As always, Michelle is lighthearted and fun, even when serious. She laughs a lot. Partly because we've been friends over ten years, partly because she's mastered connecting with people. I see her everywhere (I'll call out her appearing on even longer-time friend and Leadership and the Environment guest Jordan Harbinger's podcast, where she mentioned me). Not often do I hear something in a podcast conversation that's a new habit I'm going to try. This conversation with Michelle led to two. I recommend them both and I'll try to find a way to report back how they go. Plus she shares how her book, the Connector's Advantage, keeps growing, now internationally. We talk environmental leadership. She shares her experience with plastic bags, something a lot of people tell me they want to do, but keep putting off. Note how she says when you commit to something it becomes a habit. It can be that straightforward. Habitualizing something makes it effortless. Michelle speaks with experience. I always think of diapers since I know so many parents. People say avoiding plastic bags or packaged food is hard, but from my perspective, changing diapers seems like it takes a lot more effort, attention, and patience than bringing bags to stores, yet first-time parents go from zero to 100% changing overnight. When people commit, they act like leaders and stewards. Fears about other people being problems transform. They see others as part of the solution. Acting on environmental values builds community.
I've known Michelle longer than almost any guest. I met her in business school, which would mean 2005 or 6. She may be the friendliest guest of the show, partly from our being friends. But I've seen her in a room of unknown people where she attracts people. They like her. It happens from skills she learned through practice. She's devoted herself to teach and develop them in others. I know because she wasn't always that way, nor did becoming that way come naturally, as she shares. She approaches connecting to help you develop your skills and to enjoy your results. To make the work feel good and for you to feel good working. I have little patience for people whose idea of connecting and networking means exchanging business cards only. I don't know what happens in other fields, but after you write a few books, coach a few executives, and give a few talks, LinkedIn floods you with people claiming to help you find clients, market your books, and so on. They claim to be connectors and to help you connect. They claim. I've found almost none deliver. Michelle is the opposite. She creates meaningful connections. She creates networks where people want to help you. Anyway, after our early joking, Michelle gets into her specialty to hear what her book is about. The self-leadership aspect of this episode is rooted in changing your self, your identity, your story, your inner monologue, and such elements of personal leadership. Michelle lives it. She writes about it. She shares it for you to develop. I consider these skills among the most important that you can earn. When we get to the environment, I'd say it sounded moderately important to her, but she sounds like she's taking on her challenge with enthusiasm. Too many people present environmental action as a chore. I try to lead people to feel otherwise. Michelle transformed her frame automatically. I saw unconscious competence.