Engaging Your Tribe: How To Recruit Mentors, Coaches, and Friends, with Dr. John Townsend

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Studies have shown that people who lack in good friends and mentors in their life tend to struggle more both emotionally and physically. But if you don’t have anyone on your side, how can you bring people in? In the second episode of a series on “relational nutrients,” Dr. John Townsend discusses a recruitment process you can use to filter the types of people that are going to be most beneficial in your life to help you move forward.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics where we have been transforming lives for 30 years, using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Welcome back. We are here with our friend John Townsend. We are having so much fun as we always do. We are talking about People Fuel, which I love and we were just talking about your Cs, the Cs involved with People Fuel. Maybe you can recap that one in this and also how to draw boundaries with people and ask for what you need. I would love some practical tips going into this episode on; how do you do that? How do you balance that? How do you balance getting what you need? Now we know what they are. Let's talk about how do you balance getting what you need and-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Before we do that, I recently actually was able to teach. Dr. Townsend founded the Online Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling at Concordia University in Irvine. So for people who want to learn more, after they read People Fuel or Boundaries that he has an organizational leadership, executive coaching and counseling program and has students-
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... literally all over the world. So John, how can they learn more about the Townsend Institute?
Dr John Townsend: Townsendinstitute.com. We're really excited about what's going on, Daniel. You're one of our top fellows. You're right. In other words, we have experts, people like you, Ken Blanchard, the Gottmans. There're hundreds of students around the country where they're either getting a master's in counseling or coaching or leadership and we're highly relational and we try to blur the distinction between online and reality because people think, "Oh, online degree. I'll sit in the kitchen with my laptop and my bunny slippers and my cocoa," and it's not like that. Our professors and our people are very connected, very video friendly. They want to get to know you, so we make it a very relational experience. People are getting great jobs now. We've been around for three years and people are calling back saying, "I'm the top of my job."
Tana Amen: That's awesome.
Dr John Townsend: Yeah. We're excited.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Excellent. Okay. More on People Fuel.
Tana Amen: I like it. [crosstalk 00:02:55]
Dr John Townsend: All right. Tana, you asked the right question which was, what's some practical ways we can make sure I'm getting my needs met? Let me review what the seven Cs are and then just give you a quick idea. There are seven categories of relationships from very giving relationally, nutrient rich relationships to more of the relationships that are draining. You got to understand. First is coaches. Coaches, either their pro bono or you hire them, but they know business or they know family or they know self-help or they know working out. They're very important for you. The second is comrades. We all need what I call in the book, "a life team," and a life team is three to 10 people that know everything about you. They know the messy stuff, they know the hurts, they know the failures, and they don't care and they're... Oh, I wish you guys could see this. Tana, just shrugged-
Tana Amen: He's more than my comrade. You're my person.
Dr John Townsend: That's so wonderful. It's so cool that you guys can rub each other's shoulders and she can also kick you under the desk at the very same time.
Dr. Daniel Amen: In the same podcast.
Tana Amen: I just got thrown under the bus.
Dr John Townsend: That's true love. You all need three to 10 deep comrades that know everything about us and love us, and they'll tell us the truth, but they would never judge us. Thirdly, we need good casuals. Your next door neighbor, somebody whose kids play soccer with your kids, just hanging out whether you go watch TV, but just nice people, any positive people. The fourth category's colleagues, because we all need worker bees around that are relationally based and smart. The fifth category's care. We're called to care. The three of us are very fortunate. We have been really fortunate in our lives. We've had a lot of struggles, but we've also had a lot of victories. We care deeply and all of us, the three of us have people that we commit to but could never pay us back.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr John Townsend: There are people in developing countries, so people you're mentoring or people you're encouraging. You need care relationships. The next one is what's called, "chronics," and I said in the last podcast, I'm from the south originally, [inaudible 00:04:56] with you guys, but in the south would call them, "bless their heart," people. Bless their heart and they messed up their marriage again. Bless their heart and they lost their job. Bless their heart and their kid's smoking dope. And they kind of never learn because they just don't learn. So they're nice people, but they're kind of a drain. The seventh one is contaminants and they're bad people. They're toxic. They want to divide your marriage, they want to divide you, they want to divide your family, your organization, you got to stay away from them. Most people have too many care, chronic and contaminants.
Now you're always going to care about people, but know people who have on too many boards and they're flying around to too many organizations and they're doing way too much service and their family's going, "What's your name?" Sometimes we've got to put them back the care. Chronics, you can't have that many of your life. I've had some chronics when I wrote the book, I realized I had somebody I was meeting with every two weeks for Starbucks. I made it like, let's make it two or three times a year because they weren't doing anything I said anyway. Chronics, set boundaries and you've got to have more of the coaches and comrades. The most practical thing is the number one practical thing we got from the book is, if you want to right size this so you don't have too many of the drains, you must first beef up the coaches and comrades. You can't [inaudible 00:06:08] the bottom until you have the strength and the energy, and the positive-
Tana Amen: I like that.
Dr John Townsend: ... to say, "Huh?"
Tana Amen: I like that.
Dr John Townsend: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:06:16] I've got three coaches now and I'll be with coaches the rest of my life.
Tana Amen: See, me too. I'm like that. I love coaches. I go to seminars. I do all sorts of things because [crosstalk 00:06:27]
Dr John Townsend: Harvard Business Review says that your coaches will bring you an average of 300% of what you paid for it and that's been my experience.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr John Townsend: It's good investment for me to be coached in emotional life, spiritual life-
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr John Townsend: ... business life, all that stuff. So get a coach. If you don't have any money, go to a church and say, "Do you have people who can mentor me?"
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr John Townsend: But there's people who can mentor. And secondly, get that life team together. Get a few people around. Say, "I got to be intentional about my growth, and you're a good person. We've got good values. I don't want you to be a person that goes through life with me and supports me." That will help you start right sizing. The number one thing.
Tana Amen: So I love that. Two things popped in my head. Number one, and I actually learned this from some of my work going through therapy and Boundaries because you talk a lot.... One of your books, "Boundaries," is amazing and I am certain that you go through a lot of boundary work in this book just because I know you. I learned this, that when I'm helping someone, whether they're care or chronic, whatever, I don't have contaminants in my life. I am good at getting rid of them now-
Dr John Townsend: Got to.
Tana Amen: ... but when I have a care or chronic in my life that I have chosen to help for whatever reason, I have a rule. I'm not going to be more invested than you are. That's just going to be the way it is. I need to see you being more invested than I am. I will be here for you. You've got to show me you're invested. I have the same rule with my daughter. I'm not going to be more invested than you are. So if I'm doing something to help you, you've got to be invested or I pull out. That's it.
Dr John Townsend: We call it in business, "Do you have skin in the game?".
Tana Amen: Yes. They've got to have skin in the game. Whether it's nutrition, whether it's parenting, whether it's helping someone. That's one thing. The other thing you said that was so important. The mentoring, people think they have to pay a lot of money for coaches. Now I love going to seminars. For me, skin in the game when you're at a certain level, might be money-
Dr John Townsend: I pay a lot. I pay a lot.
Tana Amen: Maybe, yeah because it's important and you've got skin in the game, but for some people, and you don't have to have that. Skin in the game can be... AA is built on that premise. Right? You've got a sponsor. They are accountable. It's really important that it's free. So there are free mentors.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast-
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... is coaching.
Tana Amen: There's all kinds of ways to do it. [crosstalk 00:08:38] Right?
Dr John Townsend: Yes.
Tana Amen: It's important.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I love what you said. The first practical step is to get more coaches and comrades. So at some point, you have to inventory the people in your life and is there a way in People Fuel for people to do that?
Dr John Townsend: Yeah, because everybody calls after they read the book, they go, "Now what do I do? 1-800-FRIENDS. How do I do this?" So I put together a system in the book that's very, very practical. I tell it, look, if you don't know who the people are in your life and who would be a good life team member? Do this. We all go to Microsoft Outlook contacts. We all have contacts and there's somewhere between I think 705,000 contacts in your contacts list. I've done this to myself because I wanted to see if it work. It does. Give yourself like an hour, hour and a half, and just go through that thing and think, "Who would be a really cool person. I need three to 10 people that would have shared values and have a lot of grace for me and never judged me, but kick me in the butt when I need it and listen to me. And can they be vulnerable and can I be vulnerable?" And you go through the list. "Oh, yeah. I haven't seen her for a while. She'd be good." And then, "Oh, he's in federal prison. Maybe that's a bad idea."
So you go through the whole thing and in the time you've got, let's say 25 names and you go, "They're all... My gosh, they'd actually be good potentials." And then you go on the recruiting process and here's how you do it. You call the first one up that looks good, and you say, "Hey, I haven't seen you for a while. Let's grab lunch." And you grab lunch and you have a great lunch, but you do this. You take one small vulnerable step. Just one, not a big one. Not like I'm suicidal or I don't have a life, small one. Like, you know, "Our kid's acting up and it's kind of frustrating," or, "My spouse and I are kind of upside down right now. It's kind of a bad season," or, "My job's kind of struggling." They're not huge vulnerable, but vulnerable. And that person will do one of three things that will tell you if they make it to the next lunch, they qualify.
First thing they'll go... First response will be like this, "Well, the weather around here is just amazing, isn't it?"
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr John Townsend: What are they telling you guys?
Tana Amen: They don't want to do it.
Dr John Townsend: "I don't know. I can't get in there. I'm just going to change the subject." Okay, nice person, not a life team. Second response is, "Oh, your kid's acting up. Okay, here's four books for you to read. By the way, are you waking up early in the morning? Do you hug your child? Have you set good boundaries? Are you playing with your child? Have you gone to this conference?" And here's [inaudible 00:11:14] things you want me to do. What they're telling you is, "I'm an advice monster. I can't connect with you. I'm just good at giving advice." Nice person, but not much.
The third response is the money where they put down their fork and they look at you with these eyes of caring and they go, "I had no idea about Susie. I'm so sorry. I love your kids. How can I help? What's it feel like? It must be overwhelming. What's going on?" And they had the capacity to move toward the negative. They're not afraid of the negative. They move toward it. That qualifies them for the next lunch. So you do it again, like a couple of weeks later and again. By this time they're opening up more and about the fourth time you make the pitch and you say, "You know, I'm in a stage in my life where I'm getting intentional about personal growth. I haven't really focused in intentional. I love you and I love how we hang out. I trust you and I hope that I'm helpful to you. Would you like to meet together every couple of weeks, once a month, every week and just talk about life and share things that we can't share with others."
That's how you build. It takes probably four months. I've taken CEOs through this of major billion dollar corporations because they didn't have these relationships. All they had was their spouse and their dog. That was all. They had their lab because their lab loves them-
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr John Townsend: ... and their spouse. And I've said, "Go do that because you're in a deficit. You don't have enough people with you in your life." And they come back and they go, "90% of the people said, easily, 'I'm in. I don't have this either. I don't have a place to go to be vulnerable. All I've got is my spouse on my dog and I'm overwhelming both of them. I'm in,'" and everything changed. That's the price.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So good.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: All right. Stay with us. When we come back, we're going to talk about setbacks and resilience and how to stay charged. We're with Dr. John Townsend-
Tana Amen: So great.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... author of People Fuel, Boundaries. You can get them everywhere.
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