The Power of Intentional Leadership with Chip Neidigh

1,000 Stories

Transcript

Joe Mills: What shared experiences motivate today’s business leaders to keep growing, and how have their unique stories impacted the way they enable others to do the same? I’m Joe Mills,

Reid Morris: and I’m Reid Morris, and we’re investigating what and who it takes to build companies that foster growth in people and business.

Joe Mills: Then we’re sharing those stories with you. This is 1,000 Stories, an original show from Element Three.

Reid Morris: All right. So another guest, we have Chip coming on the podcast. Yep. Can you give a little bit of context for who Chip is, his background for the

Joe Mills: audience here? Yeah. So Chip is the founder and leader at Cairos, who is a group that works on executive coaching through the lens of the Agram.

So if you’re unfamiliar with the Agram, it’s sort of been taken and turned into this like personality quiz style assessment, but it really is more of a self-guided understanding of like who you are. Okay. And that is why I wanted to talk to Chip after we talked to Gary and Gary talked so much about his just like inner work that he’s done.

Mm-hmm. and the amount of comfortability he has with like who he is as an individual and how much he doesn’t allow outside expectations to influence what he wants to do next. I was like, man, that’s pretty powerful. Mm-hmm. . I feel like the first step in that is actually understanding what do you want and who are you?

Yep. And candidly, if somebody really asked me that question, I would struggle with it. Mm-hmm. . And so selfishly I just wanted to talk to Chip as somebody who helps people understand that exact question and understand how they do it. And also, it’s such a fascinating field to get into and he’s been doing it for a pretty long time now.

And you think about the in started getting popular in, I would say public society in the last five to six years, probably. Mm-hmm. . Yep. And he’s been doing it longer than that. What motivated you to get into this and how did you even get started and like, what’s next? And I would also love his perspective on how that framework has been used in the public sphere.

Mm-hmm. and in business and whatnot, and what he thinks about it. Yeah. It’s interesting

Reid Morris: in that I feel like in the last few episodes we’ve had a number of people on who are. On some level subject matter experts in different approaches to managing mindset. Right? And even from the difference between say Kevin Bailey, who obviously works directly in that space, to Gary, who does coaching for executives, but also has a very unique story for how he got to that sort of mindset.

It’ll be interesting to see, Well, each of these individuals uses largely different tools. They have different tactics and ways about going, channeling that intuition, sort of seeing the relationship and what commonalities there are between how Chip goes about it and you know, leaning into Engram versus whatever these other frameworks are that we’ve talked about.

It’ll be kinda interesting to see how those all work together and how people can pull a thread for maybe each of them use different tools from different conversations to sort of come together

Joe Mills: when we get back together after the interview, it’ll be fun to talk about where was it different than what we’d heard before.

Mm-hmm. and like where do we go from here? Yeah, that sounds great. So Chip, thanks for coming on. I’d love just to start, how do you describe what you all. And what your business seeks to accomplish for

Chip Neidigh: people. Yeah, so we’re a team of five. All of us are consultants and coaches, and we fundamentally do two things.

We work as individual, one-on-one, confidential coaches for CEOs and executive teams. And the second thing that we do is we work as consultants to help before or build that CEO executive team into a higher trust, higher function team. So we typically catch CEOs when they’re looking at the future and they think, You know what?

I’ve got a pretty big gnarly objective here. I sometimes refer to as a grand vision for the future. And they look around at their executive team, they’re like, We’re good. We’re gonna need to be better to get to that place that I want to get to. And I know it’s my job as CEO to get us to be in a better place.

And there are things I don’t know yet about leadership, about my team, about where I’m trying to go and I’m gonna need help. And so when we find a CEO who’s got that humility, that vision, and that will to do the hard work that’s required to take a good team and make them elite or excellent, that’s where we catch them and that’s where we do our best.

You differentiate

Joe Mills: between coaching and consulting in the way you talk about that? How do you see the

Chip Neidigh: difference? Yeah. Sometimes you’ll hear people talk about group coaching, and I think that’s a legitimate term in my mind. Coaching is one on one. It is to create a space for someone where they can explore whatever they need to.

Typically, we want to give people deeper insights about themselves, about the environment around them. If I’m in a coaching conversation and somebody starts to complain about somebody else, I let them go on for about two and a half minutes, and I say, We could go on all day, and I’m sure that is a very horrible person that you’re talking about, but let’s talk about your reaction to this person and what needs to change inside of you.

So within coaching, there’s a lot of conversations that I hope invite transformation, right? So it’s transforming mindsets, sometimes transforming values, transforming perspectives, transforming attitudes. All of those things are essential for people to grow. When we talk about consulting, it’s about how do we take an executive team on a journey?

From point A to point B, you know, you need to be a higher trust, higher function executive team. How do you get there? So CS Lewis talked about humans in a group being like ship’s information on the C and they are trying to stay in formation as they’re going to a destination. And if the internal machinery within each individual ship breaks down, well the ships are gonna run into each other.

And if the station keeping between the ships breaks down, well the ships are gonna run into each other. And so I see the work that we do as fundamentally the coaching is about the internal machinery and the consulting is about the station keeping between the individuals relationships.

Joe Mills: Yeah, it sounds like, And each person on executive team is individually coached and the group is coached?

Or is it just the CEO is

Chip Neidigh: coached typically and then the group is coached together? We coach somewhere between what I would describe as a critical mass of executives or all executives, depending on what their appetite is. Got it. We don’t have to be coaching everybody. And in fact, if somebody doesn’t want to be coached, we don’t want to coach them.

that would feel uncomfortable. Well, I’d say the cardinal sin of consulting is wanting something for somebody else more than they want it for themselves. Mm. Which is very dangerous. Yeah, that’s true in life. I found .

Joe Mills: So when you’re going through school mm-hmm. and somebody asks you what major are you? And then what are you gonna do afterward?

Yeah. I do not think that your response was, I’m gonna be a certified igram coach and I’m gonna coach executives and consult with their teams.

Chip Neidigh: How did we get here? That’s a long story. Please, . We’re a long form cast. I think there’s a through line in my life of building leaders catalyzing change and all of the roles that I’ve had professionally, I’ve morphed them into something that was more suited to me than the job description said.

And I don’t know that this was intentional, it just sort of happened this way. So like did you see that from the very beginning, like right outta school? I did. You mentioned major in college. I went to the Naval Academy and I was like, well, I’m kind of attracted to English as a major. And I’m kind of attracted to systems engineering.

Those are different. I’ve always been a little bit of a, uh, balanced interest. I think, you know, humanities and more hard sciences. I don’t know. That’s a good thing. I mean, you spread yourself too thin and you’re not really good at anything. Have you read range? I have not.

Joe Mills: Yeah. Pick it up. Okay. I think you’ll find it interesting.

I, and maybe

Chip Neidigh: reassuring I acknowledge your request that I pick up range and, and read it. Lately I’ve found I’m getting about a 10th of the way through most books and just like, ah, I chuck into the sign. Oh, interesting. Let’s talk about that. I think a lot. We’re gonna have so many rabbit trails here.

Mm-hmm. , just rabbit. Trail to rabbit. Trail to rabbit trail. Yep. I am in a season of life where a lot has shifted and seems to continue to shift within me and when there are things that I think I’ll be interested in and I start digging into them and I’m like, No, I guess I’m really not interested. That’s not where my mind is or my heart is right now.

Or I read something that I think this is something I should read. Invariably I get no more than a third of the way through and I’m like, I don’t know what I’m doing here. I’m not gonna waste any more time on this book. Okay.

Joe Mills: That’s where I want to go. Okay. The should versus what you want to dive into.

Yeah. If I feel like I should read something. Mm-hmm. , or if somebody who I respect, maybe it’s an authority figure to somebody who I think is smart and I should follow in their steps, says, You should read this, take this course, et cetera. Regardless of how much drudgery it feels like for me, it will be done.

You made a really interesting distinction between, I think I want to versus I should. Can you just talk about that a little

Chip Neidigh: bit? Yeah. I think there’s an additional dynamic in that is that as I’m changing sometimes I think I want to, and then by the time, you know, the book arrives from Amazon 48 hours later, or from thrift books 13 days later.

I’m thinking, do I really wanna read this? So there’s part of that I don’t do a whole lot of should. I grew up in a family where my dad always established a very high standard of integrity. He had a strong sense of obligation and duty, and I think some of that wore off on me. Well, you went to the Naval Academy, which I did.

Has to be part of it. Oh, that was sort of a whim I think more than anything else.

Joe Mills: Okay. How do you win into the Nav Naval Academy? Those things are not easy to get into.

Chip Neidigh: I applied to one academic institution of higher learning and that was the Naval Academy. Only I, You’re like, I did, and my girlfriend at the time, now wife, she was like, Well, what if you don’t get in?

And I’m like, Oh, probably just go to Purdue or something. And she’s like, Have you applied? I’m like, No. She’s like, That might be a problem. I’m pretty sure they’ll let me in , which is, you know, the stupidity of an 18 year old. I didn’t know what I was.

Joe Mills: Stupidly and ultimate. I like to say that your ultimate level of cockiness is 21 or 22 years old, but eighteen’s pretty high too.

Chip Neidigh: I was gonna say it was pretty high all throughout that I, Yeah, I went to a career counselor in high school. It was a legendary guy in Indianapolis named Jack Faley. And he gave me a career test and he got me and we were tape recording the interview cuz it, it’s gonna be so mind blowing about how awesome it was.

And he’s like, Well, according to your tests, you should probably be a bus driver or an optometrist or a military officer. And he said, Have you considered a surface academy? And I said, What’s a service academy? And then we were often running, so I never really wanted to go to West Point, checked out the Air Force Academy, too much glass and concrete and lackadaisical attitude.

I went to the Naval Academy and visited, set one step on the yard. I said, This is it. I’m going here. I had no idea what I was getting myself in. Did you love it? Like did it hit for you? Do you know much about the naval? Not

Joe Mills: a ton. I had a friend to go to West Point, and I know some people who have gone to Naval, but I don’t know a ton about it.

Chip Neidigh: Yeah. Somebody once I think accurately described it as a $200,000 education shoved up your ass one nickel at a time, , and that, That felt about right to me. I mean,

Joe Mills: okay, this is my perception, and I don’t know if it’s true or not, but you mentioned I don’t do a lot of shoulds. Mm-hmm. , I feel like the military is a

Chip Neidigh: world of shoulds.

Well, okay, so first of all, anytime you’re entering the military, you’re gonna have something like a bootcamp experience. So if you’re enlisted as a Marine, you’re gonna go to bootcamp. If you’re an officer of Marines, you’re gonna go to Officer Candidate school. The variety I went through was called Bulldog, and there’s gonna be some sort of what feels like hazing to you, whether it’s actually hazing or not.

Often people who are entering the military, that’s the hardest thing they’ve really ever done. Not everybody, but for many people. For me, it was absolutely the case. And my introduction to the military is plebe or freshman year at the Naval Academy, and the first part of that is Plebe summer, which is two months of very difficult.

For a 17 year old training, I entered at 155 pounds pretty lean. I left, uh, the end of Plebe summer at 135 pounds. I looked like a pow, I mean, it was brutal. And for some reason I attracted an awful lot of attention from the upperclassmen. And I think it’s because when I have any level of contempt for anybody else, I wear it on my sleeve and they can see it quite clearly.

And then that seemed to attract a lot of attention from people who wanted to try to beat that out of me, and they never did. So, yeah. You said, did I enjoy. The first year was just brutal. And I think even a couple years after I was outta the academy, I thought, Oh man, I took that so seriously. I kind of wish I didn’t take it so seriously at the time, but then I wonder if I hadn’t taken it so seriously, would I have gotten kicked out for some reason?

Mm. So it was kind of an interesting dynamic at the time.

Joe Mills: What does taking it seriously mean?

Chip Neidigh: You know, somebody’s yelling at you about how your shoes aren’t shin, and you’re like, Yeah, my shoes aren’t shined. I gotta do better next time. And at some point you’re like, How much shine do you really need on these shoes?

Joe Mills: Interesting. Yeah. I mean, I feel like when I’ve talked to you, and even right now, I just feel like there’s like this underlying level of rebellious. You think just like gonna do it

Chip Neidigh: my way. Yeah, but sometimes you can’t, right? Yeah. Like especially when you are young and that could mean, you know, child or even young adult, like you tend not to have much authority, much power and you sometimes have to knuckle under cuz you’re like, this is the way I have to survive.

I have to knuckle under this authority, I have to submit to it. And submitting to authority has never been a strong suit of mine. The main reason I started my own company is cause I didn’t wanna have a boss anymore. And that’s not a great reason to start your own thing. . I, It’s not what keeps me going now.

Yeah. And I also think, I wonder how healthy it is to not have a boss, like, especially people who don’t have a boss from a very young age. I think that does things to de deform character and it’s a little distort. . Interesting. But before we go down that rabbit trail, Yeah. I just wanna make a comment that I think what was so cool to me about the Naval Academy, I didn’t, I mean, things certainly lighten up.

After your plebe year, you start gaining privileges and authority and then before you know it, you’re training the underclassmen. And I loved it because it was just this four year leadership laboratory. Mm-hmm. , try this, try that. I mean, you were given responsibility at such a young age with what, to me, in retrospect, looks like not very much supervision and you can just try out a bunch of stuff and figure out what works.

And a lot of people fell into what I would call beaten child syndrome, which they were led air quotes in a particular way. And so they thought, Well, I have to lead that way. And my attitude is always like, Man, you get this much freedom. Like try some things out. See what works for you. Stumbled into what started to work for me.

And I wasn’t a yeller. I wasn’t a screamer. I always figured people could put more pressure on themselves than I could put on them externally. So I just try to motivate them and tap into some of their intrinsic stuff, and that was maybe no less cruel, but it seemed to fit me better as a way to try to influence

Joe Mills: people.

It’s an interesting parallel between what you’re doing now and what you were doing at 19, 20, 21 years old.

Chip Neidigh: Yeah. I mean, I’d like to think I have a little more wisdom now, and I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but you look back at who you were five years ago or sometimes even a year ago, and you’re a little bit embarrassed by that.

That happens to me very often. Yeah. So I look back at 21 and I’m not embarrassed cuz it’s so long ago, but I look and I’m like, whew, that guy didn’t know a whole lot. Mm-hmm. , he thought he did. Mm-hmm . And then I have to look at me at 51 and think this guy thinks he knows an awful lot and he knows more than he did at 21, but there’s an awful lot he doesn’t know.

There’s a

Joe Mills: theory in sales, it’s called the dummy curve. Yeah. Starting out with asking all the questions you should ask because you don’t know any better. Yeah. And then you learn a little bit and you stop asking questions because you think you know everything. Right. Gotta du up. Then you fail and then you are like, Oh, I need to go back to it and what I did and then you, then you ask questions cuz you know you need.

Yeah, and you

know

Chip Neidigh: how much you don’t know. So not just in sales, I’ve found in life, this is one of the things that I slip into all the time. I’m a very intuitive decision maker, so once I get the thread of what I think the truth is, I latch onto it and 95% of the time I’m right. But that 5% really

Joe Mills: bites me.

Yeah. So you mentioned came outta school, you had English and like hard sciences. Mm-hmm. , um, you said systems engineering, correct? Correct. So what’d you do when you got out? You have some time as an officer, right? That Correct. Are into, and then you transitioned, Why’d you transition outta the military?

Chip Neidigh: Yeah, so after seven years, my wife and I had our first kid, a daughter.

And I realized, and not that this was a surprise to me, but I just thought with more conviction, the threat of instant deployment worldwide for combat operations and raising a family, there’s some tension there. And I decided I was gonna prioritize raising this family with some stability. I also had some notion that corporate America was a meritocracy,

And so you’re laughing. Did you not experience that? No, not at all. You know, I have seen that the profit motive. Does drive some level of excellence everywhere it exists because people, even if that’s not their primary motive, if you look at in government and not for profits, oftentimes you can see there isn’t pressure when people are performing poorly to do anything about it.

And you see in a for-profit environment, there’s at least some pressure that creates some uplift towards excellence, which I’ve absolutely appreciated about all of my time in business. But I also, my first job was with a company called Guidance Corporation, cardiovascular medical device manufacturer. And our margins were so thick, you know, you turn the crank, it makes money.

There’s a lot of opportunity for inefficiency. And so I just realized no matter where you are, like there’s gonna be pressures and there are other times where you’re not feeling any pressure. Mm-hmm. , it goes in, you know, cycles and seasons and depends on the economy and what kind of business. So you got into corporate America in medical device sales?

Mm-hmm. , not sales. I wasn’t selling the company.

Joe Mills: Not sales. Medical devices. Correct. Just take me on the path of how we got to where we’re at now. Like started there, officer into a company that sold medical devices. Yeah. And how did Kairo come about? How did you start falling into this

Chip Neidigh: world? Yeah. I spent a couple years with guidance in the Twin Cities.

I did project management for r and d organization and then I did business process re-engineering for our r and d organization and then came down to Indianapolis, get closer to family. My wife Kim, her family’s here and my parents are here. And we were pregnant with our second child at that time. And I did a finance role by this point.

I had a, an MBA in finance and information systems. And so I thought, yeah, I’ll do a finance role, get me closer to home and. Didn’t really enjoy finance a whole lot. It was finance for sales people. So it was a lot of forecasting, not hardcore finance. It was like, Hey, let’s think in terms of profit, not revenue.

And I became an Excel jockey. I became very adept at Xcel. That’s, you know, on my re real feather in my cap there. Yeah. Seems like something you just loved. I mean, making Excel Sing is sort of like computer programming. Sure. Like when you hit compile and it actually does what you want it to do, there is a little bit of a fist pump.

But then you’re onto programming or you know, putting whatever you’re doing in the next spreadsheet. So I got to the point where I automated all the processes I needed to do, and I could do my finance job in about a quarter of the time that they were paying me to do it. Yeah. So I had a lot of free time on my hands.

And what I did is I started wandering around the three and a half floors that we had of the bank, one tower. And I just started talking to people and I’d sit in their cubes for an hour and I’d just start hearing what’s going on in their life and digging in. And sometimes I had something smarter, insightful to say, and sometimes I’d just listen.

And even now I tell my team, there’s a trained monkey standard of coaching, which is if you took your coaching client and you put them in a chair and opposite them, you had a stool and you put the trained monkey on the stool and the stool just stayed put in the monkey listened for an. Without saying anything, it’ll be really good for the client.

We have to be better than the trained monkey. Mm-hmm. . But at least there’s a minimum standard we realize. And sometimes I would just listen to people and sometimes as I said, I’d have an insight or maybe a suggestion. In retrospect, I call myself the unofficial corporate chaplain of guiding during that time

Cause I was just going around and listen to people’s problems and talking to people. Yeah. And I really enjoyed that. I enjoyed that a lot more than I enjoyed my finance stuff. And so when it was time to leave, I had worked with a couple of consultants from McKinsey as we were being acquired. And I thought that consulting looks really fun.

So I hung out a shingle and my intention was to do change management consulting, organizational change management for healthcare in central Indiana. That was my idea. And my first client was a blower fan manufacturer in northern Illinois doing excel modeling for their blower fan performance curves for their marketing materials.

So right on point, exactly what I was trying to do perfectly inside your target market. And the money was green and I was never so happy to get my first check. And then two years into doing the role, I was doing change management. Not so much for exclusively healthcare companies, but in Central and Indiana and other.

And so it sort of evolved into Sure, into what I was looking for. And then over time I realized I don’t like this change management stuff as much as I like the leadership stuff. And so just focus exclusively on leadership over time. Started building a small team that became a little bit of a larger team.

And I think of us as a pretty strong team, best team I’ve ever been a part of, including all the teams I’ve been in corporate America and in the military. So that’s how we got to where we are. How’d

Joe Mills: the agram happen though? Yeah,

Chip Neidigh: so Cause you

Joe Mills: were, before it got popular, it got popular like six to

Chip Neidigh: eight years ago.

Yeah, I think that’s probably about the time I started paying attention to it. Okay. I had known about it probably 12 years ago and read a cursory summary of what the Agram was and it was like from some biblical perspective that kind of, not because it was a biblical perspective, but just I was like, this is like a horoscope.

It seems like Christian horoscope to me or something. Voodoo magic, not impressed. Moving on. And then a friend of mine named Daniel Fuller we’re having a beer, and he said, Have you heard of the Enneagram? And I said, Yes, it’s Voodoo Magic. I’m not interested. He goes, he goes, Let me ask you a couple questions.

And he asked me a few things that felt like he was reading my mail. And I thought, Hmm, maybe there’s more to this than I had assumed. So I started investigating. And then once I started cringing at the accuracy of it, you know, my journey was like the first year I encountered the Engram, which was about seven years ago, I thought, Well, clearly I’m an eight on the Engram.

I’m a type eight. I’m not any other types, but only like 60% of this stuff really fits for me. And then I found in year two, I was like, Okay, maybe 70% of it fits for me. And then I found by year three, I was like, Okay, maybe 90% of it fits for me. And when I read something about a type eight, I’m like, eh, 98% of it fits for me.

And so I think my ego was defended against the truth at the Ingram had for me. And as I’ve let my ego defenses. Come down, I’ve been able to hear truth about me that I wasn’t ready to hear before. Mm-hmm. , which has been really helpful and I find that’s true for most people. Like when they read about their type, all of it doesn’t seem to fit perfectly.

But over time, more and more of it seems to fit as they dig deeper and deeper and realize, yeah, this is probably true about me. I never thought that was true about me. I don’t know if that’s been your experience as you’ve been digging into it as well. Yeah, I would say

Joe Mills: I’ve taken a little bit of a hiatus from digging into it because I’ve sort of ran out of resources.

Have you read Richard Roe’s Sacred

Chip Neidigh: Agram? I’ve read Richard Ro, The Engram, A Christian perspective. I haven’t read the other. I

Joe Mills: think there’s a couple that he’s done, but I’ve read variety of things. The guy who wrote the Road back to you, what’s his name? Ian Kron. Thank you. Mm-hmm. saw him speak. He walked through it.

So I’ve done some stuff with it, but I’ve sort of bounced back and forth on like, am I fully a three with a four wing, or am I a four with a three wing? I can tell I need to dive in deeper because I have this sort of questioning in my head around what is it? And so yeah, I mean, I just, I’ve taken a little hiatus from lack

Chip Neidigh: of knowing where to go Next.

One simple question gives you the answer. I asked you this question before and you answered it, so I thought you had clarity, but we can do it again. Let’s, Let’s do it again. Okay. . So if you had to have only one of these, Sure. Which would you choose if you had other people believing that you were successful or other people believing that you were special and interesting, Which would you rather have?

Joe Mills: This changes daily. There are days where I’m like, Oh, it’s clearly successful. And then there are days where I’m like, No, no, I just wanna be interesting.

Chip Neidigh: So is it what’s underneath? In other words, on the days when you want to be special and interesting, is it because people perceiving you as special?

Interesting. Would also make them think you’re successful or on the days when you wanna be successful, Is it because being successful will make people think that you’re special and. It’s actually that one.

Joe Mills: Really? I think it is. All right. Maybe four. Who knows? Yeah. I don’t know. Okay. It’s interesting too, because if you were to ask my wife, like, she would be like, Oh, you’re a three.

And she’s way deeper into the Agram than I am. And she knows, She’s like, I’m not supposed to be like, you’re not supposed to type people. Right. But man, there’s something about the sort of like emotionality of fours that sort of speaks to me. Sure. But then the way that it’s presented often doesn’t really speak to me because I think it’s overly presented as like emotional and

Chip Neidigh: delicate artist.

Yeah.

Joe Mills: And that’s not who I am. Yeah. Or maybe my ego sound. I’m not who I am. I

Chip Neidigh: don’t know. So, So here’s the key, and you mentioned the road back to you. I think the road back to You is probably the best first book to read about the Enneagram. Mm-hmm. . My major critique of it is it’s too caricatured and it’s too behavioral.

Mm. And it’s a good way to access the Enneagram, but the key to understanding one’s Enneagram type is what is the underlying core motivation. Right. Because the more I’ve gotten into the engram, the more I’ve seen different people of different types, and they can show up very different from each other. So it’s not what you do, it’s why do you do what you do.

Right.

Joe Mills: Yeah, there’s some discovery for me to do on that. Think

Chip Neidigh: so. I think well, and what I recommend to people is think about the motivation of each type. So for an engram type three, as you probably well know, it’s I want other people to perceive me as successful because I attach my value to other people thinking that I’m successful.

And for an engram type four, it’s, I want other people to think that I’m special, unique, interesting. Because if they think that I’m special, unique, or interesting, then I’m valuable. The way that my face

Joe Mills: just moved says that I’m a four

Chip Neidigh: maybe, I mean, well, I feel very convicted by it. Well, what I recommend is, you know, try for a week or two each type and put it on like a sweater, wear it around and saying, Is that why I’m doing what I’m doing?

So as you notice yourself behaving, especially when you’re doing things that are compulsive, where you realize, Wait, that wasn’t a conscious decision. I just reacted and something came up there, felt like something deeper within me was driving the train there. Well, then you can actually start paying attention and maybe discern a little better.

So you’re starting

Joe Mills: to touch on one of the topics that we’ve seen come up a few times in the show, which is this sort of self-awareness and tuition or something where you, like, you understand yourself at a deeper level. Mm-hmm. , you mentioned in the last couple of years you’ve gone through a pretty big transformation period for yourself.

What’s

Chip Neidigh: been going on? What hasn’t been going on? Well, Richard Ro channels, David Brooks, or maybe it’s vice versa. In saying that in the first half of life we cultivate virtues in ourselves that build resume. And in the second half of life we cultivate virtues in ourselves that build eulogy, and we start to notice that the tools that have helped us.

Be successful, whatever that means for us in the first half of life, it starts to dawn on us that maybe these tools will be inadequate for the second half of life in the next part of the journey. So the things that have captured my attention, the things that have been most valuable to me, the things that I find my mind drifting towards feel just different now than they were 2, 3, 5 years ago.

So there’s been a slowing down, a more diffuse thinking pattern. I find it feels more scattered to me. Maybe that’s just early onset Alzheimer’s, I don’t know. But it feels, it feels more diffuse, like I’m just paying attention to more things and noticing connections in a way that I haven’t in the past.

And I think the biggest change for me is, you know, as an engram type eight, my underlying motivation is to take control. By dominating so that other people won’t take control of me, so that I won’t be weak, I won’t be taken advantage of. And my ego, when it feels like I might start to feel weak, something’s making me feel weak.

It starts to say, Hey, if you just take charge, you won’t feel weak again. That’s the pattern for an eight, right? But as I’m mature, I’m realizing I’m paying attention to the places where I have an agenda. And I’ve realized for most of my life, I’ve had an agenda for everything and everybody I’ve had something I’m trying to influence everywhere.

I’m always pushing on the boundaries, expanding my kingdom. I’m in a season now where I’m like, I’m noticing that more, and I’m realizing I don’t have to have an agenda here. I can just show up. I can be present. I can accept what comes. People have problems and challenges, and that’s theirs to own. And if they wanna invite me into that space, if I’m welcome in that space.

Great. My friend, Merf Kresky, he used to call me the emotional pry bar. And he said it sort of half respectfully and half resentfully, which is like, Man, it’s brutal when you put that cry bar and just like go into spaces, you’re not welcome. You always say something smart, but man, it’s kind of invasive. But I’m starting to respect other people’s boundaries more and realize that’s just important for them and their differentiation as humans.

Like I’ve always had strong boundaries to not let people like close to me, but I haven’t respected other people’s boundaries. And so for me to start noticing and respecting other people’s boundaries more, especially if I find myself triggered and I want to take charge and become dominant and you know, own all the space in a situation, that’s where I get in the danger zone.

So I’m noticing it quicker. I find that the drive to impose my agenda is lessening. And paradoxically, I think it’s probably giving me more influence.

Joe Mills: What do you think brought about the change? Normally change is, or at least this is my experience, all 29 years of me, there has to be some level of pain that initiates change, otherwise we fight

Chip Neidigh: it.

Yeah. I’ve been aware to some degree of damage that I can do relationally my whole life. When I was younger, I just didn’t care that much. My attitude was, if you’re not strong enough to handle me, that’s your problem. And I was less careful with other people. I showed up just the way I felt free to show up without much self-regulation or consideration of what the impact would be, other than I wanted to have a big impact and I frequently did, but that leaves some relational damage.

So part of what’s shifted is I have come to care more. The damage and recognize that I have a responsibility to create conditions where people feel safe and protected. I think the more I can create a big tent where people feel, Oh, this is comfortable here, this feels nice. It’s empowering to them, not in a way that they’re dependent upon me, but they feel bigger and stronger because somehow being in my presence helps them feel bigger and stronger because of the way I’m engaging with them.

I have to do that consciously. It’s not a natural thing that I do now. I mean the part of the growth curve where I’m consciously incompetent. Mm-hmm. and, and shifting towards consciously competent, hopefully decades from now, I’ll be unconsciously competent at doing that, and people just feel naturally protected around me.

I hope that’s what I’m shooting for. In any case,

Joe Mills: when you were starting to talk about this and I was going to ask you like, Oh, that sounds freeing, like to show up and not have to be the one that’s like dry and pulling, but then you mentioned, Well, I used to show up freely me. Which one feels more

Chip Neidigh: freeing for you?

I like that question. I think as we mature. It takes energy to, Oh, so I use the analogy of right-handed dribbling. I was pretty adept dribbling right-handed. You know, I was short enough. I played guard and I went to Taylor basketball camp when I was nine or 10, and pretty soon the people defending me realized I couldn’t go left.

So they just poach over to their left a little bit and shut down my driving lane. I had to pass. I was ineffective, couldn’t go to the hoop. And I started practicing there, dribbling left-handed. It felt really awkward, like I wasn’t good at it, but I got better, right? And eventually I got to the point where I could choose to go right or left on the court.

And that opened up possibilities for me. It always felt less comfortable and less competent to dribble left, but at least I had a choice now. And so many times as we’re maturing, there are things we do where we don’t realize we’re dribbling, right? It’s just the way we are. And once we start to realize that we have choice, then how often do we choose and practice the left-handed dribbling, Because that opens up possibility.

And as a leader, having choice means sometimes dribbling right-handed is app. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes I need to dribble left in this situation. Do I even have the opportunity to, or am I compulsively just gonna dribble? Right? Cuz I’ve never practiced dribbling left. So I’m in the position right now where I am gaining freedom by practicing something that feels not free.

So that’s the paradox of the growth, I think. And eventually I’ll get to the point where dribbling left probably doesn’t feel as, never feels as comfortable as dribbling, right? But I hope to get to the point where I’m not even conscious that it feels awkward. In this particular instance, which is a pretty important one of development.

Joe Mills: Yeah, I was gonna ask, what’s the point of all the discomfort of change?

Chip Neidigh: Yeah. Learning to dribble left. So there’s a Hebrew phrase called tycoon oam. It means loosely translated the healing of the world. So there are many names for God. One name for God is Yawe Rafa. Which means the great healer and the notion is that God is constantly taking this broken world and redeeming it, healing it to something that’s a more perfect unified state, and that God invites humans into that work and that we get to join into that flow and be part of the healing process.

So to me, that’s like a general calling to all humans. Like we have a role in not rendering shalom or breaking the piece, but redemption towards a more peaceful. So we all react to that call differently. Some of us are aware there’s a call, some of us are not aware. There’s a call. I think all of us have some sort of moral compass that points towards that call.

And for me, that’s the animating spirit of the work that we do in Cairos is how are we making a difference in the world that makes it a more unified, a more whole, a more healed place? And so that word healing is very important to me on my own journey because I’ve come to believe that in those places of brokenness and deformation in our character, it’s not just white knuckling a new behavior.

Oh, I’m dribbling right now. I need to dribble left and it’s gonna be hard as long as I try it. What we actually need is healing internally and those places of brokenness, and that’s what allows the ease of dribbling left, the choice of dribbling left. Tiffany

Joe Mills: has this thing she likes to say where, and it’s part of the reason that the mission for our business is to foster growth and change in people and business so they can change the world.

She talks about businesses don’t break people due. And business are just a collection of people. If I were to imagine somebody going out to start a business consultancy or working in consulting, your first thought potentially wouldn’t have been, I need to help the people get fixed. But when I think of Agram coaching and.

Agram consulting. Really the lens through which you do what you do, it’s very people-centric. Totally. Was that hard to break that wall of like, people go to work and you’re still you, but you kind of put on like them, put it on the suit and tie and I’m in work mode and the armor. Yeah. It’s all that like, I don’t wanna tell you about myself, just what’s your experience been like with that?

Chip Neidigh: I think part of it is people have created sort of a social or cultural expectation that you’re different at work than you are in the rest of your life. Mm-hmm. . Now, I don’t think that’s universally true, but there’s certainly probably most of us have had some experience of that where you start to reveal some of who you really are.

And you get a signal that says, No, no, we don’t do that here. Or it’s not safe, You know, it feels shameful or whatever happens to you. You have an experience that’s sort of a wounding experience and you think, Well, that wasn’t fun. I’m not gonna do that again. And you shut that part of yourself down, you don’t bring it to work anymore.

So we’ve been thinking a lot about psychological safety in our work, and we realize as we think back on the past 16 years of our work, and I’ve the only one on the team who’s been there the full 16 years. But there are many times where I think if we had done a better job creating a foundation of psychological safety, it would’ve been a more stable platform and we would’ve been more sure footed and our clients would’ve been more sure footed in some of the hard work that we’d invited them into.

So within that psychological safety, the analogy that we’ve been using is a high jumper and psychological safety has two components. One, Courageous revelation. And then the second is support or reward of that revelation. So you think of a high jumper doing the fosbury flop into a cushion. The courage is the leap, and then the cushion is the soft landing.

Are we rewarding or supporting somebody when they make the leap? And too often people jump and they land on concrete and they’re like, I’m not jumping again. And the people within a team who aren’t the courageous revealers have an obligation. If they’re gonna try to create psychological safety of building up a pad, right?

It’s like when you say something that’s hard for you to say, Do I say thank you? Hey, that was a gift to me because of, am I curious, do I wanna learn more about that? Or just let us sit there like a lead balloon or do an eye roll, or you know, kind give the sideways glance to somebody next to me. So I’ve become fascinated with the processes that are required to build psychological safety.

And we’re incorporating that into everything that we do. Because people can’t grow unless there’s a place for them to bring their whole selves, you know? So there’s belonging, like how do I bring not just my work self, but all of myself and do I belong here? Or will I be rejected for who I am? And that to me is like the best type of inclusion, right?

Can I bring my full self? Mm-hmm. and then there’s, can I give performance feedback like you’re doing something that’s not working for me? Can I tell you that? Cuz it takes some courage for me to reveal that depending on how you’re gonna react or others around might react. Can I share an unusual idea?

Maybe a Zaney idea. , maybe a risky idea. What will happen if I do that? Will you punish that or will you reward that? And can I challenge sacred cows or do I get beaten down when I challenge a sacred cows? So I’m not gonna do that anymore. So there’s different areas where we need to courageously reveal. To answer your original question, I think most people want to reveal more.

They don’t have the space or the context in which it has been proven safe to them to reveal more. Most people don’t think I really am excited about lacing on the armor to go to work, be tough, and then come home and finally I get to take it off. Like what I envision is if somebody’s taking the armor off when they get home, it’s like, Oh, I get to be myself again.

Wouldn’t it be great if people could come to work and say, Ah, I can be myself here. Do you think people struggle

Joe Mills: with knowing who their

Chip Neidigh: self. Do you? Yeah.

Joe Mills: Okay. I think from the question I do, . Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. I guess maybe I’m asking it cause I wanna know if it’s

Chip Neidigh: normal. I’ll throw an engram answer back to you.

I think it’s universal that nobody fully knows themselves. So there’s a lifelong journey of self-discovery that we’re all on. I think certain engram types have a more difficult time with that than others. Twos, threes and fours in the heart triad tend to create some sort of reality distortion field.

They’re projecting an image and there’s a risk that they start to believe that image, right? So they believe their own propaganda and then it gets confusing. Well, who am I really? And I think for threes especially, they’ve been playing a role for so long trying to meet other people’s expectations. And the way Wes, who’s a and you four on my team, describes it.

He’s like, Yeah, I’ve been spinning up this image for so. I think I need to keep spinning it up. What happens if I stop spinning it up? Seems like it might be catastrophic. I guess I’ll just keep spinning it up. Fours have a natural check mechanism there. Four is value authenticity. So when they’re inauthentic and they’re spinning up this image, they kind of hate themselves for it.

So there’s a natural tension there. And twos are often unaware that they’re spinning up an image of being the helpful one. I don’t have any problems. You’ve got the problems. I’ll help you meet your needs. So I think for folks in the heart, try it can be more difficult, but absolutely all humans struggle with a sense of identity.

I was talking to my therapist recently and we were talking about. My own insecurity. And she’s like, Well how does that affect your sense of identity? And I’m like, I think I have a pretty strong sense of identity and yet I still feel insecure. So I don’t know. And she’s like, Good. I like that answer. So I’ve been saying I don’t know a lot to her just to get the gold stars

That’s not true. I’d say I don’t know when, I don’t know, but I feel more comfortable saying, I don’t know than I used to in the past. Yeah. Well that was a way,

Joe Mills: roundabout way of, No, it’s, It’s interesting cuz do you think people show up better as they get more understanding

Chip Neidigh: of who they are? I believe all humans want to be known and seen and loved.

And love is not a word that we talk a lot about in the workplace, but I define love. I’m stealing from Greg Boyd who says love is affirming the worth of another through sacrifice. And if I’m going to be on a team, I’m called at times to sacrifice because other people are worth it, and sometimes that sacrifice means I’m gonna have to put some effort into dribbling left-handed.

I’m gonna have to put some effort into self-regulation, do things that are hard for me because other people need that from me. That’s a way to love my coworkers. So that’s the way I think about that. It’s interesting

Joe Mills: because I feel like a lot of what you do is help people uncover their own motivations and tendencies and their own right-handed dribbling.

Totally. Where do you recommend people start? Cause I do think that for people who are trying to figure that out, the question is like, what’s step one?

Chip Neidigh: Yeah. Most people have horrible feedback loops, inadequate feedback channels, and to get more robust feedback channels, there’s a couple things that we can do.

One is we can ask. And there’s a persistence that’s required in starting up a journey of asking for feedback. Because most people, when you ask the first time, they’ll say, Hey, you’re doing great. Or they’ll do something that’s kind of weak sauce feedback. Cause they don’t wanna hurt your feelings. And unless you’re persistent in saying, I really want feedback, and I’ve found there’s actually a powerful set of two questions that can bypass some of people’s defenses around doing this.

One is, what’s the one thing I’m doing that’s most contributing to team? And what’s the one thing I’m doing that’s most getting in the way of team success? And that’s a good conversation starter. No guarantee people will answer it honestly, but at least it’s a precise set of two questions that gets people going in the right direction.

And then the second thing is, am I going to be a soft place to land when people courageously reveal and jump the high bar, right? So if somebody gives me feedback, do I respond defensively? Do I try to justify or do I ask curious questions to try to understand more? Even what can be helpful is say, Hey, thanks for the feedback.

I’m gonna think about that. I’ll come back to you in a couple days with some questions if I have any. If you ask for feedback, people give you feedback and you never close the loop and never do anything with the feedback. You don’t earn the right for more feedback. So what you’re probably getting a sense of is, Answer around what’s a good place to start is we need people in community to tell us what’s not working for them.

Because community is where our personalities rub up against other people’s personalities. And unless we understand what we’re doing that isn’t working for the people around us, we don’t know where to start. We think I’m just showing up the way. I show up, I’m doing the best I can with what I know, which is true for most of us, right?

Like we do the best we can with what we know, but when people don’t give us information that we need in order to improve, well, how are we gonna improve? So creating a culture where people give each other robust feedback is essential to a high function team. Most teams don’t have that.

Joe Mills: So my immediate desire was to just nod my head and like, Oh yeah, it makes sense.

But how do you like juxtapose that with, Let’s use the heart triad. I’m the Heart Tri. Mm-hmm. , who wants to spin up a story that other people like. Yeah. And so you can take feedback and be like, I’ll just spin myself to make them like me. You know, you do See what I’m saying? I do. How do you

Chip Neidigh: do that? And I will say this, that I’m, I’m totally an engram homer, right?

Like it’s not a perfect model, but it is a very useful personality model. Yeah. Especially for the type of work that we do, The way we create a stable foundation with our clients, the first thing that we do when we’re working with them as a team is build some level of agram fluency and start to build psychological safety on the team.

Cuz that’s the stable platform we need. And we use the language of being in on someone’s joke. So you know, I’m an Enneagram eight. If you see me in a meeting, start to bow up, start to get animated, use what Aise on my team calls my irritable and intensity. You start to see this, you can say, Hey Chip, what are you feeling weak about right now?

And not because you’re mean and you hate me, it’s because you love me and you want me to be better and you want to interrupt my pattern and I can say, I’m starting to amp this up here. Yes. What do I feel weak about? That’s a very in on the joke kind of question. Right. I’m in on the joke. I wasn’t my whole life up until age 45, I didn’t know that’s why I would dominate.

Mm-hmm. , But now I’m in on the joke. Well, in the moment

Joe Mills: you weren’t. Right, Right. They, they gave you permission to be in on the joke again. Yes,

Chip Neidigh: that’s right. That’s exactly right. That’s a great way to say it. I had forgotten the joke, and somebody’s reminding me of the joke with a twinkle in their eye and a little bit of, you know, a smile as they’re saying, Hey Chip, what are you feeling weak about right now?

And I can reset. And, you know, for each of the nine Ingram types, we have pattern interrupt questions we can ask to help them get back in on the joke in the moment. So if you have somebody who’s doing that reality distortion field, you might ask, Hey, is there some place where you’re feeling like you’re at risk of not being successful right now for a three or for a four?

It’s, is there a place where you’re not feeling seen or heard or loved? Right. Are you feeling like you’re not special right now? And for a two, it’s like, what is your need right now? Hmm. What do you need? Like you’re trying to meet my needs, but what do you really need here? Mm-hmm. . So the questions we can ask to get somebody to like, you know, a little bit of a record scratch, like, Okay, back up that truck.

That’s right. I’m in a journey here. What I’m bringing isn’t working. Mm-hmm. . So we say human growth occurs best and is sustained best in community. So how do you forge a group of people, one into a team, and then how do you forge a team into a community? This is interesting.

Joe Mills: I love where this is going because the thread we’ve been pulling on is like this motivation for growth.

And what we’ve been hearing is that it really needs to come from internal and a lot of that has been individual self development work, like things like meditation, things that bring you back to center on your own and where you are adding to that conversation is in this sense of community. Totally.

Which is awesome. I love it. And I think it’s actually more attainable for a lot of people because there’s a skill and a practice and a a learning curve to the meditation thing and the self-reflection thing. And there is for sure in community as well, but it’s a little more, you have like a team. It makes it a little bit easier, I think.

How do you start down that path? How do you start down building that community?

Chip Neidigh: One, you need a leader of that team to. Because if leader of that team doesn’t want to create that community, you will not have a community. Like it is so hard to create community underneath a leader who’s not interested in it.

So you need pull, from my experience, like it’s so difficult to do it if the leader isn’t bought into it. So we always start with the CEO of an organization. So the first thing we do when we’re working with any client organization is we will coach the CEO for a few months before we even engage with the rest of the team.

Because we want to understand, can we create a high trust relationship between Cairos and that ceo? Can we help that CEO get in on their own joke? Can we start them on a transformational journey that gets them excited and say, Wow, I wanna export this to some other people. Well, what can we do with the team?

So that’s number one, is you need the CEO or the leader of the team to be bought into it. The second thing that I would say is you need a vision, and I’ll full credit to Wes on my team who’s been beating this drum for me for like three years and I finally started listening, is you need an executive team that understands what its purpose is.

And it’s not an information sharing group where each silo comes up and tells the other people what they’re doing. It’s, there’s something we’re trying to achieve as an organization and as a team that we can’t achieve. , unless we actually collaborate as a team and are a high function, high trust organization.

And if you don’t have the clear vision of why that group of senior leaders is together and needs to be together and working together well, they’re not gonna be forged into a team. They’re just gonna be siloed leaders who are on their individual journeys. Mm-hmm. . And that’s kind of a black and white way to look at it.

I mean, of course they can start to collaborate on things, but if there’s nothing important for them to collaborate on, you’re not gonna get that friction that forces them to mature. Do you bring a lot

Joe Mills: of your work into your life? Yes. Do you see a distinction between the two? No. So how does it show up in your, for the imagining so that it’s easy to frame?

Mm-hmm. work and life. How has this shown

Chip Neidigh: up in your whole. I’m constantly guessing at other people’s Enneagram types. I’m frequently wrong and that’s okay. Like I’m paying attention to motivations, trying to figure out what makes people tick more in my home life. My daughter is 22. I have a son who’s 19 and I have a son who’s 16 and my wife and I have been married.

We’ll be. 28 years next month. Congratulations. You. Yeah, it’s cool. I love it. She’s my best friend. My wife’s an Engram six. My daughter’s an Engram six. My middle son is a Engram five, and my youngest is a clone of me. He’s an Engram eight. And it has been incredibly helpful in my parenting of my children to know what they have claimed as their own engram types and to be in on the joke together.

And you know, I think there’s certain things when you’re in your young twenties or teens that you just don’t know about life and they still don’t, and it’s okay, like there’s maturation, but at least they’ve got some framework for what a maturation journey looks like that they didn’t have before. And it’s a common language for our conversations around growth.

My wife and I, eights and sixes are really good together in a crisis. And when there is no crisis, we can sort of manufacture some drama. And so we’re aware of that. And I would say up till for the first 17 years of our marriage, we didn’t fight a lot, but we didn’t have particularly fair fights. And then we started having more fair fights.

And once we started learning the Engram, it was like, okay, we’ve got some angles on this. So we fight like every couple does and we have good resolution to those and we’re fighting a lot more fair and we let our kids see it. We’re like, Yeah, when I grew up I didn’t see Healthy Conflict. When Kim grew up, she didn’t see healthy conflict.

I’m like, we’re gonna show these kids what healthy conflict looks like. So friendships, I see a lot of engram stuff when I when I have two groups of friends, like World’s Collide. You’re in a coffee shop with three people, then you know two other people, you know, walk in. I introduce, I’m like Dave and Todd, this is, you know, Sally and Jim.

I’m like, Engram 4, 6, 8, and three. And they’re like, Oh, okay. So it’s like a little shorthand cuz when worlds collide. Yeah. It’s just like you can learn so much about somebody with their engram type that it just, it’s a shortcut to certain things where you know you’re in on each other’s joke.

Joe Mills: I really like the phrase of in on each other’s joke cause it’s true.

And when I run into people who are, and somehow it comes with a conversation. Oh, you also know and respect the Enneagram framework. It’s sort of like a, Oh, we can talk about that now. Yeah,

Chip Neidigh: there’s just sort of like, Ah, well, I mean, there’s so much that’s so deep. You can talk about instantly if you know someone’s engram type, if you’re welcome, right?

There’s the risk of being like me, the emotional pride bear, where I’ll just go deep immediately. Part of my journey is trying to figure out how do I be safe for people, Test depth and figure out if people want to have that deep conversation. But I also find that if people know that I have their best interest in mind, they’ll let me ask the most obnoxious questions and we get into a good conversation.

So you’ve been in

Joe Mills: this season of change and growth for the last couple of years. Do you feel like you’re in the middle of it, or do you see the sort of next season? Starting.

Chip Neidigh: There’s a book by Hagberg and Golic called The Critical Journey. My friend Steven Tyler turned me on this book four or five years ago, and it’s a six stages of spiritual maturation, and between stages four and five is what they call the wall.

The wall tends to happen in midlife. You can’t go over it, You can’t go around it. You have to go through it, and it feels like to me, I’m in the middle of the wall and it’s this thick hedge. You can make slow progress and you kind of move an arm and get six inches forward, and then you gotta kind of drag your body through.

And I feel like I can see the daylight from the other edge of the hedge. So I feel like I’m working through it. I have no illusions that there’s some other journey of maturation beyond that, and I’m actually looking forward to it. And what I’ve been so excited about, even though it’s a slog getting through the wall, I have seen the growth.

And so I can look back from who I was a year ago and be like, I like this progress. Not look at me, I’m growing, but it’s like I just feel better in this skin. This feels healthier for me and for the people around me. So I’m really enjoying that aspect of it. It’s not that every moment of growth and the pain that you experience feels good, but observing the entire journey and the trajectory feels really healthy for me.

So of course we never arrive. Mm-hmm. , I suspect even post death, we never actually arrive. But what do I know? I don’t have any experience with that yet. And so I’m getting through something like if I were gonna look at my life and rank how much change I’ve experienced in terms of growth, not an external change, but internal change I’ve experienced, I would rank my plebe year at the Naval Academy.

Number one, I would rank this past year as number two and the year before that as number three. So it’s like lot has been going on these past couple years. Is there

Joe Mills: any specific moment in the last year that we were like, Oh, that like highlights

Chip Neidigh: my change? Yeah, thankfully both of my parents are still alive.

My dad is 82 and my mom will be 80 this year and mentally sharp. When you’re that old you start seeing some physical decline. We had dynamics growing up as all families do that for us, were challenging power dynamics. My dad is an engram one. My mom’s an Engram nine, so that’s 8 91. All gut triad, all about control and influence and my brother’s an engram five, so like we were always having a power struggle and he’s like, I’m out, you guys go and fight for it, whatever it is.

I realized that, for example, with my dad in my adult relationship with. He was trying to influence me and I didn’t wanna be influenced by him. And I was trying to influence him and he didn’t wanna be influenced by me. I was like, Well, this isn’t working. And my therapist, Kim O’Connell, phenomenal therapist, she said, Well, why don’t you just drop the rope?

And I had this image of myself leaning back at 65 degrees, both hands on the rope. I had my heels dug into the slightly muddy ground, digging little furrows, you know, head thrown back, back arch, just white knuckle grip on this rope. And I thought, I’ve been in the same position for 45 years, and it’s exhausting.

Why don’t I just drop the rope? And so I just realized like, well, of course my dad, he’s human, he’s got his issues, I’ve got my own issues, his problems aren’t mine to solve. Mine aren’t his to solve, why don’t I just drop the rope? And something shifted in me where I was like, I experienced more gratitude for his parenting of me over the years.

Like I could look back at that. And I was like, Oh, I’m really appreciative of that. Like my respect for him increased somehow in my dropping the rope. And I was able to enjoy his presence more. So my dad is an engram one. His trying to shift my beliefs on a particular topic. What I realized is, oh, this is him loving me.

This isn’t him disapproving of me. This is his way of saying, Look, I love what I believe. I want you to believe it too. So I chose to receive that as love, as opposed to, you know, disapproval or rejection. And it just shifted my whole attitude about the whole thing. And I Haven had a similar journey with my mom.

That’s not the same details, but it’s a bit of a drop the rope kind of thing as well. And that’s happened within the. Two months, I think. And that feels to me like the biggest and quickest shift in my view of reality, where I felt like, oh, I experienced some healing in this. Like something healed in me.

And I think that’s got at work. So it’s not like I healed me, it’s I opened myself to healing and like, you know, when I cut my arm, it clots, it forms scar tissue, but I don’t understand how that works. I know there’s platelets in there somehow doing something right, But I don’t know how that works. And yet I don’t have to know how it works in order to be healed.

And I feel like spiritually, emotionally, that’s the same thing. Like we have wounding experiences, particularly I think when we open ourselves to God as best we understand God or the universe, or however you wanna look at that to healing, healing occurs. I feel like that was just really meaningful healing that.

Very quickly within me, shockingly quickly, such that I’m in a different place than I was before that happened. There’s a couple

Joe Mills: things that keep coming up, and it’s the freedom of allowing yourself to not take on other people’s burdens, challenges, problems, and like almost like having to solve them as a way to prove to yourself that you can, Right.

That you’re in control.

Chip Neidigh: That you have. Right, Right. Yeah. Well, it’s my agenda, right? Yeah. So anytime I had a conversation with my dad, I always went in with an agenda. I’m trying to convince him of something or block him from doing something that he was trying to do. And so if I just drop the rope and I don’t have an agenda, like he can bring an agenda if he wants to, and I’m, I can be okay with that.

Like I don’t have to be swayed by it. Like, it’s okay, you bring your agenda or not. Like it’s okay either way.

Joe Mills: You seem to have reached this point, or going through a period where you’re just very accepting of what. Yeah. And so as I ask the question of like, Ooh, what’s next? It’s almost like I don’t care.

It’s not that I don’t care in the sense of I don’t care, but it’s like a, it will

Chip Neidigh: be what it is. Yeah. Here’s what I know about it is life is a pattern of rupture and repair. And I used to think that if I was sad about something, something was wrong and it needed to be fixed. And I’ve come to the point, I’m like, Look, as an engram eight, I’m feeling repressed.

And I don’t know my emotions that well, I’m learning them. But I’ve come to realize like when I lose something, even if that’s an expectation of the future, the appropriate human response to that is sadness. So I allow myself to feel sadness, which I never used to let myself feel sadness cuz it felt weak.

So instead I’d just be angry. Or if I ever felt afraid instead of feeling afraid, I wouldn’t let myself feel that. I’d just feel. Well, now I’m like, okay, it’s okay. I’ve got anxiety. Let’s dig into that. What’s the anxiety about? That’s the human rollercoaster of emotions. It’s up and down. There’s joy.

There’s high highs, there’s low lows and rupture and repair. Like the way I look at the world is I think God is redeeming everything everywhere all the time. Like there is a redemptive arc to everything. And my job is just to get with that flow. And the more I resist it, the harder it is. And the more I accept it and flow with it, the easier it is.

Mm-hmm. , it’s like letting go of the white knuckle. Yeah. It’s surrender. Mm-hmm. . It’s, it’s surrender is what it is. And I haven’t historically been very good at surrender and I’m trying to learn to s. Yeah, I’m terrible at it too. Well, you’re also 29 you said. Yeah. Yeah. So give yourself some time like it’s hard.

Joe Mills: Yeah. Cause it feels like letting go ensures it won’t happen. And there, there’s, And the

Chip Neidigh: paradox is that it’s the exact opposite. . That’s the paradox. So the funny thing about the Enneagram is all of us have a strategy for getting our ego needs met. Now that’s either. For those in the gut triad, it’s power control influence.

For those in the heart triad, it’s sense of value, identity worth love from others. And for those in the head triad, five, six, and seven, that’s about safety and security. Paradoxically, the strategy that our engram compulsion uses short term gets that need met long term, gets us farther away from getting that need met.

So it’s like junk food versus healthy food. Mm-hmm. like it satisfies in the moment and then it disappears pretty quickly and you’re like, I want more. But we get addicted to the junk food our ego does instead of a healthier pattern. So for me, the healthier pattern, instead of dominate, take charge so that you can feel in control and have influence.

It’s let go, wait, surrender, be vulnerable, and then paradoxically you end up with more influence. Can I

Joe Mills: selfishly ask how that happens for a heart triad? So somebody who like myself, like Chase success, chase, uniqueness, chase. Sure.

Chip Neidigh: Specialty, if you will. Well, let’s, let’s pretend three, then we’ll pretend four.

Sure. Cause you’re still deciding. Yeah. I don’t know which one it is. Yeah. Which is great. And I would encourage you to be patient with that, right? Mm-hmm. like it’s okay that you don’t know which it is. It’s fine. And you may not know for two or three years, and that’s okay too. I can tell that

Joe Mills: I’m uncomfortable with the not knowing.

Yes. Like I feel it in my chest. Sort of like constricting. Yes.

Chip Neidigh: When I feel that Well, either you feel like you’re not successful or you’re not special enough for not knowing . Yeah. Maybe. Yeah. All right. So for a three, they think, I’m gonna make sure everybody around me believes that I’m successful and then I will feel valuable.

And so what they do is they project an image that is inauthentic, right? It’s sometimes called the deception of the three. And that inauthentic image, people be like, Oh man, that’s really impress. Yeah, you are impressive. Congratulations. And you’re like, Well, thank you. And it feels good for a moment. And then as soon as it’s done, you feel empty again, right?

You crave it. And so what you’re missing is an actual authentic human connection where people see you for who you are and love you for who you are. Because all you give them is something fake to love. So they can’t love you. They can’t accept you because you’re not even showing it. So the authenticity that’s required of a three is showing up who they truly are, including stating their needs and preferences, not trying to meet other people’s needs and preferences.

And then they start to get surprised that people actually like them and love them for who they are instead of who they’re projecting this image of success. And threes also have to learn that shame isn’t fatal cuz they’re working so hard to never feel that shame. But you can sit in shame. It’s okay, you’re not gonna die.

Just like I can sit in feeling weak and I’m not gonna die. So for a four, it’s projecting this image of being special or unique, but it’s also inauthentic. And it creates emotional liability or high highs and low lows that can be off putting for other people. So if I’m a four and I’m projecting an image of uniqueness, that’s weird.

It can actually push people away. And so what I really want is to be loved and valued and known for who I am, but I’m pushing people away. So instead, if I just accept equanimity and just say, Okay, the normal is okay, my boring self is actually lovable. Like, that’s what starts to create real authentic connection with people.

It’s very interesting.

Joe Mills: And like in that example, the three speaks much deeper to me, but earlier the four spoke much deeper to me. So I This is gonna sit in that mess. Yeah.

Chip Neidigh: And let it solve itself. This doesn’t have to be the last conversation we have. Well

Joe Mills: Chip, I appreciate the depth of conversation, but I’m excited to see what’s next with you guys, and I really appreciate you coming on.

Yeah, thank you.

Reid Morris: Okay. Joe, what did you really take away from that

Joe Mills: conversation? Yeah, I think one of the biggest takeaways was we’ve talked a lot about individual intuition, introspection of yourself, and using various tools to get better at that. Kevin gave us some frameworks for how to ask questions of yourself to start to feel your intuition.

Talked about it being a feeling. Gary just talked about in general, getting comfortable in who you are and who you want to be regardless of the reaction of your surroundings. Mm-hmm. And the ability to like let things go if they don’t agree with you. That’s okay. Chip brought up the power of community in that whole process.

Cause when I asked him like, Well, how do you start doing this? He was like, Get feedback loops. He was like, You need people who will tell you honestly how you’re showing up. And it’s like, oh, okay. So now we’ve expanded on like a different piece here, but it’s like talking about community. I said something along the lines of, I feel a tension between being authentic and getting feedback on how I’m show, what if my authentic self is not appreciated by the people that I’m getting feedback from, but it is who I actually am.

Mm-hmm. . And like that’s a bit of tension. And so then we’d started talking about what it means to uncover who you actually are and to uncover what your purpose is and what’s true to you, who are, so you’re able to show up as the individual that you really are. Right? Yeah. Right. And I think the reality is that if you can’t be authentically who you are in an environment or the thing that you are authentically built to be is not the correct fit for the environment in which you’re in.

Like you probably should change your environment. Yeah. I mean, even

Reid Morris: when you two are having that discussion, I would imagine you’re thinking the same thing of we both are lucky enough to work at a place where we can show up and be entirely ourselves. And I think it makes it easier for feedback and all of those types of things that were discussed, but that’s not the case for a lot of people.

Joe Mills: Yeah. We certainly are in a really comfortable situation, but I imagine there’s even still a little part of me that. Doesn’t completely come out. Mm-hmm. , Which is fine. Like not every situation requires a hundred percent of all the sides of me to come out. And if

Reid Morris: we think about something like the DISC framework mm-hmm.

of you have, you’re natural and you’re adapted. And they’re for people who are in a space That’s Right. Fit for them. They’re

Joe Mills: close, but they’re not. Yeah. Mine’s within like two points. My hall is exactly the same. Mm-hmm. , I, I would say like I am incredibly lucky in the formation that I’m in the spots where maybe things like fall a little bit shorter is like, I’m probably come off as more confident than I actually am because I feel like I sit in a role that requires that.

Yep. You know what I mean? Mm-hmm. So like there’s some things like that, but by and large we are really able to show up and be ourselves. But there’s tons of people who probably aren’t in that situation. Yeah. So I feel like from building on that conversation, I’d like to talk to somebody about how do you uncover that?

Cause I think if we asked me like, what’s your, why behind you, what you do, what’s your purpose behind this? I’d have a really hard time articulating that. Like I can feel my own alignment with company mission. Mm-hmm. . And I know that’s important, but I don’t know that I could articulate it very much. And

Reid Morris: even in this conversation, he is clearly somebody who has a strong purpose and like knows that he cares about what he is doing, right?

There’s a really strong core group of people at Cairos and that are doing this work, but it also wasn’t a direct path for him. So he even himself had to go through some discovery to really get to, well, what is that place where I can really step into my values and leading the way with the work that Kairos does?

Joe Mills: That really aligns with that. Yeah, so I think having the conversation with our next guest, being somebody who can help us understand how to uncover that. Mm-hmm. could be a little bit of a tactical conversation around the how, which I think is great as a next step.

Reid Morris: It’s going to become the tool that you need to unlock the tool.

Yeah. That you need to unlock the tool, define fulfillment and work in life. Yeah. Here we go. I love it Joe. Cool.

Joe Mills: 1000 Stories is brought to you by Element three with production by Share Your. This show is part of our company mission to foster growth in people and business so they can change the world. If you’re finding the show helpful or inspiring, please help us by leaving a review on Apple or Spotify. If you’d like to stay in the loop for more updates from our show and to hear other stories of growth, please head to element three.com/podcast.

What shared experiences motivate today’s business leaders to keep growing, and how have their unique stories impacted the way they enable others to do the same? I’m Joe Mills, and I’m Reid Morris, and we’re investigating what and who it takes to build companies that foster growth in people and business.

Then we’re sharing those stories with you. This is 1000 Stories, an original show from Element three. All right. So another guest, we have Chip coming on the podcast. Yep. Can you give a little bit of context for who Chip is, his background for the audience here? Yeah. So Chip is the founder and leader at Cairos, who is a group that works on executive coaching through the lens of the Agram.

So if you’re unfamiliar with the Agram, it’s sort of been taken and turned into this like personality quiz style assessment, but it really is more of a self-guided understanding of like who you are. Okay. And that is why I wanted to talk to Chip after we talked to Gary and Gary talked so much about his just like inner work that he’s done.

Mm-hmm. and the amount of comfortability he has with like who he is as an individual and how much he doesn’t allow outside expectations to influence what he wants to do next. I was like, man, that’s pretty powerful. Mm-hmm. . I feel like the first step in that is actually understanding what do you want and who are you?

Yep. And candidly, if somebody really asked me that question, I would struggle with it. Mm-hmm. . And so selfishly I just wanted to talk to Chip as somebody who helps people understand that exact question and understand how they do it. And also, it’s such a fascinating field to get into and he’s been doing it for a pretty long time now.

And you think about the in started getting popular in, I would say public society in the last five to six years, probably. Mm-hmm. . Yep. And he’s been doing it longer than that. What motivated you to get into this and how did you even get started and like, what’s next? And I would also love his perspective on how that framework has been used in the public sphere.

Mm-hmm. and in business and whatnot, and what he thinks about it. Yeah. It’s interesting in that I feel like in the last few episodes we’ve had a number of people on who are. On some level subject matter experts in different approaches to managing mindset. Right? And even from the difference between say Kevin Bailey, who obviously works directly in that space, to Gary, who does coaching for executives, but also has a very unique story for how he got to that sort of mindset.

It’ll be interesting to see, Well, each of these individuals uses largely different tools. They have different tactics and ways about going, channeling that intuition, sort of seeing the relationship and what commonalities there are between how Chip goes about it and you know, leaning into Engram versus whatever these other frameworks are that we’ve talked about.

It’ll be kinda interesting to see how those all work together and how people can pull a thread for maybe each of them use different tools from different conversations to sort of come together when we get back together after the interview, it’ll be fun to talk about where was it different than what we’d heard before.

Mm-hmm. and like where do we go from here? Yeah, that sounds great. So Chip, thanks for coming on. I’d love just to start, how do you describe what you all. And what your business seeks to accomplish for people. Yeah, so we’re a team of five. All of us are consultants and coaches, and we fundamentally do two things.

We work as individual, one-on-one, confidential coaches for CEOs and executive teams. And the second thing that we do is we work as consultants to help before or build that CEO executive team into a higher trust, higher function team. So we typically catch CEOs when they’re looking at the future and they think, You know what?

I’ve got a pretty big gnarly objective here. I sometimes refer to as a grand vision for the future. And they look around at their executive team, they’re like, We’re good. We’re gonna need to be better to get to that place that I want to get to. And I know it’s my job as CEO to get us to be in a better place.

And there are things I don’t know yet about leadership, about my team, about where I’m trying to go and I’m gonna need help. And so when we find a CEO who’s got that humility, that vision, and that will to do the hard work that’s required to take a good team and make them elite or excellent, that’s where we catch them and that’s where we do our best.

You differentiate between coaching and consulting in the way you talk about that? How do you see the difference? Yeah. Sometimes you’ll hear people talk about group coaching, and I think that’s a legitimate term in my mind. Coaching is one on one. It is to create a space for someone where they can explore whatever they need to.

Typically, we want to give people deeper insights about themselves, about the environment around them. If I’m in a coaching conversation and somebody starts to complain about somebody else, I let them go on for about two and a half minutes, and I say, We could go on all day, and I’m sure that is a very horrible person that you’re talking about, but let’s talk about your reaction to this person and what needs to change inside of you.

So within coaching, there’s a lot of conversations that I hope invite transformation, right? So it’s transforming mindsets, sometimes transforming values, transforming perspectives, transforming attitudes. All of those things are essential for people to grow. When we talk about consulting, it’s about how do we take an executive team on a journey?

From point A to point B, you know, you need to be a higher trust, higher function executive team. How do you get there? So CS Lewis talked about humans in a group being like ship’s information on the C and they are trying to stay in formation as they’re going to a destination. And if the internal machinery within each individual ship breaks down, well the ships are gonna run into each other.

And if the station keeping between the ships breaks down, well the ships are gonna run into each other. And so I see the work that we do as fundamentally the coaching is about the internal machinery and the consulting is about the station keeping between the individuals relationships. Yeah, it sounds like, And each person on executive team is individually coached and the group is coached?

Or is it just the CEO is coached typically and then the group is coached together? We coach somewhere between what I would describe as a critical mass of executives or all executives, depending on what their appetite is. Got it. We don’t have to be coaching everybody. And in fact, if somebody doesn’t want to be coached, we don’t want to coach them.

that would feel uncomfortable. Well, I’d say the cardinal sin of consulting is wanting something for somebody else more than they want it for themselves. Mm. Which is very dangerous. Yeah, that’s true in life. I found . So when you’re going through school mm-hmm. and somebody asks you what major are you? And then what are you gonna do afterward?

Yeah. I do not think that your response was, I’m gonna be a certified igram coach and I’m gonna coach executives and consult with their teams. How did we get here? That’s a long story. Please, . We’re a long form cast. I think there’s a through line in my life of building leaders catalyzing change and all of the roles that I’ve had professionally, I’ve morphed them into something that was more suited to me than the job description said.

And I don’t know that this was intentional, it just sort of happened this way. So like did you see that from the very beginning, like right outta school? I did. You mentioned major in college. I went to the Naval Academy and I was like, well, I’m kind of attracted to English as a major. And I’m kind of attracted to systems engineering.

Those are different. I’ve always been a little bit of a, uh, balanced interest. I think, you know, humanities and more hard sciences. I don’t know. That’s a good thing. I mean, you spread yourself too thin and you’re not really good at anything. Have you read range? I have not. Yeah. Pick it up. Okay. I think you’ll find it interesting.

I, and maybe reassuring I acknowledge your request that I pick up range and, and read it. Lately I’ve found I’m getting about a 10th of the way through most books and just like, ah, I chuck into the sign. Oh, interesting. Let’s talk about that. I think a lot. We’re gonna have so many rabbit trails here.

Mm-hmm. , just rabbit. Trail to rabbit. Trail to rabbit trail. Yep. I am in a season of life where a lot has shifted and seems to continue to shift within me and when there are things that I think I’ll be interested in and I start digging into them and I’m like, No, I guess I’m really not interested. That’s not where my mind is or my heart is right now.

Or I read something that I think this is something I should read. Invariably I get no more than a third of the way through and I’m like, I don’t know what I’m doing here. I’m not gonna waste any more time on this book. Okay. That’s where I want to go. Okay. The should versus what you want to dive into.

Yeah. If I feel like I should read something. Mm-hmm. , or if somebody who I respect, maybe it’s an authority figure to somebody who I think is smart and I should follow in their steps, says, You should read this, take this course, et cetera. Regardless of how much drudgery it feels like for me, it will be done.

You made a really interesting distinction between, I think I want to versus I should. Can you just talk about that a little bit? Yeah. I think there’s an additional dynamic in that is that as I’m changing sometimes I think I want to, and then by the time, you know, the book arrives from Amazon 48 hours later, or from thrift books 13 days later.

I’m thinking, do I really wanna read this? So there’s part of that I don’t do a whole lot of should. I grew up in a family where my dad always established a very high standard of integrity. He had a strong sense of obligation and duty, and I think some of that wore off on me. Well, you went to the Naval Academy, which I did.

Has to be part of it. Oh, that was sort of a whim I think more than anything else. Okay. How do you win into the Nav Naval Academy? Those things are not easy to get into. I applied to one academic institution of higher learning and that was the Naval Academy. Only I, You’re like, I did, and my girlfriend at the time, now wife, she was like, Well, what if you don’t get in?

And I’m like, Oh, probably just go to Purdue or something. And she’s like, Have you applied? I’m like, No. She’s like, That might be a problem. I’m pretty sure they’ll let me in , which is, you know, the stupidity of an 18 year old. I didn’t know what I was. Stupidly and ultimate. I like to say that your ultimate level of cockiness is 21 or 22 years old, but eighteen’s pretty high too.

I was gonna say it was pretty high all throughout that I, Yeah, I went to a career counselor in high school. It was a legendary guy in Indianapolis named Jack Faley. And he gave me a career test and he got me and we were tape recording the interview cuz it, it’s gonna be so mind blowing about how awesome it was.

And he’s like, Well, according to your tests, you should probably be a bus driver or an optometrist or a military officer. And he said, Have you considered a surface academy? And I said, What’s a service academy? And then we were often running, so I never really wanted to go to West Point, checked out the Air Force Academy, too much glass and concrete and lackadaisical attitude.

I went to the Naval Academy and visited, set one step on the yard. I said, This is it. I’m going here. I had no idea what I was getting myself in. Did you love it? Like did it hit for you? Do you know much about the naval? Not a ton. I had a friend to go to West Point, and I know some people who have gone to Naval, but I don’t know a ton about it.

Yeah. Somebody once I think accurately described it as a $200,000 education shoved up your ass one nickel at a time, , and that, That felt about right to me. I mean, okay, this is my perception, and I don’t know if it’s true or not, but you mentioned I don’t do a lot of shoulds. Mm-hmm. , I feel like the military is a world of shoulds.

Well, okay, so first of all, anytime you’re entering the military, you’re gonna have something like a bootcamp experience. So if you’re enlisted as a Marine, you’re gonna go to bootcamp. If you’re an officer of Marines, you’re gonna go to Officer Candidate school. The variety I went through was called Bulldog, and there’s gonna be some sort of what feels like hazing to you, whether it’s actually hazing or not.

Often people who are entering the military, that’s the hardest thing they’ve really ever done. Not everybody, but for many people. For me, it was absolutely the case. And my introduction to the military is plebe or freshman year at the Naval Academy, and the first part of that is Plebe summer, which is two months of very difficult.

For a 17 year old training, I entered at 155 pounds pretty lean. I left, uh, the end of Plebe summer at 135 pounds. I looked like a pow, I mean, it was brutal. And for some reason I attracted an awful lot of attention from the upperclassmen. And I think it’s because when I have any level of contempt for anybody else, I wear it on my sleeve and they can see it quite clearly.

And then that seemed to attract a lot of attention from people who wanted to try to beat that out of me, and they never did. So, yeah. You said, did I enjoy. The first year was just brutal. And I think even a couple years after I was outta the academy, I thought, Oh man, I took that so seriously. I kind of wish I didn’t take it so seriously at the time, but then I wonder if I hadn’t taken it so seriously, would I have gotten kicked out for some reason?

Mm. So it was kind of an interesting dynamic at the time. What does taking it seriously mean? You know, somebody’s yelling at you about how your shoes aren’t shin, and you’re like, Yeah, my shoes aren’t shined. I gotta do better next time. And at some point you’re like, How much shine do you really need on these shoes?

Interesting. Yeah. I mean, I feel like when I’ve talked to you, and even right now, I just feel like there’s like this underlying level of rebellious. You think just like gonna do it my way. Yeah, but sometimes you can’t, right? Yeah. Like especially when you are young and that could mean, you know, child or even young adult, like you tend not to have much authority, much power and you sometimes have to knuckle under cuz you’re like, this is the way I have to survive.

I have to knuckle under this authority, I have to submit to it. And submitting to authority has never been a strong suit of mine. The main reason I started my own company is cause I didn’t wanna have a boss anymore. And that’s not a great reason to start your own thing. . I, It’s not what keeps me going now.

Yeah. And I also think, I wonder how healthy it is to not have a boss, like, especially people who don’t have a boss from a very young age. I think that does things to de deform character and it’s a little distort. . Interesting. But before we go down that rabbit trail, Yeah. I just wanna make a comment that I think what was so cool to me about the Naval Academy, I didn’t, I mean, things certainly lighten up.

After your plebe year, you start gaining privileges and authority and then before you know it, you’re training the underclassmen. And I loved it because it was just this four year leadership laboratory. Mm-hmm. , try this, try that. I mean, you were given responsibility at such a young age with what, to me, in retrospect, looks like not very much supervision and you can just try out a bunch of stuff and figure out what works.

And a lot of people fell into what I would call beaten child syndrome, which they were led air quotes in a particular way. And so they thought, Well, I have to lead that way. And my attitude is always like, Man, you get this much freedom. Like try some things out. See what works for you. Stumbled into what started to work for me.

And I wasn’t a yeller. I wasn’t a screamer. I always figured people could put more pressure on themselves than I could put on them externally. So I just try to motivate them and tap into some of their intrinsic stuff, and that was maybe no less cruel, but it seemed to fit me better as a way to try to influence people.

It’s an interesting parallel between what you’re doing now and what you were doing at 19, 20, 21 years old. Yeah. I mean, I’d like to think I have a little more wisdom now, and I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but you look back at who you were five years ago or sometimes even a year ago, and you’re a little bit embarrassed by that.

That happens to me very often. Yeah. So I look back at 21 and I’m not embarrassed cuz it’s so long ago, but I look and I’m like, whew, that guy didn’t know a whole lot. Mm-hmm. , he thought he did. Mm-hmm . And then I have to look at me at 51 and think this guy thinks he knows an awful lot and he knows more than he did at 21, but there’s an awful lot he doesn’t know.

There’s a theory in sales, it’s called the dummy curve. Yeah. Starting out with asking all the questions you should ask because you don’t know any better. Yeah. And then you learn a little bit and you stop asking questions because you think you know everything. Right. Gotta du up. Then you fail and then you are like, Oh, I need to go back to it and what I did and then you, then you ask questions cuz you know you need.

Yeah, and you know how much you don’t know. So not just in sales, I’ve found in life, this is one of the things that I slip into all the time. I’m a very intuitive decision maker, so once I get the thread of what I think the truth is, I latch onto it and 95% of the time I’m right. But that 5% really bites me.

Yeah. So you mentioned came outta school, you had English and like hard sciences. Mm-hmm. , um, you said systems engineering, correct? Correct. So what’d you do when you got out? You have some time as an officer, right? That Correct. Are into, and then you transitioned, Why’d you transition outta the military? Yeah, so after seven years, my wife and I had our first kid, a daughter.

And I realized, and not that this was a surprise to me, but I just thought with more conviction, the threat of instant deployment worldwide for combat operations and raising a family, there’s some tension there. And I decided I was gonna prioritize raising this family with some stability. I also had some notion that corporate America was a meritocracy,

And so you’re laughing. Did you not experience that? No, not at all. You know, I have seen that the profit motive. Does drive some level of excellence everywhere it exists because people, even if that’s not their primary motive, if you look at in government and not for profits, oftentimes you can see there isn’t pressure when people are performing poorly to do anything about it.

And you see in a for-profit environment, there’s at least some pressure that creates some uplift towards excellence, which I’ve absolutely appreciated about all of my time in business. But I also, my first job was with a company called Guidance Corporation, cardiovascular medical device manufacturer. And our margins were so thick, you know, you turn the crank, it makes money.

There’s a lot of opportunity for inefficiency. And so I just realized no matter where you are, like there’s gonna be pressures and there are other times where you’re not feeling any pressure. Mm-hmm. , it goes in, you know, cycles and seasons and depends on the economy and what kind of business. So you got into corporate America in medical device sales?

Mm-hmm. , not sales. I wasn’t selling the company. Not sales. Medical devices. Correct. Just take me on the path of how we got to where we’re at now. Like started there, officer into a company that sold medical devices. Yeah. And how did Kairo come about? How did you start falling into this world? Yeah. I spent a couple years with guidance in the Twin Cities.

I did project management for r and d organization and then I did business process re-engineering for our r and d organization and then came down to Indianapolis, get closer to family. My wife Kim, her family’s here and my parents are here. And we were pregnant with our second child at that time. And I did a finance role by this point.

I had a, an MBA in finance and information systems. And so I thought, yeah, I’ll do a finance role, get me closer to home and. Didn’t really enjoy finance a whole lot. It was finance for sales people. So it was a lot of forecasting, not hardcore finance. It was like, Hey, let’s think in terms of profit, not revenue.

And I became an Excel jockey. I became very adept at Xcel. That’s, you know, on my re real feather in my cap there. Yeah. Seems like something you just loved. I mean, making Excel Sing is sort of like computer programming. Sure. Like when you hit compile and it actually does what you want it to do, there is a little bit of a fist pump.

But then you’re onto programming or you know, putting whatever you’re doing in the next spreadsheet. So I got to the point where I automated all the processes I needed to do, and I could do my finance job in about a quarter of the time that they were paying me to do it. Yeah. So I had a lot of free time on my hands.

And what I did is I started wandering around the three and a half floors that we had of the bank, one tower. And I just started talking to people and I’d sit in their cubes for an hour and I’d just start hearing what’s going on in their life and digging in. And sometimes I had something smarter, insightful to say, and sometimes I’d just listen.

And even now I tell my team, there’s a trained monkey standard of coaching, which is if you took your coaching client and you put them in a chair and opposite them, you had a stool and you put the trained monkey on the stool and the stool just stayed put in the monkey listened for an. Without saying anything, it’ll be really good for the client.

We have to be better than the trained monkey. Mm-hmm. . But at least there’s a minimum standard we realize. And sometimes I would just listen to people and sometimes as I said, I’d have an insight or maybe a suggestion. In retrospect, I call myself the unofficial corporate chaplain of guiding during that time

Cause I was just going around and listen to people’s problems and talking to people. Yeah. And I really enjoyed that. I enjoyed that a lot more than I enjoyed my finance stuff. And so when it was time to leave, I had worked with a couple of consultants from McKinsey as we were being acquired. And I thought that consulting looks really fun.

So I hung out a shingle and my intention was to do change management consulting, organizational change management for healthcare in central Indiana. That was my idea. And my first client was a blower fan manufacturer in northern Illinois doing excel modeling for their blower fan performance curves for their marketing materials.

So right on point, exactly what I was trying to do perfectly inside your target market. And the money was green and I was never so happy to get my first check. And then two years into doing the role, I was doing change management. Not so much for exclusively healthcare companies, but in Central and Indiana and other.

And so it sort of evolved into Sure, into what I was looking for. And then over time I realized I don’t like this change management stuff as much as I like the leadership stuff. And so just focus exclusively on leadership over time. Started building a small team that became a little bit of a larger team.

And I think of us as a pretty strong team, best team I’ve ever been a part of, including all the teams I’ve been in corporate America and in the military. So that’s how we got to where we are. How’d the agram happen though? Yeah, so Cause you were, before it got popular, it got popular like six to eight years ago.

Yeah, I think that’s probably about the time I started paying attention to it. Okay. I had known about it probably 12 years ago and read a cursory summary of what the Agram was and it was like from some biblical perspective that kind of, not because it was a biblical perspective, but just I was like, this is like a horoscope.

It seems like Christian horoscope to me or something. Voodoo magic, not impressed. Moving on. And then a friend of mine named Daniel Fuller we’re having a beer, and he said, Have you heard of the Enneagram? And I said, Yes, it’s Voodoo Magic. I’m not interested. He goes, he goes, Let me ask you a couple questions.

And he asked me a few things that felt like he was reading my mail. And I thought, Hmm, maybe there’s more to this than I had assumed. So I started investigating. And then once I started cringing at the accuracy of it, you know, my journey was like the first year I encountered the Engram, which was about seven years ago, I thought, Well, clearly I’m an eight on the Engram.

I’m a type eight. I’m not any other types, but only like 60% of this stuff really fits for me. And then I found in year two, I was like, Okay, maybe 70% of it fits for me. And then I found by year three, I was like, Okay, maybe 90% of it fits for me. And when I read something about a type eight, I’m like, eh, 98% of it fits for me.

And so I think my ego was defended against the truth at the Ingram had for me. And as I’ve let my ego defenses. Come down, I’ve been able to hear truth about me that I wasn’t ready to hear before. Mm-hmm. , which has been really helpful and I find that’s true for most people. Like when they read about their type, all of it doesn’t seem to fit perfectly.

But over time, more and more of it seems to fit as they dig deeper and deeper and realize, yeah, this is probably true about me. I never thought that was true about me. I don’t know if that’s been your experience as you’ve been digging into it as well. Yeah, I would say I’ve taken a little bit of a hiatus from digging into it because I’ve sort of ran out of resources.

Have you read Richard Roe’s Sacred Agram? I’ve read Richard Ro, The Engram, A Christian perspective. I haven’t read the other. I think there’s a couple that he’s done, but I’ve read variety of things. The guy who wrote the Road back to you, what’s his name? Ian Kron. Thank you. Mm-hmm. saw him speak. He walked through it.

So I’ve done some stuff with it, but I’ve sort of bounced back and forth on like, am I fully a three with a four wing, or am I a four with a three wing? I can tell I need to dive in deeper because I have this sort of questioning in my head around what is it? And so yeah, I mean, I just, I’ve taken a little hiatus from lack of knowing where to go Next.

One simple question gives you the answer. I asked you this question before and you answered it, so I thought you had clarity, but we can do it again. Let’s, Let’s do it again. Okay. . So if you had to have only one of these, Sure. Which would you choose if you had other people believing that you were successful or other people believing that you were special and interesting, Which would you rather have?

This changes daily. There are days where I’m like, Oh, it’s clearly successful. And then there are days where I’m like, No, no, I just wanna be interesting. So is it what’s underneath? In other words, on the days when you want to be special and interesting, is it because people perceiving you as special?

Interesting. Would also make them think you’re successful or on the days when you wanna be successful, Is it because being successful will make people think that you’re special and. It’s actually that one. Really? I think it is. All right. Maybe four. Who knows? Yeah. I don’t know. Okay. It’s interesting too, because if you were to ask my wife, like, she would be like, Oh, you’re a three.

And she’s way deeper into the Agram than I am. And she knows, She’s like, I’m not supposed to be like, you’re not supposed to type people. Right. But man, there’s something about the sort of like emotionality of fours that sort of speaks to me. Sure. But then the way that it’s presented often doesn’t really speak to me because I think it’s overly presented as like emotional and delicate artist.

Yeah. And that’s not who I am. Yeah. Or maybe my ego sound. I’m not who I am. I don’t know. So, So here’s the key, and you mentioned the road back to you. I think the road back to You is probably the best first book to read about the Enneagram. Mm-hmm. . My major critique of it is it’s too caricatured and it’s too behavioral.

Mm. And it’s a good way to access the Enneagram, but the key to understanding one’s Enneagram type is what is the underlying core motivation. Right. Because the more I’ve gotten into the engram, the more I’ve seen different people of different types, and they can show up very different from each other. So it’s not what you do, it’s why do you do what you do.

Right. Yeah, there’s some discovery for me to do on that. Think so. I think well, and what I recommend to people is think about the motivation of each type. So for an engram type three, as you probably well know, it’s I want other people to perceive me as successful because I attach my value to other people thinking that I’m successful.

And for an engram type four, it’s, I want other people to think that I’m special, unique, interesting. Because if they think that I’m special, unique, or interesting, then I’m valuable. The way that my face just moved says that I’m a four maybe, I mean, well, I feel very convicted by it. Well, what I recommend is, you know, try for a week or two each type and put it on like a sweater, wear it around and saying, Is that why I’m doing what I’m doing?

So as you notice yourself behaving, especially when you’re doing things that are compulsive, where you realize, Wait, that wasn’t a conscious decision. I just reacted and something came up there, felt like something deeper within me was driving the train there. Well, then you can actually start paying attention and maybe discern a little better.

So you’re starting to touch on one of the topics that we’ve seen come up a few times in the show, which is this sort of self-awareness and tuition or something where you, like, you understand yourself at a deeper level. Mm-hmm. , you mentioned in the last couple of years you’ve gone through a pretty big transformation period for yourself.

What’s been going on? What hasn’t been going on? Well, Richard Ro channels, David Brooks, or maybe it’s vice versa. In saying that in the first half of life we cultivate virtues in ourselves that build resume. And in the second half of life we cultivate virtues in ourselves that build eulogy, and we start to notice that the tools that have helped us.

Be successful, whatever that means for us in the first half of life, it starts to dawn on us that maybe these tools will be inadequate for the second half of life in the next part of the journey. So the things that have captured my attention, the things that have been most valuable to me, the things that I find my mind drifting towards feel just different now than they were 2, 3, 5 years ago.

So there’s been a slowing down, a more diffuse thinking pattern. I find it feels more scattered to me. Maybe that’s just early onset Alzheimer’s, I don’t know. But it feels, it feels more diffuse, like I’m just paying attention to more things and noticing connections in a way that I haven’t in the past.

And I think the biggest change for me is, you know, as an engram type eight, my underlying motivation is to take control. By dominating so that other people won’t take control of me, so that I won’t be weak, I won’t be taken advantage of. And my ego, when it feels like I might start to feel weak, something’s making me feel weak.

It starts to say, Hey, if you just take charge, you won’t feel weak again. That’s the pattern for an eight, right? But as I’m mature, I’m realizing I’m paying attention to the places where I have an agenda. And I’ve realized for most of my life, I’ve had an agenda for everything and everybody I’ve had something I’m trying to influence everywhere.

I’m always pushing on the boundaries, expanding my kingdom. I’m in a season now where I’m like, I’m noticing that more, and I’m realizing I don’t have to have an agenda here. I can just show up. I can be present. I can accept what comes. People have problems and challenges, and that’s theirs to own. And if they wanna invite me into that space, if I’m welcome in that space.

Great. My friend, Merf Kresky, he used to call me the emotional pry bar. And he said it sort of half respectfully and half resentfully, which is like, Man, it’s brutal when you put that cry bar and just like go into spaces, you’re not welcome. You always say something smart, but man, it’s kind of invasive. But I’m starting to respect other people’s boundaries more and realize that’s just important for them and their differentiation as humans.

Like I’ve always had strong boundaries to not let people like close to me, but I haven’t respected other people’s boundaries. And so for me to start noticing and respecting other people’s boundaries more, especially if I find myself triggered and I want to take charge and become dominant and you know, own all the space in a situation, that’s where I get in the danger zone.

So I’m noticing it quicker. I find that the drive to impose my agenda is lessening. And paradoxically, I think it’s probably giving me more influence. What do you think brought about the change? Normally change is, or at least this is my experience, all 29 years of me, there has to be some level of pain that initiates change, otherwise we fight it.

Yeah. I’ve been aware to some degree of damage that I can do relationally my whole life. When I was younger, I just didn’t care that much. My attitude was, if you’re not strong enough to handle me, that’s your problem. And I was less careful with other people. I showed up just the way I felt free to show up without much self-regulation or consideration of what the impact would be, other than I wanted to have a big impact and I frequently did, but that leaves some relational damage.

So part of what’s shifted is I have come to care more. The damage and recognize that I have a responsibility to create conditions where people feel safe and protected. I think the more I can create a big tent where people feel, Oh, this is comfortable here, this feels nice. It’s empowering to them, not in a way that they’re dependent upon me, but they feel bigger and stronger because somehow being in my presence helps them feel bigger and stronger because of the way I’m engaging with them.

I have to do that consciously. It’s not a natural thing that I do now. I mean the part of the growth curve where I’m consciously incompetent. Mm-hmm. and, and shifting towards consciously competent, hopefully decades from now, I’ll be unconsciously competent at doing that, and people just feel naturally protected around me.

I hope that’s what I’m shooting for. In any case, when you were starting to talk about this and I was going to ask you like, Oh, that sounds freeing, like to show up and not have to be the one that’s like dry and pulling, but then you mentioned, Well, I used to show up freely me. Which one feels more freeing for you?

I like that question. I think as we mature. It takes energy to, Oh, so I use the analogy of right-handed dribbling. I was pretty adept dribbling right-handed. You know, I was short enough. I played guard and I went to Taylor basketball camp when I was nine or 10, and pretty soon the people defending me realized I couldn’t go left.

So they just poach over to their left a little bit and shut down my driving lane. I had to pass. I was ineffective, couldn’t go to the hoop. And I started practicing there, dribbling left-handed. It felt really awkward, like I wasn’t good at it, but I got better, right? And eventually I got to the point where I could choose to go right or left on the court.

And that opened up possibilities for me. It always felt less comfortable and less competent to dribble left, but at least I had a choice now. And so many times as we’re maturing, there are things we do where we don’t realize we’re dribbling, right? It’s just the way we are. And once we start to realize that we have choice, then how often do we choose and practice the left-handed dribbling, Because that opens up possibility.

And as a leader, having choice means sometimes dribbling right-handed is app. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes I need to dribble left in this situation. Do I even have the opportunity to, or am I compulsively just gonna dribble? Right? Cuz I’ve never practiced dribbling left. So I’m in the position right now where I am gaining freedom by practicing something that feels not free.

So that’s the paradox of the growth, I think. And eventually I’ll get to the point where dribbling left probably doesn’t feel as, never feels as comfortable as dribbling, right? But I hope to get to the point where I’m not even conscious that it feels awkward. In this particular instance, which is a pretty important one of development.

Yeah, I was gonna ask, what’s the point of all the discomfort of change? Yeah. Learning to dribble left. So there’s a Hebrew phrase called tycoon oam. It means loosely translated the healing of the world. So there are many names for God. One name for God is Yawe Rafa. Which means the great healer and the notion is that God is constantly taking this broken world and redeeming it, healing it to something that’s a more perfect unified state, and that God invites humans into that work and that we get to join into that flow and be part of the healing process.

So to me, that’s like a general calling to all humans. Like we have a role in not rendering shalom or breaking the piece, but redemption towards a more peaceful. So we all react to that call differently. Some of us are aware there’s a call, some of us are not aware. There’s a call. I think all of us have some sort of moral compass that points towards that call.

And for me, that’s the animating spirit of the work that we do in Cairos is how are we making a difference in the world that makes it a more unified, a more whole, a more healed place? And so that word healing is very important to me on my own journey because I’ve come to believe that in those places of brokenness and deformation in our character, it’s not just white knuckling a new behavior.

Oh, I’m dribbling right now. I need to dribble left and it’s gonna be hard as long as I try it. What we actually need is healing internally and those places of brokenness, and that’s what allows the ease of dribbling left, the choice of dribbling left. Tiffany has this thing she likes to say where, and it’s part of the reason that the mission for our business is to foster growth and change in people and business so they can change the world.

She talks about businesses don’t break people due. And business are just a collection of people. If I were to imagine somebody going out to start a business consultancy or working in consulting, your first thought potentially wouldn’t have been, I need to help the people get fixed. But when I think of Agram coaching and.

Agram consulting. Really the lens through which you do what you do, it’s very people-centric. Totally. Was that hard to break that wall of like, people go to work and you’re still you, but you kind of put on like them, put it on the suit and tie and I’m in work mode and the armor. Yeah. It’s all that like, I don’t wanna tell you about myself, just what’s your experience been like with that?

I think part of it is people have created sort of a social or cultural expectation that you’re different at work than you are in the rest of your life. Mm-hmm. . Now, I don’t think that’s universally true, but there’s certainly probably most of us have had some experience of that where you start to reveal some of who you really are.

And you get a signal that says, No, no, we don’t do that here. Or it’s not safe, You know, it feels shameful or whatever happens to you. You have an experience that’s sort of a wounding experience and you think, Well, that wasn’t fun. I’m not gonna do that again. And you shut that part of yourself down, you don’t bring it to work anymore.

So we’ve been thinking a lot about psychological safety in our work, and we realize as we think back on the past 16 years of our work, and I’ve the only one on the team who’s been there the full 16 years. But there are many times where I think if we had done a better job creating a foundation of psychological safety, it would’ve been a more stable platform and we would’ve been more sure footed and our clients would’ve been more sure footed in some of the hard work that we’d invited them into.

So within that psychological safety, the analogy that we’ve been using is a high jumper and psychological safety has two components. One, Courageous revelation. And then the second is support or reward of that revelation. So you think of a high jumper doing the fosbury flop into a cushion. The courage is the leap, and then the cushion is the soft landing.

Are we rewarding or supporting somebody when they make the leap? And too often people jump and they land on concrete and they’re like, I’m not jumping again. And the people within a team who aren’t the courageous revealers have an obligation. If they’re gonna try to create psychological safety of building up a pad, right?

It’s like when you say something that’s hard for you to say, Do I say thank you? Hey, that was a gift to me because of, am I curious, do I wanna learn more about that? Or just let us sit there like a lead balloon or do an eye roll, or you know, kind give the sideways glance to somebody next to me. So I’ve become fascinated with the processes that are required to build psychological safety.

And we’re incorporating that into everything that we do. Because people can’t grow unless there’s a place for them to bring their whole selves, you know? So there’s belonging, like how do I bring not just my work self, but all of myself and do I belong here? Or will I be rejected for who I am? And that to me is like the best type of inclusion, right?

Can I bring my full self? Mm-hmm. and then there’s, can I give performance feedback like you’re doing something that’s not working for me? Can I tell you that? Cuz it takes some courage for me to reveal that depending on how you’re gonna react or others around might react. Can I share an unusual idea?

Maybe a Zaney idea. , maybe a risky idea. What will happen if I do that? Will you punish that or will you reward that? And can I challenge sacred cows or do I get beaten down when I challenge a sacred cows? So I’m not gonna do that anymore. So there’s different areas where we need to courageously reveal. To answer your original question, I think most people want to reveal more.

They don’t have the space or the context in which it has been proven safe to them to reveal more. Most people don’t think I really am excited about lacing on the armor to go to work, be tough, and then come home and finally I get to take it off. Like what I envision is if somebody’s taking the armor off when they get home, it’s like, Oh, I get to be myself again.

Wouldn’t it be great if people could come to work and say, Ah, I can be myself here. Do you think people struggle with knowing who their self. Do you? Yeah. Okay. I think from the question I do, . Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. I guess maybe I’m asking it cause I wanna know if it’s normal. I’ll throw an engram answer back to you.

I think it’s universal that nobody fully knows themselves. So there’s a lifelong journey of self-discovery that we’re all on. I think certain engram types have a more difficult time with that than others. Twos, threes and fours in the heart triad tend to create some sort of reality distortion field.

They’re projecting an image and there’s a risk that they start to believe that image, right? So they believe their own propaganda and then it gets confusing. Well, who am I really? And I think for threes especially, they’ve been playing a role for so long trying to meet other people’s expectations. And the way Wes, who’s a and you four on my team, describes it.

He’s like, Yeah, I’ve been spinning up this image for so. I think I need to keep spinning it up. What happens if I stop spinning it up? Seems like it might be catastrophic. I guess I’ll just keep spinning it up. Fours have a natural check mechanism there. Four is value authenticity. So when they’re inauthentic and they’re spinning up this image, they kind of hate themselves for it.

So there’s a natural tension there. And twos are often unaware that they’re spinning up an image of being the helpful one. I don’t have any problems. You’ve got the problems. I’ll help you meet your needs. So I think for folks in the heart, try it can be more difficult, but absolutely all humans struggle with a sense of identity.

I was talking to my therapist recently and we were talking about. My own insecurity. And she’s like, Well how does that affect your sense of identity? And I’m like, I think I have a pretty strong sense of identity and yet I still feel insecure. So I don’t know. And she’s like, Good. I like that answer. So I’ve been saying I don’t know a lot to her just to get the gold stars

That’s not true. I’d say I don’t know when, I don’t know, but I feel more comfortable saying, I don’t know than I used to in the past. Yeah. Well that was a way, roundabout way of, No, it’s, It’s interesting cuz do you think people show up better as they get more understanding of who they are? I believe all humans want to be known and seen and loved.

And love is not a word that we talk a lot about in the workplace, but I define love. I’m stealing from Greg Boyd who says love is affirming the worth of another through sacrifice. And if I’m going to be on a team, I’m called at times to sacrifice because other people are worth it, and sometimes that sacrifice means I’m gonna have to put some effort into dribbling left-handed.

I’m gonna have to put some effort into self-regulation, do things that are hard for me because other people need that from me. That’s a way to love my coworkers. So that’s the way I think about that. It’s interesting because I feel like a lot of what you do is help people uncover their own motivations and tendencies and their own right-handed dribbling.

Totally. Where do you recommend people start? Cause I do think that for people who are trying to figure that out, the question is like, what’s step one? Yeah. Most people have horrible feedback loops, inadequate feedback channels, and to get more robust feedback channels, there’s a couple things that we can do.

One is we can ask. And there’s a persistence that’s required in starting up a journey of asking for feedback. Because most people, when you ask the first time, they’ll say, Hey, you’re doing great. Or they’ll do something that’s kind of weak sauce feedback. Cause they don’t wanna hurt your feelings. And unless you’re persistent in saying, I really want feedback, and I’ve found there’s actually a powerful set of two questions that can bypass some of people’s defenses around doing this.

One is, what’s the one thing I’m doing that’s most contributing to team? And what’s the one thing I’m doing that’s most getting in the way of team success? And that’s a good conversation starter. No guarantee people will answer it honestly, but at least it’s a precise set of two questions that gets people going in the right direction.

And then the second thing is, am I going to be a soft place to land when people courageously reveal and jump the high bar, right? So if somebody gives me feedback, do I respond defensively? Do I try to justify or do I ask curious questions to try to understand more? Even what can be helpful is say, Hey, thanks for the feedback.

I’m gonna think about that. I’ll come back to you in a couple days with some questions if I have any. If you ask for feedback, people give you feedback and you never close the loop and never do anything with the feedback. You don’t earn the right for more feedback. So what you’re probably getting a sense of is, Answer around what’s a good place to start is we need people in community to tell us what’s not working for them.

Because community is where our personalities rub up against other people’s personalities. And unless we understand what we’re doing that isn’t working for the people around us, we don’t know where to start. We think I’m just showing up the way. I show up, I’m doing the best I can with what I know, which is true for most of us, right?

Like we do the best we can with what we know, but when people don’t give us information that we need in order to improve, well, how are we gonna improve? So creating a culture where people give each other robust feedback is essential to a high function team. Most teams don’t have that. So my immediate desire was to just nod my head and like, Oh yeah, it makes sense.

But how do you like juxtapose that with, Let’s use the heart triad. I’m the Heart Tri. Mm-hmm. , who wants to spin up a story that other people like. Yeah. And so you can take feedback and be like, I’ll just spin myself to make them like me. You know, you do See what I’m saying? I do. How do you do that? And I will say this, that I’m, I’m totally an engram homer, right?

Like it’s not a perfect model, but it is a very useful personality model. Yeah. Especially for the type of work that we do, The way we create a stable foundation with our clients, the first thing that we do when we’re working with them as a team is build some level of agram fluency and start to build psychological safety on the team.

Cuz that’s the stable platform we need. And we use the language of being in on someone’s joke. So you know, I’m an Enneagram eight. If you see me in a meeting, start to bow up, start to get animated, use what Aise on my team calls my irritable and intensity. You start to see this, you can say, Hey Chip, what are you feeling weak about right now?

And not because you’re mean and you hate me, it’s because you love me and you want me to be better and you want to interrupt my pattern and I can say, I’m starting to amp this up here. Yes. What do I feel weak about? That’s a very in on the joke kind of question. Right. I’m in on the joke. I wasn’t my whole life up until age 45, I didn’t know that’s why I would dominate.

Mm-hmm. , But now I’m in on the joke. Well, in the moment you weren’t. Right, Right. They, they gave you permission to be in on the joke again. Yes, that’s right. That’s exactly right. That’s a great way to say it. I had forgotten the joke, and somebody’s reminding me of the joke with a twinkle in their eye and a little bit of, you know, a smile as they’re saying, Hey Chip, what are you feeling weak about right now?

And I can reset. And, you know, for each of the nine Ingram types, we have pattern interrupt questions we can ask to help them get back in on the joke in the moment. So if you have somebody who’s doing that reality distortion field, you might ask, Hey, is there some place where you’re feeling like you’re at risk of not being successful right now for a three or for a four?

It’s, is there a place where you’re not feeling seen or heard or loved? Right. Are you feeling like you’re not special right now? And for a two, it’s like, what is your need right now? Hmm. What do you need? Like you’re trying to meet my needs, but what do you really need here? Mm-hmm. . So the questions we can ask to get somebody to like, you know, a little bit of a record scratch, like, Okay, back up that truck.

That’s right. I’m in a journey here. What I’m bringing isn’t working. Mm-hmm. . So we say human growth occurs best and is sustained best in community. So how do you forge a group of people, one into a team, and then how do you forge a team into a community? This is interesting. I love where this is going because the thread we’ve been pulling on is like this motivation for growth.

And what we’ve been hearing is that it really needs to come from internal and a lot of that has been individual self development work, like things like meditation, things that bring you back to center on your own and where you are adding to that conversation is in this sense of community. Totally.

Which is awesome. I love it. And I think it’s actually more attainable for a lot of people because there’s a skill and a practice and a a learning curve to the meditation thing and the self-reflection thing. And there is for sure in community as well, but it’s a little more, you have like a team. It makes it a little bit easier, I think.

How do you start down that path? How do you start down building that community? One, you need a leader of that team to. Because if leader of that team doesn’t want to create that community, you will not have a community. Like it is so hard to create community underneath a leader who’s not interested in it.

So you need pull, from my experience, like it’s so difficult to do it if the leader isn’t bought into it. So we always start with the CEO of an organization. So the first thing we do when we’re working with any client organization is we will coach the CEO for a few months before we even engage with the rest of the team.

Because we want to understand, can we create a high trust relationship between Cairos and that ceo? Can we help that CEO get in on their own joke? Can we start them on a transformational journey that gets them excited and say, Wow, I wanna export this to some other people. Well, what can we do with the team?

So that’s number one, is you need the CEO or the leader of the team to be bought into it. The second thing that I would say is you need a vision, and I’ll full credit to Wes on my team who’s been beating this drum for me for like three years and I finally started listening, is you need an executive team that understands what its purpose is.

And it’s not an information sharing group where each silo comes up and tells the other people what they’re doing. It’s, there’s something we’re trying to achieve as an organization and as a team that we can’t achieve. , unless we actually collaborate as a team and are a high function, high trust organization.

And if you don’t have the clear vision of why that group of senior leaders is together and needs to be together and working together well, they’re not gonna be forged into a team. They’re just gonna be siloed leaders who are on their individual journeys. Mm-hmm. . And that’s kind of a black and white way to look at it.

I mean, of course they can start to collaborate on things, but if there’s nothing important for them to collaborate on, you’re not gonna get that friction that forces them to mature. Do you bring a lot of your work into your life? Yes. Do you see a distinction between the two? No. So how does it show up in your, for the imagining so that it’s easy to frame?

Mm-hmm. work and life. How has this shown up in your whole. I’m constantly guessing at other people’s Enneagram types. I’m frequently wrong and that’s okay. Like I’m paying attention to motivations, trying to figure out what makes people tick more in my home life. My daughter is 22. I have a son who’s 19 and I have a son who’s 16 and my wife and I have been married.

We’ll be. 28 years next month. Congratulations. You. Yeah, it’s cool. I love it. She’s my best friend. My wife’s an Engram six. My daughter’s an Engram six. My middle son is a Engram five, and my youngest is a clone of me. He’s an Engram eight. And it has been incredibly helpful in my parenting of my children to know what they have claimed as their own engram types and to be in on the joke together.

And you know, I think there’s certain things when you’re in your young twenties or teens that you just don’t know about life and they still don’t, and it’s okay, like there’s maturation, but at least they’ve got some framework for what a maturation journey looks like that they didn’t have before. And it’s a common language for our conversations around growth.

My wife and I, eights and sixes are really good together in a crisis. And when there is no crisis, we can sort of manufacture some drama. And so we’re aware of that. And I would say up till for the first 17 years of our marriage, we didn’t fight a lot, but we didn’t have particularly fair fights. And then we started having more fair fights.

And once we started learning the Engram, it was like, okay, we’ve got some angles on this. So we fight like every couple does and we have good resolution to those and we’re fighting a lot more fair and we let our kids see it. We’re like, Yeah, when I grew up I didn’t see Healthy Conflict. When Kim grew up, she didn’t see healthy conflict.

I’m like, we’re gonna show these kids what healthy conflict looks like. So friendships, I see a lot of engram stuff when I when I have two groups of friends, like World’s Collide. You’re in a coffee shop with three people, then you know two other people, you know, walk in. I introduce, I’m like Dave and Todd, this is, you know, Sally and Jim.

I’m like, Engram 4, 6, 8, and three. And they’re like, Oh, okay. So it’s like a little shorthand cuz when worlds collide. Yeah. It’s just like you can learn so much about somebody with their engram type that it just, it’s a shortcut to certain things where you know you’re in on each other’s joke. I really like the phrase of in on each other’s joke cause it’s true.

And when I run into people who are, and somehow it comes with a conversation. Oh, you also know and respect the Enneagram framework. It’s sort of like a, Oh, we can talk about that now. Yeah, there’s just sort of like, Ah, well, I mean, there’s so much that’s so deep. You can talk about instantly if you know someone’s engram type, if you’re welcome, right?

There’s the risk of being like me, the emotional pride bear, where I’ll just go deep immediately. Part of my journey is trying to figure out how do I be safe for people, Test depth and figure out if people want to have that deep conversation. But I also find that if people know that I have their best interest in mind, they’ll let me ask the most obnoxious questions and we get into a good conversation.

So you’ve been in this season of change and growth for the last couple of years. Do you feel like you’re in the middle of it, or do you see the sort of next season? Starting. There’s a book by Hagberg and Golic called The Critical Journey. My friend Steven Tyler turned me on this book four or five years ago, and it’s a six stages of spiritual maturation, and between stages four and five is what they call the wall.

The wall tends to happen in midlife. You can’t go over it, You can’t go around it. You have to go through it, and it feels like to me, I’m in the middle of the wall and it’s this thick hedge. You can make slow progress and you kind of move an arm and get six inches forward, and then you gotta kind of drag your body through.

And I feel like I can see the daylight from the other edge of the hedge. So I feel like I’m working through it. I have no illusions that there’s some other journey of maturation beyond that, and I’m actually looking forward to it. And what I’ve been so excited about, even though it’s a slog getting through the wall, I have seen the growth.

And so I can look back from who I was a year ago and be like, I like this progress. Not look at me, I’m growing, but it’s like I just feel better in this skin. This feels healthier for me and for the people around me. So I’m really enjoying that aspect of it. It’s not that every moment of growth and the pain that you experience feels good, but observing the entire journey and the trajectory feels really healthy for me.

So of course we never arrive. Mm-hmm. , I suspect even post death, we never actually arrive. But what do I know? I don’t have any experience with that yet. And so I’m getting through something like if I were gonna look at my life and rank how much change I’ve experienced in terms of growth, not an external change, but internal change I’ve experienced, I would rank my plebe year at the Naval Academy.

Number one, I would rank this past year as number two and the year before that as number three. So it’s like lot has been going on these past couple years. Is there any specific moment in the last year that we were like, Oh, that like highlights my change? Yeah, thankfully both of my parents are still alive.

My dad is 82 and my mom will be 80 this year and mentally sharp. When you’re that old you start seeing some physical decline. We had dynamics growing up as all families do that for us, were challenging power dynamics. My dad is an engram one. My mom’s an Engram nine, so that’s 8 91. All gut triad, all about control and influence and my brother’s an engram five, so like we were always having a power struggle and he’s like, I’m out, you guys go and fight for it, whatever it is.

I realized that, for example, with my dad in my adult relationship with. He was trying to influence me and I didn’t wanna be influenced by him. And I was trying to influence him and he didn’t wanna be influenced by me. I was like, Well, this isn’t working. And my therapist, Kim O’Connell, phenomenal therapist, she said, Well, why don’t you just drop the rope?

And I had this image of myself leaning back at 65 degrees, both hands on the rope. I had my heels dug into the slightly muddy ground, digging little furrows, you know, head thrown back, back arch, just white knuckle grip on this rope. And I thought, I’ve been in the same position for 45 years, and it’s exhausting.

Why don’t I just drop the rope? And so I just realized like, well, of course my dad, he’s human, he’s got his issues, I’ve got my own issues, his problems aren’t mine to solve. Mine aren’t his to solve, why don’t I just drop the rope? And something shifted in me where I was like, I experienced more gratitude for his parenting of me over the years.

Like I could look back at that. And I was like, Oh, I’m really appreciative of that. Like my respect for him increased somehow in my dropping the rope. And I was able to enjoy his presence more. So my dad is an engram one. His trying to shift my beliefs on a particular topic. What I realized is, oh, this is him loving me.

This isn’t him disapproving of me. This is his way of saying, Look, I love what I believe. I want you to believe it too. So I chose to receive that as love, as opposed to, you know, disapproval or rejection. And it just shifted my whole attitude about the whole thing. And I Haven had a similar journey with my mom.

That’s not the same details, but it’s a bit of a drop the rope kind of thing as well. And that’s happened within the. Two months, I think. And that feels to me like the biggest and quickest shift in my view of reality, where I felt like, oh, I experienced some healing in this. Like something healed in me.

And I think that’s got at work. So it’s not like I healed me, it’s I opened myself to healing and like, you know, when I cut my arm, it clots, it forms scar tissue, but I don’t understand how that works. I know there’s platelets in there somehow doing something right, But I don’t know how that works. And yet I don’t have to know how it works in order to be healed.

And I feel like spiritually, emotionally, that’s the same thing. Like we have wounding experiences, particularly I think when we open ourselves to God as best we understand God or the universe, or however you wanna look at that to healing, healing occurs. I feel like that was just really meaningful healing that.

Very quickly within me, shockingly quickly, such that I’m in a different place than I was before that happened. There’s a couple things that keep coming up, and it’s the freedom of allowing yourself to not take on other people’s burdens, challenges, problems, and like almost like having to solve them as a way to prove to yourself that you can, Right.

That you’re in control. That you have. Right, Right. Yeah. Well, it’s my agenda, right? Yeah. So anytime I had a conversation with my dad, I always went in with an agenda. I’m trying to convince him of something or block him from doing something that he was trying to do. And so if I just drop the rope and I don’t have an agenda, like he can bring an agenda if he wants to, and I’m, I can be okay with that.

Like I don’t have to be swayed by it. Like, it’s okay, you bring your agenda or not. Like it’s okay either way. You seem to have reached this point, or going through a period where you’re just very accepting of what. Yeah. And so as I ask the question of like, Ooh, what’s next? It’s almost like I don’t care.

It’s not that I don’t care in the sense of I don’t care, but it’s like a, it will be what it is. Yeah. Here’s what I know about it is life is a pattern of rupture and repair. And I used to think that if I was sad about something, something was wrong and it needed to be fixed. And I’ve come to the point, I’m like, Look, as an engram eight, I’m feeling repressed.

And I don’t know my emotions that well, I’m learning them. But I’ve come to realize like when I lose something, even if that’s an expectation of the future, the appropriate human response to that is sadness. So I allow myself to feel sadness, which I never used to let myself feel sadness cuz it felt weak.

So instead I’d just be angry. Or if I ever felt afraid instead of feeling afraid, I wouldn’t let myself feel that. I’d just feel. Well, now I’m like, okay, it’s okay. I’ve got anxiety. Let’s dig into that. What’s the anxiety about? That’s the human rollercoaster of emotions. It’s up and down. There’s joy.

There’s high highs, there’s low lows and rupture and repair. Like the way I look at the world is I think God is redeeming everything everywhere all the time. Like there is a redemptive arc to everything. And my job is just to get with that flow. And the more I resist it, the harder it is. And the more I accept it and flow with it, the easier it is.

Mm-hmm. , it’s like letting go of the white knuckle. Yeah. It’s surrender. Mm-hmm. . It’s, it’s surrender is what it is. And I haven’t historically been very good at surrender and I’m trying to learn to s. Yeah, I’m terrible at it too. Well, you’re also 29 you said. Yeah. Yeah. So give yourself some time like it’s hard.

Yeah. Cause it feels like letting go ensures it won’t happen. And there, there’s, And the paradox is that it’s the exact opposite. . That’s the paradox. So the funny thing about the Enneagram is all of us have a strategy for getting our ego needs met. Now that’s either. For those in the gut triad, it’s power control influence.

For those in the heart triad, it’s sense of value, identity worth love from others. And for those in the head triad, five, six, and seven, that’s about safety and security. Paradoxically, the strategy that our engram compulsion uses short term gets that need met long term, gets us farther away from getting that need met.

So it’s like junk food versus healthy food. Mm-hmm. like it satisfies in the moment and then it disappears pretty quickly and you’re like, I want more. But we get addicted to the junk food our ego does instead of a healthier pattern. So for me, the healthier pattern, instead of dominate, take charge so that you can feel in control and have influence.

It’s let go, wait, surrender, be vulnerable, and then paradoxically you end up with more influence. Can I selfishly ask how that happens for a heart triad? So somebody who like myself, like Chase success, chase, uniqueness, chase. Sure. Specialty, if you will. Well, let’s, let’s pretend three, then we’ll pretend four.

Sure. Cause you’re still deciding. Yeah. I don’t know which one it is. Yeah. Which is great. And I would encourage you to be patient with that, right? Mm-hmm. like it’s okay that you don’t know which it is. It’s fine. And you may not know for two or three years, and that’s okay too. I can tell that I’m uncomfortable with the not knowing.

Yes. Like I feel it in my chest. Sort of like constricting. Yes. When I feel that Well, either you feel like you’re not successful or you’re not special enough for not knowing . Yeah. Maybe. Yeah. All right. So for a three, they think, I’m gonna make sure everybody around me believes that I’m successful and then I will feel valuable.

And so what they do is they project an image that is inauthentic, right? It’s sometimes called the deception of the three. And that inauthentic image, people be like, Oh man, that’s really impress. Yeah, you are impressive. Congratulations. And you’re like, Well, thank you. And it feels good for a moment. And then as soon as it’s done, you feel empty again, right?

You crave it. And so what you’re missing is an actual authentic human connection where people see you for who you are and love you for who you are. Because all you give them is something fake to love. So they can’t love you. They can’t accept you because you’re not even showing it. So the authenticity that’s required of a three is showing up who they truly are, including stating their needs and preferences, not trying to meet other people’s needs and preferences.

And then they start to get surprised that people actually like them and love them for who they are instead of who they’re projecting this image of success. And threes also have to learn that shame isn’t fatal cuz they’re working so hard to never feel that shame. But you can sit in shame. It’s okay, you’re not gonna die.

Just like I can sit in feeling weak and I’m not gonna die. So for a four, it’s projecting this image of being special or unique, but it’s also inauthentic. And it creates emotional liability or high highs and low lows that can be off putting for other people. So if I’m a four and I’m projecting an image of uniqueness, that’s weird.

It can actually push people away. And so what I really want is to be loved and valued and known for who I am, but I’m pushing people away. So instead, if I just accept equanimity and just say, Okay, the normal is okay, my boring self is actually lovable. Like, that’s what starts to create real authentic connection with people.

It’s very interesting. And like in that example, the three speaks much deeper to me, but earlier the four spoke much deeper to me. So I This is gonna sit in that mess. Yeah. And let it solve itself. This doesn’t have to be the last conversation we have. Well Chip, I appreciate the depth of conversation, but I’m excited to see what’s next with you guys, and I really appreciate you coming on.

Yeah, thank you. Okay. Joe, what did you really take away from that conversation? Yeah, I think one of the biggest takeaways was we’ve talked a lot about individual intuition, introspection of yourself, and using various tools to get better at that. Kevin gave us some frameworks for how to ask questions of yourself to start to feel your intuition.

Talked about it being a feeling. Gary just talked about in general, getting comfortable in who you are and who you want to be regardless of the reaction of your surroundings. Mm-hmm. And the ability to like let things go if they don’t agree with you. That’s okay. Chip brought up the power of community in that whole process.

Cause when I asked him like, Well, how do you start doing this? He was like, Get feedback loops. He was like, You need people who will tell you honestly how you’re showing up. And it’s like, oh, okay. So now we’ve expanded on like a different piece here, but it’s like talking about community. I said something along the lines of, I feel a tension between being authentic and getting feedback on how I’m show, what if my authentic self is not appreciated by the people that I’m getting feedback from, but it is who I actually am.

Mm-hmm. . And like that’s a bit of tension. And so then we’d started talking about what it means to uncover who you actually are and to uncover what your purpose is and what’s true to you, who are, so you’re able to show up as the individual that you really are. Right? Yeah. Right. And I think the reality is that if you can’t be authentically who you are in an environment or the thing that you are authentically built to be is not the correct fit for the environment in which you’re in.

Like you probably should change your environment. Yeah. I mean, even when you two are having that discussion, I would imagine you’re thinking the same thing of we both are lucky enough to work at a place where we can show up and be entirely ourselves. And I think it makes it easier for feedback and all of those types of things that were discussed, but that’s not the case for a lot of people.

Yeah. We certainly are in a really comfortable situation, but I imagine there’s even still a little part of me that. Doesn’t completely come out. Mm-hmm. , Which is fine. Like not every situation requires a hundred percent of all the sides of me to come out. And if we think about something like the DISC framework mm-hmm.

of you have, you’re natural and you’re adapted. And they’re for people who are in a space That’s Right. Fit for them. They’re close, but they’re not. Yeah. Mine’s within like two points. My hall is exactly the same. Mm-hmm. , I, I would say like I am incredibly lucky in the formation that I’m in the spots where maybe things like fall a little bit shorter is like, I’m probably come off as more confident than I actually am because I feel like I sit in a role that requires that.

Yep. You know what I mean? Mm-hmm. So like there’s some things like that, but by and large we are really able to show up and be ourselves. But there’s tons of people who probably aren’t in that situation. Yeah. So I feel like from building on that conversation, I’d like to talk to somebody about how do you uncover that?

Cause I think if we asked me like, what’s your, why behind you, what you do, what’s your purpose behind this? I’d have a really hard time articulating that. Like I can feel my own alignment with company mission. Mm-hmm. . And I know that’s important, but I don’t know that I could articulate it very much. And even in this conversation, he is clearly somebody who has a strong purpose and like knows that he cares about what he is doing, right?

There’s a really strong core group of people at Cairos and that are doing this work, but it also wasn’t a direct path for him. So he even himself had to go through some discovery to really get to, well, what is that place where I can really step into my values and leading the way with the work that Kairos does?

That really aligns with that. Yeah, so I think having the conversation with our next guest, being somebody who can help us understand how to uncover that. Mm-hmm. could be a little bit of a tactical conversation around the how, which I think is great as a next step. It’s going to become the tool that you need to unlock the tool.

Yeah. That you need to unlock the tool, define fulfillment and work in life. Yeah. Here we go. I love it Joe. Cool.

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