The Secrets to a Lasting Marriage - Growth, Giving & Generosity with John David & Ana Gabriel Mann

Today’s guests share how healthy and love filled marriages are sustained with go-giving without intention to receive.

What does it take to have a healthy marriage? You may think it’s 50/50, an equal input. Today’s guests share how healthy and love filled marriages are sustained with go-giving without intention to receive. John David & Ana Gabriel Mann join Paula to discuss their new book “The Go-Giver Marriage” and share behind the scenes of their “5 secrets” principles. They share how a healthy marriage is grounded in 2 healthy individuals creating a “us” but retaining their whole selves. They share the principle of “allowing” and reframe how “people pleasing” is a selfish act of seeking something for yourself.

In this episode we chat about:

John & Ana’s co-author process

How their previous failed relationships allowed them to create happiness and balance

The childhood wounds you carry into adulthood unconsciously

Self-growth and self-development as a key to a healthy relationship

Detaching from your parent, without control

How it only takes 1 person to change the marriage dynamic

And so much more!

John David Mann is coauthor of more than 30 books, including four New York Times bestsellers and five national bestsellers. His classic 2008 parable The Go-Giver (coauthored with Bob Burg) earned the 2017 Living Now Book Award’s “Evergreen Medal” for its “contribution to positive global change.”

Ana Gabriel Mann, M.A., earned her degree in clinical psychology before going on to serve as an educator, therapist, corporate trainer, speaker, and coach. She currently coaches Go-Giver Marriage clients and leads the Go-Giver Marriage Coaches Training Program, training coaches from around the globe.

John and Ana have been dreaming about writing “The Go-Giver Marriage” together for nearly two decades.

Connect with John & Ana!


(02:55) John shares how he and Ana have always worked together through his writing career and how The Go-Giver Marriage was born.

(04:40) John & Ana share how they learned about a happy marriage through dysfunctional previous relationships.

(05:15) The childhood wounds you carry into a marriage, affecting your unconscious choices.

(06:42) Seeing “us” as separate from your individual selves.

(11:15) How “scorekeeping” can destroy a relationship.

(12:03) The Go-Giver Marriage principles apply to all close friendships and connections.

(14:09) Recognizing dysfunctional patterns in your upbringing that have caused unhealthy behaviors.

(16:53) How dysfunction in one area affects all others. Blended families, control and boundaries in a marriage.

(19:18) The principle of “allowing” your partner to be who they are and behave how they behave without your input or control.

(22:05) Finding the boundary between giving and people pleasing. How are you seeking to have your needs met?

(25:20) How over-giving is the denial of your own needs.

(28:08) Denial, criticism and co-dependence in relationships that show you need personal growth.

(30:00) Having the spirit of generosity with yourself that benefits your spouse.

(32:10) Taking care of yourself is the most functional gift you can give to your children.

(34:50) The Go-Giving Marriage is written as a parable with practice principles, and what this means to the reader.

(40:27) How just 1 person reading the book and working with the principles is enough to make a change.

(43:23) Moving from the story of what each person is doing to personal responsibility.



marriage, people, book, giver, person, secrets, ana, parable, relationship, growing, pattern, giving, life, feel, behaviour, talking, story, dysfunction, reader, read


Ana Gabriel Mann, John David Mann, Paula Shepherd

Paula Shepherd 00:01

Hi, I'm Paula shepherd. I went to college to get a good job and make a lot of money. Back then, no one talked about doing what you love. And while I successfully climbed the corporate ladder, I felt like there was something missing. So I left the seemingly comfortable corporate world at 40 years old for the freedom of full time entrepreneurship. Today, I get to help ambitious women go from entrepreneur to confident CEO of their lives and businesses. I created this podcast to share what I've learned with you to make your journey just a little easier, and to connect you with other incredible business owners who took a chance on themselves and who they are becoming. So whether you're just getting started, are all in for just want to hear a friendly voice. Come on in and sit with us. Now, let's dive in.

Paula Shepherd 01:01

Welcome back to another episode of the competence session. I am thrilled today to have with us two incredible authors and to share with you their new book, The Go Giver marriage. Our guests today are John David Mann, who is the co author of more than 30 books, including four New York Times bestsellers and five national bestsellers. His classic 2008 parable, the Go Giver, co authored with Bob Berg earned the 2017 living now Book Awards evergreen medal for its contribution to positive global change and it is absolutely incredible.

Paula Shepherd 01:46

Honour Gabrielle man ma earned her degree in clinical psychology before going on to serve as an educator, a therapist, corporate trainer, speaker and coach. She currently coaches go giver marriage clients and leads the Go Giver marriage coaches training programme, training coaches from all over the globe. John and Ana have been dreaming about writing the Go Giver marriage together for nearly two decades. And here it is. Welcome to the show. Thank you. Thank you. Great to be here.

Ana Gabriel Mann 02:19

Yeah, thank you so much.

Paula Shepherd 02:21

I am so thrilled. Okay. So, John, you've been writing books for a really long time. And Ana wasn't part of that journey with you? What? What was the spark that said, hey, we need to do this together. You know, Ana needs to be a part of this Go Giver series. And we really need to talk about marriage.

John David Mann 02:47

So actually, she was part of all the other books except not on the title and not on the cover. And he wasn't wasn't a COA. I'll tell you how that how that works. So I've only really been doing this for about 1520 years, this writing books, I've had several careers and this author career, which is what I think I was looking for my whole life. I'm loving this career. It kind of started with the Go Giver, it wasn't my very first book, it was my second book. But it was the first book that really was was successful. And we were together at the time, we've been together for 25 years, when that original Go Giver first came out, and Ana read the first draft off my desktop printer years before it actually got published. And she said then, wow, this is fantastic. And this is going to be huge. And this is like what we do. You're describing what our marriage is like, this would make a great book on marriage. So it was her idea way back then she has been the first reader of every book I've ever published. But but she had the idea back then in 2005, we should write a book, a Go Giver book about marriage, bringing her experience and background together with with the series that I'd begun with my friend Bob. It just took us 17 years to get it out into the public and done. But this is the first book we've actually written together. And it's, I'm sure it's not the last because we've had such a great time doing it.

Paula Shepherd 04:17

For people that are listening, and they're thinking, well, they've been together for a really long time. Of course, they're gonna write a book about marriage, they they solid, they're still together when so many other marriages are dissolving. Is this both your first relationship? Your first marriage?

John David Mann 04:37

No, no. Nope. Oh, when you read about Matt, when you write about marriage, you're gonna automatically be writing about dysfunction, right? You have to be in on some level, because it's, you know, it, it takes a little bit of suffering to really learn what happiness is. And I think for both of us, we both this is not our first marriage and

John David Mann 05:00

I think for both of us having been through a marriage that didn't last has been enormously helpful to both of us in terms of informing our personal view our hands on experience or view about what it takes to create love that really lasts. So yeah, this is, this is not our first rodeo.

Ana Gabriel Mann 05:22

No, and I guess what I would add to that is that, you know, if you try to build intimacy with another person, before you're complete with yourself, then every relationship will be an effort to complete yourself and heal something. And, and the reason for that is that we all come out of childhood with our own specific wounds, our own specific patterns of dysfunction, if you will, from our primary family. I'd like to say there are functional families, there are more functional families, but there are lots of dysfunctional families. And so you carry whatever it is that that you came out of, with you. And so you often will make very unconscious choices to,

Ana Gabriel Mann 06:07

to find somebody that will help you heal that that inner need.

Paula Shepherd 06:12

Oh, I can relate to that. Because I have also been married more than once. And I think each time I was really looking for an even in strengthening my own marriage looking for something from the other person versus to fill a void. Right, that whole Jerry Maguire, You complete me. Methodology, or thought process versus I'm complete. Am and you enhance me?

Ana Gabriel Mann 06:43

That is really well put, really well put, in fact, I think it was on another podcast recently that John said, you know, that Jerry Maguire moment You complete me, we don't believe. I mean, it's lovely to feel really connected and fulfilled in a relationship. But you still need to be two separate individuals with two separate identities and differences. And then in the midst of that, there's what we call the US, the two of you come together. And then the third entity in the room is the US, which is the relationship. And that's almost its own separate entity. And you're either feeding it or you're starving it every day.

Paula Shepherd 07:27

Hmm, feeding it or starving it, but starve it. I feel like it. Do you feel that way to John,

John David Mann 07:39

feeding the US are starving the US? Absolutely. And it's not something that I understood in my first marriage. I didn't have any any such a concept. It was like you and me, Me and her that the two of us and if one is right, the other is wrong. one's wrong. The other is right, it was kind of a not that I intended this, I don't think either of us intended this. But it was always kind of a contest or a negotiation is on I would say that it's a transactional. And I think often we get into these relationships where we bump up against our differences. And we start getting transactional how much of I'm willing to give up and my end of the rope for you to take on your end. And all those those ways of being ways of existing ways of viewing it. Ignore the US the US is the overlap. It's the it's the me as a person, you as a person where we overlap is this. It's almost like a child. It's as honest as a third person in the room. It's like an another organic, living, breathing thing. And you're either feeding the US, or you're starving the US. It's never neutral. It's never stationary. There's no such thing as just leaving it alone. And it's going to be fine. Because it's a living, breathing thing. People will say we'll hear people say, you know, over the years, we just kind of grew apart. Yeah, I don't think that's true. I don't think that's accurate. I don't think we grew apart, I think we drew apart. It's actually a conscious decision you make whether you're aware of it or not, that you stop feeding the place that is the US. And so what's going to start off and if you starve a tree long enough, it'll die.

Paula Shepherd 09:20

It will just like a marriage. Yeah. Just like a marriage. So when you were putting this book together when you were both writing this book, I know that there's five secrets and I certainly don't want to give away all the secrets because everyone needs to go read this book and I I think truly the word marriage is on the cover, but this is for anyone that's in a relationship. I really feel like they can apply this any kind of romantic or loving partnership. The word marriage shouldn't scare them away from from digging into this book. Did you fear that right putting the word marriage on the cover that you may deter people who weren't married for read from reading it.

Ana Gabriel Mann 10:05

You know, we didn't. And in fact, when we had early readers, we had, you know, about 40, early readers people that we really value. Some of them editors with publishing houses or editors as part of an agency. And they all read it. And one person came back and said, Have you considered calling this the Go Giver relationship? And we said, No. And we know we could call it that, but it's not what we want to call it, because we feel that, and I'll just give you a little statistic 75% of married couples in America report that their marriages, either just okay, or unsatisfactory, and says unsatisfying. So, you know, that's a huge number, and 50% of marriages end in divorce. And for under 30s, it's 75%. And in divorce. So we really feel like marriage is a place where people really get caught in the quagmire of their own behavioural pieces that they've brought from their childhood in interacting with the other person. And every secret has an opposite, Paula. And I think that that's really a powerful place for us to, to kind of give some perspective because one of the one of the secrets has the opposite of its opposite is control. And you know, that when you're in a relationship that's transactional, you're really trying to control the other person, you're really kind of putting a lot of effort into trying to get your needs met by keeping control of the interaction. And those that's the scorecard when we refer to it often when we're talking about marriages, it's like, people come into a marriage and they want to keep score with each other. And that scorekeeper is really dysfunctional, that scorekeeper is the part of you that saying, Well, I did the dishes three times this week, what are you going to do for me?

John David Mann 12:03

I just want to say that you know, also the thing about relationship, you could call it the Go Giver relationship. But that seemed to was so broad and so vague as to almost not have any meaning. That said, the truth is yet you can apply these principles, they really do apply to other kinds of close friendships, for example, and with your siblings, they can apply in the workplace relationships with your business partners, with your employees, or if you're a manager, with the people that you work with, because they're ultimately there about the secrets to or the keys to relating to another person, another human being over a long period of time, in a way that makes them feel appreciated, embraced, supported in a way that feeds the connection between you rather than picking away at it and destroying it. as honestly as the the secrets all have their opposites. In the book, we also go into those opposites we go into we call them the five toxic behaviours, because they are they are common features of marriages that don't make it or marriages like Ana said, those 75% that are still existing that don't divorce, but they're not great. Like they're not satisfying. They're not all they could be. So many people in marriages have have come to a position of sort of coasting, settling, it's not perfect, but it's okay. And it would be more trouble to break up than it's worth. That's not satisfying. That's not what we're here for. You know, we don't just want to prevent people from needlessly getting divorce. We want people's marriages that are not all they could be to become all they could be. So as I said, at the start of this interview, you know, when you're talking about marriage, you want to talk about dysfunction, because those are the places where you start where the healing has to happen.

Paula Shepherd 13:56

So really recognising the dysfunction is where you begin and kind of the through line in your book, would you agree?

John David Mann 14:08

I mean, it's, here's the thing, a lot of people will say, you know, I had a pretty happy childhood. I've said that myself. It took it's taken me many years to begin to recognise some of the patterns that I had in my own upbringing that didn't see miserable at the time, but maybe weren't so healthy. For example, I didn't really learn how to express my feelings or even how to recognise my feelings. I grew up with a father who was the archetypal diplomat, the peacemaker. He was a wonderful, wonderful man who was very sweet and very kind to everybody. He made everybody feel at ease, but emulating him growing up with that model of manhood. I grew up into a person who wasn't going to rock the boat no matter what. I wasn't going to get angry. I wasn't going to express you know, so that can become full blown denial. which is not going to lead to a healthy long term relationship. And I'm the proof. I got divorced it didn't work. So yeah, in a sense, what you said is true. It starts with dysfunction in the sense of examining yourself coming to understand what's making you tick internally. The unexamined life, Socrates said, is not worth living. I think most marital discord starts with the unexamined life.

Paula Shepherd 15:31

The unexamined life, because people are living on autopilot, essentially, right, we are putting on our blinders. And I think Ana, you probably could weigh in on this with your expertise and all the work that you've done through your lifetime. But I genuine and I can see this about myself, putting the blinders on and seeing things only a certain way, I actually chuckled a little bit when John, you said, having the control, because I see that show up in so many ways, in my own life, as even a high achiever and how do I bring that into my marriage and my business? I have a little post it note over here that says, Am I micromanaging? So so that recognition of it's not just the way you do one thing is how you do everything? And recognising that when there is dysfunction in this space, it's showing up in other places, and how is that affecting your marriage? And then, you know, even more deeply? If you then have children and a blended family? And how, how does that dynamic come together? Or not? How does it happen? How does it become explosive, if you are not paying attention to your role in the behaviour?

Ana Gabriel Mann 16:52

Absolutely. And blended families is a great example. Because in blended families, you've not only brought all of the dysfunction from your personal life in your, your previous marriage, if you will, and now the children that came from that marriage, and now the two of you are putting it together and putting all those children under the same roof. The kids not only have to adapt to each other, but the two of you have got to adapt to the situation and basic ground rules like are you allowed as a father to discipline my child who has never been disciplined by you before? And it's, you know, we actually went through that experience, because I had a daughter at home, who was still quite young, when John started, you know, when we started this relationship, so you know, and one of our ground rules was that, if she needs to be disciplined, if you have feelings about something she's doing, that's great. But if she needs to be disciplined, I'm going to be the person who disciplines her, not you. Because I don't want to confuse her by bringing someone into the situation who could suddenly just launch on her. And I don't want her to feel attacked in that way. It's it sounds, you know, like, I've taken away his power, but the truth was, I just laid a boundary that says, you know, my child is not you are not her father, you are a new man in the equation, but you are not her father. So I will be responsible for disciplining her. And, you know, if there was a there were other children that were his, then I would say, and you can be responsible for disciplining yours, doesn't mean that we wouldn't have family meetings or negotiations, where the kids would understand that when you're with this one, or that one, you need to behave, you can't just, you know, act out and, and knowing that they're not going to respond. It's complicated to bring blended families together. And the issue that you were talking about of control, that's a huge big deal. That's, that's that is the seat of codependence. And, you know, people really do you know, that control is something that a lot of people came out of their childhood wanting to exert.

John David Mann 19:11

You know, Paul, one of the one of the principles in the book that we talk about is the principle we call allowing, and what that idea is, is the idea of giving the other person space to be themselves, allowing your partner to be who they are behave, how they, how they, how they behave, be who they are, without you trying to remake them, or change them, which is the control thing. Allowing doesn't mean enabling. It doesn't mean rolling over for bad behaviour. They're honest, talking about setting boundaries, which is a really key thing and a good relationship. But what allowing means is when there's discord or when they're stressed, or when there's friction of any sort. The natural human tendency is to point your fingers to say Ah, if they would just Do this a little differently. If you would say this a little differently if you would say a little more at parties or say a little less at parties if you would dress this way, or if you would talk to me this way, or talk to me that way, if you would be a little less moody, or if you would be a little more brilliant, or if you would just change somehow, my life would be better. You don't get to do that because it doesn't work. The truth is, what a relationship is about is me learning everything I can about who you are. And then me growing in the process. So much marital discord comes from both people trying to kind of be remote controlling the other. That is like as Ana said, the ultimate codependence. It takes so many forms, it can be so sneaky, it can be so pervasive and yet so subtle, that it can be hard to identify. But once you go looking for it, and you start looking for where can I be more allowing, give this person a little grace, a little space of little time? A little room? A little extra support? How can I use their burden? How can I kind of hold up more than my end of the stick? People look for marriage to be fair, like I'm putting my fingers up in air quotes people you can't see me but fair, like 5050, you do dishes three and a half times a week, and I'll do dishes three and a half times a week, you get to spend $285 a week and I get to spend $295 a week. That's not a marriage. That's some kind of restrictive business arrangement, a marriages, I'll take on 100%, I'll do whatever I can. I'm here for you. I'm just giving myself to you. Not so that you'll walk all over me. But so that you'll feel seen, heard and understood and know that I have your back. And you'll do the same for me.

Paula Shepherd 21:45

But if people are listening right now to you, and they're thinking, but I have so many people pleasing tendencies, that I am afraid that if I continue to give that people will walk all over me, where is the line? How do I find the boundary? Where do I set the standard?

Ana Gabriel Mann 22:05

Well, the first boundary is with yourself in the sense that people pleasing always comes from the place of wanting to control because you're people pleasing for a reason. You're people pleasing to get something. And the truth is, you're trying to get something from the other person that's unfulfilled in yourself. And the only person that can fill the gaps in your life is you. So it comes back to, you know, when we say when you want to grow a marriage to grow yourself. If you're a people pleaser, then I would recommend that you really start doing some individual work on your own codependency issues, I would work on the part of you that is giving with expectation and wanting to get needs that are unfulfilled within you met by the partner. And and that's we, one of the opposites of the other secrets is stagnation. And in stagnation, it's, it's the opposite of the fifth secret. And so, in essence, you aren't growing personally, if you continue to try to get all your needs met by the relationship. And that's where we really see stagnation. It's like people that are just like, I got married because I want you to be the thing, the one that makes me feel whole, well, it doesn't work like that you have to make yourself whole first. And when you make yourself whole, you're infinitely more attractive. So my advice to somebody who's an over giver is get into some sort of coaching or therapy that's going to give you the opportunity to really look at that pattern. What's underneath it, what do you what hole Are you trying to fill? Because it's always about wanting to get something when you're over giving. And so you're giving with expectation in the true sense of the word a Go Giver marriage is about adding value to the other person's life without expectation of return.

Paula Shepherd 24:06

It's detachment is what I hear you describing Yes,

John David Mann 24:11

that's a great that's a great way of saying it you know, I'm getting chills up and down and describe it because you know, the people pleasing thing is so fascinating. What makes me want to be a people pleaser like I was saying this this image of a diplomat the peacemaker. Is it because I genuinely is or is it because I want to be a nice guy is because that's how I want to see myself Is it because this is this is how I want to be. Well, if that's the case, it's about me. It's not about you. If I if I really want to just please Ana because I adore her, because it makes me happy to see her happy because it makes me happy to see her load lifted. Her burden is because it just because I take delight in doing things for her that that bring a smile to her face. Well, that's awesome. But if I want to be I want to be a nice guy because I don't want to upset the applecart. I don't want to say I don't want to Share my upset, I don't want to criticise because I'm because I'm kind of afraid. Well, if that's all the business about, I want to be a nice guy, then I'm still focused on myself, it's not actually about giving, it's about trying to maintain a certain posture in order to be seen as a certain way. It's another form of denial,

Ana Gabriel Mann 25:23

it is denial, I actually have to add to this because as you were speaking, I was like, I have to jump in and say the word that you want here is denial. Over givers are denying their own needs. And they're trying to get the other person to fulfil their needs. And so they're giving and giving and giving and giving until they're empty, they are a martyr, they are a doormat, because they're just, they're really just, they've got it backwards, you take care of you first, if you need to go off and study a new thing that you were really deeply interested in. And that's going to make you feel more fulfilled. And, you know, I mean, you could be a master gardener, an amazing chef, you know, you could take on photography or painting or, you know, there's there's 1001 applications that don't have to do with starting a new career and taking off. I was just in a chat yesterday with somebody that said, Well, I've spent all these years, you know, taking care of children. And now, I'm an empty nester, and I don't even know who I am. It's like, yeah, because they were just giving, giving, giving, giving. And even when you're that much of a giver with your kids, there's that place in you that doesn't believe you're lovable, if you don't keep giving, you know, they don't need chocolate chip pancakes. You know if what's really important this morning is that you take a hot bath, because you had a rough night and didn't sleep a lot.

Paula Shepherd 26:48

Oh my gosh, I just got chills when you're talking about that. Because that was me for a long time I was that mom, who I don't have frozen food, I make it all fresh. And I do it in, I do these things for my kids. And it's what's good for them, but never what was good for me. And the reason why I love that you're bringing this up. And then I love that it's such a big part of your your book is that people get wrapped up in the identity versus really describing who they are. I found that when a couple even just a couple of years ago, I couldn't describe myself in five words without assuming an identity. Like, I'm a really caring person, or I'm great at doing this for other people. I could not just say I'm really bold, and I'm a great communicator. And I could I had no idea what that even meant. Because underneath of the identities was this person that I had to reacquaint myself with? And there's some level of that, in your book of really, kind of starting with this re acquaintance process, right. Like and, and understanding how to speak to yourself so that you can be a giver in the relationship. Would you agree?

Ana Gabriel Mann 28:06

Absolutely. In fact, I think that the fifth secret, which is to grow. And I think it's sort of the cornerstone for a lot of people, because I think that denial is alive and well in a lot of relationships. I also think criticism is alive and well in a lot of relationships, and that, that codependent over giver, you know, these are all patterns that are really awake in lots of marriages, and lots of relationships, even relationships and families where one sister will be the one that takes on all the burden with the parents, because the others are all willing to let her carry it. And she feels resentful, and she has feelings about it. But she can't, you know, she can't, you know, change the pattern. And so I think that yeah, I think it's really important to do the personal growth. I mean, I think that you know, what I said earlier about completing yourself getting complete with yourself is doing that personal growth where your needs are not being met by the kids or by the identity that you describe. I mean, I think the identity is a big piece. That's why people in social media are so much wanting to create a brand identity that is sort of who they are. Whether it's authentic or not, is a huge question for me.

John David Mann 29:26

Something else about that when you when you take care of yourself as the man you know, when you take the hot bath and when you start taking a sort of stock taking inventory of what makes you fulfilled what makes you grow it that that isn't to be clear, that isn't a pulling away from your spouse or from your kids. That isn't a move of selfishness or self indulgence. When we're sure that people understand this that what we're talking about is nourishing yourself not only being generous having spirit of generosity with your spouse, but also having that same spirit of generosity with yours. Self. And what that does when you do that is it's actually a gift to your spouse. It actually serves them, it benefits them. I've seen, I can't tell you how many times times I've been in a situation where I've seen guys who are married. And after many years of their wife kind of being in the home and being with the kids, and they're and the guy is the professional one, the wife takes on a career, and the guy is threatened by that. And I'm gone, are you crazy, you're threatened by that, man, I would be throwing a party, I am throwing a party. You know, I've been a published author of 30 books. And Now along comes this book that my wife is a co author, instead of doing all these podcasts all by myself, I'm doing them with her. She's shining. And I'm sitting here saying you go, this is phenomenal. This is fantastic. It's so exciting for me, to see her growing into this new role as an author of a book about marriage. She's written and published in academic circles, but this is her first venture into the world of sort of popular literature, a piece of book, a piece of book piece of writing. And I can't tell you, it's, it's so fulfilling for me. That's part of what, uh, what the US is that feeding the US is that when we each grow ourselves, it grows the US. It's not taking away from the other person.

Ana Gabriel Mann 31:28

And conversely, when you take care of yourself first ahead of your kids, you're actually teaching your children how to take care of yourself. Yes, you know, I love that when you you know, I tell people often on podcasts, that your children have a story about your marriage. And believe me, when they grow up and move out of the house, they will be telling that story to their friends and to other people. Because they have an attitude and an opinion about what you guys have done together and how it worked. And, and if the dynamic isn't healthy, they know it, they're just like little sponges, they soak it right up. So when you not only model genuine giving, without the expectation of receiving, and you have the boundaries, to take care of yourself, and nurture yourself, you're giving your children the greatest gift, because you're going to give them more functional skills to go out into the world, and be the whole human beings that we ideally want them to be.

Paula Shepherd 32:26

I 100% agree. And I could I can tell you that two years ago, when I was in my corporate job, I was a completely different person than I am right now. Because I didn't give myself the time and the grace to be me, and figure out what that look like and take the time for a bath or to say, you know, I know you've been at school all day. And someone else might say I should spend the next hour sitting next to you or doing something with you, but I just really need a break, I just really need to go on a walk by myself, I just really need this thing. And doing it without asking permission. Doing it because it was the right thing. Because we do all have those stories of our, of our parents and how that worked out and, and, and to look back on those and not feel the shame of what we went through or what we've lived so far. But to use your book as a tool, and an impetus to start hit the reset button and move forward.

Ana Gabriel Mann 33:35

Absolutely. And I love your revelations. And I love your your personal growth. Because, you know, so often we really do get caught in that trap of giving and giving, but not getting, and not taking care of ourselves to the exclusion of taking care of ourselves, and even spending the time to be internal enough to know what we want. I mean, that's a huge one for so many. So, yeah, I think it's incredible that you took that time and that you that you did that work, because your kids are gonna be just fine if you take a walk. But we often we guilt ourselves into think we have to give them more and more and more and that if we're not giving them enough, they're not going to be okay. When in fact when they see us again, when they see us model taking care of ourselves, that gives them permission to break up with that first bad boyfriend, or to do the things that they need to do that are really about tuning into their own channel.

Paula Shepherd 34:34

I agree. For your book, it's not written it's written as a parable. So for people who don't know what that means, would you mind taking a minute to to share what that means and what the structure is?

John David Mann 34:50

Sure. I mean, parables have been around for 1000s of years right? They go back to the the Bible has parables in it. There's Aesop's Fables from from early Greek literature, apparently is a is a simple story. It's not a novel, but it is a piece of fiction. It's like a novel. That's where you've taken out all the detail and just let the bare bones and you have characters who are on a quest for something. And the purpose of the parable is for the reader to read the story, and feel like they're reading a story about themselves. So at the end of the parable, end of the story, when the reader when, when the character learn something, or or find something, or has some breakthrough, or revelation or transformation, the reader feels like, Oh, I've had that breakthrough. I've had that revelation, I've had that transformation. But the parable is a story that teaches a lesson. But if it's a good parable, it doesn't just teach the lesson. It pulls you into the story so that you experienced the lesson. And that's really what a parable is. In this case, the Go Giver matters. The story is about a young couple named Tom and Tess and Tom is on today. As the story opens, he's about to start the most important job interview of his life. And he's doing it for his family, he and his wife are totally in love. They've been together for seven years. But for the last six of those years, they've had this child who is a little boy with special needs, who was so profoundly handicapped or or disadvantaged at birth, that that he's taken over their lives that caring for him, has taken over their lives. And so they're really struggling with their marriage with their lives. And we follow Tom and test through one day of their lives together. Each each one separately, actually. So they come together at the end. And they each go through a journey, Tom on during his interview and test through meeting a series of women who have interesting histories of their own. And at the end, they come together and I can't tell you what happens because there's at spoil the ending. There's always twists and turns and surprises and mysteries that get get revealed in the Go Giver stories. And that's the parable. After the parable, there's the practice, which is the second half of the book, which on erode. And what she really does is say, Okay, here's what you just experienced in this story. Here's what it means. Here's how it works. Let me explain these principles to your why they work how they work, and how you can put them into practice in in your life. So there's, there's, it's, it's one message with two sides to its coin, the story side that draws you in and gives you the experience. And then the guidebook side, the practice that shows you how to turn that into a simple daily practice.

Paula Shepherd 37:48

I love that there's actionable steps that so much to me, because I've read a lot of strict personal development. And at the end of it, I am left with a book that has lots of earmarks, and you know, tonnes of little post it tabs, right all over it. And I can't even remember why I put them there. So having that fit at the end of the book is crucial.

John David Mann 38:12

Yeah, I so appreciate that. It's so true. It's yeah, that's on his on his gift. And that's what she that's, that's the gift she brought to the book, the book is all much better than it could have ever been. Without her go ahead and sweeter.

Ana Gabriel Mann 38:25

And to me, it was also that I wanted people to understand the psychological underpinnings of why the secrets are so powerful, because each secret has its basis in in early childhood development. And, you know, in essence, what it's saying is that what you needed as a child growing up, you still need as an adult. So these are these are basic, basic human needs that if not explained, then you kind of won't get the power of them.

Paula Shepherd 38:54

So when they read this book, and these amazing secrets, and they understand the why behind the secrets, and they start to take the steps, what can they expect? What can what can a reader of this book of your Go Giver marriage book expect of themselves?

Ana Gabriel Mann 39:16

Well, my favourite session with my clients is the third session usually, because by then they're well into the first secret and they've had a chance to sort of tell me what they see is going on in their marriage and how they feel that they could improve. And then we've gone into, you know, working directly with what the secrets are and how to start. So we start really simply, we start by practising just one secret, but usually people come back the first secret is so powerful, that people come back and they're like, Could it really be working in a week? I mean, I'm like, I mean, like things are different. It's pretty sweet because I'm always qualifying with people that this is Something you're doing, not with the expectation of a return, you have to be really clear on that, that this is adding value to your partner's life. And, you know, they may or may not add value back. But you have to be clear that this is giving without the intention of receiving. So yeah, I'm always amazed that at the difference in the tone of the marriage and the relationship and how they can see it so quickly.

John David Mann 40:27

And to be clear, you know, does the couple have to read the book to both people have to read the book for it to work? No, no, no, no, no, no. In fact, there's a character in the book, who started out as a marriage therapist, who changed her career midway into becoming a marriage coach, where she began coaching one person at a time not going into the room with a couples that's really honest story on a started out as a marriage therapist, coaching counselling couples, and change that one point or strategy to working with one person at a time. One of you can read the book one of you can start applying the principles, applying the secrets. And you don't even have to say you're doing you have to make a big deal out of it. You don't have to like badger, your husband, or your wife or your or cajole them, or, or persuade them to do this with you. Just one person starting to put these secrets in practice starts to shift the tone of the whole marriage. And we see the people like as Ana saying, In Session Three, coming back and saying, it's not just me, it's like, my husband is acting totally differently toward me, he didn't even know but I'm reading the book, my kids are coming in saying, Mommy, what's changed, my kids are acting differently. It's like the whole household is starting to shift. It's like a planetary system shifting its orbit around the sun. Because when you start to shift the dynamic, you shift the dynamic, and everybody feels it.

Ana Gabriel Mann 41:49

And if I could add to that, it's that, you know, traditional marriage therapy is not a cognitive behavioural experience. It's a what they call an insight oriented type of therapy. So you're in the room with a couple. And you know, the goal is to get the argument to stop, if you will, to get the he said, she said, you know, he's wrong, she's wrong, to to halt enough so that they can look at what they're doing. It can take a long time in that format, it can take a lot of sessions. But when you work with somebody individually, you're really, you know, you're not caring, you're not worrying about the drama. You know, the drama is is not the story, the story is what are you contributing? And what are you doing? How are you growing? How are you? What's your personal growth curve. So it comes back to the same kind of coaching that you see in executive coaching, we're in an executive coaching, it's like, if you've got a procrastination pattern, then that coach is going to get right in your face about it. Because that's the thing that's holding up your business. And it's the same in coaching your marriage, I don't care what the story is about how he does this, or he does that. That's not the story. The story is what are you doing? And what's your part? And how can you shift who you are? And how are you growing? How are you? What's the personal growth curve that you need to be on?

Paula Shepherd 43:13

I love that theme of radical responsibility.

Ana Gabriel Mann 43:16

Yes, yes. Because people do want to tell the story, when you get into a room with a couple, I virtually half of the session is like, Yeah, but he does this. And when he does this, and she does this, and you know, you're listening to their stories about each other. And that that's not actually going to shift the pattern. It's, you know, when I say cognitive behavioural, the whole world knows the happiness, the happiness movement is based on what you think is what increases. So if you want to change a pattern, you know, go toward the positive side of it, and really, you know, let your mind be completely absorbed by that. And that's really true. When people change behaviour in a marriage. It really, it reverberates in a way that they have new patterns of behaviour, new experiences together and new emotions, and they make new memories. And all of a sudden, it's like, you know, they're going for a walk hand in hand, and they haven't done this in eight years. Because it feels different. And those new memories really have an impact.

Paula Shepherd 44:26

It's a whole new level of possibility, right? Instead of saying this isn't working, it's dead. It's how can we how can we really revive this how can we bring breathed new life into this and create this thing that we really always thought was possible? And I can't even think of anything but like getting CPR and resuscitating but it's more than that. It's not even just like bringing it back to life. It's making it better. And that's what I really love about this book is the idea of looking at yourself, changing your perspective, changing your actions. And then John, like you said, how when you start to do that those little things are nudges to other people without you even having to say them, you're communicating. Something's different. And something's changing.

John David Mann 45:22

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Paula Shepherd 45:24

Well, I appreciate you both being here today. And I love the book. I think the Go Giver series is brilliant. And this book is just, it's, it's like, it's like me wanting to eat dessert first. Thank you for coming here, sharing your knowledge, your expertise for being here today. And, and gosh, for just writing the book together and being a model of what is possible for everyone in marriage and in in their relationship as well. I don't think that there is a better book that I've read on relationships, and I love the structure of the parable because I truly can see myself in it. Where can people buy this book? Tell us all the places

John David Mann 46:16

I mean, it is available wherever books are sold as they say, we do have a website is simply go giver, And no hyphens. It's just all one word go giver. You can certainly find links to buy the book on the website to Amazon Barnes Noble indie bookstores everywhere. Also on the website. If you order through our site and plug in your order number we have some free freebies that we like to give some recorded some video masterclasses that ANA and I did together and a few other things. We also have offered some workshops called a workshop called the called Living the five secrets to lasting love. And that's a two and a half hour live via zoom, participatory workshop that we do every month. And as available to anybody anywhere that's also on the site. We're also beginning in the fall a Go Giver marriage coaches training and certification programme. That's for individuals who want to become coaches themselves and coach, other people in the five secrets work. Again, that is not marriage counselling that is not marriage therapy. It is individual coaching work. Based on the five secrets. That programme starts in the fall. And you can also if you want to reach us or just write to us, we'd love to hear from readers. If you contact us through the website, those emails just go to us. There's no staff reading those emails. It's just on me.

Paula Shepherd 47:47

That's what I appreciate the humaneness that you bring to writing and the fact that you're on my podcast, I know I talked about this before we hit record. I am just so honoured because it said it speaks volumes about you living the work that you're doing. So everyone, please check the links in the show notes. Head over to go giver Sign up for the workshops. Certainly buy the book. It is amazing. And Ana and David, thank you again for being here, sharing your knowledge and your new book with us.

John David Mann 48:24

Thank you so much. Pleasure to be here.

Paula Shepherd 48:28

Thank you for listening to this episode of The confidence session. I know there are hundreds of 1000s of podcasts. And I'm so grateful that you chose to spend your time today with me. Head on over to be fearless with forward slash podcast to check out the show notes from today's episode and grab links to all the amazing goodies mentioned today. Also, if you loved this episode, as much as I loved making it, make sure you don't miss any future ones by hitting the subscribe button right now. See you next time.

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