The Write Connection

TWC S02 E17: Run Toward The Roar: How To Thrive During A Crisis, with Special Guest John Robertson

March 15, 2022 Katherine Burrows Season 2 Episode 17
The Write Connection
TWC S02 E17: Run Toward The Roar: How To Thrive During A Crisis, with Special Guest John Robertson
Show Notes Transcript

Don't miss this insightful conversation with author and Resilience Catalysist John Robertson, as we discuss his recent book, Run Toward The Roar. John's perspective on thriving during a crisis, as well as how to cultivate resiliency in our lives will change the way you plan, make decisions, and live!

Founder and President of FORTLOG Services, John Robertson built his services with a focus on an encouragement-based approach, resolving root causes as opposed to treating crisis and transition in the workplace symptomatically, as is often the practice.

A trusted thinking partner with 30+ years of assisting individuals and organizations manage all forms of crisis/change, John leverages a values-anchored ethos as a leadership development specialist, helping organizations and individuals to define the new norm and

Over the years, John has gained extensive and diverse experiences working with Indigenous peoples [First Nations], first responders, small-medium businesses, non-profits, churches, communities, municipalities, educational, health care, families, and EAPs. John’s qualifications include Conversational IQ™, psychological health and safety advisor, ICF coach, Resilient Leadership, crisis intervention instructor, numerous psychometric tools, Certified Trauma Treatment Specialist (CTTS), Certified grief counsellor, and a Masters and Bachelors degrees.

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Run Toward The Roar Book on Amazon

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by Carl Richards

Podcast Music by Nathan Symen of NST Music:

Intro: This is The Write Connection. This podcast is designed to help you choose the right words and stories in your business content to create authentic connections with prospects, clients, partners and colleagues. Now the host of The Write Connection, Katherine Burrows.

Katherine Burrows: Thanks Carl. Hello and welcome to The Write Connection today I’m chatting with John Robertson, CEO of Fort log Welcome John.

John Robertson: Thank you and a pleasure to be here, Katherine.

Katherine Burrows: Well, and it's my pleasure to congratulate you on your recently published book Run Toward The Roar.

John Robertson: Thank you. It's actually, it's been a really interesting, exciting journey and the publication and launch has been great as well as the discovery guide that you worked with me or whatever you did the grunt work for the discovery guide so I'm very grateful for your help.

Katherine Burrows: Well, it was certainly a really interesting project to work on.  I wanna go back to the beginning though and talk about why you decided to write a book in the first place.

John Robertson: There's two things. First of all, I want people to understand the context I'm a firm believer in what Solomon wrote, who is reportedly in history, the wisest man and who ever lived. But anyways, he wrote in 975 BC to the writing of books, there is no end. So understand the context please of where I started from. I didn't wanna write a book, but as I was doing my teaching training, coaching consulting work, people kept saying, so where's this written down John, where can I read about this, John? Where can I read more about it? And it got so annoying, but the other part of me says, encouraging that it's like, well, either man up John and do something about it or stop talking about it. So about four, six years ago, that was when I started putting not literally, but started putting pen to paper.

Katherine Burrows: Okay, maybe we should just brief the listeners on exactly what you do and the courses that you teach.

John Robertson: So my work is around well, it's threefold working with progressive leaders or forward thinking leadership is a current term, but to do three things build a culture, develop a culture that people want to work there. Secondly, teach people how to thrive and third develop the leadership that people wanna trust and is follow able. And this is where I use English help because follow able and trustable and all those other things may be John is a [inaudible02:46] but not really worth. And so I help them transform their traditional crisis response rather than always reacting to whatever is happening, reframe it to say, so what's the focus here? Where do you wanna go? Why do you wanna go there? And how are you gonna ensure that other people are able to get to that objective with you? So what some people call it thriving through crisis. Some people call it mental health, some people call it resilience, some people call it wellbeing, but that's my niche.

Katherine Burrows: Okay. And how does the title Run Towards The Roar factor into that?

John Robertson: So we all know the normal reaction of any living species fight, freeze, appease. So historically and go back to the Sahara or someplace where the lines roam. The short version of the story. When a lion roars, the pride, the hunting party is on the other side of the herd of whatever antelope animal instinct is flight freeze appease. Majority of those animals take flight, which means they run away from the roar, run straight into the hunting party. What happens with us as humans, we react the same way because we're normal humans. This premise is built around, run toward the roar. So train, focus, determine what your values are, determine what success means, determine what your desired outcome is so that when fight, freeze, appease gets triggered a roar, a crisis or change. We override it with what first responders call muscle memory, but we override it and we are able to run toward the roar. And I coined the term [inaudible04:33] meaning the root word of passion and Fidela, meaning fidelity or loyalty or faithfulness. So faithfulness run towards that, which you most value.

Katherine Burrows: And so that would be similar to say a firefighter running into a fire, which is the danger or the roar, but it's because they value saving a life that they they're doing that.

John Robertson: You've also put your finger on it because even when they react normally and may have concerns or fears, they've been training so often that they can override those normal human reactions, which ironically is part of what causes some of the stress issues. In our first responders, they've dealt with things that most people would never know. And therefore they over rode based on muscle memory, they did what they are trained to do, but now they are dealing with the repercussions of what they've done and when they ran toward the roar.

Katherine Burrows: And so you go into an organization and you deliver a program that helps people deal with their reaction to these roars.

John Robertson: Yes. And build a proactive model like allergy needles, help them develop protective factors so that they're not as reactive, but then also develop the leadership and the culture where normal people can be normal humans with normal reactions to abnormal situations. And I mean, Katherine, let's be honest. How many times do you, and I know people who are dealing with a boatload of stressors and they vent, share their normal reactions and somebody shuts them down. Well, you shouldn't feel that way or you need to be strong or well and they go on and on and it's like that's not helpful.

Katherine Burrows: Right. It's about processing things in a healthy way with a forward direction.

John Robertson: And to that point Katherine, think about some of the people you've served, no names please. But think about some of the people that you've served and you are working with them on one of your projects it doesn't matter which one it is. And they hit that roar that wall where their stress level is just over the top and one of two things will happen. Fight or flight are normally the first ones, fight dang the torpedoes I’m gonna drive this through and it becomes more about anger than it does about the content or the message or the other side is flight. Forget it, I'm done, nobody's interested, nobody will ever want to read this so it I'm done. Can you picture clients that you've had those normal reactions with?

Katherine Burrows: Yeah, for sure and I mean, those are human reactions. It's not a judgment on anyone for having those reactions at all.

John Robertson: And that's the most important piece, that last statement you just said, we're not to judge and because the event is never the real crisis. So you and I could hit black ice in a vehicle and spin very different reactions. Somebody else could see a dead animal, very different reactions again, normal human reactions.

Katherine Burrows: Right. Based on the previous experiences each individuals had the buildup of stress they are currently dealing with and a whole lot of other factors

John Robertson: And how proactive they've been about strengthening themselves so that when those things happen, the visual I would use is humans are like batteries. We can be in the green, we're good to go. We can be in the red, which means we're ill or injured, if we're in the yellow, we can go either way and so therefore, what are we doing to keep a charge in our battery?

Katherine Burrows: Do you have a few quick tips for people of how to recharge their batteries

John Robertson: Hundred percent and in a lighthearted way, I'll go grated because not everybody enjoys dark humor, but one of the first things is stop thinking unplugging from work will recharge us. That's such a fallacy because that's like saying, if I put my cell phone on airplane mode, it will recharge it. No it won't airplane mode doesn't recharge, unplugging from work doesn't recharge so think about the things that recharge your battery. Some people absolutely love doing jigsaw puzzles personally, not at all but some people love that. Other people read books, other people cut firewood, other people do automotive repair mechanical type oil changes, break work and those types of things, other people go for hikes or walks or skiing, a drive. There's all kinds of things, but it's a proactive, what am I going to do to put a charge in my battery versus what should I not do?

For example, unplug wifi mode, sit in front of the TV binge. And let's not forget all the "health foods that we eat", like chocolate bars, potato chips, cheeses and all those non-essentials, which actually drain the battery. Another thing that many of us don't think about is and I’m not getting religious. I'm talking about spiritual things. Walking beside water streams can be very spiritual, but it's very recharging. Belief, mindfulness this is part of where that comes from meditation again, they take effort, they take commitment and they take a decision to actually make that work.

Katherine Burrows: Right. So you're intentionally restoring your battery and refilling your toolbox.

John Robertson: That's exactly what's happening, a hundred percent.

Katherine Burrows: Okay. So let's bring this back to the book then, you've discussed all of those things in the book I know, because I read it. It's a wonderful book and we'll post the link to buy it on Amazon in the show notes. What did you learn throughout the process of writing the book, planning the book.

John Robertson: So two things, planning it was a really neat learning curve because I had a mind's eye of what I wanted to say, but boiling it down so that other people could follow and I'm mixing metaphors, but other people could follow the breadcrumbs to end up in the same place. The other thing is, and this speaks directly to you in your work Katherine, one of the most important pieces for people, anybody thinking of writing anything, a book, a novel, a long newsletter, you have to find the right editor that will question critique the formatting, but not the messaging. And one of the things that I had the greatest struggle with was finding an editor who wasn't trying to tell me that what I was saying wasn't right or wasn't acceptable, or shouldn't be said that way.  And focused more on okay, John this is how it can be said better without debating the point of what it was I was trying to say. And so the first two editors I worked with kept trying to "correct" my content, not get it laid out in a format that people could read, follow those breadcrumbs but also that had it made sense, you follow me?

Katherine Burrows: Yes, very much so.

John Robertson: And that speaks directly to the blessing I had in finding you, because I didn't want people to read what I call a shelf help book, that kind of book, where we read it and enjoy it. And it goes back on the shelf and it never gets referenced again. I wanted them to read it, well I'm gonna use your analogy. I wanted them to read it like a toolbox in a sense, evergreen and therefore read it, okay well how can I practice this? And so I wanted to create a different tool in the toolbox to say, how do we open up this chapter? How do we get people to think about the thinking of this chapter? Hence the term run toward the roar discovery guide, which is where you and I were working together on taking it from a content in a book to say, how do I do this? Whatever, Sunday to Saturday, seven days a week.

Katherine Burrows: Right, bringing out the points that can be applied to real life and really giving people a format for applying those things.

John Robertson: Absolutely, yes and for me, transfer of information, sell them leads to transformation. And I wanted to focus on the value of transformation, which most people call growth, but I wanted to focus on the value of transformation rather than just writing another book about more information.

Katherine Burrows: I think that's so important to really be giving value to your reader and to your clients, with that content, something that they can actually use and experience real change or transformation in their own lives.

John Robertson: And one of the best ways to do that is. For anybody thinking of writing something is ask why I believe, why you believe, why they believe they need to know what it is you're sharing that's a values based question. Why does this matter? Why does this content matter? Why does this approach matter? Why do people need to know this?

Katherine Burrows: For sure. And at the same time though, jumping back to your comment about editors trying to change your content, just because other people maybe don't understand why at the beginning, you want to express that content, trust your gut and know that you still have something really important to say and maybe you need to work on the how the vehicle that you're using to say it, but it's so important. And it's really my favorite part of my job is getting into the voice of the people that I'm writing for, which is part of ghost writing. You write as the author's voice so I was writing as your voice with the discovery guide and just really bringing that out, who you are, your values, your talents, your skills that really benefit the client and the reader. And just really highlighting all the value of the information that you have to share and getting it out there in a way that's really clear and concise and easy to understand, easy to put into practice and easy to get the benefit from.

John Robertson: Absolutely. And that's one of the things that I appreciated the most because there was a couple times where, well yeah that's exactly what I was saying when you reworded it, but it was okay. That's not the way that was coming across so tying those two pieces together was incredibly valuable.

Katherine Burrows: Yeah. It's a very interesting process because if I were to write a book on my own can be a very solitary pursuit. And there's parts of my job when working with clients that are solitary too but there obviously has to be an element where there's collaboration because you are providing the content of your expertise, your message that we're trying to get out there. So we have these conversations, these meetings, these collaborations, these brainstorming sessions, all of the above whatever you wanna call them. And so that is a really great synergy that happens between you bringing in that content and that expertise and me helping you to find that voice and the format and the vehicle to bring that out in the best, most helpful way that can benefit your readers and your clients.

John Robertson: And that's a key piece that a lot of people when we're writing a book. If I'm always using the word you, most of us stop listening, if I'm always writing the book I, it becomes well, that's really interesting, that's Billy Bob or Suzie Q story. So it's even converging those language points so you and I, we [inaudible18:06] and how do we blend those perspectives? Even in the choice of personal second or third person pronouns.

Katherine Burrows: Yes, for sure. And none of us want to be preached to, or told what to do all the time. If we're consistently reading about someone else and we feel it doesn't apply to us, then why are we gonna keep reading? But when you bring in the we, it's a shared experience and you're letting the reader relate to you and see how you've progressed through that journey. And you're a little bit ahead of them on that journey and that's why you're taking the time to stop and look back and share your wisdom that you've gained so far. But you've still been there. You've done the miles that they're going through right now and I think that makes it just so much more inclusive and so much more beneficial to the reader.

John Robertson: And I think the other part that you've just alluded to is most of us don't relate to a person who has it all together. So if I write, you write whatever, they write a book about look how successful I am or look what I have accomplished. Most of us have a really hard time, even engaging in that because great, I'm glad your life hasn't come all together and it's all perfect. Yep. Mine's not quite looking like that.

On the other hand, if a person writes about a content as if been there done that and well, I had the t-shirt, I just don't remember where I put it, but when we do a little bit of Google research about them, we discover that their life is pretty much right off. We don't have a lot of credibility, maybe integrity, but there's not a lot of [inaudible20:16] n what they're writing because their story.

Katherine Burrows: Yeah, it's not as powerful because it doesn't seem honest and authentic.

John Robertson: Absolutely.

Katherine Burrows: Because of course, none of us are perfect, we're all human beings. Speaking of which I'm turning off my phone.

John Robertson: Yeah, no, it was a perfect illustration and that's exactly what happens is I can get so focused on having everything perfect that when something doesn't go perfect. It completely me out of the game rather than saying, oh, welcome to the human species. Katherine sucks to be human. And if you find a cure, I don't wanna know what it is.

Katherine Burrows: Well, yeah. And if you're reading a book, like if I was reading your book and it was about you having everything together and how everything you ever did was perfect. I mean, not only is that not really that interesting because conflict and struggle is part of what creates interest in this story, but it doesn't really give me much hope that I can ever get to where you are, because I feel in myself that I'm so far from perfect that how would I ever be able to achieve this Paragon of perfection that's being presented in this book?

John Robertson: I think there was a great cliché or something. I can't remember where I heard it or read it, but it was don't walk in front I may not follow don't walk behind, I may not leave, walk beside and be my friend. And the key of any person writing a book and this is just a journalism is write it from being a half a stride ahead of who you were trying to encourage. If we get more than a two strides ahead of them, they will negate our story oh, that's good for them, I'm happy for them. If we're right beside them, it quite often comes across, like who do you think you are? Lecturing me telling me the normal thing. If I am writing, if you are writing a half a step or a stride ahead, then what starts to happen is people start to connect the dots of oh, I remember that last month, last year, a year ago. Oh yeah, okay well, let me just see what the next step is, which means I'm now leading cause leading is never determined by followers. Leadership is determined by me defining my path and walking it and giving people the option to join me on that path. Leadership is never driving, pushing, commanding, telling whatever's people where they should walk.

Katherine Burrows: I love that. It's like an invitation. I mean, that's how we wanna be with our clients too. Especially when we're writing a book, it's an invitation to walk with us.

John Robertson: And one of the most important things that you and I and through our conversations brainstorming was the word you used is create that environment where we're offering what we have found to be helpful. That if you wanna choose and work with this, I'd love to help you with it. But if you choose not to that's fine too. But I'm not stopping my walk to force, feed this to you, I’m still growing forward and that's such an important piece because when like ironically the book run toward the roar is not just thriving through crisis or change, but it's actually building on resilient. So if I'm not resilient, if I'm not willing to practice resilience, I can't thrive, it's not possible and so the irony in this whole process is writing this book to the point where it got launched.

 Was actually an exercise of resilience I am incredibly blessed with the people I have in my life who have, when I wanted to quit, when I wanted to do the fight, flight, freeze, whatever forget it I'm done. And I would never get around to deleting the files on the computer, but everything else in me was quitting. And these people would say well, why are you doing that? I'm looking forward to reading it, I wanna hear what you have to say. So John, when do you think you'll get your book done? And so the book itself was a work of resilience, a persevering because I believed in the value of the run toward the roar [inaudible25:06] of thriving, more than the how of getting there.

Katherine Burrows: Right? And it's so important that we all find those companions for our journey, who will encourage us and who know us sometimes better than we know ourselves and can give us that kick in the butt when we need it. 

John Robertson: Or pat on the back, when we need it. And Katherine, one of the things that you just pointed out is we have to choose those people. Cause there will be a lineup of people on the shore, as we're drowning, who will be saying swim harder. There will be a lineup of people saying swim harder, swim faster or if we're in a boat, paddle harder, paddle faster. And what we really need is somebody with us in the water saying, just swim to me and they back up or in our boat saying, now this is exciting. Let's paddle.

Katherine Burrows: Right? And that's where that gap comes in, you don't want that gap to be too big between where you are speaking from and where they are currently as the reader.

John Robertson: Absolutely. And that's why I'm very grateful for your work on the discovery guide, cause it took what could be misinterpreted as to challenging and made it tangible or practical or applicable steps that a person can work on daily or weekly so that after a period of working on it and of course I love it when people say hey John, I need some additional help, a coaching support whatever I'm supposed to call it. And I love doing that I'm one of those people who loves being in the boats when it's rocky and chopping and sometimes even a whole leak in the boat. I'm the one saying, now this is exciting plus where the stories are made.

Katherine Burrows: So true.

John Robertson: And stories very seldom come from when life goes perfect is perfect. Our stories come from, do you remember that camping trip? And I can give you a visual right off the fly. Very first camping trip ever with a pop up tent trailer. We were on our way down to the Cornwall US border and I was taking a back route because wanted to take the scenic and it was new with the trailer on and on. I hit a skunk with the vehicle and kicked it up and it hit the front panel of the tent trailer, brand new tent trailer and a skunk bounces off the front panel. So you can imagine what that tent trailer smelled like when it got opened. It wasn't a lineup of people who wanted to sleep in it, put it that way. What do people, my family remember from our first camping trip?

Dad, do you remember when you hit that skunk? It's like, okay. And so creating that environment and that's why when people work with somebody like you, it's not keeping it so cognitive that it's practically useless. It's making it applicable, making it practical and practicable. Like for example, that I, Katherine you know me, I have tried to memorize this 400 times, but it's that business character analysis. Did I get it right this time? 


John Robertson: See, there is hope I got it. But it's taking that person and creating a tool that describes them in a way that we may never come up with ourselves. But everybody I've spoken with very accurately describes us in a way that we would like to be described. And that is a huge strength that you bring to people, not just your encouragement and your willingness to roll up your sleeves and get in their mindset in their world. But you are also able to articulate the words in their world as if it's your own, like their words are yours and that's a unique gifting.

Katherine Burrows: Well, thank you. And I think there's a lot of parallels between the business character analysis, which for anyone who doesn't know is my process that I created for getting inside the voice of my clients, where I do an in-depth interview, they get a defining characteristic, three supporting characteristics and a culminating result out of that, which forms the basis for all of the content that I would write on their behalf in their voice. But we don't look at ourselves the same way that other people outside of us do. Our close friends, our colleagues, our family, our loved ones, whatever we often would think about ourselves or speak about ourselves much more negatively than we would ever think about or speak about our loved ones. And the same is how they would not think or speak about us in such a negative way so it's important to have that external perspective for the voice.

John Robertson: Yeah.

Katherine Burrows: Also for that content that you're bringing out, like you said, bringing it out in such a way that it is relatable and understandable. And often my clients are so wonderfully brilliant and they have these amazing insights, but they can be so immersed in their own world of whatever their expertise is that there maybe not always used to bringing that out to somebody who's never heard of it before, especially in the depth that is required in a book. It's one thing to do a quick social media post or a 15 or a 20 minute keynote speech, but to actually write a book where you're really bringing out all that wisdom in a way that I don't like the word dumbing it down or the phrase dumbing it down because that's not what you're doing.

John Robertson: I heard a great word the other day and I just I'm jumping in and my mom's voice is in my head, John don't interrupt but it's actually instead of dumbing it down, it's actually simplifying it.

Katherine Burrows: It's quite an academic challenge to simplify something, to be clear and concise, but yet still can convey the depth and the value of that message in words that are understandable and relatable and that are common everyday use instead of getting into your academic language or your industry jargon and using all of those acronyms and words that people don't relate to. So getting that same message across in a much more simplified format, that is probably the biggest challenge of my job. And I really enjoy that because it keeps me on my toes and it keeps me thinking all the time and looking to improve all the time and I love that I'm a lifelong learner so I always want to graduate that grade and move to the next step.

John Robertson: well and to your point, what can happen is we can listen to a speaker who is wonderfully brilliant and we're thoroughly impressed when he or she is done, but nothing has changed in our life. On the other hand, we can listen to a speaker who may or may not have any letters after their name, but there is something in what they are sharing that when they're done, we're thinking man, I want what they got. I don't know what it is they got, but I want that because you called it authenticity, but there's that credibility, there's that charisma as the old word we used to use, there's that sincerity, there's something in them that we just oh,  I'd love to have that quality in my life.

Katherine Burrows: Yeah, for sure. Those connections that we create and they have value when they do become a catalyst for change. Because of course that's what we all want for our clients and our networks and our loved ones is for them to have some kind of change and benefit and to experience improvement so-

John Robertson: And I mean, look at it the other way change when we look back is called growth and the only time any living thing stops growing is when it's dying, that's all death is when something is no longer growing.

Katherine Burrows: That's why I don't wanna stop learning. 

John Robertson: Absolutely and I totally understand that. And that's why one of the things that if a person [inaudible34:22] is the term that I'm invented in this book, but passionate faithfulness, if we are [inaudible34:31] to the focus, to the why, then it doesn't matter what the audience says about it. Because most of us grow through what I call the valleys of chaos. But through those valleys that when things just aren't going according to plan and we don't notice until miles down the road. And it's when we look back we say oh, I am so glad that, that person or those people were in my life, cause man, they helped me? Oh wow, I can't even begin to describe how much they helped. So the value of a book or content being shared with people is to add to the soil so that people can grow and it might be years down the road before they realize or discover oh, I am so glad I read that book. But the focus is I'm doing it because I believe in adding value and they may not see it from miles down the road.

Katherine Burrows: Right. And I love books, you obviously know that about me and the best books are to me, the ones that you can read over and over again, every few years and each time you reread them, you get something more out of it because you've got just that much more insight and life experience, you're maybe at a different stage in your life, you relate to the content differently, but you just keep getting more and more out of that content every time you go back over it. And I know that your book and discovery guide are that type of content that people can use them over and over again and benefit for the rest of their lives from that.

John Robertson: And that's my goal because I think the part of whether you call it great resignation, whether you call it any number of things with job stressors, a lot of times people are not passionate about their work. Therefore they're not that faithful to their work and therefore they're not thriving, they're surviving at best because it might be job security, it might be pension, it might be benefits, it might be position could be any number of things, but the passion isn't there. And when we get a wall up crisis or change in something that we do not love any injury takes us out. And I share this point numerous times in different ways. But if I'm playing a sport, if you are playing a game that you love and you get injured, you will find a way to get back in the game, it may not be the same position or whatever, but you will find a way to get back in the game. So work is not a curse work is an opportunity that we add value to the world and people around us and a byproduct of that is we are allowed to receive an income so why not do something that we value? Why not do something that we have passion around?

Katherine Burrows: Yeah. I think sometimes those crisis moments are the moments we realize wait, I'm not doing something I love.

JOHN ROBERTSON: A hundred percent.

Katherine Burrows: Like this position or this company or whatever it is, is not where I wanna be it’s not worth going through all this misery to stay here, but then you get to ask the question, well, where do I wanna be? Where do I go from here? And then you can start moving towards those values and creating that plan to go forward.

John Robertson: And I call it the hot water teabag, a factor, the hot water teabag principle. If you wanna find out what's important to a person or an organization, put them in hot water. Just like a teabag what's inside, always leaks out and COVID has done that. Many of the things that the hot water called COVID has done is people have redefined or refined or defined new values for themselves to say yeah, this doesn't matter quite as much as I thought it did, these are more important values to me than what I was doing and that's how crisis change can be reframed to be that opportunity to define a refinable new norm, cause as we grow forward, we refine it, I learn more, I discover more, I want to grow more.

Katherine Burrows: And then we incorporate those lessons into our mindset and our life moving forward and our plans and our goals.

John Robertson: Absolutely. And I mean, if you and I had a quarter for every challenge that we've been through, we'd probably be billionaires by now.

KATHERINE BURROWS: We'd be on an island somewhere, sipping something nice. 

John Robertson: Yeah. And the funny part is, but those for me are the defining moments and Katherine, I'm not asking you to share publicly, but I can guarantee you that some of those hot water teabag moments that you've been through in business or personally, some of the people that you thought would forever be there evaporated right in front of you and other people that you didn't even know cared, appeared out of thin air.

Katherine Burrows: Yeah, for sure.

John Robertson: And so why don't we choose those people in the earlier stage to get them in our boat, rowing with us so that when we hit the hot water teabag moments, they're already there, we've already got that relationship, that connection, those morals, those values, all those pieces on the same page.

Katherine Burrows: Yeah. I think that's so important and it's maybe not necessarily something that we're always taught growing up or in schools or whatever. And it's definitely something that I've tried as a parent to really instill is that critical thinking piece. When someone says something, tells you a story or a tall tale about something or tries to convince you to do something like just step back for a moment and ask what their motive is? What do they stand to gain from that? Why are they telling you this? Why are they asking you to do this? What will they gain from it? And then go into it with your eyes a bit more wide open and I think that applies to the people that we want in our boat, traveling with us too.

John Robertson: And what you've just described is kind of a paradox because and I don't mean to sound like I'm keep banging on the book theme, but when the book theme is around values, being faithful to our values, people seldom stop and think about the very term. When we look at our relationships, if I don't know what my values are, how can I evaluate relationships? I have nothing to base it on usually other than thoughts or feelings. And some of the best people in my life have been some of the most annoying, we share similar values, but their personality, their nature is so annoying and is so frustrating but they're some of the best and most encouraging people in my life.

Katherine Burrows: Yeah, for sure. And you can have different communication styles and different ways of expressing those values or living out those values.

John Robertson: And it's like having a, a sports team with everybody playing one position. So if you have a hockey team where everybody's a goalie, I'm not an NHL coach, but I got a pretty good idea that team's not going to the Stanley cup. And so therefore it's called relationship management, but how are we managing those relationships so that we can evaluate, the ones that are going to strengthen us speak truth into our lives and encourage us, even when we feel like walking away. And that's one of the qualities that you bring to the people that work with you is you're a natural encourager cause you keep focusing in on the content and reminding people the value of the content and that's an amazing strength.

KATHERINE BURROWS: Well thank you, I appreciate that and I love content and I love the stories and telling people's stories and just getting to know people, cause everybody has a story. And even if it's not the forefront of the book, I still love getting to know people and getting to know their story.

John Robertson: And for me that's part of where it came from. I don't like treating people who get walled by whatever happens in life as if they're ill or they're broken. No you got a wall up, so let's find a way to get you back in your game.

Katherine Burrows: And I think that's one of the worst things that we've as a society kind of collectively absorbed from, things like TV is that relationships are often made to look so easy and-

John Robertson: Would not be nice.

Katherine Burrows: The best ones are always the ones that take some work because it’s how you show that you value the relationship by putting that work into it. And it's how you get the most value out of it.

John Robertson: And that's also a secure relationship is where we can grow and not be defined by what we used to be. So when a relationship starts out, one might be conflict adverse or one might be not willing to have those tough conversations. As we grow, we realize actually the best thing for our relationship is for me to say the tough things, for me to do the tough things, for me to raise those elephant in the room is a cliché but raise those discussions that are the stone in the shoe for our relationship.

Katherine Burrows: And it's those people that you can build those strong relationships with who are gonna stay with you throughout the journey and be the most help in your boat.  As you're absolutely you're paddling and running towards the roar.

John Robertson: And so therefore just cause I wanna honor your time Katherine. And one of the things that I will really encourage people is find somebody like a Katherine, but somebody who will be in your boat, getting you to share the story, getting and encouraging you to keep talking it through so that every layer can be peeled away. So the core of the message gets revealed and then rebuild it so that others can have their story shared and that's one of the wonderful qualities that you provide when you serve people in the work you do

Katherine Burrows: Well, thank you. And I just wanna take a moment to read you a bit from the business character analysis that I did for you when we first started working together. John is absolutely invested in everything he does in both his business and personal life. He invests his time, energy, faith, presence, initiative and willingness to serve the depth of his values, anchored commitment to forward growth in himself and others strengthens his relationships and is the foundation for his solution focused training. Inspired and driven by his values, John acts as a facilitator for his clients as they test, discover and expand what they can do. He uses concrete verifiable processes to help them achieve demonstrate able solution focused results remaining faithful to his passions and values. John invests himself in his vocation without reservation. He provides spirit filled, insightful guidance that his clients use to amplify their lives and businesses, John truly provides leadership that people can follow through storms

John Robertson: And hopefully that leaked out on some of this interview, hot water. But Katherine, for me, I've shared that with people and clients and well, this is so you that were like, you did a great job writing this and I'd love to lie and say thank you, but I end up telling them well, I really didn't write it myself about me. And so for people listening or for people watching or for people exploring, get somebody who will be able to take the inside voice and have it make sense to the outside world and Katherine, I'm thankful for the work that you do in that.

Katherine Burrows: Well, thank you very much and I could not have said that better myself, about the external perspective. So thank you so much for being on The Write Connection and taking the time to chat with me today and it's always a pleasure to talk with you.

John Robertson: Always a pleasure, Katherine. Thank you.

Thanks so much for listening today, I hope something in today's episode inspired to tell your own story more creatively. Please join me next time for more about how authentic words and stories create The Write Connection.

Outro: Thanks for listening to The Write Connection. What did you think of the show today? Give us a rating and leave us a comment if you have a question for Katherine, reach out to her by sending her an email, The Write or visit her website, And don't forget to follow Katherine on social media thanks again for listening to The Write Connection.