True Calling Project | Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life and Career

John Harrison is a professional psychotherapist and coach. He brings his insight and experience from his former career as a military officer, 9-5 office worker, and his current career as a therapist and coach, in interviews with professionals, psychology experts, and those living their higher potential. Each week you’ll get discussion, stories, and insights on finding your “why”, how to optimize your life and business, and the mental and emotional challenges that can keep you stuck. He and his guests explore the practical and spiritual aspects of engaging in a satisfying career and a meaningful life.
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True Calling Project | Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life and Career



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Mar 27, 2017

Kat Love is a website designer and strategist dedicated to helping psychotherapists get more clients (she designed my beautiful website!). We discuss struggling to find your purpose, how she ultimately discovered a calling, and how empathy influences her web design.

“I was struggling to figure out what I really wanted and who I really am for a long time. Some of the figuring out of what you want to do and what you’re passionate about is only going to happen through experience.”

Kat chooses to focus on therapists and helpers because they have been an incredibly positive resource during her journey, and she’s grateful.

Her experience drove her to this calling, but empathy makes her good at it. She is able to empathize for her client’s clients because of her time as a therapy client, and this helps her design sites for people who might be in a crisis, suffering, or just stressed out.  

One of the questions she will ask therapists is “what do you want your clients to feel when they’re on your website?”

The end result is a website that helps psychotherapists connect with their ideal clients, and helps people who might be struggling find the right help. You can learn more about her services at

“It’s not just a business for me – it’s also a mission. I want to help therapists connect with their ideal clients… because I think therapists are awesome and because I know that clients need the help. If I can help that happen, then that’s awesome.”



Interested in learning more about how I can help you through coaching? Find out more at

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Mar 20, 2017

Today we’re talking to Rachel Desrochers, the Chief Gratitude Officer at Grateful Grahams. She has a powerful story about how gratitude saved her life and inspired her business, and her attitude is absolutely infectious.

“I started Grateful Grahams because gratitude saved my life.”

Rachel started Grateful Grahams in 2010 with a few goals: creating her dream job, spreading the message of gratitude, and working with small batches to ensure a great product each time. She also wanted to create a healthy, vegan treat for her father, who experienced a dramatic lifestyle change after battling prostate cancer.

She’s grown impressively over the past seven years… But she’s not even close to finished with her journey.

Rachel isn't a planner; she's a doer. She makes business decisions that she believes will be personally fulfilling, support her team, and help her customers eat healthily.

A fear of failure doesn't limit her. Instead, excitement about new opportunities and love for her community propels her.

“I wake up every day and I do work that I believe in. I feel like I’m impacting my community… and that fills my cup.”

The gratefulness isn’t a schtick. Rachel is one of the most authentic and transparent people to come on the show. She has a genuine love and appreciation for her family, community, and team.

She calls herself the Chief Gratitude Officer because the title doesn’t create a divide between her and her team. She works with them throughout the process and endeavors to create a workplace that helps people be their best selves.

Rachel doesn’t just want to be an employer – she wants to be a relationship-builder and a world-changer. She’s off to a tremendous start.

Hungry yet? You can order some delicious and healthy Grateful Grahams online. They ship to anywhere in the U.S with a flat shipping fee.



Interested in learning more about how I can help you through coaching?  Find out more at


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Mar 13, 2017

We’ve been on this journey together for a few weeks now. I am discovering a lot about what drives people, and I love having the opportunity to share those stories with all of you.

Today I want to share my story.


I thought I knew what I wanted to do when I was very young, but I spent a long time searching before I found fulfillment. Before I could find it, I had to take a risk and step into the unknown.

My first private practice was a side gig in a dirt cheap shared office. I didn’t get a phone call for six weeks, but eventually I was working an extra 10 hours a week as my own boss. It was difficult, but I was really happy.  

But I still wasn’t fulfilled. I wanted more. I needed to step further into the unknown.

I left my day job and went into private practice full-time, and things started to get really interesting really fast. The romance, excitement, momentum, and motivation that come with making a big change quickly fade when you come face-to-face with the realities of the venture.


In 2015, I had some of the highest highs and lowest lows, and I learned a few lessons in the process:

  • Things don’t move in a linear fashion. The mind sometimes thinks that’s the case, and wants it to be the case, but the unexpected always happens.
  • Don’t internalize your experiences. When my business numbers went down, I made myself feel like I was doing something wrong. I labeled myself a failure. I wasn’t a failure and, with patience and determination, my business improved.
  • Make yourself open to opportunity. I was trying to control everything and everything had to be perfect. I was so focused on everything being my way that I closed myself off to other opportunities. You will find abundance more easily if you stop resisting, and start accepting, your situation.


Life is a learning laboratory – open yourself up, take a risk, and have some fun.



My podcast episode with Melvin Varghese on Selling the Couch talking about my challenges in beginning my business:


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Mar 6, 2017

How often are we in search of things?

Happiness, meaning, the perfect job, the perfect relationship… we are constantly searching for the things that we think we should have, have a hard time attaining, and have a hard time sustaining.

But trying to get “the thing” is an illusion.

In this episode, I break down a few things that we can think about to help reshape our mindset…

  • Expectations. We think that there is a right or wrong way to be, and there isn’t. Right or wrong is a flawed paradigm.
  • Quitting. It’s okay to quit, because sometimes we aren’t actually quitting – we’re correcting course. Wipe the word quit off the table.
  • Roles. What is your role when you retire? When you transition out of a role (soldier, policeman, doctor, etc.), it can be hard to adjust. But your role doesn’t make your identity; your identity makes you well-suited for a role. You can’t stop being who you are.
  • Money. What is it? It’s not a commodity and it’s not “the thing.” It’s a resource. Money can provide us with a sense of security and a sense of stability, but it doesn’t provide value.

To reveal more about yourself, take a Myers-Briggs test and learn your personality type. This is a free, unofficial version of the test.

Combining the test results with Paul D. Tieger’s book Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type helped me transition from the military to therapy.

This isn’t an answer, but it might give you more guidance, insight, and direction.

If you enjoyed this episode, join me on my Facebook Page. I’ll be sharing videos and discussing more topics like this every week.




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Feb 27, 2017

Mark Zinno, sports talk radio host and Army veteran, recently launched the Hazard Ground podcast.

America knows a select few war stories, usually because they are featured in movies. Mark wants to tell all the stories that weren’t made into movies; the stories that people don’t know.

Mark is fortunate. He deployed twice and returned twice, mostly unharmed… but his comrades in arms weren’t all as fortunate. The podcast is his way of giving back.


“I want to tell soldiers’ stories. People like hearing other people’s stories, if it’s a good story to tell and the person telling it is a good storyteller.”


In Hazard Ground, Mark acts as a translator between military people and civilians. He allows veterans to tell stories in a way that makes sense to them, and he is able to help the audience understand those stories better.

Mark learned to be a great storyteller as a radio host. He has over a decade of experience in the sports media world, which he is called to because it is the best combination of being an athlete and being an actor (and a good second choice after being shortstop for the Yankees).

If you want to hear Mark tell more stories, check out the Hazard Ground podcast or “A to Z with Mark Zinno” radio show.



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Feb 20, 2017

You don’t have to follow a specific path in life. You definitely don’t have to follow a path that makes you unhappy.

Matt Pascarella is working on second career goals, podcasting and mountain guiding. These are his goals for a simple reason: they make him happy.

He believes the world will be a better place if we focus less on what we should and shouldn’t do, and focus more on what makes us and the people in our life happy.

Matt’s new podcast, Hazard Ground, features veterans sharing inspirational and motivational stories about combat, service, and resiliency. He co-hosts the show with Mark Zinno, sports talk radio host and Army veteran.

Matt’s soon-to-be new career, mountain guiding, is appealing because it allows him to share the happiness and goodness of nature with others. He is getting certified through the American Mountain Guides Association, while holding down a full-time job.

Both ventures share a similar challenge: you have to get started. Sometimes you are more of an obstacle than the mountain.

Identify your passions, figure how to monetize it, and try your best to add more positivity into the world. We can all forge a happier path (and make the world a better place while we’re at it).




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Feb 13, 2017

Let your mind work for you – have it be your ally and don’t let it keep you small.

Our thoughts affect how we navigate everything in lives: our jobs, our relationships, our mood, and how we see the world.

When we think in black and white terms, or our thinking is polarized, we limit ourselves.

  • When we prejudge things, we can lie to ourselves. When we think we know something, we feel safe, important and informed.
  • We’re naturally afraid of change so our mind draws on past experiences to give us an idea of what to expect… but using past experiences to predict outcomes will dictate your actions and close you off to anything new.
  • We tend to look at everything in a right or wrong frame of reference… so we can always find excuses why we can’t. If we broaden our lens, then we can also find excuses why we can.
  • We can end up tying our sense of success to results, but success is subjective. We don’t want to attach our decision making to the immediate results. When we try something new, we won’t always get the results we expect right away.
  • We spend a tremendous amount of energy comparing ourselves to our outside environment, especially other people. When we focus on comparing ourselves to other people or other circumstances, it makes us small. We’re not giving ourselves a chance to look at our true potential.
  • We think we know what other people are thinking about us, and we spend time dwelling on it… but our job is not to judge. Our job is to do.


We need to stop judging ourselves through a black and white lens – we need to start taking control of our lives through action.

It’s going to be hard to get out of a black and white mindset because our brains naturally want to think linearly… but we need to give ourselves a chance to practice. Here are a few small and manageable ways to practice expanding your mindset:

  • Find a person or group who will offer support, give subjective feedback, and provide constructive criticism.
  • Be curious about other people and their experiences. Seek connection with new and different people. You can empower yourself by talking to people who aren’t like you.
  • Take a chance! Don’t try to conquer the world right away. Start taking small steps to exercise your risk muscle.


When you are able to let go of your attachment to the past, trust in your own capabilities, and stop judging the perceived result of your actions then you will see serious results and changes in your life.


Interested in learning more about how I can help you through coaching?  Find out more at

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Feb 6, 2017

Today’s guest, Jerry Howard, went on a long journey to find his true calling.

He dropped out of undergraduate classes, worked in a call center, enlisted in the marines after 9/11, went back to business school, obtained a MBA with a specialization in marketing, left the marines, sold health insurance, was a stay-at-home dad, participated in a corporate leadership training program… and that’s not even everything!

Now Jerry serves as the executive director and healthcare administrator for ortho, neuro and cardiac rehab centers.

Jerry’s diverse experiences helped him focus on and reorder his top three priorities:

  1. Faith
  2. Family
  3. Finance

“Faith, Family and Finances allows me to keep the external world secondary to my family and then my Family secondary to Faith. If you don’t have principles to live by then, when push comes to shove, even within your Family you can be swayed by the moment.”

Prioritizing Faith, Family, and Finance helps Jerry keep love as his main motivator.

Jerry was motivated by love to write a book for stay-at-home dads titled So You're a Stay at Home Dad, Now What?: Fatherhood Isn't What It Used to Be.

In the book, Jerry attempts to help other stay-at-home dads better fill their roles and find their true calling. You can preorder the book on Amazon now.

“If you don’t use your talents and the things that you’re good at to make a contribution to the world, then your time here on Earth is wasted.”




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Jan 30, 2017

Traci Ruble, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, is the co-creator of Sidewalk Talk.

Sidewalk Talk fights stigma around therapy and mental health by bringing listening to the streets.

The idea is simple:

  • A volunteer sets two chairs out on the sidewalk.
  • They listen to anyone who wants to talk.

“I’m not in my therapist role when I’m out there listening. I show up as a human and I try to not think about all the different theoretical orientations and I don’t meet people with the idea that there’s something that needs to be fixed in them.“

The movement started in 2014. Traci was bewildered by the level of gun violence and she wanted to know: how can we be active in our community and actually listen to what’s going on, rather than interpreting and predicting it? How can we be part of the community?

The first Sidewalk Talk event took place in San Francisco in 2015 – now there is a Sidewalk Talk going on, somewhere in the world, every week.

An important aspect of the Sidewalk Talk dynamic is that the volunteers are not showing up as therapists – they’re not even showing up as helpers. They only show up in the role of a curious listener.

“I don’t think it’s a different experience than a therapy office. I think I experience it differently because I’m not in a therapy office. The context changes how I receive it.”

The one thing that Traci has to train the non-therapist volunteers to do is regulation, both inside of themselves and the person they’re listening to. Over sympathizing can burn out the volunteer and unbalance the person talking.

Sidewalk Talk is changing the world because it’s a disruptive social technology.

  • When you see people listening in the street, whether or not you participate, your mindset changes.
  • When someone listens to you, it encourages you to do the same.
  • When you engage with your community, it’s stimulating and you want to do more.

Listening projects can also disrupt the intense political dichotomy in the U.S. The 2016 election shows that many people don’t feel they are being listened to, so Traci’s next step is Sidewalk Talk On The Road 2017.

“Human connection is always the solution. Solutions are not the solution.”


Volunteer to listen in your community at





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Jan 23, 2017

Today, we’re exploring The Suffer Lab with Lt. Col. Phil Forbes.

“You’re going to suffer to grow. Things aren’t always comfortable.”

In episode 2, I talked to Phil about leadership. Phil has been affiliated with Special Operations for the majority of his career and has supported numerous contingencies worldwide. He has commanded at the detachment, squadron, and group level in garrison and in combat and has been awarded the Bronze Star on two occasions. He presently works in the Pentagon for a three-star General as an Executive Officer.

We’re used to thinking that stress and suffering are bad, but they’re instructive. Experiencing stressful situations, physically or mentally, teaches you about how your body responds to stress.

You have a choice about how you respond to suffering. If you make a conscious decision to frame the experience in a way that serves you, then you will develop better skills for adapting to greater suffering, in the future.

The Suffer Lab is self-imposed suffering, with defined limits. In the Lab, you know the experience is finite so you can more easily practice making conscious choices.

Phil suggests putting yourself through The Suffer Lab in any area of your life where you find weakness, or a deficit. It’s difficult – you have to be really honest with yourself – but that’s where the real growth is.

“Suffering ceases to be suffering the moment it finds meaning.” –Victor Frankl

If you want to learn more about the benefits of suffering and discover more of Phil’s amazing stories, then you’re in luck! Phil is publishing blogs on Medium and you can follow him here.




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Jan 16, 2017

Mercedes Samudio, LCSW runs a practice and brand called The Parenting Skill.

Over time, Mercedes realized she wanted to coach and empower her parents – she didn’t necessarily want to do therapy with them.

Parents really need to learn how to connect with their child and still be a full human, while making sure that their children are safe, growing and developing. She helps parents learn their own unique skills.

An important tool for Mercedes is empathy. She understands that each person is different and each parent will parent differently. “You don’t have to wait until you’re an expert, because each and every single one of us is technically an expert in understanding our perspective and our philosophies.”

Another important tool that Mercedes has embraced is live video. Live videos allow her to show off her passion and show up as her genuine self. Being genuine helps others do the same, and it brings the clinician and the client to the same human level.

Many of the problems that parents experience can be traced back to the expectations and shame associated with certain roles. Those norms create barriers to our own growth and the shame obscures our genuine self. Mercedes’s coaching can empower someone to overcome shame and limiting beliefs.

Mercedes is working on a book titled Shame-Proof Parenting. It explores how to identify shame in your life, in your family and in your parenting, and what you can do to shame-proof your life.

You can learn more about Mercedes at or by following her on social media (links in the resources below).




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Jan 9, 2017

Either we’re asleep or we’re awake. Either we’re consciously aware of something or we’re not.

But we don’t become awake from reading books or having conversations. We wake up when we experience things, and we experience things differently based on our mindset.


Mindset Shift #1 – Don’t Get Wrapped Up in the Things You Can’t Control.

  • I don’t necessarily think politics is the problem, I just don’t think it’s the solution.
  • Other individuals will not solve your problems or improve your life.


Mindset Shift #2 – Loving & Accepting Every Experience

  • Accepting the fullness of an experience will allow you to see the good in the bad, and it will help you learn to love every present moment.
  • When you’re doing things you don’t particularly like, you can learn to love them because you know those things serve your greater purpose.
  • When we experience hard times, we tend to quickly judge those as bad experiences. When we make that snap judgement, we miss the bigger picture of what we’re experiencing.


Mindset Shift #3 – Being a Victim Vs. Being Victimized

  • We’ve all been victimized. We’ll be victimized intermittently throughout the rest of our lives.
  • The difference between being victimized and being a victim is that being a victim is a role we assume, and it is a role that sheds responsibility for the circumstances we have been given that have been out of our control.
  • What is in our control is our ability to react and be proactive


Mindset Shift #4 – Don’t Waste Energy on Can’t

  • If you want to find an excuse to not do something, you will always find an excuse.
  • Excuses can be real – that doesn’t mean you have to focus your energy and attention on them.
  • It’s a choice to find reasons why you can’t or reasons why you can. In almost every situation, there are reasons for both.


Mindset Shift #5 – You Don’t Have to Have All the Answers to Start

  • As a therapist, we often feel that we need to have all of the answers before we can help solve someone’s problems. But the reality is we can’t. We’re never going to have all the answers.
  • You don’t need to be the ultimate subject expert to start anything, because that’s all subjective.
  • The answers that you need to apply aren’t necessarily coming from other people’s information. Your answers come from your experiences.


Mindset Shift #6 – Don’t Be Afraid to Show Up

  • When you try to meet other people’s expectations, you can’t fully show up.
  • You can’t be the thing you think other people want. Not everyone will like what you do, but there’s plenty of people who will embrace who and what you are.
  • You have to understand and recognize what you show up as. If you show up, you have to understand that there’s value in that.
  • We want to see people and things that are true and aren’t hidden by an agenda. People love authenticity, whether we realize it consciously or not.


Mindset Shift #7 – Embrace Stoic Philosophy

  • “The single most important practice in stoic philosophy is differentiating between what we can change and what we can’t.” –The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
  • Stoicism helps you look at the neutral nature of the universe. It responds to what you put out there.

I truly believe the world will start to change when we all start recognizing what we have internally as valuable, and when we recognize that the things we put out into the world are valuable.

Act. Do. Try. Don’t be afraid of failing.




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Jan 2, 2017

Ernesto Segismundo, M.S., is a marriage and family therapist who mastered marketing skills to help him grow his private practice. He trains other therapists to do the same by promoting their practice through social media and video marketing at

Ernesto emphasizes how our origins and perception affect how we define what is possible and what is a success. When we achieve what we believe to be possible based on our origin, then we run into an upper limit problem.

This upper limit problem can look and feel a lot like burnout, but it’s likely rooted in fear. Reaching your perceived upper limit can lead to losing focus and subconscious self-sabotage.

You’re not failing – you just don’t know how to handle your success… yet.

“You are successful, but you don’t know how to handle that type of success.”

When we re-think burnout, we can stop blaming external factors and start taking personal responsibility. When you take personal responsibility, you can start actually addressing the problem.

Sometimes the upper limit problem is necessary. If we never struggle then we lose motivation.

When Ernesto started addressing his upper limit problem, he started improving his mindset.

  • He fostered more creativity
  • He was more generous with himself
  • He became intentional about what he put out onto social media
  • He gave himself the permission to be happy, open and honest

What’s beyond your upper limit?

According to Ernesto and Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap, genius is beyond your upper limit. That’s where you can be the most creative, most generous and get over your imposter syndrome.

The upper limit problem is out there – it’s a psychological, emotional and relational toxicity. If you do not address it, then you will never reach the peak of your business, relationship or personal development.

You can address it by reaching out to business coaches, mental health professionals and life coaches that specialize in this area. You don’t have to solve it, you just have to be aware of it.




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Dec 26, 2016

Lanie Smith is the owner and founder of Integrative Art Therapy and Registered Art Therapist. She is on a mission to reduce the chronic burnout that is common for so many women, parents, helpers, and healers using the power of art, nature, and the creative process.

You don’t have to be artistic or have any art experience to benefit from art therapy. Lanie didn’t discover art until she was 18-years-old. Everyone has a creative side, some of us just lose touch with that part of ourselves as we go through adolescence and become more self-conscious.

“This isn’t about you being the best or the worst artist. We’re not judging it. We’re just using a non-verbal style of communication here. This is just another outlet for you to express yourself.”

Embracing creativity can help change behaviors that are reinforced by ourselves and society, and these behaviors can cause us to push ourselves and burn out.  

You can embrace creativity in any part of your life – it doesn’t have to involve putting pen to paper or paint to canvas. You can be creative in the kitchen, at work or even in your closet. There’s no limit to the number of ways that we can be creative.

“You are enough. Regardless of how overwhelming things might seem, whether you’re starting a new practice or you’re a new graduate in school or a parent with multiple kids, you are enough.”

Lanie and her practice are a much-needed force of welcoming and warming in an over-worked world. Learn more about Lanie and her practice at and learn about her new project, a couple’s retreat with her significant other, at  





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Dec 19, 2016

Dr. Lily Zehner, MFT-C, specializes in sex, intimacy and relationships. In this episode, we explore the journey that led her to developing her unique set of skills.

“I often tell people that I have thick skin and a tender heart. It takes a tender heart to really work with the people I’m working with and to really understand what is going on and what is felt and what is needed, but thick skin because there is so much shame and so much judgement.”

In the household that Lily grew up, sex was considered the devil, dirty and wrong – but she always had a curiosity about sex and sexual expression.

She also grew up divided between different identities.

  • She is a first-generation American
  • She is hearing, but her parents’ are deaf
  • She grew up in an upper-middle class neighborhood, but she grew up poor
  • She is a person of color, but surrounded by white people

“Understanding how these different parts of my identity intersect and how that impacts how I show up in the world and how I experience things – it really is a big part of how I show up in the room with my clients.”

There’s many layers to her identity and her experiences that don’t necessarily fit together, and all of it combines to influence her true calling in life.

She has come to realize that her true calling is to create a space where she can be show up for people and allow them the space to really be who they are, honor who they are, explore who they are, discover who they are, and share themselves with others.

“Give yourself permission to show up in this world exactly as who you are – whatever that may be, without shame, unapologetically – and know that, the more we all do that, the better we will be.”

I really respect the awesome work that Lily is doing. I think she’ll help a lot of people, which will in turn help change society’s perception of sex and sexuality for the better. You can get in touch with Lily at




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Dec 12, 2016

Fiachra O'Sullivan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a practice in in San Francisco. Couple’s counseling is tough – a lot of therapists shy away from it – but Fiachra loves it.

Fiachra is also launching, a free tool for couples to learn about who they are, and who they are together, from an attachment perspective. Couples will receive daily reminders or prompts that will help them continue to tend to their love and relationships.

“Love matters, and because it matters so much you’re going to feel threatened in moments where it looks like that love isn’t present.”

He is using a digital platform to share this information for free because he doesn't believe people should have to spend hundreds of dollars if they want to work towards greater understanding and healthier relationships.

As a couples therapist, Fiachra has to do all of the things an experiential therapist does, but he also has to match people’s energy and actively become a part of the session.

“There is nothing I will be able to do with a couple unless we have an alliance.”

Fiachra describes himself as the typical psychotherapist cliché in that he was drawn to the field by a desire to heal his own emotional pain and suffering – he also considers this one of his greatest strengths as a psychotherapist.

“The number one qualification I have to do this work is I am another wounded human being that has managed to do my own personal work so I can help other people.”

Fiachra believes it is unbelievably powerful to be comfortable with who you are, warts and all, but it has taken him a long time to achieve that comfort. It helps people feel safe and contained.

“The most important rule for me is that nobody gets shamed. No one will ever leave my office having felt shamed.”

Fiachra is hugely influenced by Sue Johnson – the creator of Emotionally Focused Couples Training (EFT). There’s a map that allows him to keep track of where they are at nearly every moment, and “the moments where I’m not sure where we are? That’s where there’s potential magic that can happen.”

Fiachra does really important work and I appreciate having the opportunity to talk about the challenges of couples therapy, why he is launching, and the journey that he took to discover his True Calling. Check out to see what Fiachra is building and head over to to learn more about his practice and read his blog.




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Dec 5, 2016

Welcome back to the True Calling Project. Today’s guest is Nicole Gordon, licensed marriage and family therapist, and she has a very unique way to approach couples and family work.

Nicole sees clients in both a private practice and in their homes. She practices experiential therapy that uses cooking as a tool. It’s basically a platform to help clients understand themselves in situ and relate their emotions or thoughts to what has come up in traditional talk therapy.

“By going through the process themselves, they’re able to observe more about themselves.”

What does cooking therapy look like?

  • It starts with an introduction to talk about the clients’ backgrounds and goals with therapy
  • The activity might involve a couple or family creating something together, creating something for each other or creating something without knowing what the ingredients are
  • The activity is geared towards the clients’ goals
  • During the activity, Nicole will ask questions to help clients process along the way

“People love it because they get to do something fun, but also relate to each other in a safer way.”

Cooking therapy sounds fun, and we don’t typically think about psychotherapy as something enjoyable or fun. It’s a refreshing approach to couples and family therapy that focuses on what patients observe about themselves during the process, as opposed to what Nicole observes about them.

“It was taking two loves and putting them together and saying I can do both at the same time.”

Nicole is writing a dissertation about the relationship between therapy and cooking. She is particularly interested in the different physical and emotional levels on which people relate to cooking.

  • On an instinctual level, we eat to survive
  • On a family level, we relate food to different cultures and traditions
  • On a societal level, we relate food to health, enjoyment and more
  • On an emotional level, different foods and dishes affect us all differently


Nicole has truly found her true calling. She learned to find joy and creative expression in what she does – an empowering technique that you can apply to any career to improve your life and the lives of people around you. You can learn more about Nicole and her techniques at




Interested in learning more about how I can help you through coaching?  Find out more at


Production & Development for True Calling Project by Podcast Masters

Nov 28, 2016

Today’s guest, Jane Zarse, is the author of Love and Compassion Is My Religion: A Beginner's Book into Spirituality. The book is a guide to finding your spiritual self – no matter how much you've lost yourself. It's a guide on how to find your way back.

“Spirituality saved me, so I felt compelled to pass that on.”

Jane fought bulimia and drank to excess after graduating from Boston University, then worked first as an actress and later as a high-volume trader at Chicago's Options Exchange. She lacked compassion for others, but didn’t realize why until much later.

Jane lacked compassion because she didn’t really love herself. Spirituality helped her embrace authentic self love – the desire to take care of yourself, even when it requires a tremendous amount of sacrifice.

Jane was first introduced to spirituality in Alcoholics Anonymous, which was actually disconcerting at first. She didn’t know if it was religion or what was going on, but she knew she didn’t want to drink herself to death. She learned to tap into something bigger than her, and that helped.

“I was sick and tired of being sick and tired for years, but nothing changed until I was sick and tired enough to be willing to do something about it.”

These principles can be applied to anyone who feels stuck.

  • Be honest – You can’t fix anything you won’t acknowledge.
  • Find hope – Hope can produce positive results in your life.
  • Pray – Jane believes in the power of prayer.

“You have to first admit you’re immersed in the quicksand before you can conceptualize a way out.”

You can’t live a good life with a bad attitude, whether you find a good attitude through hope, a higher power, meditation, or the people you surround yourself with. Jane shares a powerful journey about getting unstuck and bringing herself up from rock bottom to a place where she has authentic self love through spirituality. Jane’s book is an excellent starting point for others interested in beginning their own spiritual journeys.



Interested in learning more about how I can help you through coaching?  Find out more at


Production & Development for True Calling Project by Podcast Masters

Nov 21, 2016

Should you quit your job? Over the past few years, I have seen a lot of discussions and advertisements online encouraging people to leave their job, take risk, step into the unknown and really go for it. I want to offer another perspective.

I did quit my job about two years ago, and it did open up new opportunities in my life that I would not have had otherwise – however, in hindsight, there are a few things I would have done differently.

Eckhart Tolle suggests that there are three ways that we can improve a situation in which we are unhappy:

  • Can you change your situation?
  • Can you accept it?
  • Should you leave it?

Before you decide to leave a job, first consider what about the job is making you unhappy. Are you doing things you don’t like, or not doing enough of the things you enjoy? Improving that situation may be as simple as sitting down to talk with a supervisor.

“Practicing acceptance within my line of work has really been focused on the fact that I need to be present with the people that I’m working with and that I’m connected with.”

When we’re talking about changing things, we’re approaching the situation from a cognitive or logical mindset. When we’re talking about accepting something, we’re coming from a place of being in the moment or noticing our resistance. Is there something we’re resisting in our work environments? Are there things that we can acknowledge as common consequences or inconveniences of any job we might have, and view them as things we have to deal with to do the things we love to do? Acceptance can lead to gratitude.

“When I adopt a mindset of gratitude in my work, it’s that I recognize the awesome potential of what it is I’m actually doing.”

The question then becomes, when can I or should I leave my current situation? No one can answer this question for you, but good planning can help you figure the answer out for yourself.

  • Take an inventory of your financial situation, and how it will be impacted if you leave your job.
    • If you’re transitioning from a job with steady income into a job without a steady income, you’ll want to save at least 6 month’s income.
    • If you’re transitioning from job with steady income into a job with less steady income, you’ll want to save at least 3 month’s income.
  • Why do you want to leave your job? What opportunities will open up that are not currently available?
  • Talk to people who have already transitioned and learn from their experiences.
  • Abundance vs Scarcity
    • The idea that things are in scarcity keeps many people stuck in their current situation.
    • When we come from a place of abundance, we realize that time isn’t necessarily finite. Just because we don’t like where things are at now doesn’t mean things won’t get better.

So, should you quit your job? Before you make the decision: slow down, consider your motivations to make the change, take a personal inventory, do careful financial planning, consider the unexpected, and identify things that you can change today to improve your situation.




Interested in learning more about how I can help you through coaching?  Find out more at


Production & Development for the True Calling Project by Podcast Masters

Nov 14, 2016

Welcome to the True Calling Project. I’m your host John Harrison, professional psychotherapist and coach, and today I’m talking to a long-time friend, Lt. Col. Phil Forbes. Phil has been affiliated with Special Operations for the majority of his career and has supported numerous contingencies worldwide. He has commanded at the detachment, squadron, and group level in garrison and in combat and has been awarded the Bronze Star on two occasions.  He presently works in the Pentagon for a three-star General as an Executive Officer.

“On a very small scale, we can affect great change in our lives by being a little audacious.”

Phil and I met as freshman at Virginia Tech and the Corps of Cadets, and like most of us he struggled with the regiment of military life.  At one point a few weeks after we started he actually considered quitting.  He was visited by Medal of Honor Recipient Col. Wesley L. Fox, who served as an assistant commandant, and was asked the fundamental question: What is your five year plan?

“It was a very diplomatic way of saying, ‘you’re missing the big picture, Phil.’”

This heart-to-heart meeting with Col. Fox meant a lot to Phil, and he came back from Fall break mature enough to accept that step into a new existence. This was a huge turning point in Phil’s life.

“It wasn’t so much the fact that it was the military or it was the Air Force or it was my uniform or shining my shoes. It was structure, and it was allowing yourself to become part of something bigger.”

Phil considers being a commander to be one of the rewarding experiences in his life. He has been a commander three times in combat and once in garrison, or in a peacetime setting. Each time has presented its own challenges and unique demands because each command was different in the extent to his control or what was expected of him.

“The most rewarding aspect of command is not that I was in charge of people, but rather that I earned those people’s respect.”

Phil shared a few lessons that he learned from 18 plus years in the military. He emphasizes that leadership is about being seen, not necessarily being heard or getting your fingers in everybody's’ pie. Good leadership is characterized by:

  • Being available for people
  • Having the appearance of ubiquity
  • Admitting when you don’t know everything
  • Knowing when to show gratitude
  • Realizing that the people you are in charge of weren’t drafted – they’re volunteers
It’s great to see Phil doing such amazing things, and taking such a high leadership position gives me a sense of comfort and assurance that things are evolving and changing. I thank him for his service, and I appreciate him coming on the show to share. If Phil left any stones unturned and you’d like to get in touch with him, you can email him.

Phil lives with his awesome wife and children in Northern Virginia and is an avid cyclist in his first season of racing cyclocross.  When he's not raging on his bike, doing something outdoors, or writing, he's probably listening to Best Coast while home brewing.




Interested in learning more about how I can help you through coaching?  Find out more at

Nov 4, 2016

I’m your host John Harrison, professional psychotherapist and coach, and I’m getting the project started by talking to someone who has been a big inspiration to me. Melvin Varghese is a therapist and Founder of the podcast and blog Selling the Couch, which helps aspiring and current mental health private practitioners to become better business owners.


“If you want to get to a certain place, one of the best time and financial investments you can make is to invest in people that have already done it and have had success.”


Melvin and I talk about how he found himself in the mental health podcasting niche, the things that he learned about himself and his business by starting a podcast, and great tips for people looking to further their careers by starting a podcast.

Melvin saw an opportunity to serve a larger population and develop alternative income streams by podcasting. It is a unique medium because podcast listeners are consuming episodes passively, while doing other things, and headphones allow podcast hosts to speak directly into the ears of their listeners.


“At the end of my life I didn’t want to have a bag of I Wish I Had Done This and Regrets. I wanted to have a life where, even if I failed at something, I could tell myself and I could tell my family that at least I took the step.”


Selling the Couch’s first episode launched with nine listeners during the first week. It currently has around 170,000. So many people stop when they feel overwhelmed or feel the process is taking too long, but Melvin believes the most successful people understand that the building stage is temporary and necessary. Overcoming obstacles in the season of building will help prepare you for growth.


“Everybody goes through the season of building.”


If you are interested in starting a podcast, Melvin has some great advice:

  • Launching a podcast has a lot of potential because it is still a new medium, but it is not easy on a practical level or an emotional level.
  • There’s a lot of free content all over the web. Melvin has The Complete Guide to Launching Your Podcast available for free on his website.
  • Invest in people that have already started podcasting and have had success. Reach out to people who resonate with you or hire a coach.
  • If you’re at a stage where you’re ready to scale your business, a podcast can help you extend your reach beyond your immediate geographic area. 71% of people are consuming podcasts on smartphones, and in 2016 there are 2.3 billion smartphones in the world. By 2020 it is projected there will be 6.1 billion smartphones.

Melvin has a very intentional morning routine that sets him up for success every day. He’s in bed by 9:00 and up by 4:45; spends his first hour drinking 32 ounces of warm lemon water, working out and meditating; then watches a TED Talk to get into the right mindset.


“If I’m going to consume media, I want to start my day by consuming media that is about people that are doing big things in the world because it puts me in the right mindset.”


Melvin is a huge inspiration and a key part of me launching this podcast, so I can’t thank him enough for being my first guest. His podcasting course is an extremely useful resource for aspiring podcasters, and you can find the Selling the Couch podcast on his website, iTunes or Google Play.



Nov 4, 2016

Welcome to the first episode of True Calling Project, a podcast dedicated to exploring the purpose and meaning in our lives and chosen professions, how we can achieve satisfaction and fulfilment, and live our life to our fullest potential. Do we all have a True Calling? I’m your host John Harrison, professional psychotherapist and coach.

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