If you've heard about avoiding straws -- if you're actively avoiding straws -- Dune Ives and the Lonely Whale, the organization she's the Executive Director of, have influenced you. If you've asked yourself, why straws or what the point was, that's what she wanted: for people actually to talk about things on a human scale. If you've taken the next step from straws, Lonely Whale has influenced you all the more. When Dune co-founded Lonely While, she didn't know the untapped demand. They just started and finding one change leading to another. Her approach helped change my views about straws and small changes. I no longer see them as just the one act any more than playing scales is too small to learn to play piano. Nor do I see them as small things that might add up. I see them as practice. If you don't do small things, you may never get to big things. Mastering small things makes big things easier. If straws connect with a value of yours, start with straws. Act on your values. Talk about them. Once you master them so that no straws come your way, then take the next step. Or if you're thinking of starting your own initiative, take a lesson from her that starting will lead to more success than just thinking about it. You'll hear some big names mentioned: Besides the Kardashians, co-founder Adrian Grenier, and Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen.

140: Joanne Wilson: Gotham Gal

February 19, 2019

If you're in entrepreneurship in New York City, you know Joanne Wilson, especially among the women entrepreneurs I talk to. She's prominent in the New York entrepreneurial world, as well as art, travel, food A lot of investors live stressful lives. Joanne doesn't. As you'll hear in our conversation, she also leads a rewarding life, which you'll also read in any of her blog posts or hear in any of her podcast episodes -- the happiness, fun, and emotional reward she describes her life with. I think it results from her focus on people, relationships, and community. Like any great leader, she focuses on people. The first thing she does after vetting people she invests in is to support them. Our conversation covers more personal leadership, but her success points to what I think environmental leaders could learn from her. Environmental work overwhelmingly focuses on science, politics, compliance, and facts. Until they focus on people, it's hard to call many of them leaders. Seeking compliance or browbeating people with facts, no matter how science-backed, or laws, no matter how well-meaning, won't get results. Nor will people enjoy it and keep doing it after your extrinsic incentives go away. That's why I could only start trying environmental leadership when I found reducing my waste to about 10% of the average American improved my life. Yes it took time, just like Joanne doesn't blindly invest but has to vet people and research. I didn't press her on taking on a new challenge, partly because she told me when I arrived to her office about just having reduced plastic in her office. Partly because she just built her house and is building other new homes that way. Also, I see her around New York, so the next time I see her, I'll ask her if she's done anything new by then. I predict she will have and I'll invite her for a second episode.

When you think of negotiating, do you think of honesty, fun, and openness. How about hostage negotiation with terrorists? Chris Voss brings the experience of negotiating in some of the world's most challenging situations to teaching you to negotiate and honesty, fun, and openness are some of the top things he brings. How would you like to look forward to your next negotiation that way? He also brings social and emotional skills to a field long dominated by abstract principles, which help, but develop your performance. His approach, beyond just book learning, is relevant to all negotiation, particularly relevant to environmental leadership. His book has several effective techniques that overlap with mine (compare with Leadership Step by Step's chapters 18 and 19) though he has a couple decades more experience. If you like learning leadership, you'll find learning from Chris valuable. And fun.

Today's post covers a dramatic proposal I see as a clear winner. It's big and bold but everyone benefits from it. Its challenges are in garnering support and implementation, but once started I see it sustaining itself as a national jewel. First some context. I've talked about my return from Shanghai a few years ago to a crumbling airport, creaky trains, and crumbling train stations. Anyone can see this nation's crumbling bridges, roads, and infrastructure. Same with my train trip across the country. Amtrak is a third-world train system. It measures its delays in hours. First-world train systems measure delays in minutes and seconds. As a New Yorker I see our subway, which carries billions of rides annually, has fallen to disrepair. Its slipshod weekend repair schedule means you can't predict what lines will work or how long to plan a trip. First-world systems have built whole cities worth of systems. Other cultures update old systems instead of starving them like ours. We act like a few new stations are a big deal. That pride is a shame. From New Orleans after Katrina, Miami's regular floods at high tide, New York after Sandy, California after earthquakes, Puerto Rico, Flint, MI, the list goes on, of our poor preparedness. Same with the aircraft carriers we send around the world after natural disasters. We do the best we can, but far from our potential. The climate-based challenges are only increasing as the planet warms. The future's normal is a world where such challenges are normal. We'll have to move cities. The nation lacks readiness to respond to aging infrastructure and climate change. Those problems are our future. I propose a civilian service academy. Its goal would be to teach trades -- construction, carpentry, electrical, programming, engineering, and so on. What we'd need to rebuild cities -- in the style of military academies, requiring academics, physical training, sports, arts, but civilian, not military. It would embody a culture of rigor that would include uniforms, marching, honor, service, and military precision, but not military. More like engineering precision. Making beds, teamwork. Elite opportunities. Leadership through practice. It would provide the leadership among and for the millions of students, veterans, and young people of McChrystal's program. Listen for more depth.

137: Why Famous Guests

February 15, 2019

This podcast has featured some world-renowned guests, with more renown to come. Popular downloads include Dan Pink, multiple #1 bestseller, 40+ million TED talk views, Beth Comstock, former Vice Chair and CMO of General Electric, Marshall Goldsmith, #1 ranked leadership guru and author, Frances Hesselbein, Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Ken Blanchard, author, The One Minute Manager, over 13 million sold, Jonathan Haidt, #1 bestselling author, 8+ million TED talk views, Vincent Stanley, Director, Patagonia, David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, over 1 million sold, Dorie Clark, bestselling author, Jordan Harbinger, top 5 podcast, 4+ million monthly downloads, Doug Rushkoff, #1 bestselling author, producer, media theorist, Dave Asprey, founder Bulletproof, NY Times bestseller, Bryan Braman, Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagle, Marquis Flowers, Super Bowl highlight reel star New England Patriot, John Lee Dumas, top entrepreneurial podcaster, and more. Upcoming guests include an Olympic gold medalist, TED speakers with yet more views, and more. I'm speaking with a Victoria's Secret model and a Nobel laureate. I love meeting and talking to successful people who have overcome challenges, and I presume you do too, but I'm serving two goals: Materially measurable environmental results Emotional reward in doing so, meaning joy, discovery, meaning, purpose, and such as the leadership part I seek out renowned guests to achieve these goals. This episode explains the connection.

Happiness comes from skills, which you can learn, which Nataly teaches. Environmental action does too. Happiness and living harmoniously with the environment and your values go well together, as would make sense given our environmental history. Many people think starting small isn't worth it. Watch Nataly's videos and read her book about improving happiness. Any skill you learn helps you learn other skills. Starting small works. I suspect her experience developing happiness-related skills enabled her to reduce her bottle use by 99%, improving family morale in the process. You tell me if you think she'll apply it more, since you'll hear how she made it meaningful. I suggest that if developing happiness skills helped her act on her environmental values, that acting on environmental skills will also help her become happier. Nataly is all about making things you want to do rewarding, fun, enjoyable. What are you waiting for to start? You can make it enjoyable, even the starting. Naturally, I hope you'll take on acting on your leadership or environmental values, not anyone else's. But act. You won't regret making yourself happy in the process.

People seem to have a hard time imagining a world without growth, specifically economic growth or population growth. There's personal growth, but I'm talking about materially measurable growth. People seem to believe that economic growth is necessary. I've looked and haven't found any reasonable proof of its necessity. People say you need inflation to keep motivating people, but I don't see any founding for such a belief besides their unfounded, and apparently self-serving, idealism. We understand people and our motivations better than they used to when these economic theories started. Sadly, our financial and political systems keep operating on these flawed understandings. On the contrary, I've found societies that have lived for tens to hundreds of thousands of years, stably, which disproves that you need growth. Nobody thinks that if a thousand people were stuck on an island that had resources to sustain a thousand people indefinitely -- imagining a time without satellites and our modern ability to find any group of that size anywhere -- that those people couldn't figure out how to sustain themselves on those resources. Actually in such a situation, everyone sees growth beyond a thousand people would be a problem. We are in such a situation, only a bigger island. Today's post explores this view from several angles, including how it might guide living one's individual life.

Hearing an astronaut talk about space is unparalleled. I imagine anyone and everyone wants to hear about seeing Earth from space and what launch feels like. You have to listen to hear it from a man who experienced it. Having walked in space twice is a minor part of his achievements. He earned degrees from West Point, the U.S. Army War College, Columbia Business School, and London Business School, on top of his military and NASA careers. What gets you to space isn't just fitness and technical skill. It's knowing that you will succeed no matter what. That you can work with everyone. Like business, leadership, family, and most of life, success reaching space is about people. Tim talks about integrity, consistency, and followership, which I agree is integral to leading. He talks about finding something bigger than yourself. Something we covered connecting visiting space with valuing and protecting the environment: Before flying, hot air balloons were unbelievable. Now they're nothing. Then flying was unbelievable. Now people get annoyed at it. Maybe one day people will get bored with space. I look at it the other way. If people could find beauty in flying, so can we. If they once found wonder and awe in hot air balloons, so can we. You can find the beauty and wonder of nature everywhere if you know how to look. I try to find it in the basil plants on my windowsill. The view and practicing it makes me feel every part is worth saving. I can't wait to see his gallery show.

133: At Least Try

February 11, 2019

When I played sports competitively, I once watched a pass go by me without trying because I thought I couldn't make a play on it. A teammate asked why I just watched. I said, "Because I couldn't reach it." He said, "At least try!" Larry Bird said something similar: "It makes me sick when I see a guy just watching it go out of bounds." The view has stuck with me. I haven't gone for every pass I could, but I respect when an outfielder sprints to the wall even when he know the ball will carry over the fence. The difference between watching and trying is meaning and purpose. I try for as many passes as I can. The pervasive environmental view, "If I act but no one else does then what I do doesn't matter," and the passive behavior it leads to, embodies a meaningless existence. I try in part today because I tried then. Today's post explores this view and several related ones in more depth.

This episode is longer, but full of inside views at a leverage point of leadership and the environment. Consulting firms and business schools wish they had access to global corporate leaders at the frontier of change like Lorna. We spoke in-person about multinationals she's led across the globe. And she takes on one of the longest personal challenges of any guest so far. Lest you think the conversation was all about mega-corporations, we also talked about vegetables and leaders reduced to tears on seeing what environmental values they could have acted on but had put off too long and felt the consequences. Lorna has influenced big, global business, helping shift Danone USA to become a B-corp, working directly with the CEO of the company that made about $30 billion last year with over 100,000 employees. What's a B-corp? What difference does it make? Lorna will explain everything, largely from her personal, inside experiences. I've known about B-corps since studying them in business school over a decade ago. Lorna makes things clearer and more engaging from her experience. The shift in corporate structure is huge, likely a systemic change to capitalism enacted voluntarily by capitalists, not government. I find it intriguing. Even if you know about B-corps, hearing her inside view will -- I don't know any other way to say it -- blow your mind. It's one of the greatest signs of hope and expectation of success I've seen. She also shares her story about changing from wanting to win the rat race but not achieving it to living by her values and succeeding more.

Dawn Riley has sailed in 3 Americas cups, won around the world races, and led other teams. I wish you could see the context for our conversation. We're at the sailing center she runs to restart the elite level of American sailing. Before this conversation she sent me out to see Olympic medalists competing on the Long Island sound. Shortly after, they all came in for a barbecue -- Olympic medalists, a gold medalist, a Crossfit Games champion, and more. You'll hear these world-class athletes, trainers, organizers, and so one talking in the background over the course of the conversation. My top measure of leadership is who follows them. Dawn is surrounded by people who are themselves global leaders, and she is taking them to the next level. She leads athletes, business people, educators, parents, and more. I wish I could describe the force of nature she is in action. Her results speak for themselves. I hope this conversation shows the potential of leadership and cultural change If you didn't know, I met her because I'm learning to sail, which I'm doing to travel off North America without flying. Most people think of what they miss by giving something up, even to live by their values. What you replace it with matters more. When you replace something you devalue with something you value, you've improved your life. Sailing and meeting people like Dawn and her community are what others would fly to meet. When you live by your values -- that is, when you lead yourself with integrity -- you attract similar people. I guess if you live by "what I do doesn't matter," you'll also attract similar people. Your choice! Besides, I've spent far less money on sailing than on flying. What everyone says they don't have time for -- bothering with the environment -- Dawn does without a second thought. You'll hear in the conversation her visceral connection to the environment. I hope it rubs off. If as a world-class athlete, educator, and businesswoman, she can make stewardship an effortless part of her life, you probably can too. In the meantime, get out on a sailboat.

I'm trying something new for my third conversation with John: releasing the conversation unedited. While no editing means the sound is raw, you also hear everything. Why? Because you can hear how our relationship is developing into a friendship. in contrast to most conversations about the environment that I hear. They're about facts, doom, gloom, what the government should do, how nothing matters, and other analytic, academic, abstract, philosophical stuff. Anything but saying, "I'm going to act and do something new." John acted. He led me back to act. We both enjoyed our new actions though neither of us would have loved picking up garbage for no compensation for no reason. When connected to our values and our little race to the top, we both love it. We both still pollute more than we need to, but when you enjoy each step, you take more steps. Even after a year, you'll hear he's still just starting.

David and I could have talked about growth and how many people think growth is sustainable and non-growth isn't, which seems based on a system hurtling toward collapse, whereas a steady-state economy and population can be sustainable. Instead we just talked about the fun of riding more and getting outside. He lives in Colorado with hills. What looked like a challenge before starting became part of the joy. The natural environment is like that. I see it over and over with guests. We talk about how one joyful thing leads to another when you shift from making excuses to avoid acting to acting. David's stronger than before, finding things about his neighborhood and himself. One of my life's great experiences was riding my bike from Philadelphia to Maine and back the summer between high school and college, with tents on our bikes at 16 years old. After listening to David, I recommend listening to some of these episodes: Dov Baron found something similar in his conversation, considering getting rid of his Jaguar. Danny Bauer found similar results after getting rid of his car as his commitment. I haven't heard back from Jethro Jones about riding his bike through the winter in Alaska, but he chose to do it. Michael O'Heaney found similar results riding his bike with his daughter in Golden Gate Park After talking to John Lee Dumas I went from talking about plogging to starting plogging You can debate pros and cons of bikes. You can't debate they're having more fun, getting in better shape, enjoying life more. It's about fun. The opposite of feeling guilty. Everybody loves nature, it seems. Especially if you have kids.

You've heard that with social media, Google, and most free services, you're the product. The idea probably provoked thought when you heard it. Now it probably feels old, an ending point. What if you considered it a starting point? Where does it lead? What does it tell you about yourself, society, the internet, markets, humanity? Doug Rushkoff follows dozens of ideas like it and weaves them together into a tapestry of a new way of looking at media, individuality, advertising, algorithms, and more. For example: the internet began as a medium to unite people. Over and over its innovations with the most promise to bring people together instead came to separate us -- Google and Facebook being the biggest examples. They are now the greatest advertising media ever, increasingly getting in your business and personal life as much as you can. Their executives have to testify to Congress for undermining democracy. How did such results happen? What do they mean? What can we do about it? A few months ago friends started telling me to listen to Doug Rushkoff, because he talks about media like I do. It turns out after he wrote many bestselling books and a renowned podcast, just after I heard about him, he wrote a new book, Team Human, and was speaking a few blocks away from me, introduced by his friend and guest of this podcast Seth Godin. To prepare I listened to his podcast, which I loved, watched his TED talk, which got me thinking, and watched one of his several Frontline episodes, called Generation Like. Seth introduced us and here's the podcast. I appear at 48:25 on Team Human episode Book Launch: A Live Team Human Conversation with Douglas Rushkoff and Seth Godin.

Would you expect the army to change sooner or later than other institutions---say business, traditional education, or non-profits? Col. Spain committed to using less plastic bottled water for 30 days. He reduced his typical use from 40 bottles to 1. At what cost? It sounds to me like the "cost" was of practicing discipline and selflessness, which sounds positive to me, what leads to long-term change. I suggest listening for the emotional timbre of his change. Would you say he considers his life better or worse? He practiced personal leadership. He affected his family in a way I think he'd call positive. I heard him sounding satisfied for leaving the world better for his new behavior. I heard him want to continue. For those looking to learn leadership, you'll hear me explain, about 15 minutes in, my leadership technique from my book and practicing here my emerging Leadership and the Environment technique to motivate people through intrinsic motivation. Why not follow the leader of the leadership department of one of the top places for teaching leadership? Having interviewed him at West Point, I can't help asking, why are we following other countries on something that improves our lives? I hope you'll ask yourself: Why wait for laws or others to start? Why not start yourself?

I learned a lot in this conversation. That's a euphemism for it being challenging for me, since her values and working style differs from mine. You'll probably hear me struggling to listen and learn her experience and perspective. Part of why I invited her and value our friendship is our different values. Different values mean we balance them differently. Leadership means listening, making people feel understood, and supporting them as people, even when you disagree, at least my style. Listening now, I don't think I listened as much as I could have. I could have learned more about a different perspective that many people share. This conversation led to several monologue posts I put up on awareness often leading to inaction, rather assertive ones. As always with Ann-Marie, enjoyed the conversation and valued her being herself.

Sally plays a big role leading an iconic brand, with her team taking it in directions no one has taken media before. She's also played major roles in the New York Times and other major media outlets. In this first part of my conversation with her you’ll hear Sally’s passion about the art of storytelling, what evolves and what stays the same as media evolve, and how she leads people and teams. Sally shares about caring and passion, which are integral to success in business, at least how she does it. I think you’ll appreciate her take on fashion's reputation regarding the environment. The conversation went long enough -- I think we both enjoyed it that much -- that I couldn’t fit it all into one episode. This episode is more about leadership, journalism, fashion, Sally's growth and personal development, and a bit of Chelsea Manning. Stay tuned for episode two, on her challenge and her takes on leadership and the environment.

124: Guilt Free

January 23, 2019

Before acting on my environmental values, I felt guilty and helpless. I didn't like those feelings. All the analyzing, raising awareness, and planning, I now look back and see that I was occupying my mind, making busy work for it, to distract myself from those feelings. I could feel I was doing something even when I wasn't. I kept trying to ascribe the cause of the guilt and helplessness to others, but it didn't go away. It couldn't, because they were purely internal: my behavior was inconsistent with my values. No blaming others or waiting for awareness or planning or analysis would change that conflict. On the contrary, they kept me from addressing it. Today's episode tells my emotional journey liberating me from guilt, blame, and insecurity, replacing it with determination, expectation of success, and action.

Dave saw the problems with growth to local communities, the national economy, the global economy, and the environment. He questioned the the nearly unquestioned belief that growth is good, especially GDP and population growth. Once you question it, like a sweater unraveling, you start seeing the problems it causes. I haven't been able to communicate its problems to someone who disagreed, so I won't try here, though if you've also tugged at any of its loose ends, Dave's documentary, his podcast, and this conversation will help you feel like you're not alone. You're not crazy. There's plenty of evidence that I find conclusive that for whatever it helped before, growth of a certain percent a year---that is, exponential---is unsustainable and the more we push to keep it up, the more problems we create for ourselves. Sadly, people who believe growth solves problems, when they see problems that growth causes, push for more growth. You'll be glad to know that not pursuing growth doesn't mean returning to the stone age. It means focusing on relationships, enjoying what you have, and other meaningful things. Listening to David leads me to imagine the resistance Martin Luther King or Gandhi must have faced promoting non-violence. Or the first women to wear pants. I'm glad they stuck with it. The analogy isn't perfect, but it's meaningful to me and I hope Dave sticks with it.

Lately, I've thought of people who say they can't avoid plastic bags, bottles, flying. I suggest just declining, but they say they can't. Saying no reminds me of Rosa Parks. She said no. She didn't just act on her own as the campaign was planned and strategized, but she did it. She was arrested, which no one will be for declining a water bottle. Why do we honor someone if not to follow when the chips are down? Why remember her if when we feel it's right to say no, we don't? Her actions also suggest that even when many people agree and want to act, a spark helps. It seems everyone wants cleaner air, land, and water. As long as everyone thinks, "If I act but no one else does then what I do doesn't matter," everyone keeps sleepwalking, keeping polluting. She was a leader who accepted her fate of arrest, risking more in context of activists being lynched and killed. We have it easy in comparison. We can say no and lead others at no risk. Also like her, saying no is the beginning or a big escalation. For her it escalated the civil rights movement, including leading to federal legislation of the civil rights acts in the next decade. For you it will lead to polluting less in more parts of your life, living cleaner, and almost certainly federal legislation. Between mindlessly sleepwalking through a polluting life and leading others to pollute less and live more cleanly, which side of history do you want to be on?

People see my apartment and often describe me or my lifestyle as minimalist. I don't like labeling people or being labeled, but if anything, a more apt label would be maximalist. You might see the lack of stuff, but my focus is on values, relationships, self-awareness, free time, fun, joy, mental freedom, physical freedom, simplicity, space, delicious food, beauty, fitness, social and emotional skills, happiness, emotional reward, and so on. You can't see those things, but I focus on them. The more joy I create in my life, the more I want to create more, which a TV gets in the way of for me.

If you haven't started plogging, I recommend it. What's plogging? It's a term the Swedish created for picking up garbage when you run. I've picked up at least one piece of trash per day for a few years. In fact, this podcast began from a former student who, when he heard of my practice, committed to picking up 10 pieces of trash per day for a month. Most people do it by bringing a bag to collect the garbage with. I wasn't sure how to start plogging in New York because there's so much garbage. If I picked up everything I passed I might not make a block. Also, I don't want to run with a bag. Listen to my second conversation with John Lee Dumas and you'll hear how his commitment to picking up trash from the beach near his home inspired me to stop analyzing, planning, and thinking, and act. I have to relearn that lesson over and over. Action raises awareness more than raising awareness leads to action. Actually, planning, analysis, and raising awareness delays action, at least environmental action given that everyone is plenty aware. The environment has been front page news for years so everyone is aware. Certainly everyone listening to this podcast is. The best way I know to do something you don't know how is to start the best I can and learn from doing, then iterate. Picking up every piece of trash is impossible. Planning away from the street doesn't work. I started running and developed rules that work for me. Rule 1: I only have to pick up trash directly on my path Rule 2: Cigarette butts and smaller I ignore Rule 3: Nothing wet or in a puddle Rule 4: If a trash can is not in sight, I don't have to Now I favor plogging to regular running. It's like running with random lunges. My quads tire faster. Sadly it fills you with disgust at the filth people create and tolerate without cleaning. By people, I mean everyone. It also fills you with a sense of civic pride. I make a little game of trying not to be obvious while being obvious. I dream of others picking up the habit. People see it as dirty when it's actually cleaning the world. The people who litter seem the dirty ones to me.

A friend who treats opioid addicts told me about the squalor they live in. They don't see it because they're thinking about their next hit, which will bring them euphoria. They'll steal and prostitute themselves to maintain their habit, not thinking about the filth they live in or whom they hurt to bring their next hit. People don't seem to see the filth we've turned our world into. People seem willing to ignore whom they hurt with their single-use plastic and the jet exhaust they impose on billions of others. The longer I go without packaged food and flying the more people talking about them sounds like people talking about heroin.

"To start, I need to build awareness." Who hasn't said that about polluting less? It seems the standard starting point. On the contrary, it's the standard delay tactic. In a world where environmental issues are front page news and everyone sees the pollution that they create, claiming a goal of awareness more often delays action. You're already aware. Plenty aware. Action creates awareness more than awareness creates action. Beth shows personal leadership---accountability, responsibility, openness, honesty, and more---in revealing that someone who is aware, when she chooses to act, reaches whole new levels of awareness. I believe most people delay action because they anticipate how much awareness of themselves they know action will create. They'll realize they could have acted long before and will feel bad about it. She got hit over the head with how much more she depends on plastic than she expected. She didn't hide from it. Unlike most people, instead of giving up, she used the opportunity to grow, to try to live by values that she thought she was but wasn't. Thinking, planning, and trying to build awareness without acting is like standing still in comparison. Yes, it makes us feel bad to live with our values in conflict with our values. We can try to cover up those feelings by ignoring the conflict. It doesn't make it go away. That conflict manifests as anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, and other emotions we don't like. Instead of changing, we cover up, blame others, and point fingers. Anything but changing. The route out of feeling bad is to face and overcome the internal conflict creating those feelings. Other people and the world don't create internal conflict. We do when we value one thing and do another. Few people face such challenges, fewer still among renowned leaders, fewer still publicly, fewer still keep at it and find ways to use the challenge to recharge them. Beth did.

Jeff teaches a class in making a living through a creative life. I've sat in on his class for years for his interviews and the guests. I don't need more formal education. Look at some of the people he's interviewed Ralph Lauren, Halston, Brooke Astor, Liza Minnelli, Donna Karen, Martha Graham, Tom Brokaw, Tony Bennett, Renee Fleming, Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Gisele Bundchen, Adriana Lima, Candice Swanepoel, Miranda Kerr, Karlie Kloss, Doutzen Kroes, Alessandra Ambrosio, Justin Bieber, Usher, Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Akon, Halle Berry, Salma Hayek, Ray Kurzweil, Sanford Weill, Tim Ferris, and Peter Diamandis The celebrities are not the main reason I like his class. You know how no matter how productive you feel, when you take a vacation, things resolve themselves and you realize your priorities? I get that from his class in an hour or two nearly every time. Jeff brings out creative thoughts, reflection, and solutions. I wanted to bring that culture to the podcast. This episode is about leadership, especially starting without connections or resources. If you've heard 80% of success is showing up, Jeff shows how. You'll hear some iconic names within the first few minutes. If you want to lead, you'll hear how he gets his results, starting from almost nothing, reaching world-renowned icons, living by his values.

First, if you haven't watched Story of Stuff, as much as I love my podcast, watch the videos from the organization Michael O'Heaney leads---the Story of Stuff. You'll hear that simple things he could have always done are available and doing them improves his life, as I heard. As experienced leaders often do, he involves others---in particular, his daughter---in contrast to many others, who tend to think of other people as problems. They think, "I can't stop flying because of family," or because of work. Always someone else. Leaders involve others solutions that affect them a strategy that usually works, at least among this podcast's guests. He's not the first to find acting on his environmental values overcomes separation with children. I recommend listening to Jim Harshaw's episodes for another example of a parent using acting on his environmental values to connect with people he cares about. Read the transcript.

First, watch the video Sandy made through Generation 180, the nonprofit he started to promote reducing consumption. His for-profit companies are already responsible for significant increases in solar, wind, and other renewable. I think you'll find the video effective in reaching people in ways the environmental movement have neglected, but work. It presents a new way of looking at renewables: freedom, independence, and creating jobs, coming from an actual veteran experienced in energy. The video I'm pleased to announce that the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation tweeted Sandy's last conversation, leading to a big surge in its downloads. Our second conversation covers the origin of video and his vision driving it. Note that reducing consumption achieves more than providing more energy, hence Generation 180 and my focus. Sandy's challenge of reducing his meat consumption is yet another case of someone finding it easier than expected and rewarding---something he wants to continue. Listen for yourself, but to me he sounded happy, laughing, sharing with family. If you're waiting to start your challenge, I hope you'll feel inspired. Read the transcript.

If you're like me, you've heard of Bulletproof coffee. Since I don't drink coffee I didn't think much of it, but since I heard about it, I figured the guy behind it was good at internet marketing. I'd come to hear Dave name. Also I kept hearing about people losing weight on it and saying they had tons of energy. Still, I didn't pay too much attention? Was it keto? When I found out he was speaking at the coworking space where I was hosting one of my famous no-packaging vegetable stew and sustainability events, Assemblage, I decided to go and learn more. I was surprised several times over. First, the place was more packed than any event there that I'd seen. Second, everyone was rapt with attention. Third, he wasn't trying to entertain to get that attention. He just talked. Fourth, a lot of people stayed well after it officially ended. He talked a lot about supplements, eating habits, and behavioral change. I thought: Some so-called leaders lead poorly, even if they have authority. Some leaders lead okay. His followers follow him to put untested things in their bodies, for their reasons, as informed, consenting adults. Followership like that looked like leadership at another level. Hustler that I am, when he finished speaking, I spoke to his people, who introduced me to him. I got an advanced copy and reviewed his book for Inc. That conversation, which we recorded, covered leadership as much as anything else so I asked if I could share it on the podcast and he and his team loved the idea. As with anyone with a big name, you'll find criticism of him online. You'll face criticism when you act on your values. Diversity means people have different values. Some people will think what you think is right is wrong and vice versa. The question is not if you as a leader will face disagreement. That's a given. The question is how you handle it. Remember, he wasn't speaking for his voice to be shared, which to me adds an extra layer of authenticity. This is just him talking to me. Read the transcript.

You'll love how I met Ann-Marie, a friend whose perspective I value despite not having met in person yet. After the 2016 election, I posted a piece on Inc., If You Voted for Trump, Let's Meet, because living in lower Manhattan means what Trump voters are around get bullied, effectively, into keep quiet about it. I disagree with many Trump policies, to say the least, especially on the environment, but he won. I wanted to know more about him and his voters. She responded, among others, as I wrote in a follow-up Inc. piece, Leaders Listen: Crossing the Political Divide, What happened when I spoke to people on the opposite pole of everyone around me. I think we both pleasantly surprised each other on our civility, curiosity, and mutual unhappiness with our nation's level of political conversation, if you can call it that. We've kept in touch. My podcast conversation with Jonathan Haidt and reading his book led me to want to bring more diverse views on the podcast. I thought of Ann-Marie, invited her on, and here is the result. She describes herself as a green Republican but says there aren't many of her. I wouldn't balance issues as she does, but frankly I don't see the behavior of people on the left so consistent with their environmental values. I don't see almost any Americans polluting less. I don't think people like Ann-Marie are rare, but I do think people acting on the environment prefer to browbeat or insult conservatives and Trump supporters more than listen to them. I hope it's the first of more diverse views. I don't want a bubble or echo chamber for you. I want to learn and expand my network. I hope you this episode broadens your horizons as it did mine. Read the transcript.

Bethany made her name as the first to report that Enron was overpriced, which meant going deep into the numbers and people, understanding them, and then facing overwhelming criticism. Turns out she was right, but can you imagine the friction and hostility she must have faced? Now she's looking at fracking. We want journalists like her investigating and reporting what's happening that we don't know about. Are we increasing our nation's security? She looks at the people and numbers, makes sense of them, and wrote a short, colorful, informative book on it. The short answer is that it doesn't make sense except for some economic anomalies, but getting into more detail helps you understand the direction of the country. She explains the short-term perspective of oil and gas, though the main point seems that the U.S. has no energy policy. This is our world. If you want to influence fracking, environment is not the most effective lever. If you want to understand this critical part of the U.S. becoming an exporter again and what may happen next, you'll appreciate the book. Listen for the intersection of leadership, economics, and finance. (I also recommend reading her Vanity Fair cover story on Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez for two engaging profiles and pictures.) Read the transcript.

Marion Nestle is a hero for me. Food may be the greatest interest that got me into acting on my environmental action. Avoiding packaged food emerged from avoiding fiber-removed foods, which emerged from reading Diet for a Small Planet in the 80s, which also motivated her. She, her books, and blog, Food Politics, are voices of sense in a crowded field. Her most recent book is The Unsavory Truth: How the Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat. I've read most of it and seeing her present on it led to meeting her in person. I recommend it. Her other books include What to Eat, Food Politics, Why Calories Count, Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda, and Safe Food. I've read about half of each of the first three, expecting to finish all, and recommend any to start---whether your interests include food, the environment, acting on your values, health, or nearly anything, really. There's a big overlap between food and the environment regarding leadership, which she and I talk about. This conversation covers the path toward leadership I expect many listeners are on, but that she has experience in since the 70s. Leadership often means starting with no obvious light at the end of the tunnel, only that you care about changing yourself and culture. I see her as a role model for acting in such situations, which probably feel familiar to listeners. I wanted to bring vision that perseverance pays off, to take the long view. We can all learn from her experience. Read the transcript.

My third conversation with Geoff covers using his research to figure out what to do. I start with a few questions on how to create a vision for the future based on his research. Can we change our growth trajectory, currently leading to ever-accelerating growth, without sacrificing the superlinear growth that makes cities and presumably culture stable? Recall that sublinear growth leads to companies' and animals' limited lifetimes. Without leadership, it seems inevitable to me that we'll reach collapse. Leadership---changing cultural beliefs---seems our best hope. Creating new technology keeps us on the same track. We'd have to work hard to stay off the track we're on. He talks about how futurists from generations ago predicted technology would free up so much time we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves. History shows we found the opposite. The research I've seen on technology creating efficiency has led to more pollution, not less. Listen to the conversation to see what we can do. Read the transcript.

This episode is for people who detest Trump. I'll speak to people who love him in future episodes. If you pollute and emit greenhouse emissions beyond the IPCC recommendations, which one round-trip cross country coach flight will nearly do, you personally pulled out of the Paris Agreement so many people criticized Trump for pulling out of. If you defend your flying and other pollution as necessary for your job, congratulations, you used the same excuse behind killing every piece of environmental legislation that's lost. Beyond your actions' effects on the environment, when you tell others to sacrifice for things you don't, you motivate people to vote against you. If you care about issues you differ with Trump on---abortion, gun rights, Supreme Court justices, how the world views our nation---your saying coal miners should sacrifice their jobs while you use your job as an excuse to keep flying motivates people to vote against you. Many people want to stick it to the liberal elite. How to win If you want to win in 2020, do what you want others to do and show how much you love the results. Change your job to enable meeting your environmental values and share how it improved your life. You might not believe it will now, but it will. I know from experience. Or keep polluting, keep your job, motivate more people to vote against you, lose in 2020, and watch more Supreme Court seats filled by people like Kavanaugh and enjoy a wall on our southern border. Read the transcript.

Beth personifies whom this podcast is designed to showcase: someone whose hard work, risk-taking, and personal challenge brought her to the pinnacle of her craft, which she is willing to share. That is, someone who did what leaders in the environment have to---to work hard before you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, having faith in yourself. She shares inside views of cultural change toward environmental stewardship at General Electric, with over 300,000 employees, a world of suppliers and clients, a century of history including major environmental damage. To this day, when I mention swimming across the Hudson, people ask about GE, PCBs, and carcinogens. She didn't shy from the challenges. She took them on. As I saw it, she worked as successful leaders do, with people, seeing them as allies and resources. You'll hear her story, results, and lessons, which apply to my work with large corporations. You'll hear me learning from her how I can help my clients. She also takes on a challenge that sounds big to me. I can't wait to hear how it goes. Read the transcript.

I talk to a lot of people who aren't acting on their environmental values. They explain their inaction in many ways, but one of the top ones is that they claim they first have to raise their awareness or become more conscious. To claim unawareness of an issue making global front page news monthly, maybe weekly, when anyone who has ordered takeout or considered eating less meat or driving fewer miles, everyone is plenty aware of the situation and things they can do about it. Action leads to awareness more than the other way around. People will deny it, but nearly everyone uses the specious, fatuous, self-serving pursuit of awareness as a delay tactic, a smokescreen to distract from action. Sadly, beyond delaying awareness, delaying action also delays transforming the internal conflict they're trying to become aware of into joy, discovery, growth, meaning, purpose, saving money, delicious food, and all I created this podcast to share. If you want awareness, act, and bring more joy into your life. I also read a passage from Martin Luther King's Letter From Birmingham Jail to illustrate the problem he saw with people delaying action. Read the transcript.

Many people believe that technology will save many of our environmental problems. I've written and spoken on how making a polluting system more efficient will lead to it polluting more efficiently. My recent cross-country trip by Amtrak, which prompted me to wonder what it would take to transform Amtrak into a first-world train system, illustrated the challenges of systemic change and how pushing on one lever won't do it. Do you think just putting faster trains on Amtrak's tracks would create a system with trains running at first-world speeds, which are double Amtrak's current maximum speeds? Not a chance. This episode considers what goes into systemic change. I close with a reminder that despite its difficulties, the first steps are obvious: you and me, here and now, changing our beliefs and behaviors, which will improve our lives. All my changes to live by my environmental values improved my life. I'm talking about creating joy, meaning, value, purpose, passion, closer relationships, more delicious food, saving money, and more. Read the transcript.

Since appearing on his podcast, he and I have become friends. You can't hear it in this recording, but since meeting on line, I've met him in San Diego, where I stayed in his guest bedroom, meet his family, and cooked my famous no-packaging vegetable stew together. So this episode is more personal. Jared has acted more than most to live by his environmental values, so you'll get to hear someone not complaining. You get to hear people who have acted sharing our experiences. If you haven't acted and mean to, you'll hear that from other side. We don't complain, though we wonder why people don't act. To me this was an open, honest conversation among people who are making meaningful changes in their lives and enjoying it. The leadership part of this podcast is about that joy, as well as meaning, value, importance, and purpose. I hope this conversation showed that you'll enjoy changing when it's to live by your values and you'll wish you had earlier. Yes, you'll stop doing some things you are. Think of great historical change -- civil rights, slavery, and so on. People who made big changes are glad they did. Incidentally, Jared introduced me to people who held an event where I spoke on leadership and the environment while cooking my famous no-packaging vegetable stew for 50 people Read the transcript.

Evelina said she'd avoid plastic for a month before she could think twice about it. Did she complain or back out? You'll hear in this episode, but the big picture is that instead of giving up, she worked harder. I've spoken to a lot of people who started from less and took on smaller projects, if anything. A lot of people talk. Evelina acted. She did a lot. And what do you know? She enjoyed acting more than most people, who seem to prefer saying how helpless they are, despite the sorrow it seems to bring them. Recall, she is a travel writer and chose not to fly. She's already done more than nearly anyone. She takes personal responsibility for what she does. But hearing her speak, you don't hear sadness or missing. I hear her creating joy, taking initiative, not waiting for others. I think the root of her activity and joy is for doing the opposite of what most people do when they face not acting by their values. Most people delay acting by making a goal of "awareness" or "being more conscious," as if reading front page headlines nearly weekly on predicted environmental disasters recurring. Anyone not living under a rock is "aware." Evelina differs because she acts. Her behavior sets her apart and replaces guilt with enthusiasm. She knows she's aware enough to act. I'm not sure how many back-to-back once-a-century droughts or coral die-offs they need to know about to break their threshold for awareness. All their delaying personal action with talk of ineffective vague awareness led me to see that behavior leads to more awareness than the other way around. In our conversation, you'll hear how people who are doing more than most sound. You won't hear us complaining. It's a delight talking to someone who acts and achieves. Plus you'll hear my punch-a-kid view that will get me in trouble one day. Read the transcript.

In our second conversation, Geoffrey and I continue to pursue his unique approach to viewing the environment. I find it fascinating because he approaches the environment from a different direction, but he arrives to the same conclusion---the need for leadership to change cultural norms. Talking here gave him the chance to explore ideas he raised in his book but didn't pursue. He wanted to do so, as I understand him. His book went in that direction, but he kept conservative. We also considered the role of a scientist in our world's situation, then spoke about science, culture, the environment, and the role of scientists. It seems to me that we have to change the goals of our system, which doesn't mean stopping capitalism. On the contrary, rules like bankruptcy and antitrust legislation fix inherent problems in capitalism of monopoly and debt turning into slavery. Markets also overproduce. We've accepted laws fixing such problems. Why not things like pollution taxes and externality taxes? We also regulate accounting. We don't allow companies to lie about their finances. What's wrong with accurate accounting, not allowing companies to unload their costs on me? Geoffrey was light on specifics on what to do. Leadership isn't just about a vision but how to implement---not just we should do X, but how to motivate people to do it. I'm a fan of basic research, science, and education, but I think we know enough. We aren't acting. Read the transcript.

Many who serve in the military become leaders in business, politics, entrepreneurship, sports, and many other places. Why? What does the military teach so well? Few people can answer better than Everett, as the head of West Point's leadership department. To say he and his department have extensive experience and knowledge leading and teaching others to lead is an understatement. You'll also find few people more calm, gracious, friendly, patient, and helpful. I consider his voice eminently helpful to environmental causes because I see the lack of effective leadership to the greatest impediment to effective environmental action. If you want to improve your leadership, this conversation will tell you all you have to do. You may have to listen many times, but you'll hear what it takes. Implementing will take a long time, but I'm not aware of shortcuts. We cover how to learn to lead and what West Point does that you can emulate. Read the transcript.

I'm posting this conversation today because Seth just launched his book, This is Marketing, already a #1 bestseller. As he points out, his marketing is close to what I call leadership: how to influence people, to discover your passion, and such. Helping people change is what this podcast is about. We recorded this conversation months ago, so you get to hear previews of his book. We talked a lot about marketing, leadership, and the environment. I saw a new side of Seth in this interview, partly because I was in his home. He met me at the train, coming from his farmers market. We talked about CSAs, volunteering, and such. I'd seen his TED videos and read a couple of his books but speaking to him about my topics revealed something special. A lot of people teach and coach leadership and management. Some are excellent at it. Few speak with his experience leading and practicing teaching leading. His experience shines through in everything he says. Listen carefully and you'll hear him several times anticipate and answer the next question I am about to ask. That anticipation comes from experience -- having answered and lived that question before. I'm touched and motivated by his sensitivity and thanks at the end. Since this conversation, I reread and rewatched his work in his voice and it came alive more. I'm more interested in persisting and persisting and persisting, working on making ideas spread, and accepting and embracing what he calls hypocrisy. These aren't new interests, but renewed from hearing his story. I want to clarify that I'm not doing this podcast to use celebrities to influence. It's to build community, as I describe after the conversation. I found him thoroughly genuine and authentic, acting out of passion and caring. I believe the conversation will help lead you to speak up about what you care about. Read the transcript.

Michael is the Executive Director of an organization that inspired me as much as any---The Story of Stuff. They continue to inspire me to think bigger and to focus on the details it would be easier to ignore but that matter. If you want to avoid plastic, waste, and other stuff, you'll find Michael's perspective and experience helpful. Having cut my waste a lot, talking to Michael leads me to cut it more---not out of guilt, shame, or other unwanted emotion but to live more by my values. Integrity. Michael shares a lot of facts, grounded in passion. Many people who have thought and acted long and deeply on environmental issues feel an initial resistance in acting more: Haven't I done as much as I can? What more can I do? If you feel that way, you'll be glad to hear Michael shares that resistance. You'll also be glad that he overcomes it, which, I hope, will help you overcome yours. We'll hear in his second conversation if the increased challenge burdened him, as many claiming "awareness" and "balance" tell themselves to expect, or enliven and liberate him. Read the transcript.   http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-stuff https://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-bottled-water https://storyofstuff.org/movies/the-story-of-solutions https://storyofstuff.org/movies https://storyofstuff.org/about    

Stewardship is Jethro's core message, as I heard---of his community, especially children in it, his country, and the natural world we share. This world is a beautiful, abundant gift we could wreck if we don't steward it as we know we can. He cares about being an effective steward---not just talk but action. Wait until you hear this Alaskan's commitment to live by this value. WARNING: if you're full of making excuses why you can't act, Jethro's no-complaining, in-service-to-others personal commitment will belie any bogus, self-serving ones. If you came here for more excuses or to reinforce complacency, you won't like Jethro's dedication and commitment. We start on education. Jethro is a school principal active beyond his own school with a national audience. He describes how school systems propagandize, which we can and must channel with intent based on our values, not just let happen. We've been friends since I did his podcast a year ago. He contacted me to do this show because of his personal and passionate challenge. People like Jethro taking initiative to lead himself and others is why I started this podcast. I hope you take initiative in your life as he did in his. I'd love to hear from you too. Read the transcript.

Imagine you were born into a slave holding family. You didn't ask to be born into it. You didn't create the system. You didn't make slavery legal. Every landowner around you would own slaves. You would inherit yours. Would you free your slaves? Have you considered how hard it would be? It's worth thinking about -- how much it would change your life. If you would, without a second thought, no matter the difficulty, what other actions you do that hurt others would you stop? If you don't stop those other things, how do you know you'd free the slaves? Read the transcript.

Tim Smit is the co-founder and Vice Chairman of the Eden Project in Cornwall, in the southwest of England. He turned a lifeless, poisoned abandoned mine into a bountiful green world-class garden people love to visit. Eden has attracted millions of visitors and billions of pounds. Tim is a consummate doer---not complainer or blamer---and an environmental campaign and entrepreneur, Tim tells how he met challenges he couldn't have foreseen. I love that Tim has no special skills. He did what needed doing to finish the project, then to take it to the next level each time. How did he learn what needed doing? By doing the steps before it. (Are you not starting because you don't know how to do some later stage? Start with what you can, get as far as you can, and solve each thing when you reach it. That's what Tim did. That's what everyone successful did to become successful.) Tim's wisdom is useful for anyone looking to make a difference. You just have to start. (Bonus points if you can tell what Tim Smit has in common with Anuta Catuna, winner of the New York City Marathon.) Read the transcript.

Chris Bailey shares how to focus and create intention---how to become more productive on the outside and live with more meaning and purpose on the inside by focusing on what is important to you. Focus isn't necessarily easy, but Chris shares from personal experience that anyone can improve theirs. He shares to slow down and focus on less in order to make a larger impact. Modern society motivates the opposite, with marketers and advertisers learning and practicing more effective ways to attract and distract you. They tell you they want to help you achieve and enjoy more, but they distract you from what Chris lives and shares. People judge us as leaders by our behavior. Focus affects how we perceive the world and how people perceive us. It's essential to being effective at leadership or any performance-based activity. Read the transcript.

I want to differentiate between telling people facts and what to do or what they should do on one side, and leading them on the other. I see a lot of people telling others what to do. Not a lot of people leading. Martin Luther King led people to choose and want to go to jail to create freedom. That's leadership. He had no authority over them. He didn't convince them to do it. He didn't change their values. He gave them a way to achieve their goals of equality and justice. Well, we moved on that path since we haven't achieved it, but he led them. While he also went to jail, I'm talking about more than leading by example. Even without going to jail, King led people. Eisenhower led D-Day though he didn't fight in it. In neither case did they just tell people what to do or just model what to do. I'm talking about connecting with people's values -- what they care about -- and motivating people by their motivations, leading them to a better life, not just compliance. Almost nobody is leading like that today. As a result, nobody is being led and we, at least in the United States and most of the world polluting the most, are keeping doing what created the problem, choosing not to act productively. Of course, many people are acting productively, but it seems to me they would have anyway. They weren't led. The overwhelming majority of people won't budge from comfort and convenience without leadership. Read the transcript.

Many people think if you just reason enough, you'll get to what's right and wrong in a way everyone will believe. This happens in the environment and many other places in life. In the environment, you may believe we should pass a law limiting emissions. When you hear another person suggest that that law might hurt jobs, you might think if you convince the other person through reason, they'll come to agree with you. Experience has shown me, and probably you, that trying to convince people tends to provoke debate. I'll show you why trying to convince others and change their behavior through reasoning usually backfires. Convincing and logical debate often leads people to reinforce their positions and dislike you. They think emotion gets in the way and confuses us from seeing clearly what's right and wrong. They don't understand reason, nor emotion, nor how the human mind works regarding judgment, which this post covers.   Read the transcript.

How do we elect people, including a United States President, who act on and steward the environment? I'm going to present a plan that I believe can win the next election that transcends the usual divisions that led to today's political situation, political misery, feelings of futility, and filth that we live in in air, land, and water, as well as our bodies. The links and images I referred to: 'Disgusting' piles of trash a fixture outside NYC's first 'green' school, residents say New York City stops sewage train to Alabama after residents complain of ‘horrific’ smell San Francisco’s crisis looks like New York’s future New York City's 1895 trash and sewage transformation [caption id="attachment_10031" align="aligncenter" width="700"] New York City before and after a sanitation transformation[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10032" align="aligncenter" width="620"] New York City 1895: children play by a dead horse[/caption] Buzzfeed videos on getting fit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wm7OtVr7yCE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wXbPghYuRs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okM3OYaBQGg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlQ8txalLYg https://youtu.be/TNQ8ZKq9QQo https://youtu.be/c8Q8AyFjWZM https://youtu.be/001Tuiv0tbY https://youtu.be/pioFto9aTEQ https://youtu.be/9tAbhNvWi90 My electric bill [caption id="attachment_10033" align="aligncenter" width="700"] My electric usage[/caption] Martha Graham's quote Here is the quote: The dancer is realistic. His craft teaches him to be. Either the foot is pointed or it is not. No amount of dreaming will point it for you. This requires discipline, not drill, not something imposed from without, but discipline imposed by you yourself upon yourself. Your goal is freedom. But freedom may only be achieved through discipline. In the studio you learn to conform, to submit yourself to the demands of your craft, so that you may finally be free. Over a year to fill one bag of garbage https://youtu.be/L0Ud7gqcIMg Feeding 50 people with no packaging at under $3 per person See the pictures of the event here. Note everyone enjoying themselves. Read the transcript.

First world people pollute hundreds of times more than third world people yet the material prosperity doesn't translate to greater happiness. Specifically, according to the National Academy of Science, "The striking thing about the happiness–income paradox is that over the long-term —usually a period of 10 y or more—happiness does not increase as a country's income rises." We could reduce our waste by 75% while improving our quality of life, yet we claim we can't do it. Yet we travel to the third world to change them! Leaders are more effective when humble than proud. Paternalism rarely helps any relationships. In this post I explore how we in the first world act with paternalism and pride to justify our extravagant, wasteful behavior, missing how we could learn from others. Read the transcript.

People ask if I think we can make it out of our environmental mess. I don't know, but I act on my values. Many examples of cultural change suggest we can make it, including Smoking Drunk driving Seat belts Leaded gas and paint The ozone layer Bike lanes in New York City My podcast guests My podcast Starting a sustainability committee and more. Read the transcript.

How we treat our bodies is how we are treating our environment. How we treat the environment is how we are treating our bodies. The fat and CO2 concentrations aren't the cause of the problem. The are the effects. The cause is our behavior. Our behavior is rooted in our beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. If we want to change the effects, we have to change the causes, which is our behavior and changing behavior is the realm of leadership. Our environmental and obesity-related behaviors, beliefs, emotions, and motivations are more similar than different, they come from similar cultural trends, they have documented problems of disease and death no matter how people change standards to accept them, there's just no changing standards on suffering and death, and the way out is through leadership. Read the transcript.

Evelina Utterdahl travels more than most. She writes travel columns. She loves travel as much as anyone, maybe more. Yet she chooses not to fly, as she wrote in Why I have chosen to travel the world without flying. If you've had trouble aligning your life with your values, you may learn from her. Part of a growing number of people who think before they fly, she chooses not to fly not out of ignorance or guilt but Experience Self-awareness Desire to learn and grow Stewardship of her environment and community Fun in other words, the important skills of leadership, teamwork, and business success. She's practicing in living by her values what many wish we could do but don't have the courage to. "Wait," you might say. "Isn't she missing out on the best parts of life? What about family and making a living? I have work. She must not. Probably a trust fund kid." On the contrary. She has the same obligations as anyone else. As you'll see, she has learned to get the value and experience of travel without the environmental costs. Fun, joy, discovery Since I avoid flying too, I finally found someone I could share our mutual fun, joy, and discovery, not the usual arguments everyone gives about how flying is necessary. This conversation shows two people sharing joy about something people considered impossible. Prepare for your beliefs to be challenged. Prepare to grow. Read the transcript.  

Bea has become a role model, maybe even a hero to me. People keep saying they're impressed with my waste. It's easy to allow your standards to slide. One problem: my fellow Americans waste more than nearly anyone in human history. I don't want to relax my cleanliness and integrity. Bea has reduced waste for longer and has spoken more about it. She knows what works, what doesn't, how to express it, and more. Most of all, she enjoys it. Like anyone, she started with doubt and incredulity. She worked through the challenges, which shows that you can too. In our conversation she shares what works, how to start, how to face and overcome challenges, and, most of all, how to enjoy living by your values. As with everyone who takes on the difficult challenge of choosing between a deep value and comfort and convenience, the choice improved her life. You will find your life improves the same. Listening to Bea will get you started. Read the transcript.

Why do I think about the United States Constitution when my pressure cooker finishes cooking? Or when I leave a room? The U.S. Constitution guides my environmental behavior and has since I learned it in elementary school. Today is U.S. Constitution Day since today in 1787 the delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia and that's why today I'm sharing why I love the document, live by it, and think about it daily---specifically Article VI, paragraph 2, which I read and talk about in today's post: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Neither the environment nor your life responds to your awareness. They respond to your behavior. People who speak the truth say, "I'm telling the truth." People who lie say the same thing. People who are aware say they are aware. People who are unaware say the same thing too. Only we're all unaware of what we're unaware of. Saying we're aware only reveals our ignorance of our unawareness. That's pride. If you want to improve the environment or your life, claiming awareness may sound like progress and may get you social approval, but in more cases it stops people from acting. What works? Humility. Viewing action as skills that you develop and practice. How do you develop skills? Practice, practice, practice. The results? Greatness, authenticity, genuine self-expression, and all the other results of mastery, even from environmental skills. Want results? Avoid seeing awareness as a goal. Act. Do. Develop skills.

Geoffrey West's work beautifully and elegantly ties biology to how we interact with our environment. Amazingly, his unique views lead to the same conclusions as mine, though coming from totally unrelated directions. You've never seen work like his. If you love nature and science, you'll love Geoffrey's approach. You'll see life and death in new ways. I hope you'll also catch my enthusiasm for his view and a chemistry in our conversation, which I see stemming from the passion and view of the world physicists have that drew me to the field and that tell us new, important things. I kept the conversation mostly intact since if you like nature, you'll appreciate his views. If so, I urge you to stick through to the end, where his views converge with mine. Read the transcript.

Alisa shares what happens behind the scenes to everyone, including world-ranked coaches and speakers. Listening to a podcast with leadership in the title means you've probably read many gurus' books and watched their videos, which are all edited and produced to make them look perfect. We know they aren't perfect. Alisa is humble, open, and generous enough to share what few top leaders do. I bet you'll find her reactions very similar to yours, but I bet also with key differences. Those differences in how she handles not meeting her expectations are what put her on those world rankings. Read the transcript.

Ben Feder is a high level executive who realized he was losing the things that were important to him due to his pursuit of success -- until then defined by others' values. We talk about him taking a year sabbatical with his whole family in Africa, Asia, and Bali, and how it transformed his life and his family. I share how much I’m enjoying his book and how even though he wrote it for his family, its being personal makes it more universal. If you've thought about an extended retreat, Ben's insight and experience will help you with your vision. Read the transcript.

I met Jonathan at the World Science Festival and recorded a podcast interview of him that changed my approach to leadership—in principle and in practice. I seek more opposing views. I listen more. I look to learn their intent and the beliefs and values motivating that intent. I challenge myself more. As he colorfully said to me: We are going through an extraordinary time in which social media and other recent changes are turning us all into self-righteous jerks. Our combined jerkitude threatens to destroy society. We all have to turn it down, be more humble. We don't know the truth. We don't have privileged access to the truth and we have to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Read the transcript.

Going car-free is liberating. Daniel got rid of a car! He chose to from Texas! And he thanks me for inspiring him. Would you think losing a car would cripple your life? Listen on to hear how it brought him joy and happiness. Yes, that's right. Getting rid of what Americans associate with freedom and independence brought him more freedom and independence. Daniel discusses enjoying not having a car. Being able to ride his bike everywhere has changed his perspectives in ways he couldn't have predicted. We also discuss the challenges including the weather and if curses me during these times of struggle. You’ll also hear how Daniel uses my book to teach peer leaders in his mastermind groups on perspective and leadership. Read the transcript.

Happier Now. Nataly starts by sharing her personal story of her family escaping Russia to America, navigating life with immigrant parents. She shares some vulnerable and raw experiences. Even so, she shares feeling blessed to be living in Detroit projects. Listen for why. She talks about taking many wrong turns, decades chasing happiness through achievements and success, trying to hide from feelings of pain, sadness, or stress. She hit a wall, but eventually discovered happiness here and now, not always having to strive, is the key. Nataly shares her 5 core happier skills that you can implement now. They're free on her page, with videos, and comprehensively in her book Happier Now. When talking about her challenge we talk about making it fun for her family. Read the transcript.

I met Andrew Revkin through the World Science Festival this year, then recorded at my visited me in my New York apartment. I wish I could have brought you the whole conversation. You get the highlights. We covered global warming, pollution, history, relevant people, and why he is hopeful, even seeing the challenges he sees from the vantage point of National Geographic and the New York Times. Andrew shares the decades work he’s done on these issues. He reinforces the importance of action, not just talking, He takes the challenge seriously, even -- gasp -- flying less, which most people consider impossible. Want to expand your horizons? Listen to hear how a guy who has already done a lot takes on doing more -- to improve his life. Read the transcript.

People seem impressed when people don't pollute. They say, "That's so good of you!" If not polluting is good, doesn't that mean polluting is normal? I don't think we should see not polluting as special. Let's view it as normal. Here's the Chris Rock routine I mentioned (not even close to safe for work): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0B_ekSrsEk

Sometimes what looks like a hurdle activates your team. Scott details how he launched his book---last I checked at 96% 5-star reviews. He tells it from the trenches, so if you lead, hope to lead, or want to write a book, you’ll want to tune into this episode. We also go into his challenge of saving electricity. He found that he was probably the biggest offender in the house. So he had to be humble first to lead by example. He didn't make excuses. What great leaders do? Read the transcript.

Jared and I have deep, engaging conversations, starting from before my appearances on his podcast a year before we recorded this one. You’ll hear we quickly get deep on this one. It follows an earlier conversation a topic that many won't talk about or listen on, but that we consider essential, at least to talk about. We discuss resources per person as our populations grow. Some societies controlled their population for thousands of years in concert with their available resources. I wonder how. What mechanisms did they use, since that duration suggests it wasn't by luck. If you know, please let me know. What challenge will Jared take on? I think you’ll really enjoy this semi-controversial conversation between the two of us. Read the transcript.

(Spoiler alert: Daniel takes on the biggest challenge so far. You could argue his circumstances make it easier than it sounds, but he's coming from Texas!) Leadership education and practice can begin in school. Sadly, in most systems it doesn't. My K-12, college, and graduate school nearly completely lacked training in the social and emotional skills of leadership, and I went to some of the world's great schools. That's why I wish the world had more Daniel Bauers. Beyond being a successful leader as a principal, he is also helping other principals lead more effectively too. He’s promoting servant leadership and leading by example within and outside educational bureaucracies. He doesn't have to. Most of my teachers and principals were satisfied to do their best in their classrooms and schools. Leaders create movements, instigate conversations, and influence systems. Daniel and I became friends before this conversation and seeing the challenges he takes on regularly, I’m not surprised by Daniel's commitment here. Listen and consider what you're capable of. Read the transcript.

Jordan and I got to be friends over a decade ago before he moved to California. We'd get burritos around the corner from my place. In the meantime we toured North Korea not once but twice together and I've seen him in Los Angeles. This time I hosted him and his wife for my famous no-packaging vegetable stew.You get to hear from him how it tasted (spoiler alert: he says it tastes great). He shared the importance of high-level coaching. Listening to Jordan on the Jordan Harbinger show, it's easy to think he was born with the skills of one of today's great interviewers. He's humble enough to share what I think we all need reminding of---that help from people with more skills and experience helps. In other words, he got coaching and a lot of it. He also mentions practice and preparing more than necessary. Speaking of his practice and results in his life, listen to my take of his skills in action in my blog post on an interview with him and his wife, Jordan Harbinger and how rehearsal improves spontaneity and authenticity. He and his wife consider themselves environmentally aware and conscious, but, as with nearly everyone, he shares that he may waste water showering and shaving. He doesn't know the answer, which he incorporates into his challenge. He openly shares what he doesn't know and potential flaws---what most of us hide. Any wonder why he emerged as a leader among leaders? Noticing these subtle things and making ourselves conscious of what we normally suppress tells us what to focus on to improve by our standards. Read the transcript.

Even leaders need to remember to check-in and communicate with their closest friends. In RJ's third conversation here, he shares what integrity, listening, and communication mean for leaders. He acts with these skills in his professional and personal life. From running mentorship camps to sticking to his values on something so seemingly small as a disposable cup at a bus station, RJ puts actions behind his words. Do you think it's coincidence that someone who acts on details also succeeds at such a global level? I don't, and I suggest that if you pay attention to such detail and act on it then you will help yourself more than anyone else and more than you expect. Check out www.leadpalestine.com to learn more about his work, watch his TEDx talk, and listen to this interview to hear how you can start with simple actions to make big impact.

Which is more common---an athlete becoming a leading political figure, or a political figure becoming an athlete? Talking to Marquis Flowers of the New England Patriots, reinforces that leadership lessons from sports stars are some are some of the best I hear. Many athletes become leaders in business, politics, and so on, but the reverse never happens. The difference tells me that sports teaches skills useful and essential to leadership. Marquis's conversation clearly shows the results. He shares about teamwork, commitment, and handling highs and lows of winning, losing, and struggling through long periods where you're working as hard as you can and see no light at the end of tunnel. I coach c-suite leaders of publicly traded companies and entrepreneurs who have founded and sold multiple businesses. This 26-year-old young man shows experience and wisdom in personal leadership that matches any of them. How long could you work at the peak of your ability---working as hard as you can, physically and emotionally exhausting yourself to your limit as often as you can---without hope of recognition or reward? Don't think of the exhaustion. Exhaustion feels great. Think of starting when you're tired. What motivates you internally when you have no external incentive? What do you have to learn about yourself? What can you create in your social and physical environment, your beliefs, and your behavior to push yourself harder than most people push themselves at all when your exhausted? How do you create the internal results of feeling glory, joy, or whatever rewarding when it's dark out and nobody else you know is trying that hard? Because that's how you get to the Super Bowl. Is it worth it? It is if you care. There's only one path to it, and it takes work. Whether you play football or not, you have a Super Bowl---something you care about that you could devote your life to. Is it your kids' success? Business success? Your marriage? Your sport? Your hobby? What are you capable of that you don't know yet? As Marquis puts it, what will get you through when that 30 minute task suddenly takes 3 hours? Marquis was a Super Bowl star-to-be who struggled for years in the doldrums of a losing team. Are you in doldrums? What can you do to reach your Super Bowl? If your leadership training or life experience doesn't include serious competition, where winning and losing meant something big to you and drove you to discover more about yourself, results like Marquis's tells me you could benefit from it. Does that sound like skills, experiences, and beliefs useful for environmental work? Read the transcript.

Scott takes on a three-part challenge in this episode . . in the middle of a book launch! We discuss how Scott is bringing his experience running multibillion dollar companies within Proctor and Gamble to helping people make sense of how they see work . . . and to create meaning and purpose in a world that doesn't do it for them any more. We discuss the life of a leader, speaker, and leadership speaker---what I was new to when we spoke (and that he's helped me with before and since). He reiterates one of the major themes emerging from nearly every effective leader on this podcast---that effective leaders focus on the other person. In his case, he focuses on helping others help others. I'll put to you, the reader: How often when you act for your environmental values are you doing it to help others? How often when you act against your environmental values are you putting your interests first? What do effective leaders do? I’m interested to see how Scott holds up on his 3 part challenge while promoting his book. Stay tuned. Read the transcript.

070: Seth Godin: a teaser

August 2, 2018

This short recording is a teaser for my full interview with Seth Godin, who needs no introduction. It begins and ends with messages from Seth, sandwiching my top-level impressions from meeting with him at his home and talking at length. He talks about his new book, This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See, in our conversation so the full recording will come out when the book does, in November. I prepared by reading Linchpin and Purple Cow, and watching hours of his video and reading dozens maybe hundreds of his blog posts. Then since talking to him, I've reread, rewatched, and read Tribes in his voice, and his work came alive beyond my expectations. Because of hearing him speak on a topic I've spoken to others on so much, I found he answered in unique ways, at least ways I hadn't heard before. Several times I thought he was off track but as he clarified, I realized he was steps ahead of others, anticipating and staving off arguments and excuses. I learned a lot about leadership and the environment---my topic. If you haven't heard Seth on the environment, you'll love his application of marketing and leadership to it in the full conversation. You'll learn about leadership, marketing, education, personal growth, and all the things you expect from Seth, but from a new perspective. Some things I disagreed with or thought he missed, so I'm not blanket or blindly praising him. He and I connected when he wrote a blurb for my book and he was generous enough to meet me at his home. He met my train on his way back from his farmers market with two full bags of vegetables. We spoke about volunteering, CSAs, and salt-of-the-earth, community supporting things. I saw they letters and cards of gratitude from people he's helped and how touching and heartfelt they are. Catch you in November for inside scoops of Seth's next book, This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See.

2 minutes and 53 seconds to show you the trends people are following back to what used to be normal and healthy. Fight against clean and pure all you want. You'll follow eventually. Why not start now and lead?

Dorie shares about the six-month habit she committed to---one of the longest of any guest. Wait, can you just decide one day to start or stop a habit? Isn't that impossible? Listen to Dorie's results. She's a master of habits: how to create them, start them, and teach others to do so. She shares how she works. With some guests you feel like they're always conscious of the microphone. Not Dorie. Most of us are so genuine with friends and family. I think we all wish we could stay that way in public, without pretense or affectation. We have a lot of mutual friends. Every one of them will tell you that she's incredibly open, sharing about herself. She shares how she achieves this personal mastery, methodically and effectively. This conversation is more about personal leadership, which environmental action needs, if you ask me. Few people who work on the environment show it. We met at the café of her commitment so you'll hear we're on the street. I liked the informality. Read the transcript.

Tensie and I talked about wine, creating and changing habits, and eating bugs, which happens when you work with the Rainforest Alliance. We also talk about dealing with people when you change, influencing them, and perspectives that make these things work. The people she influences run multi-billion dollar companies. Tensie described and lives the point of this podcast: a lifetime of acting on your values, what you care about, not imposing on others, and having fun. I didn't hear a whisper of guilt, blame, doom, gloom, helplessness, despair, or what many people associate with acting on the environment. I talk to a lot of people who say that they're doing all they can for the environment---usually people still with a lot of easy changes they'd probably like once they did them. Despite all she's done, she found something she could work on. However modest, it didn't stop anything else. On the contrary, it led to more---more self-awareness, fun, interacting with others, and leading others. When you expect the change to improve your life, you find more. Why wouldn't you, as Tensie did? Read the transcript.

This podcast continues to break ground. Jeff Brown returns for an unprecedented 4th time. We dive deeper into his work with his home owners association (HOA)---how he created a team of people from his community, how he's making things happen, and his results. We talk about how it need only take a simple decision, a few conversations, and some work---but work you enjoy that creates community---to change this world. Jeff's success inspired me to talk to my co-op board to start creating a sustainability committee. I hope it inspires you too. Read the transcript.

John Lee Dumas took on one of the biggest and longest-term commitment of any guest. Six months in and he's only half through it. He also inspired me back as much as any guest, which is probably related---not to think about things or talk, but to action. As with all environmental action, I expect I'll enjoy it after the initial challenge. I like running as I always have, so trying running how I talk about with him will challenge me. You'll hear how his challenge become something he Enjoys Shares with his family Shares with his community Leads others with, who also enjoy and share it. Learns from Will augment Do you think acting on the environment is a distraction? That it keeps you from getting ahead? That it's dirty? I just checked John's site. Last month, June 2018, he made $165,644. That's a typical month. He can pay people to pick up garbage. Yet he enjoys doing it. He shares it. Others follow him. Maybe acting on his values is what led him to success like that. Read the transcript.

Does sacrificing something you love mean a worse life? Balint shares his enthusiasm to experiment and find new recipes, tastes and experiences---I would say not despite but because of his choice to act on his values. What you value is better for you.. In his words: The world is more colorful. His experience shows the difference to your life between talking about acting and acting (not to mention that talking about environmental change doesn't change the environment, and most people stop at talking). Creating momentum toward goals we care about leads to support from others and enthusiasm and joy in yourself. Will Balint continue and augment his commitment? What’s next for him and his challenges? Listen. Read the transcript.

I recorded this episode to follow up my blog post, also titled Technology won’t solve environmental issues and you know it. This podcast covers a few more angles, but click there if you like a written version.

Right off the bat you can hear my joy to hear how composting has changed Robbie’s life. I used to see composting as an odd thing that I probably should do but didn't know how so didn't. I think most people see it that way, especially if they don't have gardens. In this episode Robbie shares about composting and giving slop for pig feed. He talks about how he loves the idea that what would be trash goes instead into the soil. His enthusiasm to act more is apparent, but I want to make sure he acts on his values---what he cares about, which leadership concerns, not just complying with something I suggest, which is more the domain of management. Leadership leads people to do more because they want to. Seeking compliance based on authority often provokes resistance---the opposite of leadership. Consistent change, even if small at first, can create big improvements. What big changes will come up? What’s next for Robbie? Listen. Read the transcript.

Michael's book tour was taking him to China, up and down the U.S. east coast, and across the country, but he kept at his commitment. Tell me if you don't hear him smiling in talking about it. He said it was easy, but many people considering the same action put it off. His book covers systemic change, focusing on the role of business. I find that his personal action brings in a missing piece of what you can do here and now. Partly acting here and now achieves something, but individual actions don't achieve that much, as he points out and we all know. More importantly, acting here and now leads to acting on bigger, more effective things. People who don't start little things never reach big, effective things. People who do, do. Maybe most of all, acting on your values on whatever scale improves your life. When the action take no time or other resources and make you smile, why not? Read the transcript.

Tensie is helping unravel my preconceived notions of academics focusing more on facts than action. Maybe because she was President of the Rainforest Alliance. Maybe because I met her when she brought the U.N. Secretary General to NYU. You'll hear other global organizations and people she's influenced, led, and collaborated with in a remarkable and effective career so far. She brings a new perspective on leading organizations to this podcast, as I've mostly focused on leading people. She shares stories that massive change is possible. She lived it. She talks experience, not just theory. She also shares practical advice and histories of what worked and what takes more patience since it's not easy. Always dealing with people. Some points you'll hear from her stories: Effective leadership is rarely, if ever, about being right. Empathy helps lead people and organizations. You have to understand organizations as you do people to lead them. It's hard in practice---emotionally, internally. Maintaining integrity while empathizing with people doing things you disagree with. But if you want change, being effective is more important than venting. A younger, angrier, less skilled me would only think to protest organizations I disagreed with. As she shares, confrontation is still important, but also to engage and lead. Hard work is exciting. Read the transcript.

Balint took on one of the bigger challenges on this podcast---one that nearly everyone knows the value of, many mean to do, but few do. He cut his beef intake from almost daily to once a month. How did he do it? How did his body react? His relationships? His health? Would he do it again? He shares how he became more aware of the different forms of protein and how his eyes and palate opened up to new tastes and dishes. He shared how it affected his relationship with his girlfriend. Most people I talk to know beef as one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, resource depletion, and other environmental effect. Balint shares some numbers he's long known but didn't act on, such as how much water beef production takes, which caught me off guard. Still, his main thrust is not water use or gas emissions but his taste, health, and joy. Read the transcript.

David and I talked about the ocean, water, and sailing in this conversation for a couple reasons. For one thing, we find open water beautiful. For another, he helped spark my interest in learning to sail as a way to cross oceans without burning fossil fuels on the scale that flying does. Last time we spoke he mentioned an event in Europe next summer that gave me a deadline to take sailing lessons, which I did. He grew up sailing, which led us to talk about it. For another, his challenge was to eat less fish and to take more care about where the fish came from. Most guests find their challenges easier than they expected, leading them to wish they'd done it earlier, or, if challenging, a rewarding challenge that enriched their lives. David was no exception. Hear how he improved his life and lowered his environmental impact at once. Also hear him talking about halyards and other sailing talk. Read the transcript.

What happens when you start with your passion and what you care about? Robbie Samuels is also a podcaster who has created great relationships through his show. He shares how he learned. He sounds like a natural, but he didn't start that way. In this episode we discuss the value of the skill of creating meaningful conversations with influencers. We talk about relationship building skills, which Robbie builds his podcast and business on. We then discuss the challenges and joys of composting and how Robbie has brought into his household. Where many people see problems and give up, Robbie sees potential to build relationships. Listen to how much he laughs. Leaders don't see other people as problems. Robbie's "Ten Tips for Conference Connections" is www.robbiesamuels.com/LatE. His social links: www.twitter.com/robbiesamuels www.facebook.com/robbiesamuelspage www.linkedin.com/in/robbiesamuels Read the transcript.

Can you enjoy leading a movement to change a neighborhood? In this episode we dive deeper into Jeff's experience leading the charge to bring recycling amenities to his housing association. His voice reveals and exudes the emotional reward the challenge creates for him and how he’s creating relationships with his community. I don't think there's any question that this activity is not the end but the start -- of action, connection, and fun. As a leadership author, I can't help but repeat that Jeff has reviewed hundreds of leadership books. He could have taken this leadership role at any time, but books about leadership don't develop leadership skills, experience does, which is why my book and podcast teach leadership experientially. Read the transcript.

Below is the audio from Leadership and the Environment's first expert panel, held April 3, 2018. For context, here is the announcement, followed by the recording. Click here to read the transcript. Do you care about the environment? Do you care about leading? The Leadership and the Environment podcast NYU’s School of Liberal Studies invite you to listen in our first ever Panel of Leadership and Environment Experts which was held on Tuesday, April 3rd at the NYU Silver Building Featuring  Vincent Stanley Vincent, co-author with Yvon Chouinard of The Responsible Company, has been with Patagonia since its beginning in 1973, including executive roles as head of sales or marketing. Informally, he is Patagonia’s chief storyteller. He helped develop the Footprint Chronicles, the company’s interactive website that outlines the social and environmental impact of its products; the Common Threads Partnership; and Patagonia Books. He serves as the company’s Director, Patagonia Philosophy, and is a visiting fellow at the Yale School of Management. He is also a poet whose work has appeared in Best American Poetry.  Robin Nagle Robin’s book, Picking Up, is an ethnography of New York City’s Department of Sanitation based on a decade of work with the Department, including working as a uniformed sanitation worker. She is also a clinical professor of anthropology and environmental studies in NYU’s School of Liberal Studies, with research in the new interdisciplinary field of discard studies. She considers the category of material culture known generically as waste, with a specific emphasis on the infrastructures and organizational demands that municipal garbage imposes on urban areas. Since 2006 she has been the DSNY’s anthropologist-in-residence, an unsalaried position structured around several projects. Her TED talk gives a quick overview of and more detail about her work.  RJ Khalaf RJ is a senior at New York University pursuing a degree in Global Liberal Studies with a concentration in Politics, Rights, and Development and a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. Recently named one of NYU’s most influential students by Washington Square News, he is the President of the NYU Muslim Students Association and is a Dalai Lama Fellow. RJ is the founder and director of LEAD Palestine, an organization that aims to inspire, motivate, and empower the next generation of Palestine’s youth through a hands-on and fun leadership-based summer camp.  Joshua Spodek Joshua PhD MBA, bestselling author of Leadership Step by Step and host of the award-winning Leadership and the Environment podcast, is an adjunct professor at NYU, leadership coach and workshop leader for Columbia Business School, columnist for Inc., and founder of SpodekAcademy.com.

Balint Horvath and I are physicists who went into business and podcast---a rare combination. I think the connection helps make this conversation inspire. That's the goal. I originally appeared on his podcast, where we connected. His love for environment and interviewing skill brought out mine last summer, when this podcast was taking shape in my mind. He played a big role in Leadership and the Environment forming and my taking the necessary concrete steps to implement it. We talk about his podcast and how he separates entrepreneurship and academia. We discuss how he views environment and leadership as related and important. This was this podcast's first recording, which for various reasons emerged from the editing cycle later, so we dive into what my mission and goal is with this show and why creating these challenges are there to change the world. Listen to hear Balint's challenge, which many listeners think about, and why he enjoys it. I think you’ll enjoy it too. Read the transcript.

David Burkus returns to share his cold shower challenge. He's a leadership expert and shares great insight, especially about networking and tolerance. There's a lot to learn from him. To be candid, in contrast to my usual enthusiasm at a guest's actions, you'll hear a failure of leadership on my part. I believe effective leadership is based on learning the motivations and cares of the other person and connecting them to the task, which imbues the task with meaning for them. I don't think I did that with David. It sounds to me like he did something out of motivation for me as a friend since he heard me respond positively to cold showers. The result, to my ears, is that he sounds more like he's complying than acting on his values. The result as I see it in this case is compliance without passion or desire to do more. I would say that my interaction with David shows how you can get close to effective leadership and show many signs of it without achieving it. I didn't pick up on it while talking with him, only after. I think there's as much leadership to learn from this interaction as any other. I spoke to David about it. He disagrees, pointing out: Effective leadership can not only be about acting on values you’ve already internalized. I believe pro social motivations are more powerful than purely internal drives…and ultimately they give me more hope. So maybe I'm working from too narrow a view of leadership or being overly dramatic. I'm here in part to learn and grow myself. Read the transcript.

I recorded this video showing a year's worth of garbage. My point is to show you it's possible. Many people have asked me how. My answers never seem to satisfy them. If you care enough to try, I recommend you try. You're not going to die. Humans have lived for hundreds of thousands of years without food packaging and our modern world makes it as easy as ever to live without food packaging. You'll figure out how to do it, which will answer all your questions on how to do it for yourself. Though I started to live by my values, I continue mostly because It's delicious It costs less It saves time It's more convenient It's more social---I share more meals with friends, colleagues, and family It's more social---I meet the farmers and visit the farm that grow most of my vegetables I eat more volume of food than ever So I'm more satisfied than ever My abs are more defined than ever In other words, by my values, I eat better than ever. Read the transcript.

Can a small change lead a community? Our conversation with Jeff Brown shows how a small action on what you care about can inspire and lead a community. Even small actions, when based on your values---what you care about---can make big differences because humans are social and share many values---for example, clean air and water. Helping his neighborhood recycle acts on those shared values. Jeff likes business ideas and leadership---enough to start a podcast on it. You can hear the potential he anticipates in being a leader to help people around him. Acting on the environment starts the process. Helping others and himself make it more meaningful, at least as I hear it. Jeff shows that simple beginnings, acting on your values, can change your life, your town, and the world. Read the transcript.

For such a successful man, Vincent Stanley is as down to earth as they come. He returns to discuss his experience disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with his values, especially his words. People seem to believe that technology saves time or gives us attention despite experience, research, and headlines to the contrary. Vincent shares that disconnecting actually created more time for him. He felt less consumed and the need to be doing multiple things at one time truly diminished. We all know it will happen. The experience of doing it helps more than talking or reading about it. Vincent says that the experience of this challenge was “wonderful” -- something he wanted to do before we met because this is what connects with his values. Isn’t it funny how “disconnecting” allows us to “connect? We dive deeper in the reasons behind Patagonia suing the government, why it was natural and normal for them, not PR. We discuss how doing something that stands true to your values and spending time and resources there is much more valuable than plastering your images everywhere. Does Vincent take on a second challenge? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how he’s viewed his first challenge and how he’s looking to level that up. (Note since I hosted him at my place, there's background noise of Manhattan.) Read the transcript.

In our first conversation, David and I talk mostly about creating a work of enduring value. As David says, the way to keep you book so high up on Amazon is by writing a great book. If you want your work to endure and for people to follow, creating quality work is how to do it. David shares about his years of developing, rewriting, and creation, as opposed to get-rich-quick marketing so prevalent today. Without pretense or affectation, we bring in historical masters like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Mozart. Want to be a great leader? You can learn from present-day and historical masters. On the environment, he shares a common issue---that when you've already changed a lot to live by your values, it can feel harder to find new things. Many Americans compare themselves to other Americans, see themselves polluting relatively less, and let go of their values. Since Americans pollute more than nearly any of the billions who have lived since the dawn of humanity, that's about the lowest bar you could use for your integrity. So if you feel like you have everything covered, listen to David, his challenge, and how he grew from it in conversation 2 to come. Read the transcript.

This episode contains a lot of laughter. It's about making behaviors conscious. Many people tell me how hard they envision living by their values. They think you have to prepare with planning, analysis, and so on. Anisa's experience suggests the opposite: starting and acting leads you to figure things out. As she points out, if you try to solve everything, you'll never start. If you start, you'll find you can solve more and more things. Hear from Anisa how much easier changing is when you just start. Read the transcript.

At last I spoke to someone with a systems perspective! I enjoyed the conversation with a fellow academic who cares beyond the classroom. Michael spoke about how many areas we could work in, not to say it's too much but that you can find a place to contribute. Many people wish there was a silver bullet. As far as I know there isn't one. His about-to-launch book, Can Business Save the Earth, treats action on the environment systemically, a perspective I consider essential for environmental leadership. What may seem initially overwhelming doesn't end up that way when you see the big picture, which is what his book covers, and when you find a place to act. Plus, his personal challenge is one a lot of people think about doing but don't, so if you've thought of changing your diet, I recommend listening to Michael's challenge. Read the transcript.

Why do people who haven't tried it call not flying impossible, yet it was just as challenging for me and I find it one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Being in a system without realizing it makes it easy to confuse that system's values with your own or with absolute reality. What looks impossible is just impossible within that system. To change, it's easier to exit the system first so you don't feel constrained by its constraints. We were born to some strong systems that make not flying look impossible but not flying is simple. You're probably not flying right now. I present a couple cases---one simple, the other complex and expensive---that illustrate what happens when you're trapped in a system versus when you free yourself from it. Here are some links about General Paul Van Riper and the Millennium Challenge 2002 Wikipedia on Paul Van Riper War game was fixed to ensure American victory, claims general in the Guardian Interview with Frontline Interview with Nova Wikipedia on the Millennium Challenge Read the transcript.

Anisa is another counterexample to believing that working on the environment distracts from getting ahead. She rose to become the director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council despite being early in her career. Though she was doing fine in architecture, she responded to the call for help people and communities in New Orleans after hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Doing what people cared about helped others and led her to positions to help more people, leading her to Washington, DC and being named one of the Most Powerful Women in Sustainability. Still friendly and humble, she shared her environmental values, including where she felt she wasn't living up to them---what many people hide. Then she chose to act on them, recognizing the difficulty. I see her as a role model for improving one's leadership through self-awareness and action. Read the transcript.

Jeff has interviewed authors of leadership books since before I started writing mine. I enjoyed being a guest on his podcast. This time he's on mine, and it's a landmark event, as the next section describes. If you're here for leadership, Jeff is a great example of turning an interest into becoming an important person in a field. If you're here for environmental leadership, listen for Jeff's project---one of the biggest of any guest so far in terms of leading himself and others. I'll let you listen to find out the details, but I'll mention that he takes a leadership role in his community to help people achieve something they all want but no one else has done. Later episodes will reveal how his project goes, but already you can hear his interest in acting over just waiting. Why I'm proud I note that Jeff has read hundreds of leadership books and spoken to hundreds of leadership authors. My book, Leadership Step by Step, and this podcast are the first that led Jeff to lead---not just to talk, read, or write about leadership but to act. Read the transcript.

21 million books sold among 60 titles---including one I remember from my mom's shelf as long as I can remember---a lifetime of research, speaking, and consulting, and more. Since I don't often get to speak with people who have achieved so much, I was torn between acting like a fan and speaking to him like a regular guy. I hope I balanced them by sharing my One Minute Manager story at the beginning, then talking servant leadership. Ken just released his latest book, Servant Leadership in Action, compiling lessons from top leadership thinkers and writers. He spoke about the book, the people in it, and their stories. More than one has been on this podcast, so click the link to find which. Ken shares increasingly valuable wisdom as the podcast goes on, so I recommend listening to the end. There is no substitute for experience (why I teach experientially) and Ken has more than nearly anyone. Read the transcript.

This morning I volunteered to pick up trash along the Hudson River. The experience included baby geese, a crab, lots of plastic and waste, and people not connecting their behavior with all this garbage.

David has helped me many times. I felt honored to host him and, I hope, help start his environmental legacy. We covered two main things. First, his new book, Friend of a Friend, on networking. His background as a professor and practitioner means he approaches networking systematically and practically, so beyond learning to network more effectively, you understand networking as a process. Second, his environmental commitment. I loved his choice for reasons you'll hear when you listen. I believe it will improve his life beyond just living by his environmental values. David is direct, knowledgeable, experienced, and plain-spoken. Enjoy! Read the transcript.

This episode asks some personal questions that are challenging if you haven't thought them through enough to act on them. I think they'll help you live by your values if you do. Which is easier, for a slave owner to free his or her slaves or for you to stop using disposable water bottles and food packaging, flying around the world, turning down the thermostat and wearing a sweater in the winter, and so on? If you had slaves, would you free them? I think most people would say it's a lot easier to avoid plastic than to free slaves, but they would also say they would free their slaves -- at least when no one can check. But they don't act environmentally. If you believe you would make the difficult choices hypothetically, will you also make the easier choices here and now? Read the transcript.

Vincent shares several stories of Patagonia growing from a few dedicated outdoors people to discovering business growth, the usual ways businesses abandon values besides profit, and their not accepting that abdication of responsibility. The company grew financially, its employees grew emotionally and socially, and its community grew numerically. If you think you're alone in wanting to act, Vincent and Patagonia go farther. Vincent shares how the company made difficult decisions to protect the environment, its employees, its suppliers, their employees, and so on---decisions most people think would hurt companies financially---but didn't. As someone who dislikes many major corporations for what many consider standard business practices, I find in Patagonia and its decision-makers role models we can learn from. Having been there from nearly the start, Vincent gives an inside view. His personal challenge also differs from many others', but I expect you'll like it. Mechanically simple, I bet he'll find it insidiously difficult and incredibly rewarding. Read the transcript.

RJ and I talk about the early success of LEAD Palestine, the organization he began to teach leadership to youths that most of the world abandoned in Palestine. Where their environment made it natural to respond with hopelessness and what comes from it---desperation to the point of aspiring to blow oneself up---RJ is bringing social and emotional development to create hope themselves. They happen to have been born into a world where leadership meant in politics authoritarianism and militarism, which bled into personal relationships. Nobody taught alternatives and those who acted on those models succeeded, however much at others' costs. RJ is teaching an effective style of leadership built on personal skill. I can't help but imagine a lot of it came from my class, though, obviously he deserves the overwhelming credit for implementing it. Though the class he took with me was social entrepreneurship, that semester, several students showed great interest and initiative and I'd stay after class to teach and coach leadership exercises, sometimes for hours. Among those students, RJ stood out. I also ask him about his personal role as a student barely older than the people he's helping, as well as his personal challenge of avoiding plastic bottles. For a self-aware, thoughtful, active leader, the modest personal challenge increased his mindfulness, activity, awareness at no cost in time, money, or other resource. Read the transcript.

Do you care about the environment? Do you care about leading? The Leadership and the Environment podcast NYU's School of Liberal Studies invite you to improve both at a Panel of Leadership and Environment Experts Tuesday, April 3, 6pm – 8pm NYU Silver Building, 100 Washington Sq E (at Washington Sq N), room 405 Free, register here Featuring  Vincent Stanley Vincent, co-author with Yvon Chouinard of The Responsible Company, has been with Patagonia since its beginning in 1973, including executive roles as head of sales or marketing. Informally, he is Patagonia’s chief storyteller. He helped develop the Footprint Chronicles, the company’s interactive website that outlines the social and environmental impact of its products; the Common Threads Partnership; and Patagonia Books. He serves as the company’s Director, Patagonia Philosophy, and is a visiting fellow at the Yale School of Management. He is also a poet whose work has appeared in Best American Poetry.  Robin Nagle Robin's book, Picking Up, is an ethnography of New York City’s Department of Sanitation based on a decade of work with the Department, including working as a uniformed sanitation worker. She is also a clinical professor of anthropology and environmental studies in NYU’s School of Liberal Studies, with research in the new interdisciplinary field of discard studies. She considers the category of material culture known generically as waste, with a specific emphasis on the infrastructures and organizational demands that municipal garbage imposes on urban areas. Since 2006 she has been the DSNY’s anthropologist-in-residence, an unsalaried position structured around several projects. Her TED talk gives a quick overview of and more detail about her work.  RJ Khalaf RJ is a senior at New York University pursuing a degree in Global Liberal Studies with a concentration in Politics, Rights, and Development and a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. Recently named one of NYU's most influential students by Washington Square News, he is the President of the NYU Muslim Students Association and is a Dalai Lama Fellow. RJ is the founder and director of LEAD Palestine, an organization that aims to inspire, motivate, and empower the next generation of Palestine's youth through a hands-on and fun leadership-based summer camp.  Joshua Spodek Joshua PhD MBA, bestselling author of Leadership Step by Step and host of the award-winning Leadership and the Environment podcast, is an adjunct professor at NYU, leadership coach and workshop leader for Columbia Business School, columnist for Inc., and founder of SpodekAcademy.com. Free, register here

I created this podcast to bring leadership to environmental action. Who leads? As much as I value science and education, scientists and educators rarely lead effectively. We've mistakenly looked to them for leadership for too long. For science and facts, I see looking to them, but motivation? I don't see it. Besides, the science is overwhelming and everyone knows enough facts. Even if you doubt global warming, you don't want mercury in your fish or litter on the beach. How about a man who got over 100 million people to stand and cheer, winning the Super Bowl? Today's episode features Philadelphia Eagle #50 Bryan Braman, about to block a punt in this picture. I predict you'll find yourself happily surprised at how much he cares and acts environmentally---to say nothing of his humility and dedication to give his all on the field, starting years before the game. Does his achievement sound relevant to the environment: giving, acting for an uncertain goal, caring, teamwork, enjoying the challenge? The challenge now is to motivate action among people who care. Listening to Bryan renews my faith that our greatest joys, memories, relationships, and achievements come from trying, working, challenging ourselves, and persevering, not comfort and convenience. I'd love a Super Bowl ring, but Bryan shares that the work to get there is the reward. This picture looks sweet and what I learn from Bryan is that you can achieve the same feeling for yourself. All you need is to value and enjoy the challenge. Read the transcript.    

I encourage you to review RJ's leadership program in Palestine for yourself. Check out www.leadpalestine.com. RJ Khalaf is my youngest guest so far, still an undergrad at NYU, but achieving beyond student status. He took my social entrepreneurship classes. In this episode, you'll hear RJ on his passion and success: a leadership program that teaches leadership skills to Palestinian kids who would otherwise throw stones or worse, as you'll hear. He makes it happen at the New Askar refugee camp, which has been around for more than 50 years. RJ says he feels in over his head, but he's acting on his values. He teaches leadership to come from kindness and care. He acts with integrity, discipline, compassion, vision, and things leaders twice his age often lack. The camp students and mentors love the message. You'll also hear about his environment challenge---one many listeners can probably relate to, but few have acted on. Read the transcript.

After sharing my "after" stories about after taking on my environmental challenges, in this episode I share the "before" situations.

David shares what happens when you act on your values: Act on your values -> better life -> act on your values more -> yet better life -> etc This cycle is the opposite mainstream society suggests---that environmental action distracts from getting ahead, costs more, or whatever excuse. Acting on your values distracts from living by others' values---in particular, the values of people and institutions trying to influence you most. Who are they? Top ones I think of include: Ads trying to sell you aspiration "Food" companies trying to sell you sugar, fat, and salt News media selling you outrage, fear, and offense TV and movies selling you violence and sex and so on. Your first steps away from it reveal how rewarding and, after the initial struggle, easy continuing is. David shares his challenges, struggles, and reflections You still have to start, which David shares. Conversations with people who have acted, as David has, differ from with people who haven't. People who act are less defensive, less "what about you", more thoughtful, and more enthusiastic to act more. Once you start, you'll find many reasons to continue. The ones not to continue---lethargy, complacency, conforming, etc---are ones you probably want to grow out of if you listen to a podcast with the word "Leadership" in the title. What's next? You can hear David on the verge of taking on greater challenges. What will he do next? Will his changes influence TED? Listen to hear what he starts considering for more living by his values. Read the transcript.

David challenged himself to reduce his meat eating. His result? Right off the bat, he said he found it way better and easier than expected. He felt good and wants to do more. What are you waiting for? Chances are your choice to live by your values will be easier and you'll want to do more---if you act. You'll also hear from David how he made it work---using his community, choosing his beliefs, considering his goals, and so on. He feels physically better. This conversation set a tone for the podcast of finding joy in the change. The value of acting and involving others You might wonder why he didn't change earlier. He knew the issues and felt the motivation before. He's the Science Curator for TED! He knows the top people in the world who present on this in the most compelling way. Yet he sounded happily surprised at his results. That's the value of acting, not just talking and thinking. Sharing with others engages and attracts them to help. You have to lead them, not accept their criticism based on the values of a system you are rejecting. As you think about your values and a challenge to act on it, his experience implies you will enjoy it more than you expect. Read the transcript.

Having worked with many people and generations, Frances sees great hope in millennials. She points to research that they are like the so-called Greatest Generation, who fought World War II and then helped rebuild the world. Moreover, we see them as having done it because "it was the right thing to do," not fame or fortune. The environment could use such perspective and results. I hope she's right. I recommend listening to how she has made her life about taking on challenges, which bring her emotional reward. She takes them on deliberately. I believe she expects that work serving others will create emotional reward and meaning. I didn't hear her talk about pursuing comfort and convenience. I think she knows that taking easy, traditional routes don't create long-term reward. The result? I doubt you'll find a happier person, nor a more respectable and accomplished circle of friends and colleagues. I share her main environmental leadership message: that working for others improves your life. Serving others makes you feel good. This perspective contrasts with the predominant feelings I see of "I want to act but if others don't it won't matter" and guilt. She describes creating meaning through serving others, not hoping for it. I'm particularly taken by her characterization of how the men in her life served: "It was just what we did." I don't hear that voice today on the environment, but I'm working to create it. Something you don't hear in the recording that I happened to see in her notes after we finished. She wrote a fourth 'R' here: Reduce, reuse, recycle, responsibility She didn't refer to environmental challenges. She called them opportunities.

How do you treat the world? True to form, Joel committed to a double challenge of avoiding bottled beverages and picking up trash, so we talked about both. I recommend trying the challenge of picking up trash daily for a month or so. It takes almost no time or effort but gives you insight into how little many people value material objects or how much they pollute. Or maybe their ignorance. Joel and I talked about the results. We can't figure it out, but you can't help considering it when you experience how people treat the world. When was the last time you littered? Where does it come from? We speculated. Write me if you have ideas. I find it very confusing. We don't value stuff. That's why we give it away. I hope you see that acquiring bags, disposable things, and so on lead to garbage, which is waste, which hurts others. Stop acquiring. Also true to form, Joel remarked that making a difference is "almost too easy," yet he learned more about the environment than he would have reading statistics. Takeaways Habits make new behaviors trivial, no mental effort. Habits enable you to live by your values. In his case, beyond the environment, he ate and drank less sugar and unhealthy stuff with gain in joy and refreshment. He experienced more nature. I don't know your values, but if they include clean land, air, and water, he presents two you can start with little effort. Be warned: you'll care more. You'll change. You'll improve as a leader. You'll be surprised and notice others' behavior and yours. You'll probably become less tolerant for litter and waste. Don't we want to tolerate litter less? With experience, the skills you learn might get you promoted, hired, funded elsewhere in life. Start your snowball. Read the transcript.

If you're here for leadership, especially personal leadership, you're going to hear about one of the most important things you can do to improve. What Joel talks about and how he lives are how you develop skills people think you can't learn, such as integrity, discipline, and resilience. You can, but you have to act---specifically to challenge yourself, not just passively read about or watch. We talk about cold showers, a big sidcha of mine, and one of the simplest ways to challenge yourself. If you've read about my cold shower practice and found it confusing, our conversation brings a couple experienced guys talking about it. You are your habits. Joel turned his life around with his, which is what this podcast is about. From nothing, he lived world class accomplishments, including setting records running ultramarathons and starting schools in the process. I recommend watching his TEDx talk to see how much you can change your life. If you want to affect the environment, you will face "I want to act but if no one else does it won't make a difference," in others if not yourself. Joel's life is the opposite and it looks like he loves his life more than the people who accept such lack of meaning, accepting the resulting complacency. Read the transcript.

Many people excuse themselves from acting on the environment with the complaint "but acting on the environment will distract me from getting ahead." There is national and global demand for environmental leadership. How they miss that opportunity to advance at any level if they act, I don't know. Maybe fear? I think they're expressing a lack of imagination. Most of these people who think they are choosing leadership are actually following traditional paths set by others' values also known as the rat race. Today's guest shows what opportunity you can create for yourself. With no industry experience, connections, or money, Sandy Reisky followed the huge demand he saw for renewable energy production. Without relevant background he just attended industry events, learned, connected, and planned. The results? How about starting a company from scratch in 2009 that now builds about 10% of Americas new wind energy installations (on average over the past three years). Listen for his story and to learn where he sees new opportunities with demand for leadership. If you want to lead in the environment (or anywhere), Sandy is one of the most accomplished people to learn from. You don't have to start billion-dollar companies or supply national-level power to make a difference, but the opportunities are there at every level. If you don't know where to start, you can start by volunteering with Generation 180. And I recommend watching Generation 180's one-minute video "The New Face of Energy", which I consider the future of environmental leadership. Then watch Sandy's presentation on Generation 180's core mission---to spread the idea that energy awareness is an idea whose time has come. Read the transcript.

Alisa Cohn is at the top of the leadership coaching and speaking game. Inc. Magazine named her a top 100 speaker. Marshall Goldsmith selected her as a top 100 coach. Since I've known her for a while, I also happen to know she's a charming, fun, engaging person. Since I think a lot of listeners want to lead more effectively, I wanted to share how someone who is at the top of the game is a regular person at heart, just who worked persistently and with dedication. In our conversation she shares how she chose leadership coaching as a direction, how she reached where she is, and the importance of service when leading others. I think this conversation had the most laughter so far, which is probably related to her success. It relates to how she took on her challenge. I recommend listening for how much she enjoys it---at least that was my impression. She's already acted in several ways to live by her environmental values. Here she takes another step. It's food-related and I think one many listeners are thinking of, so if you haven't started your challenge yet and have environmental values around food, you may enjoy Alisa's approach. Read the transcript.

026: The View From The Future

February 20, 2018

Our world is filled with systems based on beliefs that made sense in the past, but that evidence contradicts. Growth and technology are contributing to environmental degradation. The invisible hand doesn't win against the tragedy of the commons. And so on. We didn't create these systems but we can act to create new ones based on new beliefs, such as accepting having enough, or considering the results of our actions on others more, say, when we pollute or expand into new territory. Actions are easier when we adopt beliefs that will work in the future, based on what we know about the planet that we didn't before. In this episode I look at our world from a future where we've made things work to guide our actions today. Read the transcript.

David Biello is one of the few people I've met who understands environmental issues, doesn't complain or vent doom and gloom. Instead he approaches with a simple, but responsible and thoughtful perspective. I met David after reading a review of his book, The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth's Newest Age, saying that David says: we already have the money and technology to make profound environmental change; what we need is large-scale motivation. With a defiantly hopeful tone, he profiles some of the most effective change-makers. Large-scale motivation means leadership to me. Having heard this view almost nowhere, but considering it the most important, I read his book and contacted him. He writes for Scientific American and is the Science Curator for TED. If you want to know about what's happening environmentally in a straightforward, no nonsense way, listen. Also read his book. He knows the issues and he cares. He's thought about the issues people's motivations, what holds people back, what can work. He also committed to a personal challenge many of you will resonate with. He reminds us that making a difference requires taking responsibility. People may prefer technological silver bullets, government silver bullets, and other ways for others to act first, but all those deus ex machinas people dream of will come if we act first. You and I. He offers many examples of hope. We've done more before: smoking, freeing South Africa and India, slavery. Read the transcript.

Michael's schedule turned a modest one-month challenge into a five-month one. Many would give up. I suspect most people respond that way to environmental challenges---when it gets harder or unpredictable, they abandon it. I wondered how Michael would handle it. Needless to say, he stuck to it---amid the extra time, involving his wife, travel, and more. What do you know, the challenge was easy. Not trivial, but something he could have done earlier. Habits Michael is an expert at creating habits, so if you're listening in part to learn to create yours, his story will help. He called some conventional wisdom on habit formation "bollocks," which made me cringe. Until I heard his explanation, which taught me new things and made more sense than what I thought before. I consider myself knowledgeable and experienced on habit formation. As usual, success involved turning community into a teammate. In Michael's case, he enlisted his wife's help and (mutual) support. Sound obvious? It is with experience, but most people find other people obstruct their habits. Michael's story isn't the first where a challenge others might consider big became easy. He described the resulting feeling as warm and fuzzy. My big lesson My big lesson was that it's hard to do big things when you haven't done the small things. But doing the small things enables the big things, so doing the small things helps. The key is doing, not just talking, planning, or settling for awareness. Read the transcript.

Who doesn't have a dream car? If you can afford it, especially if you've aspired to it your whole life, isn't owning and driving your dream car one of the great joys and well-earned accomplishments in life? What if you found something better? What if what you liked better was not having the car? Does the idea of getting rid of one of your highest value sound crazy? That's the value of knowing your values. You learn what's better for you. Dov loves his Jaguar. He worked his whole life to get it. His personal challenge led him to consider that letting go of it could improve his life more than keeping it? Sound crazy? Listen to this episode to learn how his greater experience led him to see greater values than his car---in freedom, consciousness, responsibility, and things many people with authority talk about but few live. Speaking of values, freedom, responsibility, and so on, I've read a lot of leadership books. They all talk about values and so on, abstractly. In this episode Dov talks about them in his life---genuinely, authentically, connecting to his life and choices that affect him and people he cares about. I put what Dov shares against the content of any leadership book and suggest that Dov shares more. Talking about values and such in the abstract doesn't translate to action and how you live your life. Now that I've met many leadership teachers, authors, and coaches, I've seen some not live the values the profess. I'm glad this podcast is giving people the chance to examine their values, face internal conflict between their values, their actions, comfort, and convenience, and discover the value in persevering through the struggle to live by what they care about. Highlights We start with plants, gardening, and cooking. While I enjoy hearing a world class speaker talking about digging in dirt (as Gandhi did), the deep, surprising stuff comes about halfway through and keeps building We talk about awareness versus willful ignorance, distraction from what matters, how to get back to what matters, how freedom can be a prison, reflection, meditation, and learning about oneself---not lecturing but in connection to daily life. He also talked about his challenge, what he loves, and living by his values, overcoming internal conflict. It's not what you lose, but what you replace it with and what you learn about yourself. Dov's results Dov's results speak for themselves. He felt great. He savored. He said he was more than glad he did it. Considering getting rid of his car improved his life by including considering others in his actions. He increased his freedom. However much getting rid of something he could afford sounds like a loss or restriction, listen to Dov to learn how it increased his freedom. If you think you know better, consider that he experienced more as a result of his challenge. What I learned Dov's considering getting rid of a car took podcast to new level and increased my expectation that starting with as little as a set of one-on-one podcast conversation can lead to global change. I'm releasing it before other conversations I recorded after. Mugs instead of cups won't change the world. I wondered if podcast could make a meaningful difference. I hope you consider what your Jaguar is and what your delicious is so that you can act on it. Dov's odometer Read the full transcript.

John Lee Dumas is one of the biggest names in entrepreneurship and podcasting. He also committed to one of the biggest, most enduring challenges of the podcast so far. He and I met at a talk at the New York Public Library a week after the hurricanes hit his home in Puerto Rico. I was surprised at how that context affected his perception of the environment. When I teach leadership based on people's existing motivations and passions, people often ask, "What if the person has no motivation or passion." I usually answer that people care about things more than they let on at first. To share what you care about makes you vulnerable, so many people protect their vulnerabilities by hiding them. When I first asked him for what he cared about the environment, he gave me very little to work with. You'll hear how I handled it. If you're here in part to improve your leadership, I think you'll hear things to learn from. John ended up sharing something he noticed, thought about, and cared about a lot, but never thought about acting on. Again, by the end, he committed to one of the biggest, most enduring challenges of the podcast so far. Read the full transcript.

During a book launch, Emily still turned off her computer in a stressful time. Book launches are crazy and people want your time like crazy. She still did it. Despite her defining environmental differently than I expected, her experience was similar. As others found, it's not what you avoid, it's what you replace it with. I didn't hear her describe the experience negatively. Instead I heard her talk about ritual, alignment, values, relationships, family, and other things the experience contributed to. As others found, acting on values leads to finding value and wanting to do more. We also talked about bravery, her just-released book, and the experiences that led to it. Beyond her challenge and book, you'll hear her sign up for another personal challenge. Read the full transcript.

020: The Big Picture

January 30, 2018

I describe the big picture of this podcast. So far I've influenced a few people to make modest changes. The big picture for this podcast is systemic change on a national, even global level. I'm not just hoping to achieve it. I have a strategy. It's different and I expect it to work more than the existing strategies. I describe how you can help. Read the transcript.

I've been part of Emily's community since she interviewed me on her podcast in June. I've seen support, growth, openness, and everything you'd expect from a group formed around bare naked bravery. Learning more about her just-released book, Bare Naked Bravery: How to Be Creatively Courageous, I see why I like her methods of developing bravery. They're based on the same effective techniques I base mine on for developing leadership---active, experiential learning, starting with the basics and building. She brings her techniques from music---the Suzuki Method in particular---which makes sense. Think of the bravery to perform in front of an audience, to reveal your truth and beauty, knowing others will critique and criticize. If you want to be more brave, I recommend listening. We talk about how acting---to be brave, to act on your environmental values---apply everywhere in life. Explore her community online and read her book. Emily's personal challenge Emily interpreted environment differently than others, which give me something to learn, which is part of why I'm doing this podcast. If you're considering committing to a personal challenge but haven't narrowed it down yet, hers may give you ideas on how to. Read the full transcript.

018: Enron Environmentalism

January 27, 2018

I coined the term Enron Environmentalism to explain the gap between what people say they value about the environment and what they do. If you're an American, you probably practice Enron Environmentalism. Sadly, it's the opposite of self-awareness and integrity, as this episode of the podcast shows. Learning the opposite will improve your leadership, your life, and as a side effect, your environmental impact. Here are the articles I mention: My Inc. article: Are You an Enron Environmentalist? From Energy Policy Journal: Does pro-environmental behaviour affect carbon emissions? From Environment and Behavior Journal: Good Intents, but Low Impacts: Diverging Importance of Motivational and Socioeconomic Determinants Explaining Pro-Environmental Behavior, Energy Use, and Carbon Footprint Enjoy the episode. Read the full transcript.

Talk about a generous conversation! Dorie Clark shares about how to make yourself known, to become a leader, and to connect with others. She shares her personal experiences, since she didn't start with any advantages, and some of what she shares in her books. We talked about one of my big questions: do you need to go through a major life challenge---a crucible---to achieve greatness or to become a leader. When we got to talking about the environment and her personal challenge, you can hear in how she takes on hers that she's taken on many challenges before. If you want to improve your skills in taking on challenges and succeeding at them, her perspective reveals a lot to learn from. Her challenge is, I think, the longest challenge someone committed to as her first. Listen to hear it.

Not often when two men chat on the internet do tears well up and they get choked up. I loved this conversation for its being unscripted and unguarded. Daniel allowed himself to be vulnerable. He asked about posting this interview on his podcast because of the rawness of the emotion that came up. We laughed a lot too. My mistake I recorded this conversation early and I dropped the ball on leading Daniel. If you listen to this podcast in part to learn to lead, when we reach talking about the environment, you'll hear me make big mistakes that provoked resistance. I led him to do the opposite of committing to a personal challenge---he lectured me on what I should and shouldn't do. Someone you're trying to influence lecturing at you means you didn't lead effectively. See if you can listen to where and how I lost him. Learn from my mistake. Notice how I lead others differently. For example, listen to my interview with John Lee Dumas to hear how I led someone who said he didn't care about the environment to identify something he cared about, create a big task to act on that care, and to commit to it with public accountability. Read the full transcript.

You will not forget this conversation. Dov brings his full self intellectually and emotionally, especially starting 20 minutes in from the start. I guarantee you will hear a person speaking a way you want to---unfiltered yet thoughtful, enthusiastic yet measured. Dov shares details of his life, authentically and raw, even when it hurts. He shares how he developed his authenticity, radically so because he wasn't always. He shares examples and stories most of us wish we could emulate in our lives. I don't know about you, but hearing someone living it leads me to raise my standards for myself. In regular life I talk a lot but Dov left me speechless several times, full of thought. He also thought of his personal environmental challenge before we spoke. Not all guests do, but doing so suggests the underlying values, enthusiasm, or both mean more to the guest. I'd say both with Dov. You'll enjoy hearing his challenge and look forward to his results in his second conversation.

My friend told me this show angered him -- hearing people act as if little changes were significant... not knowing not to get new plastic bags. I shared some of my thoughts on people making trivial changes and what motivates me. I expect I'll share more personal thoughts on leadership and the environment as I develop my voice.

Dan Pink's second conversation was short and sweet, like his personal challenge. After a few guests learning, growing, and leading from having to overcome big challenges, Dan shared an easy, simple experience. The story was that there was no story. While many portray changing your diet as impossible or a big challenge, Dan and his wife simply stopped eating most meat. That's it. He stopped. He could have stopped earlier. What problems arose were small and he solved quickly. If you're thinking of committing to a personal challenge, sometimes it's easy. Listen to the conversation for how to choose challenges so they're easy for you. You can always build to harder ones. Dan's new book When and TED Dan's book was released a few days ago. You may have also seen him in the news. We talked about writing, marketing big releases, and preparing for TED talks. Read the full transcript.

This conversation was fun and engaging since Judith is charismatic, experienced, and cheerful, even though it started solemnly, owing to a terrorist attack in Manhattan the day before. We covered politics a bit -- now that I think of it, one of this podcast's few forays there. We talked about leadership from many perspectives, including her storied experience, given her experience with globally known leaders (Donna Karan, etc) and top organizations (Harvard, Apple, etc). Most of us rarely get to talk to people with such connections and history. I continued to follow Judith's lead from our first conversation to use her definition of "environment," which wasn't my usual one, roughly meaning the air, land, and water we share. Her definition is more about people and relationships. I treated the conversation as somewhat challenging, to enter someone else's world. I went into this podcast as much to learn as to influence, expecting everyone to have unique views on the environment, leadership, community, and other subjects, so I welcomed it. By challenging, I don't mean the conversation was unpleasant or uncomfortable. Just that given my experimental physics background, we were far from my touch points like measurables like concentrations of molecules and concepts like conservation of energy. I presume listeners with backgrounds different than mine and more like Judith's will resonate with the conversation. My goal is to make the podcast as much for you as for me. I'd love feedback to help guide future conversations. Enjoy! Read the full transcript.

Tanner's third conversation continues his project beyond just polluting less himself to influencing a store, in fact a whole grocery store chain. You can hear his growing enthusiasm, that the more he works on his project, the more he finds parts of it to love and act on. Do you think because he's a gold medal winner things come easier for him? On the contrary, things don't go his way. But he doesn't give up. If you try projects and they don't work out, which describes me, I think it will help to see that people as successful as Tanner don't succeed on their first tries either. I don't know about you, but when I read their books or see them on TV, their success seems more given. Here Tanner reveals that he had to regroup and restart. From my perspective, he sounds like he holds himself overly accountable, including for things outside of his control, but I also read that he found ways that work for him. Some may look for the positive. Tanner seems to look for the accountable. But listen to how his perspective turns into enthusiasm. I look forward to the next time I feel like giving up on a project that's not going my way. I'm listening to this episode. I hope you can also hear how much fun we have together. Read the full transcript.

In conversation 1, Jim shared his values and committed to live by one. In conversation 1.5, he shared problems with the challenge and how he overcame them. In this conversation he shares how it worked. Listen to hear how persevering through challenges to live by your values leads to a better life. Judge for yourself what you find from his experience. I heard: More time with his family Quality time with his family Fun Finding more challenges (why not, if they're fun?) Things became easier than before What are you waiting for? Commit to a personal challenge. Start your journey of fun, ease, and peace of mind that Jim did. Take off your wet socks I introduce my wet socks analogy for not living by your values in this episode, which is: Say you step in a puddle and get your socks wet in the morning. You can still go about your day. If you're busy, you might not notice them. It's still a relief when you get home and take them off at the end of the day. Finally you feel fresh, clean air against your skin instead of wet sock. You look back and realize they've been annoying you all day. Making yourself busy distracted you from noticing them, but never made them go away. You wish you had taken them off earlier. Living by your values after ignoring them feels like taking off wet socks. As with wet socks, you look back and realize that abandoning your values has annoyed you your whole life. Making yourself busy distracted you from noticing that you weren't living by them, but never made it go away. You wish you had chosen to live by them earlier. Denying that you're abandoning minor values, prevents you from noticing big ones. On the other hand, fixing the little ones opens your eyes to others, which motivates you to fix them, then to fix bigger ones, and so on. You may consider small denial not that big a deal, but once you take off those socks, you realize you could have long before. Living in conflict with your values means living without integrity. It eats you up inside. Take off your wet socks. Enjoy the freedom of living by your values. The environment is a great place to start. Read the full transcript.

Do you want to improve your life? ... and enjoy doing it? I usually don't laugh out loud at people talking about the environment, but Tanner made me. Listen to Tanner's second conversation to hear how a master approaches a modest challenge, makes it fun, makes it bigger (if it's fun, why wouldn't you), involves others, and keeps building. He shares what makes him a top athlete, husband, and all-around fun guy. He's no more or less human than anyone. We talk about challenges, successes, Navy SEALS, and what makes a person and life great. It all starts from plastic bags, the awareness that comes from paying attention to how you affect others, and acting with integrity. Where to improve your life If you want to improve your life, you have to act and experiment. Part of the deal is sometimes you mess up. You can't escape messing up. No one can. So practicing in your relationships, your work, or with family can lead to greater repercussions than you can handle. Acting on the environment is a safe place to experiment. You can try changing your diet, using public transportation, bringing bags with you to the store, buying less stuff, and so on without much risk. You still develop integrity, discipline, and so on, which you can then apply everywhere in life. And you still clean the air, land, and water we share. Read the full transcript.

I will recommend this episode a lot. You’ll hear an accomplished man struggle with a goal he expected to be easy. You’ll also hear him triumph, bringing his wife and children to the triumph—creating it with them. I’m releasing it on a holiday because it’s as heartwarming a story of a father bringing his family and community together as any—despite, or because of, adversity and the skills he’s learned to handle it. Skills you can learn, starting by listening to his story. This episode is a real-time update from someone implementing a change in his life, facing resistance, figuring out how to handle it, and succeeding through failure where most people give up. I scheduled this conversation because Jim wrote me that he was struggling to meet the personal challenge he came up with. Between that email and scheduling the conversation, he figured out a solution better for him than the original challenge. Many people decide to change their lives then face unexpected challenges. Most give up or let their standards slide. Overcoming challenges With the plan fresh in his mind, Jim shares How he understood the situation What he did to solve it How he involved others He he built community His mindset If you’ve struggled making commitments, Jim’s story will help you. Leading without authority Beyond personal change, the episode also reveals the leadership techniques I’m finding work in leading people when you don’t have authority over them. For full depth, read and do the exercises in my book, Leadership Step by Step. You can hear me practice them in my first conversation and their results here: In conversation 1, I didn’t tell him what to do, I asked him what he cared about, then invited him to act on those values As a result In conversation 1.5, he saw doing this challenge as for himself, acting on his values In conversation 1, I set up future conversations, creating accountability As a result In conversation 1.5, he described motivation to meet those expectations See if you can find other techniques in how I framed and led starting the challenge and the resulting behavior. Read the full transcript.

Judith co-founded the Harvard Coaching Institute as well as her own consulting and coaching firms—Benchmark Communications and Creating WE—through which she has worked with culture-setting companies such as Apple, Burberry, and Donna Karan. She's written seven books, including multiple bestsellers. She's on the board of Expeditionary Learning. And more, so if credentials are important to you, she has them. Yet she's almost counter-cultural in her way of going against the mainstream grain when it holds her or her clients back. Yet she's friendly and approachable. Since she lives a subway ride away from me, I met her in person, which made our conversation more friendly and behind-the scenes. I'm nerdy and look at the world more conventionally than she does, so we'll see a different way of looking at the environment, science, and nature than my usual way. She talks about her big breaks, making mistakes and rolling with them. She walks through how to use her books and materials. You can see how she's gotten great clients and speaks to such prominent organizations

A 30-minute highlight version of conversation 1 with Judith Glaser.

I expect to refer to Jim's episodes more than most, maybe most because how he approaches changing himself is so effective for himself and people around him. It comes from his attitude, the questions he asks himself, how he involves others, and more, all of which he shares. We get to know him in this episode---a regular guy who happens to have been an All-American Wrestling champion and now coaches people to potentials beyond their dreams. We also hear his challenge, which sounds simple, but its unexpected twists will prompt him to show what makes him a leader for whom hardship just prompts him to grow more---skills we can all learn from him. Read the full transcript.

If you want a role model for taking on challenges that you know will improve your life but you aren't sure how, listen and learn from Tanner. Tanner Gers has been through more than you have, almost surely. I wanted his conversation early because whatever most of us have been through, materially speaking, he's had it harder than most of us. I say materially speaking because emotionally and purposefully, the car accident that left him blind doesn't register as a problem. Tanner will help you grab life by the reins and forget your problems, or use them to advance. His personal challenge starts modest in this conversation but grows in later ones, so listen on. Read the full transcript.

Michael is a coach's coach. Our conversation became a two-way interview on leadership, values, and acting on them. He both shared openly and got me to share a lot of why I created this podcast. I was pleasantly surprised that though he wasn't sure what to do specifically, he had thought about acting on the environment. I think a lot of people feel the same way. If that fits you---that you want to act but don't know how---our conversation may give you direction. He took an a personal challenge for himself and his wife that most people would probably enjoy. Listen on. Read the full transcript.

Reading Elizabeth Kolbert's haunting The Sixth Extinction was difficult but enlightening. She presents what most people fear facing but is happening around us. We are causing the loss of almost unbelievably large parts of the natural world on which we rely without realizing it---sleepwalking, I would say. Her writing in the New Yorker covers more issues most people are too uncomfortable to learn about: overpopulation, the limits of technology to solve the problems most people think technology will solve, and the like. She presents the issues simply and directly, forcing you to draw your conclusions. I considered it critical to bring a guest so thoughtful and knowledgeable about relevant issues she saw firsthand. Her perspective is difficult to face, but the alternative of putting your head in the sand prevents you from solving the problems. Read the full transcript.

I first heard of Marshall Goldsmith when business school leadership class assigned reading the New Yorker article about him in 2005. He became one of my most influential mentors since I met him in person shortly after. His insight and advice have been insightful and incisive---what best friends tell you because casual acquaintances are too nervous to---but simple and actionable. This podcast's practice of leading and influencing people through simple (not always easy) action, not by authority or expecting giving facts to influence behavior, owes a lot to Marshall. We talked about leadership, influence, values, and more. Marshall's advice and views merit listening multiple times to learn from and implement. Read the full transcript.

Everyone in leadership knows Dan Pink, his books and his TED talks. If you want to lead, influence, or motivate people, it's a matter of time until you read or watch something of his. I started with Drive: the Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us, which led me to contact him (and criticize his work, listen to the podcast for the story). Since then, he's supported my work and was enthusiastic about his personal challenge. As a writer and educator, I indulged in asking him about his technique, so if you're interested in improving your technique and style, you'll hear some great tips from him. He also talks about his new book, When: the Scientific Secrets of Perfect Planning, so if it's before January 9, 2018, you get a sneak preview. Read the full transcript.

Why I created the Leadership and the Environment podcast, what it does, and how you can help.

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