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?

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.

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.

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. By the way, we met at 50 Cent's midtown Manhattan recording studio, so Bryan is in with the elite of communities that few environmentalists have accessed, let alone influenced. 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.

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.

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 full 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.

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 full 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.

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.

Sign up for my weekly newsletter