Leadership and the Environment


357: Steven Pressfield: The War of Art and Nature

Ep. 357

Steven Pressfield's War of Art is a perennial bestseller. If you haven't read it, I recommend reading it, even if you delay listening to this podcast. Well, listen to this episode since it will prepare you.

Before I read it, I could not have imagined someone writing it. I can't think of another book like it. It's helped countless people start acting on passions.

Steven shares how the book emerged---things you won't get from just reading it. After we finished recording, he told me how he shared new things in this episode and he's appeared on many podcasts.

I also commented on how the resistance he described to the individual on the verge of creating translates almost perfectly to two places, the individual acting on his or her environmental values as well as us in our communities, as a nation, as a species. Listen to hear his comments on that observation, and why his response made me feel so honored, flattered, and motivated to follow up.

He's friendly. We spoke a bit after stopping recording. I asked him about an op-ed piece I'm working on that I feel expresses myself well and will serve the world but many people will object to. It feels great to hear from someone who has inspired so many to weather those risks to be true to yourself. Resistance looms large nonetheless.

Anyway, I don't recommend that many books, but I recommend War of Art.

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368: Chester Elton, part 1: Asking and listening across color lines

Ep. 368
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.