The Global Top 30 Gurus named Chester the world's number 4 best leadership speaker, trainer, and thought leader, as I happened to find while researching before our conversation. I had to ask him about it, which led to him sharing about it. Naturally, he spoke humbly about it, but we get some inside views of his rarified level of the corporate and government leadership world. (The list named two other podcast guests and one who hosted me). When I asked about his path, he shared so many wonderful and helpful stories, I kept asking him for more. I wanted to hear about his bottle commitment, but our conversation became a master class in more than becoming a leadership guru, but also to manifest any passion. You'll hear that his passion wasn't to do what it looks like he's doing when you just look at his behavior. That's what you see. He shares what motivated him to start and what kept him going through failure, working for no pay, fear, anxiety, and the things you don't see if you just see bestselling author. He shares about his experience decreasing pollution. I've had several guests who contacted me midway and said they couldn't figure out how to do their commitment. In all cases, with a little reflection and support from me they've surpassed their expectations. I confess I thought Chester might come back with not knowing what to do. On the contrary, he did it and shared the results. I meant to ask him if he felt "I could have done this a long time ago" because it felt like in the end, after he got past what he described we build up in our heads, he found the action simple and easy. He sounds like he'll find other things too so I hope he takes me up on the future invitation.
You're about to hear a conversation post-George Floyd by two leadership writers. Normally we write for mostly business audiences. this conversation felt more personal. Normally when a friend introduces a potential podcast guest, we start by talking each other's work and figure out scheduling. With Chester---maybe given his openness and, I think, mine, as well as the protests raging---we jumped into talking about race and our interactions with people of different color. We spoke for a couple hours about a topic that polite conversation often avoids, let alone makes it the first thing two people meeting for the first time discuss. Those past conversations set the tone for the conversation you're about to hear, also the continued protests, media discussion, and our growing friendship to keep speaking more openly. I posted last week, 2020 in 9 words: “Everybody wants to be heard and nobody is listening.” I think my conversations with Chester helped prompt that insight. By contrast, he listens. I'm trying to learn from him. Do you know of people in authority showing the world that they are listening and making others feel understood? In fairness, can someone with a national voice, with all the protests from different angles, make a group or bunch of groups feel understood? . . . or even feel listened to? When I teach leading groups, I use Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail as an example of someone making others feel understood, where his sharing his vulnerability as a father probably made his audience of protesters feel more understood and listened to than the ministers whose letter to the editor he responded to. It's the best historical example I can think of and I don't see renowned leaders following or matching him.