—Systemic change begins with personal change—

551: Chad Foster, part 4: Flying to skiing, but not camping in the back yard


In this episode we talk about how to lead people, but I can't help notice on listening afterward how quick and easy it is for him to fly his whole family across the country several times a season, but impossible to pitch a tent in his back yard. Whatever effect I've had on other guests, it's not happening with Chad. What he shares about leadership, I agree with and his life transformation to adjust to circumstances he couldn't have predicted, we can all learn from, so I recommend listening (sorry about the sound quality on my microphone). He lost his sight, which hasn't led to a worse life, as best I can tell. We're losing our ability to eat meat, have as many babies as we want, and fly without these actions causing others to suffer and die. But unlike losing an ability most people would not want to lose, eating more vegetables and living more sustainably benefits everyone, especially people with lungs. Four conversations in, I see Chad starting to act but not beyond conversations with family. My diagnosis: I think I haven't connected with what the environment means to him so he doesn't feel intrinsically motivated.

542: Chad Foster, part 3: Experiencing nature, people, and sex without sight


Chad shares his experience motivating his family to try to bring them camping with him. You'll hear they didn't make it easy. I couldn't resist asking questions about his experience of nature, people, and sex without sight. I didn't want to ask questions everyone asks, but he graciously answered. His mindset also emerged of how to handle life's challenges, which he shared. If I could give people new technologies for sustainability or his attitude, I would pick his attitude, since it would enable others to solve their problems. If losing your sight would be a greater challenge than living sustainably, well, he sounds pretty happy and successful handling a greater challenge.

515: Chad Foster, part 2: A blind man overcoming the trap of feeling you have to fix the world


Our conversation in this episode starts by covering his commitment from last time. After a few minutes, it becomes apparent he picked a commitment based on feeling he had to fix the world---that is, extrinsic motivation disconnected from his heart. We revisited his intrinsic motivations and came up with a new commitment. Acting on intrinsic motivation is leadership. Your emotions create meaning or not. If you've been acting halfheartedly on stewardship, you may have fallen into a trap of feeling you have to act because the media or whoever warned you that you have to but the warnings didn't connect with you. So you feel you have to act for abstract, impersonal reasons. No wonder anyone would fall into that trap. Nearly all loud voices on the environment push them. We feel if we don't do enough to save the world, there's no point in trying. Chad changed his commitment to something more aligned with his connection to nature. See if you can pick up the shift. You'll hear he prefers acting for personal reasons. I predict you'll also hear his motivation increase, even become inspiring. I predict he'll do more and, more importantly, influence more people also to change, by starting where he is, not where others think he should be. If you've felt obliged to act but not inspired, Chad's experience and our conversation may help distance yourself from that burden

449: Chad E. Foster: How Do You Handle Huge Challenges? Not Big. Huge.


How do you face challenges? Not little ones like a pandemic lockdown for a year. Big ones. Regular listeners hear me talk about role models like Viktor Frankl and Nelson Mandela in the context of handling life challenges. During the pandemic, for example, I recognize there was suffering before, there will be suffering after, and there's suffering now. Our challenge is not to take on things outside our control since we can't, but to figure out how to respond, not just to the world but within our hearts and minds. We're locked down. Nelson Mandela was locked down for 27 years. If he could create meaning forced to break rocks, I can find meaning in my home, able to go out every day, with access to communicate with everyone, access all the culture ever digitized, and so on. In the context of sustainability, do we just give up? How do we find hope and resolution to act even when everyone around us says what they do doesn't matter or that only governments and corporations can make a difference? What role models can we find. Today's guest, Chad E. Foster, lost his eyesight as a teenager, but that didn’t stop him from becoming an executive for Red Hat, the world’s largest open source software company and securing over $45 Billion in contracts throughout his career. He is the first blind graduate of the Harvard Business School leadership program and did what Oracle said could not be done; he built a software solution that created job opportunities for hundreds of millions of people. His direct and confident style, combined with a go-for-it inspiring belief system (he is an avid downhill skier… and that’s not a joke), has made him a high-impact speaker for leaders at companies such as Google, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, GE and Microsoft. He also skis double black diamonds, which he talks about learning.

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