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Ep. 17 | Dr. John Ryan – How Will We Measure Success At The End Of Our Life?


October 19, 2021

2:49 pm

On this episode of The Rich Equation Podcast, Ashish is joined by Dr. John Ryan. Ashish and Dr. John discuss why organizations and leaders must determine their ‘why’ if they want to maintain their teams and execute their visions, internal conflicts leaders are currently facing and the power of empathy in leadership. Ashish and Dr. John also talk about NLP and how it is the science of success and fulfilment.


Dr. John Ryan, is a leading expert in leadership, communication, and change. He is a Certified Master Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and host of the Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast. His primary focus is empowering leadership and management teams to create a culture of engagement, collaboration, and performance in rapidly changing environments.


0:00 – Intro 0:27 – Ashish mentions how on this episode Dr. John explains the power of empathy in leadership and how you can get better results by understanding where other people stand 3:05 – Dr. John gives us an insight into his background with NLP and explains everything about it 4:34 – Dr. John states that in his opinion NLP is the science of success and fulfilment 4:40 – Ashish asks Dr. John to share one habit that leaders can use or are already subconsciously using so that people can relate and understand 6:14 – Dr. John states that the power of sales is knowing what the customer needs 7:53 – Dr. John speaks about building on empathy and how leaders can better communicate with their teams and colleagues 8:43 – Dr. John states that there is a big difference between a commitment and compliance 11:03 – Dr. John talks about some issues he seeing leaders struggle with right now 13:11 – Ashish asks Dr. John what is causing such a drastic change within the workplace 15:25 – Dr. John mentions how the millennial generation seem to be very aware of the myopic nature of focusing on outcome and disregarding impact 20:18 – Dr. John speaks about finding balance between the materialism of achievement and accumulation of wealth and fulfilment 21:44 – Dr. John states that entrepreneur’s and leaders often have a hard time taking time out for themselves 24:54 – Dr. John expresses how he doesn’t feel that always wanting growth is not by nature egoic 25:29 – You can contact Dr. John through his website or through his Facebook group ‘Develop, Empower and Lead’, where he hosts free training session every Sunday



Welcome back to the rich equation podcast. Today I have a great episode for you, Dr. John Ryan is a leading expert in leadership communication and change. He is a certified master and trainer of neuro-linguistic programming and the host of the key conversations for leaders podcast.

His primary focus is empowering leadership and management teams to create a culture of engagement, collaboration, and performance in today’s rapidly changing environment. On this episode, he explains the power of empathy and leadership and how you can get better results by understanding where other people stand. He goes into why organizations and leaders must determine their why If they want to maintain their teams and execute on their vision. And at the end, we get deep discussing the internal conflicts that conscious leaders go through In today’s times. I know this one’s going to blow your mind here it is John Ryan. And remember if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to share it with someone that would be inspired by this or this information could be helpful and subscribe right now to the podcast and leave a review so we can continue to bring value to you.

Welcome to the Rich Equation podcast. Are you ready to discover how to live rich today and not wait for retirement? If you’re tired of struggling and want to live your best life now, you are in the right place.

Outdated principles will no longer work in today’s environment. It’s time for a new approach. Your host Ashish Nathu will help you discover methods to live the new American dream. It’s time to start living the good life on your own terms and experience a new way to live rich. Now here’s your host Ashish Nathu.

Ashish Nathu: Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Ritch equation. Dr. Ryan is here in the house. Welcome Dr. John Ryan.

Dr. John Ryan: Thank you so much Ashish for having me. I’ve been excited and looking forward to being here.

Ashish Nathu: I am so excited for this conversation. We’ve been trying to plan this for the last few weeks and I’m really excited. Every time we meet and we work together, my mind is just blown and the things that you do with your clients and the things that you’re working on, they really have amazing impact on people’s ability to actually get stuff done and manage themselves and get the results they want. So I’m really excited to share with people today, your content and your perspective. And so I’m just super excited for this conversation.

Dr. John Ryan: Awesome. Me too. I’m really looking forward to it.

Ashish Nathu: So I guess let’s just start with your main subject matter, which you’ve been helping me with in the last few months, which is NLP and NLP is neuro linguistic programming. And give us a little bit of explanation in your words, what is NLP and how can people think about NLP and what it can do for people?

Dr. John Ryan: Yeah, happy to explore and thank you for bringing up my absolute favorite topic on the planet. It’s something I’ve been studying since 1996. And so this is my 25th year in the world of NLP, I’m a master and trainer of NLP. It took me 18 years to get to the designation. It doesn’t mean I know everything about NLP. NLP is a growing field, but let’s kind of start by breaking down, you know, what is NLP neuro-linguistic programming as you so well communicated just a moment ago. And why do we even care about NLP? Most people have heard about NLP and maybe they have good feelings or not good feelings, or maybe they haven’t heard about NLP. NLP, as you said, neuro-linguistic programming, it is really about how to use our minds. How do you use our brains to get results. And how does it do that? It comes from studying success. People who have achieved certain results. Well, there’s certain, you know, it was Tony Robbins would say success leaves clues. There are certain clues and things that they do that you can get rid of like most of what they do, and only do these core things. And you’re going to get the same results, if not better, because it didn’t take you years and years and years to discover the formula. You just kind of whittled it down into the core elements, and now you can reproduce it over and over again. So that works in business, works in relationships, works in health. And if you really look at it, successful leaders, they do NLP, whether they were trained in NLP or not, they do NLP because NLP is a really, in my opinion of the science of success and fulfillment.

Ashish Nathu: So, give us an example of one habit, one behavior that leaders can use, or maybe they subconsciously are using already that they don’t know so that people can easily relate to like, oh, okay, I get that.

Dr. John Ryan: Well, sure. Happy to do that. And I think what’s really powerful about NLP is it becomes so simple. I like to keep it simple. If it’s complicated, we’re not going to use it. It’s got to be something really simple. Let’s start with something simple. We can go more advanced if you want to. If you really step back and look at, you know, what is the key for success for a leader, for someone in sales, business development, in a relationship, one of the powerful things is empathy. Now, NLP doesn’t talk specifically. They don’t have a class and a course on empathy, but by understanding the principles of NLP and even Stephen Covey for that matter, seek first to understand before being understood, you know, one of the seven habits of highly effective people, it’s having the power of empathy because when you do in NLP, it’s called first person and second person, or first position, second position. When you step into someone else’s shoes and you really see the world from their eyes, not how you’d see it from your perspective, if you were in their shoes, but where are they coming from? What are their values? What are their goals? What are their beliefs? What are their experiences? What are their fears? What are their concerns? And understand that. Well from a leader, you’re going to be a better leader. You’re going to help them overcome that obstacle and achieve the outcome that they’re looking for because you’re not solving the problem you think they have, you’re solving the problem that they actually have. If you’re working in sales, same thing to really understand the customer’s needs, That’s the power of sales. If you don’t understand what the customer needs and a leader is in sales too, they’re just selling the employees on the vision. They’re selling them on themselves, that they can do it and empowering them along the way. You know, the whole concept is that everything in life is sales. Well, if you want to be really good at sales, even selling your partner on why they should stay with you. Well, we better get pretty good at empathy. And that comes from respecting the other person’s model of the world. So many people think it’s about the techniques Ashish, and I’m happy to do, We can do some visualizations if we want to, if it goes in that direction. But the first what’s called a presupposition of NLP, which is something that we assume to be true. Not necessarily that it is true, a hundred percent all the time, but if you adopt this, that you’re going to be more effective is respect for the other person’s model of the world. Which means I got to ask questions. I got to find out where they’re coming from. In other words, develop empathy and step into their shoes. Once we have that, then the whole world, the map is in front of us. And then we can make a decision about where we go.

Ashish Nathu: I love that. And that really is a really great framework for how leaders have to lead today, right? Because people are so much more emotionally intelligent, they have better tools, better information, better technology. They’re expecting their leaders to be better at communicating to them. What is the number one tip you find giving to your clients or your, you know, what do you see in terms of like how leaders can better communicate with their teams and their colleagues?

Dr. John Ryan: You know, I think we can look at it. Let’s do a little bit of modeling real quick, so we can build on empathy. Let’s say that you’re really good at stepping into your leadership team’s shoes, understanding how they view the goals and the obstacles that are for them. And then you’ve got to communicate with them. Well, the next step would be to find out even more about their values and then bringing those values into the conversation, connecting the what that would be the goals with their why. Like Simon Sinek, we look at him and start with why. Yeah, You got to start with why. Okay, cool. You got to start with why, but once you know the why then what’s the next thing with the why? Well, you got to stay connected to the why. You got to keep on developing and utilize, know why, otherwise we’re just doing things without fulfillment, without meaning, without purpose. And there’s a big difference between a commitment and compliance. I think that’s the shift that you’re kind of talking about is the social, emotional intelligence and responsibility and ownership that in today’s modern world, where in 2025, we’re going to have 50% of our workforce is going to be the millennial generation, which care about, they have values and they care about their values being fulfilled. It’s not about do it because I said it and this is the way it should be done. They want to know why. So start with why as Simon Sinek would say, and then stay connected to that why, otherwise I’m talking to you about what motivates me and I’m not really speaking your language and what motivates you.

Ashish Nathu: Yeah. So good. I mean, right now, especially after all this COVID, work from home, people are so much more in tune with what gives them fulfillment, right? Personally, professionally, what really motivates you to get up in the morning and go to the office and bust your butt for the company you work for. And there’s just this really intense dialogue, you know, the massive resignation conversations are going on and you know, you and I have talked about this whole, and I struggle with this as well about, you know, what does it mean to be a conscious leader? And I want to break this up into two parts, right. You know, first part, which was what we were just talking about is how do you really communicate to your team more about purpose than probably we’ve ever done in the past? So what is the goals? What are the values? What’s the purpose? Why are we doing what we’re doing, and some of the struggles I have are, do I share my purpose or do I have to build the company around the employee’s purpose or what they think they need to do? So there’s a dichotomy there where people have their own needs and desires and wants, and then the company does. And how do you create a really healthy ecosystem where those can cohabitate and the company and the businesses can thrive. And how do you foster that communication? And we’ll answer that. And then I’ll get to my second part, which is the conscious leadership part.

Dr. John Ryan: Answer that, that’s a billion dollar question right there. Let’s just answer that in the next five minutes then we’ll go to part two of the question.

Ashish Nathu: Please. Thank you.

Dr. John Ryan: I appreciate that. So, you’re right. This is a real issue that leaders are struggling with. So we have corporate mission, vision, and values, and then you have then maybe team mission and outcomes and objectives they need to hit. And then we also have the individual values and outcomes that they have, and they’re not necessarily aligned, but when we get together in that executive retreat and we do the brainstorming and everyone comes together with the words, we throw it up on a whiteboard or a flip chart. And then we all agree that these are the top 10 values. And this is where we’re going as a company, seems like we’re all on the same page. We are a little on the same flip chart page, but that doesn’t mean we’re all looking at it from the same perspective, because behind all that is the hidden values, the hidden goals, hidden outcomes that they’re just willing to share. And that is always running simultaneously. So the degree to which you and I, if we’re working in a company on the same team can work together is the degree to which our values and our visions and our work ethic and our culture over-align and overlap. If they do great, then we can tolerate differences in that regard. And sometimes it need to be brought out. And sometimes it’s not relevant, but a lot of times we have to bring these things out because people are no longer separating work life with personal life. We’re seeing this time and time again, this is my identity. This is what I stand for. And if you, as a company, don’t back up my values on the environment, gender, pay inequity, diversity issues and things like that. Well, then I don’t want to be a part of this organization anymore either. So these things where we used to suppress them, I think back in eighties and nineties, like you didn’t bring your personal stuff to work. That wasn’t part of it. And now these things are becoming part of the discussion and how do we deal with diversity of opinions and different belief systems? And how do we create a place of respect, even if we don’t necessarily believe the same thing and value the same thing. It’s coming into the boardroom. And it’s very difficult conversations.

Ashish Nathu: What is causing such a drastic change in this conversation, what is evolving that is causing us to have this conversation today? You know, and I know it’s an open-ended question, but like, is it the times, is it technology? Is it our human consciousness? Is it the, like, what is it the fact that we have more information now? Why are we here today?

Dr. John Ryan: I think it would be of course reductionistic to say, it’s just this. And it’s certainly not any one variable. I think it’s a confluence coming together of all of those things that you just said, technology, the times that we live in, but also there’s the evolution of society in general, right? So we’re not the same culture in the United States that we were back when world war two happened. We’re just not, you know, we’re different. We’ve been in a war for 20 years, that is now ending, you know, and everyone has their own opinions and all that kind of stuff. And that’s beyond the scope of what we’re talking about here. But our mindset as a culture is changing. We’re no longer just getting focused on outcomes. We’re now I think beginning to shift as a country, into ecology and impact. So we can achieve, for example, just look at the workforce, let’s bring it down into tangible workforce. You can achieve outcomes. You can work 60, 80 hours a week and have your family to say, listen, you got to suck it up. This is what I got to do. And I’m going to work really hard. And 30 years from now, I’m going to get that gold watch and I’m going to be happy and we can retire and go live our life and things like that. But then divorce rates increase. And then you’re like, well, why am I working so hard at the expense of my relationship? Well, maybe I dial it back a little bit because the impact, the ecology of sacrificing all for the career impacts my family, which is what I really want is just to be happy and fulfilled and contribute and leave a legacy in the world and with my family. So I think there’s a shift and the millennial generation is very aware of that. They’ve seen the impact of the myopic nature of focusing on outcome and disregarding impact. And now they’re like, no, no, we have to bring in ecology into all of our conversations. And that’s why even in investing, there’s the shift to ESG, environmental, social, and governance. And so there’s an issue there. It’s everywhere around us. The world is continuing to change. I don’t think there’s any way we can put that toothpaste back in the tube. And I’m not sure that we should. I think we should have some of these important conversations to find that harmony. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like, but it’s going to be an exciting ride along the way.

Ashish Nathu: How are the conversations with the leaders that you work with and I’m an example of that, and I’d love to talk about my experience, but like, you know, this is something that everyone is trying to increase their awareness and consciousness as they become leaders. What are the challenges that leaders are having internally or in their own heads about this topic?

Dr. John Ryan: I think for a lot of leaders, I’m noticing it is letting go, not letting go. You know what I mean? Letting go of responsibility, like I built this company or I grew it, you know, from where we were, we’re, you know, 5 million, now we are 50 million. And I’m not sure, so of course there’s trust and competence and you can’t give over the reigns if there’s not any of that, that’s in the place. But still there’s a lot of old school. I mean, let’s say for you know, people in our generation, if I can include ourselves in the same generation, we grew up like, this is what you did and your identity was tied into work. And so now for the next generation, it’s just a piece, it’s a piece of the puzzle. So the world is changing. How do we let go of that and know that it doesn’t mean that you’re less valuable or less important in the company, you’re still there, but our roles are changing. So in a way, we’re not just letting go of responsibilities, we’re letting go of our vision of what it used to be, to be a successful leader, successful entrepreneur, depending on the role that you’re in.

Ashish Nathu: Okay. So we’re going to go deep now, here we go. Ready. So, we as leaders often identify ourselves by the companies we build to run and as I’ve gone through this conscious journey, even with you, you know, letting go, detaching, not owning, not owning every process, every person, every situation that is almost, it’s like vial, are you kidding me? How can you say that don’t own everything, You don’t own every responsibility or every process. We identify so many things in, like we basically are control freaks. And our minds write a story that the reason why we are where we are is because we are insignificant control of every single thing in our company, in our business and our people and our process. I now understand that that narrative is completely false. I’ve learned to start letting go and being more conscious and aware of my behaviors and my actions and my relationships, but it’s a real struggle because the world out there on this material land, okay. And we’re talking about economics and capitalism, it’s a doggy fight man. I mean, you got to fight. You got to win, you got to compete or you starve and you die. And then on the other side, you’re trying to really come from a place of heart and consciousness and awareness and, you know, it doesn’t matter what religion people are. Like, you know, if we all believe that we’re spiritual beings, you know, the I am, the beings nature of us as we’re trying to nurture that aspect. And then we’re also trying to nurture this like, you know, go get it. I got to win, I can control everything type of a relationship with a world. Like, how do we balance this? And we named it right? We called it the Buddha and the battlefield dichotomy. Like, what is, how do you operate? How does the Buddha operate in the battlefield? Explain this to us, please.

Dr. John Ryan: I remember that conversation where, I think it was your phrase by the way, the Buddha and the battlefield and the dichotomy that exists right there. I remember that very clearly, and I love that idea. And just for a we’re warning, I’m not a Buddha, I don’t have any training or certification in Buddhism or anything of that. I do have a lot of respect and reverence, and I love a good Zen [20:07 inaudible] as a part of an enlightening meditative process. But to get back to that question with all of those pre-frames kind of established with, how do we find the balance between the materialism of achievement and accumulation of wealth. And let’s put on the spiritual level of fulfillment, it really depends on our scorecard. How are we keeping score? If it’s just the numbers and the size of our bank account, the size of the company, the valuation of the company, things like that, then by all means, and if that does it for you, I don’t think anyone’s going to have a problem for you. And like, go for it. Awesome! Every decision we make causes us to not go down another path. So there’s a cost, right? So working 60, 80 hours a week, there’s a cost to that, working 20 hours a week on your business. There’s a cost to that as well. Meaning your business is probably not going to grow as fast as other people who are putting in 60, 80 hours a week. So there’s different choices that we make in that regard. I like to go really big picture, like when we’re at the end of our lives, looking back, how are we going to measure our success? Because I think we can buy into the fact that it’s about maximizing shareholder value, but on that conversation and drive every ounce of productivity out of our week and get focused on that. And that’s good too, nothing wrong with that. And I think there’s a place for that. And where do we find the harmony in finding fulfillment? In taking time for self, entrepreneurs, leaders have a very hard time, sometimes taking time for self, because that means that they’re not in their job, in their role, getting the best out of the people and being there for people. But the reality is it’s also feedback on our leadership because we empower the team. We should be, the better we are at being leaders the less we should actually be doing. And the more we should be supporting other people and the idea of servant leadership and allowing others to do, that’s where leverage and scale and buying back time to do that. Now, when you’re starting up, if you’re starting up a business brand new, like it is sacrifice, there’s no off switch. As you build structure and you have teams, then it’s time to pull it back. Now someone could say, Hey, I built a business and I was totally balanced in how I did it. Awesome, That’s just not the norm. What Elon Musk did, I mean, he’s an outlier in every sense of the word he still to this day sleeps in his office. So he’s got [22:43 inaudible] blood running in every pore in his, and that doesn’t make any sense, you know what I’m saying?

Ashish Nathu: But his purpose is so strong, right? So it keeps his, let me ask you, there is a, and I struggle with this, right? And that, you know, we’re always looking to continue to grow. And a lot of listeners on your podcast on this platform are, you know, high achievers and want to accomplish a lot of great things and achieve more and more and more, whatever that may be for everybody. But one of the things that I’ve started to question, and it’s really a hard question is that, you know, we all want to grow. We all want to expand, but the whole question of looking for growth is that egoic and I was having this conversation with somebody about it can be, but also if there are certain things that put you in a place that you’re going to grow, where you don’t have to deal with your own psychology. And I’ll give you an example. One of my friends was looking to buy a G wagon. And so they were like, Hey, I really want to buy this brand new Mercedes G wagon. And his whole, his mindset was, well, you know, what’s going to happen is I’m going to buy it. And everyone’s going to think I shouldn’t buy it. And he’s like, how does he making that much money? And what’s, you know, he must be making more money than us, which makes him feel like he’s better than us. Or like, what did he do to deserve that? And all this, like, you know, stigma was going through his head. And what we were talking about was, well, actually the G wagon was his Buddha. The fact that if you were to buy a G wagon, he would have to learn how to deal with that level of criticism or self-thought or mind games or whatever. And so he would expand through that. Does that make sense? And that’s a materialistic explanation of growth, but I’m saying generally speaking, you know, we want to grow, we want to have, we want to build better businesses. We want to have more relationships. We want to get fitter, stronger, healthier, like, is that by nature egoic?

Dr. John Ryan: It’s a really good question. I think by nature, I would say, no, it is in our nature to grow, that is just part of our DNA and in what made the human species, what it is today is growing and learning and acquiring and accumulating knowledge for personal growth. The question I think on the egoic side is for what purpose.

Ashish Nathu: Hey, Dr. John, thanks so much for being with us. That was so great. How can our listeners get in touch with you?

Dr. John Ryan: Thanks so much Ashish, it has been an absolute pleasure and hope I’ve added some value here today. Probably the best way to get in touch is you can always stop by my website, We have a new program I mentioned earlier on NLP. It’s called NLP unlimited. So stay tuned for that. It’s kind of out, but you got to reach out. You can’t find it anywhere yet. So we’re still getting ready in the marketing scale. Probably the next conversation piece would be to join my free Facebook group called develop, empower, and lead. If you go to www.developempower, it will take you right there. And I do free trainings there every Sunday, 2:00 PM, Eastern, 11:00 AM Pacific.

Ashish Nathu: Well, Dr. Ryan, thanks so much for joining me. You’re real special and the world has so much to get from you and really appreciate how you show up and thanks so much.

Dr. John Ryan: Thank you Ashish. Been a pleasure.

Thank you for listening to the Rich Equation podcast with Ashish Nathu. Do you want more ideas on how to live rich? Go to for show notes and resources. Then take one minute to leave Ashish, a five-star review on apple podcasts, and we’ll see you on the next episode.

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You can have results or you can have excuses but not both.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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