In this episode of the Business of Functional Medicine series, our guest, Erwin Raphael McManus, is a pastor, author, filmmaker and thought leader at the intersection of entrepreneurship, spirituality and psychology. He joins this podcast to share his model of communication archetypes called The 7 Frequencies and how understanding them can help practitioners work and communicate more effectively with patients.

Erwin also talks through the frequencies most often adopted by practitioners and offers insights on how to better support and motivate patients to get healthy before they get sick.

Listen to the full episode to learn more about:

  • Erwin’s thoughts on the theory of quantum entanglement
  • Descriptions of the frequencies, including the Challenger, Seer and Maven
  • How healthcare providers benefit from understanding their communication style
  • The importance of interpersonal relationships and interactions between patients and clinicians
  • And much more

Erwin McManus is also the host of The Genius Of podcast and the founder of McManus Gallery and Mosaic, a church movement based in the heart of Hollywood, CA. Visit his website to learn more about The 7 Frequencies along with his other work.


The 7 Frequencies of Communication | Ep 293


Erwin McManus: …It’s interesting that you say that because, this past week, I’ve just been really processing the theory of quantum entanglement and how when particles interact with each other they stay interconnected regardless of distance. And I’ve been really reflecting on that in human communication. If you want to talk about being connected to realize that when you interact with another human being, even though there may be distance or time, that you’re still interconnected.

And that when you’re in someone’s life, especially when you’re in medicine, when you’re in someone’s life in an incredibly vulnerable time and a transitional moment in their life, how you interact with them, how you communicate with them, how you relate to them, will stay with them for the rest of their life.

You are the sum total of all the relationships. Every particle in your body is still interconnected to every single person that’s ever mattered to you or had a meaningful interaction with you. And so, what I would say is that we need to actually begin to think in a more transcendent way. That every interaction with another human being has an eternal significance to it. And that we become the sum total throughout our lives with every person who invests in us and influences us. I think it’s a beautiful thing.

James Maskell: Welcome to the Evolution of Medicine podcast, the place health professionals come to hear from innovators and agitators leading the charge. We cover the latest clinical breakthroughs in health technology, as well as practical tools to help you transform your practice and the health of your community. This podcast is brought to you by the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center, who provide a range of options to help you deliver successful, effective, functional, and integrative medicine. To find out more and to get started, go to goevomed.com/lmrc. That’s goevomed.com/lmrc.

Hello and welcome to the podcast. This is our final podcast of 2022, our year of growth and looking forward to 2023, our year of connection. We have Erwin McManus as part of our Business of Functional Medicine series. Erwin is an entrepreneur and a speaker and does so many different things. I came across his work in the context of what he calls the seven frequencies. I thought it was really critical in this year of connection as we step into it to think about the frequencies by which we work and we practice medicine. And I think you’ll get a lot of valuable insight. Maybe you’ll understand a little bit more of which one of the seven frequencies you operate from, maybe which other frequencies you need to have in your clinical team. I think this was a really powerful way to end the year. So, without further ado, enjoy, Erwin McManus.

A warm welcome to the podcast, Erwin McManus. Welcome Erwin.

Erwin McManus: Oh, it’s so good to be with you, James.

James Maskell: I’m really excited to connect with you here. We’re going to be talking about frequencies; we’re going to be talking about resonance, but maybe not in the context that practitioners have heard those terms before. We are about to enter our year of connection. This has been the year of growth, and 2023 is our year of connection. And ultimately, that requires, in many ways, communication.

One of the things that I’ve come to see from your work is that you’ve been laser focused on different forms of communication. I thought that going into our year of connection, this would be a good place to start. I guess, as a starting point, what led you on this sort of laser-focused world into the art of communication and connection?

Erwin McManus: Well, I think, James, for me, the journey actually began very much internally. It wasn’t really about paying attention to the voices outside of me but really the voices inside of me. Realizing that there was a cacophony of different voices inside of my head that were almost invited in through life and experiences or even unconsciously. And I would hear my parents. I would hear my grandparents. I would hear teachers. I would hear people who just passed through my life in a moment. Somehow, the things they spoke into my life had a visceral and sustaining impact.

And I also began noticing that all the positive voices of my life, they seemed to filter through really fast. Whenever there’s a voice that brought me a sense of encouragement or inspiration or hope, those things, the impact seemed to dissipate very quickly, but the negative voices stayed with me. Whenever someone was critical or condescending or was creating inside of me a sense of insignificance, those voices seemed to have sustainable impact. So, I began realizing that a part of the way we’re shaped…

I grew up as an athlete. I loved sports, and I knew that preparation was more than just being in peak physical condition. Preparation is about mental conditioning. It was about emotional and psychological health. It was about being able to have focus and intentionality. And so, there was a lot involved in just running 100 meters. And it’s the same way in terms of constructing the essence of who we are as human beings, that what shapes us are not simply our experiences, not simply our DNA or genetics, but that we have an internal narrative that’s taking place. And the voices that get into us, they shape who we are as human beings.

James Maskell: Yeah, that’s so critical. And I can see how, especially for doctors and practitioners who have been in education for a long time, in order to sort of emerge as someone who’s trying to help other people, they probably have information that comes in from their teachers, their patients. They’re dealing with a lot of that information coming all the time. Their Google reviews.

Well, look, I guess, I really wanted to, I guess,,start by just asking you about communication generally. One of the things that I have sort of seen is that as we’ve helped hundreds if not thousands of doctors and practitioners sort of step out of maybe employment and step into entrepreneurship and start to build their own brand and their own practice, you really start to see that no two people are alike, and they all have their own way that they communicate outwards. When I read about your seven frequencies, I just thought, “This actually, I think, will resonate with our community,” because what we try and encourage people is to be themselves.

And ultimately, I’d love to get your take on that because it’s not something that’s taught in medical school. You get baseline education on this is how to communicate with patients. This is what you do, do that. When you step out of the sort of world of conventional care and you step into this new type of care where you’re trying to support people in making their own healthy behaviors, there’s an upgrade that’s necessary in communication. And you start to see doctors realizing that. Where would you say is a starting point for understanding your own style?

Erwin McManus: Yeah, I grew up incredibly reclusive, very introverted, very shy. And so, I’m not a person that anyone would’ve predicted would spend my life as a communicator. Yet here I am, now 64 years old. I’ve spoken to millions of people around the world in 60, 70 different countries. And one of the things I began realizing very early on is that the ability to connect to people translates whether you’re speaking to one person or to 50,000 in a stadium. That there’s a human connection that takes place that is almost, if I could use the language, is almost mystical. I would have people come up to me in rooms of 30, 40,000 people come and go, “It felt like you’re talking just to me.”

And one of the things I realized is that… Have you ever noticed that you can hear someone and they really impact your life, you tell a friend, and then they come, and it doesn’t impact them at all? Or someone tells you, “You need to come hear this person.” And so, you go and they’re still excited, but you were like, “I don’t really get it.” And I began realizing that for myself, when I would communicate, I would find people across the world who resonated with the same frequency that I had in my own life. That other people, no matter whether I was at my best or at my worst, it was never going to connect with them. Yet I realize that there’s some people who connect to a broad audience and some people who connect to a very, very narrow and thin audience.

And so, I began setting human frequencies because I realized that my communication style wasn’t just about who I was, it was about who my audience would become. That if I didn’t pay attention to what frequencies I was communicating from, I would actually limit my audience, and I wouldn’t be able to communicate in an effective way to a broader and broader group of people.

So, if you’re an entrepreneur, I think the number one competency for anyone trying to create their own economic universe is learning how to communicate. I mean, if you look at the etymology of communication, the word communicate comes from the same word that means to commune or to create community. And what an entrepreneur has to is that they have to be able to create in a sense an environmental universe where people feel connected to them. They feel connected not only to their message but how they communicate that message. Because you might have a thousand doctors who have the same information. It’s the doctor who can communicate that information in a way that changes someone’s life in a way that connects to them deeply that’s actually going to rise to the top.

James Maskell: Absolutely. Yeah. Well, can you take us through some examples of the difference? You have seven frequencies in your work, in your workshops. Just listening to some of your previous interviews, I kind of felt some of the things that I resonated with. But I think maybe just briefly taking through some of the key archetypes that you have because I think that that will help people ground into what you’re talking about.

Erwin McManus: Sure. I don’t usually begin with this particular frequency, but I am today because of the audience that I think listens into this particular podcast. Because one of the frequencies is the professor. And the professor is taught that it’s a transference of information that is really critical toward life change. And one of the interesting things to me about people who are strong with the professor of frequency is that it’s the gaining of knowledge that gives them their own sense of authority and credibility to communicate.

And so, it’s that knowledge base and that is the foundation for their frequency. And so what they’re trying to do is communicate information to people. They’re trying to transfer knowledge. They believe that, in a sense that, ignorance is the enemy, and if I could just educate you and give you the right information, give you the right data, give you the facts, it will change everything. When you look to help people by helping them learn and understand, when you see your basic function is to bring knowledge and competency, your frequency is the professor.

The problem of course is that most patients are not really postured toward the professor frequency. If you’re at Oxford or at Stanford or Harvard or UCLA, your students may already be inclined toward the professor frequency. They know that you are the expert. You have information you’re going to transmit. And so, they’re already prepared whether that’s their natural frequency at all. But when I had cancer, I wasn’t really just looking for someone who would transfer information to me, that would transmit knowledge to me. I needed another frequency or two along the way. My wife who was sitting next to me probably needed someone who had what I would call a healer frequency, who actually communicated empathy, compassion, that was focused on healing and nurturing. That’s not really what I needed.

I actually needed a different frequency, which what I would call maybe a maven. I needed someone who was an expert. What I wanted was someone who knew what to do and maybe even had breakthrough ideas of how to deal with the situation I was in. And so, we have to realize sometimes is the basic frequency of an occupation may be a continuous frequency, like the professor, but it may not be what’s needed, especially if you’re going to move on a broader level. And so, let me just kind of walk through a couple of quick ones.

One of the frequencies that I think is really common is the motivator. That’s the person you’re going to hear a lot at conferences or the person that you’re going to hear a lot at different events. In fact, it might drive you crazy if you’re an expert to wonder why is that person getting to speak and not me. If you’re a professor, you’re going, “I know so much more than that person.” The difference is that they can actually inspire. They see that their life goal is to encourage people to be enthusiastic, to help people believe that they can do it, that they can achieve, that they can be successful.

A lot of times the person who’s best at a particular domain isn’t the person who’s most trusted. It’s the person who actually has an ability to motivate, to inspire people, to encourage them. And so, I think one of the dominant frequencies you hear on television, you hear on Instagram, that you hear at business conferences is the inspire. I imagine, James, because you seem like an incredibly thoughtful person, that you’ve heard speakers, and you thought to yourself, “They’re saying the same thing everyone else is saying. They’re not saying anything new.” And yet everyone responds to them because it’s not the information. It’s actually the inspiration that’s connecting people.

Very similar to the motivator but different is the challenger. Now, the motivator sees their role is to inspire people and to encourage them, but the challenger sees their role is to call people out and call people up. The challenger is really never satisfied with what’s going on, and they always see a way to call you to improvement. A lot of times if you listen to great speeches from football coaches or… I love soccer. I’m a huge World Cup guy.

When you listen to the football coaches from around the world at halftime, they could be up three to zero, and it still sounds like the team is not any good. And you have that coach that’s winning in football and American football 35 to seven, and they’re telling everybody how they’re messing up and how the defense need to improve and the quarterback needs to be better because their entire frequency is this self-belief that what people need from them is in a sense, is courage. What people need from them is the conviction that, “Good enough isn’t good enough.” And if you’re around a challenger all the time, it can be exhausting because no matter how much you do, they always just challenge you to do more.

Right next to the challenger frequency is what I would call the commander. The commander sees their role in life as to help people have clarity by telling them what to do. Now, I know this frequency really, really well because it’s my wife’s frequency, but it is the frequency furthest from me. And I’ve been married almost 40 years now. So, believe me, understanding the seven frequencies helps. I realize that my wife isn’t always trying to tell me what to do. It’s just her singular frequency. While someone else might inspire you or challenge you or invite you or ask you, my wife just simply instructs you. She doesn’t even know that she’s actually commanding people.

When she cooks, and she’s the most hospitable person in the world, and she invites everyone into our home. But she won’t say, “Hey, would you like to try this?” She’ll say, “Eat this,” and “You’re going to love this.” And you’ll realize, “Oh, I don’t really have any other options.” But the great thing with a commander is that when there’s chaos and confusion and people need someone who knows what to do, commanders have an instantaneous credibility that people trust. And in those moments of crisis, they do exactly what the commander says.

And believe me, there are many times, and I’m saying this as a patient, that I want a doctor who is a commander. I don’t want a doctor who’s looking to me for consensus or even just trying to inspire me or encourage me. I want a doctor who has a sense of authority and says, “This is what you must do.” That frequency is really, really critical at different junctions in life.

Then the sixth frequency is the seer, or a fifth. They’re not in any particular order, but the seer is the person who’s a visionary. Every time they open their mouth, they’re casting vision. They’re pulling people to the future. You can know if you’re a seer if the people in the room start believing in a better future, when people start opening up their minds to possibilities and opportunities. By the way, this is a critical competency for entrepreneurs. And when you’re a doctor, you really only need to know how to solve a problem. You look at a problem, and you solve it, and that is your genius. But when you’re an entrepreneur, you have to begin to see alternative futures. You need to begin to invite others and create in them a sense of belief that what you’re creating is actually going to become a reality.

And one of the things I love about visionaries is that whenever someone is a visionary and they’re using their frequency, they fill the room with hope. There’s almost an unexplainable draw into even an insane future. I think Elon Musk is an example of a seer, and he’s just going to colonize Mars whether we want him to or not. He believes it can be done. He is going to do it. In the same way he believed he could revolutionize the car industry by creating Tesla. He just keeps seeing a different future and then creating the mechanisms to make that happen.

The next frequency is the healer. And the healer, the counselor, the therapist, their entire intention is to create a safe place for people to heal. And one of the things I notice when I hear healers is that they see everyone as broken. It’s not just the frequency that you think you’re speaking from, it’s actually the way you see humanity. If you’re one of those people who sees that everyone’s broken: You’re broken, you’re just hiding it. You’re broken, but you just don’t know it. You’re broken, but you’re in a healing moment. But the overarching narrative is what you really need is to be healed. That person has that powerful healing frequency. And I find so, oftentimes, is that some really textured, great communicators are the people who really believe that people need to understand themselves.

And it’s not just about physical healing. A person can actually heal you physically and leave you unhealed emotionally and psychologically and relationally, spiritually. I think the deep healers are the person who are trying to get to the core of the problem. And frankly, I think because there’ve been, I think, a diminishing influence of healers, we use medicine to try to heal people rather than helping them go through a process to actually deal with the deep wounds and brokenness that are creating not just psychological illnesses but physical illnesses as well.

James Maskell: You’re speaking very much to the archetype of our community. I think there’s a deep desire to get to the root cause. As I think about our community, I think there are a lot of healers in our community that have been drawn to this type of healing because they recognize that medicine doesn’t do it. Medicine doesn’t do what you just described. Medicine is sort of like a band-aid approach in the way that it’s been created, and they feel called to create enough safety to help people really heal. Why don’t you share the last one? And then, I’ve got some questions?

Erwin McManus: And the last frequency, and it’s probably the most rare frequency, is the maven. The maven is the theorist. They’re the expert. They’re the person who doesn’t make things better. They revolutionize the way we see everything. There are a lot of great scientists, but Einstein was a maven. He saw the universe, he saw reality, from a different place. There are many great artists, but Picasso is a maven. He saw the expression of art and what you could do on a canvas in a way that no one had ever seen it before. I do use the word genius here in some ways, but it’s that experience is genius because everyone thinks it cannot be right. It cannot be true, and it has to be false. And mavens create paradigm shifts. They bring insights. They want to change the way you see reality.

And so, when a motivator just wants to inspire you in the world you’re in. A challenger wants to help you become exceptional in the world you’re in. A seer, in many ways, wants to create a new world from the context of the world you’re in. But a maven sees an entirely new world and that world cannot be proven until it comes into reality. And I think this is a very rare frequency, but you know it when you’re in the room. And the way you know it is you can never see the world the same after they’ve opened up your mind.

James Maskell: Interesting. As I reflect on those seven archetypes, I reflect on doctors and practitioners that I’ve met over the last 15 years that fit into those different categories. Like I’ve definitely met some professors, definitely met some healers, definitely met some inspirers, definitely met some mavens too, I would say.

One of the things that I’m interested in is—and I also recognize some of those in myself, some pieces of those different pieces. I guess, I’m wondering, when you step into entrepreneurship from maybe having a job where you’re only valued for one thing to something where you need this range of skills, you now have to interact with your patients. You have to interact with your team. You have to interact with your accountant. You have to interact with all these different pieces. I guess, I’m just wondering like, are there frequencies that one can develop beyond one’s core frequency? If you can develop them, is that really what’s necessary to be a more valuable entrepreneur?

Erwin McManus: Absolutely. This is not like a personality assessment. This is not like the more general public, like Myers-Briggs or Enneagrams or things where you’re something and that’s who you are for the rest of your life. There’s a core frequency that’s more natural to you. And then, I would say, there is a cluster of two or three that you probably function in on a more regular basis. There’s probably a frequency that’s furthest from you that you almost rarely use. But the optimal relationship to the frequencies is to actually begin to absorb the frequencies in your life so that you have all seven frequencies available to you when you need them. The frequency furthest from me is command, but when command is needed, I’ll pull that frequency in and use it with authority and with strength. I just know it’s not my comfortable space. It’s not my natural space. It’s not the way I’m actually designed.

And so, I find many times people are interesting combinations. I know several key entrepreneurs, incredibly successful, and their blend is healer-commander. And you wouldn’t think those two would go together, but when they speak, they speak with such a deep care, and there’s a therapeutic nature to their messaging. At the same time, they have such authority and command, they’re actually telling you what you need to do to be healed. And because so many people, when they’re in a deep state of brokenness, don’t find the emotional energy to make a choice for themselves that they are drawn to healer-commander because that healer tells them what to do next to move toward healing.

James Maskell: Yeah, I’m interested in that. I’m also interested in thinking about like, how do you optimize a healing team? A lot of our clinicians are working in team-based care, and I could imagine that every chronic disease reversal team needs a commander in a certain way to come up with the plan, needs a healer to kind of communicate that plan and create safety, but then also might need an inspirer or someone to actually motivate the patients to do their part. That, ultimately, some patients will be motivated for a short period of time by a command because it’s life or death, but ultimately, what we’re dealing with with these chronic illnesses is like, you’re going to die eventually.

But ultimately, what’s needed is that sort of getting people inspired to participate so that they can head towards optimal health. I’m just thinking that building these new traits might be tricky, but what might be a shortcut is to have a team where you have all of these different frequencies being sort of bestowed onto the patient in the right order at the right time.

Erwin McManus: Absolutely. People respond so differently. Ironically, I don’t really respond well to a motivator. I just don’t need to be inspired all the time. I respond better to a challenger: a person who calls me out if I’m not living up my optimal level. I’ve had friends in my life who just want to inspire me, inspire me, encourage me, encourage me to go, “Hey, I really don’t need that. I just need you to call me out when I’m not living up to what I need to be living up to.”

But I know other people, they operate best with continuous inspiration. I think follow up because, if you’re dealing with the evolution of medicine, it’s convincing people to get healthy before they’re sick. Then convincing people to create a lifestyle of health. It seems to be really central to what you’re doing, which means there has to be endurance. There has to be determination. There has to be perseverance there.

You’re looking at really a long-term view toward health. Most of us, when we’re sick, we want a short-term cure. I got sick. I act like I got sick today, not that I’ve been getting sick because of the choices I’ve made for the last few years. Then I want you to fix me in a month, and then, I want to go back to the way I lived before. And so, you need to really think through these frequencies because if you’re going to do long-term care with patients, you’re going to need to have challengers. You need to have healers. You need to have motivators. Sometimes you need to have commanders in people’s life saying, “Hey, if you don’t do this, this is going to be your outcome.” And it all works together.

James Maskell: Yeah, and you also need the professor energy in a certain way because I can see that, ultimately, to communicate to people that they can’t reverse a chronic illness that it took them 20 years to create in a week, there’s a certain amount of like information that needs to be delivered as well. Yeah, I think that’s really critical.

And one of the things that… Now, we’re starting to build like these… We’ve built these like communities of doctors all practicing in this new way in cities across the country. Now that you’re saying it, I can just see that we’ve always said, “You’re not really in competition with those people,” because ultimately there’s an unlimited number of sick people out there, and each of these different doctor brands or different frequencies will attract the kind of patients.

If you know, okay, I need a challenger, then there are definitely doctor archetypes out there that I know are challenging the status quo, challenging their patients to be better. I can see that different patients will make their way to different types of practitioners. Also, not every patient’s for you. You may not be the right frequency that that patient needs at that time to facilitate the healing where they are in their life. But I think creating a team where you have the opportunity to have all of those frequencies, and you just have someone, I guess, guiding that process seems like an optimal way of doing it.

Erwin McManus: When I was in my 50s, I blew out my right knee, and I was trying to find a surgeon that could help repair my knee. And I actually passed on surgeons who talked to me about walking again. And I finally found Kobe Bryant’s surgeon. I said, “I need a surgeon who believes at 55 I can still play basketball.” When I found Kobe’s surgeon, he looked at my knee, and he said, “Okay, this is what we’re going to do.” And I said, “How long will it take me to recover?” And he said, “It’s an interesting thing. Some people never recover. Some people it takes two years. Some people it takes a year.” I said, “How long did it take Kobe to recover?” And he said, “Three months.” I said, “All right.” I said, “How long do you think it’s going to take me to recover?” He goes, “Three months.”

I already know. I already know before we go into surgery, how long it will take a person to recover based on their mindset. And on three months to the day, I was at a gym playing basketball. I think a lot of times, you may actually lose a patient because they want more for themselves than you can imagine. We always assume that people just want to survive. And I think there’s a lot of us… If you want me as a patient and I’m 64, I want to die healthy. I want to die thriving. And I want to redefine every decade of my life. When I’m in my 70s, I want to redefine what it looks like to be in my 70s. And so, I look for those kinds of doctors. I look for those kinds of healthcare systems where people actually want to challenge me to be the best I can possibly be.

James Maskell: Beautiful. Well, look, I guess just to wrap this up because I think this is so valuable. And I would encourage everyone—we’ll have it in the show notes—the details of some of your trainings and your work. So, if this resonates with you, what Erwin’s saying, to get in touch there and to start to work with these frequencies.

We’re coming into what we’re calling the year of connection. We have a different word for each year. The year of connection is really about, one, connecting to each other, two, connecting to patients, three, connecting in communities. The connections of like systems biology, of how the body works through this sort of deeply interconnected and complex layers of systems. What inspiration do you have for us for this year of connection? And what do you see as some of the critical foundations for building a more connected world?

Erwin McManus: It’s interesting that you say that because, this past week, I’ve just been really processing the theory of quantum entanglement and how when particles interact with each other, they stay interconnected regardless of distance. And I’ve been really reflecting on that in human communication. If you want to talk about being connected to realize that when you interact with another human being, even though there may be distance or time, that you’re still interconnected.

And that when you’re in someone’s life, especially when you’re in medicine, when you’re in someone’s life in an incredibly vulnerable time and a transitional moment in their life, how you interact with them, how you communicate with them, how you relate to them, will stay with them for the rest of their life.

You are the sum total of all the relationships. Every particle in your body is still interconnected to every single person that’s ever mattered to you or had a meaningful interaction with you. And so, what I would say is that we need to actually begin to think in a more transcendent way. That every interaction with another human being has an eternal significance to it. And that we become the sum total throughout our lives with every person who invests in us and influences us. I think it’s a beautiful thing.

And James, I didn’t plan this, but if someone sends us a note that says your name on it, we’ll give them a discount for The Art of Communication.

James Maskell: Great. Well, I’ll get the details, and we’ll put it into the show notes.

Erwin McManus: All right. Great. Great.

James Maskell: All right. Thanks so much everyone for listening. This is the Evolution of Medicine podcast. We’ve been with Erwin McManus. Check out the seven frequencies, and we’ll have more details in the show notes. We’ll see you again in 2023.

Thanks for listening to the evolution of medicine podcast. Please share this with colleagues who need to hear it. Thanks so much to our sponsors, the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center. This podcast is really possible because of them. Please visit goevomed.com/lmrc to find out more about their clinical tools like the group visit toolkit. That’s goevomed.com/lmrc. Thanks so much for listening and we’ll see you next time.

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