This guest was a Catholic priest for 19 years, did volunteer teaching in Tonga, and credits psychodrama training as laying the foundation for his career as a compassionate, emotional intelligence expert. His work in a drug and alcohol treatment hospital and over 20 years in corporate training give him a unique perspective on managing emotions in the workplace especially for business owners.

Please welcome, John Faisandier.

Episode highlights:

  • 0:29 – John’s Background
  • 2:18 – Journey Start
  • 10:17 – Catholic Priest Experience
  • 15:19 – External Perspective
  • 17:36 – Self Realization

Learn more about this guest:

Podcast Episode Transcripts:

Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.

Joining us from Wellington New Zealand. John is the founder of tough thriving under fire, where he helps people manage emotions in the workplace. He has taught thousands of people in many parts of the world. And he’s joining us today to share some of those success, success secrets with you today, John, thanks for jumping on.  

Yeah, thanks very much damon. I’m very pleased to be here. So tough. I like the acronym. They’re thriving under fire. Why don’t you walk us through a little bit and explain how you came up with, um, you know, what what’s your background is and then how you came up with that name? Hmm. Well, um, I mean, my background, I trained as a psychodramatist even before that I was actually a Catholic priest, which, um, I started training in psychodrama.  

Wow. It’s still a priest. And that helped me to transition into the real world. And, um, but, um, I worked, uh, in a, in a drug and alcohol rehab, uh, hospital, um, for a number of years. And then when that they started closing those down here in New Zealand at the second can, um, the, um, into the, uh, beginning of the.  

Now into the 1990s. Um, anyhow, I, um, I got to request to, um, teach people in a bank. Um, the bank tellers, people were coming in and, um, being really upset with them. And so, yeah, I have developed a program for them. Uh, and I was trying to get a good name for it and, um, like all good things while I was standing in the shower, having a nice hot water.  

Um, I thought of this and it works so thriving under fire. Cause they had said, you know, we feel like we’re under fire. Um, and um, Um, so I came up with that tough and it’s, it’s something that really sticks. People love it. You know, it says a lot to, a lot to people because w you know, life for them is tough, um, when they get upset customers.  

Yeah. So you basically, what you do is you provide face to face and as well as online training, or you help people grow in emotional intelligence now. So give us the short example of what it’s like to work with you. Where do you start. Well, um, w when I started a lot of people often, um, uh, have been sent to the program or, you know, I go work in house.  

They can come along and they’re a bit reluctant. What I’m interested in doing is finding. Yeah. Yeah. W ha you know, I haven’t met anybody who doesn’t have. Difficult people to deal with and whether that’s their teenage kids, their partner, or, or any of their customers or their colleagues. So as soon as I start talking to people and say, look, you know, who are the difficult people?  

You meet, people just come alive. So from being reluctant participants and thinking this is going to be just another kind of training session. Uh, it doesn’t take them much to warm up to the idea. Oh, I’m really interested in who are the difficult people that you made? What makes them difficult and, um, So, so that’s the first part about really getting people on board with being at the training.  

Um, others do come really warmed up to it because they, you know, they already know they have a lot of difficult people and they want, they want to find ways of dealing with them. So that’s the very first thing that I do. The, the second thing, uh, I’m I’m, this is a strength based training that I do. So I’m interested in what you’ve worked out already.  

Um, what do you know, um, you know, for some of the difficult situations you’ve been in and you’ve got a resolution to it, so, um, And people can often forget that when they come to a training situation and they can almost revert back to school where for children, they come to school with a tabula rasa, almost, you know, that, that kind of open and say teachers, you know, and, um, um, whereas for adults coming into training, they already have a lot of experience.  

And, um, so I do a lot to reaffirm what people already know. Following on from that? Yep. This is, um, Um, the two big focuses, um, what happens to you when somebody is difficult? You know, if they come in and they are accusing you of being incompetent or, you know, shouting or swearing, or, you know, there’s a whole range of things.  

Um, so before you can actually make a response to them, you’ve got to be able to manage your own response, your own reaction. And we know from that, what, what happened to your amygdala files? It fires up and you get into fight flight mode. Then it becomes really difficult to, um, actually I have make a decent response to the other person.  

So you mentioned people come alive sometimes. When, when you say what are, who are the types of difficult people you work with? What are some of the, more of the unique replies that you perceived when you asked that question to your group? Yeah, well, um, it’s, it’s interesting, you know, whether they are unique or not.  

Um, um, uh, I, you know, I get, um, a list of, uh, you know, one of the things people say to you. And, um, uh, the common ones I’d rather than unique is, um, a lot of people say, I pay your wages now, whether this is even in a retail setting, or I do a lot of work with government agencies or the local government, you know, the, um, city councils and so on, um, or even a national government.  

And, um, uh, so I pay your wages. Um, do you know who I am? Gender is who’s the common one. And oops. You know, obviously you’ve forgotten that you’re having a little memory trouble, are you? You’re not quite sure who you are, but, um, um, but uh, other other people, um, you know, some of them are very, very strong, um, and aggressive.  

And, uh, you know, you’d like, you are no good. Um, I talked to a man you’re only a woman, you know, what do you know about this? You’re a young, uh, or you’re colored, you know, you’re from a different culture. You’re from a different country. Yeah. Um, the, the really interesting thing diamond about all of this is that I I’ve done this training in the Pacific islands, as well as the New Zealand and in Bangladesh.  

And, um, in the last I’ve been working in Bangladesh for the last five or six years, what I noticed there, I thought it was going to be very different, but I’ve often asked these people, what are things people say to you? And I’ll write them up as I’m writing them up on the flip chart. And I turned around and I have to remind myself what country on that, because people there saying the same things and the same difficult things, as they say, in New Zealand or in the Pacific islands or in other parts of Asia, where. 

 Interesting. Yeah, it’s a fascinating thing. And the emotional reaction is very similar as well. Is there, I’ll ask you kind of the same question. Um, is, is there any unique differences between different cultures and locations that do stand out? I would say no social Arab, but in my experience, and I’ve had quite a bit, you know, have had quite a bit. 

 Um, my original, um, degree I did was an anthropology and I had actually lived as an 18 year old in that. Tonga for a year. And I was very interested in the differences of people. And I spent a, spent a lot of my time noticing the differences, cultural differences, particularly and writing about it and teaching it went off, come to do this work much more around emotions.  

What I’m noticing is. The similarities and, and, um, yes, there are a few different cultural expressions, but by and large, um, you know, these emotional reactions, I would almost say are much more physiological. Oh, I remember that. Uh, yeah, cardiac cardiac surgeon saying to me once early, early on when I did anthropology.  

Well, you know, you, you have to go and look at all the differences with these cultures. And, um, for me as a cardiologist or a cardiac cardiothoracic surgeon, I can go to any country. We anesthetize a person, cut them open. Their hearts are all the same. So, you know, culture to me it’s not important. And, um, and I used to sort of think, Oh, that’s, that’s the kind of actually, I thought that was boring, but the path, a path from the bank that I couldn’t bear the thought of, um, dealing with blood that I would’ve passed out immediately.  

But apart from that, What I’m noticing now and particularly, um, With the growth and understanding of neuroscience and how the Brian’s work around their emotions. Um, now what I’m noticing is that in every country, the same process is happening. So much, I see much more similarities and I’m a bit more like a heart surgeon and then an anthropologist.  

Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. Once you get the experience to identify how to, how to work with your audience, that I could see the similarities, um, coming to the top there. So. Earlier, you had mentioned that you worked as a Catholic priest for a total of 19 years, and that’s really interesting to me. Um, so it’s interesting, I’m curious in two angles, what got you into that world?  

And then what got you considering leaving that world? What got me in and what got me out. Yeah. Well, probably the same kind of impulse got me in has got me out. Funnily enough, I’m the same person. But, um, uh, I mentioned about being in Tonga when I left high school. Um, when I was 18, um, I went as a volunteer.  

We Beck back in the day and this was 1970. Um, they had a scheme here, um, For school leaver volunteers to go and teach in the Pacific. They were very short of teachers. And so I went straight from high school then to teaching. Okay. Um, and had about two weeks training. Okay. Think possibly even less. Um, but they chose people who were, I had some, um, a spirit about the mentality could handle such things.  

Um, When I was there, I got really interested. I was so teaching in a Catholic school. I grew up in a Catholic family and a school here in New Zealand. Um, but I really, uh, was inspired to work with, um, particularly, were you go back and work in the Pacific? And, uh, a lot of my friends had gone from school to the seminary and were writing letters and saying what a great time they were having.  

And, um, so I, I thought this almost seemed like a natural step for me to go there. So, uh, I did, uh, eight years training, uh, in, um, Uh, theology and scripture and philosophy. Um, and also did, uh, some, uh, more secular studies. Um, my degree in anthropology, I did a little bit of that then. Um, so I, I was really inspired really to help people.  

Um, and that’s, that’s been me for my whole life, um, wanting to, um, bring, bring life. So two people, um, and that was the way that I could see I could do that. Um, so, uh, My first appointment, they didn’t in fact send me to the Pacific, probably quite wisely. I was still young and, and, um, uh, so I taught for five years, uh, in high school.  

And, um, um, part of that actually was, uh, I did a lot of other things I was doing. Um, Hospital chaplaincy. And I was a chaplain to the tongue and migrants here in Wellington and, and doing quite a lot of university study. That was a real lesson in doing too much because, uh, know in two different years I got quite ill and needed to take three or four months off.  

And that was a great learning. Really. It’s a learning really for entrepreneurs and people doing stuff, you know? I mean, there’s so much stuff to do. Isn’t there in the world. I’m I’m mid cycle in one of those beating myself up. Yeah, that’s right. Here’s me and my mid thirties, he said, and, uh, the second time I got along, I ended up in the coronary care unit for seven days, you know, not allowed to move.  

Um, there’s nothing, nothing actually physiologically wrong with my heart, but my heart just wasn’t in that work. And, uh, the beginning of me starting to leave. Um, particularly in hindsight, I can see that it was a matter of the hot, um, uh, then, um, worked a couple of years, uh, in parish ministry and then, uh, for the next four years in university.  

And that during that time, uh, I did a lot of personal work and my training as a psychodramatist, which began then, um, That helped me to deal with a lot of those personal issues, the psychological, almost the reasons why I went to the priesthood, which, you know, um, power from actually wanting intimacy and closer relationships.  

I was afraid to, to become too intimate, you know? And so, um, being able to do that, work, that personal work. Uh, allowed me then to reach a point where it was the natural thing for me to leave. Um, so in a sense, yes, it was a crisis, but it wasn’t a real, it wasn’t a dramatic crisis. It was much more, um, uh, sort of, uh, uh, really a wholesome process of me working out.  

Um, a lot of things for myself. D D with your education and, uh, you know, the involvement in psychodrama. Did you find yourself self-diagnosing yourself or you try and look at yourself from an external perspective? Yeah, absolutely. I’m diagnosing probably. It’s not quite the thing. Good. It’s an interesting, um, Psychodrama.  

It’s not so inclined to diagnose that that’s sort of more of a medical model, you know, and diagnosis usually is this is what’s wrong with you. Um, so that’s sort of a model of a deficit model. Um, soccer drama really is a model of health or strength. So, um, but, but yeah, certainly I’m looking at myself and looking, and so I don’t know if you know about psychodrama, but one of the things about it, psyche is the mind drama has to act.  

So instead of just talking. You see it out on, on the action space or on the stage, um, different aspects of what you’re wanting to explore. And so when you say, um, what was I able to look at myself and take a different look? Psychodrama provides a wonderful opportunity to do that because you can sit out, um, perhaps of your life.  

On the stage and you get to ciliary. So other people in the group, you choose them to be the people in your scene. And then you can, as well as being in that same yourself, you can also go outside of it and, um, and observe and see what’s happening. And, um, that’s what, what I did. Um, a lot of, and was able to, um, realize actually what I’m currently doing.  

Doesn’t quite work for me. Um, that’s a big picture, but even just the way I’m relating to. Individuals or people in my life and people from earlier in my life. So, um, that was a great opportunity really, to examine, you know, and the life unexamined is not a life worth living. As you analyzed yourself, was there, was there a more extreme observation, whether good or bad that surprised you to observe about yourself?  

Um, I mean, that’s a, that’s a good question. And a deep question. Really? Um, the, um, yes, there was constantly, there were constantly things that I was seeing that I hadn’t seen before. One of the things, um, that really was quite profound, um, was, uh, doing a scene. Where, uh, I was three years old and it’s, it’s interesting that, um, we re we record everything in our bodies and they are in the they’re in, um, the unconscious.  

So we don’t think of them all the time. And many of the times we just never get to think about them, but in doing that same, and what I, um, came to experience was, um, this, um, was a scene with my mother. Who I grew up in a family of nine kids. So she was just completely, yeah. As number four, when I was about three years old, there were already six kids or five, five, six, six of us, plus one more on the way.  

And this is in the 1950s, she didn’t have much. So she wanted me to look after her at the same time I was feeling. So I kind of realized, Oh, this is something about why I’m afraid to actually get, to get married, you know, and to have a, a relationship. So that was a huge moment for me. No, I never, I hadn’t thought about it before.  

I hadn’t just, it was in my body. And as I acted out that scene, uh, I just had this huge, big insight. That’s probably the biggest, biggest thing that I have ever come. That’s what helped me. Also then to realize that I can change that and not be so dependent, uh, on that, that decision. Cause we make these decisions early life about what life is and how I’m going to live life and coming to realize that in that moment I made a decision.  

That I would look after her and, and be a really good boy. Um, but at the same time, I’m not, you know, I could get swallowed up, so I need to keep my distance. Yeah. If that makes sense to you, it certainly makes sense to me. Yeah, no, it’s interesting. We’ve had other guests that talk about, um, similar self-realization stories or they work with other people and, and just like you described, we record it.  

And it’s interesting to see or hear about the moments when. When those are rediscovered or where, where you’re able to associate one event to another one event, to a habit or a characteristic that you now have. Yeah. Yeah. And in fact, if everything is connected, um, through the, and it’s connected through the emotions, so psychodrama works, this is how psychodrama works.  

Often people would come to a group and say, I’m having trouble with my boss. And John, I want to sort out how I can have a better relationship with my boss, for instance. And then I’ll say, okay, you sit out of scene with your boss. Let’s have a look at that. And as they sit out in the scene, they sit out physical, the physical things, where where’s your office or what’s the setting.  

And, um, They might have a little bit of an interaction and then they’ll go, Oh, um, w what’s coming up in my mind is something that happened five years previously with an, in another place I was working. And so I might say, okay, clear the scene, set up that scene. That’s the one that’s here. Now that start setting that up then though  

Then they’ll go, Oh, the thing that’s coming to my mind is when I was at school, something happened a silly scene has got nothing to do with this. Oh yeah. Okay. Sit that out. Well, of course it’s totally got something to do with that. Right. And then they might even do that. And as they’re doing that, then they’ll go.  

W what’s coming to my mind right now is when I was, uh, this was happened when I was six years old, um, a scene with my father, you know, and I say, okay, set this out. And they go right back without even doing the whole scene of each, each of those. But these things trigger off and are all linked. And, um, in, in psychodrama that this is a role, this is the role that a person.  

Assumes in response to another. And it’s an sit down in that very early life. And those experiences, is that a, an example of how you work with the majority of those that you help do you go through sceneries? When I’m doing psychodrama. Yes. It’s all done through, um, the story’s really, you know, these are the stories of my life.  

This happened to me. Somebody would say, okay, let’s play this out and why? Yeah. They play it out is that they can then redo. Particularly this, the same set of that. Um, you know, I have been unhelpful, but they stay with them all their life. So, um, for instance, when I was working, um, in the hospital with them, people recovering from addictions, um, their saints were often very traumatic.  

They were terrible. Things happened in their life, um, say around, um, Uh, abuse or neglect. Um, so they, they might say somebody saying, look, I was sexually abused as a child, you know, as a young boy or something. And, uh, and say, okay, we’ll, we’ll create a whole lot of safety around us, but they would recreate that scene in order to go there.  

And at the moment. Where they lost their power as just a, you know, as a seven year old or a four year old, whatever, even, even as a baby, um, that they can then go, they can step out of that scene and have a look in there and see here’s the abuse of getting close or even actually touching them depending on, you know, they, they, they determined how much they gonna say and do they can then.  

Go back and say stop. Whereas as a, as a child, I could never say stop to that adult. And, um, not only can they do that, but they can, um, nurture the little one themselves, uh, in that moment of protect them. And, um, in, in many, um, scenes that are directed, uh, in that setting. They can, um, challenge the abuser and, and get very physical.  

And some of them had, you know, magnificent Titanic battles, feeling it, you know, and, and create the auxiliary should get other people. And they say, you know, instead of they just say, get out of my life well saying that they’ve been trying to say that all their life, they need to actually physically do that.  

And so they end up pushing this person and they, and we create the resistance that really got to push hard and, and they, you know, there’s sweat and tears and the whole thing and shouting and saying, you know, you’re never going to do this to me again. And it’s, um, wonderfully, you know, and live learning and, um, empowering activity  

And often people would get there and you know, that I’d even kill. We used to use pillows. And so if they wanted to get very physical and bash them, You know, we just set up some pillows and then they would, they would really say what they’ve never said before, and that that’s been inside them and, and chewing them up and eating them up, which is why many of them in fact, then would drink or drug self-medicate to try and get away with that  

You can get away from that feeling. And so that’s how, uh, you know, the psychodrama part of it worked. Those are powerful examples. And, and I want to give you an opportunity to also clarify for our listeners that this, this world that you help people. And isn’t just something that you. You have learned and picked up on the side, you actually have three degrees and you have a degree in anthropology theology, and then a masters in education specializing in adult education.  

So you have very, in addition to your personal experience, you have very formal experience, too. I do. Uh, I’ve been very fortunate to have these opportunities to study the, the priesthood gave me a lot of that chance to, um, to do that. So, you know, I don’t regret any of that time, but what, um, They all of them really have built up on, you know, on what’s gone before.  

And even more than those degrees that I’ve done through them, university system was the training in psychodrama. So I became, it took me about 10 years of, um, the experiential learning. So mostly these were, um, three to five days, sometimes even seven day workshops and psychodrama. Um, at one point I did 10 week practicum when I went to Australia and, um, and so did the full 10 weeks.  

That was towards the end of my time as a priest. I had that time. Uh, and then learning to become a trainer, took me another 10 years. So, um, uh, formerly education, one of the things I noticed about all of that training, but both the degrees that I did. And, um, the psychodrama training was that I thought I was learning a lot as I was doing the study.  

What I found was once I graduated. Then I really started learning and putting it, putting it into practice. And that was with all of those different degrees, you know, that I’ve done. I think that’s pretty common regardless of what industry you’re in. I mean, my world of, uh, being in digital marketing and other guests, we’ve had being in whatever profession they’re in, uh, most of them will agree with the exception of.  

You know, doctors and lawyers where you need that official formal degree, most of them will degree. That real world experience tends to, to teach just as much, if not more than what they got with the piece of paper. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I will, I would suspect even for those for doctors and lawyers, I know as I was mid sentence, I was like, wow.  

Maybe not. So yeah, if you’re a guy you’re going to the lawyer and you go, Oh, look, we’ve just got this new boy here. He’s just graduated last week. Or we’ve got old Joe over there and he’s been doing it for 10 years. Who would you like? It’s his first surgery.  

They do a lot. It’s a lot of their training. It’s practical. Yeah. Uh, w one thing you said earlier, or you took a couple months off, I wanted to visit that again is so in hindsight, what was the sign that you just, that it could benefit? Cause I think you nailed it where you said this is especially important for entrepreneurs, which is a big portion of our listeners.  

What should they look out for? And what did you miss? Oh, right. Well, um, I pro I really missed attending to my body. I, um, you know, I just didn’t, I didn’t look at the signs of stress that I was having. Uh, and I think also, um, The big idea that I wanted, you know, I, as a fitter, we are old. I was invincible, really, you know, I had huge amount of energy.  

I was working, uh, a group of other, um, guys, particularly who were very similar. So we were doing all of these things. Uh, it looked like all this work had to be done. I can remember one of the older, um, uh, my older conferees who said just because it’s a good idea. It doesn’t mean to say we have to do it.  

And I, I can remember him saying that and thinking, yes, we do. So it’s somehow the idealism was like an override button and, um, and so. Not noticing some of the initial signs of stress, uh, not giving myself permission to have a good time. I mean, this would have, would be really hard. The limitations of the training I had because, um, my eight years in the seminary, we, um, You know, it was an enclosed seminary  

So we didn’t live externally. We lived with, within, we followed the role. We got up at six o’clock every morning when the bell rang, we did, um, meditation for half an hour, and then we did mass and then we had breakfast and then we had classes and it was like, the whole world was just highly regimented.  

And not a lot of attention to our own physical needs, our own psychological needs. So missing that now I think people could miss it also. So there was all through my twenties that I was, so I missed out on sex, drugs and rock and roll, but I, so I credit a, um, Nevertheless that kind of highly disciplined life, but somebody who, who is also doing sex drugs and rock and roll through the twenties and having a great time, probably also not learning is not learning the same things that I didn’t learn. 

 You know, you can, you can end up in the same place coming from two different, um, Pause. So it’s really, um, you know, getting a sense of that idealism. Yes, it’s good. And you don’t have to do it and things take time. And, um, actually, you know, don’t do too many things. I mean, I think from birth, I was, I’ve been a serial entrepreneur, probably another reason why I’m staying as a priest.  

Um, You know, it wouldn’t have, wouldn’t have worked in the long run because cause I wanted to keep doing new things and have big ideas about how we could even make money little. Okay. Do do a program or people, you know, so yeah. So yeah, it’s um, it’s been really that doing too much, not looking after my body, not resting enough.  

Um, And, um, that’s really, plus in the end, what I worked at is I didn’t really want to be there. And I think that’s also, um, so now what I’m doing, I, you know, Oh, there’s nothing else in the world I would rather do than what I’m doing now. And that is teaching people to manage emotions and I can keep doing it forever.  

I just love getting with a group of people. I love doing it online, you know? And, um, and so there is something also about that, um, that inner conflict, if you don’t actually want to be there. Um, is the same. I was almost doing it to please somebody else? Yeah. Um, I’ll just ask one, one more short question. Uh, on that note, do you, do you still find yourself being a religious man in a different capacity?  

Well, um, I would say I consider myself really a spiritual person rather than a, I think of religion, more belonging to w you know, defined group, um, which, which would be more religion. So I’m not so involved in that. Or do I still do things for, um, people in the church in different churches. So, and I can see the value in, um, Churches and religious groups for people, how it really fulfills a need for people and helps them live well.  

Um, for me, uh, my much more I’m spiritual, so I meditate a lot. I see this sort of a holistic thing that we. I really belong to the world and the world are so important. Yeah. And you know, the planet. So, you know, being involved in eating well, um, basically, uh, have a plant based lifestyle. Um, I’m going to have to get it with my wife.  

So we’ve been doing that for the last five or six years. And, um, all of that really is part of, um, being very conscious. And I, to me, I think religion is designed to make you more conscious about the world and you know, our place in the world and that kind of thing. Yeah, fair enough. Well, walk us through.  

Um, so, so you work with people face to face. You also work with them online. Uh, walk us through how you start these sessions. Via online. So I found it really interesting that you walked through the scenes, it face to face, you take the same approach with, with the people you work with online. Yeah, absolutely.  

Yeah. So as I’m really, this work is about may working with the other person, you know, with you, what is it? That’s your area of difficulty? What is it that the challenges that you face now I’ve already mentioned? Yep. We can look at what you’re good at as a great place to start. Um, what, what I have developed really as a process.  

So, um, By nature, we are reluctant to change you. So no matter, even when it is difficult, I mean, I knew this working in the hospital with alcoholics, you know, they, they know they’re, they’ve hit rock bottom, but the hardest thing is for them to change. And it’s actually the same for all of us at whatever level of changes required.  

So, um, To me, there’s a, there’s a gentle process of, um, just opening up the what’s happening. What happens for you? Um, when you, for instance, here’s an example, um, it’s called the Donald opposites. We have a pool to do something and a pull to not do something at the same time. Now a lot of people haven’t thought of that.  

Um, although sometimes you say, Oh, I want to go to bed, but I also want to stay up and watch television. You know, that’s a conflict, but I use this example for instance, this morning, when you first woke up. When you first became conscious, there’s a pull to get out of bed and a pull to not get out of bed and people go, Oh yeah, yeah, that’s right.  

That happens. And then I said, well, so, um, now right through life, you know, through the day it is a pool to, um, uh, listen to somebody who’s complaining and appalled to not listen to them. Now, these basically are feelings. So, um, we’re working with the whole area of feelings and emotions. How can you, uh, first of all, become conscious of what you’re feeling.  

Um, feelings are neither good nor bad. Now cause a lot of people think, I shouldn’t feel like this. Um, but that’s just a feeling, you know, that these are feelings. What’s what we judges go to bed as your actions. And so being able to make a distinction between your feelings and your actions, then, um, the opportunity to look at what’s understand what’s happening in your brain.  

Why do you react this way to somebody when they tell you you’re a stupid idiot? And you want to punch them in the nose or you want to, or you want to just withdraw and leave them to it. So there’s, there’s working this way with people. So just gradually understanding and exploring that, and then looking at the other person and exploring what what’s really going on for them.  

And related to what I was talking about before with psychodrama, that everything that you do now, Everything that’s ever happened in your life, affects what you’re doing now. Um, and most of that’s unconscious. And so the other person, when they come into your office or your, your, um, wherever it is, you meet them or you’re, you’re at home with an upset, you know, your partner’s upset or your kids.  

There’s a whole lot of things that are affecting them. And to, to take a systemic view, And see their whole life system is a very powerful, um, thing that we can do that, that I do in the workshops. And we do that in a psychodramatic way, you know, using action, not just talking about it. Yeah. So that’s the kind of thing that we do.  

And then we look at specific things. I’ve come up with one little, uh, um, acronym called ape when the customer goes ape and there’s an action, a perception and an emotion. And the action might be, you’ve sent them a letter, um, you know, saying they’ve got to pay some more money or whatever the perception is.  

You are responsible. You, you know, you’re doing this just to annoy me and the E stands for emotion. And, and the first thing you need to do is. It’s actually to acknowledge their emotion and that relates to how people’s brains and, uh, um, so, so, um, it’s very simple. It’s just difficult to do because you’re affected as well.  

So that’s the kind of thing when we go through that and people get those steps and I can. Give people coaching around that, then that transforms their life and it transforms relationships come away. I do do I need in a group, I do this and we do a four hour session and we come back the following week and do another four hours.  

That’s that, that covers most of it. When they come back, they say, Oh, I was really skeptical last week, you know, you told me that I didn’t build it. I thought that was just, you know, what does he know about? He doesn’t know our customers, you know, And then they go back then afternoon, they get one of these difficult customers ringing up or coming in to the, to the place and, and they go, Oh, I’ll try it.  

They’re stupid, but I’ll try it. And then they go, so you’re really upset, you know, or something like that, just acknowledging their emotion and the other person goes. Yeah. Yeah. I am really upset. Yeah. And then, Oh wow. They just calmed right down. Yeah. Immediately. I’ve never done it before like that. Yeah, because they’re on the defensive and when they list offensive and that they just simply try this, it makes a huge difference.  

And then they say, Oh, well now I try it at home. You know, I tried it with my husband. You don’t try it. Even though they knew I was doing this course. And then they go, no, no, yeah, yeah. I am reading. So it’s, it’s an incredibly simple thing to do. That makes a big difference and that, um, you know, is, is really what I want to teach the world to do that.  

It’s. Yeah. Yeah. So you had mentioned that a lot of times, the hardest thing is to change. Why do you think that’s such a, why has changed so hard for us? Wow. That’s a good question. Isn’t it? I mean, gosh, if I knew it, what is the answer to life John? 42. Was that 42 or 43? What’s the, um, why is it so hard? Well, um, It is how, you know, the fact is, um, we’re good, you know, we want certitude.  

And so we already know what we’ve got. So certainty is our brains are wired for certainty and, um, Uh, um, so now I know what’s going to happen, even though I don’t like it. Um, you know, I’ll keep doing it because I know it was, whereas if I change, I don’t know what’s going to happen. And so that, that part, I read a really interesting thing yesterday, which I can share with you.  

Um, this guy said, yeah, we’re wide. W w try change. You’re so different. Uh, and we argue for the status quo in our minds. So if I say to you, you know, do something different, your mind is really going. Now, what I’m doing now is better. And this guy, guys, you could, what site, just take the other view and tin now that you are already doing.  

This. And, um, and now I argue back the other way. So, um, one of his examples was, um, uh, the Aruba driverless car killed one person and therefore, then they stopped. They said, no, we’re not going to have driverless cars, but cars that are driving, he was an Australian. And he said in Australia, yeah, Uh, 1200 people a year killed by cars that are driven by people.  

Yeah, he says, so imagine that we’ve already got only driverless cars and you are going to argue to have cars that people could drive and notice what your brain does then. And so it’s, it’s really, um, so you’re already defending the status quo, which would be there’s only driverless cars. And how would your argument go?  

And it’s a really fascinating, you know, you want to try this sometime just to take whatever you’re needing to change, go as if you’ve already made that change. And you’re arguing for, to introduce what’s now the status quo. Yeah. I think a lot of people that makes a lot of sense to open people’s eyes, as long as they’re willing to give it a try.  

Yes. And even actually doing that exercise is quite you haven’t, you need to let go of a few concepts and ideas. Yeah. I had a, you mentioned Uber. It was in, I was in Vegas, not too long ago. And we had an Uber and the guy pulls up to drop us off at the hotel and he plows over the curb and we get out and he has a flat tire and he acted like nothing happened. 

 He just. It says I can not another day. And how many staffs did you get? What would you give me a writing? Both of the, give me a rising to that. 

 Well, John is, as we get closer to wrapping up, let’s, let’s talk about, uh, more of the personal side of things. So you’re a skier. You’ve got a garden going on. Um, What, uh, tell, tell us about the non-business side. Oh, well, um, some of it actually is I have so much fun doing business, doing, doing my work. Well, I don’t even think of it as work, but I don’t know about the skiing I love.  

And, um, this year in February, uh, skate in Canada. We went to, uh, sun peaks and silver star, right places. And at the moment in New Zealand, we’re looking forward to winter and on tend to do quite a lot of skiing there. Um, we do a lot of hiking here. Um, we’ve got some great walks and, uh, I mean, New Zealand is, has got beautiful Bush and you can, um, so we w um, You know, we do a lot of that kind of walking, uh, plus, um, uh, our go cycling.  

Um, I live quite close to the center. So Wellington is a very small city. You can walk right across the city. Yeah, about a half an hour from one side to the other, my wife, we live on one side. She walked through the city to the other side and to work each day. It takes her about 25 to 30 minutes. Okay. Uh, so I bike and I bike around a lot.  

We’ve got a lovely waterfront, uh, and I go to the gym gym most days and, um, exercise there and bike home again. So I have a really good life style, you know, so. Good. It’s um, it’s fantastic. Um, I do like traveling, although, um, you know, with, um, climate change and, um, global warming. I do wonder, um, as CS, you know, just how much I would, how much flying for instance.  

Um, causes, uh, you know, the carbon emissions, uh, we’ve, we’ve changed our diet, not only for, for health reasons, but also we realized that so good for the planet, um, to be eating plant based diet. And, um, so these are the things that really, uh, and I’m a, I’m a lifetime learner. I just love reading. And, um, I love writing.  

So I write a blog every week, just a short blog with tips on, on how to do this. Um, and that’s, you know, that’s, I find that very stimulating. It keeps me going, why don’t we, why don’t we use that as an opportunity for you to give our listeners, your website and any other contact information that you want to hand out?  

Yeah, sure. Um, well, my website is, is to you and, um, uh, people can go there and sign up for my free regular newsletter. I’m very happy to share that. And I’ve got other. Other things there. Um, I have a book that’s on Amazon, um, and that’s a audio book as well as, um, uh, as a hard copy on an ebook. 

 And, um, so those are the things I just really want to give away a lot to people so that they, because this will lead to world peace, Damon, there’s no question, you know, If people, if people would learn to do it, it is really, basically all, you know, in the family, in the home, uh, in the workplace, it becomes healing for people. 

 If you respond to them in their moments of distress, that’s why people are difficult, they’re distressed. And so that’s what I want to do on my website., um, is for people just to learn how to do that and to do it frequently. And, and. Also to do it for themselves to calm themselves down. And, um, and, and your book, um, for the listeners, it’s, uh, it’s the same name, right? 

 Driving under fire. Yep. Thriving under fire 10 difficult. Yeah. Customers into business success. Uh, I’ve written it as a story. So it’s a good story about a woman starting up a cat or expanding her cafe and two. And so there’s lot of incidents there, but it doesn’t actually matter what business you’re in this book, you know, the same principles apply. 

 And they also, there’s a lot about her personal life, how she can get on with the kids and a husband and, uh, and the people who work for a little own the customers. So it’s a, um, uh, I’ve got a story that I’ve used really to do most of my time. But I do most of my training. And so there’s, I’ve got a little summary at the end of each chapter, so it’s a really good learning thing as well as has a good story.  

Yeah. Yeah. Sounds great, John. Uh, I want to thank you for helping us solve world peace. Okay. 

 And I’m going to leave you with one last question. We surprise our guests with a random question generator. So I’m gonna push the magic button here. Random question generator. Yours is what is the one thing you would like to become better at? The one thing I’d like to become better at, uh, I’d like to be, um, a bit, uh, really being open with myself, you know, like, uh, even though I work with emotions all the time, I really want to be able to respond more, more quickly, uh, to understand myself and, and therefore respond.  

To other people better. That’s what I’d like to be better at. That’s a good one. I like that. Well, there you go, John, it’s been a pleasure. I appreciate your time. Yeah. Lovely talking to you, Damon and all the very best for your future. And, uh, and uh, my, my blessings and, uh, that to all, all the less than all of your listeners, but I know it’s a great work you’re doing.  

Thank you so much, John. I appreciate it. Okay. Thank you. 

What did you think of this podcast?

This guest was a Catholic priest for 19 years, did volunteer teaching in Tonga, and credits psychodrama training as laying the foundation for his career as a compassionate, emotional intelligence expert. His work in a drug and alcohol treatment hospital and over 20 years in corporate training give him a unique perspective on managing emotions in the workplace especially for business owners.

Please welcome, John Faisandier.

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