Interview with Dr. John Hanley - Page 8
INT: Can you just give me a rundown of the history of the development of Lifespring from its inception?
JH: I can. Actually we started in San Francisco and then we expanded to Portland, Oregon. Then we went to Orange County, and then from Orange County to L.A., and then we went way across the country to Washington D.C., and then we spun off the East Coast from Washington, and then ultimately the hub of the East was New York. Then from New York--sorry, we did Washington, Philadelphia then New York--and then from New York we had people coming in from Florida and Atlanta. Then eventually we spun Atlanta and the Miami area after that. Then we went back to the Midwest. We had Dallas, then we opened Chicago, and so it goes, you know. I think we had fifteen or eighteen centers in the US.
INT: Over what period of time did this expansion take place?
JH: Well, let's see. The first three or four came within the first couple of years, and then the next ten took about five or six years more.
INT: So you started in the mid-70s…so that takes us up basically to the mid-80s, right? So you're at that point?
INT: Then at that point you just worked on continuing to develop into these cities?
JH: Yeah. We started also to work on new products. By that time we'd come up with several workshops. We had invented a new training called the Masters Course which we felt was a premium piece of work, and we really took it upon ourselves to continue to develop our staff, our trainers, and our trainings.
Then we began to look overseas. We opened up Tokyo, Japan in 1977 and then, about 1990--I cannot remember exactly, maybe '92--we sold the license for Asia to a company called AsiaWorks. And then we trained all their trainers as well as our own. AsiaWorks is a big company today and is doing very well. Again, all Lifespring trained personnel and Lifespring technology.
And then we saw several spin-offs around the world, with several here in the US. I think the most interesting spin off is Dr. Phil. In fact, the first day somebody called me and said, "Did you know that Dr. Phil on the Oprah show has the Lifespring training?" I said, "No, I did not." And they said, "Well, you should tune into this and watch it." And I did, and I was simply amazed that somehow this guy had gotten our manual and, verbatim, took the basic training as his own and then followed with the Advanced course as his own. Really, if you watch Dr. Phil, for those who've seen the show and have done Lifespring trainings, you will know that there's only one place he could have gotten that information and that is the Lifespring Basic and Advanced courses.
INT: So you're not aware of how he ended up having that information?
JH: No, I'm not, actually. But, he got it.
INT: That is wild.
JH: Yeah, it really is. Well, it's wild because, when we started out, we were (how would you say?) 'high risk.' And people were sort of looking at us cross-eyed saying "Come on now, is this really possible that for five days you can give me my life back--you can turn my whole life around? I don't think so." So this was met with a lot of scepticism, and I think most everything is. FedEx was met with a lot of scepticism too, so we're in good hands. You know, today, if you really look carefully, you will see experiential learning and, really, the center-points of the Lifespring training in almost every corporate training in America. I think, globally, you'll see pieces of it here and there, and I think the next step is going to be seeing pieces of it in the high schools and colleges around the country.