Scott starts right off full of the fire that his book Find the Fire teaches people to find. And I don’t know about you but I’ve heard enough from people who don’t live the advice that they give. And so it’s refreshing and rewarding to hear from someone who does. First challenge, you’re going to hear how he makes it a team effort, how he starts with people. He approaches the challenge as a leader even though he’s following. You might remember from the first conversation his wife and daughter would say, “Dad, get with the program.” He was behind on something that was valuable to all of them. You’ll hear how he gets a team result by admitting his limitations. That allows other people to fill in and do things that he couldn’t and that brings people together. That’s how he gets a team result and improves relationships in a place where a lot of people fear that will mess up relationships. You’ll also hear how he handles feelings of guilt that paralyzed a lot of other people. So there’s a lot to learn from Scott and how to take on challenges, especially environmental.
Joshua: I’m really interested to hear how your challenge went because for a couple of reasons. One is that it involves a whole household. And you have a reduction that you can’t tell about until after… Like it’s not like you can check it in the moment. So if you want to [unintelligible] you kind of don’t know until you finish. And the mild reduction that’s also an interesting challenge because of how do you compare it. But more than that, you’ve released a book in this time and a book launch is like a really big deal. And I remember going crazy during mine. It’s not your first once, you’ve done it before so I don’t know if that makes it more crazy or less crazy. Also, I think for listeners who are here as much for the leadership as for the environment I think an insider’s view of a book launch… Do you mind if we start with that?
Scott: Yeah. I’ll be happy to talk about all of that you know in whatever order that you want. So you know you just let me know and we’ll go from there.
Joshua: I’m curious about the book launch and mainly because, one, I am very interested in it. This is the first time when my blurb is featured on a book so I am really proud and honored and flattered about that. But then also, I think it’s going to set the groundwork for your challenge. A lot of people listening are they’re going to take on a personal challenge and it’s never the right time to take on… You know it’s something you’ve been doing one way for decades, then to switch, it’s never the right time. But of course, it’s always the right time too. So a book launch is like a big hiccup I would guess.
Scott: Yeah, yeah and I’ll talk to that, and just to make things even more interesting, right in the middle of the book launch one week ago I had a major hip replacement surgery. So that has added some very interesting…
Joshua: Bring it on!
Scott: You know I figure if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this all at once and you have to really commit to it just like you have to do when it comes to the energy environmental challenge which I will talk later. You know I’ve gone all in and decided just the opposite. Like the worst possible time to have your hip replaced could be during a book launch or you could turn it on its head and say, “It’s also a time where I’m forced to focus and I don’t have a lot of places to go because I have to heal so I can you know dedicate during the healing time to really not being distracted and focusing on the book launch” And that’s the way I decide to do it.
So you know the launch is going very well. The name of the book is Find the Fire and it’s you know I guess the subtitle says it all, it’s How You Can Ignite Your Inspiration and Make Work Exciting Again. It’s for all of the 70 percent of us out there that just don’t feel like we’re fully passionate about or fully engaged in our jobs anymore. And so the book launch has been going well. It came out about 10 days ago now and it’s been a really great process, a super process of trial and error and you know how to figure out what to do.
One of the big things that I did and relied on was an advance team, Joshua, where I enrolled you know 175 people I think when all was said and done. I got them to sign up through my e-mail list to say, “You know look I’ll send you a free watermark pdf copy in advance if you’d be willing to help me spread word about the book and give a very simple set of directions to very good eager people that are willing to learn and willing to help [unintelligible]” So that’s been a big part of the book launch getting those folks what they need to help you know be a kind of a multiplier force if you will behind the book launch. A lot of promotional work as well, continually writing for other blogs, getting on great podcasts like yours to get an opportunity to talk about the book and drive awareness. I mean it really does boil down to awareness.
And for me you know one of the things I learned in this book launch is there’s 9000 different things you could try and I’m learning after this being my second book launch what really works and what to focus in on and what not to. The big thing I’m learning, Joshua, is really learning the few big things that work and stick to them. So for me building an early you know keep pounding away at the email list because you know that’s gold. There are people that trust you, there are people that believe in you market to them, number one. Number two…
Joshua: Sorry, before you go on. What does pounding on mean? Does that mean sending them a lot of e-mails, not sending them many e-mails sent? Have lots of conversations? Is it blanket e-mails or personalized ones?
Scott: Yeah. For me it’s personalized e-mails paced out in a way that’s not annoying and you’ve got to find that fine line between the reality of you know… Look, there’s realistic things in MailChimp that your e-mails won’t get delivered every time into the inbox. And then you have another [unintelligible] of guess what? They don’t get opened. And then you can retarget them to the folks who have not opened them yet and then even when they open them that doesn’t mean they’re going to be moved to action. So I’ve had to get over you know “my e-mail list is there and it’s precious and these people don’t want to be bothered.” And I’ve shifted my focus to you know I worked really hard before the book launch for a year or more to add every you know three days a week Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Add value to my community. Find something to write about, add materials, add bonus materials, give them value in their life to help them work, lead and live fulfilled. And then when the time comes it’s you know you hope for the spirit of reciprocity where they’ll figure, “Man, this person’s been adding value in my life”. And I understand they’re in a book launch and it gives you a little bit more freedom to be able to send a more aggressive sequence of emails out properly worded and tailored and respectful. And you know I just use a lot of humility in the way I talk to my audience because that’s the way I talk to human beings. And that’s what my audience are and I open a lot of my e-mails with, “Look, guys, the world of book publishing has changed. People have a misconception that you sign a book deal and a publisher takes care of everything and you go on a book tour and everybody’s happy. Well, it doesn’t work.”
Joshua: I don’t know anyone who has had that experience.
Scott: Ever. Ok, maybe James Patterson. OK maybe you know the huge mega, mega, mega writers but we’re you know we write in a niche for business when you start. And I’m sure there’s some you know some callers may say, “Well, Seth Godin does that you know.” OK, fair enough. He’s spent 20 years building a pretty credible following. But for the rest of us poor slobs you know it really involves being realistic about building the relationship with your audience and it’s going to take time. Every book launch will get better. Enroll the ones that are really rabid about the value you provide, speak to them respectfully but don’t be afraid to speak to them often during the book launch period which is what I’ve been trying to do especially with my Find the Fire advanced team.
Joshua: You have a long career as a corporate guy, top of big multinational corporation and you’re doing things like a lot of people don’t do these things. And so, you’re changing tactics, you’re changing your strategies into so many things and you are actually practicing them. And to me that’s the highest-level thing that I’m taking away. I hope you don’t mind my [unintelligible]. You are doing it and you’re doing like yeah, that’s what new people are doing now. But that’s what works and so you’re doing that and then you’re delivering value, you’re communicating with your community, you’re creating relationships where reciprocal mutually beneficial relationships.
Scott: Yeah. Well-said, Joshua. It’s doing the things that others won’t do. And the biggest lesson for me in a book launch is you have to treat it like you enjoy it and you know learn from those who went before you. There’s so many things you can try that don’t work. And if you just start with a stable of proven things that you know will work. That often is more than enough and then you can experiment with your own thoughts.
Joshua: Now I want to hear how your power use has gone.
Scott: You bet.
Joshua: So I want to start with like what are the facts. What’s the story? What happened? What are the facts of what’s happened?
Scott: Yes. Here’s the facts. You were right. It’s not easy but you know it takes a total team effort. And we set a target for my family. No excuses. I’m a no-excuse guy, you can probably tell. What other idiot has hip surgery in the middle of a book launch? And we said you know I have a daughter who is almost, she is going to be 15 tomorrow and my wife, the three of us said, “OK, we can’t do this alone. And by the way, Dad’s the worst offender. Dad is the one who always leaves the dang lights on all over the house.” And I never even bothered to really think about the amount of energy I’m consuming in a day. So we set the goal up with each other, number one. Fact number two, we’ve had fun teasing each other and making fun of each other when we’re not delivering on the goal.
Joshua: Sorry to interrupt but that’s been such a big thing for the people who make this work. But they take what’s usually the hard part is other people resisting and they turn them into allies and they make it a team effort. So you made it fun, sometimes people use it as problem solving. That’s such a big thing is that what looks like a hurdle when you activate it, it becomes part of your team. So sorry to interrupt.
Scott: No, no, no. It’s your show. You can interrupt what you want but yes, so that was the second fact. And my daughter has a lot of fun with it. She loves to rib me, “Hey, Dad, you’re going to light the whole neighborhood up or you are going to turn the damn light off when you leave the bedroom?” And we laugh about it and we go back and forth and we were constantly making jokes about it. That’s fact number two.
Number three. All of our behavior is changing. And when I see their behavior changing it reinforces the need for me to do my own. So it got me thinking and you know I don’t want to put a message out there that you don’t agree with, Josh. If you don’t agree by all means, you know correct me. The insight for me was I really can’t do this alone despite my best intentions. I still have times where I’m doing energy sucking stupid things. I won’t unplug the Keurig tea machine. It takes two seconds to reach over and unplug it to make sure there’s no you know unneeded energy flow going through the machine. You just unplug everything you’ve got when you can. And I still don’t do that and I find I still need reminders. It’s not because I’m evil, not because I say, “Screw the goal.” It’s because I just need constant reminder. So it’s been an insight to me that before you make a goal like this you really do need the fact is for me and my family you need a support network of people that are going to really just poke at each other.
Joshua: Sorry to interrupt but my guess is that it’s you probably needed to be coaxed into brushing your teeth when you were a kid and you probably don’t need it anymore now. You habitualize to them or we create habits out of them. But that takes time. But after a while I predict that, I don’t know, a year from now, maybe six months, maybe shorter that you’ll turn off lights and not think about it. I bet there is going to be some time you’re going to e-mail me and say, “Josh, I just reminded someone else about it” or “I noticed that I did it without thinking about it” or something like that.
Scott: I have no doubt of that. Because you know it goes to fact number four which I did not expect, Joshua. I really didn’t. Not for something is… Ehen I started with is trivial in theory as turning lights off and it’s more than that. It really, it’s a total package of being mindful of how energy flows into and out of the house and what are we going to do to control it. And what I found was how powerful guilt is. And I have more than once. This is the truth. [unintelligible] So you want honesty, I’m giving you honesty. I’m walking around the house right now in a walker because I just had hip replacement surgery and that’s what’s required while you’re building your hips strings up. It’s not easy, it’s not fun and it hurts like hell. I left my bedroom this morning and I went out to get something and I left the damn light on in the bedroom. I turned around halfway in my walker because I was feeling guilty and I knew I was going be on your show today. And despite the pain, the extra effort that goes along with that I went back in and turned the damn light off. And I find that that little bit of guilt is very, very powerful, especially if you say you create an issue out of it like for the love of god is it that difficult to hit a goal of reducing energy usage in the household. And it kicks in. And so besides the family and the network that personal internal guilt and it only happens when you make the goal important enough to me which I believe I have because it’s a personal goal of mine now. And so guilt can actually factor in and help drive you through in times when you’re waning. I didn’t expect that but it’s really happening.
Joshua: That’s how we learn and someone who thinks you are just going to like flip a switch, I mean inside you, not the light switch, flipped a switch and just say, “Okay, now I will be X.” That’s not how I understand people work. I mean that pain of you going back and redoing it, that’s a lesson that you learn and that’s how we learn is through experiences like that. And so a lot of people are going through this and they say, “Oh, yes, this is going to be easy. I am going to be X. And now I’ve switched.” But you know you do X and you miss it one time. Some people definitely are going through having no problems doing this. I mean I went through no food packaging for a little while and now I have some food packaging. There are some things that I get like I get vinegar is in a jar. Actually, I am going to learn how to make vinegar.
After you do learn things become easier and easier and easier and things that were impossibly difficult suddenly become normal. Like over there I’m making sauerkraut because I read this thing on how to ferment and I was really curious. And before I was like, “That sounds too hard.” But now it’s really easy. I’ve got sauerkraut fermenting on my countertop. [unintelligible] I’m not interested. I don’t care. I don’t want to do that. But now it’s like it’s homemade. I make it.
Scott: It’s homemade yes, and it’s probably delicious. I can already feel like getting there. And I think that final key for me is going to be and this is the fifth point. It’s so funny you said you know give me the facts. I literally had five facts written down. [unintelligible] into the fifth fact which is measurement. So what we have done is we get our energy bill quarterly so we called the energy company to find out how we’re doing and we’re not at 15 percent yet but we had a 6 percent reduction, the first measurable kind of output and that’s consistent because we didn’t like go on vacation and leave the house you know so that there was this dip in energy use. You know we measured the pre and the post period and be very careful. Once it is going to be a consistent time period where we can measure and with me kind of house bound for the next couple of weeks and not being able to be on stage promoting my book but you know doing podcasts like yours for that couple weeks I have a very standard measurable point of time where there is not going to be a lot of variation because I’m going to be here all the time. And I think am I going to curb my energy usage or I’m not? So we’re encouraged by the first sign of OK, you don’t reduce your bill by 6 percent by chance and it’s not far enough yet but it’s progress. And it kind of we’re making a big deal out of it. We got nine more points to go. Six to 15, 9 points of improvement to go. And so we’re making a big deal out of it.
Joshua: And so okay. So how is it with the family? I mean you talk about it being fun. You’re saying things I think you’re you having experiences that you’re rolling with it and having fun with it but I think others might feel like they are failures or something like that. Like when your daughter [unintelligible]. Is it challenging? Now you are saying it is fun but is it hard at the time or is it all a breeze?
Scott: Oh, no, no. It is. It is challenging. Look, it gets annoying. You know it does. When you’re challenged for the fourth time and your guilt really starts to stick in like yes, right, like D’oh. Of course. Why did I forget to unplug the electric shaver? It’s not that hard you know. Why didn’t I use a straight blade this time instead of using an electric razor? It’s not that hard. That uses zero energy. Do I really need to have my laptop in full blown power mode all the time? There’s a low power mode for a reason built into the thing. And when you get people reminding you over your shoulders all the time there’s no doubt it can get annoying, it could get frustrating. And until we got that first measurement you know I honestly wondered, Josh, whether or not I was making a damn bit of difference in what I was doing in my bill. I really did. And I felt very rewarded when we got that and it immediately gave us a fresh burst of picking on each other again because we’re already making a difference. Hopefully that makes sense.
Joshua: Yeah. I’m also thinking from one perspective you got 9 more points. From another, things like your third of the way there, so six and two and a half and it gets harder and harder. Usually you get low hanging fruit at the beginning. Next thing you’re going to be looking at the refrigerator. I mean lights aren’t… I mean I think a refrigerator or if you have an electric oven or washer and dryer, the dryer I think is one of the big ones.
Scott: Dryer’s big and believe it or not, don’t laugh at me here. You know obviously with the hip issues I have a medical reason to have a hot tub. Hot tub is a major… Like, oh my god, it’s like the red devil.
So we are on that and figure out a plan for how I can plug it in the interim because it takes a while to get the thing going and if you unplug it, it means the water doesn’t stay hot. So you know what, Josh? It will require some planning. You know I’m going to have to map out. OK I think I’m going to use it these days I’m going to need to plug it in 24 hours in advance, give it overnight to heat up but in the meantime turn the dang thing off because it’s a hog. We haven’t done that yet because I’m in the middle of hip issues but I believe that’s going to add a lot.
And you start to look for you start to challenge assumptions. I would have said before I started this. I would never even thought, Joshua, to go to the hard stuff like unplug the dang hot tub. But now that you made a little progress it becomes an adventure to find other ways to close the gap. And that’s the way we’re looking at. So the hot tub could most certainly be a big contributor to that and we’re going through as a family now trying to consider how else can we do this. And I’m convinced little things will add up too. Little things like OK, when you’re done charging your iPhone, take the dang charger out of the wall or buy a battery. You know we bought battery, I have a battery pack now to extend the life of my charger so I don’t have to plug it in as often to charge it up as often use as much energy. And you start to look for ways to do that.
Joshua: Yeah. What I found over and over again it’s not that little things add up. Although they may, I’m not going argue against that. But that action leads to more action and experience leads to seeing things that were beyond your horizon before. I have a feeling you’re going to start…For me, I make a change and first I’m not doing something but then I replace it with something and then I start getting into what I replace it with. And that’s a big thing. It’s like when you stopped doing the hot tub. I mean there’s a lot of people in the world who don’t have hot tubs who are pretty happy. So you start figuring out do I need the hot tub to be happy? When you do use it you probably enjoy it more than you would have otherwise.
Scott: That’s right. That’s correct. I’m already seeing that. Even carbon usage brings you to the next level of “Do I need it at all?” So it might be a bad example because of medical reasons I needed for at this point but you know I’m not going need it for medical reasons forever. So you really have to challenge your assumptions of what exists in your life that you need to get by on. You know God bless the poor people of Puerto Rico. God bless them. I hope they get their power back soon. I wonder if some of them are going to learn. Well, first of all, they’re going to value power even more and maybe they’re going to learn lessons about what they really need in their life for power and what they don’t.
Joshua: And you don’t have to be in Puerto Rico to learn that.
Scott: That’s right. That’s right.
Joshua: So what we’re talking about here is values. I see what you are giving up. What value are you getting and what are you doing internally?
Scott: Great question.
Joshua: You’re unplugging things. But what’s driving you? What does it mean?
Scott: Great super question. And I think it’s simple. I actually think it’s very, very simple. It’s that human power and that human tendency to feel like you’re doing your part. I know I don’t have to get you wound up on this but you know my family and I we have discussions all the time about global climate change deniers. And there was an article about Bill Nye, the science guy who’s back at it again out there trying to help people understand the damage that these deniers are doing. And so we think of this negative force in the world or people that for whatever reason don’t want to believe the truth.
And we feel like to offset that balance until that can be corrected, the rest of us have to step up and do something. So what’s happening internally is just like this fortitude but also this feeling of responsibility that as a person who lives on this planet now I’m going to have to do my part because there’s evil forces out there trying to create the exact opposite force believe it or not. So it’s actually more rewarding than I thought it would be because yeah, OK, am I going to change a thing in the planet by shaving 15 percent off? I don’t know. Maybe what I will do is getting a chance to talk about it, convince other people to do it and it creates a positive waterfall from there. So that’s kind of what’s going on internally for us.
Joshua: I am so glad to hear that because it reflects so much of… I mean I don’t call the other people evil but to me that’s such a big thing of you live by your values. Living by your values just makes your life better and you start finding out what you like and what you care about. And like sauerkraut, to me before I guess I think like who cares? To me it’s about delicious, it’s about connecting with farmers and people around me and my food is just I don’t know, it’s really delicious and community and stuff like that. And I’m glad to hear that that’s you’re… It sounds to me like you’re at the beginning of something because it sounds like you’re going to keep going.
Scott: Oh yeah. We’re not done yet. Right. And I know that’s the entire purpose of issuing these challenges is you should be you know suspicious if you get people back on your show and they’re like, “Yep. Done. Next.”
Joshua: I had few of those. [unintelligible] I’m like that’s… I don’t get that but that’s the world.
Scott: Yeah. And I don’t want to cast judgment on them because for all I know their challenge was three times harder than mine. But you know I choose to have the spirit of it’s more of an awakening you know a mindset shift. It’s not just saving energy. It’s shifting your mindset.
And you know one thing I find very helpful you know to give listeners hope is I’ve been amazed at how I don’t know how to explain any of this to my daughter. My hope is that you know and she says her friends they all feel the same way of like “d’oh!” [unintelligible] have to like let your car idle? Use that feature in the car that now idles. Sorry, shuts down rather than idle which I have… I drive a Mini Cooper. I got rid of my big sports car when I moved into doing this writing and speaking full time I wanted to do some a little bit better for the environment so I got a little mini cooper and has the option to just idle or to shut down when you’re on a stoplight. And my daughter was, “Of course, we are going to do that.” And she says that on many things. I feel encouraged that maybe the younger generation, the xennials, not even the millennials are going to see how we’re messing this up as a generation, my generation and they’re going to help make change too because she’s been a real positive force in this whole thing.
Joshua: So I look forward to a third. I’ll put a little mark on my calendar that if I haven’t heard from you in a while, then I’ll check in.
Scott: Oh, sure yeah. You better.
Joshua: But if you have a revelation or you have something and you want to take initiative, then contact me and we’ll schedule right then and then I look forward to hearing how the next stage goes.
Scott: Sounds like a plan, Joshua. Thanks again for having me on your show. I really appreciate it.
Joshua: Thank you. Talk to you again soon.
Scott: Okay. Bye-bye.
A measurable reduction, accountability, joy, fun, closer relationships, teamwork. Yeah, there are things he couldn’t do but did he let that stop him? He worked around what he couldn’t do building the skills and experiences to continue. You have the feeling he is going to come back and do the things that he couldn’t do yet. He felt reward more than expected in places he didn’t expect and he got that team result by admitting his limitations letting people work together as a team. And not by suppressing guilt but by facing it head on and facing these feelings because that’s a part of him. Most people can’t even talk about personal change when they talk about things like environmental issues or dieting because feelings of guilt lead them to become reactive, protective and defensive. That’s lowering self-awareness. Instead, he lowered emissions and improves his family relationships in the middle of recovering from hip surgery. So I ask you what are you waiting for? If you’re letting something stand between you and acting on your environmental values, you’re standing between feeling reward, building teamwork, working with people around you. If you haven’t already I hope you see this as an opportunity to take on challenges and work with the people around you even more than you have before.
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