The Regenerative Life with Carol Sanford

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This is a podcast episode titled, The Regenerative Life with Carol Sanford . The summary for this episode is: I know I'm not supposed to play favorites but this was my favorite interview to date. I want to be Carol's neighbor and BFF. She lights my heart and my brain on fire with perspectives we all need to hear. Carol shares a framework for humanity: family, careers and connection. My 3 favorite takeaways: Her framework is built around our uniqueness, what she describes as essence. Clinging to Industrial Age BS isn’t helping us Honoring the curiosity and discovery of our lives Buy her book! And, she has a plethora of resources on her site!

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Hello, this is Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of the Badass Women's Council podcast. I know we're not supposed to play favorites, but y'all, this podcast might be my favorite one I've ever recorded. Carol Sanford is the coolest freaking bad- ass, I think I've ever talked to. The topics that we cover today are just so rich and broad and deep, but yet so practical and important. You all have heard me talk incessantly about the difference between striving and thriving, and Carol has the book in the framework to get you there. This discussion really gets at not just our uniqueness, which you all have heard me talk about, but Carol takes it to another level of our essence, which cannot be duplicated in any way. Oh, it's so good. Here we go. Hey Carol, how's it going?

Carol Sanford: It's great. Thanks for having me on.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm excited about this. We've had a chance to chat a bit. We have a lot in common and just I feel like you and I could probably spend an entire day together, just...

Carol Sanford: Ata minimum.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: ...hashing out some stuff. But today, we're going to focus and we're going to talk about a new book that you have coming out called The Regenerative Life: Transform Any Organization, Our Society, and Your Destiny. That's big, Carol.

Carol Sanford: It is big, and it's all in one system. So you can see that there is a framework that actually works at all three of those levels. You personally, a society and an organization that's in that society and that you're in. I think that's what makes it fun.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: When you say it that way, it makes sense because we're really talking about a framework for humanity because humanity is about our families, our careers, our communities. That's what connects us, right?

Carol Sanford: Yes, absolutely.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Now, this is not your first rodeo in launching books out into the world. Give us alittle bit of how this work came to be. Is this the conglomeration of a lot of these other books that you've done that have formed this framework? How did you get here with this?

Carol Sanford: Well, as my mother would say, it started probably whenI was about five, but we won't go back that far. My career, although I have a hard time, it's like you said, life, work is all the same, started with being a professor and looking at organizations and becoming incredibly frustrated. Knew that I politically couldn't even survive in that kind of system. But I had learned, I've created a couple of businessesof my own, I have sold one of them. The other one I handed it off to some other folks, but I've learned so muchin those two about running a businessthat was powerful and whole that I began to take my education work and educate inside organizations. I felt like Ineeded to write a book about that first one, which was a responsible business. It was all about fairly large businesses. I was working with Google, Colgate, Palmolive, P& G, few smaller ones, but Ihad a lot of other people say to me, " Well, those are big companies. What about me?" So, the first was all about how you look at the ecosystem, the second one was a responsible entrepreneur for smaller businesses and how those smaller entities can transform social systems, governing systems, cultures, often the way they run a business. Then, I had a lot of people say to me, " But we live inside of the people who are trying to think well, make a difference, but they are outdated in how they design work. I go to work every day and I feel like I'm living in the, at least, 20th century, probably 19th and 18th century. I know you do all that work in corporations. Why don't you put it in a book?" So, I created the third book, which was the name I always wanted to use, but my first publisher wouldn't let me, and I calledit The Regenerative Organization, which was how do you have the essence of every individual come to life and match with the consumer and customer's life and their essence and the business, and out of that create magic for all those to be together. Okay. Now, inside of that third book, there was a one chapter which is just crazy making. It's called the 30 Toxic Practices. That chapter looked at over, I made a list ofover a hundred, but I put 30 of them in a book, that are archaic, ancient. They're literally thousands of years old, 200 years old, and we're still building businesses on them. I took one of those and wrote a book about one ofthe 30 called No More Feedback. It came out a little over a year ago. Now, what I had where people said, all right, you did some for a big business, you did some for a little business, you did some work design, you did something for this one toxic practice, but you haven't done anything for individuals. You haven't done anything for a woman or a man who is not the CEO where I'd worked a lot, not the founder, but I'm one person in society trying to figure out how to have a life that really works. So, I decided I better do a little pulling my life together and make that book available. So, it came about from trying to look at different windows on the things I knew rather than it's inaudible and on carolsanford. com, on the book page I described those five books and how they fit together and help people choose what would really serve them.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I tell you when I was introduced to your work and I looked over, the three things that really jumped out that resonated strongly with me that you've just talked about, one is that it's built around, what you write and teach about is built around people's uniqueness. That it is about, what I call your unique gifts, talents, and abilities. The second thing you said that really resonates is I talk a lot about the industrial age model should have died a long time ago and it's lingered way too damn long. We call it things like now we try to move into the age of technology, which is still industrial age just using fancier words. It's maddening to me and I love that you're writing about that. Then third, you have modeled what I help my clients see is I call it the breadcrumb trail of discovery in your life. That you don't just come out of your high school education with this straight line path to your meaning and purpose in this world. You got to be curious and kind of follow things around and try a little of this and learn a little of that. That's really what you've done when people said, " Hey Carol, do this." You go, " Okay, I'll go figure that out." " Oh, you need to do that." " Okay, I'll go figure that out." The accumulative factor of that is making a huge difference for people because you've allowed yourself to be curious and follow that around.

Carol Sanford: Right. Let me add a couple of things to that. You're right. There are some overlaps. I come at some of them in a very specific way that may be helpful. One is, I knew most of that when I was fairly young. I had not written a book about it. I had been doing it as an educational format like you have. You put it into workbooks and things. What Idid is went around andlooked at another window. I grew crazy in doing that, but I wouldn't say I was figuring it out so much as Ihad a sense of some large thing and how it all fit together. But to articulate that into a book and the process you use is, so that's still breadcrumbs. I think it was the metaphor, figure out, which wasa little strange. The other thing is I really differentiated, and we can play with this a little, between essence and uniqueness. Because uniqueness tends to be, you may not be the only one who has that uniqueness. Essence, you are absolutely the only one that ever did have. Nature doesn't duplicate. And it comes from when you are, maybe before you were born, but certainly it can be seen when you're very young, it is that, which if everything else was taken away, and that was taken away, you wouldn't be you anymore. Uniqueness usually is seen in the world. What you're doing, what you're producing, essence is how you literally see the world, how you frame the world. I'm going to give you an example of me. All right. We could talk about all the things I've done, and I'm incredibly productive. We could say I produce podcasts and books. I produce advance. I have so many things that I create, but my essence, one aspect of it, they're usually three, but one aspect of it is to destabilize certainty, which I just did a little with you. But when people areworking with me, they get a whole lot of it. Don't be so certain that uniquenessis the way to look at it. I don't care what people come out with. I'm not trying to sell what I do, but I'm trying to open a door and I have done this since I was five years old. That's why my mother says, we noticed it when I was five, because I got punished repeatedly for disagreeing with people. I got locked in a closet by my father for hours, and one time he forgot me because I disagreed so strongly with something that I was sure he wasn't right about. That is so core to me that executives gain so much from just having me sit in the room and disagree with them, because it isa destabilizer that causes them to question. That shows up in a lot of things, but my personality is kind of energetic, productive, creative, articulate, and you could list those as strengths, but they don't matter unless they're being applied from my essence, this destabilizedcertainty. I am off being somebody else somewhere else. Can you feel that difference between essence and uniqueness?

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I love that so much because, as you said, you could take everything else away, but that's who you are. You can learn other things thatmake you better at it or maybe hinder it, but it's always, even if he locked you in your closet, it's not going away.

Carol Sanford: You can't take that away from you without killing the being body that I'm in.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: You described it as nature doesn't duplicate. I love that. I'm always bringing my clients back to nature examples because those are the most fundamental that we can ever look at as models for our lives, and I love this essence so much. Thank you for introducing it to us. Yes.

Carol Sanford: Can I disrupt two other things you just said?

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yes.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yes.No, absolutely. Go.

Carol Sanford: The first one is,I

Carol Sanford: don't use nature models, although I did say that I use living system models. Let me tell you the difference. If we go use nature as a model, we are taking something that is very incomplete compared to how a human works. I can't decide how a leaf cleans itself, although I know there are people who do that because leaves are different in every watershed or life shed. If we're trying to get a model, we flatten it, we make an abstract, and Elon Musk has said to us over and over again. I said this, but I wasn't famous, which is, " Don't try and use a nature process. Look at an entire living system." Humans exist in a natural system and we exist in a larger life shed, but we are nested in that. You want to look at allof the workings so you get the richness, the complexity. That's part of what I teach people how to do, how to learn to think that way. The other thing I'd like to disrupt andthen I want to hear what you're doing with all this, is the idea of ever having a model. Models mean this is the answer. You even, I think said I had a role model possibility, or I try never role model. Just think about what it does to somebody else's essence to say copy me. That's the model. Models are for model airplanes. What you want is each individual uniquely being able to discover who they are and use frameworks to get smarter.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Iwas just going to say, I wish I would've said frameworkbecause that's really what I meant. I absolutely wholeheartedly agree with that. I love this conversation so much I can't stand it.

Carol Sanford: Yeah. But most people, I had a guy, did a lovely guest podcast yesterday and he said, " So, if we really wanted the future to work well, what's a model you would use?" I said, " I'd make sure we destroyed all models." He said, " I don't understand." I said them, " They are answers which are templates which replicate, but theydon't have anything to do with the essence being discovered and created for itself." He said, " But what if you can't get people to go fast enough?" I said, " The fastest way in the world to move change is connect with essence and then educate peopleon howto work with that." crosstalk.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Preach. Amen. I love that. Okay, well, I want your perspective on this. I often say, here's my framework and my role is to just use the framework, but hold up a mirror so that you can see yourself more reflective of the way that we see you and how to use that, what you call essence. I had previously called uniqueness, which now I feel like Ineed to retire completely because you give me a whole...

Carol Sanford: No, they'redifferent things.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: No,my whole mind is blown. I love it. When you say framework, is that how you would say touse a good framework?

Carol Sanford: No.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Good. Okay. Tell me. I love it.

Carol Sanford: First, I don't want your mirror of how you see me. I don't want to see me as you see me. I want to see me as I am that probably nobody else can, although all the 360 degree feedback, part of which Covey did for years too, is a process that undermines my ability to see myself. I want you have, and our framework, I'm going to giveyou an example of a framework. I have them in every book that I'm in, I use, because they help people ask questions and discover versus get answers. One framework that I use in this book for essence is something about what is it about how you process the world, what is you try and produce in the world and what value you bring into the world that no one elsecould do and I put it on a triangle. Process, a purposeand a value. Yeah, every essence is composed of those three. My process is destabilize certainty. If what I'm doing is every person, and I do as such reveals as part of my work because it is not easy. It's not something people can learn to do. When they're first looking at themselves, it's incredibly hard. But I use it to formulate questions live in real time. I don't have a set of questions. If we were going to say, Rebecca, what is your essence? I would start to ask you for stories of your life in critical ways. I would pick and nitpick and get down into what's behind that, behind that, what was driving your thinking, and do that over many different events, and I would find a thread that so underpins your process that it cannot be denied. You would not get to those words because you would use external words, personality words. You wouldn't be able to hear the kind of process. But that framework allows me to hear you and ultimately allows you to see you with you having revealed it, not me, not my mirror, but your ability to see yourself. I use frameworks for strategy. Here's how to do strategic thinkingregeneratively, here's how to do a leadership, and under that there are hundreds of them and they're designed to supplant mental models. They're designed out of how living systems work when they're alive and moving and dynamic. Now, all that sounds insane and people have no idea what I'm talking about, but that is the way to learn to think systemically. I'm actually educating executives and individuals on how to think systemically using living system framework. Did that help or make it worse?

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Just lights my brain on fire. I love it. I've always felt, and don't know how to articulate it well, what I call the industrial age models that we're living off of and the language that we're using, is such a lazy to try to articulate work. It's really, is oftentimes, just trying to make it easier for the leader to manage a bunch of people instead of really seeing who they are and how to utilize their essence, in your words, to fuel the story of the organization, the money making model so that you can do great work and honor humanity. You're right, and when you try to have that conversation in an industrial age audience, you do get some, are you crazy? But I believe that these conversations that you and I want to start are the future. I believe that the stress we feel, the world health organization has labeled burnout as an epidemic. Our children are feeling the impact of needing to be in a success- driven culture that just puts them into these industrial age boxes while opportunity is richer and broader than it's ever been. I believe that time is running out on that industrial age conversation. While people look at us as crazy now, there will come a day when there'll be forced to see that this is the future.

Carol Sanford: If anyone would be interested, and you might even be a person who is, I have a lecture Idid at the university of Washington as part of a program I was running there, that is the eras of work design. It goes all the way back towhat I call the ordained era, where Kings, mostly Kings, view coins. The Pope or head of a church, the military determined what was true and we still are doing much of that, and that is hundreds of years old. That's not 200 years old, the industrial revolution, it is older than that. That's why we have hierarchies because we had Kings. Then I go forward and look at the craftsman era and then the two industrial revolutions and then the machine, which created machine era, and then the behavioral era because rats were introduced. A huge percentage of what we use now and inaudible rewards, recognition all come outto study rats inthe 1920s, transferred to humans, and humans are not rats. Unless you manage rats, then it's really good.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I knowa couple I'd call a rat, but I know what you'resaying.

Carol Sanford: Right.And then the human potential era, which said we're not rats, but it started creating ideas and imposing them on people. I believe that the current era that I am speaking about designing our way into is what I call the evolved capacity era, which is the era of where every piece of work we do is to create increased capacity and the other to express their own essence into the world, not to show them what to do, notto train them, not to give them the answers, not to facilitate, butto help them have the thinking capacity, the personal being capacity that they can do the work, know what their essence isand make that happen. I've got on Vimeo, under Carol Sanford's Vimeo account, I've got a series of lectures, but one of themis about work design and the eras of work design. Because the real problem we have is we keep working on this problem of the industrial age way of working through leadership, and it's not a leadership question. It's literally I work design. We have design work in a way then it requires all the supervision and so forth. I am an old lady. I am getting closer to 80 than I am to 75 now. I have done this for almost 45 years now, and I started redesigning work system really quickly because Icould see it. That's the regenerative business about how to do that. But until we undo some of those, as you're saying, those old paradigms, that go backthrough the industrial revolution and beyond, back into the ancient16th, 17th century of Kings and Queens, we can't change, we can't just stop this stuff. We've got to completely reimagine it.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Okay, three things. One, I wish youwere my neighbor because I would literally go to your house every day with coffee or wine and say, " Talk to me." This lights me up. Number two, I'm looking at you. I can't freaking believethat you're on closer to 80. So you're doing life right somehow because you lookamazing. And three, I believe that one of the things that keeps us completely stuck in this, and I agree that we need to redesign work because the burnout report from the World Health Organization inaudible the way work is structured. Everything you're talking about would alleviate so many of those burdens and stresses that people feel, but I believe what keeps us mired more than anything is our education system is built on an industrial age model, and so now you've got the students who are more evolved than their parents and their grandparents in terms of their information.

Carol Sanford: And their teachers.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And their ability to process information. They're put in this system that does not honor any of that. In fact, it suppresses it in a way, that now we wonder why these kids, their mental health is struggling. It's because the systems they're put in are repressing their ability to be who they really are, but we want to say that they're struggling because they have an iPhone. It literally drives me insane. Okay, now you've lit me upand I'm ranting on my own podcast. Carol, thank you.

Carol Sanford: I love it. I want people ranting. We should be ranting about these stuff. There are a couple of things you're sparking in me as a result this. Absolutely agree. I think it starts with before education because I think we have had so many system created originally, sometimes in the military, transferred to business, business intoeducation and education into parenting. Most ofthe stuff we have around how schools work or how rats work, they come with where you incentivize kids or reward kids and they don't have any ability to think for themselves whatsoever.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Infact, they get in trouble when they think for themselves.

Carol Sanford: Exactly. Their grades go down. My kids never went to traditional... My birth children were involved in a school which had multiple grades together. It was a public school in Palo Alto, California, and it ran through the sixth grade. But after, that they didn't have it. By then, they hadn't been destroyed. I raise my children in such a radically different way, and I write a lot of that story in the new regenerative life under parenting and telling the stories from how my grandfather engaged with me and I got too many of the ideas I have, which have to do with creating more self initiation. My kids, starting when they were six, were asked, what role would you like to have in the household? By the time they were nine, they took a whole household role. My daughter took on paying allof the bills, imagine, all the finances at nine years old. I was no good at it, so thank God she picked that. My son decided he wanted to feed us and he learned about how to be healthy. Theyhad a whole lot to learn. We nearly starved to death. A lot of itwas a struggle, but they were in charge of that. That didn't mean they had to do it, inaudible engage us, and we reflected using your first concept. They reflected on what they were learning, what they wanted to do, what help they needed, and we were in a community of connection, doing that. Until we get back to children being involved in that way, we can't parent correctly, we can't educate correctly, and then all the work systems we have are just sweeping that stuff forwardout of those old eras.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Oh, absolutely. I tried to start a charter school eight years ago andgot through two rounds of approval and the mayor's office, and actually pulled out of it because I just could tell that it was a system that was going to send me over the edge and I didn't want to go to jail for losing my, you know what. But one of the things that I learned in that when I was interviewing parents about, would you send your child to my school, is the way that people process information about education is the same way they process information about anything else, which is emotion versus facts and logic. There were so many conversations that really led me to this belief that I now have is that as parents, our kids are such the core heart of us. The responsibility to raise these kids is so important and so weighty that we have to find beliefs, whether they're true or not, to get us over that uncertainty of whether this kid's going to turn out or not. One of the beliefs that we've bought into, which is not at all the truth, is that if my kid gets good grades, goes to a good school, then I can say I was a good parent because we have no other reliable means to say whether you're doing it right or wrong, but there is no validation in that statement. There is no correlation between my kid got good grades and they became wealthy, healthy, successful, happy, any of that. None whatsoever. But it's this belief, and so parents go out into the neighborhood parties comparing to each other about their kids' grades and accolades.

Carol Sanford: Some standard whichis ...

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yeah.I just want to just blow this whole thing up. I'm always saying, you know there is no normal, right? Normal is just something y'all made up to make yourselves more comfortable. It doesn't exist. I, like you, parented differently and it was not always easy because society wanted to give me some shit about it sometimes, and you have to be able to stand tall in that story to say, when my kids say, " Hey, I don't think I'm going to school today." And I say, " Okay, great. Talk to me about that." I didn't say, " Yes, you have to go to school." I wanted to hear what they were thinking, what were they planning? Sometimes they would realize... they would say to me sometimes, " Well, I think I'll go in at about 10 o'clock. I just want to sleep in tomorrow." I'd say, " Great. How are you getting there?" " Well, whatdo you mean?" " Well, the bus comes at7: 30 and I'm going to work at 8: 00, soat 10 o'clock you're going to need to find a ride. So if you can find a ride at 10 o'clock, that's great." Then they'd have to go back and think, well, crap. What's my new strategy? You know?

Carol Sanford: You asked me to give an example in the book. I'm going touse you as an example right now, one of the roles in a book because you just demonstrated the essence of parenting. All right. In the book, if you'll allow me, there are nine roles. Three of them are the initiator roles that are foundational to society working, to your life working, to organization working, three that are related to manifesting, making something happen inthe world, and three that are destabilizers that don't let us get attached. On the initiator side, the first one is parent, and I don't mean the sortof your birth children. I have been a parent to what I call acquired children. They weren't foster, but they... I ended upwith a bunch of living with me for long periods of time who were friends of my children. Stepchildren, I worked with... well, long story, and then some of mine, but the essence, what you want to do when you're in one of these roles in each chapter of these nine roles, so it's what's the essence of that role? The essence I have of parenting has those same three aspects. What's the core process? What is the core of what you're producing and the value? The core process is enabling self determination, right?

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Love it.

Carol Sanford: If our children can't do that, they will be subject to peer pressure. They will always be determined by what's outside. You giving them the reins of saying, all right, this is great, now figure all this out, works incredibly young and very quickly. The second aspect what you demonstrated is the ability to do essence expression. This is part of what we talked about before wegot on this call, but having artistic children who may not meet the standards of what... the SAT scores or inaudible, don't get me started, right?

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yes.

Carol Sanford: They have nothing to do with their essence. If you've got artists in the family, that istheir essence. I have a granddaughter like this. I watched her play with a bunch of stuff starting when she was six years old that were scarves and put them on. They were beautiful, and I said, " Sylvia, would you like to make your own clothes?" She literally went insane. We started figuring out how for her to design, how for her to sew, and then she had done that round andthen we started doing another round of something we can see, as it shows up, you're helping her find her answer. I have stories just like that in the book of the nine people who played those roles, but you're great story.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Well, and you think about how often these artistic kids that their essence really is rooted in this and that's who they are. My son and daughter both have artistic essences, I believe. I'd love to send them...

Carol Sanford: Theyhave different inaudible.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yeah. Oh,they're very different, trust me. How many times that parents say to these artistic kids, " Well, you've got to get a real job." That's an interesting hobby. Nothing sends me over the edge quicker than hearing that statement.

Carol Sanford: I agree. I agree. One of thethings that you said is, if I were next door neighbor, which I agree would be great fun, I have created a way for people to be in these conversations on going elite with me. It's called change agent development where people from around the world, I've got people who are joining change agent communities, and I always call them communities and may come into communitiesbecause you can't do it without being community. I've got a group in Australia, in New Zealand, we doit all online. I don't have to fly down there. 90% of them I've never met. Over the years, they're learning how to think this wayand how to bring it into all their roles. I've got another group in Europe, which started in a few universities I was teaching in, and then now has become all the way into the middle East, Africa again, online. We go on a line about eight times a year introducing some thinking about how people can workwith it, they play with it, break out groups, and they go outinto the world. I've got several hundred in the US. When you do that kind of thing, you're creating communities and seeding them. I even call it safe communities around the world. Everybody has a neighbor like you who is looking fora way or they know how to build it. I think that's a beautiful aspiration. The thought that your next door to someone. If you can't be next door physically, why not be...? Nowadays, we can do online communities and we don't even have toget on an airplane.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Oh my gosh, I'm going to Google that as soon as we're done and see how I can be a part of one of those. That's amazing. I want to get back to the book because this is just fascinating and I'm so excited about it and you. These nine roles that you teach in the book, you also took this concept, and through action learning with a hundred people, I don't want to say tested it out, but you had people just go and do their own discovery. So, the book is full of stories about those people, right?

Carol Sanford: Yeah. Here's how we did that. People got online with me first for an hour. I introduced to them, and they came in roles. I had one group who was parents, one group who were designers, a whole group of educators and people who are, what I call earth tenders. They are people who work close to the earth. They're building regenerative agriculture or they have some roles trying to engage people with it. Each of those separately was online with me first for an hour just to be introduced to the essence of that. How it plays out when it's regeneratively and powerful is the second thing I introduced to them, was how do you get inyour own way? What I call the energy drains or the inner obstacles. I had them journaling. I gave them a whole journaling process, which is very different than just recording. What went onin your day was designed to move you, and people kept a journal for a month, then they came back and they gotonline with me and they sent me in advance what their struggles were. I created another little workshop for the hour. They gained some more. They went back out into the world, then they joined a third time, but all this time they are looking at the essence of this role and how they can play it out. The other thing I was trying to introduce to each of these nine groups was the idea of, do not trying to do it as a hero. When I was little, I wanted to save all the dogs inthe world that got put in the pound. I was going tofiguring out how to do that, be a dog inaudible and I certainly, over time, realized I was fighting uphill battles. I could do it by just these roles of how I lived in life. If I'm a different kind of parent, I can have children, which I don't have to worry aboutbecause they're going to create who they are or where they're going. If I am an economic shaper, I may up being an economist or I may just be a consumer, but I engage in a way that I'm actually shaping the economy the way I thought it could work because I now understand what that role is about. Or an entrepreneur I, in this process, am working with people, had them understand that in different times they may play different roles. Let me give you an example. You wanted stories. I had this lovely young woman who has a son who is two years old and she had a business which was working with other parents to tryand help them, like you're talking about, play with their children differently, and she had a public place they could come and she would engage with kids and the whole process was really fun. But she said, I always feel like I just keep doing this and think they'll get it from watching. I said, " Well, what if the role you need to add was educator? So, you are just doing your business teaching, you become an educator." She wasn't even teaching. She was living it. I like people to engage. When we taught her that the role of educator is really about discovery, self- discovery from an epistemology, a learning method that has people really be able to see into what really it is that's trying to be drawn out, and the educators really drawing out of another parent or a child or one of your folks whoare in one of your workshops or an executive like I'm working with... your whole thing is to draw that out of people with a framework which allows them to see with new lenses. She changed completely how she was running her business, and suddenly was attracting people like crazy. She'd barely been able to make enough money, mostly underwater too much. Suddenly she knew, ah, I need to, while I'm doing this business, take on the mantle of the educator. We then worked with her a little more on how she needed to become a better designer of processes, which is a different role. Designer is therein everything, from clothes to homes, to processes, to a podcast. You and I said before we started, we designed alittle bit, right? Well, I had a woman who is at Omega Institute and she had really struggled with playing the role of designer because she did everything and she had many people working for her, but it was a real struggle to figure out how it is we design. So, we looked at the core of designing, is really about revealing that which is seeking to come into existence. It's already there. People are showing up, which you have to design a process for thatto happen. Now, that's easier said than done, because learning how to design takes quite a bit of skill. I've worked people on this about, what is the master framework for designing. She went out back into Omega, began to involve her entire team of the design process andit created a whole system of where teachers could come and learnhow to teach, where you can have executives look at how to have it play out in their organizations. That process gave her so much power, because she was no longer really the manager, which is what she'd been before, but instead she was in design. So you got all these roles to take some work, but when you do, it shifts how you do any job titleyou have.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Well,you mentioned you don't do itas the hero. So are each of these roles designed to be in Joseph Campbell's hero's journey language, are each of these roles designed to be a guide given the context and the situation?

Carol Sanford: Well, I hadn't thought aboutthat. I studied with Joseph Campbell.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: You did?

Carol Sanford: Yeah, I did. I was teaching at the University of San Francisco and so was he. That'sthe advantage of being old my dear. He was still alive, and I was very young, very, very youngat that age. The way the hero's journey work, and people forget is, it was always in a community. We have had, and I'm doing a little playing with it again while writing my novel, my first novel, was the idea that you were supposed to overcome all obstacles and save the princess or whatever he was saying. It was usually a woman. What I say instead is, if I go back and look at the anthropological studies, even which Campbell used, that wasn't really quite what was true. The community usually overcame it and a group of people. So, for youto stop thinking, and I had... you wouldn't believe how many men I had in the study who said, I am exhausted from trying to bea hero, as the founder of my company or as a podcaster who's trying to change economic policy as a media kind of person. All of these things are just exhausting, andwhen you said to me that the real work to do in the non- heroic way is flawed. I am a flawed person, which Campbell had a bit of, but that it's not about me being a hero but me living from the essence and engaging others so our community transforms it. Then we're not exhausted, we're not alienated, allof those things you talked about those go away when you can be non- heroic cause you're in community.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I call that the difference between striving and thriving. You get exhausted from the striving feeling like you're responsible for it all. I see these nine roles as being a way that you could guide and help release and discover. I always think about, my dad is a woodworker, and when he would... he even back in the day would widdle. He was always messing with stuff, with wood in some way. It was about, what would... He peeled away to discover the beauty inside. Sometimes I think about my work and your work in the way that we do stuff, it's what's inside. We just have to peel away someof this stuff should discover what's beautiful in there.

Carol Sanford: Well, certainly, who was it that created David? Leonardo da Vinci said, " David was inside that piece of marble all the time. I just had to get everything outof the way." I think it's a pretty good metaphor to be able to reveal, that's the word I use. Essence reveal, core process reveal, allof those things are revealing something that is there.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: That'sthe way, when I look at these nine rolesand the way that you described them, I think there are ways that you can guide to reveal given the context and the situation. I love that.

Carol Sanford: Yeah. Learning relevant to what's in front of you rather than a model or a template ofwhat you're supposed to do everywhere.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Well, and I think that speaks to, I talk often about context because I spent a lot of years working with training content. My role, when I would go into a client to do work, was not to show up and tout the benefits of the content. I was there to understand the context. What are you trying to accomplish? How is this working? What's not working? Then sometimes my content was the right solution and sometimes it wasn't. But I look at how we interact in community and it is always about context. It's about what's the situation around me. The word context actually means to weave. What's the situation around me and how can I weave in my essence into what you need and what you find valuable so that together we can live better in community? I think it's a beautiful way to look at the world.

Carol Sanford: Yeah. Myway of describing that, absolutely consistent with what you're doing, but I like to add frameworks that people then can go into any situation and see. I say that the thing we have to learn in the living systems view is everything is nested.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I love that.

Carol Sanford: I am nested, and all living systems are. You as a person arenested in a family, are nestedin a neighborhood, in a community, in a nation, in a watershed, in a country, on a hemisphere, within a planet and some solar system. We can't hang on to all this, it's too big, but we don't ask what our effect is and how we fit. So, context for me is understanding the nestedness inaudible in that working. I have frameworks, which I teach people as a way to work thathas some assessing what's in front of them, based on nested frameworks and seeing the world as alive and nested and interacting like a tree. You were using nature before. If you just take a tree and try and understand it, most people instead say, well, limbs and leaves and roots and crown of the tree. A little bark here and there. Well, tree is really treeing its living and it has systems which are moving water. It has an hydrological system. It has processthat engage withit, that have to do with squirrels and deer and humans who come in there. As you learn to see things and understand, in some ways, what things are guiding your word earlier in a more powerful way that which has less power but has a role and that which is larger like it's always, every tree is in a forest and in a watershed of some sort. Life shed is a better word for itbecause not just water there. But learning to see context is whatI inaudible nested systems at work.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Oh my gosh. I am so fascinated by your work. I'm so excited that we met. We could do this for days.

Carol Sanford: We could.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: We have to end this podcast episode because people are probably arriving at work and they're going to be late for work because they don't want to turn off all the exciting things that you're sharing. So we're responsible for people being back in the industrial age model and being on time to clock in.

Carol Sanford: I agree.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: How's that for a first fullcircle moment?

Carol Sanford: Fullcircle moment. I love it. Thank you.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Let's give people some next steps. They certainly should go out and buy your book, which is going to be coming out in a matter of hours and days by the time this comes out into the world. March of 2020.

Carol Sanford: There is a way to buy them in bulk so that you can end up in a book club with me, and we have to do them through my publisher. They've made an arrangement. You can find all of that, and carolsanford. com has my primary podcast, ithas my business offering, it has my books and how they all fit together, and there's blogs even on that site. So carolsanford. com. Follow the links if you're interested in the bulk process. There's a thing on the bottom of that page that talks about the communities we talked about, CAD, change agent development communities for individuals. So you can learn more about that wherever you are in the world. People do meet in community rather than just sitting one- on- one talking to be on phones. We try and get them to build a community nearby. Then, the only other thing I can think of that might be immediately helpful is I have conversations like this with Zac Swartout, my cohost for Business Second Opinion, and don't be thrown by the factthat it says business becauseas you can tell this stuff works up and down. That's why the subtitle here is, any organization, our society and your destiny, you will learn howto do the kind of assessing that I'm doingbecause that's what we're teaching on there. The way I do it is critique Harvard Business Review one article and one idea at a time, and give alternative to the industrial model.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I'm notgoing to get a single thing done for the next month because I'm going to be binging on this podcast. Carol, you might be responsible for tanking my productivity over the next month, but there's a good reason too.

Carol Sanford: inaudible control.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Oh my gosh, I am just lit up excited. So, carolsanford. com gives people anything they need to know about where to go next.

Carol Sanford: Pretty much.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: To stay engaged in this amazing conversation.

Carol Sanford: Yeah, with me anyway. Same things in life, but staying engaged with me, that'sthe best place to go.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I love that, and I hope that you'll come back and we can revisit how the book's going and just continue this conversation. I have enjoyed it thoroughly.

Carol Sanford: Well, me too. Thank you so much for inviting me, and I would welcome a time to come back.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Sounds great. I told you. I told you it was going tobe good. All right, so carolsanford. com is her website that has just tons of resources, links to talks that she's done, her previous books, lots of amazing resources there. I've also included a link to Amazon to buy her new book, which I hope that we're all going to do immediately. Then, I suggest that we have her back on the show and answer questions and dig a little deeper. Okay. One more thing that I'll ask of you today is, could you rate the podcast? Howare you doing? Are you liking it? Let us know. All right, y'all. Make it a great day.


I know I'm not supposed to play favorites but this was my favorite interview to date. I want to be Carol's neighbor and BFF. She lights my heart and my brain on fire with perspectives we all need to hear. Carol shares a framework for humanity: family, careers and connection. My 3 favorite takeaways: Her framework is built around our uniqueness, what she describes as essence. Clinging to Industrial Age BS isn’t helping us Honoring the curiosity and discovery of our lives Buy her book! And, she has a plethora of resources on her site!