Working as a principal in a large healthcare enterprise, Trisha Tyler of Mercer Health & Benefits, talks about how to create value for the companies that you work for; when you become reliable for that value, you get to do what you love and increase your income accordingly. One of her passions is the value of our oceans and in her spare time, she works on shark and ocean conversation.

In this episode's talk, co-founder Kirkland Tibbles about why so much of what we are doing may not be valuable work. Recorded during a global conference, he's joined on stage by Kiwi Vice President Drew Knowles in an example that may sound very familiar. Below you'll find a transcript of this podcast episode that has been edited for your reading pleasure. You'll also see links at the bottom of this post where you can find more information on the people and ideas mentioned in the episode.

Produced by: John Patterson & Jason Kelley

"When you become reliable to be able to create that value, whatever that thing is within your company, they will figure out a way if it's valuable to them to compensate you for what you're worth. "

John Patterson: All right, so Trisha has been a member with Influence Ecology for a little over years. Trisha thank you so much for being here.

Trisha Tyler: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

John: What else would you like us first to know about you?

Trisha: You can know that I'm 40 years old. That I've been in my career for close to 17 years and that I'm newly married and some of these developments have happened inside of my study with Influence Ecology. I'm interested to tell you today just a little bit more about how just even my study has impacted not just my career, my money and what I get to do on a daily basis but also just how it's impacted other aspects of my life. Even being newly married and what not. I think it has to be a great conversation.

John: Great, and tell us a little bit about what you do now as a senior principal for Mercer?

Trisha: Sure, a lot of my responsibility is really to managing relationships. Meaning that I am the person who's accountable in most cases for the relationships that we have with our clients. I also lead teams of people who deliver our services. Our services are employee benefits consulting, talents consulting, retirement consulting. I specialize more in that health and benefits space where we design benefit programs for employers.

I lead teams of attorneys, actuaries, project managers, and the like to be able to deliver those services. Ultimately, I'm listing for what is the client trying to accomplish, helping identify those solutions for them and pulling that all together from a strategic perspective. Then turning that over to the team to be able to ensure that that gets executed.

That's a year-round process, so typically we're more included, we're more involved with the client. We're working around the year-round calendar with them and then the whole process starts over, if you will. You can see the transaction at work and what we do. Even just in a renewal way, it goes around the calendar. What I do specifically in terms of the way I utilize my time, I spend a lot of my time now really telling the story to our clients and telling our story to prospective clients.

The story is to our prospective clients it's what could accomplish together. It's what our services provide that really addresses issues that they face. Breakdowns that they have around how they're utilizing their own staff and people inside their companies or also the kinds of savings that we could create in terms of the programs they have and whatnot.

With clients, it really is moving them to adopt the changes that are going to be required for them to have the future they want. Every company wants a certain type of future and they're grappling with their situation. The thing about what we impact is that intimate people's lives. We are designing programs that when somebody goes in to see a doctor or when they fall ill and they have to have a surgery or whatever the situation is, that's the intersection.

We're not delivering the actual healthcare itself but we're designing the program overall and so it's really meaningful to the companies, to the employees, and their children and their family and all that kind of stuff. While it's business oriented, we have to understand all the financial underpinnings and the impact on the balance sheet for that client and everything else. It's also intimate in a sense that it can make the difference in the talents that a company can attract and the talent they can keep.

It also impacts the mental level of sometimes what are their greatest vulnerabilities when they're sick or they're ill or they really need care. It's a very broad spectrum in terms of just all the things that we look at and we need to be mindful of as we work with them and I think my favorite part about it is just I get to really know clients, I get to know companies. I get to know them in a way that I'm personally inspired by them.

I'm really interested in who they are and how they function and who they want to be and the company has their own identities. It's me to be able to provide something to them that builds on the future that they want. A lot of times companies just like people are hesitant to change. It's being able to really deliver to them the pathways for them to see how they can have that change and they can handle that change and the future would be better than it is.

It's a great experience to get to do that with executives, with senior level folks, and their employees and their teams.

John: That's really great. Well, what I 'd like to do to start out here is there is the before and after. Where were you a couple of years back, four years back, if you will, and where are you now in terms of many of those areas that you're here to satisfy?

Trisha:  Four years ago, I was in a leadership position, a local leadership position for another company. I was leading a small team of folks and honestly, I was just working really hard and I don't mind. I have a background of working hard, I come from four generations of cotton farmers so working hard is part of the identity and what you grow up in your DNA with. It was working in a way that I didn't want to do.

I didn't mind the hardworking, it was just one of the kinds of things I didn't want to do and it just felt really like labor and just wasn't very satisfying. The money that I was making wasn't quite, if I think about it, it was definitely quite a bit less than what I was making especially given a look at the upside potential that I have today. You have those pieces of it and just in general how I was known was resolving some problems.

I think I would get distracted by doing parts of the work that I probably shouldn't have been doing. When I look at my personality type, what I like to do, those things that I like to do I tend to excel at and I do a really good job. Those things that I don't like to do but I felt like I had to do, it just came with the territory and it was part of what you're supposed to do, I didn't' do as well. There was a real detraction for me in terms of do I have actual experience of the work but it was also just as an detraction on my performance.

When you looked at my performance, it's like, "She's really good here but she really doesn't do a good job here." Nobody actually ever said it to me but I have to imagine they said it.

John: You knew it.

Trisha: I knew it, I lived with that. Knowing that I could be really good in certain areas and just not very good in others. The difference, if I can say just around that specifically, the difference between then and now is that now I've given up that naive notion that I'm the one who's supposed to do all of those things. Instead, it's just making myself very valuable to those around me by doing the things I do great and doing a lot more of that and doing that almost exclusively.

Which is putting me in front of clients, working with people adopting change, being able to develop the strategic solutions and being the one accountable for when something isn't according to plan or needs really someone who's going to be ultimately accountable and can solve the issue. That stuff, I'm highly valuable in and it's really needed.

By focusing and saying, "This is what you can rely on me for. This is what I'm going to do," and finding others who really would prefer to do the other types of more task-oriented type of things. Things that require constant followup or just something that in the personality types we talked about that a producer is more likely to do or excel in doing those things. That's the kind of work I started moving off of my plate and I just got better and better as a result.

I just became more successful in the sense of I was good at the things I was actually at work on. I was giving the things that I wasn't very good at to other people who were a lot more aligned with that or just much better at that. Instead of feeling like I was stuck and I had to do in a particular way, I just started looking around to how could I make this where I'm providing what I'm most valuable at? It just made a real difference in how I'm viewed. I think in the value I bring to others around me.

John: I'm thinking about the listeners who work for someone or work in some capacity for another company and then there are the self-employed. There's different kinds of people listening to this and I know we often get questions about the ability to impact my situation when I'm employed. For example, someone might say, "Well, I don't have much say about how much money I'm going to make or I don't have much say about what I do and what I don't do."

Most of the self-employed people think they have all the freedom in the world to do that. For the people who are listening and are not self-employed, what would you say to those who say, "Well, I don't have much say at what I earn and what I do?"

Trisha: I would say when you create value for the companies you work for, then you really should be having conversations about being compensated what you're worth. I think when you create and when you know the value you create and you'll become reliable to create that value, that's an important part of it. When you become reliable to be able to create that value, whatever that thing is within your company and others align with that, they agree with that.

They say, "Yes, you're valuable at that thing," then you want to keep putting yourself in positions where you're doing more and more of that thing and delivering on it. Delivering very consistently around that and I can tell you there is not a company I work with so I get the opportunity to obviously know the inside of the company I work for. Part of being a consultant is I get to see inside of a lot of companies because those are my clients.

I would say there is not a company I know that isn't looking for people who can reliably deliver on a thing they say that they're reliable to deliver. They will figure out a way if it's valuable to them to compensate you for what you're worth. I think the other part of it is thinking about a part of it is the money equation and money is a really important element. It's a leading element for most people and the reason why they work.

They're going to need their compensation to be in a certain range first and foremost. After that, it's the other aspect. It's the flexibility you have with your time or the flexibility you have to work from other places or making sure you're doing the work that you love or making sure you're doing the work that you want to do with the people you really care about.

Those types of things I've just found that as I can articulate what's important to me in all of those different areas, I get to have those types of situations arise. Even down to the level of there are certain types of clients I feel like I provide a lot of value and there are other types of clients that I just don't.

I'm not as good a match for and I think at some point for some consultants, maybe they feel like that's a bit of a failure but for me it's ideal. I know the kind of customer that I'm a really good fit for. I keep seeking them out and then I have learned to start declining those that I'm just not going to be a good fit for. That's another way in which I keep increasing the value that I bring because I'm valuable for those certain types of clients and those certain types of personality types and those who have particular kinds of ambitions for a certain type of future and stuff.

That's another way I keep from diluting both my energy and also just diluting my value because if I'm going to a customer that's not really going to value what I do best, then that's just a mistake to work with them, for them and for me.

John: You speak to value quite a bit what you just said and I love that you did so because I think it's one of the defining principles for what we teach. We speak a lot about increasing the value that you offer. Sometimes people go about trying to make more money or you could say that their work on something. Not too many people work on increasing the value, transacting to elevate, extend the value that they are or are perceived to have for other people.

It's something quite fundamental for us and how we teach that. What might you say to those people who don't know how to go about increasing the real or perceived value for the companies that they work or if they're self-employed?

Trisha: I would first say what do you like to do inside of your company and what do you want to do and is it something that's needed? Is it just useful? Fundamentally we define value as it's useful if it's got utility and then it's the scarcity of that utility. Is everybody able to provide that same usefulness? If so then it's going to be difficult to really be perceived as highly valuable if everybody can provide it or a lot of people can provide it.

It's really important to look at what you got and one of the first places to start at is ask other people. Just a fundamental question, what are you counting me for? In your environment what people count on you for. They're largely putting up with some of the other behaviors you have and that sort of way.


That's sort of what I've learned. That's what I've learned in my fundamental for transaction because they were putting up with a lot of other things because that's very useful in other ways. One of the best ways to increase value is just go, "What are you counting for that you really want?" If you really know the person and you really can take it, go, "What's the other stuff you got to put up with to be able to get that?"

The more I can remove the stuff that they're just putting up with, which we also call high-cost behaviors, the more I can remove those things and those antics and behaviors and whatever you want to call them or reduce them. The more I can focus on doing the things that they really want to count on me for. I've already increased my value there and those can be really small steps. They can make a big impact.

John: Can you take that and translate that for someone who's either starting a new company or a small business owner? How would you correlate that to that?

Trisha: I would say for someone who's starting a new company, part of especially because you get to start from a blank slate with the exception of you. If I were going to start a new company and I was starting with me, I would start with what's my transactional personality type? There is a type that you train there in Influence Ecology that there is four types largely.

Those types also correlate to aspects of the transaction cycle, so parts of the transaction. That means you're going to be really strong at some part of the transaction more than others. You really want to focus your energy on what am I really great at? Not just like just individual things that you know how to do but when you learn about the transaction cycle you should know this is where I'm really good at.

John, you're an inventor and you come up with great ideas. I need people in my life who are going to come up with almost limitless ideas because I've got good ideas and I always thought I was pretty decent at that but what I'm really good at is taking the one we land on for a specific situation. Then being able to have other people see a future in that idea and have them take the actions needed to be able to have that idea live in the world.

Whether it be a business, just an event or whatever. Understanding what it is also tells me fundamentally in that transaction, I'm going to need other people who are going to do the other aspects of the transaction. When we think about producers who are going to fulfill on a lot of the actual work in action required to bring something to fruition. I have a lot of those people around me in what I do for my employer. I need people who are really going to take what we do and ensure it gets executed.

On the other side of the transaction, we have judges and those are the people who are going to judge and assess. I get to work and work with a lot of those people too, the CFOs, and finance types and otherwise. They really do help to make sure that what we've done actually meets the metrics of what we intended. Finding your place in all of those types and then starting to look and go, "Who can I work with that's going to be able to provide in the other areas of the transaction cycle that I'm really I'm not going to be strong at and I'm probably going to neglect left to my own devices?"

John: Very well said. Let's back up for a second, just sort of go back to what are some of the philosophies or thoughts that guided you in the early days that you found out [laughs] you maybe naive about?

Trisha: Certainly I wouldn't ascribe to this sort of philosophy but I would say that one of my attitudes was that I was going to do it my way. I felt like I was generally cooperative, it's not like I wasn't a person who wouldn't cooperate with others. I enjoyed doing things with others. That's part of my personality but if I felt like it was my way then I was going to do it my way.

I was going to do it regardless of whether anybody else felt like that was the right thing to do or not. I don't mean to sound like just a complete renegade and just impossible to direct or anything like that but I can see it was just a sub-text often. It wouldn't even be known by people around me for some time until we got to that thing. Whatever it was and really I think what was underneath all of that was just a sense that well I can't change the mind of anybody who's senior to me.

Really of those institutional things that are really trying to force me to do whatever that thing is. That to me was when I could see that all it takes is looking at what we're going to work on together because I'm a part of the environment. That's another thing, it's really understanding, I'm a part of the environment for somebody else and somebody else is part of my environment as well and so beginning to look to see how do I walk in with the person that's in a position of authority?

It's funny for me to think about this now because I don't have that concern any longer. I think it's just a matter of what kind of value can I create for that person and what kind of value can I request from that person? It really just gets fundamentally down to part of being an ambitious as an adult is that you make offers, indications, and requests.

That really challenged me in situations where instead I was just backing the system, if you will, choosing to do my own thing without perhaps even communicating that to anybody and just doing my own thing. Rather actually looking and saying, "Here is what my request is." You wanted my request and now I realize that I have the opportunity to change a lot of cultures, even in large companies I have the opportunity to do that.

Just because I make a request or I offered to do something or I invited them into doing something new that hasn't been done before. What I've learned more than anything is that leaders have leaders too. It's a breath of fresh air for leaders when they have somebody who's ambitious, working with them, working for them, who really does want to, who's looking to what else can we do to make this different?

What else can we do to make this a better environment? Or what else can we do to be more prosperous and hit our goals and do it with more ease, that kind of stuff? Instead of feeling like I'm alone and doing it as a loner I realized that the very thing that causes me to question whether we should be doing whatever it is, is something that can add value when I take the time just to make the request and I was just naive. Didn't expect that I would do anything about it. That was a really important learning for me.

John: It's useful to stop here for a second because you bring up one of the reasons that people love what we teach so much because in your example where you have some sort of authority and you know you're going to have to go around the system or tolerate the system or the processor, so forth. Often times, we dance with our environment in a way rather than transact with it.

We simply resist it or we get mad at it or we protest or we gather the troops and ride against it. Or we do nothing, there are so many different versions of that when we're naive to that we aren't simply transactionally competent and can make requests and so forth. It's fantastic, anything else about that?

Trisha: No it's just eye-opening. It just gives you a place to transact from and I think that's all for the other thing is just really this whole notion of higher ecologies. Knowing where you bring value and how you bring value to even higher ecologies. Higher ecologies is just when you'd rather be transacting with in some cases that might be able to really help me meet my two themes.

I think you asked one of the things that I used to do, John, was I would avoid really being ambitious around that for fear that I really couldn't bring value in that environment and almost for fear that I might find out I really wasn't valuable in my mind. [laughs]

John: Well said.

Trisha: I just missed opportunities. I have no doubt I missed opportunities I've had just because I was operating like that. Just realizing that the worst that I can find out is that I'm currently not valuable in an environment or to a specific ecology or to even just an individual person in ecology. That's just a matter of my usefulness and my usefulness can change.

I can do something about that and so it's all a matter of is it worse for me to really make a concerted effort in changing my usefulness in that specific environment with that person to be able to become more useful. It's just a question of how do I want to solve for meeting my two themes? I think it's the other thing I would say especially from my personality type.

To identify I think what we would call a performer and performers tend to say, "Yes, we thought about this but it's very true, we'll say yes," and yes means maybe. It might happen, it might not. We mean yes in the moment but it doesn't necessarily mean it that that will be what it means into the future, and only because we really are presently.

Whatever is presently in front of us is the most important thing just in terms of our time orientation and I don't mean to say that you can't count on my yes at this point because you really can count on my yes at this point because I'm trained. I understand now how I have a tendency or how I might be compelled to say yes to things. Whether it really wasn't my best interest or not.

That's the thing that I probably learned about my own naivety more than anything too is it's really checking in with what are my aims, what's important to me and what am I looking to accomplish? Getting rooted in that first and foremost and thinking from that perspective when I say yes or no and saying no a lot more often without losing the relationship in which I'm saying no. Being discerning and not being difficult about that and there are people that I have to say no with sometimes and maybe no again but it may not always be a no.

That may change and just understanding that we still have the relationship to be able to. Whatever the individual situation is that may change and so minding how I am with my relationships and just making sure that even if my answer is no, letting the person know that I value our relationship. I'm appreciative of the offers that they make to me. I guess just really taking care of those relationships but still being mindful of what I'm saying yes to and what I'm saying no to because that's the commitment of my own resources.

Whether it be money, time, energy or anything else, so that's really important.

John: Let's talk a little bit about how you discovered that you were naive and specifically often times we would discover our naivety when we thought things were going so well and suddenly find out that they're aren't going well. What were some of those times for you?

Trisha: I think earlier into my fundamentals of the transaction program we deal with money. When I say deal with money it's actually probably not accurate to say it that way but money is an unavoidable condition of life. Just in terms of the way we transact for our basic needs even. You should understand what you want your money to look like and then really do the planning as to how you're going to get there.

I think that was the first moment where I was like, "Oh my gosh, these years I've put into working and the dollars that I can add up that I've made and how much of it really can I show for right now?" In terms of saving that money, in terms of putting it to work where it's really going to benefit me and let's say that's why I have a lot more money in the bank now than I used to.

John: Me too, when you said you discovered what it needed to look like. What do you mean by that? You mean how much money you needed?

Trisha: Absolutely, we do some thinking and we do accurate thinking so none of this thinking like, "This should be good enough in round numbers." No, I set down to do it, a calculator and really thinking about by when would I like to retire? Or by when would I like to have the choice about whether I continue to work or not? I think that was a better question for me to frame.

I have a lot of energy, I know those things I'm going to work on for many years to come. When I thought about by when do I want to have the freedom, whether I want to work or not? Then look at what would it take to get from where I am now and my retirement, and my savings and everything else to get there and actually do the work for every year between here and that date?

To go, "What would I need to do? What would I need to earn to be able to hit that goal?" What would I need to earn and what would I need to save to be able to do that. When I saw that, I thought, "I would be working for the rest of my life. If I don't do something to really start saving my money as well as improving my opportunities to earn more money. It's also looking at what kind of life do I want to live?

John: When you looked at all of that and you saw the gap, what was your first thought? Do you remember?

Trisha: This is the worst feeling, it's just a feeling like, "What have I been doing?" It's a physical feeling in the body. It's like a pit in my stomach and just really wondering what have I been doing? Given that you could look at a lot of things in my life at that point and go, "She's successful, she's done well," but success is a very funny word to use because really the only success that matters is how equipped are you to meet your personal aims?

That's really the only success that needs to be measured and I just wasn't on track for that and I didn't have a plan for that either. First you got to see the gap.

John: After you pick yourself back up. [laughs]

Trisha: Yes, and after I wallowed in it for a little bit.

John: It is confronting and I know that many people who participate here, one of the first things they deal with is how much money they need, and how come that much and from now until when and what kind of lifestyle and so forth. Oftentimes, about the second or third session of the fundamentals of transaction program, people have the thought, "I'm screwed." You're standing in front of this canyon. What are your thoughts about how to now go forward? Do you know what to do or do you then throughout the rest of the program, create a plan, but what happens next?

Trisha: Well, from where I was, in that moment, I didn't know what there was to do except to continue to do my program and continue to do what I was doing in the moment for work, too. There's big decisions we make in life for sure. But there's millions of small decisions we make in terms of where you're going to turn your attention, what you're going to choose to do in this moment, how you're going to prioritize the activities, what request I'm going to make, what offers I'm going to make. I just generally noticed that I became more ambitious in the sense that I was now going to start going to work and do stuff.

Even in the current environment I was in, I was going to start making more requests, I was going to whether it be for a raise or whether it be looking for how much more value I could create in the environment I was in to be able to do what I was going to do or whether it was trimming the budget now. There were lots of small things that turned into big impactful things that I could do in the moment without having to go, "Well, I picked the wrong career." Then that's one of the things even that an Influence Ecology you all encourage us to do. Just continue doing the work because a lot of it is inquiry.

You're really inquiring into what do you want, and they may not know that in that moment. I didn't know exactly what I wanted in that moment. What I found is inside the career in the area of specialized knowledge that I've been at work on developing my entire career, there's plenty of opportunities for me to meet aims. It didn't take me having to re-engineer a whole other life to be able to meet my aims. I just had to spend enough time inquiring into it and doing the work, to start to develop the practices that were going to be beneficial for me to meet my aims. A big part of what we're doing is not about--

Yes, it can equip you for making big decisions but I think it equips us a lot more for something that's so much more powerful, which is really developing the practices, just developing a practice and developing our competence and being able to transact with one another with the environments that we're in. One little decision at a time, that really we're at work on and how we're encouraged to participate in our live events, but also just in our daily lives. I think that that, to me, was the most valuable aspect of doing the study when I did it and still most valuable aspect of studying today with Influence Ecology.

John: What's life like now? What does the future hold?

Trisha: Well, I am now married. That's a different life altogether and a really rewarding one. I don't think there's any mistake that I-- I learned plenty of things through Influence Ecology that were never taught about relationships, per se, but we transact inside of our relationships as well. I think that gives me just a really rewarding relationship that I have with my husband. There are lots of adventures I had for us. I'm a big fan of the ocean. I'm a big ocean conservationist and I am also part of a nonprofit group that does shark conservation work.

Being able to lead and join expeditions, doing that kind of work and sailing, those things are the probably the most important things for my husband and I in addition to the work that I do for Mercer today and just keep developing myself in my leadership, in creating the kind of environment that I want to work in and I think others want to work in as well and harness the good talent that I get to work with every day here. Just looking at what fun things we can invent together that may create more income for us.

How we may utilize the money that we have today to be able to invent other offers to be able to do that just because we can to be able to further meet our aims in the area of money and work and even legacy down the road. Beginning to think about what my legacy will be. I just can't even tell you exactly what that's going to-- I have no idea what that's going to look like at this point but I can definitely say just at 40 years old today, there's a lot I have to give and to contribute in terms of what I'd like to make available for the world around me. It's a good time for me to be looking at that and really start thinking about that. That'll be a fun exploration.

John Patterson: Today, our guru talk is from our annual member conference in 2015. Our global membership gathers every January for five days in a luxury resort somewhere in the world. Now, this talk led by co-founder, Kirkland Tibbels is about the 2015 theme of the year, which was work. Work is one of the conditions of life we study. So work, the activity of life. In this talk, you're going to hear why so much of what we are doing, may not be valuable to ourselves or to others. He's joined on stage by vice president Drew Knowles in an example that may sound very familiar.

Kirkland Tibbels: What are you doing and I want you to hear it like this. What are you doing? I want to hear like this. What are you doing? Like this, what are you doing?

What are you doing? And what the F are you doing?


No, but really like, what are you doing? What the hell are you doing? What the heck are you doing? What the F are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing when you open your mouth? What are you doing? What are you doing quitting that job and starting that company? What are you doing? Do you know what you're doing? Do you know what you're doing? That's what we're going to focus on this next year as a thing. We are going to, I can't wait to take a concentrated and focused look throughout the next year at my activity. We have a theme of the year called work.

Work is what we are doing with our-- At the same time. Work is the activity of life. I ask you again, and you'll hear it again and again and again and again. For some of you, you're going to get a phone call and you'll go, "805 I wonder who that is?" "Hey, Lisa, it's Kirkland. What are you doing?" Or, "Hey, Lisa, got a minute? Great. Just took a look at your metrics. Got a question for you." That's right. You hear that? Who's laughing? What's going to be my question?

Audience: Take a look at your metrics.

Kirkland: Just took a look at the metrics, got just one little question, may sound familiar. Christopher, it is?

Christopher: What are you doing?

Kirkland: What are you doing? Well, gosh, first off, Kirkland says that I need to cope with different people. What are you doing in all this activity? If interrupted in a moment, can you defend your activity? If challenged in any moment, like a fly is watching on the wall, lands on your shoulder, slaps your ear lobe and says, "Psss, what are you doing?" Now, I've been experimenting with this for a while. It has produced some rather substantial agitation. There are people who have had wake up calls just based on a rigorous lengthy conversation where mostly all I did was ask that question until they got to... They had no stinking idea what they were actually doing. I thought I'll give an example what that might look like. It's like anyone?

Audience: Yes.

Kirkland: This is the present-day interpretation of one of those moments.

Drew Knowles: There I was in Marina del Rey in Los Angeles sitting on a three-foot concrete fence on the phone to, Kirkland, just before that I had got a phone call driving in my car from Ojai to Los Angeles, I was almost there and it was Kirkland. He said, "What you doing?" It was that version. I said, "I'm in Los Angeles, and I'm here again, I was here last weekend and I'm going to go to this networking event this weekend and it was why I was in Los Angeles and Ojai. He had invited me at the conference two years ago." Why don't you come study for a few months in Ojai?

Okay… and go help build Influence Ecology at the same time… so I'm going to these networking events so then Kirkland says, "What you doing?" "Wow, you know I’m… Last Saturday I met this guy and then we had breakfast and he's this big Australian marketing guy, and then I met these guys." Kirkland said, "Okay, but what you doing?" I said, "This weekend I'm going to go to another one and then there's this guy speaking and I think this time I'm for sure someone will want to request an application and we get lots of business out of it.

At this next Sunday I'm going to go to a barbecue, they're doing this and Monday I'm sure Darryl has got me going this other networking event." "Yes, but what you doing?" Then Kirkland proceeded to tell me his view of networking and also asked me, "How many people actually asked you about Influence Ecology at that one last weekend? How many people actually have you called since that wants to do Influence Ecology?" "It's all possibilities at the moment and I'm sure we are going to get." I really knew that how I was going to grow Influence Ecology at these three meetings was going to drive to Los Angeles every week to go to these networking events.

Kirkland: I proceeded to ask the question again, "What are you doing?"

Drew: It kept going like that and there was a moment when I started to get really agitated and defensive.

Kirkland: I did this thing where I said, "Hang on a second, just where are you?" I'm calling in to an environment. Let me just check the environment. "Sir, are you where we can have a conversation?" He probably was.

Drew: I'm just about to go to my friend's apartment but I'm sitting here on this concrete fence in Marina del Rey looking out over a Trader Joe's in the car-park, it's sure, "Okay. I'm listening. I don't know what you're getting at but I'm listening."

Kirkland: Then I proceeded to go down the old road where it was, "Drew, would you like for me to have this conversation with you, taking care of you or would you prefer I take the bark off?" Drew generously said-

Drew: "Take the bark off."

Kirkland: I asked Drew what the F he was doing. "What are you doing?" I pressed him and I pressed him and I pressed him until he finally got in living color that he didn't know his ass from a stopwatch. He was just out there doing because somewhere along the way we got this incredible bit of wisdom that when there is nothing left to do, go do something.

Drew: Make sure you're really excited while you are doing it.


The Influence Ecology Podcast is produced by Influence Ecology, LLC in Ventura, California. You can find a transcript for this and other episodes at This episode is made possible through the assistance of the Influence Ecology Faculty, Staff, Mentors, and Students around the world. Co-founder Kirkland Tibbels and our colleagues comprise an international collective of professionals who are active in the development of the philosophy of Transactionalism and the discipline of Transactional Competence. Kirkland is considered a leading philosopher and authority in the field and he has authored more than 500 papers on the subject, study, and discipline.

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

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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 Historic and Interpretive Study by Trevor J. Phillips. Co-Founder Kirkland Tibbels has authored more than 500 papers on the subject, study, and discipline of transactional competence and is a sought-after lecturer at universities, major corporations, and civic organizations around the world. 

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