Jon Vroman Wants You To Live in The Front Row | PoP 353

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Jon Vroman Wants You To Live in The Front Row

Have you thought about how your health affects your life? What would your life look like if you were present daily in the lives of those who mattered most you? Are you confident enough to make decisions, but humble enough to know that it could be wrong?

In this podcast episode Joe Sanok speaks with Jon Vroman about living life in The Front Row, what it takes to be a Front Row Dad and being your true self.

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Meet Jon Vroman

Jon Vroman inspires others to Live Life In The Front Row™ by teaching the art of moment making. He is an award-winning speaker, #1 bestselling author of The Front Row Factor, podcast host and founder of Front Row Foundation, a charity creating front row experiences for individuals who brave life-threatening illnesses. In and amongst all of this he also started Front Row Dads.

Find out more about Jon on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Jon Vroman’s Story

Jon had an executive position wherein he was making great money and was ultimately living a great life, but something was missing. This something was contribution, giving back and making a difference. Because of this,  Front Row Foundation came about as a side gig.

After 3 years of doing this he realized that he wanted to commit more of his time to this side gig and because he still had a 9-5 it was a bit difficult. He decided to take the leap and started his own business.

In This Podcast


In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Jon Vroman about living life in The Front Row, what it takes to be a Front Row Dad, being your true self and how being a healthy version of yourself can benefit everyone around you.

Self Improvement and Health

When you have your health you have 1000 dreams. But when you don’t, you have but one.

Working with people through the charity for 13 years who are fighting for their life, Jon has a great level of respect for health. For him, to be a Front Row Dad you’ve got to put your health first.

What Makes Up A Front Row Dad

We can’t know everything, but we can know something and that something can change anything.

  • Vibrant health and energy
  • Thriving marriage
  • Emotional Mastery
  • Integrated living – how do you manage your calendar and how are you intentional with your time
  • Intentional parenting – what does education look like and how are you helping to lead your kids

You’ve got to be confident enough to make decisions, yet humble enough to know that those decisions could be wrong and that you need to pivot and learn something new.

Converting Information to Action

I recognize I get a lot further by leading the way with my actions.

When Jon learns something and he brings the information back home he makes sure that he doesn’t come in and tell everybody how things are going to change, but to actually just do things himself that are different.

Watch Some of Jon’s Talks Here

Books by Jon Vroman

Other Books mentioned In This Episode


Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

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This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 353.
Well, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. You did it. You’re here. Congratulations. You’re making something out of yourself. You know, this podcast is so darn fun to do. I hope that comes across to you because when I interview these people and I get to know them and I learned from them and I’m able to implement things in my own business and life is just so fulfilling. And you know, today we’ve got Jon Vroman and I met John, at TEDx here in Trevor City when we were both speaking. And I just connected with him really quickly and you know, he really focuses in on just what’s the kind of life you want to live, what’s the kind of father you want to be, how do we have a business, but also make sure that we’re really diving into our family. You know, I’m in this group, Front Row Dads and they have these smaller groups within it.
And just today actually I met with my, they call them bands. So, I met with my band and you know, these guys are people that are all over the country. We all want to be good dads. We talked about our workout goal, our other goals, you know? We’ve been doing this thing since the beginning of the year. It’s using an app called Spar and the goal is just to sweat every single day. And you have to check in and every day that you don’t check in and you didn’t sweat you get charged $5 and then the pot continues to grow. At the time of this recording, I’ve sweat every single day of the year, haven’t been charged five bucks. And then whoever makes it to the end and has the most days they split that pot of money. So, right now I think there’s like 10 guys, probably in the pot is around 300 bucks.
So, may have a small little payout there. But for me it’s been awesome to just really focus in on my health a little more. So, it’s something I haven’t done much of in, you know, I hope to do more of, I signed up for a triathlon even though I’m terrible at swimming. Well, I would say in December I was terrible at swimming. I took four swim lessons and now I’m whatever step above terrible is bad. So, now I’m bad at swimming and maybe soon I’ll be adequate at swimming. But I signed up for it in August. It’s the week after Slow Down School. So, at Slow Down School, you know, I’m going to have to continue to eat right. I’m going to have to, you know, we run a little five k in the morning, which is so weird. You know, I didn’t ever think of myself as like a workout guy and I still don’t, but you know, at Front Row Dads, being around other guys that are doing things that really have helped me just become a better person, which I think makes me a better partner, a better father. I’m just a better human.
So, it’s great to be surrounded by people in a community that can push you to think differently. And I see that with Next Level Practice, I see that with the Front Row Dads, and with all sorts of other communities. So, I’m so excited to introduce you to John Vroman because he came and he did one of our expert kind of calls. We have experts come into Next Level Practice that, people can pick their brains. And he got me crying. I was crying on that because he was talking about his Front Row Foundation and just some of that. So, without any further ado, I’m going to let John actually share with you more about his life than just me. So, without any further ado, I give you the one, the only Jon Vroman.
Well, it’s a day in the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Jon Vroman. Jon Vroman inspires others to live life in the front row by teaching the art of moment making. He’s an award-winning speaker, number one bestselling author of the Front Row Factor, podcast host, and founder of the Front Row Foundation. Also, he started Front Row Dads. John, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.
John Vroman: Hey, buddy.
Joe: I’m so excited to have you here. When you did the thing with Next Level Practice, where we brought you in, that’s the first time that I’ve just like started crying uncontrollably during a webinar. We all go too far into that. But you started this Front Row Foundation that helps people that have dealt with or are dealing with life threatening illnesses. And you’ve been doing that for quite a while now.
John: 13 years.
Joe: 13 years?
John: Yeah. Just the other day, in fact, was our anniversary of when we were officially a 501 C3.
Joe: Wow. Yeah. That’s so cool. So, today I really want to dive into being at Front Row Dads. So, take me through how you went from just Front Row Foundation to Front Row Dads. Like frame it out for people that have never heard Front Row Dads and they’ve never heard it.
John: Yeah. Buddy, this is a challenge for me, man. This is a real challenge because you know, first of all it’s dangerous. My whole staff will tell you that, “Careful when you give Johnny the mic.” You know, I try to keep it short, but I think that to set it up and offer context and also what’s of value to your audience, right? Like what’s important. So, the deal is that my life story and how, what ultimately led to Front Row Dads, and the parts that are important would be this. So, how an executive position where I was making great money and living ultimately a great life.
You know, I was really happy with my life, but something was missing and that something was contribution and giving back and making a difference. It was more purpose and meaning. And that’s why we started Front Row Foundation. Front Row Foundation was my side Gig, my evenings, and weekends. My rather than going to the bars and partying, I was throwing galas and raising money, you know, and it was still hanging out with all my friends. It was just, it felt like a more purposeful way of partying. And so, —
Joe: Parties were the purpose?
John: Parties were the purpose man and we did that for probably three years until I realized is that we really had something so cool. I wanted to give more of my time to it, but because I had a nine to five, it made it very difficult to just make choices of my own, of how much time I wanted to give to it. So, I decided to take the leap and I started my own business and I wanted to be a speaker and a coach that will ultimately blend in with Front Row Foundation. So, in other words, when I spoke, I would speak about the charity.
Right. And there’s a lot that you can learn about living life from people who are fighting for it. And I could give messages about that. And that’s what ultimately led to the book. And so, I’m on the road. [crosstalk]
John: Yeah.
Joe: So, were you doing speaking or were you just like, “Hey, I’m going to see if people are going to come.
John: It was both. It was actually that. So, in my corporate position, I was on the stage quite a bit. So, I had known that this was a comfortable place for me. People had affirmed that, “Hey, you can tell a story without putting everybody to sleep. And so, when I left, I thought, what can I do? I love to travel, I need a flexible schedule. Speaking just really was the perfect alignment. So, then I had never been paid for a speech at that point, but I went out and said, “I can figure that out.”
And it was hard. It wasn’t a smooth road, you know. I went in debt, they almost foreclosed on my home. It was a bumpy road, but eventually it took off. And then it worked out. So, yeah. So, then that, what happened was I was on the road a lot. I was giving like 40 paid presentations a year, which really meant I was giving like 60 presentations a year, and I was on the road at least a third of the year, sometimes more. And then, you know, I had the idea, I had a young boy at the time when I was on the road a lot, but I used to always say, “Well, he’s so young. He doesn’t even know that I’m gone.” You know, mostly mom is there and she’s doing a great job but eventually I couldn’t play that game anymore.
I couldn’t stand behind that I’m not important home. And by the way, I don’t think that’s actually true. I think I was very important to him. I think that was the story I was telling myself. But I realized I wasn’t doing a good job as a husband, as a father. And where the idea of Front Row Dads came from was my buddy and I sitting down in a coffee shop saying, “Gosh, whenever we go to these conferences for our businesses, we always grow tremendously. But we’ve never done anything like that for being dads or husbands. Like where’s the conference? Where’s the event where everybody gets together and talks about how to be a better dad or husband. And we say that’s the most important role, but yet we’re not doing it. So, that’s what we did. We got 30 of our friends together and we all hung out and it went so well.
They all wanted to do it again. Then I said, “Oh, we’re onto something here. Maybe this becomes my new purpose. Maybe this becomes my new business. Maybe I can stop speaking and do Front Row Dads fulltime. And so now, that just happened. I just came off the road. I’m still going to take a couple of speeches, you know, that are the right fit but I’m mostly off the road and I’m doing Front Row Dads and it feels right. So, I’m totally, I feel aligned, man. Like my soul is saying, I wake up and I’m like, yeah, this is it. This is the right decision.
Joe: Well, I know when I was talking to you recently on your podcast and by recently, I mean like 20 minutes ago, we were talking about how, you asked me like, why did I join Front Row Dads? And I said, you know, it was you like. I got to know you at TEDx, and I feel like you’re the kind of person that pursues new things to better yourself in a variety of ways. And so, I’ve noticed like you’re drinking lemon, celery water, you said? We had one of our dad ref calls when you were talking about all these different things when you are on the road that you do. I want to talk about that because we’ve talked about speaking before, we’ve talked about people having foundations before, so there’s past episodes and cover a lot of those concepts and I know you would add a lot in that area. We haven’t covered a lot around self-improvement physically in regards to being a good dad. Like that’s just not something we’ve really dove into. So, like let’s focus in their … celery water with lemon. Why that?
John: Interestingly, the whole journey man is really fascinating. The whole journey is fascinating because I’ve been through periods of being extremely unhealthy and then extremely healthy and I tend to, if my wife were answering this question, she would say, “Yeah, Johnny is an extreme. Like, he’s into extremes, very hard for me to do something just, you know, steady as she goes.
Joe: No wonder we get along.
John: I don’t know. So, if I literally walk you through the health journey, I mean I was a smoker, right, for years at one point in my life. And then I started getting into the personal growth space and I was like, “Why am I doing this to myself?” Then I thought I needed to repair all the damage that I had done. So, I went completely nutso on the health side and radically healthy, like people would be like, “John won’t even put salad dressing on his salad because it’s like, it’s totally pure, right?
And, I went through that space. And then what’s interesting is I went through a breakup and one of the things that my ex said after the breakup was, “I just don’t think I can live with somebody that would never eat a hamburger or drink a beer ever again for the rest of his life.” And I think that like set me off. I’m like, “Oh, well, I’ll show her.” I was like, I went on this rampage of just being like, and doing anything I want, eating anything I want drinking anything I want, and I realized that’s not really the right path. And I was swinging from the left to the right and you know, both sides of the spectrum of either all in or all out. And I’ve done that throughout my life. And interestingly in different ways like, with alcohol, cutting it out for 30 days or 90 days and trying to give myself experiments with health.
I’ve run ultra-marathons. I’ve run three ultra-marathons. And when you have to move your body 52 miles or so at once, you want to know everything you can about energy, you want to know everything you can about hydration and nutrition. So, these little spurts in my life, almost like these challenges that I’ve given, I forced myself into learning some things that create energy. And then on top of that, there’s one more piece to add to it and I’ll answer your question about the celery water, but really, I’m giving you why celery water. I’m giving you the why, which is working with people for 13 years through the charity who are fighting for their life. I have a great level of respect for health. You know, and I remember somebody saying one time, they said, when you have your health, you have a thousand dreams, but when you don’t, you have but one and this idea of, what does it take to be a front row dad?
You know, look, could you say its marriage first? Because if you have a happy marriage, you’d would be a great dad. Our kids first. Is faith first. There’s God first. And there’s all these things. And what I ultimately get to for myself is, it’s health first. Because if you don’t have your health, if you don’t take care of yourself and you leave this planet, that’s going to make it very hard to worship God, serve your wife, teach your kids or anything else you want to do. So, there is a great calling to why. And we could spend a ton of time talking about this, right? But, here’s the thing. I, in all my research, in all the things I’ve watched, I’m not a doctor. I’m not a health coach. I’m not an expert in the space. But I picked up on some things like, “Hey, the more healthy things I put in my mouth, the better I’ll be.”
Just as generally speaking. Lemons are packed with vitamins and minerals. They’re alkalizing the body. Celery juice is one of the most nutritious liquids that we can put into our body, because of its makeup, because of its structure. Now, beyond what I just said, I can’t articulate that anymore. But what I do is I do this. I pay people that I really trust. So, there’s a guy, Artemis who lives in Austin and he’s been studying health for 20 years. And I’ll know enough from what Artemis will tell me. Artemis will say celery water, buddy. If you’re missing celery, you’re missing a big piece. Now he wanted me to juice celery, buy a juicer and juice it. I’ve done juicing in the past and to be honest, I can’t get myself to bring to do that, right? But I have a Vitamix.
So, what I’ve done for years is I take this lemon, I cut off the lime, right? I take the seeds out, I throw it in the Vitamix, I add purified water, and now I’m chopping celery, two celery sticks, putting it in there. I put vitamin B droplets in, vitamin D, three droplets in, and I put a spoonful of raw honey. I blend it up and that’s my lemon water throughout the day. And I believe that this is a staple for me. And I’ll even throw Chia seeds in there that when she [crosstalk] Yeah, man, that’s a great drink to hydrate throughout the day. So, I became fascinated with this because honestly, man, one of my greatest fears is having my life end early. You know, not being there for my kids. Like that’s a great fear. So, I’m fear-driven, but I’m also driven by the dream of having as much energy as I possibly can because I got, I want to do a lot of things.
Joe: Yeah, I do a green smoothie every morning, but I like the idea of having kind of a like afternoon drink. It’s not, like my coffee ends right about noon and then it’s like I’ll just drink regular water. But that sounds like it’s a little more fun.
I play with it all, man? My coffee in the morning. I’ll tell you what I put in my coffee and I, by the way, I’ve even experimented with like coffee detoxes, right? Like no coffee Monday through Friday, but only coffee Saturday and Sunday. So, like right here I’ve got green tea, right? I try, which I love, but when I do make coffee, I throw in, you know, I do a lot of the things that are people talking about right now. Like I do the unsalted grass-fed butter. I throw that in, I throw in two Brazil nuts, right? Yeah. Those are great to blend in your coffee, right? I throw in two dates, organic dates that I throw in for a little sweetener. I think that’s way better than, you know, lots of other sweetener choices that you can make. Because that’s just a natural food that is unprocessed. And yeah, that’s a great one.
Then I blend that all up man with a little almond milk or my wife does raw milk. So, I experiment constantly asking like how else can I shift this? And you know, throw in some cinnamon into it. When I make, so, my kids see me drink coffee and then like, “Can I have coffee?” And I’m like, “No, but let me make you a kid coffee.” And now what I do, check this out dude, in the mornings I’ll make them a coffee, which is warm milk, warmed almond milk, typically, with chocolate bone broth. This is for real.
Joe: What is chocolate bone broth?
John: It’s a powder. It’s bone broth in a powder form that you can throw into water. So, if it’s just regular bone broth, then it tastes like bone broth. There’s just a powdered form of bone broth. So, this is like, this is one of the healthiest things, many would argue and everything’s going to be like, people are going to go, “Yes, bone broth.” Or other people could be like, “No, you’re so wrong.” I get how this is polarizing. But what I’m ultimately aiming for are nutrient dense foods. That’s what I’m ultimately aiming for, you know? So, anyway, my point is I whip these things up for my kids and dude, they’ll drink the craziest stuff in the Vitamix. So, you have to own a Vitamix. [crosstalk] Vitamix, but you got to have one.
Joe: Yeah. We have one to and it’s just, you can chop stuff so much better.
John: So good. You throw that celery in the lemon water dude, it just comes out. It’s beautiful. It’s like just fantastic.
Joe: All right, I’m going to give it a whirl. I’ll text you once [crosstalk]. The lemon celery, the vitamin B, D and raw honey.
John: Yeah, that’s it. Oh, and I put a little ice in there to cool it down.
Joe: Oh, okay.
John: Yeah. Put a little ice.
Joe: That’s a secret ingredient for Jon Vroman lemon celery water.
John: Hey, man. I feel like this is the elixir of life. Yeah, that’s great.
Joe: So, people start to live a little healthier. What does it take to be a front row dad? Like what do you think are other core things that, I mean, you get to interview all these awesome people on your podcast and within our community. Like what are you learning?
John: Well, this is, well shoot man, this is my favorite thing to talk about. So, this is dangerous territory because I can go on and on, but here’s something that’s cool. Our group, at our last retreat tried to answer the question of what do we need to focus on, right? Like what makes up a front row dad? And here’s what we determined, which I think if you’re out there listening and you’re not a dad and you’re not even a family if you don’t have kids, right? So, for the wives or the moms, the young entrepreneurs, anybody out there, those who have a startup practice or those who’ve been in practice for a long time, these are five categories that we believe are very important: vibrant health and energy, thriving marriage, emotional mastery, integrated living, which is like how do we manage our calendars? How are we intentional with our time? And then, parenting, intentional parenting.
So, what does education look like and how are we helping lead our kids? That’s what we focus on. What I’m learning through all this, Joe, is that we can’t know everything, but we can know something and that something can change anything. And that if, what I’m in pursuit of personally and with the guys in our group is a blend of confidence and humility where we know it’s like, I’m not afraid to say we’re going straight, we’re going right, we’re going left. I’m not afraid to say this is how we’re doing things and not afraid to lead with confidence and make games and make decisions confidently. Because at some point you got to make a decision, right, about how you’re going to live, who you’re going to be.
Because even if you choose not to make a decision, that is a decision that will impact your family and your business and all those things. So, people are attracted to that confidence. You want to practice out there, right? And you’re like, you walk in, and somebody walks into your practice, then wear your certainty about how things are, your culture, that’s very important to being, to attracting the right clientele. Well, what I’m learning about being a dad and what my business has helped me to do to be a better dad is that those things apply with being a dad. I’ve got to be confident enough to make decisions and yet humble enough to know that those decisions could be wrong and that I need to pivot and then I need to learn something new. So, we always say, the Front Row Dads, men with wisdom who are wise enough to know there’s more to learn and personal growth isn’t always about learning something new. It’s about remembering something true.
These are guiding principles of our brotherhood and they’re guiding principles for my life. And what I love about Front Row Dads is this goes for everything. It’s like why people join your group, Joe. And why that’s going so well is because they know that it’s not information that they’re lacking, right? That it’s that they can’t find any information out there about how to run a practice. It’s that you’re curating this amazing community. It’s who you learn with and it’s those people that hold you to a higher standard. And it’s the relationships that you form and giving yourself time to pour into those relationships and really form a bond.
That’s what we’re excited about. So, what I remember is that what we put attention to grows and that if I’m just going out there trying to make more and more money, we know that’s not the answer because we know enough dads that are in later, down the road, they’re at the end of their life. And they’re looking back. And like we’ve said, we’ve never heard a dad say ever at the end of their life, “I wish I would’ve worked more. I really feel like I left money on the table in my business. I think I spent too much time with my kids.” I’ve never ever, ever, ever heard that from a, and nor will I think I ever will hear that from a sound mind [crosstalk]. Somebody that is grounded in reality. Yeah. So, that’s it, man. Yeah.
Joe: Well so, for you personally, with you and Tatiana, what are some practical actions like, “Okay, yeah, we have all these great values with Front Row Dads.” You’re interviewing these people for the podcast. You then bring this information back into the family. For one, how do you bring that information in? Because I know a lot of the listeners are people that are curious, they go after information. Maybe their partners aren’t always bought in. So, what does that look like when you’re bringing information into the home and then what are some of the things that are kind of practical changes you’ve made as a dad at home?
John: Yeah. Well, this is great. So, how I bring it in is not to come in and tell everybody how we’re going to change everything but to do things that are different myself and then, and you know, rather than telling my wife, “Hey, I learned something. This is what we should do right away. Hey, I got this new idea. This is what we should do.” I just start doing it. And I recognize that I get a lot further and a lot faster by leading the way with my actions. Now it’s such easy advice and it’s one thing that we can all hear and go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I got that. I got, I’ve heard that so many times.” And then just not do that [crosstalk] the exact opposite. I might go tell everybody [crosstalk] our partners to join us [crosstalk].
Yeah, exactly. And so, we need to be better at just taking action and doing the things that, so rather than saying, “Hey, I think when we talked to Tiger and Ocean, we should do it this way.” I should just start doing it that way.
Joe: Yeah.
John: And not telling her all the things that she needs to be doing differently because she could have advice for me too. I mean, some of the practical things that have come out of the group and so, so simple yet so profound like I’ll just give you, I’ll run through a list and you tell me if there’s anything of these that you want to dive into further. But I think about one of our first retreats ever. I invited my buddy Jim Sheils to come join us. Jim runs, his company’s called 18 Summers and he wrote a book called The Family Board Meeting.
And one of his ideas is, I have all his board meetings with my executive teams, my shareholders, my, you know, these people that are in my business that are important to me. And we get together, we talk. Why don’t you do that with my kids? Why am I not having a quarterly board meeting where it’s one to one, it’s extended period of time. So, his rules then became with his board meetings with his kids for hours, uninterrupted time, events of their choosing, no electronics, and a debrief at the end. And the board meeting was also a play on surfing because he used to surf and so lived at the beach in Florida and the boat that they would ride, you know, time on the board. You know, it was boat board meeting time. Well now he shared this concept with the dads and I didn’t know that this could be so big, but literally all the dads, I mean not all but majority are practicing this.
They have their board meeting scheduled, they’re on the calendar, their kids know about them. And this has been a game changer, you know, for the dads.
Joe: We started doing it when I got home. I said I just, the idea of making it a board meeting, like that name I don’t resonate with so, we came up with Mega Date. [crosstalk]
John: And I think that’s exactly it, right? It’s taking ideas and building upon them and having these structures. Whatever they are, they’re these traditions, right? And there’s an accountability to, like at one of our retreats, Jim had pulled aside one of the dads and they were talking and the guy was like, “I want to start this, but I haven’t yet.” So, Jim asked for his permission to bring them up in front of the room and they ran through an exercise and they basically did a future visioning, like, what does life look like when you don’t do this?
You know, what is the pain that you feel of missing out? And really created with both the joy of doing the events and the pain of not doing the events with their kids and that man immediately started. And so, it’s a little bit of having our brothers hold you accountable and talking about it. Like, “Hey, here’s the board meeting. Oh, I need to get those on the calendar.” So, these are simple ideas yet profound. I’ll give you another example. Some of the ideas weren’t even part of the teaching structure of some of these events or these calls. But that guy walked away saying that was the biggest takeaway from it. So, one of them was with Jay Papasan who wrote The ONE Thing with Gary Keller.
Jay was at our event and Jay said, “To earn your wife’s, … he was actually talking about himself. He wasn’t telling the guys, he was saying, part of my mission is to earn my wife’s respect daily. Earn my wife’s respect daily. And he said it as kind of throwaway statement just in the middle of something else. But at the end of the event, we surveyed the guys, they said that was one of their biggest takeaways, was the idea to earn your wife’s respect every day. And that was simple, yet profound. You could do that, right? You can go home and your mission can be to earn your wife’s respect, to show up to that relationship and, and to ask yourself, “What does it take to earn her respect?” What is important to her? This isn’t a weakening of your position. This is a strengthening of your position to understand the things that you need to do, how you need to step up, how you need to show up in order to earn someone’s respect.
But in our marriage, a lot of times that’s where it goes downhill because once they say, “Yes, I do,” and they’re committed, it’s like well, you’re in. I can just, I can basically let it all go. I don’t have to try anymore. I don’t have to dress well. I don’t have to take care of my body. I don’t have to date you any longer. I don’t have to woo you. I don’t have to treat you so nice because you already said yes and we’ve got kids and you’re probably not going anywhere. That sucks.
Joe: I know you made a statement recently on one of the dads calls where you said, you know, if we got divorced, you know, you’d be out working out and [crosstalk] to do those things. It’s like, man, I don’t know, we’re married. And such for me, that was one of those statements where I thought, yeah, like if I was dating right now, I would probably do several things differently to better myself. And then it’s like, “Well, why doesn’t Christina get to see that guy?”
John: That’s right.
Joe: And so, I mean, I think that statement mixed with coming down to the Front Row Dads retreat was so helpful because I’ve been working out a little bit more. And I mean, I’m not busting through my shirt like you are, but I mean, I’ll get there.
John: Come on. We’re painting the wrong picture for the audience here. They’re going to be disappointed if they Google me.
Joe: So, what are some other things that you’ve taken back into the family?
John: Yeah, well, you know, at our event that we just had, Dr. Kelly Flanagan, guys, this man’s awesome. He wrote a book called Loveable. And in fact, as we record this, he’s going to be with us this week at our best year ever live event, which is fantastic. But he taught a concept which, let’s attempt to break this down, Joe. This is a good one because this was the big takeaway from the last event. And I think there’s usually one or two huge takeaways from each event, becomes a theme or an idea that everybody’s talking about. And this is one of them that we just had. So, Dr. Kelly Flanagan, fantastic man with the counseling practice who wrote this incredible book called Loveable. I don’t remember what teed this up, but let me tell you what he taught. He taught that when we are born, we’re born with our true self. Now I’m speaking to a bunch of people out there who are like, “Dude, you’re like, you’re preaching to the choir [crosstalk] I understand who my audience is. So, I want you to know that guys, that I fully respect it, but I also think that this is actually going to be, would you say this is going to be a new metaphor?
Joe: Possibly. I hadn’t heard this metaphor and I broke it down. I think that they’re concepts therapists have heard, but framed in a way that I’ve already shared with my own clients. So, yeah, I love it. I think it’s great.
John: So, anyway, I’m just going to share this quickly and through the lens of being a dad. So, and I think this is valuable for all of us to remember. And sometimes the danger is when we think we know it all too, right? That that’s a dangerous place to be. So, anyway, what he shared was this, you know, and again, I know who I’m talking to, right? Born true self, we find a false self, and then we come back to our true self, hopefully in our lives where we find our way back. He talked about the metaphor of a castle that we build. So, when we first experienced shame, I should probably be letting you the expert explain this guy.
Joe: I want to hear it too.
John: But this is right. So, we start to build these castle walls to protect us when we start to experience shame in our lives. And I think he was talking about that maybe occurring, you know, in an early childhood, right, that we start to experience these feelings of shame and we build these walls to protect ourselves. And it’s almost a false front. So, what I really resonated with was this idea of like when we, even when we start to get to the place where we understand, like when I wear these types of clothes, people tell me I look cute or that you’re cool, or that you fit in. And so, you understand there’s an image that I can build, a false self so that I can be loved, accepted, and belong in a group. And then what you do is you also learn that you not only need to have walls to protect yourself, this image that you portray, but that you can actually go on the attack at times.
And he talked about where we build these cannons on our castle. So, as we’re building our castle to protect ourselves from the world, we then learned that we can put cannons on to go on the authentic with people. And where rather than before they even can hurt us, we can hurt them. And then we find that we are building a throne of righteousness, which is where we sit, where we find some success. We’re good at sports, we’re good at this thing. We build our business, we build this six success. Somehow, we get to be right. We get to sit in this throne and sort of direct our kingdom and, and be heroic to ourselves. And then he talked about through all this false self that we build, protecting our world, protecting our true self, that we then find out that there’s a drawbridge and we get to walk out and be vulnerable with the world, and we get to again then be our true selves at times with people.
But the part that really got to me, Joe, which we thought was really great and which really helped me as a dad, it helped me as a husband and it’s helped me in any way, it helps me just as a person thriving in the world, is to understand that I used to shame myself for the false self, right? I used to shame myself for having a castle or having cannons or all those things. And what I accepted was that they are there, they’re part of who I am. And that to me at the end of the day, that metaphor that he taught was in our world for our Front Row Dads. And I recognize, again, you guys probably heard various ways that you can look at this hundred different ways. But to me this was a metaphor I resonated with, the imagery of that, the concept of that. It helps me understand my kids and their false self and the creation of that false self. And, also not to condemn them or to —
Joe: Yeah, that’s the part I loved about it. Is it so often it’s like go back to your true self, but then he’s like, there’s places that are dangerous for your true self. That’s why we have, we build these walls and [crosstalk]
John: Totally.
Joe: And so, just say, yeah, there’s times that you probably need those walls, but you don’t have to live on that throne all the time. Yeah, you did a great job. You’re sure you don’t have a therapy degree?
John: Well it makes sense, right? Like this idea of authenticity. Like how, here’s a question that comes up as dads. Here’s a question I’m sure that comes up with people all the time. Even when you’re dating. How authentic should you be? Should you really say that? Should you like just because that’s in your mind and just because you’re being truthful or just because you speak your mind. I don’t think you need to go there right away.
Joe: Well, and even like Esther Perel in Mating in Captivity, she talks about the power of the third, of having this space between the couple. And to have even the idea of someone that’s going to flirt with your wife like that makes you raise your game and like realize, wait, she’s bettering herself. Like I should feel closer. And so, I think we have this image often that the perfect couple is like joined at the hip and they never have time away from each other. But I think a lot of the research is pushing back on that and saying that sometimes that mystery and that separation is the thing that drives people together even more than kind of being joined at the hip all the time.
John: Yeah. Do you really want to know everything about your spouse? I mean really, because if you did, if you knew everything about your spouse, wouldn’t that get to the point where you’re like, “Well, what’s next?”
Joe: Well, and I’m definitely like, between the two of us, I’m the one that’s like, “I want to know everything.” And so, this book has pushed back, made me think, “Well, do I?” Is that maybe something that stands in the way of intimacy or like it’s a good book.
John: There’s magic and the mystery. There’s no doubt there’s magic and the mystery and that’s not, doesn’t mean that something is missing. It means that there’s always something to pursue. Tatiana says, “With your level of your need for variety, John, how do you expect to be married? And I go, I was like, “Oh, let me introduce you to yourself. “You are seven different personalities. I’m not going to be bored.” [crosstalk]
Joe: No, go ahead.
John: No, that’s my point is like, yeah, we’re always evolving. We’re always changing. And when you think you get to know somebody that ultimately, something’s going to happen in their world that’s going to shift things and you’d have something else to learn.
Joe: Well, and I feel like, I mean, on your podcast or on this podcast, we easily could just go on and on because there’s just so much that you and I enjoy talking about. And I’m really excited to come down to Austin for the Front Row Dads retreat this spring and hang out more. The last question I always ask is, if every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
John: I would want them to know that I’m grateful for the work you’re doing because people need you. I’ve needed folks like you. I still do. I still have a counselor that I work with. So, whether you are counseling directly helping other people counsel within your business, within your practice, or you’re somehow leading others by the books you’re writing or the shows you’re hosting or whatever it is, I just want to say thank you because the world needs these conversations.
We need to evolve as a community, a global community because if we don’t, we’re in real trouble. This is not going to end well if we don’t have massive shifts. And I think that this group of people that you’re working with, Joe and everybody out there listening is at the forefront of helping society to evolve and to understand themselves and to heal because when they find their true self, when they find love, when they find compassion, and when they find understanding that they’ll express that with others. And I think that will solve a lot of the problems that we have in the world right now.
Joe: John, I love what you’re doing with dads. I love what you’re doing to help families dealing with terminal illness. I know that you have many more ideas inside of you that we’ll see over the years to come and thanks just from a personal standpoint of helping me become a better dad. So, people want to connect with you and your work. What’s the best way for them to connect with you?
John: Yeah, well everything’s at It’s kind of the hub of all world’s front row, but if you want to go straight to the dad stuff, it’s and you can find the Front Row Factor podcast anywhere that you’re listening to the shows and the books on Amazon, all that jazz.
Joe: Awesome. Well John, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
John: Thanks for having me Joe.
Joe: I’m so excited to have connected with John Vroman. I mean he’s such a great guy and I was just on his podcast recently and the Front Row Dads is such a great group and I’m so connected with all these guys all of a sudden. It’s been really interesting to see how when you get the right people in the room, just things happen. You know, next week we have Arthur Joseph and actually it’s not next week, it’s in two days. It’s going to be on Thursday.
So, Arthur Joseph is going to make me feel super uncomfortable and in kind of a good way. He really challenges me to think differently about how I speak on the podcast and probably the most uncomfortable podcast I’ve ever done interview-wise but super interesting. So, if you want to hear me be super uncomfortable, tune in on Thursday.
Thanks again to our podcast sponsor Therapy Notes. If you head an over to and enter promo code Joe, J O E, then you’ll get two months free. They are amazing and just offering such quality service. We’re hearing from so many of our different listeners and consulting clients that are using them. Practice solutions exclusively uses them for medical billing. So, head on over to and use Promo Code Joe so that they know that I sent you and also so you can get those two free months. Thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. I’ll talk to you soon.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We like it a lot. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither of the host, the guests or the publisher are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.