John J Mannion

It's all in the story.

Let who I am be told through the reality of my life.

A Bit About Me:

Inspired by: people, culture, & conversation.
Lover of: art, animals, & food.
Energized by: new ideas, places, & experiences.

I've gone wide—working in teaching, writing, marketing, sales, and leadership roles. In these roles, I've had the privilege of teaching middle school students, collaborating with startup teams to launch new products, walking alongside over 60 individuals to capture their wisdom in book form, and coaching individuals and groups within non-profit settings.

My experiences, both professional and otherwise, have helped me more clearly see who I am and what I want to do in the world. I want to be the artist I am, to champion youth and young adults in their formational years, and to collaboratively lead organizations in which the whole person is honored.

I've come to know myself as goal-oriented people person—as a counselor and a coach. I love to get to know people. To hear their stories. To uncover mysteries. And through questions, to guide.

Let's Rewind a Bit:

I actually grew up around the world. At age 11, I was playing with monkeys in Uganda (as you can see). Before that, my family lived in South America. When we were back from Uganda, we bounced around to different states in the US. And during college I decided to do a little traveling of my own—through Mexico and Thailand.

These experiences shaped me. They also felt completely normal. From as early as I can remember, I loved the intrinsic beauty I found within diversity. I was captivated by the mystery in the unknown.

Along the way, I learned to navigate through newness and change. To this day, I love that kind of navigation. As a big-picture thinker, there's something strangely exhilarating about being surrounded by fog. Creativity and inspiration show up on the scene and say, "We'll find a way."

And I believe them.

By the end of college, I was captivated by the potential of the online world. I had always been entrepreneurial, and I wanted so badly for the internet to be my way out of "normal jobs." I started fumbling my way through online courses.

When I came across the idea of writing a book in a day and putting it online, that sounded reasonable to me. So I did it. I wrote a few short books like the one pictured here—all under pen names.

Then...money! Not much money, but it actually worked.


At this point, I feel like I'm supposed to say things "exploded" (which I guess is a good thing?), or that I grew my "platform" (didn't know platforms grow), or that I did a million-dollar product launch and had more success than I knew what to do with.

But that's not the real story, and since I prefer the truth, here's the reality, the picture from a wider sky:

It took many, many...too many years to see that the advice I found online—the advice I followed—helped me progress in small ways, but it also led me into an endlessly confusing loop of starting and stopping online projects.

Today, I believe that our use of the internet (and media in general) will, in many ways, determine the experience and trajectory of our lives. We have access to amazing new tools, tools that can enhance our lives and just as easily scrape away the beauty of life.

In my writing, I hope to bring light to these realities—to share not only the science and psychology we need to understand within our changing world but also my real life experience, so that others (especially younger generations and especially those who, like me, are creators and makers) can feel empowered and free, not discouraged and limited.

The "you're bad if you use x, y, or z technology" is not a helpful message. It falls flat, like a house without a foundation. It might still be screaming the same message under the rubble, but who's going to listen?

Some, however, will listen to the message of the living tree, the tree that grows and stands and spreads, the tree with fruit and many colors, the tree that tells a story.

It says, We trees don't ignore reality. We respond; we adjust. And sometimes, we create new realities that no one imagined. Because we're alive. You're alive too—right now, in this time, just like me. Will you make the most of it? Will you flourish and grow? Will you stay connected to you, to others, to the world around you? Will you imagine a better world for you and for me?

I want to say yes to the living tree by how I choose to live. How about you?

Maybe we're getting a little too poetic here. Let's get back to the story...

The decade between 20 and 30 was both beautiful and challenging.

I married an amazing woman—different than me in most every way, except for her level of stubbornness. We both score in the 99th percentile. 🙂 Early in the decade, we also added two cats and a dog to our clan, which you'll probably see around the site from time to time. They keep us entertained, to say the least.

I also started into the work world and experienced the ups and downs that come with that all-in-one package.

Around year four of marriage, we started building a brand in the relationships arena, specifically for millennials.

We actually saw some success there, and one of our books was featured in a major magazine for our demographic. But as we experienced more of life, we began to take on new perspectives about love and relationships. Primarily, we moved from a philosophy of "give, give, give" to "attune, know, tell" (attune to yourself and to the other for true encounter; know and be who you are so you can love with a genuine love; and tell the truth, even when honesty isn't easy). We decided to take down our site/brand and take some time to reflect. The book is still available because we think it might still help a few people, but we also know there's a lot more to say than what we wrote there. Maybe we'll come back to it some day, and maybe we won't.

We learned, in a major way through this experience, that pursuing an honest life means you can't hold on to things that aren't in alignment to where you honestly are, no matter how much the world says you should.

"Shoulds" should always be questioned.

This decade also held a lot of deep pain and grief—sicknesses in our families, financial struggles, and our own losses. After going through so much during these critical years of life, I now have a strong desire to support young adults through these years (late teens to early thirties).

I am committed to doing this within my capacity and in alignment with who I actually am—without stretching to save the world. I've tried that stretch a time or two. Doesn't work out so well.

Somewhere in the midst of all this, I finished the first draft of my first fiction book and put it up on Amazon. But then my freelance work with other authors really took off. I started working with Scribe Media on amazing projects, and I quickly recognized that my own writing would need to wait.

In her book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert shares her idea that ideas can get tired of waiting and decide to leave to find someone else. When I heard her share this concept, some things clicked for me. I realized (at least I hope) that the decent ideas I've had over the years will become great ideas carried forward by others. And maybe I'll have the chance to come back to a couple of them over time.

Just before the 20-30 decade came to a close, we moved from one side of the country to the other—from Virginia Beach to Seattle. This was quite a move, especially with two cats, a dog, and an overstuffed trailer.

But we made it.

Prior to moving, I had taken masters-level courses remotely through two different universities. Once settled, I continued my study at The Seattle School for counseling psychology. I gained hands-on experience in attuning to myself and to others. This time was personally transformative and resulted in a greater ability to help others heal, grow, discover, and live with freedom and courage.

Needless to say, it was worth it.

I'm currently taking a class or two at a time, evaluating the best next steps. If I've learned anything in life, I've learned that it never hurts to take a few breaths for reflection. 

I do hope to finish out a master's degree somewhere around the intersection of education/social-emotional development/counseling/creativity. Does that exact degree exist? I'm not sure. But no matter what comes next, I am committed to the lifelong journey of learning—any form of learning where I can bring my whole self and story.

I advocate for that kind of learning and want to help build a world in which education is not simply a system of necessity but truly engages the individual in a meaningful and transformative way.

The realms of education and work are ripe with untapped potential, and I look forward to seeing and being part of what comes next for our world.


Now I've landed here—to a home site.

  • Where I am gathering together and sharing content from the archives—from many different sites and many different projects over the years.
  • Where I'm also sharing my latest content.

As you engage with what I share, I hope you laugh. I hope you cry. I hope you move toward healing and greater presence in your life. I hope you gain greater insight into who you are so you can love more honestly and freely.

And I hope you connect with me, so I can get to know you. I'd love to get to hear a little of your story too.

A Few Nice Things People Have Said About Me and My 1:1 Work With Them

John has helped to spark an awareness in me that my creativity has often been contemplated, but rarely communicated. He’s asked questions that ultimately inspired follow-through in my work as a writer and performer. My agility as an artist is in great part due to John’s genuine approach in challenging me.

- Teddy H.

I met John through acting and after a few conversations asked him to help me write a book I had wanted to write for a long time. I knew he was a talented writer and that he could help me organize my ideas. What I didn't know was that our meet-up times would often end up being mini counseling sessions for me. John has a way of both seeing you where you are and helping you get to the next step in your creative work and in your life.

- Alexis C.

It's comforting to have someone who wants to understand what you're trying to convey without being intrusive or overbearing. I didn't know John well when we first started talking, and I'm not very trusting, but it was easy to see that he was genuine and had a legitimate intent on helping me find freedom from the things I've struggled with and never came to terms with in my past, as well as the situations I deal with in the present. What's really cool is that it doesn't feel like I'm talking to someone who is just 'doing their job'. The intent is real, the focus is both broad and narrow, and I don't feel any pressure to be something I'm not. I'm free to just be myself, learn more about what makes me who I am and why, and actually be at peace with my progress.

- Bradley A.