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The Courage to Walk Through Doors — Amanda Eversole

Contributor: Jacob Adler

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton. Every Tuesday at 7 pm EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body, and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Amanda Engstrom Eversole, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff of the US Chamber of Commerce and acting president of the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation.  She was recently named one of Wharton’s 40 under 40.  They discussed how she manages her high powered career while hewing to her core values – how she aligns her actions with her values.

Stew Friedman: You’ve just been promoted to the President of the Chamber’s Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation. How did you end up in that role? Tell us the brief highlights of how you got to this role right now.

Amanda Engstrom Eversole:

Washington, DC, USA - October 23, 2014: Amanda Eversole. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Washington, DC, USA – October 23, 2014: Amanda Eversole. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

My background is actually in communications, and I started off about 15 years ago as a business development person within an advertising agency in Washington, D.C, completely unconnected to politics in any way.  I thought I really wasn’t going to fit in in Washington but I wanted to figure out what the public policy world was all about. I went over to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and what we are is we represent businesses broadly from small companies to large companies before the government, before the court, and before what we like to call the court of public opinion. I came over in a relatively junior level position and worked in a communications capacity and since then I’ve had about 22 different jobs in that time. I’m sort of what you’d call the utility player. When we’ve had a project that’s hard and they needed somebody to jump in, roll up their sleeves, and figure it out, I’ve been that person on a number of different projects and so this Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation is the latest example of that. It’s really a startup organization within the Chamber of Commerce. I’ve had that for just a few months now.

SF: What’s the mission of the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation?

AE: We’re actually figuring that out as we speak and I would be really interested if some of the listeners, if they’d like to reach out to me offline or through social media, that would be terrific.  What we’re really trying to do is give technology companies of all sizes a voice in the public policy development.  What we’ve found is that particularly in the startup world, you have companies so focused on getting their companies off the ground that they don’t see possible regulation or legislation that could have a massive impact on their business model. We’re trying to connect that process much earlier in the cycle. Likewise, on the flip side, with larger institutions, we’re trying to make sure that their voice is represented as part of the broader business community.

SF: So you’re wanting the public to speak to you in and add their ideas about what exactly?

AE: Well, we’re defining our mission. Innovation in the economy is what’s going to be driving the job creation, which is really the heart of what the Chamber of Commerce is focused on.

SF: You didn’t graduate and say I’m going to be the the head of technology for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, did you? Or was that the plan?

AE: Absolutely not.

SF: So how did you get there? What was the path that led you this type of work and what you believe is important about your life and your purpose in your work?

AE: It’s really one where doors had been opened for me along the way. The headline is really about having the courage to step through those doors. Candidly, at the time, I didn’t always know what I was doing. I’ve often come across people who have been very clear in what their life mission, from a work perspective, has been. They wanted to be a doctor, they wanted to be a lawyer, they knew what their calling was. I, on the other hand, didn’t.

SF: I think that’s like most people. So you didn’t know, so what did you do?

AE: When opportunities came up, by default, I would say yes. My career at the Chamber, I’ve been there for over 12 years now, which if you had asked me at the beginning if I thought I was going to stay in any place for more than five years, I would have said very unlikely. But the beauty of this organization for me is that I’ve been given the opportunity to go and create several new programs from the ground up and learn how to add value to our membership. It’s a unique business proposition because we represent businesses broadly so I have a chance to think about things from a different perspective, meaning how would businesses of all sizes or industries be affected by a particular public policy or by a particular piece of legislation.  Once you understand how to do that, applying it to the different policy areas is all about learning the substances, because you already have the tools in the toolkit at that point. So I was involved in our Capital Markets Group in the lead-up to and following the financial crisis. It was a very important time, clearly, not only from an economic perspective but also from making sure that any policies, or ultimately the Dodd-Frank Act that was passed, prevent future crises but don’t ultimately impact the ability to raise capital for businesses of all sizes. So, different subject matters, but interesting how you can apply it in business contexts of all fashions.

SF: So the core mission, then, how would you describe what the core mission of the Chamber is and in terms of how it relates to what you believe is important about business and society?

AE: At the end of the day, we’re advocates for our members and businesses of all sizes, and we find it to be our role to speak up and say things that perhaps businesses can’t say on their own or would prefer that a trade association like the Chamber might say. Formerly one of my positions was as Chief of Staff and I was able to leverage our resources broadly, not only from a public policy perspective but I also led our charitable giving program.  One of the things that was important being a student of yours in the Total Leadership Program was making sure that all four of my domains were aligned with what my own personal interests were. So I was able to figure out how to tie together both a work objective and being a good corporate citizen, and also my own personal belief of how to give back to the community and society. That was really sharpened and honed through this program, and we’ve been able to do some really wonderful things, both for our staff and for the community as a result of that.

SF: So tell us, what are you most proud of in terms of what you’ve achieved in that capacity?

AE: Well, there have been a couple things. The first is there was a domestic violence shelter in D.C. called WEAVE, Women Empowered Against Violence. One of the things I like to sharpen when we’re deciding where to invest our time and our resources is where our dollars and where our time is going to make the biggest impact. This organization’s mission is to help women and men who are victims of domestic violence find not only access to legal resources but access to resources to get them out of situations that are difficult. We were able to provide our resources and we were able to gain access to people who volunteered their time to help from a financial standpoint. The organization was about to go under, and we were able to extend the life of the organization for well over a year. Unfortunately, it ended up closing down and reforming in a different capacity, but that one year’s time was so important. We helped many survivors of domestic violence to have a second chance. If we hadn’t there, there would be dozens of people who would have been in very difficult circumstances.   I’m really proud of that work, and there are a lot of different cases like that.

SF: So this is an interesting example taking advantage of an opportunity at work that enabled you to have a real positive social impact on an organization that you wanted to support and to also help your organization in some important way. I’m assuming it also it also helped your career, I’m inferring. Is that accurate?

AE: Absolutely.

SF: That is a great example of integrating the different parts of your life in a way that works for all of them, to look for and take opportunities that enable you to express what you believe is important and especially when it’s going to be helpful to your business life. You just had your first child. How has that changed things for you and the role that you play in the Chamber and how you’re thinking of your career?

AE: Everybody told me before I had the baby that it’s going to change my life completely, but until she was born and until I had held her for the first time, I really truly couldn’t understand what that meant. It’s just a richness and we are so blessed to have her. I’ve only been back at work for one month now. Interestingly I was promoted into this technology capacity two months before I had the baby so there’s been this break between work life and family life and now I’m trying to manage both together and its caused me to think through and make some difficult choices. As I alluded to earlier, one of those choices was I stepped out of the Chief of Staff capacity, where I had a relatively interesting job design with three very significant management roles. One with the technology program, one in an operational capacity as Chief of Staff, and one in our Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness. And the beauty of having three months away from the office, where I was actually fairly disciplined at staying away from email and really focusing on the present and my child, my family, was when I came back my perspective was quite different.

SF: How has it changed?

AE: I thought about things like how can I set myself up to be successful rather than just taking on more and taking on more. I made a very conscious effort to see how I could do things differently and end up performing at a very high level. This entrepreneurial effort as it relates to technology was where the growth was, whereas the operational role, albeit extremely important, was something that I had done for a while and it was likely time to pass that opportunity on to someone else. But it was quite hard for me, to be candid with you, to say I can’t do everything anymore.

SF: You said earlier in our conversation that one of the keys to your successful growth in the early stages of your career was to step through the open doors. This is kind of contrary to that, isn’t it?

AE: Absolutely. There are days when I wonder if I made the right decision. When I take a step back and take a deep breath I’m very certain that the answer that is yes. It’s an inflection point and I’m sure that many people, particularly working mothers, question themselves: are you letting your career go by? are you making decisions that put you on a different trajectory? In this case, I felt like I needed to make sure that I was going to set myself up to be successful. And it was fairly evident to me that trying to do, in essence, three full-time jobs in addition to my new daughter is impossible. The idea of doing all those things so-so wasn’t appealing.  So I made a decision, and it will be an interesting experiment.

SF: What do you expect and what do you hope for? What do you think is going to happen? This is new for you, to say “no” to opportunities as opposed to saying “yes” to open doors.

AE: I expect that I’m going to have days where I’m going to be motivated to jump back into my old capacity. I’m going to have to be very disciplined about not doing that. Being Chief of Staff is one of those roles where people have been very conditioned to come to me for certain questions or certain advice. Helping people find somebody else to serve them in that counseling role is very important. On the other hand, it’s very easy to get dragged back in if somebody knocks on the door and just needs a few minutes. Then the next person needs 15 minutes and all of the sudden, your day has been eaten up.

SF: Right, but that’s been, as we have been saying, the key to your success, to be available, to jump in there, and be the Jane of all trades. And to get it done no matter what. Inflection point is an interesting way to put it. Saying “yes” is something you were really good at and got a lot of rewards for. What do you think is going to be helpful to you to have the courage to be able to draw those boundary lines?

AE: Well, I think a lot of it is how this new program is ultimately structured, and a lot of it is the team that we ultimately build. One of the things that I find to be both most satisfying and most important is creating a structure so people can succeed in the tasks ahead of them. Finding the talent who can help create this program from the ground up is exceedingly important. It’s the discipline of being conscious of my behavior as opposed to simply reverting back to what’s comfortable and what I have done to date.

SF: What’s the most important thing you want our listeners to know, both about what you do with the Chamber and what you discovered about leadership through your journey?

AE: One of the things that was most illuminating as a student in your program, Stew, was the conscious decisions that we make and I now no longer talk about “work -life balance.” Rather I talk about how do I make sure that I’m aligning myself with my own personal goals in the appropriate way and not just reverting to whatever is the most in need of attention and is drawing my resources that way. And while it’s never perfect, and clearly my daughter has changed everything in a very great way, it is being conscious about how I move forward in all of these various domains that at least gets me to the appropriate starting point and gives me the control to decide how I move forward as opposed to just reacting to what comes across the transom.

SF: Do you have a specific thing that you do to help you make those conscious and deliberate choices?

AE: It’s about friends, family members, and coworkers that help me through this journey, personally and professionally.

SF: They’re holding you accountable to what you believe in.

For more information about Amanda’s work and where you can contribute to the conversation at the Chamber about what the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation should be doing, now is a good time for you to go and add your voice by going to cati.uschamber.com.

Jacob Adler , jacob adlerW’18,  is a sophomore at Wharton and a contributor at The Daily Pennsylvanian, numberFire, and Fake Teams.

Solving a Problem Created a Business — Nova Covington

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton. Every Tuesday at 7 pm EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body, and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Nova Covington, CEO and Founder of Goddess Garden Organics.  She joins me today to share her unconventional journey from her rural upbringing to leading one of the fastest growing and most innovative natural skin care companies.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: Nova Covington is the Founder of  Goddess Garden Organics. She joins me today to tell us about her unconventional journey from a rural upbringing to leading one of the fastest growing and most innovative natural skin care companies and how her mission driven company is profiting by embodying its values. Nova, could you give us the capsule summary of where you came from and how you got to be the founder of  Goddess Garden?

Nova Covington: I grew up in the Canadian wilderness and the Oregon rainforest. My family was always inspired by natural healing. My great grandmother was an herbalist so she passed down to the family love of things like echinacea and goldenseal. I was brought up thinking natural products were all the  rage everywhere.  It wasn’t until I became a mom in my 30’s that I had an experience with my own daughter that inspired the real impetus for starting the company.  My daughter, Paige, was born and was allergic to synthetic chemicals. Even with the products that I was finding in natural grocery stores, she was still breaking out in hives.  That first year we started with sunscreen and I was like “wow! there’s up to 35% toxic chemicals in this bottle.”  And no wonder she’s having a reaction.

SF: Even in those that were labeled “organic?”

NC: The organic movement hadn’t quite started yet.  Even natural products had parabens and known carcinogens and a lot of synthetics were still being used —  especially bubbles and surfactants.

SF: Surfactants?

NC: Yes. That’s the stuff that makes soap foam. Any foaming is usually a synthetic.  There are a few natural sources, but that was the inspiration for starting the company and we really have bootstrapped this brand. We started as a small farmer’s market brand in Boulder, Colorado. Like other great brands, we grew up in Boulder, like Justin’s and Celestial Seasonings, starting at farmer’s markets learning our market. I was my target market so that helped a lot. I understood what I was looking for and solving a problem really created a business.

SF: How did your growth happen so rapidly or is it only recently that you’ve experienced a surge in interest in your products?

NC: The first event we ever did was back in 2005. We sold out of sunscreen at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.  Hindsight being 20/20 I would have ditched all our products and just gone right for sunscreen.  But in 2009 that’s really when we launched in the natural channel.  We launched in Whole Foods and that first year we had about 100 stores. Since 2009 we’ve more than doubled each year. This year we’re on track for more than 170% growth. So we’ve consistently—I jokingly say we’ve — organically grown.  Word of mouth has been huge for us. Folks love our sunscreen.  It’s a little more elegant. If you’ve ever tried a mineral sunscreen, a lot of competitors have very greasy and white formulas.  Ours goes on sheer and it’s nice to use. It even comes in a spray bottle, the container you’re used to with sunscreen. We did some really good innovative things as well. We put testers on the shelf on the first day so folks could try the product before they purchased it.

SF: So sunscreen was the big mover?

NC: That’s right. Sunscreen was the big mover and we’re still only focused on sunscreen. This year we’re launching multiple other categories.  But for that you’ll have to wait till the end of the year. It’s going to be exciting.  You’ll be able to find our new products in the fall in Whole Foods. We’re innovating some really cool concepts between multiple categories in skin care that haven’t been done before. Innovation has really been the name of the game for us. We had the first “testers”, the first family-sized tube in natural and it’s still our top seller. Nobody copied us. And we wonder “why not?” People are always scared of the price point because it is an organic product which has been great for us! It’s made in America. It is more expensive. And we buy from organic farmers in the U.S. So we totally support organic farming businesses here in the U.S.

SF: So you did this out of the need to help your daughter, Paige, deal with the hives she was getting from these synthetic products?  How did that morph into a company with a mission to make a difference?

NC: I think the mission to make a difference came even before the company started.  I started at Hewlett-Packard, had a great corporate career, got a Master’s degree, and did all these different things but the whole time I was thinking, “I’m not using my skills. I really should be doing something good for the earth.” I was training leaders to be better leaders but in the long run is this good for the earth?  That was always in the back of my mind so I knew I needed to do something and my path was going to be to do something influential — developing products like ours.  We’re alternative products is really how I see it, for folks who either have allergies or want a better product for their families. Two, it’s totally safe and effective.  We’re only using pure minerals.  There’s no side effects.  There’s no allergies and in the long run that affects the planet. What’s happening is the sunscreen chemicals are so small that they’re going through our water treatment plants and making it all the way to the ocean — even from the middle of the country like where I am in Colorado. There’s bleaching happening in the coral reef and they have tied it to sunscreen.   If you go to a snorkeling tour in Mexico, if your bottle doesn’t say “reef safe” on it, it will be taken away by the Mexican government in the protected areas.

SF: Wow!

NC: The Mexican government is all over it.  And of course you don’t want to be in and out on a snorkeling trip without sunscreen.

SF: Of course, but you have to have sunscreen that’s not going to kill the reefs.

NC: It’s the same environmental issues. We can’t process it out in the water treatment plants.  That’s actually why it’s a hormone disruptor for us as humans, especially for kids, and there’s infinite websites that I have used throughout my career.  The entire website was created as a breast cancer research database to help determine what the healthy product is and what’s safe.

SF: So what would you say are the core values of Goddess Garden?

NC: We want people to enjoy the sun again. We want people to have peace of mind, as they are putting on their sunscreen, that they are not doing more damage to themselves and the planet and it’s the best possible product and that you’re well protected. I mean the sunscreen is serious. Those bad burns are the ones we know we don’t want. Parents take it very seriously. They really want to know the product works and so that peace of mind is being able to enjoy the sun again and we’re a family brand. Our employees are treated as a family as well. So, I think that family values, and not in the generic sense, but caring about people and flexibility in the workplace is always one of the benefits that I make sure my employees have.

SF: How does that play out?  Can you give us an example of what a common practice might be in order to be ensure that people have flexibility and are being honored for who they are outside of work as well as at work?

NC: One of my marketing team members took three weeks to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.  And I said “do it.” He used all his paid time off and took some unpaid time as well. We’re still a fairly small company. We’re still under 50 employees.  I think being able to travel and do those once in a lifetime opportunities that come your way whether it’s travelling with your family, whatever it is that inspires people.  And a lot of people volunteer. They spend their time in outside organizations so on certain days in the week they say, “okay see you later” and go and volunteer for whatever it is. I think having work-life balance is really critical for me as well as my entire company.

SF: How is it for you as the CEO? I’m sure it’s not easy to draw those boundary lines to enable you to be the mother you want to be, spouse, friend, et cetera.  How do you do it personally?

NC: I think the first lesson is “you’re not perfect.” If I’m being an awesome CEO, I’m not being a perfect mom. If I’m a perfect mom, I’m not a great CEO. So, you can’t really be perfect all things at the same time.

SF: Bravo! It’s an important idea. You can’t do everything all at once.

NC: No. One little step at a time is how we got here. We always tell the team that each day to do what you can and chip away at the goals and head towards the vision.  And all of a sudden you’re there. Wow! Yeah we made it!

SF: So what does that mean for you though personally as you try to accept “okay, I’m not perfect.”  You have to make some adjustments in order to be the person and the leader you want to be.  And not just work but in the other parts of your life.  What are some of the most important principles that you try to follow to realize that ideal?

NC: I think one is not trying to micromanage and control every aspect of the business. I have fantastic people who I totally trust. I’ve collected these amazing people in our company that are from all over the place, from great brands, that have really done great things like Chipotle and Starbucks.

Having people that I really trust;  and without my supportive husband who’s been the real reason why I could not have a salary for a few years in the beginning when starting the company, and all those things that you do, the sacrifices you make as an entrepreneur. He has been so supportive. He’s actually the formulator of the products; he has a nutritional science background.  He’s really been the rock. And a year-and-a-half ago he left his upper level management job at IBM to join the company.

So, he’s my COO now. That is the key to me having more balance and having somebody great that I trust in that role.  He does the CFO job as well. He has an MBA from CU Boulder with upper level management experience from IBM.  He had about 400 employees under him and he helps me a lot. Without his help, I wouldn’t have as much work-life-balance as I do. We’re usually juggling.

SF: How do you find time for your personal life and your family time when you’ve got your COO next to you at home?

NC: Well, our kids start to bill us a dollar every time we mention Goddess Garden. They cut us off, “can you discuss this later at work?  We don’t want to talk about Goddess Garden.” I have an 11 year old and a 4 year old and the 4 year old is happy to cut you off!

SF: The 11 year old?

NC: She’s pretty into it. She sees herself as a part of the brand.  Up until this last year her picture was on the package with mine — another very unconventional move that we made.

SF: You mean to have your personal picture on there?

NC: Yeah that was an innovation as well and now I see a lot of brands putting a picture of someone on the front.  But we did a big re-brand in the fall and launched in March with our brand new packaging with a great design firm from San Francisco

SF: So your kids cut you off but, how do the two you, your husband/COO/CFO, find time to devote to the things that are beyond your company when you’re together at home?

NC: There’s a few things we do. We have a lot of hobbies in common like road biking. He supports me while I’m doing yoga and I support him while he’s mountain biking. I think spending time to do the things that you need to regenerate yourself is important. And then we have date night once a week. Having time together without the kids, without the business. Especially when he joined the company full time that was when we said, “Ok, we need a night designated as our time.”

SF: And how does that effect the performance of your company – having the time that’s just for the two of you?  In other words, how do investments in your family life, community and for yourself actually help you at work?

NC: By staying more connected, which is super important when you’re running a company together, you have to make sure you agree on things.  Communication is really important. We do take time, when the kids are asleep, to talk about business issues. We have a 9 PM cut off rule; past 9 PM we can’t talk about business anymore. Those are some of our techniques that we’ve accumulated to help us stay balanced. And still, you struggle everyday. Balance is an ideal we all shoot for but you have your days when it gets a little out of control.

SF: I abhor the term “balance.” And I’ve been advocating for over 25 years now that we talk about harmony or integration among the different parts of life because balance is impossible. A better way to think about it is how to create a sense of integration or harmony over the course of our whole life not at any one minute.

NC: I love it! Not having a separate work self,  I think being myself at work helps me. I totally agree with your point on balance. I don’t make any New Year’s resolutions but I choose a word for the year and a couple of years ago my word was balance. About half way through the year I said, you know balance is always a struggle.  It’s like a knife edge you’re trying to stay on top of. I agree with you; it’s the wrong metaphor. And harmony was my word of the next year after that.

SF: What does the future hold?

NC: We’re going into 4000 CVS stores Memorial Day Weekend. We’re in REI and all the natural grocery stores.

To learn more about Nova Covington and Goddess Garden visit their web site www.goddessgarden.com

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.

Dual Career in Couple-Run Family Business

Contributor: Morgan Motzel

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton. Every Tuesday at 7 pm EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body, and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Jordan Lloyd Bookey, Chief Mom and Co-Founder of Zoobean, a service that helps families discover children’s books and apps at home or their local library. Before she decided to make the leap to the entrepreneurial life, Bookey led teams working at the intersection of technology and education at Google. As a speaker, educator, and mom, she is passionate about innovations in education, technology, and startups. Friedman spoke with Bookey about the challenges and insights gleaned from starting a social enterprise with her husband, Felix Lloyd.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation. Or listen to the full podcast here.

Jordan Bookey with Stew Friedman

Stew Friedman: You call yourself “Chief Mom”, and your husband Felix Lloyd is “Chief Dad”. Those are interesting titles for business; a lovely way I suppose to integrate the different domains of your life. What do those titles really mean though? What do they signify to the people who work with you—your clients, customers, other stakeholders?

Jordan Lloyd Bookey: When we were deciding what we would call ourselves (because we were co-founders and husband and wife), we initially thought that I would be CEO, COO. However, since we were both doing everything together at the beginning, we decided not to delineate responsibilities in that way, at least to start. The idea was to have something more playful that we used to refer to ourselves. Interestingly, within a few weeks, you wouldn’t believe how many friends said to me “I love that so much because it’s showing that family is a part of your life and that you put that first—you’re really integrating these pieces of your life together, and I love what that says about your company and your mission.”

SF: What does it say?

JLB: I think it says this is who I am, and I’m bringing my full self to this job. I am a professional in all work situations, but there are times when I really am Chief Mom, and I have to leave on a Friday because the kids don’t have school or my daughter was called home. There are many difficult challenges to being an entrepreneur as well as having a family business, but forgoing your family all of the time is not one of those. You really do get to decide [to prioritize family], and I think we’re putting that decision out front and saying this is really what matters first, and this is a core part of our business. That is as much for us as it is for our customers.

SF: Have you gotten any pushback? Like hey, if you’re a mom, how are you going to deliver the products on time?

JLB: I think Wharton has helped with that stigma. The way people perceive the Wharton pedigree works to counteract that. What we have heard, though, from many couples who are entrepreneurs together, is that you shouldn’t go in and pitch together or try to raise money together. You don’t want to both be in the room and remind people that you’re married because it will be perceived as a distraction. What if they fight? What if they get divorced? What if anything else happens? A relationship can overcomplicate things, so we try not to remind people about that part of our lives [that we’re married].

SF: What’s the biggest challenge you find in working with your spouse?

JLB: I’d say the biggest challenge of working together is carving out the space (to use your framework, Stew) for self. Because so much is together—work, family, and community. That is actually the hardest part… besides the actual work we’re doing. It’s so important, though, to make that space and find time to nurture yourself, and it can be especially difficult [for me] because it feels like every part of our life is intertwined, so I don’t really have that space. For many people, your work space is separate from family, but for us, work and family are circles on top of each other.

SF: What have you found that works for you in terms of finding time to restore and rejuvenate—to tap into the things that give you sustenance?

JLB: If you had asked me this a year ago Stew, I would have said “I don’t know, and you probably shouldn’t have me on this radio show!” [laughs] But we have recently found ways that work for us through implementing what you call experiments.

For example, it’s really important to me to do yoga and work out. We both aim for 4-5 days per week where we wake up at ungodly early hours and I am doing work while he goes to the gym and then drops the kids off. At night then, he’s helping with the bedtime routine, and I go to the gym or go to yoga. It helps to be able to have those separate spaces. We’ve also recently started carving time to spend with our unique friends and making sure we have planned date nights, especially ones that aren’t necessarily just the two of us but with other people in the community as well. It’s good to have other people we are able to connect with because we already do spend so much time together.

We did (and still do) really have to force those things though, otherwise honestly there’s no end to the work. We could probably be home every Saturday night just working, doing laundry, and other “exciting” things.

SF: The exciting and wonderful aspects of the entrepreneurial life. Let’s stay on this subject of boundaries, which I think is an important issue in family business, especially in the case of a couple-managed business. You can maintain those boundaries by making commitments and being very explicit about the needs that you have both as a couple and a company. What advice would you give listeners about how to make that happen?

JLB: I think one piece involves just being honest with yourself and not trying to accommodate what you think the other person really wants. That can get really muddled. In a romantic partnership, you often think to yourself what do they really want… they say this, but they might really want that…? But in a work relationship, you need to be extremely honest and direct. It’s a different dynamic, and you can’t take things personally if someone doesn’t like something you’ve done or doesn’t agree with it. At the end of the day, it’s nothing personal, but still it can be hard to separate those two things from each other. For example, at one point I was working from early in the morning until maybe 2AM every night because there was a limitless amount of work to do. I was thinking that this is probably what Felix wants, given that we’re both so dedicated to the business and there’s so much we want to do.

SF: It sounds like you were making assumptions about what his real needs and expectations were.

JLB: Jordan Lloyd BookeyExactly. And I also wasn’t thinking about what my needs and expectations were. One of the most important reasons why I wanted to start this business was to be able to spend more time with my kids and have that flexibility. So Felix and I talked about it, and we realized that it actually is important for me to have those few hours per day with the kids. I get scared thinking about looking back later in life and feeling as though I missed that chance to spend time with them. From there, we discussed how we were going to manage that need, and what it would look like for us. In a family business, it’s important to express when you’re unhappy about something in your personal space, but then you must also be able separate that out from what is happening workwise.

When it’s happening at work, just keep it at work; when it’s happening in the personal realm, try to still keep them separate. One domain does not always need to impact the other. It’s a hard balance to achieve, but it’s critical for us to attain what we want both for our family and for our business.

To learn more about Jordan Lloyd Bookey and her work, visit Zoobean and Beanstack and follow her on Twitter @zoobeanforkids.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.

About the Author

Morgan Motzel Morgan Motzelis an undergraduate senior in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at Penn focusing on Management and Latin America.

Resilience: Eric Greitens

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton. Every Tuesday at 7 pm EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body, and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Eric Greitens, a former Navy Seal, Rhodes Scholar, and Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, and founder of The Mission Continues, a non-profit that helps returning veterans continue to serve in their home communities.  Eric is also the author of the New York Times best seller, The Heart and The Fist the just-released, Resilience: Hard Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: Why is this book called Resilience and why did you decide to write it?

Eric Greitens: Eric GreitensI got a phone call from friend in trouble.  Zach Walker was a tough kid from a Northern California logging family.  Went through B.U.D.S. (Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training) together. He graduated and went to Afghanistan on a combat deployment. He came back and became an entrepreneur. He was a good father to his two young kids, then his life was just hammered by hardship: his brother died, he lost his business, and one day he pulled his truck into his driveway, got out and dropped to the ground because he thought there was a sniper watching him.

SF: He was paranoid. He was hallucinating, perhaps.

EG: He laid there for hours and then he went into the house. He had post-traumatic stress disorder. And then Zach started drinking. And he did nothing in moderation so it was not a six pack but a cooler full of beer that he would be working through on the weekend. He called me after he’d been arrested. So now my friend who is a Navy SEAL war hero entrepreneur has now come home and is the unemployed alcoholic guy on disability who’s looking at the prospect of having his kids come to visit him in jail.

I got home that night and I wrote him a letter about resilience, about how you actually get better when things are hard. We all have times in our life when we have to deal with fear, with pain, with suffering. When you have resilience you can make it through the pain and you can actually become wiser. You can confront fear and become more courageous. You can move through suffering and become stronger. We all know people who’ve been broken by tragedy but you can also be strengthened by it.

The book is 23 letters to my friend which draws on a lot of ancient wisdom about how we can approach things that are hard and actually use those as opportunities for growth and to become stronger.

SF: So what’s the purpose of the book? Why publish the letters?

EG: I want everybody to know there’s hope and that you can build resilience. You’re not stuck with how much resilience you have or don’t have. This is a virtue you can build in your life and there are a lot of really practical things that you can do. Zach told me that the process, these letters, really saved his life. If this can be helpful to other people who are in tough spots — and it doesn’t have to be as dramatic as Zach’s. When people retire they often wonder ‘what do I do next?’ When people go through a job transition or when things are difficult at work or at home – everybody faces different kinds of hardship – and hopefully this can be helpful to them as well.

SF: So what happened to Zach?

EG: He found that the process of reading the letters and reflecting on them created a lot of clarity in his own mind. Each letter addresses a different thing that you can do in your life to build resilience. For example, there was a letter about how you build purpose in the face of pain. We can always bear hardship better when there’s a reason behind it; when we know why we’re moving through it. And one of the things Zach was struggling with was the lack of sense of purpose. He’d been a Navy SEAL and every day he woke up and he had a mission to conduct and a team around him and all of a sudden all of that had been taken away. We talked about how you could start to build that.  And what’s really cool is that he did! He did a number of different things: he did some counseling, he did some volunteer work at his church. And what really ‘caught’ for him is that he’s coaching. He coached football last season. I just spoke with him this Sunday and he’s coaching a baseball team of kids. They’ve got their home opener in a couple of weeks and he’s doing really well because he figured out to build purpose.

There’s a chapter, for example, about responsibility. How you get rid of excuses and take control of your life even when everything seems out of control. He took each letter, now each chapter, and digested it, thought about how it applied to his own life and then, took action.

SF: So how do you get someone to take responsibility especially when in state of mind of not really being fully able to listen?

EG: You are not responsible for everything that happens to you, but you are responsible for how you react to what happens to you. If you’re going to ask somebody a single question to measure how resilient they’re likely to be, the question that you want to ask them is, ‘what are you responsible for?’ You find that the more responsibility people take, the more resilient they’re likely to be. And the analogy that I used for Zach:  I said, “Remember when [in the Navy SEAL training] they taught us how to survive if we were ever taken prisoner of war? Remember how they said that you can have your freedom taken away, your ability to stand, you have no control over your food, your schedule, your sleep, but what they taught you is you can still maintain control over your thoughts. You can maintain control over the way that you breathe?” And what people do in tough situations where everything seems out of control is they figure out what they can control and then they start to take ownership of that.

And then we started to talk about a really important piece, and you and I have talked about this in the past, is why excuses take hold and how you get rid of those.

SF: So how do you go from a victim mindset to one of having a sense of control?

EG: Excuses take hold because we use them and other people offer them to us because they prevent pain. People use excuses because they work! Something comes in and it looks like it’s going to be kind of hard and somebody makes an excuse. It’s kind of like putting on armor; it shields you from pain. Then something else comes in and you put on another sheet of armor and it does protect you. That’s true. But what also happens is that you can’t live a full life. How well can you run when you’re wearing armor? Or how well can you swim? How well can you hug your kids? So while it protects you in the short term, over the long term these excuses actually prevent you from living a full and flourishing life.

People can take away a lot of things from you. They can take away your home. They can take away your freedom. They can take away your material possessions. But no one can take away your excuses. You have to give those up yourself or not at all. And he took responsibility for his own life, let some of those excuses go and he started to push himself and to take responsibility.

SF: How do you get past doubt and fear to a point where you can let go of the armor of excuse and assume responsibility for what you can control? What’s the first step toward that more hopeful life-fulfilling direction?

EG: There are five key mental toughness techniques that people can use in the face of fear.  One that was relevant to Zach was that he was worried all the time:  “How am I going to support my family? Should I go back to school? Would I be able to make it?”  He was worried about his sense of identity; he used to be a Navy SEAL and everybody admired him “and now look at me.” He had all of these worries in his life and friends, family and doctors were saying, “Don’t worry so much. You don’t need to be worried.” And that’s advice we hear in our culture but it’s usually terrible advice because you’re going to worry! And now you just feel bad about the fact that you’re worrying!

You have to learn how to worry productively. If you go back to the Stoics, 2000 years ago they had a practice called the pre-meditation of evils. Marcus Aurelius, for example, in his meditations he quotes Epictetus who says that every night when you kiss your children you should say to yourself they may not be here in the morning. That was their reality 2000 years ago. The likelihood was that your kid might not make it past age 5. So what the Stoics did, not just with their kids but with everything, they allowed themselves purposefully to think about things that might go wrong. But instead of thinking about this in an endless loop of worry what you do, in the pre-meditations of evil, is the practice we call rehearsal.  You imagine:  “how will I react if this thing goes wrong?  How will if find my way through? And then if I react there, and something else goes wrong, then how will I react to that?” You purposefully imagine yourself all the way through difficulty until you get to a place where you’ve achieved excellence.

Athletes do this, Navy SEALS do this when practicing for physical things. But you can use this premeditation of evil in every practice.  You could use this when you’re heading into an interview. You feel your heart start to beat and that nervousness comes. Imagine what will you do then, what will you do to regain control over yourself? How will you be calm? That’s just one technique. But it’s really important to learn how to confront fear productively.

SF: So what’s the first step out of doldrums?

EG: You need to take positive action that rooted in your identity. The problem today (and for Zach) is that our culture has flipped the way we used to think about actually achieving success. Today there’s too often an emphasis on feeling. The first question people ask is “How are you feeling? How does it feel to you? How’s your job? How are classes?”  The trap there is that you start to believe that if you feel a certain way, then you should act a certain way. And then, of course, the way that you act actually shapes who you are, your character, your identity. Broadly speaking, in the ancient world they flipped that on its head. What Aristotle said was,  “You know what the good thing is by seeing what the good person does.” You look for a model to create an identity for yourself and then you say,  “if I want to be that kind of person, how should I act?” And then you act that way. And then the way you act, of course, shapes how you feel.

In the Chapter on Identity I asked Zach, who do you want to be? He was able to say I want to be this kind of father, I want to be this kind of husband,  I want to be this kind of leader in my community. And then we created models for him to follow and he took positive action. That was how it started. He grabbed onto this sense of identity.  And I should say: None of this is magic. All of this is hard, struggling work that he had to do, but he did it and he got out.

SF: So what about models? You were there for him, you challenged him and gave him ideas.  Is it necessary to have someone helping you?

EG: I think it is necessary and it’s one of the reasons I wrote the book, so that people could read it and they’d have, hopefully, a friend who’s asking them these hard questions that they can reflect on. That’s what people used to think Philosophy was for. Now when we think about Philosophy we think of it as something that happens in classrooms. It used to be that Philosophy was a shared endeavor and it was not so much about sitting and thinking as it was about thinking and living. You measured a Philosopher by the impact they had on their students. So Cato, who never wrote, was considered a Philosopher. Marcus Aurelius, who only wrote in his private diary, was considered a Philosopher. This is an old practice of how you have friends help you to live a good life.

In terms of Models: I said to Zach, “if I brought you a giant bag full of jigsaw puzzle pieces and I said you have to put the puzzle together then what would you ask for?” And Zach said, “I’d ask for a picture.” Of course!  You want to know what you’re trying to make. The thing is life only hands you pieces. But you have the opportunity to pick a picture.

Zach was talking about his brother dying, losing his business and more. I said, look I have two brothers, they’re both alive. I don’t what it’s like to lose a brother but I know there are many people who have lost loved ones and have been able to deal with it. You need a model for that. Is there a person you know who’s lost their brother and who you admire how they dealt with it?

SF: So, you’re looking for someone is similar circumstance who found a way to thrive?

EG: Exactly, an entrepreneur who had post-traumatic stress syndrome, somebody else who was struggling but became a great father. Let’s look for those models and then when we see how other people have dealt with what we now have to face it often gives us confidence about what we can create in our own lives.

SF: It takes a dialogue that is rooted in identity and real action. I know you’ve done this kind of outreach before. What motivates you to do this kind of work as a philosopher yourself?

EG: In the beginning this was just my buddy who needed help. And Zach was a guy who always took care of me when I was going through the SEAL team training. We took care of each other. Then he calls me and he’s in trouble. I said, “Come on, man, I can help you here.”  And he wrote back to me. And just like any endeavor where we find we’re being of service, we learned so much from it. It, of course, made me a stronger person as well, the process of writing the book.

SF: What’s the hoped for impact?

EG: I’m hoping that for other people that are in a tough spot, or whose friends or family members are in a tough spot I really hope that this book will be hopeful. In the sense that they see that there are really practical things that they can do to build resilience in their lives. This is NOT easy. It’s tough to build virtues. It’s tough to move through hardship. It’s tough to change the course of your life. But it is possible to do. And I think because it draws on a lot of wisdom from our religious and philosophical traditions about how we do this in our lives in a practical way I hope that it will give people hard-won and real lasting hope.

SF: How might this apply to organizations? To society? What can companies be doing to build resilience in their employees?

EG: One, is, just like with individuals, you have to take responsibility to be resilient. When you have a community or company where people are in the habit of saying I am responsible for this, it leads to resilience. The big distinction I make is between the morality of intentions vs. the morality of results.  People say, “I really wanted to help. I was thinking of helping.” The example I share is I have an 8 month son at home and when Sheena [my wife] asks me, “Did you feed the Joshua?” I don’t get to say, “I wanted to feed the baby. It was really important to me.”  No, you either did it or you didn’t do it. And too often the morality of intentions says that what matters is what I say or intend, not the result that I created in the world. People who are resilient pay a lot of attention to the actual results that they create in the world. And because they’re always paying attention to the feedback that that get it creates a kind of humility. And at the same time enables a kind of boldness because they see the actual results that they’re getting. And really great leaders in organizations model that kind of responsibility.

SF: Can you give an example? What’s a good model?

EG:  Obviously you get great examples of this in the military.  One of the things that you saw in the military, especially the Navy, was a ceremony called the Change of Command ceremony. At a very particular instant in time one captain of a ship, for example, passes responsibility, hands over command, to another captain. And at that moment the new captain is immediately responsible for everything that happens on that ship. And there’s no sense where any Navy captain would ever say, “Well, you know, I really wanted to do this, but I got handed a bad deal or was handed bad cards or I’m going to blame something on my predecessor.”  There’s an immediate sense that you are responsible for everything that happens on your ship.  And I saw that kind of leadership in the military and I think that’s one of the things that helped us to maintain resilient communities in the field teams and beyond.

SF: What about for society? I know you have plans for potential service in public office. What are the priorities for us as a nation?

EG: For us to build the kind of political culture that we need to build resilience we have to look back.  America has always been a resilient country. Perhaps one of the most resilient in the history of the world. And one of the reasons why we were resilient in the past was precisely this thing that we’re talking about – you had leaders who took responsibility. It engendered a tremendous amount of trust and confidence in government even when people disagreed with the individual decisions that leaders were making.

For example, Harry Truman had the lowest approval ratings of any President that we have ever measured – 22% toward the end of his term. And this was because he made tough decisions. He fired McArthur. That was unpopular. He promoted the Marshall Plan which was initially unpopular. He did a lot of unpopular things but at the same time as his personal approval ratings was in the low 20%, Americans’ confidence in government was in the high 70% low 80% because he was saying, “the buck stops here.”

And in that same way you John F. Kennedy in the Bay of Pigs — he took responsibility. People knew he was taking responsibility for the Cuban Missile Crisis. The classic example of Dwight Eisenhower, when he was General Eisenhower, writing a letter of resignation in case D-Day went wrong saying that he was going to take responsibility for it. So there was this sense that you had leaders who grew out of this culture of saying, “I’m responsible for results.”

What makes people despondent is not so much when there’s something really hard in front of them, it’s when they feel like there’s powerlessness and people at the top aren’t taking responsibility.

SF: So how are you going to change that?

EG: I’ve set up an exploratory committee for the Governorship of Missouri. A lot of people are saying that we need a new approach. We need some innovative ideas. That’s what I’m looking at right now.

SF: What’s your hope? What would be your priority if you get there?

EG:  One of the things that we’re doing is building a vision for the State for people buy into and to generate a sense of well-founded excitement and hope. I think that you have to have a vision. What I’m doing is visiting farms and businesses and schools and prisons to actually meet people who are solving real problems and putting their hands on things. I think that if you bring a kind of nuts and bolts leadership perspective to this you start to see what it is that needs to be done.

To learn more about Eric Greitens, go to www.ericgreitens.com and follow him on Twitter @EricGreitens.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.

Finding Career Purpose in Tragedy’s Aftermath — Chris Marvin

Contributor: Andrea Yeh

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton. Every Tuesday at 7 pm EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body, and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Chris Marvin, WG’11, Managing Director of Got Your 6.  He previously served as a US Army officer and Blackhawk helicopter pilot and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal.  After returning from combat, he has worked as an advocate for other veterans, notably as the Director of the Fellowship Program of The Mission Continues. Marvin earned an MBA from Wharton, where he was a student in Friedman’s Total Leadership course.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: As a wounded veteran, what was your experience like when you came home?

Chris Marvin: ChrisMarvinI was wounded in a helicopter crash near the Afghan-Pakistan border in 2004.  I was a platoon leader for an army aviation unit.  I was 25 years old, I had 25 soldiers and officers under my command, I was in charge of $25 million of equipment, and to top it all of, I was also in the 25th infantry division.

I broke both of my arms and my foot, damaged my face, knees, hips and shoulders.  When I came home, I was really struck by a few different things.  First, there are a lot of people willing to help.  I was very lucky that I had family that was very supportive, and the medical system was helpful to me during my four-year recovery.  About a year after my crash, I was going to my mailbox, and I pulled out an envelope that was addressed to me from a nonprofit I had never heard of.  Inside was a $500 check.  At the time I didn’t need the money.  These people didn’t know me and didn’t know whether I needed it or not, but they sent it anyway because they had my address and they knew I was wounded.

SF: They were trying to be helpful.

CM:  Yes, but to me, it felt like they assumed I was in need of charity or pity, and I didn’t feel that I needed that. I had a lot to live for and a lot to get back to and wanted to be challenged to continue my service and leadership.  So, I gave the $500 to a local food bank because I knew that the community—wounded veterans or not—needed that money more than I did, and it set me on a path.  I found that little spark that resided in me to help people. And I used that to help others understand that veterans, wounded veterans especially, are not always in need of charity.  A lot of times we just want to be challenged to continue our service here at home and to be part of something greater than ourselves.  I spent a lot of time working with other veterans and on the national network to help veterans re-instill that sense of purpose in their lives.

SF: Why was it important for you personally to be able to help other wounded veterans?

CM: We have a group of people who have chosen to serve in the military over the past decade or so.  If you think about it, these are a few million people that have raised their hands and volunteered to fight the longest war in the history of America. They’re predisposed to service in some way and they’re taught leadership skills funded by our taxpayer dollars, so they’re tax-subsidized leaders, if you will.   And when we come back and are out of our uniform, we don’t stop feeling predisposed for service and trained to be leaders.  We want to continue to do that.  The problem is that oftentimes Americans don’t expect us to do that.  They thank us for our service and expect that we’re done.  But for me, I was 25 years old, and I had a lot ahead of me.  I wasn’t done with anything; I had barely started anything.  For me, it was important to rediscover a sense of purpose, and I did it in a few different ways.  A couple of years after I received that check I discovered a nonprofit that was challenging wounded veterans to do service in their communities.  That nonprofit was called The Mission Continues, and I got in on the ground floor and led their fellowship program for a few years before I came to Wharton.

SF: Tell us a little more about your role in leading the fellowship program at The Mission Continues, which was co-founded by Eric Greitens, who was one of the subjects of my recent book, Leading the Life You WantHe was one of the six people I profiled, and you’re the one who introduced me to him.

CM: He’s a great leader and a great mentor.  I was in recovery and living at home in Hawaii.  They were just getting started and didn’t have a lot of funds.  We were giving out fellowships for wounded veterans to engage in volunteer service in their own communities.  We were able to do this for a few dozen people while I was there.  Since I left, they’ve really blossomed financially, and they’ve given out thousands of these fellowships.  They’re the leader in what we now call the veterans empowerment movement, which refers to these groups of nonprofits that aren’t treating veterans as charity cases but are instead asking them to step up and become leaders in their civilian communities.

SF: What led you to Wharton?

CM: I was lucky that because I was wounded, I was then exposed to people from the military community who are operating at a very high level like Eric Greitens or others who had served in the military and were making the transition to bigger and brighter things.  I thought that maybe business school would be a good for me.  I look back on these things, and they all stem from one incident, one event in my life, which was being wounded in combat.  It took me a long time to realize it, but that helicopter crash was a pivotal event and I came to understand the idea that something so tragic could also be something so beneficial.

SF: In Leading the Life You Want, I describe how great leaders find creative ways to use their experience, sometimes traumatic, to benefit others.  What did it take for you to convert that terrible experience into a transformative event that propelled you to a better life in some way?

CM: I don’t think there was a moment when I decided that I was going to change.  I think that was always in my mind.  Whether it was conscious or not, it was hard for me to admit it out loud.  There was one fatality in that helicopter crash, and you don’t ever want to say that that was the best thing that ever happened to me because that day wasn’t a good day.  It wasn’t about that day or about where the helicopter ended up or about the individuals that were injured and the one that died.  It was about every day beyond that day.  I think that it was always innate in me—even as I lay in that hospital bed—either get busy living or get busy dying.  You either give up or you don’t, and I never had any intention to give up even when I was still trapped in that helicopter before they extracted me from that aircraft.  While we often say that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, I don’t believe that’s how society tends to look at returning wounded veterans.  They often assume that we’re in a really bad place, but maybe for most of us who have been wounded—depending on our injuries—it could be and probably should be one of the better things or best things that’s happened to us, at least from the perspective of a formative experience that’s full of growth.

SF: What exactly did you have to do to be able to convert that experience into something of value in your future?

CM: I think one of the major lessons is the idea that in one moment everything I had to wake up for in the morning was gone.  Then the only thing I had to wake up for was my physical therapy.  So I focused on that for a while until that was no longer something that I needed to focus on all day every day.  And then you try to focus on something else.  The discovery is finding that sense of purpose, and I had a lot of things fill in the blanks before I found The Mission Continues.  I used to be the guy who played really conventional sports in high school—golf, basketball, baseball, and track—and I ran track in college.  But after my injuries, I couldn’t do almost any of those.  The one thing that I can’t do very well now is run and jump, which is very ironic for a college triple jumper.  But I started surfing and doing yoga, which are low impact.  I also learned Hawaiian; it was part of my experience of being there and being in that culture.  I took up these things to fill that time gap and that purpose gap. There were many things that I found to fill my time, of which the Mission Continues was not the least of them, in working with other veterans to find their purpose.

SF: So tell us about how Got Your 6 works.  What do you do, and how does it help?

CM: Got Your 6 is the endeavor to change the narrative in America about the veteran.  So you heard me tell the story about the $500 check and how I didn’t want to be treated with pity or with charity.  We think that those narratives are too prevalent in our culture.   We’ve done some great surveys asking Americans what sort of cultural perceptions of veterans are typical, and it’s two things: broken heroes.  It takes a measure of cognitive dissonance to believe that someone is both broken and heroic at the same time.  For us, those things are fine—we’re not telling anyone that they’re doing anything wrong—but at Got Your 6 we try to normalize the portrayal of veterans.  We specifically focus on the entertainment industry.

We have relationships with the major studios, networks, and agencies in Hollywood where we’re able to work with their content creators.  We help inform them about the breadth of veteran experience that they could be incorporating into their shows and films.  We show them that they don’t have to very heavy-handed about it.  It doesn’t have to be a veteran show about a veteran character with a veteran storyline.  The best example is Modern Family.  Ed O’Neill’s character is a small business owner, a patriarch, and a loveable guy who mentions every once in a while that he was in the Navy.  So he’s a normalized veteran.  He’s a lot of things, and he happens to be a veteran.

SF: That cues the watching audience that there’s a normal guy who’s doing normal things who is also a veteran.  How does that help returning veterans?

CM: I think what our society has done over the past decade or so is to exceptionalize veterans, whether it’s positively or negatively.  Our society has a notion that veterans are different and separate from civilians, and when you exceptionalize, by nature, you’re segregating—you’re pushing them outside of societal norms.  Our society has the conception that how a veteran will react to societal norms is different from how a civilian would, but it’s just not true.  One of the biggest things we joke about is how veterans are people too.  They’re mothers and fathers and husbands and wives, and they’re living the rest of their lives—usually the majority of their lives—after their military service.

SF: But they have had a unique experience, right?  So in some ways, that does make them exceptional.

CM: Not everyone’s had helicopter crashes.  In fact, less than half of the people who served in the military since 9/11 even went to combat.  That’s important, but all of us did maybe two things that were very similar: we all wore a uniform at some point, and we all received tax-subsidized leadership training.  So you as taxpayers have invested in this cohort of people by given us this training.  There’s no reason why you shouldn’t ask for a bit of a return on that investment. That is what we’re trying to promote and what the data support as well.  A lot of the problems that we hear anecdotally about veterans aren’t supported by the general cohort’s data.  Take, for example, unemployment.  Veterans have been more employed than civilians for around 102 of the last 105 months.  When people try to narrow it down and say that that young veterans are unemployed at a higher rate than all other people, perhaps they are, but that’s usually because they’re young or they’re job switchers or they’re taking some time off.  Usually it’s not because they’re veterans.

SF: There are a couple things that are in the news that I want to make sure that I get your take on.  American Sniper had a huge box office this past weekendYou have seen it; in fact, I understand that you prescreened it.  What’s your take?

CM: I was lucky to prescreen it and attend the premiere in New York, which was fantastic.  We at Got Your 6 think that for the most part American Sniper got it right for veterans.  That means a couple of things.  Veterans are really nitpicky about the technical details. Nobody in Hollywood is going to get it perfect, but as far as films go, this one got a lot of the technical details right.  To the degree that it is showing the American public what it might be like to be in Iraq or Afghanistan, I think it did a great job of that.

I think that what is really revealing for American Sniper was that when Chris Kyle, the character that Bradley Cooper plays, runs into a little bit of difficulty, he’s able to solve the difficulty by helping other people.  I think that’s a storyline that’s not always going to be worthy of the big screen but that we see over and over again in the veteran community.  Veterans who might be struggling and looking for that sense of purpose can often find it if they start helping other people.  That’s the language that you speak as a veteran and as a military member.  That’s why you do this in the first place.

SF: Part of the struggle is that his commitment is so overwhelming that it creates real tension in his marriage.  What did you think about that portrayal of work-family conflict?

CM: It’s a really tough nut to crack when you talk about some of the difficulties that families deal with when they’re separated. The military causes these separations and, in the last decade, on a more frequent basis for many.  About 4.3 million people have been in the military, and about 2.5 went to Iraq and Afghanistan.  That’s a large group of people who fought the longest war in the history of America.  It was an all-volunteer force, so this isn’t something that’s forced upon them and their families, but it doesn’t make it any easier to have mom or dad gone for six, nine, or even twelve months.  I think American Sniper deals with that well and deals with some of the reconciliation at the end, and that’s really important as well.

SF: To see their struggle and how they had to work through that tension was very powerful.  It seemed realistic to me, though perhaps a little soft around the edges.  We didn’t really get into the guts of the difficulties, but you saw the tension and the psychological disengagement that he continued to suffer.  He was so focused on the war even when he was back at home, so much so that he couldn’t be a part of his family’s life and that was a real struggle for him and for his wife.

CM: American Sniper did a really good job to show his desire to be back with his unit when he was at home and his desire to be with his family when he was with his unit overseas. This guy was at the top of his profession—he was one of the greatest American snipers. He’s really great at that, but he also wants to be a really great dad and husband too.  You can’t do both of those things at the exact same time.  They are in a way mutually exclusive.

SF: But he finds a way, over the course of his life, to create a kind of harmony.

CM: I think over the course of his life, he does, but not within the deployments.  Clint Eastwood and the team did a great job of showing the back and forth.

SF: You were at the White House today.  Can you tell us what’s on the horizon for Got Your 6 and what work you’re doing with the federal government?

CM: The big thing we’re able to do, because we work with nonprofits and the entertainment industry at the same time, is that we can bring the subject matter experts—the people who are working with veterans at nonprofits—to the content creators in Hollywood to help create some more true, real-life scenarios.  I hope in the future American Sniper and other films like Lone Survivor that have done it really well won’t be the exception.  They’ll be the norm.  And I hope we’ll have a part in doing this as well.

SF: So we’ll be hearing more from you.  What’s the key message that you want our listeners to take away from what Got Your 6 is all about?

CM: We want people to believe that veterans make America stronger and that veterans make America stronger when they come back to your community, your church, your school, your neighborhood, and your workplace.  The training that they’ve gotten, the leadership experience they’ve received, and some of the struggles that they’ve endured have made them stronger.  Instead of broken, we like to say battle-tested.  And I’ll leave one call to action for your audience.  The next time you’re with a veteran, and you want to say thank you for your service, please go ahead and do it, but promise to ask a second question or make a second comment as well.  Dive deeper into the conversation.  Don’t walk away after thanking them because I’ll just speak for all veterans and say that’s the part that we actually don’t like.  We want the second question.  We want you to ask something else and show us that you care a little bit about what we’ve done beyond the “Thank you for your service.”

To learn more about Chris Marvin and Got Your Six, please visit www.gotyour6.org, or follow on Twitter @GotYour6 or @ChrisMMarvin.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.

About the Author

Andrea Yeh Andrea Yehis an undergraduate junior majoring in Operations and Information Management and in International Relations.

The Power of Community Engagement: Laura Kohler

Contributor: Shreya Zaveri

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton. Every Tuesday at 7 pm EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body, and spirit).

On Work and Life Stew Friedman spoke with Laura Kohler, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Kohler Group, one of America’s oldest and largest privately-held companies and a global leader in kitchen and bath products. Laura also leads the Kohler Stewardship, the Group’s Global Corporate Social Responsibility Programs, which drives ethics, engagement, and community partnership.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: Kohler is a family business, but you weren’t always a part of it. When and why did you decide to join?

Laura Kohler: Laura KohlerI have an undergraduate degree in political science and a master’s in fine arts from Duke University. After managing a theatre company and traveling all over the United States, I landed in Chicago and worked a number of other jobs including teaching in public schools and auditioning for theatre. At the time, Kohler Foundation, an arts- and education-related foundation, needed an Executive Director. I never thought I’d move back to Kohler, Wisconsin (where I was raised), but they needed someone with an arts- and education-related background, and I happened to fit the bill, so I interviewed for the role. The CEO of the company at the time happened to be my father, and he asked me why I wanted to return to Kohler!  I was the queen of part-time jobs at the time—I was a waitress, an actress, and running around to schools.  It was tiring pulling together a lot of different jobs to make ends meet. I was about to turn thirty, and I decided I wanted one paycheck. I knew that I was good at managing because of my touring company experience, so I decided to put my acting career on hold. I took the Executive Director job, and I did that for about two years. Next, I was the Director of Public Affairs, and then Vice President of Communications globally, which involved managing advertisements and PR for Kohler. Because of my work with people and teams, I was tapped to run HR when the head at the time exited. It seemed an odd choice at the time, but as I said, I did have a background working with people, especially in education. One of my former part time jobs was with Outward Bound. Long story short, that’s how I ended up in the people part of the business. Service is a big component of our work at Kohler. We drive engagement, attraction, and retention through stewardship and giving people the opportunity to give back.

SF: Tell us more about how you give people opportunities to give back and how that not only enriches your business but also your employees’ lives and communities.

LK: The talent today really wants to be in an environment where they can make a difference in their jobs and also in the world in some way. We give them the opportunity to do so, whether it’s pushing for sustainability and clean environment practices, driving food bank contributions, doing volunteer activities, or creating their own fundraising initiatives for local organizations.

SF: How does that help the rest of their lives?

LK: I think your life becomes more integrated. Your job isn’t separated from your philanthropic work and your ability to serve and give back. My mother had a quote: “To whom much is given, much is expected.” I really think that those of us who are working at the company are blessed to be a part of stimulating work—we’re growing and thriving—and it’s time to take some of that energy and channel it into giving back and strengthening the communities that we work in.

SF: That’s an inspiring vision and certainly one that’s becoming increasingly common among the business landscape. How do you scale that? How many people work at Kohler, and how many can see the direct line of sight between what they’re doing every day and some means of giving back?

LK: We have about 32,000 people globally. The way we narrow our impact down is that we focus on the areas where we work and live—the communities surrounding our plants, our manufacturing environments, and our offices. We’re not trying to affect all of New York City or New Delhi. We are trying to have an impact, say, on the schools that feed our local offices.

SF: And how do you affect the schools?

LK: Well, for example, if we’re in Gurgaon, India, a suburb of Delhi, which is where our India office is, we’re working on bathrooms in local schools. We found that young middle school girls stop coming to schools if the bathrooms aren’t clean and private. It’s not acceptable that girls of thirteen and fourteen years of age just stop coming to school. We’ve jumped in and started to innovate and help schools improve their bathrooms.

SF: Wow. How did you find that out? What inspired that innovation?

LK: Well, we’re a sanitation company. We focus on the bathroom as one of our key product lines. Our teams were researching the key needs of the Indian community, and we found that sanitation was obviously very important. In other communities we focus on libraries and books, helping schools get back on their feet. They might not need bathrooms, but they need library volunteers, technical centers, or computer labs. We tailor our efforts to the needs of communities that are connected in some way to where our businesses are.

SF: I’m curious how that affects how your employees feel about the company, who they are, and their place in the larger world, especially within their families and communities themselves.

LK: Interestingly, we’re seeing more and more interview candidates ask about how they can plug into one of those initiatives to make that kind of difference. We actually interviewed a very high-level executive who wanted to talk to our head of stewardship before he made the final decision. So we are seeing that become a determining factor for people choosing the company. We also find that once they’re in the company it helps to drive engagement. You can lead a more integrated life if you don’t have to step outside of work to give back. When you are more satisfied and engaged, you are more productive.

SF: Do you see evidence of that?

LK: Oh yes. We do engagement surveys every other year, and our stewardship questions—about a respectful workplace, giving back, ethics, and service—are some of our highest scoring metrics about why they stay with Kohler.

SF: So it drives retention. What about engagement?

LK: We are seeing our engagement scores kick up with each passing year as we become more intentional about stewardship and give people the opportunity to be part of that story.

SF: What’s on the horizon now? What are some other ways you’re growing the stewardship initiative, and how is that creating value for your business?

LK: I think it’s important for companies to give freedom to their employees to allow them to plug into their communities in their own ways.  If they’re coaching or tutoring, for example, it’s important to allow for workplace flexibility and trust that employees will do their job at a certain point in the day, but they may need to leave the office at some point to make their contribution. We are trying to continue to be flexible and trust and respect that the employees will honor the work when they need to. The workplace is changing and becoming more fluid.

SF: I’m sure that journey requires some flexibility on the part of the supervisors as well. How do you manage letting go of some control?

LK: We’re still on that journey, but it requires trust on both sides and a track record of results. The employee needs to have demonstrated that they can handle the responsibility of personal community service efforts while showing results with their work. Then the supervisor has to let go a little bit. So it goes both ways, and when it works it is spectacular. When it doesn’t, it’s a tough conversation that has to be had, and usually it’s based on other underlying performance issues rather that their volunteer work.

SF: How do you manage the issue of people taking time and attention away from work to focus on their initiative? It does boost the brand, but it’s time spent away from work. What’s your policy on how to make decisions about how much time people can take?

LK: We don’t have a set policy. It depends on the job you’re in—some have inherently more flexibility than others. You may be on a phone call at night to another part of the world, so you can leave a little bit early that day to coach a team, for example, and then you come back at night. The flexibility of management depends on how work gets done and delivered. It is a completely different level of integration and challenge than ten years ago.

SF: It sounds like giving back through social action in your community is a key driver for your employees. Is there a fixed amount of time they can spend per year on community initiatives?

LK: No, it depends on the individual employee, and it is only constrained by whether we can still get the requisite amount of work done as a team while allowing the person to go out and do what they need to do. Not everyone wants to leave and participate, so it’s important to make sure that there is no resentment either way between the employees. Working on teams is important, and delivering the team’s objectives is also important. How we manage each individual’s flexibility and their work performance is, I think, a more sophisticated form of management.

SF: Do you have advice for others who are striving to take better care of the whole lives of their employees?

LK: I have found that when you ask employees what needs to be done to strengthen their communities, they are rich with ideas and energy. Helping them make those ideas happen will only enrich your company. As the community gets stronger over the years, so does your workforce.

SF: What a wonderful way to think about the role of corporations in society—both in terms of positive impact on their people and how that can ripple out by asking a simple question:  “How can we be helpful to the world?”

To find out more about the Kohler Company’s stewardship initiatives, you can visit them online or follow them on Twitter @Kohler. Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.

About the Author

Shreya Zaveri Shreya Zaveriis a junior in the Wharton School studying Management and Marketing and OPIM with an International Relations minor. She also serves as a vice president for the Work-Life Integration Project Student Advisory Board.

Plant, Scan, Pilot — Jenny Blake’s Pivot Method

Contributor: Morgan Motzel

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton. Every Tuesday at 7 pm EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body, and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Jenny Blake, author of the forthcoming book The Pivot Method: A Blueprint for Becoming More Agile in Work and Life (Portfolio/Penguin, 2016), and the founder of the Life after College online blog and program. As a career strategist and international speaker, Jenny helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny spoke with Stew about how individuals can find greater meaning in their work and offers suggestions on how to successfully navigate work and life transitions and uncover your values in order to make deliberate choices.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: Jenny, I just shared with our listeners a quote I love from Anne Frank: “No one has ever become poor by giving.” In what ways have you been enriched by giving in your life?

Jenny Blake:Jenny Blake I love that sentiment because I think it’s really at the root of careers. Often career change is a question of how can I best be of service? Your question is one that I ask my clients a lot. For me, it’s how can I turn my challenges and struggles into something helpful for other people. That’s not to say that any of us would ever welcome really terrible times, but we recognize that they can be transformed and shared. We all get this level of compassion and depth from going through adversity that makes us stronger. I think sharing one’s own experience by telling your story is a great gift which has no monetary association at all, but it can be really key to helping each other through transitions or times of need. Sometimes I think life can be sort of like a seesaw: someone is up and someone is down. I think being able to help pull each other through confusing transitional times in our life is a huge gift.

SF: Jenny, that’s what you’ve been doing, and that’s what you’ll be writing about in your next book. Let me back up here though—you spent five years at Google on the Training and Development team and a couple years before that at a tech startup. How and why did you transition to career coaching?

JB: At Google, I was doing AdWords product training. I learned that I loved being in front of a classroom every day, but I was more interested in the people who were sitting in my classroom than in the material. I had a coaching session that really changed my life, in which the coach asked me what my life purpose was. Nobody had ever asked me that before! It’s certainly not the go-to thing to discuss. Typically with friends, for example, I find we’re often complaining about one thing or another, and not really asking those big questions. I became very fascinated by the person behind the career and understanding that person’s hopes and dreams and fears. I wanted to know how I could help them facilitate their desires and navigate through challenges, so that’s really what led me to coaching. I was 24 when I started going through coaching training, and people looked at me like I was nuts: What are you doing here? Why do you think you can be a life coach? What do you even know?

SF: Seriously though, what does a 24-year-old know that puts them in a position to give life advice to other people? How did you respond to that criticism?

JB: I just did the best that I could. I chose to work with college graduates where I felt I could at least be of service to them. I wasn’t trying to tackle the whole world, but I also felt strongly that one of the beautiful things about coaching is learning a skill set such that coaches don’t have to be the expert in every single person’s life or in each specific challenge. It’s about listening and empathy and encouragement and cheerleading. Yes, some of it is about life experience, but I think so much of it too is about being a presence for other people—something we can all give.

SF: Certainly—our presence, our attention, our devotion, and our concentrated awareness of the other. How do you see presence as a gift, in terms of the impact it can have in a coaching exchange?

JB: I think presence is rare. Of course people today get a bad rep for looking at their phones or being distracted or not making eye contact, but beyond that I think it’s very rare for a person to have one whole hour to talk through what’s going on in their lives—what they really want to create and what challenges they are facing. Presence to me is such a gift because if the person listening can remove themselves from the equation for a minute, and not try to give advice or to judge, but really just ask a few big questions—studies show that we actually create new neural pathways in our brains when we’re asked to answer a question we’ve never heard before. Clearly, someone doesn’t have to be a trained coach to do this. At upcoming parties or family get-togethers you can ask, what are you most excited about this year? What are you most proud of from 2014? What’s the big, wild, and crazy thing you would do if time and money weren’t an issue? Go outside of the box a little bit and just listen. Hear what people have to say.

SF: I think those are three really good questions that people should be asking each other around this time of year. That’s great advice that we can all do to be informal coaches to our family members and friends.

JB: I also love asking questions like what did you learn this year? What are the three biggest lessons that you learned? Or even what was the biggest blessing in disguise? That last one I especially love because it takes something which, at the time, could have seemed like a really bad situation, and then it asks a person to find the good in it.

SF: Back in 2005, your book Life after College came out, which you wrote as a shortcut manual to guide college students through a major time of transition into the working world. Could you give us the one-minute version of what insights you distilled down about creating simplicity out of complexity?

JB: I would say the biggest thing is taking the time to ask yourself what do I really want? That’s not to say that we can have everything we want, and we can have it tomorrow; it’s not about being entitled. It’s about uncovering what is important to you and what are your values. What do you want to create in the next year, in terms of your career? Your friendships? Your family relationships? Your home environment? Your physical activity? What rejuvenates you? In my book, there’s a chapter dedicated to each of these main life areas—I provided tips, quotes, questions; a whole hodgepodge of resources.

I would say the real value is actually to be had when a reader writes in the book. I say on the front: This book is not precious, please write in it! I think that actually goes for all books—write in the margins, circle things, dog-ear it—make it your own, and own it. It’s not about the author, and I’m not an expert up on a pedestal; I’m not perfect by any stretch. The real value comes when you can read someone’s work and get a hint of inspiration and then take a small action.

SF: Let’s get into successful career transitions. What are the key ingredients? What must people be mindful of as they’re thinking of changes in their careers and how those changes will affect the rest of their lives?

JB: The first thing I want people to remember is that there’s nothing wrong with you. We’re going to change careers much more frequently than previous generations. The mid-life and quarter-life crises are, in a way, relics of the past. We can expect that feeling every few years, so “pivot” is the new normal. We talk about startups pivoting and changing direction, and now people are going to have to learn the skill as well—at least the ones who are going to be the most agile and flexible.

The way to pivot is to think like a basketball player and have a three step process: plant, scan, and pilot. If you can picture a basketball player, they start by rounding down in their plant foot. Your planted feet are your strengths, your networks, what you love, and what you’re good at. Essentially, it’s what’s already working. I think so often we forget what we already have so much under our belts, and we’re so overwhelmed by what we don’t have or what’s not working. You really have to start from that grounded foundation—what are my strengths, what do I know—and then scan just like the basketball player with one foot grounded. Scanning the horizons should actually be fun: talk to people, see what’s out there, and identify your options. Then the third step, pilot, is all about taking the pressure off to have the next perfect career move. Pilot implies small experiments, just like a pilot TV show is one episode to see if the whole show is really going to catch. In your own career, what small, tiny experiments can you run to just assess, do I like this thing? Am I good at it? Is there more where that came from?

SF: Can you give us an example of that?

JB: Sure. When I was at Google doing AdWords product training, I started to realize that I was mostly interested in people. I had an idea that I wanted to make coaching as easy for Google employees to sign up for as a massage, one of the favorite perks of the company. I created a Google 10% Project with a friend to make coaching accessible to all employees, not just executives. Up until that point you had to get approval for coaching from your managers because career coaching is quite expensive. We created a program called Career Guru, and it ended up becoming a global program a year-and-a-half later, when a career development team was formed at Google. I was well-positioned to get a role on that team, but if I hadn’t done my little pilot and started with that 10% Project, I may not have gotten on the team when it was eventually created.

SF: That’s a great example. I’d love to hear you talk about how that enriched the rest of your life. That’s really the focus on our show here: how changes in work and life can influence the other parts of your life and vice versa.

JB: Stew, I love the idea you talk about regarding having that dance between work and life and a healthy integration between the two. I also love the idea of piloting as being a scientist in your own life. I think the enrichment extends far beyond work: what hobbies bring me joy? Maybe I take one cooking class, and it leads to a whole flurry of activity, but it has to start with just one little experiment to see if you’re going to like the thing you’re trying out.

I think the same goes for relationships too. We put feelers out. In careers, for example, there’s a lot of pressure to find a mentor, but I’ve always found it awkward to just go up to someone and say, will you be my mentor? The pilot approach, on the other hand, would be to just schedule one phone call. If you hit it off, great, and if not, that’s okay too. Over time you can let it develop into something.

SF: That reduces the pressure by making it lower risk, and, as you mentioned before, there’s a lot to be learned in that encounter, especially if you’re paying close attention to what that experiment might yield.

JB: Absolutely. I think the spirit of always piloting is that you’re never done. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t ever have to have all the answers. I think we humans like a challenge, and we like complex problems, so if we knew exactly what we wanted next in our careers and in our lives we would be bored! There’s definitely some element of just celebrating the confusion.

SF: Earlier you started talking about how Millennials should begin to see pivoting as a regular part of life and perceive the “new normal” to be one of continual transition. What do you see in the millennial generation specifically in terms of managing the relationship between work and the rest of life? How is that playing out, and what advice do you have for people starting out now regarding that crucial relationship between work, home, community, and the private self?

JB: In a way, people are wanting to integrate these dimensions of their lives now more than ever. Work is no longer something that we just leave at the office. I think there’s a real sense today that people are willing to forgo some amount of financial compensation in exchange for more meaning in their work. Right from the get-go, Millennials are not trying to be entitled, rather they just want to contribute. They want to give, they want to serve, and they don’t want to file papers because they want to have an impact. I think that’s wonderful.

The question becomes, how can you start at the entry level—where you likely don’t have the perfect job yet—and still add meaning anyway? If your job isn’t 100% integrated into your life the way you would like it to be, or it isn’t your most-soul connected job, then do what you can do on the side. That’s not to say that I think everyone needs to create a side-business, but even if it’s just one hour per week of writing or volunteering or joining a professional association, I’d invite you to create the solution that you’re seeking. It doesn’t all have to happen from your day job.

SF: Find some small piece of what you’re doing that’s going to give you a sense of purpose that will inspire you. That seems to me also to be the single defining feature of the Millennial generation: this desire to create meaning and to heal the broken world that we’re living in, in ways that the previous generations haven’t really taken as seriously.

JB: Right. I find that, first and foremost, Millennials want to feel that they’re growing. If they’re not growing within an organization pretty quickly, they’ll be antsy, and rightly so, because they don’t want to become obsolete. The other side of the growth, however, is impact. People of all ages who are very growth-oriented individuals and enjoy learning feel most engaged when they are personally learning and growing. After that need is met, they want to focus on making a bigger impact. The question is when you do hit a plateau in your career, what skills would be most exciting to cultivate? And how can you build a bridge from where you are now to where you want to go and the impact you eventually want to have?

SF: So it’s finding time to complete those small steps toward an idea that inspires you and allows you to give in ways that you’re not able to right now?

JB: Absolutely. And building a long-term bridge drops the need for credentials. Stew, back to your original question, regarding one small thing we can each do to add value to someone’s life? Listening does not require any extra credentials than you have now. Anyone can do that.

Jenny is the author of the forthcoming book, The Pivot Method: A Blueprint for Becoming More Agile in Work and Life (Portfolio/Penguin, 2016), and Life After College (Running Press, 2011), which is based on her blog of the same name. Today you can find her at JennyBlake.me, where she explores systems at the intersection of mind, body and business. Jenny is based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.

About the Author

Morgan MotzelMorgan Motzel is an undergraduate senior in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at Penn focusing on Management and Latin America.


A Life of Learning Leadership — Eric Greitens

Contributor: Morgan Motzel

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Eric Greitens, former Navy SEAL and Purple Heart recipient, CEO of the Greitens Group, and author of the memoir The Heart and the Fist, about his not-for-profit The Mission Continues, which empowers returning veterans of foreign wars to continue to serve in their home communities.

Stew Friedman: Eric, you are the youngest of the six people that I profiled in my new book, Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life. The oldest, by the way, is Bruce Springsteen, so you two guys anchored the age scale. But you’ve truly lived a number of lives in the time you’ve lived on this beautiful earth: you’ve been a Rhodes Scholar, a humanitarian worker, a Navy Seal, and the founder of a very important and successful not-for-profit about which you wrote in your memoir, The Heart and the Fist.

Let me ask you about the moments that were of particular interest to me. You were a boxer and a humanitarian worker back in the 90s. What did you learn from those experiences that served you well in your service in the military and in your founding of The Mission Continues?

Eric Greitens:  Eric GreitensI’ve truly learned a lot from both of those experiences. I started boxing when I was at Duke University—college kid going down to a gym in the inner city there in North Carolina. What was fun for me was that I had this great boxing coach named Earl Blair. Earl Blair had grown up in the Depression, served in the military at the tail end of World War II, and was working in a warehouse when he was coaching me. His real passion, though, was teaching boxing, and he was really teaching life at night to a bunch of kids who really needed it in this gym in the inner city. One of the things that Earl always said to me when I was boxing was to “watch Derek.” Derek was one of my training partners—he was about 26 years old, a professional fighter, and a construction worker. Every time I’d step up to the heavy bags, to the speed bags, to the jump rope, Earl would always say, “Watch Derek.”

The lesson that Earl knew was that we learn best when we actually have models in front of us. He understood that it’s really hard for us to learn any new skill on our own, but when we have a model whom we can imitate and emulate, it helps us learn much more quickly. Now what was fun for me was that I’d be doing this down in the boxing gym, and then I’d be back on campus later reading Aristotle, who says, “You will know what the good thing is by seeing what the good person does.” So I had Aristotle and my boxing coach Earl Blair both saying the same thing.

The lesson I’ve taken from that, which certainly we use in the work we do at The Mission Continues with returning veterans, is that oftentimes, especially when things are hard, especially when people are facing a place of pain, hardship, and difficulty, they need to have a model in front of them for how to get through it.

In practice, what we do at The Mission Continues is, if we have a group of 100 veterans coming together from Afghanistan and Iraq, and we’re at the end of our opening weekend, we will make sure that over the course of the weekend they will hear from a veteran who’s dealt with and overcome severe post-traumatic stress disorder. They’ll see and hear the story of a veteran who might have lost his eyesight, lost a limb, or been severely burned. They’ll talk to people who had trouble integrating with their family when they came back, people who struggled financially or who struggled to set up or find private sector employment. By seeing these models of people who have successfully made it through hardship, people begin to see how they can do this again in their own lives. I think that was one of the things I learned from Earl that we use in the work that we do today. I think we always have to make sure, no matter what age we are, that we have models to emulate.

SF: This is a fantastic example of one of the skills that I really hone in on in your story. For each of the six people I analyzed, I wanted to see what are the skills that these great leaders and people of significance have cultivated to lead the lives they truly want and go out and serve others with their talents and passions. The one that you’re referring to here, Eric, is this notion of applying all your resources, which means taking what you’ve learned or somehow gathered in one part of your life and applying it in others. Learning the value of models, even 20 years ago, is something that you’re now bringing to bear in making The Mission Continues even more powerful. It’s just one example of many that is illustrated in your story, and it’s a great one. Taking the lessons of experience from wherever you get them—whether it’s a ratty gym in the inner city of Durham or on the fields of battle—and then using them later in life by harvesting those skills and applying them, which you did so well.

There are other things that you’ve learned, especially in your humanitarian efforts, about how people survive in the most challenging and even horrific circumstances. Can you talk about that?

EG: My first real experience of doing hard humanitarian work overseas was in Bosnia in 1994. As people will remember, this was during the horrible campaigns of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. I was 20 years old at the time, and I was living and working in refugee camps. I remember I’d see people step off of these busses into the refugee camps, and they were literally carrying everything that they owned. They’d lost their homes, they’d lost their clothing, and they’d lost every material possession. Many of them had also lost friends and had lost family. If somebody listening right now thinks about that—what it would be like right now to lose everything you own and step. What I saw that was interesting in the refugee camps was that oftentimes the people who were doing best in the camp were the parents and grandparents who had really young kids. The people who were oftentimes struggling the most were the people who were my age at the time, older teenagers or young adults. They felt like their lives had been cut short, but they didn’t really feel like they had any purpose to serve.

SF: Because they had no dependents? There was nobody counting on them?

EG: Exactly. The parents and the grandparents knew that every single day they had to get up and be strong because their kid was counting on them. That lesson, again, is something we took to the work we do at The Mission Continues, and I think it is a lesson for all of us. When things are really hard, when we’re really struggling in a situation of pain and hardship, it’s really natural and can be really easy to turn in on ourselves. What we often need to do is to remember the fact that there are other people counting on us to be strong. When we have a sense of purpose that is larger than ourselves, and when we remember that other people need our strength and what we have to offer, it often helps us to make it through those difficult situations as well.

SF: That is the ultimate theme that I drew from writing these six biographies. I looked back and thought, well, that’s it! Each and every one of the people that I wrote about, including you, has found a way to use their particular skills and passions and converted that to value to others. I think that is how you lead the life you want—you get the strength of confidence to progress through life, through all its disappointments and tragedies, by having this mindset of “Where can I serve?” and “How can I be of value?”

EG: One of the nice things I picked out from the book when reading about Bruce Springsteen is where you talk about how he embodies values consistently and creates this culture of innovation. It’s this idea that there are specific skills that people can pull on, build, and develop, and I think your book is a whole series of models about how people can learn from others to build the life they want.

SF: Another one of the skills I thought was so powerfully illustrated in your story was this notion of holding yourself accountable. Your story, to me, is such a wonderful example of doing that when you realized that compassion and charitable works were not enough, and that, when there are bad guys out there, they must be stopped through physical means. Can you talk about how you came to that realization and what it meant for you to make the decision to hold yourself accountable for what was emerging as your understanding of what your core values really were?

EG: I remember when I was a young kid, I wanted to make a difference. In the cleansing in Bosnia and in the genocide in Rwanda where over 800,000 to one million people had been killed, I remember talking to a number of refugees, and they all said some version of, “Listen, we really appreciate that you’re here, and we’re glad that there is a roof over our head, and we really deeply appreciate the fact that there’s food for our families to eat. You’ve even set up places for refugee kids to go to school…” But what was also really clear, and in fact, one guy in Bosnia said this to me: “If people really cared about us, they’d also be willing to protect us.”

I didn’t know what to say to him at the time, but I thought about what he said later, and I realized that what he said was true. If we really care about something, then we’re willing to respond not only with compassion, but we’re also willing to respond with courage. We’re willing to protect those things we care about. For me, at the time I was doing a lot of this work, I was a graduate student. I was talking a lot, I was thinking a lot, and that was all important. But I also felt very strongly that if I was going to hold myself accountable, if I was going to live my values, I also had to find a way to be willing to protect others. That led me to think about joining the US military and ultimately the SEAL teams.

SF: What was the internal struggle there to come to that decision? In terms of being willing to make that kind of change and sacrifice in your everyday life?

EG: One of the things that happens in life is that we all want good things. I was 26 years old, and I joined the military relatively late. At the time, I was finishing a PhD, and I was in a very comfortable place where I had an offer to stay in a university and continue to teach, and I knew that would have been valuable and meaningful work. I had an opportunity to go to a consulting firm which offered to pay me more money than both of my parents had ever made in any one year period, and I also had this offer from the United States Navy where they said, “We’ll pay you $1,332.60 per month.” They said, “The deal is if you sign up on the dotted line, then you’re going to owe us eight years. In return for that, we’ll give you one and only one chance at basic underwater demolition sea training. If you make it through, you’ll be on your way to being a Navy SEAL, but if you don’t, you’re still going to owe us eight years.” It’s not actually a really great recruiting pitch from the Navy. [Laughs].

But I remember as I was thinking about all of these options, there was actually a moment when I walked into this place on the University of Oxford campus called Rhodes House, and I looked up and saw these names etched in the marble of the Rotunda where you walked into the building. I didn’t know what those names were, so I asked somebody later, and it turned out those were the names of students who had left school in World War I and World War II and who had fought and died overseas.

It’s a really powerful reminder. It was a reminder for me, and it was a reminder, I think, for everybody who walks through those doors that our lives are only possible because people before us had been willing to serve and willing to sacrifice. And for me, at that moment, I thought about what you write in your book a lot about how we have to hold ourselves accountable. When I looked up at those names, I thought that I had to take advantage of this opportunity to serve and that I had to find a way to contribute, and again, that’s what led me there.

SF: So that was the turning point, seeing those names on the wall?

EG: It was a really important moment, yes.

SF: You also told me in our conversations for the book that, even as a kid, you had kind of fantastical ideas about wanting to be in a historical moment where you did something important.

EG: Yes, absolutely. I remember as a kid actually reading these books in my local public library—I’d hang out in a little corner and read—and I remember worrying that all of the great battles had already been fought. All of the important things had already been done, and all of these new lands had been discovered. I wondered, What can I do? What can we do? I think, for all of us, if we’re going to build our vocation and really build our sense of purpose, we’re going to have to find ways to embrace our own time and the challenges that we have in front of us. Thinking like that led me to go to Bosnia and Rwanda and start this journey where I joined the SEAL teams and started The Mission Continues. I wouldn’t have been able to anticipate any of that when I was a kid, but the journey has been a good one.

SF: So how do you teach that idea? How do you convey it to young people or the people you work with through The Mission Continues—this notion of finding that connection to what you really care about, what you stand for, what you’re willing to die for, and to move in that direction? I think that’s an issue that many people face, and learning to hold yourself accountable is a skill that’s not easy to hone and develop. It’s easy to slip.

EG: It is incredibly easy to slip, and I think that one of the things we have to do is to get rid of this notion that you can find your purpose. I often tell people you can’t find your purpose because your purpose isn’t lost. It’s not like it’s sitting out there somewhere waiting for you to find it. When you look at the lives of people who have really lived full and harmonious lives, as you talk about, Stew, you find that it is a process of creation. Often what we have to do is to throw ourselves into things, not knowing exactly where they’re going to take us. For me, it was throwing myself into boxing when I was at Duke and throwing myself into the study of philosophy. When you really dive in, it’s actually in that experience of pushing yourself, of challenging yourself, of having the right mentors, of being a part of the right teams—that’s where you really build that passion and create it, actually in the process of doing the work itself.

SF: Some people think of that as education. You explore new avenues for bringing your talents, your ideas, your passions to whatever circumstances are available to you, and you discover along the way, but you need help with that, right? Your story is such a great one in illustrating how you drew on the support of many mentors throughout your life and career. You wouldn’t be where you are now if not for Earl Blair, I would venture to say.

EG: I wouldn’t be where I am without Earl Blair, Barb Osburg, my high school English teacher, Bruce Carl, my Leadership St. Louis mentor when I was a teenager, so many great professors at Duke University, and so many good friends. I think that if we have the humility to recognize that everyone has something to teach us, then we can go out into the world and find ways to learn from our peers, learn from our fellow students, learn from colleagues, and really make everyone a teacher for us.

SF:  There’s an important caveat in that statement, and that is “if you have the humility.” You learned that somehow—probably your parents taught it to you or maybe you picked it up somewhere else. How do you coach people, especially young people, to understand the importance of learning from the world around them, and especially learning from people who have been around for a while?

EG: One of the things I think we have to do is to structure activities for young people where they are, in fact, learning from mentors. Too often today when we think about education, we only think about kids learning information. There’s an aspect of education in the sense that they’re going to learn information, but there’s also an important aspect of cultural training, and this comes from coaches, and it comes from mentors. I think it’s really important for young people to be engaged in these kinds of activities where they can learn from a mentor.

In fact, it’s important not just for kids, but for all of us to do that. I found it’s important for me to do it at my age. For example, I just started Taekwondo a couple of years ago. One of the great things about that is that I got to a place in my life where I was the CEO of my own company, I was running The Mission Continues, and I was writing books, but it’s really important in my life, and I think maybe for others as well, to always be at a place where you’re learning. It’s about learning wherever you are, and it’s about building a life so that in an aspect of your life you’re always learning from people around you. I think that spirit of always being the student, at least in part of your life, is really important, especially as we get into positions of more and more power and prominence where we’re leaders in companies and leaders in families. If we have that place where we’re also always students, it reminds us to stay humble and to keep learning.

SF: Eric, let me ask you just one more question. You’ve recently become a father. Can you give us a brief insight into how that’s changed your perspective on leading the life you want?

EG: I am so excited Joshua arrived just eleven weeks ago. It’s been a mind-blowingly wonderful experience. One thing that parenting does do for sure—and other people have said this—is that it gives you a sense of your own mortality. I’m excited for the life that Joshua’s going to lead, and we, as parents, really want to think about what’s going to be lasting and what our legacy is going to be.

Eric Greitens is the founder of The Mission Continues, a not-for-profit that helps returning veterans continue to serve in their home communities, and the CEO of The Greitens Group.  He is also the author of The Heart and The Fist and a former Navy Seal and Purple Heart recipient. For information on his new book coming out in March, Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life and more,visit him online at www.ericgreitens.com, or follow him on Twitter @EricGreitens.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.


Morgan Motzel is an undergraduate senior in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at Penn focusing on Management and Latin America.

Choose to Matter! — Julie Foudy on Work and Life

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Julie Foudy, former Captain of the US Women’s Olympic Soccer Team, current reporter and analyst at ESPN/ABC, and founder of the Sports Leadership Academy for girls.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: You are one of the six people I profile in Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life. You especially exemplify the important skills of knowing what matters, helping others, and challenging the status quo.  You chose, for instance, to compete in an international soccer tournament over your high school graduation.  You were the first athlete to go overseas to inspect a factory before accepting an all-important and lucrative endorsement.  How did you come to understand what was important to you, what mattered most, and how did you have the courage to act on your core values?

Julie Foudy: Julie Foudy I think probably my parents helped. I was the fourth of four kids and maybe it was a consequence of being the fourth or maybe they were just hands-off, in a positive way, to the point of not coming to soccer game when I was little. I was not ever dependent on their praise. Everything I did I did it because I wanted to. I was innately competitive.

So, when I chose to go to Italy with U.S. National Team instead of my high school graduation, there was so much drama – girls saying, “How could you?”  But that’s how I won my spot on the team. I asked my parents. Now, today, parents would say, “Go!” Today parents want “success.” My parents said, “What do you want to do?”

SF: How does knowing what’s important play out in your philosophy for your Leadership Academy?

JF: We say “choose to matter.” I’m a big believer that there’s not a box that’s checked off when you’re born that says you’re a leader.  Leaders come in different shapes and sizes, including those who are not most vocal or confident. Girls, instead of raising hands, they defer. It’s the norm even with the popular and confident girls. We emphasize that you choose your attitude. “Success isn’t a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice” was an epiphany for me. We help empower girls to make decisions which strengthens them because they know we trust them.

SF: So this cuts against cultural values that girls grow up with and they have to be taught, even the athletes.

JF: Yes, we teach them that it’s OK to voice opinion, to raise a hand. It’s a transformational experience that it’s OK to be different.  Parents comment, “My kid is totally different.”  They go home with a service project in their home community. Everyone can lead. It’s personal, not positional. So, some give time once a year at local nonprofit, or once a week at senior center, most do soccer clinics for kids with disabilities. So they have to create a team to support their idea, they need mentors to learn from, and they have to work with their parents. This quiet, awkward kid…and then the school takes it on, and then the community. It’s transformational.  We ask, “If I had a magic wand, what would I change?” End bullying, clean the local park.

SF: Everybody has something they are passionate about.

JF: Yes, and that helps develop confidence. We say, “I am the change.” Empowering young women.

SF: When you were playing and you learned that the women on the soccer tour were getting a raw deal and you began your new role as an advocate for women in sports.  How can people develop the courage to challenge the norm?

JF: The Women’s Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King, is where I first learned about all this. Title IX one of the most profound civil rights laws: Back then, only one in 27 girls was playing sports and now one in three are playing!  Title IX is an education amendment meant to help women get into universities and colleges. But in the fine print it says that any institution that receives federal funding has to provide equal educational and sports opportunities.

SF: So, what’s the most important piece of advice you have for challenging the status quo, for standing up for what matters most?

JF: I was told, “If everyone likes you, then you’re not doing the right thing.”  And the other piece of advice is to smile through it. You’ve got to laugh.

Julie Foudy, former Captain of the US Women’s Olympic Soccer Team, current reporter and analyst at ESPN/ABC, and founder of The Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy for girls.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7:00 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.


Building a Life, Not a Resume — Tom Tierney

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Tom Tierney, Chairman and Co-founder of Bridgespan, the leader in non-profit consulting, and former CEO of Bain.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: You are one of the six people I profile in Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life.  In my analysis of your life story, I describe how you exemplify the skills of envisioning your legacy, weaving disparate strands, and seeing new ways of doing things.  What do you do to ensure you’re building a life and not a resume?

Tom Tierney: Tom Tierny I heard recently that “days are long but life is short.”  It’s important to step back and ask what matters.  We are all different and have an opportunity to take advantage of our unique circumstance and gifts and apply those to achieve “success” as we define it. I try to step back and ask, “Have we achieved those things in life that matter most to us?” “What have you done with your gifts?” It’s not what’s in the bank or on paper.

SF: So toenvision your legacy, you try to keep the big picture in mind.

TT: What is success in life for me? I ask myself periodically. And at the end of the year I do a retreat with myself, and with my notebooks.  How’d I do this year with my wife? My sons? Work? Community? My volunteer activities? How’d I do? What can I do better? I keep a journal. A couple of dozen by now.  The act of writing helps me think about it and to overcome inertia.  Time marches on and we have to get ahead of time. I keep notes, get feedback from others.  My wife is my best coach. She asks, “Are you sure you’re living up to what you want to achieve?”

SF:  You have a commitment to continual learning and reflection, examining what is and what might be. And you invest time to reflect. But you must face pressure to get on with other things and pressure from others to do so.  How do you keep that commitment to journaling, reflecting?

TT: Discipline is a really important attribute. Someone asked if, all things being equal I’d rather have 20% smarter or 20% more disciplined on my team. It’s the later, because that person is able to make tough decisions at the margins, tiny tradeoffs. For example, I walk to work, and then there’s the escalator or 45 steps. I take the 45 steps.

SF: You’re smart about your choices.  They’re deliberate.

TT: Discipline manifests itself in little ways.  Do I exercise? Work at home or go in on the weekend? Not check email in the evening.  It’s the little choices on the margins that add up.

SF: How do you manage pressure from colleagues? How do you keep those boundaries?

TT: I find that most of the challenge is in my own head; thinking that I’m indispensable. I’ve experimented with being off the grid and surprisingly the world does not stop. And of the hundreds of emails, I find that someone else handled it, or it wasn’t really urgent. We too often focus on what is urgent versus what’s important.

SF: How do you remain focused on what’s really important and not get caught up in the urgent?

TT: I’ll ask the question, “How important is it today? And how important is it for the future?”  Here are my priorities, things I value, that really matter to me.  We are too reactive to the urgent. It’s asking the question. Making time to look backwards and forwards.  Creating feedback loops. And not getting caught up with inertia or what other people want.

SF: Is this what you’re teaching about leadership at West Point?

TT: I conduct seminars on how to succeed at life. People say the cadets are too young.  But this is always relevant because we are always confronted with choices. And we can learn from each others’ experiences.  We are all the same. Who isn’t struggling with having a great home life and work life?  We want to learn from authorities. But everybody around you can teach you.  A 19 year old cadet asked the question: How can I develop confidence to confront superior who I think is making a mistake? I turned it to class. Some had been deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. We had a robust conversation about how to address problems with a boss. How to manage up by exerting influence versus control? You can ask questions and go through others.

SF: Exactly, others can answer if you engage in dialogue. So, what’s been your worst mistake?

TT: I have diagnosed my mistake patterns. When I have strategic life decision like who you’re going to marry. Then I think long and hard. My mistakes occur when they’re insidious voluntary errors, tactical mistakes. I rush to judgment without leaving my mind open. I can pigeon-hole ideas and people.  I can shut down the receiver and when I do that I am worse off.

SF: Maybe that’s why you are relentless in asking yourself the difficult questions, to counterbalance this tendency you believe you have.

TT: If I’m not careful, I’ll ignore, because I’m task oriented. It’s my fundamental flaw.

SF: But youcompensate for what you perceive to be a flaw.  What do you do, and what can others do too?

TT: Awareness. And put on the brakes. If I’m off, tell me that. My son says, “Dad, I hear you, but have you ever thought about it this way?” That’s the cue for me to hit the pause button.

SF: To keep the receiver open.

TT: You miss a lot of texture if you shut stuff out that which doesn’t fit with your mental model.

SF: So what’s the big idea in order to lead the life you want?

TT: I find it’s true in philanthropy in volunteering:  humanity (care about something broader than just you), humility (it’s not just about me), and courage (do right thing in the right way).  Success is defined as building a life, not a resume.

Tom Tierney stepped down as CEO at Bain to co-found The Bridgespan Group, the leader in consulting in the non-profit sector. To learn more follow @BridgespanGroup, @ThomasJ_Tierney


Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7:00 PM ET on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.