Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Pete Richardson, Co-Founder and Master Guide at the Paterson Center, about creating a vision for your life. Transcripts for other episodes can be found here.
“Talent must be identified and then it must be cultivated. And oftentimes this takes years to cultivate and invest in and grow and bring it to its full expression.” — Pete Richardson
In this episode of Outliers, I’m talking with Pete Richardson about creating a life vision using the techniques founded by Tom Paterson. We discuss the four questions every person should ask to understand their unique purpose in life, as well as why it’s important to think of self-care as a necessity.
Pete Richardson co-founded the Paterson Center, and serves as its Chief Visionary Officer and Master Guide. Over the past 25 years, Pete has guided more than 1,000 people through the Paterson LifePlan, a process designed by Tom Paterson to bring more clarity and perspective to individuals. His guidance has taken over 75 organizations through the StratOp process—most notably, Otterbox, which used the StratOp process to grow from $4M to $1.0B in revenue.
Daniel Scrivner (00:00:05):
Welcome to another episode of Outliers. I'm your host, Daniel Scrivner. On Outliers, we decode what the top 1% of performers across industries have mastered and what they've learned along the way. In each episode, we dive deep to uncover the tools, habits and ideas that we can all apply in our own lives.
Daniel Scrivner (00:00:24):
And today, we're talking with Pete Richardson. He is the cofounder of the Paterson Center. And over the last 20 years, they've helped thousands of people put together a holistic plan for their lives. They do this through a process called LifePlan. And that includes spending two full days with a facilitator who takes you through exercise after exercise to help you appreciate your past, understand your unique strengths, and put together a holistic plan for the future, one that integrates all areas of your life.
Daniel Scrivner (00:00:52):
And Pete has helped nearly 1000 people through the LifePlan process. After working with him in 2019 and going through the process myself, I knew that I needed to have Pete on the show.
Daniel Scrivner (00:01:02):
In this episode, we go deep on how to create a vision for your life, the importance of perspective and reflection, and why we all need our own replenishment cycle. Pete has a wealth of wisdom and I was lucky enough to get him on the show. So, please enjoy this conversation with Pete Richardson.
Daniel Scrivner (00:01:22):
Pete, it is a huge honor to have you on the podcast. And there's so much that I'm super excited to jump into. So, I'm going to try to pack as much as possible into the next hour and a half of our conversation. But thank you so much for joining us and welcome to Outliers.
Pete Richardson (00:01:37):
Thank you, Daniel. It's great to be with you. And yeah, I'm excited for the conversation. I'm looking forward to it.
Daniel Scrivner (00:01:43):
Thanks for making the time. So, we'll set up a little bit of context. And there's a lot to get into there. But where I wanted to start is if you can just help at a high level frame up what the Paterson Center is and the problems that you've been focusing on and what you've been working on for the past few decades?
Pete Richardson (00:01:59):
Yeah good. I'd be happy to do my best to give a high level overview of that. So, the Paterson Center is named after Tom Paterson, who passed at age 94 last fall. And there's a significant backstory on him for sure. But we named it after him and his life work of over 50 years of process design and his passion and sense of life purpose and calling to help organizations and leaders gain clarity and insight into the reason and purpose for their existence.
Pete Richardson (00:02:39):
So, the assumption there is that we're not here randomly by accident, that actually we're breathing in living and existing for some kind of meaningful contribution to the world around us. And so, we consider ourselves at Paterson, a group of facilitators and guides who help people discover that reason for existing.
Pete Richardson (00:03:05):
And so, what's the option? The option would be if you've read some of the existentialists in human history, the way I see it is there's at least two different significant pathways a person can travel. One would be one of existential confusion, existential perhaps in the worst cases, despair, and hopelessness, and meaninglessness. And unfortunately, too many people live their lives and go to the grave with that being their reality. And so, we believe that there's an option of existential discovery, and existential clarity, and existential hope and meaning.
Pete Richardson (00:03:48):
In addition to Tom Paterson, I've been significantly influenced over the years by Viktor Frankl, who was a Jewish psychiatrist who survived the horrors of World War II concentration camps. And he writes extensively about this. He called it Logotherapy. And the sort of the Socratic process of discovery of discovering why you're alive and living for a higher meaning, then even what's before you, in some cases, which may be very dark and hopeless.
Pete Richardson (00:04:21):
So, we, at Paterson, engage leaders. We engage oftentimes our organizations and we take them through Socratic processes. What does that mean? It means that asking five full existential questions in guided process using different constructs and tools to excavate and really hopefully flesh out and make visible truth. And the assumption there as well, once I see the truth of why I'm here, then I can decide how I'm going to responsibly sort of cultivate that truth, nourish that truth, bring it to the full expression in the world over a lifetime from birth to death.
Daniel Scrivner (00:05:04):
I think it would be great if we could spend a little bit of time on the Paterson process and then work our way into talking about what the LifePlan is and how that's different than the StratOp work that you do more with companies.
Daniel Scrivner (00:05:17):
But you have a fascinating concept about spiraling a problem in order to get perspective on it and where that takes you and how you ultimately get to a point of clarity. Would you mind just sharing a little bit of that framework?
Pete Richardson (00:05:31):
Yeah, sure. So, actually that framework is core to Tom's process design. It's rooted and founded in that sort of Socratic process of guiding someone to self-discovery. So, the principle is this getting perspective before you plan. Gain clarity before you decide strategically what to do. And the assumption is we don't know what we don't know until we see it.
Pete Richardson (00:05:58):
So, Tom spent in the '80s significant time traveling between the states and China commissioned under President Reagan's administration with guys like Peter Drucker and Deming and other top like American consultants, helping Chinese economic leaders engage, understand the global economy. And Tom fell in love with Chinese culture and people. But he also saw how they profoundly think and process differently than we do.
Pete Richardson (00:06:27):
So, if you can imagine two dots, like one on the left and another on the right. And the one on the left is called problem and the one on the right is called solution. The American approach sort of mindset wise is a straight arrow from the problem to the solution. And you could say very speed driven, so like, just get it done, make it happen, right? And that's not all bad. I mean, we get things done, compared to much of the world fast. But we also run a high degree of risk and having an impartial outcome or solution.
Pete Richardson (00:07:04):
What Tom discovered in China was not a straight line between problem and solution. Same two dots left to right, but as you go left to right, trying to find the elusive solution, the Chinese or Asian Eastern mindset way is to circle it around and around and around like a spiral. And if you flip that spiral, three dimensionally, it's like a cone ascending up. We call that the apex of clarity.
Pete Richardson (00:07:30):
And so, what that means in China is if like, you're negotiating a contract with the manufacturer, you may think you're at the solution. But you're way back here, somewhere in this spiral. And next time you talk, you're seeing this thing from a different vantage point. And you may be thinking, right, they just flipped on us. And then the next time, it's a different vantage point. But what they're doing is ascending up this cone or apex of clarity.
Pete Richardson (00:07:58):
And so, Tom has designed philosophically and in process design his LifePlan and strategic systems or processes around that philosophy. And so, we have, unlike other strategic processes, is we spend a heavy amount of time in perspective gaining clarity. And in LifePlanning, like we did with you, we spent almost a day and a half just getting perspective.
Pete Richardson (00:08:25):
And when that truth and clarity becomes visible, it's like, wow, the plan almost writes itself because we've connected all these perspective dots. And now we see what we didn't see before. The fog has cleared out of our brains and thinking. And now we see, that's it. That's why I'm here. That's why I'm alive. That's what I want to do with that. So, does that make sense?
Daniel Scrivner (00:08:51):
No, that makes sense. That's a wonderful encapsulation. And no, I think just to reiterate what you said. What I found remarkable about going through the LifePlan process, and it is exactly like you say, and I think the things that stood out to me were, one, none of us as adults get that experience to be able to go back and rewind it a little bit, to learn more about ourselves and just have more time to reflect.
Daniel Scrivner (00:09:14):
But it felt like, yeah, a big part of the process was extremely heavy on reflection. And maybe the way I would reiterate what you were just talking about, kind of that process of circling is, by circling enough, by reflecting enough, the answer comes and the answer that is incredibly intuitive and it's something that you're very bought into. Is that your experience working with people through that process?
Pete Richardson (00:09:37):
Absolutely. And I've been at this for almost 30 years now, this life work. And it's really is sort of my sense of contribution and life purpose in the world as I see it, helping others gain this kind of clarity.
Pete Richardson (00:09:51):
And over the 1,000 people I've taken through these multi-day sessions in 28 years, that you see common themes for sure. But not one of those life's is exactly alike. But you do see themes and as a guide and facilitator in my chair, I kind of see at times where things are headed. But I dare not say that. I've learned over the years to withhold my perspective or withhold my point of view, and wait for a person to self-discover that, because that's where it's fully owned. And it's not mine to tell, really. It's mine to guide. And it's theirs to discover.
Daniel Scrivner (00:10:36):
Yeah, you're almost like a Sherpa. You're guiding people on the journey. You've been there before. You maybe know where it leads, but you're there as almost like a neutral intermediary to help people go through that experience.
Pete Richardson (00:10:51):
Yeah. Hopefully, you want to guide who's traveled the trail before. And in this case, the trail is simply process.
Pete Richardson (00:10:59):
So, early on as a LifePlan facilitator and I would lose sleep on nights and because I'm like, I don't know where this is going. Well, the truth is, I don't have to know where it's going. But I have to know the process first. And I have to trust the process.
Pete Richardson (00:11:15):
So, Tom always used to say trust the process, trust the process. You must trust the process. And still to this day, I'm amazed at the process itself. And it's like this process really works. He used his talent to design something that really does work.
Daniel Scrivner (00:11:34):
Can you encapsulate what at the end of the day is so different about going through this process as opposed to another kind of say, life coaching process?
Pete Richardson (00:11:43):
Yeah. So, I'm not maybe schooled in all the different other life coaching processes. But I do know this work for sure. And so, one unique feature, as I did mention before, is the conviction and the amount of time we spend on gaining clarity and leading someone to self-discovery of truth.
Pete Richardson (00:12:06):
So, is LifePlanning for everyone at any given time? No, it's not. In fact, we have our own screening process to see if somebody is ripe for it. So, what do I mean by that? It's like, life has inherently built into it from birth to death. Its own ups and downs, its mountaintop, valley experiences, seasons of great advance, and triumph, and celebration, and seasons of great felt darkness and suffering and loss. It's just a part of the human journey, and everything in between.
Pete Richardson (00:12:42):
Life is built almost like a good movie with a screenplay or an autobiography with its outline of life. There's chapters to life. And those chapters are defined oftentimes by events that in some form or fashion change us for good or bad, change the trajectory we're on, the pathway we're on, we call those turning points. And when someone is in a turning point, they are oftentimes very ripe for a LifePlan deep dive.
Pete Richardson (00:13:19):
Now, beyond turning points that come to us through the life journey, there's also turning points built into the seasons of life. I'm 57. I'm headed into what some would call the winter season of life. You're in the summer season of life. It's just a different season. And I can't live at age 57 the way I lived at age 37, or 27, obviously. But my purpose in life is still relevant. It's still the North Star by which I'm trying to live out. But how that's lived out, how that's applied in this season is different. So, when someone goes through the change of seasons in life, that's a good time to do a LifePlan.
Pete Richardson (00:14:07):
Now, if someone has just maybe gone through the death of a child or spouse, or a painful divorce or some other cataclysmic loss, we will oftentimes say, "You know what, let's give this six months, maybe 12 months, and revisit the conversation because you will see very differently over time, but right now that you need to address that moment."
Pete Richardson (00:14:34):
So, that's different in LifePlanning. We want to make sure someone really is at a right place in life and asking the right questions about their own life story before we dive into these things. And I've had over the years like a dad or a mentor almost for someone to come through a LifePlan and sponsor or I paid for it. And only to realize, they should not be doing this right now. They personally are not at a place where they'll gain the benefit from this.
Pete Richardson (00:15:12):
So, we want to make sure someone's in the right space and place to do this. And then we can dive in and address where they're at. But I always want to know, what questions are you asking yourself? What is waking you up at night? Where does your thinking drift throughout the day? What are some of the core questions you have about where you're headed and how you got to where you're at? And listening to those replies, I can discern, like, okay, you're ready, or you're not.
Daniel Scrivner (00:15:44):
So, maybe to share a little bit of the backstory. I had multiple people that I knew go through the LifePlanning process, have very different experiences. One had a super emotional experience where they broke down and their kind of feedback to me was, you should get a hotel room, you should plan to decompress each night after the LifePlan because it's a lot, that activation process. I know for some people can be super emotional.
Daniel Scrivner (00:16:07):
And then the other perspective that I got was just that it was amazing. And if you feel that you're being pulled in some direction or directions, but you also feel that there's this general fog around everything and you just can't seem to see clearly that that's another reason to go for a LifePlan process. And that was what I identified with, was in my sense it was, I feel I have a pretty clear sense of where I want to head. But I also just feel like everything's a little bit foggy. But can you talk a little bit about how different people experience that process and I'm sure some have very emotional experiences, some it's not. But what that range looks like?
Pete Richardson (00:16:46):
Yeah, there is a range for sure. Maybe somewhere on that spectrum of range would be somebody like you just referenced for yourself that I just feel clouds between my ears. There's fog in my head. And I can't see very far out. The headlights of my life are not shining very far out, whatever metaphor you use there.
Pete Richardson (00:17:13):
And so, in that case, the LifePlan process brings clarity and it sort of dissipates that fog. And now I see what I didn't see before. And oftentimes that's vocationally driven. I don't like what I'm doing. I feel like I'm built or I'm made for something more or different.
Pete Richardson (00:17:35):
And so, if the range there would be someone is just their core talents are not being really tapped into in their current vocational place or role. Why do over 72% of Americans hate or dislike their jobs, that place of employment? Why is that? Well, if you do a root cause analysis of that, oftentimes, it's because what they're really gifted to do, that's not even desire or expectation of application by their employer. So, they're showing up every day being asked to do things they're not even gifted to do. That's a bummer. I mean, that creates a sense of just despair, vocational despair.
Pete Richardson (00:18:12):
And there's other reasons too, but that's a main one. So, oftentimes vocational, confusional drive someone to us at Paterson Center. And oftentimes people feel like something's wrong with me, like, this isn't great company. This is a great organization, great culture, I should be happy here. Well, nothing's wrong with them. Though they feel like there might be. They're on the wrong seat in the bus. And who they are and all that they embody and their gifts set, how they're hardwired, their place of high contribution is not aligning with their current role.
Pete Richardson (00:18:50):
So, they can either from clarity gain redeploy within that organization if that's an option, or leave with respect, and not burn the bridge and go somewhere else where there's a good match.
Pete Richardson (00:19:04):
So, that's a big one. I mean, people oftentimes come and they're there on the spectrum. Another place would be where they're just bored. Someone just bored.
Daniel Scrivner (00:19:16):
There's no spark.
Pete Richardson (00:19:18):
Yeah, like I did what I set out to do and the vision I had has become reality. And now I've reached a place of stagnation, and I don't know what's next. I need fresh vision. A wise man, much wiser than me said, where there's no vision, the heart grows weary. And so, if there's not a compelling imagined future for your life story, you just kind of shrink inside.
Pete Richardson (00:19:50):
And that's the case oftentimes of people who come to us and they need that clarity of what's next. And oftentimes, those people are like entrepreneurial bent, kind of like you, right? They're the conceiver. They're the person who's designing and starting.
Pete Richardson (00:20:08):
Imagine if everything, Daniel, you have in your head and all that you have in your design giftset was now real up and going. And there wasn't a new vision of design for the future. You just go, ugh. And oftentimes people feel that way. So, this can give them that what's next thing.
Pete Richardson (00:20:30):
Other people on that spectrum, they're doing a lot of great stuff. But the domains of their life are not healthily integrated for the season of life they're in. Because life is not all about work. And I would suggest that someone's life purpose or sense of calling in life must transcend their vocational life. Then certainly the clarity of calling or purpose helps define your vocational focus.
Pete Richardson (00:20:57):
But it should also be applied to your personal life, how you care for this gift of a body, mind, emotional, soul, spirit, how that applies to your family if you have a family, to your marriage if you're married, to your kids if you have kids, how it applies to your circle of friendships, how it gives back to your community, however you define that. So, it's not just about work. And oftentimes people have not connected those domains in life.
Pete Richardson (00:21:31):
So, I don't like life balance, the term "life balance" because that applies equal weightedness quantitatively, and it's never equally weighted. I like healthy life integration.
Pete Richardson (00:21:43):
So, I'm an empty nest now. I'm a grandpa. I have two granddaughters and two more grandkids on the way. And very different season. My capacity is different than when we were raising kids. So, the integration between work and my marriage and my kids and grandkids, it's a different composition than it was when I was in my 30s.
Pete Richardson (00:22:07):
So, oftentimes, people need that, how do I integrate all this? I don't have the bandwidth or capacity to do all this. What do I say yes to? What do I say no to? I've got this landscape of opportunity. And it feels like it's suffocating me because it's so much. It's like the menu at Cheesecake Factory, which we don't go there but [inaudible 00:22:30] dad used to love to go there. It's like a catalog and it's paralyzing, because there's so many pictures and options. And that's how life can feel sometimes.
Pete Richardson (00:22:40):
So, Tom Patterson, great quote. Tom has a lot of, we call them Tomisms. He said, "Success is not unlimited opportunity, but focused possibility." So, oftentimes people need to look at the landscape of opportunity. And they need help sifting through that and deciding what the leverage, what to focus on, what to say no to, what to say yes. So, those are a few of the talk about the spectrum.
Daniel Scrivner (00:23:11):
That's now an amazing kind of encapsulation of what that looks like. So, what I want to try to do is pull a couple of these threads together and then we can dive into what that LifePlan process looks like.
Daniel Scrivner (00:23:21):
So, your process is pretty heavy on reflection and it's not linear. It's very much about just kind of orbiting your life in the different seasons of your life and what you've done to date and where you feel drawn. It's about holistic integration. So, assessing how you're doing and all of those areas of life, not just focusing professionally, which is another thing I found amazing.
Daniel Scrivner (00:23:43):
Because in my experience, a lot of the most successful people that I know don't need more time and attention and focus on their work. They need more time and attention and focus on all the other parts of their life and how they integrate those things really healthily.
Daniel Scrivner (00:23:56):
And then another thing is a lot of it as well was just assessing what you feel drawn to, the way that you think and kind of how you are as a person, how you show up in the world, and also how you can continue to kind of rejuvenate yourself. So, maybe that sets up that gives us a few things to jump off into.
Daniel Scrivner (00:24:16):
But at a high level, so thinking super, super high level, how do you loosely kind of chop up and define what that LifePlan process is and what that looks like, and how do you tee that up for somebody of what they're going to go through?
Pete Richardson (00:24:29):
So, again, it's built on these existential questions. So, in the perspective phase, and as you said, it's heavily weighted in perspective and gaining clarity. We spend significant time asking the question, how did I get to where I'm at. And then that's like as you experience, it's like a four-hour conversation with multiple pieces to that.
Pete Richardson (00:24:51):
But when it's all said and done, your whole life backstory is visibly up on these huge charts. And it's like that's how I got to where I'm at today from my earliest years as a kid to where I am now. And we call that the turning point storyline. No one in human history, no one now and no one in the future will ever have that same story that you have. So, for good or bad, that's my story, and what will I carry forward and what will I leave behind. That's a good conversation.
Pete Richardson (00:25:31):
So, when I see how I got to where I'm at through my story, a lot of times, that can be emotional for people. It's like, wow, I had no idea that those forces way back years ago are playing a role in how I think and live today for good or bad. But there's also a lot of gratitude in that perspective. It's like, wow, even what I saw as the darkest valleys of my life, there was always an upslope afterwards. There was always the gift of a person who came into my journey and played a role in my development, those kinds of discoveries.
Pete Richardson (00:26:12):
And as a facilitator, what I see in all that is I begin to see the hints of giftedness, of talents, of passions, of value systems. And then we can almost get real creative and say that, "Well, that's your movie. That's your one of a kind of movie. If the sequel to this movie were to come out, what do you think it would depict?" So, we don't go into backstory to stay stuck in history? We go into backstory to learn from it. So, we see what we want to carry forward. So, that's a big question, how do I get to where I'm at?
Pete Richardson (00:26:46):
Then there's a question like, where am I now? Okay, that's how I got here. But where am I now? So, listeners could ask these four questions. We call it the four helpful list. They could ask right now in my life, personally, and my family, and my vocation or work and in my community, what is right? Like just what's right? It may not need to be perfect. But it's right enough to be right. It may need to be optimized. But what's right? Just make a list of everything that's right.
Pete Richardson (00:27:14):
And then number two, ask the question, what's wrong? It really should be right. And it needs to be changed. I don't have the solver right now. But let's make what's wrong visible? Be honest, be true.
Pete Richardson (00:27:27):
Three, what's confused? It needs clarification of some kind. I don't know if it's right or wrong, confused or missing or whatever. It's just like, there's fog around it. And then lastly, what's missing, something that needs to be added? It's a felt void. So, just asking those four questions, you can do that in a coffee shop on a piece of paper and gain great clarity. So, that's another key question, not just how did I get to where I'm at, but where am I now? So, that's a part of perspective.
Pete Richardson (00:27:58):
And then we get into this whole thing, what are my core talents? The assumption there is that everybody in the world has three to five core talents. Now, David Thoreau said this. He was an existential philosopher in the 1800s. He said, "The mass of mankind lead lives of quiet desperation and die with the song still in their heart." That's a sad statement. And I think it still unfortunately applies to every generation.
Pete Richardson (00:28:29):
So, it doesn't have to be that way. So, what does that mean? It means like, wow, I have natural talent. I think about athletics, that a young kid shows up on the ball field with incredible speed, or athleticism, or hand-eye coordination. Or think about someone at a young child at a piano who can hear something and play it. Or think about someone with mathematics, who just has the ability with numbers, or someone with language, who has the ability with words. Where did this stuff come from? Well, that's a good conversation, but they have it. It's like they're born with it.
Pete Richardson (00:29:12):
So, we've got to go through a process like, what am I born with natural talents, because that's what I want to leverage. That's what I want to spend decades investing in and cultivating talent neglected stagnates. So, just because I have that talent doesn't mean it's going to have its full expression. So, it's like in sports. You can have a kid who's naturally talented but doesn't put in the discipline of hard practice and hard work. And another kid who's less talented, but works really hard. They can leapfrog them on the depth chart.
Pete Richardson (00:29:49):
So, talent must be identified and then it must be cultivated. And oftentimes, this takes years, years to cultivate and invest in and grow and bring into it full expression. So, we spend time identifying those core talents. And then we get into our right because the premise here is that my talents are moved by my heart to apply them in the world in a meaningful way. So, the premise is the heart points the way. It's the compass. What do I mean by heart? Not your physical pumping heart, but your invisible heart where your passions reside, where your desires reside.
Pete Richardson (00:30:29):
Sometimes those are burdens for the world. You see something that's wrong in the world and you have a burden to address it, to bring some kind of healthy response to it, to fix it, or to restore it. And that's where it gets messy. The heart is where it gets messy. Because all of us, if you've read the psychologist of most would say there's a true self, false self, there's a genuine self, in shadow side to our makeup, right? I don't want to talk to the shadow self. Because it has its own selfish, self-absorbed, narcissistic stuff. I want to talk to that true self and see where the true self is passionate to apply those talents.
Pete Richardson (00:31:17):
Now, we're getting insight into life purpose like, ah, that's why I exist. I exist to take these talents and apply them here. So, we have to go through discovery process of what's the talent, what's the heart. We go through a number of questions like where's my high contribution zone? Where's my sweet spot? Because most people have experience what life is like when they're not living in their sweet spot. That's where you get bored. That's where you can feel depressed. That's where you can get angry at life, you can get really discouraged. I'm not making a difference and spinning my wheels. So, we go through a process like where is your so-called sweet spot?
Pete Richardson (00:32:01):
And then how are you hardwired? There's a lot of personality profiles out there. We have our own approach to that. But it's integrated in all this other perspective like, what's my internal wiring and how does that inform what I should and shouldn't do? What's my value system? What am I really value? How I think, live and relate? And how does that inform what I say yes and no to? So, we go through that process.
Pete Richardson (00:32:26):
And then you might remember on the personal life domain space, how do I cultivate healthy energy, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. And when I say spiritually, not religiously, where my core values are. So, Peter Drucker said, "Great leaders lead themselves really well." They manage themselves really well. And that's usually way behind the scenes.
Pete Richardson (00:32:52):
It's like Winston Churchill. He used to go for a walk every evening, but the cigar drove the secret service nuts. What was he doing? He was processing the day. He was thinking out loud. He was reflecting. He was refueling. So, what do I need to do to make sure I have enough gas in my gas tank? So that as I engage the other domains of life, I'm well engaged, I'm healthily engaged, and I have productivity and creative energy to do it. So, we go through all that, all of that and more. And that's all perspective.
Pete Richardson (00:33:26):
So, now, once we've done all that we can converge all that into statements of clarity around purpose. And this is where it gets fun. When I'm clear on my creative purpose, like why am I here, then I can imagine that forward into time and space. And that's where I can create a vision statement, a word picture, that's rooted in truth. If someone says, they want to do something and you think they're smoking something they shouldn't be smoking, we call that a delusion. But when a vision for the future is rooted in the truth of purpose, let's go do it. Let's go build it.
Pete Richardson (00:34:05):
And that's where over time, what we envisioned or imagined becomes a reality that we're living in. And once we see that, then we can ask, okay, what are the strategic steps I make on the chessboard of life that I must make to move in that direction? And when I get the strategies right, then all the tactics flow out of that. And now I build the plan.
Daniel Scrivner (00:34:27):
Yeah, no, it's amazing just listening to you go through that because I'm sure for anyone listening, they're like, wow, that's a ton of amazing stuff. But no way you can do that in two days. But no, you absolutely do. We went through all of those as individual exercises.
Daniel Scrivner (00:34:41):
And the two things that were coming to mind as you were walking through that is in a lot of ways, I think part of it is your shedding all these borrowed ideas, because so much of what you were talking about there is really, one, understanding yourself really, really well what you're implying do, what you care deeply about doing, which maybe another way of saying that is what you have enough intense passion and energy to actually go and apply yourself towards.
Daniel Scrivner (00:35:11):
And then what you're meant to do and what you're meant to do next, and what feels right for you at this phase in your life and season of your life. And so, in some ways, it's kind of shedding borrowed ideas and just getting really rooted again, which is I left the two days feeling more rooted than I've ever felt in I think to that point in my life.
Daniel Scrivner (00:35:28):
But then the other piece is it's almost you're taking a laser beam and you're tightening the scope of it in until it's crystal clear, you have tons of clarity of exactly where you're going. And you've got the energy. You've been reconnected with your values.
Daniel Scrivner (00:35:43):
I wanted to maybe go back and go a little bit deeper into two things you said there. And I think one was, when you were talking about working with someone on identifying your talents. I've always felt fortunate in my life that really early on in life, I kind of stumbled into that and found these things that I can have a lifelong passion towards. But I know that not everybody feels that.
Daniel Scrivner (00:36:04):
And I'm sure for some people listening, they think, "Well, yeah, but I don't relate to that baseball analogy. I'm not naturally fast. I'm not muscular." So, for someone has maybe has a hard time identifying those talents, what does that process look like? How do you work with them to figure that out?
Pete Richardson (00:36:20):
Yeah. Again, it's rooted in getting perspective. So, we have all these questions we ask that we call them clues. And so, as a guide, I ask the questions and pull out the data. And I'm on a treasure hunt for talent. So, let me give you some examples. If I ask you or someone listening, write down what you absolutely love to do. It can be work related, hobby related. It doesn't matter. Just write it down.
Daniel Scrivner (00:36:54):
It's a clue.
Pete Richardson (00:36:55):
It's a clue. And now, don't just say, oh, I love the outdoors. Okay, well, I would ask the followup questions. What do you like to do in the outdoors? I like to go to the mountains? Okay, what do you like to do in the mountains? Winter, summer, all seasons? So, those are clues. Something about me is in there. And that's going to be supported by other codes.
Pete Richardson (00:37:17):
I may ask, there's another clue category for talent discovery. What drives you? What motivates you? What moves you even unconsciously to move in life? Some are moved to solve problems. They love walking into a room where there's a good problem to identify, begin to break down into pieces, and figure out how do I resolve it, either completely deconstruct it and rebuild it, or do a root cause analysis and figure out where a system is broken. So, that's a giftset. You, if I remember right, Daniel, you are driven to design things, right?
Daniel Scrivner (00:38:06):
Pete Richardson (00:38:06):
You love to design. So, what does that mean? You have a gift to see a void, see something that doesn't exist, and then design something to fill that void. Or maybe you see a problem and what you see is, is how we can creatively address it and meet that felt need. That's a gift. Not everyone has that. So, that's simply a clue. Here's another clue. It's like I can ask someone, I want to know what you can't help us think about?
Daniel Scrivner (00:38:37):
Pete Richardson (00:38:39):
We call that an obsession. Not a dark obsession, but what are you obsessed with? You can't shake it. Whether you're on a beach in Hawaii on vacation, or you're under pressure in the front range here at work, you're driving in your car, you go there. You can't help but not think about it. That's a clue.
Pete Richardson (00:39:00):
I can ask you the question. If I were to go interview people who know you really well, and say, "Hey, give me a handful of words to describe Daniel?" Well, what you think they would say about you is a clue to me. I can ask you another clue question. What do you yearn for and long for in the future as you imagine forward? However long you live. None of us know how long we're going to live. But let's say full life, there are things that if you did not do or become in that period of time, you would really regret it. I missed it.
Daniel Scrivner (00:39:38):
Back to that David Thoreau quote.
Pete Richardson (00:39:40):
Yeah. The clutter of life swallowed up all the air time in my life. And I missed the big rocks. I didn't identify those. Those are clues for me on the treasure [inaudible 00:39:51] so I could give you more, but those are some of them.
Daniel Scrivner (00:39:54):
That's perfect. Yeah, because it sounds very much like a process of triangulation. So, if your talents aren't jumping out to you, then you clearly everybody has talents. And that could be things that, like you said, you're drawn towards, things that you can't help but think about. Another great question that I've heard asked, a lot of the time that I find really insightful is, what do you do that you find easy that other people find really difficult? That's another one.
Pete Richardson (00:40:19):
That's a great question. Right.
Daniel Scrivner (00:40:21):
So, one of the things you touched on that I'd love to just elaborate a little bit is, so something that keeps bubbling up in the conversation, something that I really connected with when we work together and going through the process was, you're approaching this problem from ... You're using both sides of your brain, maybe for lack of a better word, or both sides of your being.
Daniel Scrivner (00:40:39):
And one of those is you're clearly deconstructing things. And so, you're using that rational part of your brain to think about what to take from the history, where you want to be headed and strategy. And clearly a lot of that I think you're using those rational skill sets.
Daniel Scrivner (00:40:53):
But then the other thing is, you're also integrating that with the emotional side of your being. So, what are you drawn towards? What are you repelled by? How do you think about that interplay in someone's life? Do those things need to come together? Are those things constantly battling one another? How do you think that the emotional side of somebody and the rational side of somebody needs to kind of connect to relate to one another?
Pete Richardson (00:41:17):
Well, if we're both committed to as honestly as we possibly can, engage truth, whatever that means, in my backstory or where I'm at now, what I desire for the future. Then that will be a mixture of conscious mental analysis and deep emotional reality. So, they are intertwined like a bowl of spaghetti. And that's why some people who never cry will experience a deep emotional release in the LifePlanning process.
Pete Richardson (00:41:54):
And I don't ever try to make that happen. If it happens, it happens. And if it does happen, you just let it be. It is what it is. And if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. But the emotional side of it is critical that I am honest, completely truthful and transparent, about what I'm feeling, about where I am, where I've been, and where I want to go. And those feelings are as real as the mental cognitive part of my life analysis.
Daniel Scrivner (00:42:28):
There's truth in that emotion.
Pete Richardson (00:42:30):
There's truth in the emotion. And we also do this thing called couple LifePlans, which is a three-day process, where both spouses in the marriage are getting individual and then integrated perspective and clarity. And in those cases, oftentimes, the emotional part is even amped up even more. So, no, we don't want is to turn those three days into marriage therapy because that's not designed for that. But oftentimes, those couples leave and they say, "That was the best marriage therapy we ever had."
Pete Richardson (00:43:05):
Because I now see, not just what I knew you were good at, for example, but I now see that deep emotional realities of what you feel. I now I understand your uniqueness more than I ever knew before. I didn't even know some of those chapters in your backstory, let alone what is embedded in desires for the future and deep in your heart.
Pete Richardson (00:43:32):
So, the emotional part is very real. And for me, personally, I think engaging all these life stories, it's made me, we men in general are not as in touch with our emotional side of life as women. Those are general stereotypes, not all men and not all women, but you get it.
Pete Richardson (00:43:52):
And for me, I become very comfortable and very friendly with my emotional world day in and day out, whatever it is. And I think it's really aided my marriage. We just celebrated 35 years of marriage.
Daniel Scrivner (00:44:08):
Pete Richardson (00:44:10):
Yeah, thank you. Part of that is I think, over the years, I've become more comfortable and more honest and aware, and able to express what I'm feeling in a moment. And that's important. Now, I don't think feelings dictate, should dictate major life decisions and directions. But if you don't acknowledge them, they can subconsciously dictate those things.
Daniel Scrivner (00:44:36):
Yeah. That's an ingredient not to ignore but to mine and understand and get in touch with and then to figure out how to use. And I know that you're a prolific reader. And I want to try to explore a little bit of maybe some of the books that you think about that are related or some of the books that have had special significance in your life. But one on that topic that I read recently that I think echoes a lot of what you just said is The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. Have you heard of that book?
Pete Richardson (00:45:02):
I have not. But I like that title. It's awesome.
Daniel Scrivner (00:45:05):
It's a wonderful title. And yeah, one of the stories in the book was about, and I'm sure I'm going to butcher it, but I'll try my best to get the spirit of it right. I think they were out on some sort of an expedition with some guides. And they were trying to cover as much ground as possible. And so, they got through the end of the day, and everyone was exhausted. And so, they rested for the night.
Daniel Scrivner (00:45:25):
And the next morning, they get up and they think, "Okay, well, let's go. We've got the rest of the journey ahead of us, let's get moving." And they couldn't get any of the local guides to move. And they were asking them why don't you want to move? And one of kind of their thought was, they had to wait for their soul to catch up with them, with where they were at in life.
Daniel Scrivner (00:45:44):
And in a lot of ways, it does feel like that's what reflection is doing is it's giving you a chance, honestly, to catch up with yourself and catch up with the meaning and the values you have inside.
Pete Richardson (00:45:54):
Daniel Scrivner (00:45:54):
But it's a powerful, it's a really profound book, I would recommend anyone to read it. Do you have other things related to reflection that you would suggest?
Pete Richardson (00:46:07):
Yeah. There's a book that was written in the '90s called The Power of Full Engagement, written by Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr. And these guys used to work with Olympic athletes. And it's the principle of the sprint and the pause. And the principle is that the power to full engagement is not time management, but energy management.
Pete Richardson (00:46:29):
So, I'm aware of what's happening physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. And if I created time and structure to pause long enough in order to put energy in, so I have enough to give out.
Pete Richardson (00:46:43):
So, this is a book called Silence: In the Age of Noise, by Erling Kagge. He is from Oslo. And he walked across the North Pole, for example. He's an explorer. He's a philosopher. He's a publisher. And it's a beautiful book on silence and the gift of silence and reflection. So, I refer that to a number of people.
Daniel Scrivner (00:47:10):
Yeah. I highly, highly recommend that one. Okay, so I want to talk about a couple of other things, but maybe just to spend a little bit of time on that subject of renewal and the idea in that book, The Power of Full Engagement. One of the things that I loved that we do as part of the LifePlanning process is spend time on what you call the replenishment cycle. Can you talk a little bit about what that is and why that's so important? Especially in the context of someone who felt very foggy, now they have clarity, now they've got connection. But clearly, there's a long distance to span between their intention in realizing that. How does that replenishment cycle factor into that?
Pete Richardson (00:47:48):
Yeah. So, a common theme of especially high capacity leaders that I engage is that I just don't have enough time to take care of myself. 24/7, when it's all said and done, that's going to go, which means health goes physically. There's a weight gain. There's high blood pressure. There's whatever else going on physically. And there's oftentimes fatigue, mentally. Sleep isn't happening well. There's not rest. The body is not replenishing. Which means the mind isn't replenishing, which probably means I'm not managing the reality of my emotions really well. And I'm probably not cultivating what I really value and deeply care about. So, those are all signals.
Pete Richardson (00:48:34):
So, what that means is, is that we've got to reconstruct our mindset towards self-care and not see it as like this option, not see it as this narcissistic, self-indulgent thing I do. But it's actually critical, as critical as eating food is to my existence.
Pete Richardson (00:48:57):
So, there's a mind shift. You kind of have to understand how I cannot not do these things. So, what are those things? Those things and that book, Powerful Engagement goes deeper into the science of this.
Pete Richardson (00:49:12):
But in the Powerful Engagement, they talked about physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, replenishes our investments. And they don't have to be massive amounts of time. They can be thoughtfully weaved through my daily life from morning until night.
Pete Richardson (00:49:29):
In LifePlanning, we say intellectual instead of mental. So, we have the across the PIES, P-I-E-S, physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual. The physical is the easy one. It's people work out. They exercise. But the science behind that is that there's actually science that says, especially there's a tipping point when you turn 50, that if you don't get your heart rate up to 85% of its maximum capacity for 30 to 45 minutes four times a week, the cellular structure in your human body begins to go down. But if you do that four to five times a week, you actually rebuild cellular structure.
Pete Richardson (00:50:17):
So, now, when I work out, it's not a waste of time. It's like I'm doing this so that I have physical stamina and energy to do other things I want to do. Now, I can double up. I can listen to podcasts, audiobooks. I have 200 hours of Tom Paterson on my phone, or sometimes it's music, or nothing.
Pete Richardson (00:50:39):
So, in those cases, I'm also not just replenishing physically, but I'm replenishing mentally or intellectually. I need to have input of good thinking from other people. And that replenishes and stirs up my creative intellectual juices and energy, right? If I go long periods of time without input, I stagnate, mentally and intellectually.
Pete Richardson (00:51:02):
Now, on the emotional side, I've learned from Julia Cameron, if you read the book, The Artist's Way?
Daniel Scrivner (00:51:09):
Pete Richardson (00:51:10):
It's sold millions of copies, and a lot of artists and music, lyrical, writers, but even people in the sciences and in business leadership, she has a practice called morning pages. And the first thing you do when you wake up, it's not journaling. It's brain drain on paper. You write longhand three pages of whatever is in you. It can be emotional, just dumping. It can be creative thoughts. It can be ordering your day. It can be writing letters to your child or spouse, whatever, whatever is in you gets out. And it's like, you're skimming the dross off your brain when you wake up. And for me, that has helped me deal with my emotional realities and all that's going on inside of me.
Pete Richardson (00:52:04):
And then on the spiritual side, that's different for everyone. But in the book, The Powerful Engagement, they define the spiritual as like the hub or the center within our being where our core values and beliefs reside. And those need to be replenished as well. And those can be done through certainly religious practice, if people have that. It can be done through meditation. It can be done through reflection. It can be done through different readings of the ancients, ancient wisdom, stuff like that.
Pete Richardson (00:52:36):
And we build a replenishment cycle like we did with you. I'm just simply, again, Socratically asking you questions like, what are some things, practices that you've done in the past that you want to maybe restart or keep doing, things you've always thought you'd like to try that would be replenishing, that we need to make visible, and then other things out there that are good ideas that maybe you want to dabble in it, see if they really do replenish?
Pete Richardson (00:53:03):
The point is this. It doesn't have to be a long list of stuff, like three, four, maybe five things that I can integrate into the rhythm of my weekly life. Then if I take enough time, and it doesn't have to be a lot of time, but it has to be strategic, carved out time where even if I'm raising kids, and young married and busy, busy, busy, I can take these short pauses in my daily and weekly rhythm.
Daniel Scrivner (00:53:34):
Perfect, perfect encapsulation. You did such a good job I think of driving that home. Because yeah, I know, I've struggled with that. I think everyone that has sufficient ambitions is of a certain age where there's just so many responsibilities to manage that finds it hard at times to figure that out.
Pete Richardson (00:53:51):
Well, I would say this too. In response to that, Daniel, is that there's a diminishing point of return. So, I can work another five hours a week. But if I actually stop and not do those five hours a week and spend some time replenishing, my rate of productivity and output is going to maybe be double full or significantly more. So, we have to believe that. We need a mindset shift that more work isn't necessarily more productivity. And I must have healthy integration in terms of how I self-lead and self-care for myself. Believing if I do that, there will be greater contribution and work.
Daniel Scrivner (00:54:35):
Yup. No. And one of the ways that I've thought about that as well too is when it goes back to the point you made of trying to draw the straightest line between two dots and that's the, I'm going to work five hours approach. And I think another one that, yeah, spent a lot of time thinking about for the last little while is thinking about performance as more like quantum physics where it's multidimensional.
Daniel Scrivner (00:54:57):
I think like you said, in a lot of ways that the linear work five more hours, that means I got more done this week is super alluring. But it's very short sighted because it doesn't take into account a bunch of other things like, well, what if you worked half as many hours, but you showed up at 10 out of 10 in terms of focus and intensity during that time. What would that look like?
Daniel Scrivner (00:55:14):
And then there's the other notion as well to have maybe focusing less on just output or input, which in my mind is like, this is what I got done this week, or this is how much I worked this week. And instead, much more about how did I show up this week? Did I show up as my best self? And it was amazing working with you because you focus on those things.
Daniel Scrivner (00:55:34):
One idea that we spent a bunch of time on when we work together that I've shared with others and it's just been really profound for me, is this concept of surrendering and owning. Just to share a little bit of my story, I think, something that I had struggled with for a really long time is wanting to do things that felt out of my grasp that I think it was a mix of imposter syndrome, it was a mix of fear. I think a lot of how our worst selves show up is we're just driven by fear.
Daniel Scrivner (00:56:01):
So, you're not I want to do this because I don't care about the outcome, but this is a meaningful thing for me to do. But instead flipping it like, I only want to do this if I know the outcome can be great. And I don't know if the outcomes going to be great. And so, then fears, taking the wheel.
Daniel Scrivner (00:56:15):
But through the process of working with you, I got in touch with those things in a way that no longer felt surface level that felt like no, I need to do this. This is what I was meant to do. And the concept you shared with me there is, okay, well, when you have a sense for what that truth is, then you need to surrender to it. And there's something, I don't know what it was. I don't know if I just haven't encountered that before. But there's something so powerful about that of, one, get in touch with those truths that for you and in your life, and then surrender to them. Don't fight them. Don't be afraid of the imposter syndrome.
Daniel Scrivner (00:56:52):
And that to me has just been so profound. And the way that I've used that as with friends that are going through similar transitions, or it feels like the world right now is at a point where everyone is going through some sort of transition, at least that's what it feels like on different days. But for instance, I have a friend recently who's been in a company for a long time, has finally decided to make the move and start his own thing, obviously has a whole mix of emotions around that.
Daniel Scrivner (00:57:15):
And I shared that principle with him of just like, if this is what you know that you want to do next, then don't fight it. You just need to surrender to it. Don't get in your own head about it. And it was amazing. Because similarly for me in that moment, he was like, "Wow, that is a profound idea." Can you talk a little bit about that? And maybe why that shows up in this Paterson process in the first place and how you share that with people?
Pete Richardson (00:57:40):
Yeah. I would say that unless you wrestle with the concept of surrender, you will never fully engage and live out and experience the joy of your life purpose on Earth. So, what does that mean? Well, I'll say this, every story, including mine, and yours, and everybody listening, has an antagonist, a bad guy. It's like every great movie we love, there's a really good bad guy. And in the worst case scenario is that bad guy is evil, depicts evil.
Pete Richardson (00:58:17):
On our stories, it's some form of fear. It can play out as doubt as well or anxiety, but it's the opposition or the opposer or resistor to our story. And so, we have to identify those fears. And fear is crafting. Fear is smart. The voice of fear has a lot of forums, a lot of creative applications. And so, when you begin to discover your life purpose and what life is inviting and calling you towards and wooing you towards, you can count on the voice of fear like amping up. It's going to. Why? Why? Because it has one mission in and of itself. And that is to keep you from going down that pathway.
Pete Richardson (00:59:10):
So, it's almost like fear stands in the doorway. And its job or desire or purpose is to make you go the other way. If we flip it and say, "You know what? Fear can actually point the way." Now, I'm not talking about jumping off of 60-foot cliff in the dry ground. I'm talking about the fear of like discovering really what we want out of life and what life wants out of us and going down that pathway. Fear is going to stand in the doorway to make you not go through that doorway and down that pathway.
Pete Richardson (00:59:45):
When in essence fear points the way and actually, if you think about it, you should move towards the doorway and towards the fear in that doorway. And more often than not, in a life work that I do, people go towards a fear, confront the fear, bust through the fear, get on the other side of the door and go, "What was I so afraid of? I should have done that a long time ago."
Pete Richardson (01:00:11):
Surrender is the way of life mindset and discipline of being all in and letting go of things I'm not supposed to try to control, and trusting something bigger and greater than myself, and confronting the fears that are trying to keep me from going that way.
Pete Richardson (01:00:32):
And so, practically, what does that mean? Sometimes that means, unfortunately, a common theme is like someone has given decades of their life occasionally to going down a pathway in order to please their parents or dad did it so I'm doing it. That's a common thing.
Pete Richardson (01:00:49):
And when someone discovers a different pathway that they were made for, they have to confront that fear of disappointing that voice or figure in their life of authority. But when they're all in and they let go, that that's there's so much ... I've had grown men break down and weep and cry because they never experience the possibility of being all in, surrender to that and letting go of that sense of control in order to experience something much greater that they were made for.
Daniel Scrivner (01:01:20):
What are some strategies you employ to help people get over that fear? In my mind, because I don't know, the way it's typically played out for me is when I feel that fear, then I kind of have a little bit of a conversation with myself. And some of the ways I try to reframe it is when I feel fear that I need to bet on myself and know that I can rise to the occasion. So, that's maybe one a little mental tactic that I use. What are some other things that you suggest or maybe I'm totally off, and that's not at all what people should be doing?
Pete Richardson (01:01:48):
I think it's different for everyone. I mean, self-counsel like you just referenced, that's why I love that Julia Cameron morning pages. it's like, almost self-guided therapy for me. And it's like, I can talk myself off the cliff and identify fear and confront it and be all in again or resurrender for the day, that kind of thing.
Pete Richardson (01:02:09):
Sometimes we need help. Sometimes we need something feels bigger than ourselves. And so, we need a natural therapist. We need a counselor to deal with fear that is prohibiting me from being fully all in or surrender to what I know I need to do.
Pete Richardson (01:02:25):
So, if we need to get help. Some people get a life coach. Some people get a spiritual advisor of some kind, depending on what that means for them. So, there's a lot of different ways. We need mentors. I'm in this cool group, there's seven of us. We get together once a month. And one person brings up a life question and we talk about it. And oftentimes, we're surfacing fears and things we're struggling with and kind of helping each other like address and bust through it.
Pete Richardson (01:02:59):
So, there's a lot of creative ways we can deal with all that stuff. But it must be thoughtful. And for me personally, I do some of that myself in my replenishment cycle. But then relationally, I've got to be connected to other people. So, I think we need to be open to get help if we need help.
Daniel Scrivner (01:03:19):
So, I want to come back to that question of books. And the reason is, people can't see but obviously, your house is filled with books, prolific reader, I think on almost every topic. What are some books that have been especially meaningful in your own life? And then what are the top handful that will frequently show up when you work with people in a LifePlan and that you find yourself referring people to again and again and again, that just feel like universal good reads for people to read, reflect on and think about how to incorporate in their own life?
Pete Richardson (01:03:53):
Yeah, there's a lot of books. Viktor Frankl has been I mentioned very formative in my thinking. He's written over 30 books. He's most well-known for Man's Search for Meaning. They get sold like 10 million copies. He wrote another book called Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning. It's like a much deeper dive into his logotherapy. And I don't recommend that to everybody. But it's certainly formative in my thinking in this space I live in with LifePlanning.
Pete Richardson (01:04:27):
Tom Paterson wrote a book Living the Life You Were Meant to Live. Certainly, the Power of Full Engagement, I mentioned that book earlier on the replenishment cycle. There's a lot of great books on story. I don't know if you've read Steven Pressfield?
Daniel Scrivner (01:04:42):
He's one of my all-time favorites.
Pete Richardson (01:04:45):
Yeah. The War of Art is a play on the Art of War, which is a Chinese book written a couple thousand years ago. But the War of Art, one of his books, is I think a great read and for Julia Cameron, for sure, The Artist's Way. And then she wrote The Right to Write, if you're a writer. And also Walking in this World, just the practice of walking in nature and reflecting well, are all great reads. Silence in the Age of Noise, I mentioned that one. A lot of business books. I love the Good to Great. Why am I drawing a blank on his name?
Daniel Scrivner (01:05:23):
Pete Richardson (01:05:24):
Daniel Scrivner (01:05:25):
Pete Richardson (01:05:25):
I could give you a lot of business books that have been formative in my life. The Drucker books, for sure. His book Management, Drucker's book, Management, Chapter 45, managing oneself is a great chapter on self-leadership. Great leaders lead themselves really well, first and foremost. So, those are all very formative reads in my development.
Daniel Scrivner (01:05:51):
We spent most of today talking about LifePlan. You obviously do that for individuals. You do that as well for couples. And then separately, you do something for companies and businesses called StratOp. Can you spend a little bit of time just setting up what that is?
Pete Richardson (01:06:05):
It's like a LifePlan for an organization. So, same principles of gaining perspective, getting clarity out of that clarity, clarifying mission, vision, values, strategies, and out of that building and strategic planning systems.
Pete Richardson (01:06:21):
So, StratOp stands for strategic operating planning process. So, strategy is making decisions or thoughtful decisions for tomorrow, today, planning for the future today. Operational leadership is managing to day to day. All the realities of today's serving customers and managing personnel and managing processes and systems that make the infrastructure of a company or organization operate. There's a third silent partner called the financial. We must manage the financial truths and realities and invest in this strategic future, but also the operational realities.
Pete Richardson (01:07:06):
So, you can see it's a strategic operational financial planning system. I say system thoughtfully because most people or businesses do not see strategy as a system. They see it as an event. And so, here, we get all the top leaders together in an organization. We're trying to get the right chemistry, the right collective IQ. And we go through that same apex of clarity with the group.
Pete Richardson (01:07:34):
And in this case, they're guided by process and a facilitator. And we flesh out truth and we create the core plan. And then over time, we install that plan as a system. And we work the plan as a system.
Pete Richardson (01:07:51):
So, I have over the years a list of business clients. My brother started and owns and built one of as many companies as OtterBox, the brand OtterBox. In 2006, we installed StratOp. They were a 4.2 million a year. And today, they're over a billion a year, but we run that company through StratOp. And that's our strategic system on how we ... COVID for sure, like boom. We did a quick StratOp to adjust all the change. And that company is profoundly healthy culturally, but very on point strategically. It's a global company. So, we'll get 25 leaders together once a quarter and we work the plan. And once a year, we update and renew it.
Pete Richardson (01:08:43):
But they're using that plan day in and day out in the business as a system. So, that's how it works. And that's a very high level. But we look at a company holistically, not as a bucket of parts. We get perspective. We flush up truth. And then we clarify all the strategic pillars, especially the vision, where are we headed. And then we build all the actionable around that. We structure the organization to form follows function.
Pete Richardson (01:09:13):
So, to make the workflow and move us towards the vision, we set up the management system to work the plan. And then we renew it constantly as change happens, which it does all the time.
Pete Richardson (01:09:25):
So, we're doing that whole process all the time, always getting perspective, moving towards the vision, making sure we're focused on what's important now. Do we have the right structure for the vision? Do we have the discipline and accountability built into making sure the right things are getting done? And are we adapting to change?
Daniel Scrivner (01:09:47):
And then on the LifePlan, I just want to quickly touch on, I know there's a few ways people can do that. I know there's a self-guided way through a book that people can kind of take themselves through, maybe a preliminary or a lighter weight non facilitated version of the LifePlan. Then there's the two days, which I did with you, which was an incredible experience I'd highly recommend. And I believe now you also have an online way for people to do the LifePlan. Can you just talk a little bit about that and how people should think about those different ways?
Pete Richardson (01:10:14):
So, we have a LifePlan Launch, which is a lower price point. And it's just totally online, self-guided. So, I forget how many videos are on there with worksheets you download, and you watch and you sort of self-discover, but it's self-guided.
Pete Richardson (01:10:33):
We have one step up from that, where you're doing that, you get the book you have, you are watching videos, and then you also tap in on the phone, or on Zoom to the facilitator at different times to help you, a little higher price point. And then the premium price point would be what you did, where you come to a facilitator, fly in somewhere where they are in the country and spend multiple days with them and it's in person.
Daniel Scrivner (01:11:00):
Got it. Thank you so much for all your time and your generosity and just everything we've covered today. We've gone all over the place. You've been super open. So, thank you so much, Pete. I really appreciate it.
Pete Richardson (01:11:12):
Daniel, it was great being with you. I'm so proud of you and all that you're doing and it's great to be on your podcast. Thank you for inviting me.
Daniel Scrivner (01:11:22):
Until next time, thank you so much for tuning in. For show notes, including links to anything and everything mentioned in this episode, please go to outliers.fm.
Daniel Scrivner (01:11:33):
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Daniel Scrivner (01:11:51):
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On Outliers, Daniel Scrivner explores the tactics, routines, and habits of world-class performers working at the edge—in business, investing, entertainment, and more. In each episode, he decodes what they've mastered and what they've learned along the way. Start learning from the world’s best today.
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