or something like this at a gathering, they, I would always be up the front. I would say the grace. And then, you know, you go first, you know, father John. And, uh, then I got this, uh, job at the race relations office and we had a, a big gathering like that.

And, um, I was now junior staff and uh, I was at the back of the queue and I loved that. It was like, oh, I don't have to be somebody different. I don't have to put, I mean, I, I, I thought I was reasonably authentic even as a priest, cuz I used to. Say things, um, that annoyed people. Um, but um, you know, just real.

And that was to me a symbol of that change in status. I used to be front of the queue and now I'm at the very back. And, um, uh, and as I say, Um, I, I enjoyed that and I, I, I was able to enter into it fully and really appreciate what it meant, uh, almost to be a servant, you know, and to, to serve people. Um, but, um, yes, there was that, that status, change in status.

And I did, I dealt with that during that year. Uh, I did a number of dramas actually around that change in status and what I had to let go. Uh, when I, when I was no longer a priest, which one of one of those things was that people trusted me immediately, because I was a priest and would share, you know, very deep and personal stories.

Um, but what I find now is people do that anyway, even without a collar.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting, isn't it? Uh, it's interesting you use the word servant. Now you're at the back of the queue because. Um, uh, what was it? Jesus said, if you want to be greatest of all, you've got to be servant to all or something. So maybe it is quite, it's quite fascinating, isn't it?

That um, that's what happened after you. Um, do you miss the priesthood at all?

John: Um, I, I, I, um, Miss. Do I miss it? I'm just trying to think of something very funny to say, but, um, I. I miss it like a hole in the head or I miss it, like, uh, yeah, I used to bang my head against a brick wall and I've stopped, but gosh, I miss that.

Matt: Yeah. Fair enough, fair enough. So you, you processed this then the status, the identity through drama, and this has sort of led you down this road to psychodrama. Um, so you, you mentioned that you worked in a hospital for five years doing psychodrama with Drug and alcohol patients. What? What does that look like?

I mean, paint that picture for me. I'm kind of curious about that.

John: Well, um, in the sessions that, uh, people, people would be in treatment maybe for three weeks by the time this, and so their, their brains are starting to clear. But this was a residential place,

Matt: Mm-hmm.

John: uh, they closed it cause it was too successful. They just put everybody in jail. But, um, and our prison population has gone up since they've closed several. Anyway, that's another story.

So these people would come, they, their brain, they'd have their primary therapist where they, um, was seeing every day, and then they'd get to week, week three or so, and the therapist would say, you need to go to psychodrama and sort out the stuff you know about your adoption or about your sexual abuse, or about your, um, your parents or your, or, or your whatever.

And, um, uh, so that, so I, I could end up with a group sometimes of 30 people. Um, and, uh, they would, we'd have a whole morning, so it'd be about a four hour session and, um, or three hour, I suppose. Um, and do a number of things that would, would, uh, just get people warmed up to the idea and then somebody would, would, um, you know, identify, they say, I'm really keen to work.

Um, Incidentally, this is where I really learned about Thriving Under Fire, um, because the, um, w. They had had this dedicated room. It was quite a big room. And uh, um, when I first went there, around the walls, there were patches, you know, it's kind of like, uh, it looked a bit like they were redecorating and I was the first full-time psychodramatist.

They'd had, members of the staff were running this thing at, you know, different times. And I said to the person showing me the room, I said, oh, are you redecorating? And um, they said, no. What happens in this room? People get highly. Uh, you know, emotional and, and this is where they've got angry and punched holes in the wall and we just plaster over them.

But we, um, Uh, we, uh, we don't bother to repaint or we, you know,

Matt: Wow.

John: all the time. And I, I kinda went, oh, my training had been fairly intense and deep, but I hadn't quite come across that intensity. And sure enough, when I started people, you know, they, they'd, because they'd come out and anyway, they'd use lots of expletives.

But my therapist has told me, I've gotta come here. I've gotta deal with this shit from my past. Uh, I've got sexually abused, you know, actually I don't even want look. And then they would just go right off. And some certainly did punch holes in the wall. They'd storm out, slam the door and say, I'm not gonna do this.

It's, I don't, I don't care about recovery, you know? And um, it was in that moment that I had to learn, first of all how to calm myself down

Matt: yeah.

John: and, and then what do I need to say to those, to them to help them calm down? And that's actually what I now. That's the basis of my whole course on thriving under fire.

It is how do you manage yourself in these intense moments and how do you manage the, the other person? And, cause when I left there, uh, I realized that everybody experienced a strong emotion.

Matt: Mm-hmm.

John: Um, they, they, they're just, most people are just not openly dealing with their addictions at the time. Um, they, you know, um, and, and so that's really why I, I, I, um, started the business.

But often these people just sort of very briefly to answer your question a bit more directly, uh, people would, if you think if they, they can set up the whole scene. They choose people from the group to be. Me, uh, other people in their story, you know, their mom, their dad, their abuser, even, um, uh, or, or, and they can also set up a healthy thing.

And what they're, what we're looking to do is that they can have a corrective emotional experience. And that is as say, as a, as a four year old, they, they're, they're powerless. Somebody abuses them or hits them or, or does whatever. Um, now as an adult, they can experience that scene. Again, but with a new power and say, what does that little girl need?

What does that little boy need, that little four year old need, uh, from you right now? And what can you do? I mean, it's a big process. And often they would end up, uh, they would just say, oh, tell the, tell the abuser to go away. I said, well, then they would roll reverse with the abuser, and of course they would say, no, I'm not going away.

And so they would end up then having a very physical fight. So it's a, it's really a body therapy. Where they, they then end up, um, you know, having a fight and we'd get other people behind so that, so that they could, uh, it was a, you know, they would feel it and then they'd say, get outta my life. Get out.

And, uh, um, there was a lot of, um, a lot of shouting and a lot of real strong, and then they would experience that power in their bodies. So what, so for me, as the, as the, uh, the producer of the drama or the director of the session, I, I, I could see that progress that they would be making, what they're doing in the meantime for the rest of the people in the group who are identifying strongly or in different ways with what's, what the drama is.

Uh, this is kind of helping them. Um, Relate to their situation. And they're either either starting them there or some, cause everybody's at different stage of their, you know, of their, um, development. Uh, for some they're kind of going, yes, that's me as well. And um, so some would leave the group sort of all very, um, agitated.

But because we were in, um, a residential setting, they, there would be nurses and all sorts of other people around where they could process it. Um, but I used to go outta those sessions or walking on air just

Matt: Oh, I imagine

John: whoa, that was so good that that person got to that stage. And, um, I could've done, I, I could've kept doing it for the rest of my life just about because um, you know, because it was so sat, such satisfying work.

Matt: Yeah. I can imagine. And was there, um, was there a moment, uh, as, as you are the producer of these sort of dramas, was there a moment, John, where you. Where you saw the switch in the patient, where you, you, I, I don't. I'm just kind of curious, was there a tipping point where you just kind of looked at them and went, now you've got it?

John: Often there was. Yes. Yes. And that's the bit. And but the struggle, because if it was easy, they would've done it already in their life, you know, whatever the thing. And, and so often you say, what, what does that little four year old need? Oh, they need a kick in the ass. You know? And I'm.

Matt: Super helpful comment. Yeah. Yeah, yeah,

John: Yeah. You know, and well, of course that's what they've, it's all they've known.

That's what they

Matt: yeah. Yeah.

John: that's that we do what's, what's been modeled to us, you know? And I'll go, well, you know, you know, go over there and be his, be his dad, you know? And so they would revol, you know, and then the dad would say, yeah, you'll get a kick in the ass. You know, I'll give you a bloody kick in the ass, or I'll give you a hearty, you know, whatever it is.

And they kinda go, Oh, I said, what was there? And then they might even, um, anyway, there's ways of getting

Matt: Yeah.

John: You're wanting to heighten the levels of spontaneity and the higher the spontaneity, the higher the creativity. And what they have is low levels of spontaneity. So they're not cre, they can't come up with a creative solution. They do the old solution. And, uh, spontaneity is defined. It's, it's an essential part of psychodrama.

Matt: Hmm.

John: The ability to do something new, uh, in an old situation or to do something adequate in a new situation.

That's the definition of spontaneity.

Matt: Hmm.

John: um, and so, uh, the more spontaneous you can be, the more creative and, and as entrepreneurs you're coming up, you, you think, um, uh, I wanna start a new business.

You know, whatever that might new, new thing might be. And even if other people are doing podcasts, for instance, but you want something new about your podcast, you know, and so you've got a, the more spontaneous you can be, the more creative you're gonna be about actually running this business in a way that.

People can kind of hook into it and go, yeah, that's much easier doing, doing, um, a podcast with you, um, than it is making my own one. You know? But that can allow me to be creative. And, um, so anyway, that's, uh, that's to me,

Matt: awesome.

John: e Everything I do is informed by the psychodramatic principles that I've learned, uh, my whole course.

Is, is uh, that both when I do face-to-face training. And then, um, about five or six years ago, I realized that w face-to-face training is, is limited by, by me. I've trained somebody else up who can run, run these sessions. She's very good. But, uh, I want, I, I want the world to know this, how to manage emotions.

Matt: Hmm.

John: Uh, and, um, so I've developed an online program that is, uh, is really very effective. And, and, and I, I use these principles of, of, uh, the psychodramatic principles of engagement, of developing spontaneity. Um, and, um, uh, it's quite a different kind of online experience that people have. Uh, with that.

Matt: I can imagine. And do you, in the, um, in the online course, I mean, I'm listening to you talking and the, and the thing that I'm, I'm kind of connecting the dots in my head as you're talking, going. Well, psychodrama connects both body and mind, doesn't it? It's not like traditional counseling, which is just focuses on, on your mind.

Uh, you are, you are connecting the two, which I think is quite powerful cuz. I'm, I'm assuming when you connect the two, you get much better results. Uh, would be my, my very uneducated opinion on the whole matter. Um, and the other thing that you mentioned, Which surprised me a little bit. Um, and I had to sort of check in and go, what?

I wonder why I'm surprised here. And that's when you're talking about the grown guy given a four year old version of himself, permission to feel something or to say something or to act something. Um, and it, you know, my, I I suppose it's a lack of empathy in some respects on my part, but you are, you are going back to these sort of points in time.

Where they were four years old, and it's, it fascinates me that something at that point in time is still having a big impact on them now. And I'm wondering if that's why a lot of the guys would've said, oh, just give yourself a kick in the ass because you, you know, is you should, you should have got over this by now, but you're

John: It was a long time ago.

Matt: yeah. But you seem to be giving people permission to actually experience that and reframe it in a new light rather than to say, get over it. Uh, it seems like a, a more positive way of dealing with it, if I can put it that way.

John: Yeah, absolutely. There's, there's a book called, uh, the Body Keeps the Score, um, but we also know in, in, in the Brain, in fact, in, in the emotional brain, everything that has ever happened to you is there. And, um, so you, um, Uh, it's not enough to just say, oh, forget that, you know, and in fact, this is what often happens as people get older.

They, they can suppress it through, say, early childhood sexual abuse is a basic case where, for men, I think its something like 34 years as an average time for them to reveal something, it might even be longer because they suppress it because it's, so shameful.

Matt: Mm.

John: even though they, you know, they're not the ones that have, they're not guilty at all, but there's so much shame involved in it.

Um, nevertheless, it's there.

Matt: Mm-hmm.

John: uh, our, our unconscious drives so much of our behavior. Um, And, um, the whole process of, uh, doing therapy and, and, and growth is bringing the unconscious to the con to make it conscious.

Matt: Mm.

John: Um, we, we had a lovely phrase at the hospital, which I still love is, uh, feeling and revealing leads to healing.

And, um, w. You know, all of the things that people, the, the difficulties people get into and the, and these emotional moments that they have come not from what's just happening in front here. So, in customer service, for instance, you know, somebody comes and says, ah, this is, this is terrible. You know, you haven't done this properly, or it's broken. It does relate in some part to some of the service that may not have been good, but when it's really strong, it's related to things that have happened way back in the past.

Matt: mm.

John: Um, that's driving this person in the unconscious. And, um, fascinating. I mean, I haven't read the book, but, um, you know, the Prince, I, I, I can't even remember their names.

Quite frankly, I'm not, um, the one who's now in America, um, Harry. Yeah. Yeah. Um, he, he's trying to do some of that and saying, look, this is what it was like for me when my mum died. And, and all of these expectations, let alone whatever. And, um, um, you know, you, you said, oh yeah, well, if Jacinda gets together with Harry and, um, and, and, um, his brother,

Matt: William. Yeah.

John: look, I hope I'm not offending too many people at, you know,

Matt: No, no, no. I mean, Jacinda might come on your podcast, I don't know if, if Prince William or Prince Harry will. Now maybe that they'll just come onto mine

John: what you said was she might get them into a room

Matt: yeah. Yeah.

John: and talk. Now, this to me, is one of the mistakes that people make and, and, and why the train. This tuf training is so important because

Matt: hmm.

John: people don't have the skills. So you can get them into a room, but if they don't have the skills to have these conversations, it ain't gonna work.

And I, I had a, um, a, a client, um, recently, uh, he had had his, um, his manager, warehouse manager, said, you know, was, was turning a bit. He'd worked with him for 15 years. First of all, he, he rang me and said, I, I think I need to sack this guy. He's, he's causing a lot of trouble. And I go, no, well hang on.

No, no, no, no. Wait, wait, wait. You don't need to do that. What's, you know, what's he doing? And he's getting highly emotional and shouting at people and doing this kind of stuff. And he said, this is not our business. We don't do this in our business and it's affecting everybody. I said, okay. And then he said, well, and in particular, there was a young fellow in the warehouse that he was giving, having trouble.

He said, I'll get these two in the room. We will try and work it out. I said, no, don't do that either. What they both need to learn first is the skills to have these conversations. And that's what the Thriving Under Fire Program teaches us. How can you manage your own emotions that these things that come from back, back there somewhere without having to do deep therapy?

You know, I mean, yes, I recommend everybody does therapy and counseling, but you can learn some skills to manage these moments. Manage your own feelings. How do you calm yourself down when somebody you know either tells you you're a complete idiot, or whatever they might say that gets you, uh, going, um, So how can you do that for yourself first, and then what is it that you can do for the other person to assist them when they are highly emotional?

Now these are, they're simple skills. Uh, they do take a bit of practice, but they're, but um, I don't see anybody else learning it. Like a lot of customer service training. People say, oh, you know, um, Smile. Smile, you know? Or when somebody's told you you're a freaking idiot, you, you don't wanna smile at them, you know?

Or show empathy. Well, what's that? You know, that's a, whereas here's some very simple steps that you can learn. And, and one of the things for me, I just, you know, these courses are not long,

Matt: Yeah.

John: just a few hours, but. It can make a huge difference to your customer service as a, as a business. It can make a huge difference to the way you communicate with others in your business, you know, like your workers and, and, and colleagues.

Um, and my hidden agenda, which won't be hidden any longer as soon as I tell you, but is to make a difference to what happens between you and the people at home. And that's really where I wanna make the biggest influence. I mean, I want people to be successful in business. That's, that's cool, you know? But I want people to have really good relationships at home marriages or, you know, long term and with their kids.

And I, I was working recently with, um, these road workers. Uh, we, we've had some cyclones here in New Zealand, um, this, this, uh, summer that have damaged roads. You know, like we've had huge floods and all sorts things. So now roads are all broken and there's, there's, uh, you know, the, the. The orange cones all over everywhere and, stop go signs, you know, that, uh, you, and they've gotta wait for 20 minutes, half an hour, sometimes before they can go.

They get, uh, motorists get very angry. I was working with these guys who were out there on the Front line. There was just a small group of them. They were all, uh, Maori men. As it turned out, it was up, uh, in this area. And we, I was teaching them how to manage themselves when people drive by and tell 'em they're idiots and they, you know, abuse them as they drive past.

So they can't actually do anything for the other person, but some stop and want to wanna engage and, and say, you know, you, the trouble with you, you know, what are you doing? This is, you're useless. These guys, as well as learning that they said. I was brought up, my father was violent towards me, and I, I can see this gonna happen with me and my kids.

This will help me break that cycle of violence. And, uh, so I don't, I can actually now talk to my kids about what they're feeling. I realize how important their feelings are, uh, because, and I know now how I can talk about those things. Without losing myself, you know, and, and managing my own when I get angry and something, you know, something's not doing, they're making a lot of noise or whatever, and I don't like it, what I can do, and to me that is the real power of, and, and it keeps me going.

It's why I've been doing this work and can keep doing it.

Matt: No, it's

John: So that's, yeah.

Matt: interesting. Everyone's got a driver, haven't they? Everyone's got something which is propelling them forward, and it's, um, it's interesting listening to your, your story on that, John. It really is. I've got a question though. Um, obviously this is, you, you've been doing this, you're working with some quite, um, Vulnerable people you are working with some quite angry people.

You are working with some quite emotional people, some broken people, whatever language you wanna use. Uh, people like me, probably Do, you know what I mean, but it's,

John: I work with everybody.

Matt: yeah, yeah, exactly.

John: Everybody's, everybody's what you just said. Yeah.

Matt: Yeah. So how do you, how do you, in the midst of that, how do you recharge your batteries? How do you keep. Because I, I, you know, I, how do you stop absorbing everybody's emotions? Do, you know, what I mean in, in terms of what you are doing and, and, and getting sucked into their story. I'm kind of curious how you, how you do that for yourself.

John: Yes. Um, the long term answer to that was the, the training in psychodrama. You've gotta do your own work. First deal with all of my own demons because that's the bit where you, you end up absorbing other people's feelings is when, when they somehow connect with your own. Pathology, if you like to use that word, or your own, your own wounds.

And so there's been a lot of healing for that, uh, for me. And so now, um, I don't get so caught up, uh, in like, I, I can be with people and, and empathy's a, you know, very strong thing, but it does not drain me, uh, like it used to.

Matt: mm.

John: And, um, uh, so some of the, you know, so it's, it's really learning this, and again, this is what I do teach, uh, you know, you are not your feelings.

So I allow my feelings to come and go. You know, I'm, I've become aware of them, notice them, and, um, um, you know, a, a non nonjudgmental about myself. Um, and the more I say, you know, it's, it's not, um, I, I also am vulnerable. Um, I've always had somebody as a supervisor or or a somebody I can go to and I do process that, uh, these moments, uh, with that, that person.

Um, which also allows me to talk a lot about my business. Just, just this is what I'm doing. And, um, so that's kind of a counselor kind of person. Um, finding the right person and, and often not expensive to pay, you know, just, um, But taking an hour or so for myself to do that. Um, because even though I'm very good at it, there are times when I do get hooked. That's

Matt: Yeah. Yeah, I can imagine.

John: So having somebody that I trust that I can talk to, um, And, um, uh, I do read a lot and, you know, look at, uh, um, you know, focus on, uh, good sleep habits. Um, um, good eating. I've been, uh, vegan for about seven or eight years, so I don't eat meat and dairy and eggs, which actually just put a whole lot of cholesterol and other crap into your body, um, that we're not meant to.

You know, our bodies are not really meant to eat those things. So I'm, you know, I go to the gym regularly. Um, Just do appropriate workouts. I'm not a, I'm not a, you know, I'm, I'm not crazy at the gym, but, um, I do things I love. I love skiing actually. It's sort of, I spend all my summer getting ready for winter, getting ready for the winter,

Matt: getting your skis ready.

John: couple weeks skiing, and that's it. I'm good. And good relationships. I do a lot of, I do do a lot of fun things.

Matt: Mm.

John: Um, Or you know, no, uh, not, not a lot actually, but when I'm with people, I want to have fun.

Matt: Yeah.

John: that's, I like to laugh a lot,

Matt: Yeah,

John: and, um, and not at the expense of others, but, you know, just really good, genuine laugh.

Matt: Yeah, yeah, yeah,

John: Uh, um, so those are, those are things that keep me going.

Matt: That's interesting listening to your talk about it because I, it's funny. I think as, as leaders, as entrepreneurs, the usually the last person in. To that we look after is ourselves a lot of the time. I mean, I'm not saying all of the time, I think there's some quite selfish entrepreneurs out there, but most of the time.

John: Yeah.

Matt: my company is doing bad, I'm always the last person to get paid, right? Um, if I'm always a, I'm not always the last person to leave, that would be unfair. But it's always, there's always a pecking order isn't there. And you, when times are good, you, you tend not to know, notice it. But when times are bad, you, you notice it more.

And, um, I, I think probably loneliness is, is probably one of the biggest issues that the modern entrepreneur struggles with, really leaders, uh, you know, loneliness and dealing with all of that. So, I like the fact you're talking about this and I like the fact you're creating something to help leaders look at themselves to understand how they feel in a non-judgmental way and deal with that, um, because that's gonna make him better leaders, right?

John: Yes. Yep. Absolutely. Um, and, and, uh, and, and you're right about loneliness and, um, uh, I mean, even in longevity studies shown that the, the, the, the biggest factor of people living longer is that they have good relationships and, uh, and that, um, Um, so that they don't feel lonely. And, you know, there are, even if you are alone a lot and you gotta, you know, I have to work a lot on my own.

Um, I'm not out there all the time working with people and even, but, but I do make sure I have a few people that are, we have regular meetings, you know, like, uh, when, um, you know, breakfast, I have breakfast with a friend every month. And, um, we have good talk about our businesses and what's going on. So yeah, these things are very important.

Matt: Yeah,

John: And the key to me is when these, when you do meet with people, is that you have good skills so that you can talk about things that are significant and, and a bit, go a bit deeper and, and be the real you and be authentic and you know, that kind of thing. So, yeah. Yeah.

Matt: Well, listen, John, we've got to that stage because time has rapidly run away from us where I am now gonna flip through the question deck. Dun, dun dun. I need some music.

John: Right.

Matt: So when you say stop, that's the question I'm gonna choose.

John: All right. You stop now.

Matt: Stop right there. Okay.

John: uh oh.

Matt: Okay. So perhaps the bizarrest question that has come out of, uh, the question deck. I'm just gonna write your, uh, your name on it, John. So I, I know who I've asked this question to. Is there an art to loading the dishwasher? What's your opinion on this?

John: Yes. Well. Look, I mean, that's not just an idle question. Um, this is, this is one of the questions that in relationships, um, can, um,

Matt: Yeah, it, it's caused a few fractions in our house, let me tell you.

John: Of course my wife loads the dishwasher much better than I do, um, because she's forever rearranging what I've put in there. So, um, uh, and not just an art to loading it, but I believe there's a science as well. So both an art and a science. If I can just extend the question. Um, what I think there is an art in is allowing the other person to rearrange what you've put in without you getting upset.

Now, when that does happen, and again, this comes back to my training that I teach, is what do you do when your partner rearranges how you've loaded the dishwasher and notice what you feel. I have felt murderous at times when she, um, cause the other thing about feelings, you don't have to act on them because that can actually lead to either addictions or prison now. Um, but if you name your own feelings to yourself, you don't say it to them. Actually, that's, that's even worse.


Matt: Top tip.

John: Whereas you just say, I'm really frustrated, I feel humiliated that I couldn't load the dishwasher properly, whatever it might be. Um, but just own that as a feeling, uh, because all feelings are good, by the way, that none, none are good or bad.

They're all, they're all tell you something about yourself. And, um, so, uh, look, we are right here in the middle of a workshop right now and managing it.

Matt: I was actually thinking about that. That's probably a brilliant question. Stop on, uh, in reflection because yeah, it has caused a few fractions in our house. I get the, I dunno, I dunno if I felt murderous. Uh, but I do smile whenever the dishwasher is, is, uh, rearranged. I think I'm, I'm good at the science. I'm not great at the art.

Uh, and, um, I think art often trumps science, uh, in our house, so,

John: The murderers. I remember a friend at his father's funeral said he, he didn't, never believed in divorce, would never have, never, ever have divorced mom. Uh, he might have killed her a few times, but he would never have divorced her.

Matt: Yeah, I think, yeah. Yeah, my wife's probably felt the same. Uh, John, if I'm honest with you, um, listen, John, I've thoroughly enjoyed, uh, conversation. Really enjoyed it. Thank you so much for coming on the show. If people wanna reach out, if they want to connect, if they want to find out more about tuf, about thriving under fire, what's the best way to do that?

John: Probably through my website. It's uh uh or n zee if there's anybody in America listening, just so you know where we're at. Nz and, um, uh, I've got, um, on that website, there's, uh, quite a number of resources there and, um, access to my, uh, various programs that, um, would make, they will make a real difference to you, uh, as an entrepreneur if you can manage your own emotions, um, and you know, first and really accept and, you know, come to terms with those and you've got a better chance of managing others. And that's my mission in life is to make a difference for you.

Matt: Fantastic. So that's or n zee. Uh, and uh, you find out more about John there. We will of course link to that in the show notes as well. But John, a genuine pleasure, my friend. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. It's been, it's been absolutely great fun to, uh, to talk to you.

John: Yeah. I've really enjoyed it. Matt, thank you. You, you, you run a good show. You got some good questions.

Matt: Oh, bless you.

John: Lovely. Lovely. You're a champion.

Matt: Oh, bless you. I'm gonna go and talk to my wife about the dishwasher, though. Uh, what a great conversation. Huge thanks again to John for joining me today. Also, a big shout out to today's show sponsor Aurion Media. If you are wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do you connect with us at

That's a u r i o n media dot com. Uh, and of course, they will be linked on the website. Now before two before. Be sure to follow the push to be more podcasts wherever you get your podcast from because we've got some more great conversations lined up and I don't want you to miss any of them.

And in case no one has told you yet today, you are awesome. Created awesome. It's just a burden you've gotta bear. John has to bear it. I have to bear it. You've got a bear it as well. Now Push to Be More is produced by Aurion media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app.

The team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beynon, Estella Robin and Tanya Hutsuliak. Our theme music was written by Josh Edmundson, and as I mentioned, if you would like to read the transcript or the show notes, head to the website,, where as I said, you can also sign up for the newsletter.

So that's it from me. That's it from John. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.