In this episode, Brian Beckcom speaks with entrepreneur and bestselling author Nick Jankel about the connection between leadership and science, the importance of compassion in capitalism, and solutions to the problems that plague business owners, executives, and everyday leaders alike.
Nick’s work on transformational leadership and regenerative innovation has been featured in popular publications such as United Kingdom’s The Times, BBC News, Psychologies Magazine, and Forbes. Nick has worked on strategic innovation projects for some of the world’s biggest companies, including Disney, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart. Today, Nick is the co-founder of SWITCH ON, a company that deploys embodied wisdom technologies, coaching kits, and other programs for organizations in need of transformational leadership.
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Brian and Nick discuss:
- Resiliency and how the COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted many of the pre-existing inequities in our society
- The bizarre ways in which our minds function in high-stress environments
- Why we must apply scientific and non-scientific thinking into our thought processes in order to become truly effective leaders
- Science and morality: why you can’t derive ‘ought’ from ‘is’
- The imbalance between capitalism and compassion
- How toxic emotions stifle growth and the importance of becoming “whole”
- His latest book “Now Lead the Change,” and invaluable advice for business owners, executives, and everyday leaders alike
- And other topics
Nick Seneca Jankel started his first company at the age of 24 and grew it exponentially to be a world leader in breakthrough innovation. After a purpose awakening, he pivoted to embodied wisdom, transformation, and regenerative innovation. Today, Nick is co-founder of two enterprises: SWITCH ON, which deploys transformation and wisdom technologies, coaching kits & leadership programs, and FUTUREMAKERS, a consultancy that partners with organizations that want to become regenerative. Nick is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, keynote speaker, and a pioneer of leadership as it relates to personal and business development. To learn more about Nick Jankel and his work, visit his website at www.SwitchOnNow.com.
Read the transcript:
Brian Beckcom: Hey everybody. Brian Beckcom here. And I've got Nicholas Nick Jankel. Nick, how you doing, buddy?
Nick Jankel: I'm doing great. I'm rejuvenating from a little bit of festive seasoning and, you know, taking what rejuvenation has to offer at the moment.
Brian Beckcom: Nice. Now you’ve got kind of a funny accent. I, you know, I tell people that all the time. In Houston, Texas, I've got some English friends or British friends. I'll say, “Man, you got a funny accent.” They're like, “What are you talking about? You're the one with the accent.” But anyway, you’re based in London, right?
Nick Jankel: I am. I'm actually, yeah, I work out of London, but I'm based a little bit south of London near a town called Brighton, which is very small but it's quite famous. So, that'll give you a kind of that sense of the location.
Brian Beckcom: Nice. Well, Nick, you know, we're recording this podcast in kind of the middle of January 2021. How is the pandemic over – cause we read things in the United States about how it's going over in England and Britain and it seems that there may be a mutated strain. How are things going over there for you?
Nick Jankel: I mean, it's pretty hardcore at the moment. We're in, you know, the winter of our discontent. I think probably very similar to the US. It's just endless. Relentless intensity. You know, hospitals overrun. People just overwhelmed, tired. And a bunch of people also not overwhelmed. They're just sort of ignoring it all. So, the numbers are still pretty high each day even though we are in almost full lockdown. Still getting 50,000 new cases a day.
So, you know, it's definitely a time for resilience and resourcefulness and digging deep into oneself. I just released an article on resilience and some of the practices that we can do to deal with this stuff, because my humble opinion is that this is just a kind of starter. It's not even the starter. It's like before the hors d'oeuvre, there's like a little bit of a little tasting something on the table. That's what I think we're going through at the moment compared to the next 10, 15, 20 years.
So, it's not going to get any easier. I don’t think we're going to have like 1990s style “Yoo-hoo,” it's just all upside. I think we're in for a bumpy ride and as leaders in any sense of that, you know, families, communities, organizations, systems. Yeah. This is the new normal. Taking on moments of joy where we can.
Resiliency & the Current Illness Crisis
Brian Beckcom: Yeah. Let's get right into that without any hesitation at all, cause I think what you just brought up are some very interesting things to talk about.
So, at the beginning of the pandemic, Nick, I actually wrote an article on how to be resilient. Resilience was kind of something I was focused on. I'd read a book by a famous author named Nicholas Nassim Taleb called Antifragile. It's about – you know, his theory is there's three types of systems. There’s systems that break easily under pressure. There's systems that don't break easily under pressure or under stress. And then there are antifragile systems which actually get stronger when you put stress on them. So, a good example of that, for instance, is if you're lifting weights and putting stress on your muscles, over time, your muscles actually get stronger and bigger.
So, this idea of resilience has been really on the forefront of my mind for the past five or six months. Tell us a little bit about your views on – cause what you said, I think there's a lot of people that have this mistaken notion that once the pandemic's over with, we're going to have a giant world party and everything's going to go back to normal. Right? And I don't think you or I believe that to be the case. So, tell us a little bit about your views of what the future holds and tie that into your views on resilience and resilient leadership.
Nick Jankel: So, first of all, totally agree with you. The key to resilience is not seeing it just as maintaining strength, but actually about becoming more and more fluid. I use the word liquid quite a lot. Rather than being solid and stolid and rigid and brittle. We actually become a liquid and we become more liquid the more we develop capacities to deal with strangeness, uncertainty, complexity, chaos. Cause it's not going anywhere.
So, we already know we've got a health crisis, right? We've got a pandemic. But we've also, within that health crisis, what I call the illness crisis, we've also got deaths of despair. So called deaths of despair from legal and illegal morphine-type drugs really devastating a lot of the US. Less so in Europe, but still coming in there. With them we've got diabetes. We've got obesity. We've got cancer. We got heart disease. We’ve got stress, which kills a lot of people. We've got pollution which kills a million people a year in Europe, apparently.
So, that's all kind of an illness sort of bucket for us all to engage in. Then we've got inequality. Political – so, economic inequality and poverty. The worst of all, which is in-work poverty, which is people working relentless hours. I've lived in the US, my wife is American, and I know just how many hours people work in the US. But that's just to stay alive, you know. Just to keep above the poverty line. We've been slipping down into it. That's a real challenge.
We've got sort of industrial, post-industrial problems. Climate change, pollution, these kinds of things. And then we've got political crisis, identity crisis, the wars of culture about what to believe, who to believe, how to believe, what belief actually is.
So, these are all kind of merging around and what the pandemic has done really beautifully is it's exposed all of those four issues and how they were already there. They're not just arrived. They were already there. But it's accelerated them, it’s turbocharged them, and it's put a magnifying glass on them in such a strong way.
So, I actually ended up, in my new book on leadership, I ended up adding a chapter last year about coronavirus, just to show that, you know, so, people who are of color tend to get more ill and die, have a higher death rate. But that's not just from health reasons, you know, biological reasons. That's from cultural reasons, from poverty, from having to work in a warehouse for a logistics company that isn't being taken care of properly. So, you know, and that feeds into our destruction of the environment. People with high levels of pollution poisoning have worse respiratory outcomes.
You know, so, you can see within this pandemic a kind of – I called it once recently, it's kind of like a Netflix reality show for people who like systems thinking and futuring, because it's like every day, you're getting, like, another installment of how the world works right now. You know, like right up to the storming of the Capitol. It's like, I mean, literally it's like a movie. It's like a the greatest sort of documentary movie ever made about how human beings are in a sort of industrial world or post-industrial world.
So, it's been incredible. I mean, that's an incredible learning experience for those of us who are, what's the word? Passing it for the learnings, leadership learnings.
Brian Beckcom: It’s unbelievable to me. I, you know, I've swung back and forth, Nick, on the pendulum between being despondent about the human condition to being exhilarated about the human condition. And you're right. You're right. This pandemic, I mean, it's just like a movie.
It's like, I'm sure you've heard about there are some physicists that believe that we're in a simulation. Matter of fact, Elon Musk says that mathematically, the chances are that we're in a simulation. And I guess my thought is if we're in a simulation right now than whoever set up the simulation has a very bad sense of humor because, you know, there are other ways that they could have let us know about all the problems.
But truly, this pandemic, like you said, has exposed and shined the light upon a lot of different major areas. So, one thing you mentioned the storming of the Capitol, which happened in the United States last week. And I just had a podcast with a professor of economics about why these people did what they did. And it's amazing to me, Nick, and speak to this, if you would, how different people filter the pandemic through their brains differently.
So, for instance, in the United States, you'll have people that think it's all a fluke. It's nothing worse than the flu. And then you'll have other people that won't leave their house for six months. And then, you know, my view is we ought to do the best we can to walk kind of a middle path, you know, we go about our business, but we take precautions and when there's hotspots, we shut those down until it cools off a little bit. But talk about how, in your view, the pandemic has revealed to us all the different bizarre ways the human mind works under stress.
Science & Religion
Nick Jankel: Well, it's, I mean, if we even stepped back even further, what it's revealed to us is that what we thought, or what many people thought was an agreement after the rise of science in the 17th, 18th century. I was originally a medic, but then I became a historian of philosophy of science. And you can see quite a lot of what's happening is still a kind of playing out of modern life.
So, we all thought, okay, religion faded from significance as the arbiter of truth about mater, the material world, and science became the arbiter of truth. And a lot of people thought that was it. Job done. But actually, what we're seeing is it wasn't job done and there are a lot of people who weren't really buying into scientific process or progress.
And a lot of scientists, rational thinkers, policy advisers once assumed that that descent had gone away. And didn't – probably hasn't done a good enough job in the last 30, 40 years of telling good narratives, leadership narratives about the benefits, for example, of the economic alliance with Europe and Britain. Or the benefits of vaccines. But also the concerns, like being honest about the fact that they're not, you know, if you puncture the human body, there's a risk of all sorts of different things. Right?
So, I think, you know, as friends of science, I can see that it’s got some responsibility for where we're at right now. And what we have got is essentially an issue between, do we believe in our own experience, primary experience? Or the experience mitigated through social media, the church, Bible narratives? Or do we believe in science? Or, as I do, do we believe there's a way to try and bring them both together?
You talk about a middle path. Very much core to my philosophy is how do we use the best of science, but not pretend that science can answer questions about human conscience. It can't because it's very bad about doing that. It’s very poor at being creative, empathic, collaborative in its understanding of the world.
So, that's kind of I think where we're at is we've got this spectrum where some people are just reading what the other five conspiracy theorists are reading on Twitter, mediated through that lens. Some people are just looking at what the paper, the scientific papers are saying. And I think the job of a leader, whether it’s, you know, financial data or sales data, the job of a leader is to bring the data into our minds and our hearts, and also bring our intuition and our wisdom and our sense of things and our, sort of the things that, you know, reason doesn't know about. The things that our mind can't tell us. And make decisions.
And what we're seeing at the moment is we've got some people with leaders who are all right over there, and we've got some people right over here, and we've got a schism, essentially, in the heart of political and social world. And it's so easy to fall in the trap myself of being right about people being wrong. There's nothing I like more than to say, “Oh my God, I can't believe those people are still hugging.” You know, when they meet someone on the street. I mean, what – how many more people have to die before people realize that if you hug and you're asymptomatic but you're carrying the virus, you are likely going to be passing onto people, right?
So, but that doesn't help, that rightest – the sort of being right about anything doesn't really help, you know. It’s one of the great lessons of leadership is being confident is really important, but being right is usually the sort of end of things. You know, the beginning of the end. And so I think that as all this is playing out, we as leaders in any system have to try and find a way to pull it all together.
And you can even see how your new president, almost – will be by the time you listen to this podcast. The new president is having to resist the calls from the left and the far left to tear up everything that's happened in the last four years and to criticize 72 whatever million people. And he, I hope, has some sense that that's not the solution. It can't be. You can't disenfranchise almost half the voters of the country. It's just not going to work.
Brian Beckcom: You know, and you said a lot there, but one of the things you said was there are limits to science. And I think people – so I'm, by training, a computer scientist, philosopher, and I have a law degree. And so, there's a certain way of thinking that I was trained on from a very young age. And by the way, to be clear, when I think about the word science or what science is to me, science is simply a way of thinking. It's a way of analyzing the world. It's the scientific method, proposal, hypothesis, test the hypothesis, and try to falsify it. And also it has to be replicable under the same circumstances.
So, to me, I think science has done a poor job of communicating the idea that. For instance, in the United States, there were projections early on about what would happen with the coronavirus that turned out to be wrong. And you know what? That's okay. Because as long as you employ the scientific method, the idea is you want to falsify the hypothesis so you can rule things out and get closer and closer to the truth.
But what you said, which I really want to drill down on cause I think it's very important is people with a scientific mindset, a scientific way of thinking, sometimes, I think, forget – and I'm just as guilty of this as anybody. Sometimes we forget that there's limits to science. There’s questions that science just simply cannot answer.
And you know, you brought up the word consciousness, which is something very, very near and dear to my heart. But science, at least as it relates to the hard problem of consciousness, has no answers. And frankly, there's a lot of very smart people that think science will never answer the hard problem of consciousness. And so, talk a little bit about the intersection because, to me, this is a fascinating, fascinating topic. The intersection between science and the role of science in leadership, and then the limits of science and what is outside the realm of science and how we incorporate both scientific and non-scientific leadership principles and thinking into our thought processes. How do you combine those two areas?
Nick Jankel: I mean, first of all, I just want to say, this is, like, a way bigger question than people realize. And I'm delighted that you've asked it to me because it's – people think, “Well, it’s philosophy, it’s metaphysics. Why do we talk about it?” That actually is, every day we are seeing the hard behavioral reality of us not fully understanding this split between scientific and not scientific. And I went – I deep dived on this. I wrote a book called Spiritual Atheist, which is my attempt to make sense of my own life journey and my philosophical life journey from scientist to someone who believes in wisdom. And I can deep dive a bit more into what that looks like.
But just before I go into it, I do think it's really important if you're listening to this as a leader who maybe doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about the hard problem of consciousness, which is just basically how does consciousness emerge or what and how is consciousness and how does it come out of physical hard stuff like nerves or atoms of carbon, et cetera. Because every day you are making decisions, every day, like, a hundred thousand decisions. And a lot of us think we're doing it based upon data, but a lot of time we're not. Because data is incomplete. Always incomplete. You never have enough data.
But also, it's always about the past. The definition of data is it's about the past. It’s about what has already happened on your website, your app downloads, your consumer reach through advertising, whatever you're measuring. And if you make decisions, you have to make them about the future. So, you're always using something else. And that's consciousness, but very few of us take care of our consciousness. So, we don't keep it liquid and lucid. We let it get clouded up by emotions and dramas and narratives and old assumptions from our boss’s boss’s boss that we're still living in everyday life.
And if we're upset or challenge, that's where resilience comes in. If we're not resilient, then we don't have a clear consciousness. So, we’re making poor decisions. Even if we think we're brilliant, they’re poor quality decisions. They're not in the moment appropriate to this emerging never been made before decision you have to make right now. Do you email this person or that person? Whenever it is.
So, this is really relevant. It’s as relevant as it possibly can be. So, I believe that science is incredible. I love science. I was a scientist and my father was a scientist. Fluffy science. So, I'm a big fan of science, but I also discovered the hard way, very personally, that science didn't have a lot of answers for the ironically post viral condition that I caught – happened with, emerged in my body in my twenties. Very similar to what seems to be long COVID. It's called chronic pain syndrome or fibromyalgia. Didn't have a lot of answers for recurrent depression, burnout, anxiety, my relationship failures, which are many and not the topic of this podcast.
I discovered that science couldn't really answer a lot of those questions, like how do I have loving relationships? How can I be wise and make good decisions for myself and the world? How do I clear myself out of trauma and pain and suffering? And, in fact, psychology, which people think is the science of consciousness, isn't really the science of the consciousness because it’s never really been able to study consciousness. What it studies is people reporting back questions through their language, their cognitive lenses, or behavior or brain scans, but it's not really studying consciousness.
And that's really the challenge we've got is that consciousness, because it's the experience of one person, can't be studied scientifically. And this is why, as you said, it’s the hard problem that will probably never be solved and we should probably let go of the need to solve it because that's actually part of the problem is we're trying to use the wrong tool for the wrong experience, phenomenon, medium.
So, in summary, science is really good at studying one half of the world, which we call matter. Which has got a layer called primary properties. So, size, weight, mass, acceleration, you know, all these sort of things. It’s really good at that. And if we want to know how a virus moves through matter between a mouth and a nose and a long receptor, science is the best, definitely better than our mate who reads a lot of stuff on the internet. Right?
So, that's a really good thing for science to do. But if science wants to tell us, “Is it better to lock down now or in a month’s time?” we enter what a great philosopher called the is to ought fallacy.
Brian Beckcom: Yeah. That's Hume, right?
Ought Problems & the Contemplative Tradition
Nick Jankel: Yeah, Hume, that’s exactly right. So, science can tell us what is in matter. It can't tell us what ought to be in consciousness, and therefore society, culture, experience, relationship. And this is where the leader gets – what's the word? He’s sort of, like, slammed every day because we've got science and we obviously want to find the best research, evidence, whatever you want to call it about the topic, the subject you have to deal with. And then you have to use something else to make your ought decision, your choices around what ought to be.
That’s consciousness. That's our feelings, experiences, ideas, beliefs, interactive moments of truth between us, our interbeing, our interdependence. All of that is within consciousness and science has never been good at that. But the great news is there's another form of science, which people call variously the controverted traditions, the wisdom traditions. Have been studying that every –
– stop worrying what happens, or if I open my heart, what happens? So, we have a tradition for studying the science of individual consciousness and we call them the wisdom tradition. So, you mentioned Buddhism, Sumi-e earlier. Daoism, meditation. You know, there's a rich array of this stuff.
Brian Beckcom: I would say philosophy, generally, or what people used to call natural science. Philosophical science. Theology, things like that. So, let me – because I've been fascinated with all these things since my early twenties. Let me take just a quick interlude to talk briefly about Hume and his ought problems. So, just in summary for people that aren't familiar with that's a famous philosophical way of thinking where David Hume, I think he was an English philosopher, wasn't he?
Nick Jankel: I believe he might have been Scottish.
Brian Beckcom: Scottish. Yeah, maybe, I think you're right.
Nick Jankel: Just say British.
Brian Beckcom: Yeah. It's all the same thing, though, for us Americans. But, in any event, the idea is, and I'm going to just summarize it as best I can is reason – logic, science, reason, whatever phrase you want to use – can tell us about the nature of reality or what we perceive to be reality. But it can't give us moral rules to follow.
So, when we talk about “is”, science can talk about, “This is the way the universe works,” or, “this is the way this particular system works,” but it can't tell us what we ought to do about it. It cannot give us moral imperative. So, you know, using the pandemic as an example, science can tell us how it replicates, where it came from, what the different etiologies of the disease are, things like that, but it can't tell us whether we ought to have a complete quarantine, a partial quarantine. It can't tell us about whether we should shut down businesses, what we should do about it. It doesn't answer moral – science doesn't really answer moral questions.
But what you were talking about, the contemplative tradition, that really is more where at least I look to when I'm looking for answers to normative questions or ought questions. So, talk a little bit about – I've been a meditator – a long time meditator, almost 15 years now, and I've studied Buddhism and the science of the mind, and I'm very, very interested in this. Matter of fact, I've done a few podcasts on this.
Talk about your views of the contemplative tradition, because one thing I have to tell you, Nick, one thing that worries the heck out of me that I've really tried to work on is I think the way the internet, social media, and things like that work now, we're being programmed – and we're always – human beings have been programmed for thousands of years, just by the stimulus you get in your environment. But now the stimulus is faster. It's stronger. You know, Google has trillion dollar super computers using the latest scientific psychology to manipulate people. And I worry all the time that I'm going to be manipulated to the point where I don't even realize I'm being manipulated.
So, one of the reasons that I meditate and practice other contemplative traditions is to try to train my brain for that sort of thing. But talk a little bit about, when you bring up the contemplative traditions and the is-ought idea, like, where that fits in.
Nick Jankel: I'm really glad you said that about meditation, because one of the challenges that meditation's faced in the last 10 years is it's become, you know, hip in companies, but it's been often taken away from its moral context from which it developed. And all meditations of any type ultimately were about not just seeing the truth of enlightenment and non-duality or oneness or togetherness, but also by the “now what do I do?” The ought question. What do I do now? And you could see through the history of Buddhism, Daoism, Gnosticism, how these wisdom traditions often got into politics, because that's where decisions about ought have always been made. Now more so in business, actually, probably – well, as much so in business as in traditional politics, people were making ought decisions about how society is going to be.
I'm really inspired to hear you say that meditation for you is not just about all that stuff about clarifying your mind and keeping it clear so that you're not being programmed by not just your parents or advertising, but by all these algorithms that are coding and speeding up our own tendencies to seek people and ideas that confirm our own brilliance, that trigger our pain and fear and worry and disconnection from each other, that spark conflict, that spark desire, that insatiable desire to have more stuff, whether it's, you know, more of our party in Congress or whether it's more, you know, iPads.
So, that's – meditation is one of the practices within these content or wisdom traditions, which are all about wisdom. And I actually listened to a really good lecture last week by a professor at Columbia who's an expert in intelligence, theories of intelligence and adult development, which is very much within the leadership work that I do and the personal development work I do is understanding of life stages and different forms of intelligence. And he said wonderful research they’re just about to publish about people in rural Kenya actually have a much more nuanced idea of intelligences than most educators in the West. And they have four types of intelligence that they look at. They have capability knowledge, which is what we would call IQ, but they have these other three: creativity and practical, for emphasis, you know, what do we do now? How do I fix this? You know. Ruta [27:45].
And then the fourth one is wisdom. And the way he described wisdom, -- and I work, you know, in wisdom as a kind of topic. I put wisdom on my stuff. and the way he described it was so great, cause I often get asked “What is wisdom?” And I'm like, “Aw, oh, I don't know,” as I’m trying to find whatever solution to the question. But he just said, you know, it's about making good choices for the whole, not just the part as a new, the whole.
And that really brought down to me, which is leaders have to be wise because we have to make decisions for more than just us, in our consciousness. We have to decide what ought to be, whether it's AI or how our app's going to work, or whether we're going to use recycled plastic in our products, you know, there's a lot of ought questions every day. How our staff are going to be treated in lockdown. You know, expectations. All this stuff, these are all ought questions.
And I think without a practice, we call them reconnection practices but you could call them wisdom practices. Some people call them spiritual practices, but that brings a whole nother connotation which we know is not always helpful. Without practice to root ourselves back in our own experience of our consciousness and our own clarity of mind, it's really busy in here. And often we make really poor decisions when we're in that space. And that can be being wedded to a business model that's literally dying in front of our eyes, but we just can't see it because it's too terrifying to even imagine that our business model isn't right anymore, because it's been right for 150 years or whatever, right through to treating people poorly in the workforce.
So, this is a really important job of a leader is to take responsibility – take charge of your own consciousness. Because, A. it's the only place you're going to have creative and innovative ideas, which everyone wants creative, innovative, agile – that's where it happens, is in your consciousness. But also, we all have a moral imperative to get super real about the ought choices. I think that's the best thing about these times we're in is we're getting super real.
You know, and you said, you know, there's different ways of giving us feedback about our choices. Well, actually, the human body is brilliant, right? You do something inappropriate for it, and it either gives you pain or it gives you disease. You know, there are pretty clear feedbacks. It might take you 20 years to get the disease, but it will give you – the feedback will come back. And what this pandemic is it’s really, like, it's like all the phones are going, going, “Guys? Humans? Human species. Human, Inc. This is not working. You know, you've got a lot of things that aren't working. So, take heed. Do something about it.” And that's what, you know, what we're getting at the moment.
The Pandemic as a Wakeup Call to an Imbalanced World
Brian Beckcom: You know, in some ways, and boy, I tell you what, Nick, this is so in my wheelhouse. These discussions, these topics are just things that I'm absolutely fascinated by. But you bring up a great point about how the pandemic is basically telling us, “Hey.” It's like it's like slapping us across the face saying, “Wake the hell up.”
And you know what's so fortunate about it is epidemiologists and immunologists are, you know, they're studying bacterias, potential bacterias and viruses that would kill upwards of 50% of the people that get infected. So I, you know, in some ways – I don't want this to sound the wrong way, but in some ways, when I think about the COVID 19 and the current coronavirus, I think, “Man, this is a wake-up call,” and it could have been so much worse, and we really need to pay attention to what this pandemic is teaching us.
I'll tell you, the other thing you mentioned there, Nick, that I think is really important. And for people that meditate, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. There's all sorts of insights and realizations you have with meditation. So, for instance, the very first one I had – the very first time I meditated, I meditated for five minutes and I was like, “Oh my God, I cannot believe how my mind will not shut the fuck up.” I could not believe it. I mean, I just was like, you know, and the Buddhists call that “monkey mind” and things like that.
But the other thing that I've noticed, Nick, is, you know, people are like, “Why would meditation help you with the ought questions? Why would meditation to help you with the normative-type questions?” And what I've found is one of the things when you meditate is you learn that all of us fundamentally are kind of the same. We have the same desires, the same needs, the same wants. And once you realize that about your fellow human beings, I think the tendency is to be more compassionate. To realize we're all kind of in the same boat. And so speak to that a little bit, if you don't mind, Nick.
Nick Jankel: I wrote down compassion as you were saying it because this sense of sameness that you could call brotherhood. You could call it a fellowship. You could call it something more exotic like non-dual or interbeing, a famous Buddhist called it. The sense that we're all in this together. We are all similar. We all are fearful. And one of the things actually, I'm very learning for myself over and over again at the moment is that whilst you think when you become a leader, most people think, I think, it's all about the hubris. The charisma, the excitement, the vision, the narrative, the influence, the genius. And it is, in some ways.
The other half of the challenge is humility, and humility is the constant learning through failure. Letting the failures in, letting the feedback in of just, “Yeah, maybe we did a great sales run this year, but oh my God, the culture sucks.” You know, whatever it is, you know.
And when you realize when you meditate – and people who don't want to meditate, there are other practices. There's walking meditation. There’s ecstatic dance and you're moving really fast rather than trying to slow everything down. You can speed everything up and burn away your worries and things. So, but when you do this stuff, you just get this unbelievable emergence of compassion. And it's not just in the mind, it's in the heart. And a good wisdom practice will open your heart up to your own pain and fears and worries and anxieties and your sense of not enough-ness. And am I enough even now as a CEO of this multi-national –will my dad love me now and respect me and tell me he's proud? “I'm proud of you, son.” Whatever that stuff is, right?
And you realize we’re all terrified. And this just – if you're storming the Capitol, it's fair. If you’re telling everyone who stormed the Capitol they're the worst people in the world, it’s fair. And so that compassion starts to become the context by which you make choices. So, the only context or the only feature because you've got the data, right. And you've got your ambitions and goals and stuff, and you’ve got some of this more masculine scribe. Brilliant. Keep it going.
But the moment we as leaders, most of us and the world are all drive profit productivity, efficiency, and very weak in this other area of compassion, collaboration, slowness, connectivity. And so, we're sort of – If you’ve ever pulled your leg or something, you know, you start getting imbalance and then that becomes another problem. And you get like this and, you know, we’re kind of like that. The world is kind of all imbalanced right now. It's not wrong, it's not bad, it's just imbalanced.
And that's partly what we mentioned when we first connected was Capitalism is imbalance. It's not wrong. It's not bad. It's not going anywhere, with everything else. But it is imbalanced and it's getting ugly and it's getting, you know, the backache is getting worse, you know. And we've got a really strong bicep: Productivity. Let’s think about – call it productivity or profit. We've got a really strong bicep. But out tricep is pretty flabby, you know, around compassion and care and connectivity. And that's what I think this – I hope this pandemic is teaching us is that without that tricep, being strong in the more feminine values of the culture, things can get pretty ugly pretty quick. And people actually die. It's not like it's sort of, you know, it's not just a thought.
The Imbalances of Capitalism & Regenerative Capitalism
Brian Beckcom: Yeah, and this is – I'm glad you started talking about capitalism because I think, again, this pandemic has exposed both the upside of capitalism, the positive side of capitalism. For example, the vaccines that were developed by private companies in record breaking time. But also the downside of capitalism, i.e. the people that get left behind. The people that don't have enough money to put food on their table, things like that.
And, you know, there's one thing, Nick, that I've thought about for awhile is I think oftentimes, especially nowadays, we get caught in binary thinking like you're either on this side or – you’re either for capitalism or you're against capitalism. You're either for the police or you're against the police. You're either for racial justice, or you're against. You either think climate change is a Chinese hoax or you think it's real. And the truth is reality is much messier than that.
So, you can be for capitalism, which I think you and I both would say there are plenty of benefits of capitalism. But we can also note that there are problems with capitalism and even the most free market thinkers out there, the Milton Friedmans of the world, the Edmund Burkes of the world. Even the – who was the original – he wrote The Wealth of Nations. For some reason, the name is not coming to mind.
Nick Jankel: Adam Smith.
Brian Beckcom: Adam Smith. Even these fundamental capitalist free market type thinkers recognize that there were parts of capitalism, you know, we call them market failures. There were things that capitalism could not address. And so, you know, tying this into what we were talking about earlier, I don't think capitalism can answer questions about purpose and meaning and truth. Like, capitalism doesn't provide that.
Although, you know, lately in modern Western societies, it seems to try. Like, capitalism seems to, in other words, if you get that nice car, or if you wear that dress that Kim Kardashian’s wearing, or if you get that expensive watch or house and post it on social media, that'll suddenly give your life meaning. And you know, what you find is it doesn't necessarily work that way. You know, I can tell you that I've been very – I'm 48 years old and I've been very fortunate to be successful in business. I've made enough – I made more money than I ever thought it would make, frankly. And I can tell you my experience, Nick, has been it hasn't made me any happier, really, at all.
Money does not provide answers to what I would consider the most important questions. Why are we here? What is our purpose? What should we be doing with our lives? You know, what's a good way to spend your life? So, talk a little bit about how capitalism, you know, your views on capitalism with purpose.
Nick Jankel: So, signposting, for our listeners, this is really a fractal version, you know. The same conversation as science and wisdom. In capitalism, we call it profit – the profit motive and productivity drivers. And then we call it purpose, which is the sort of convenient way of saying meaning, social contribution, ecological footprint reduction, blah, blah blah. All that kind of stuff.
So, really that sort of analogy I've put about the, you know, if we're all productivity and we're all fast and we just got to make money, all bicep, no tricep. It's the same as capitalism, which is all profit and no human value, human care. And again, we want to right ourselves. So, I talk a lot about in my books about recalibrating capitalism. Not trying to destroy it.
I’m a capitalist. I've been an entrepreneur since I was 24. I love getting up in the morning and going, “What am I going to create today?” Which I couldn't do in the private sector and I couldn't do it probably for a nonprofit either. And I love that sheer rush of creative possibility and potential. I did a keynote for Pfizer a few weeks ago. Amazing that they pulled off of a incredible task of finding a vaccine. Partly because, well, this is the CEO, the ex-CEO’s story. You know, he thought it was interesting, this MRNA stuff, and took a punch, you know, took a risk, which the government probably would never have done too many issues and risks and what.
So, that's amazing, right? But as you said, if we're all bicep and we aren't then treating our workers in abattoirs or delivery people and taking care of them. And care isn't about productivity. It's not efficient. Care is not efficient. It’s one of the things you learn as a care-er, whether you're a parent or care-er of an old person, is it's not efficient.
You get nothing done when you're trying to homeschool. Right? There's no tick box of goals that day. It's just, do you get through, has everyone had an okay time? You know, are we getting connected? Are we also connected or do we need to diagnose the fight we had earlier? Right?
So, for me, this form of capitalism that is potentially emergent, which I call regenerative capitalism, just for want of a better term. Or connective capitalism. It’s about saying, listen, there's nothing wrong with capitalism. Capitalism is amazing. But if it's only about profit and productivity and efficiency, it causes really a lot of pain for a lot of people. Including, I would say, most of the people making all the money at the top end. They're just as miserable as the people on the bottom end, they just got more money. And you can see that in some of our billionaires at the moment, you can see clear evidence that from the point of view of a wisdom lens, these people are not having, you know, great times in their reality, in their consciousness, in their relationships.
As you said, you know, you've made more money than you've ever thought. I have as well. And the things that brought me the most juice in my life had nothing to do with money. In fact, I did a bizarre thing. I found my old receipts file from all my stuff I've ever bought of any high value, which I kept in case of an insurance claim. You know, they say, “Oh, do you still have the receipts for all those suits that burned?” I'm like, “What?” I didn't. So, I learned early on, keep your receipts.
So, I was going through them and first of all, learning 95% of all the stuff I bought in my twenties, I don't own anymore. And probably didn't, you know. Second thing I realized is I had loads of really cool clothes, cool designer stuff. There were, you know, there were upper-class Virgin Flights to New York receipts. They were – had phones I bought because I was bored in, you know, a duty-free shop while consulting for someone. I was just looking at this going – this was just, I mean, the receipts were about as valuable as the stuff was.
I don't regret any of it. I had great times, you know. I had some crazy fun, great times and I still love beautiful things. I still love nicely designed furniture. Et cetera, right? But I was so – it was just, like, yet another realization that that was not what's brought my life joy and meaning. These little receipts. And just like I could just see them on the floor. They were, you know, sort of like maybe a thousand receipts which I’m actually going to burn in the fire in the next few days. Just a marker of capital does not create connection. But there's nothing wrong with it. There’s only something wrong with it when it goes out of balance, again.
I said this regenerative capitalism, actually, I'm a co-founder of a regenerative business consultancy called FutureMakers with my colleague. So, I run two different companies. And this regenerative business thing is really exciting because it's like, what happens if we really put that – back to what we talked about at the very beginning, if we put consciousness on an equal petting with matter. So, the ought and is are equal, matter and consciousness, product and purpose are equal. One's not better than the other. Masculine, feminine, ying, yang, whatever. You know, everyone's got their own things. What happens if we really redesigned companies? And it has to be from the inside out. Can’t just be through government policy. It has to be because people want to. What happens to business models, delivery models, service models, when we rarely put caring, creativity, collaboration, all the Cs, into our business models. And it's amazingly exciting.
And that's, you're talking about being despondent, you know, and excited. I mean, I go through a day and in one day I'm like, “I don't think there's any point in me doing any more work in the world. I think it's game over.” I went for a walk the other day, on Sunday, we went for a beautiful walk, but it's a place that has a path to the beach. And I walked back and I said to my 12-year-old. Almost 12 – 12 tomorrow. I said – he was like, “What's up, Dad?” I said, “If people can't even give each other space when we're trying to social distance on a path to the beach on a Sunday afternoon, what hope do we have with climate change?” Is what I was thinking.
Brian Beckcom: What a great point. Yeah, no, what a great point. I posted something on my social media page about five months ago, and here's what I posted. I said, “If you knew, or if you were convinced that a mask provided you with no protection whatsoever, but there was a chance it would protect other people, would you wear a mask?” And I was shocked, Nick. Shocked. By how many people said they wouldn't wear a mask. You know?
And so that, like you said, I think climate change is a perfect example. That makes me so despondent because it makes me think, “How are we ever going to solve these problems that require literally the entire world to work together? How are we going to do this?” And you know, this is another perfect example, I think, of how the pandemic reveals human nature. So, you know, all of us, all of us have this selfishness to us. What's in it for me? What can I get out of it?
And, you know, in some ways, Nick, I think the selfishness can be good. But it's just like you said. When the balance gets off, when it becomes too selfish. So, when you hear people say, “I don't want my rights to be infringed. I don't want to wear a mask. I don't think, I, I, I, I, I.” I just sit there and go, “Man, when are we going to start talking about we? When are we going to start talking about how we work together, how we solve problems?”
But of course, Nick, you know, you can take the we too far. I mean, you can take the we where it's all about the collective action. So, again, I always try to think middle path, middle way.
Nick Jankel: Middle path. Absolutely. I mean, you know, I'm watching the Americans on TV, you know, and too much we and we've become the Soviet system, where the individual is crushed under the grayness of conformity. So, we don't want that. Who wants that? You know. So, regenerative capitalism isn't socialism, but it is capitalism that is tempered by wisdom. Tempered by love, dare I say it. Tempered by caring for each other.
And it does give me hope. It does give me hope. And it gives me hope that there are enough people at enough levels of seniority and enough organizations, private, nonprofit, public, who are really taking this seriously. Like, what next? You know. Where – what's my contribution to these better angels of capitalism, we could call. That’s actually a nice title. I might have to write that one down.
So, I'm not counter-cultural. When people say, “Well, you’re counter-cultural,” I say, “No. I'm not counter, against the culture. I'm for the culture. I’m for the system. I'm for it to transform in the next 10, 15 years. It's possible. We've got the solution.” But the bit that I think we often – in some ways it's simpler than people realize. Capitalism has basically been about – you can – this is a slightly glib summary. It’s basically about providing for our comforts and conveniences.
If you think about, you know, 1780. I died before I was 48. I'm actually 48 in a few weeks myself. I had, you know, ill health for most of my life. We had one plate to share between us. You know, the roof leaked. And since now we have a Tesla and we have a beautiful set of stainless steel, blah, blah, blah, you know. We've got better comfort and convenience. Yes, length of life has gone up, but that's still really about comfort and convenience. And what – we've gone so far into comfort and convenience that we've now realized that to make climate change – to adjust to climate change, but also inequality, political issues, whatever, we have to give up some comfort and convenience. That is basically the summary.
Brian Beckcom: No question about it. And I'll tell you, I love the way you put that because I'll tell you a quick personal story. This is before the pandemic. This was last January. You know, I've always been a pretty driven, motivated person. And I always thought I wanted to make a lot of money. You know, partially so I could help as many people as I could, but I was driven to make money and I, you know, ran my own business. I've run my own business for almost 20 years now. So, I've always been an entrepreneur.
But I realized last January, I started looking around, Nick, and, you know, I thought, “Man. I live in the house I want to live in. I drive the car I want to drive. I play golf when I want to play golf with good friends.” I finally realized, “You know what? I have enough. I have enough.” And so, you know, there's more than one way to be rich. And I would say the easier way to be rich would be to be thankful for what you have.
But the problem that I see is oftentimes our society looks up to people based on how much money they have. So, you know, in my neighborhood, there's a couple that I know who have kids that are about to be out of the house that are building 20,000 square foot house for two people to live in. And I just think, “What has gone wrong with our country, where we value that kind of conspicuous consumption?” Like, in other words, why do we not, instead of saying, “Wow, we're going to look up to this person with a 20,000 square foot house with two people living in it.” Rather than look at that as a positive, why aren't we saying “Well, did you see that that guy just gave away a 99% of his wealth to help them?”
So, in other words, again, this is, you know, when capitalism – it doesn't have to be all about profit. There’s no rule that says capitalism has to be about 100% profit. It can be about more, but we've got to push it in that direction.
So, Nick, we've been going for an hour now, but I'm having such a fun time. Do you have another 10, 15 minutes to keep talking?
Nick Jankel: Yeah.
Helping Others & Letting Go of Toxic Emotions
Brian Beckcom: Okay. Awesome. Well, good. So. You know, tell us about – so, another thing that – and it took me a long time to realize this. It was probably when I was, you know, in my early 40s that I finally started realizing that life is not about what I could do for myself. Like, life is really about what you can do for others.
And even from a selfish perspective, Nick, even if you're a selfish SOB, you'll find, I think, that when you do good works for other people, you feel better. Like, there's no time when I feel better than when I've done something meaningful for somebody else. I feel far better about that, internally. Like, you keep talking about your internal state. I feel far better about that than I feel when I do something for myself.
And I'll give you another example of that. So, there's a famous Buddhist saying about anger, and you could apply this to hatred or any negative emotion. Anger is like a hot coal that you hold in your own hand expecting it's going to burn somebody else. And so, my experience of that, I'll just give you one example. I've had some instances where I've had some people that I didn't like very much, and I was angry at them for various reasons. And I started to realize that that anger had no effect whatsoever on them, but it had a very negative effect on me.
And so, you know, one thing the contemplative tradition will teach you is – and nowadays, when I start feeling anger or hate, I’m pretty quick to say, “Boy, that is a toxic emotion and it only hurts you. So, let that go as quickly as you can.” So, speak to that a little bit, if you don't mind, Nick.
Nick Jankel: Yeah. I mean, I've been on a lifetime's mission around anger myself, and you know, personal anger, childhood anger, ancestral anger. And in the theory of human beings that I teach and have developed which is called biotransformation theory, for want of a better term, one of the key things I try and teach people is all emotions are information. And they are useful for us to – they’re guidance systems. And that's actually born out by the evolutionary biologists that we need our emotions for guidance.
What's interesting about anger, for example, is it's a guidance emotion for ourselves that there's stuff inside us that hasn't been processed yet. Usually we could call wounding, trauma, pain, negative experience, whatever you call it. And so I would say to people, don't get rid of the anger. But don’t, you know, there's no point spewing it out to the world. It literally does nothing useful except in rare moments where you do need to create a boundary rapidly. That's a good protective source of – reason for anger. Probably why we have it. If you see a wounded dog, blah, blah, blah, you can see that anger’s very useful. But after that boundary has been set, it's becomes not useful again.
But then the question goes, why is the anger there? Why is it still there? What is it about my childhood, my memories, my feelings, my sense-making of the world, that's having that be a regular emotion for me? So that's the journey I want to go on right now. And that's the job of the leader is to do that work on themselves. What we call inner work, inner game, whatever you want to call it, so that your outer game, your outer work is clearer and more focused, more useful to the world.
You know, I'm really a believer in sort of value add, you know? How can I be more valuable to my company and my team and myself? It's not by being resentful or angry or any of these other things. It's very rarely about that stuff. But neither, as you said, is it all about doing everything for everyone else, because then you get pulled out of a balance again, and you're getting so much to everyone else that you become not resilient internally. And again, it's just about being in the third way, the way between the two polarities.
And so, you said, you're talking about your own sense of service and that's, again, being born out by the biology is a thing called the helper’s high. It feels good to help others. It feels really good. But what we don’t then want to do is become so much about others that we forget ourselves, our own kids. We become ill. Because then we're no good to anyone either.
Brian Beckcom: That's a great point. So, meditation, some people might say, “Well, that's selfish.” Like, you're just working on yourself. But what I would say is that's where you have to start. Like, your inner experience will dictate your outer experience. Your inner experience will dictate other people's experience.
So, oftentimes when I'm meditating or doing some other contemplative work, I think about the reason I'm doing this. I have three kids and I'm married and the reason I do this is to be a better father and a better husband. And I'm also a boss, so to be a better boss. So, in a way, it seems a little selfish, Nick, but you have to start with yourself first. Like, you have to train yourself first.
And people that are exclusively worried about other people – some people might call it codependent or whatever term you want to use. That goes too far because those, yeah, so you have to start with yourself first.
Nick Jankel: It’s just as toxic.
Brian Beckcom: Just as toxic, that's right.
Nick Jankel: And that’s why probably a lot of great people and social entrepreneurs or whatever, change makers, and there's no point solving someone else's systemic problems over there. You know, health problems or poverty problems. If you're bringing up kids who never see you, because then they're just going to have their own trauma they're going to create in your system. So, there's no point, you know, and we have to have a balance. I've got to have time for me. I've got to have time for my kids. And I’ve got to have time for the world. Whatever that is.
And we're constant – I'm constantly negotiating those boundaries. I don't think I ever get it right. Cause there is no right, right? There's just, today, I take a little bit of daddy time to take a nap. I've learned weekends get better for everyone if daddy takes himself out of it for even for half an hour. Run, whatever. Meditation. A little sleep. And then that makes you a better dad, and then if I'm a better dad, I'm a better boss and employee and leader, and then I’m a better systems change agent.
So, it is a constant thing and you don't know – you can't ever get it right. There's no blog you can read. Someone says, “If you do three hours of meditation, or two hours,” you know, because it doesn't work that way. It's a dynamic system. It's constantly evolving. A complex system at the edge of chaos. We are always usually at the edge of chaos, which is beautiful because that's where creativity happens. That’s also where lack of safety happens and fear happens.
And what we don't want to do is go, “Right, I'm just going to go use self-care as a blissing out, you know, technique, of just my own joy. I'm going to sit in the hot tub and I'm going to spend three days on retreat. It's just all about me feeling good and posting on Instagram.” That's not self-care. Self-care as a leader is, “What do I have to do as a minimal viable human product?” You know, an MVH, a minimal viable human. “What do I have to do for myself?” Sleep, nutrition, exercise, meditation. Yes, relaxing time. Netflix, bingeing, whatever. So that I can show up for eight hours a day or seven hours or 10 hours as a whole human. I think that's a really important word. Whole. A whole being. A whole leader.
Now Lead the Change & the Future of Leadership
Brian Beckcom: Yeah. So, Nick, talk about your – I think this is your latest book. Now Lead the Change. I want to hear a little bit about your latest book and I also want to hear – and I know this will be difficult to do in a short period of time, but give us your prescriptions for leadership going forward. Because one of the things that, I mean, I can't stop thinking about this as a business owner, as a father, as a husband, as a friend, as somebody who's interested in the world in a lot of different ways. I try to, in my brain, think “Where is this all going?” Like, “Where are we headed? And what are the best leaders doing?”
So, talk about your most recent book and relate that, if you would, Nick, to where is this all going? Like, what should we be doing to prepare ourselves as leaders for the coming years ahead?
Nick Jankel: Wow. Okay. So, the new book is called Now Lead the Change, and it's about transformation of leadership, and it's about the science and the wisdom and bringing it all together and it's got this biotransformation theory laid out in a nice cohesive way. It's got lots of tools and techniques, but it’s got a whole first part, which is all about the world and the problems we've got and where it's going and how there's an opportunity for our leadership of our enterprise. And whatever that means to you. Two person, you know, or community, church, whatever. Or at the scale of a massive public sector body, or a multi-national.
How could I use my leadership of this enterprise to solve some major problem worth solving in the world? Meaningful problem. Not a bullshit problem, excuse my French, about how do I, you know, help rich people park better in San Francisco. You know, a meaningful problem. How do I use this kind of enterprise to solve meaningful problems? Yes, make some cash, et cetera. And so, the book that ends with a high of, “Look what regenerative capitalism and what that can look like.” Some of the things to think about, some of the tools that are already out there, some of the facets, the ingredients of regenerative business. Because, like, no one can give you your ingredients, right? You have to live into your own recipe. But there are ingredients, you know, there are good bits of things.
And in the middle of the book, it's all about the individual. About myself, about my inner game, my inner consciousness, and how can you think about the world in a clearer, more wise way. Really looking about not just wisdom, but what we call now embodied wisdom. Wisdom has moved down from good thoughts in meditation or good philosophy. “I really believe in that.” To, “I live that.” You know, the walking the talk of the wisdom. So, it's embodied in who you show up to be.
Brian Beckcom: Nick, this idea of embodied wisdom I think is a very, very important concept because, you know, and I've experienced this, again, through meditation. There's different ways to experience this, but when you see certain things, when you experience certain things through meditation, you can't necessarily prove scientifically that you experienced that. But it's such a powerful, firsthand, subjective experience that you just know it to be true.
So, for instance, one, like I mentioned earlier, one of the first things you learn in meditation is you can't stop your mind. Like, your mind just keeps going. And once you see that, you can't unsee it. Once you see that, you're totally convinced of that.
And the other thing you see in meditation – there are all sorts of insights we could talk about. But where do those thoughts come from? Like, do we actually have much control over what the next thought that pops into our head is? I'm not so sure about that. But the idea you're talking about of embodied wisdom is there's wisdom that you have intellectually or in your brain with your thoughts. And then there's wisdom that truly becomes a part of your whole being.
But in any event, Nick, talk about – and I know you've got a lot of concepts and ideas and stuff, and so I don't want to give short shrift to any of them, but I do want to hear if you were talking to a group of business leaders or community leaders or whoever, tell us maybe a few of the things that you might encourage them to think about or do to prepare for, again, the coming future, which is already upon us and is going to be upon us faster than we know.
I mean, we've got so many different issues. We've got climate change, we've got artificial intelligence and robotics, we've got the tech and where the tech is going. You've got this idea of, you know, the four horsemen of the apocalypse. And you've got this notion that tech is letting us down in varied ways and all these things. But what would you say to somebody who said, “Nick, I really want to be a leader going forward? What do you think I need to – what specific steps do I need to be taking now to prepare myself for leadership in the coming years?
Nick Jankel: Hmm. Whew. I mean, I think one thing is it's an inside-out game. And so take seriously your consciousness. One of the chapters in the book is called “Consciousness as King.” It used to be cash. Cash is gone. So, consciousness. So, take seriously the development of your consciousness. The lifelong learning and your adult development and pushing yourself to another stage of development. And the book actually lays out some stages.
So, where if you are really good at project management or, you know, getting boards to make decisions and put some money into some stuff, whatever. There's probably a whole lot of stuff, probably more in the embodied wisdom area, which, because it just hasn't been something you've developed that much or hasn't been asked from you for you to develop and go. So, take seriously that development, because you're going to need this other dimension of leadership that isn't just cognitive-behavioral genius. You're going to need this wisdom in the times ahead.
And it doesn't – and the thing is, it's not cheap. You can't just buy it. You can't just go out for a retreat for six days and have embodied wisdom. It's like a six-year program, you know. It's a 10-year program. So, start now. It doesn't matter what age you are. Start now. Buy some interesting books. Follow your wisdom breadcrumbs. Follow what sounds, you know, we've both given a few in this podcast. You know, some jumping-off points. Sufism, Kabbalah, Buddhism, you know.
Just go off, do some stuff. Go look in your – look online. There are so many free things, right? Yoga classes, meditation classes, ecstatic dance classes, whatever. Again, jumping-off points. So, that's the first thing I would say is to take seriously the refinement of your consciousness, because everything comes from there.
I love the way you – I wrote down what you said. You know, your inner experience dictates your own work and your own work, but also everyone else's, particularly if you're a boss. So, take that seriously.
Secondly, at the exact opposite end, take super seriously the world that is fast emerging with these major crises. They are not going anywhere. They’re just going to get worse. And pay attention. Where it’s really accomplishing a purpose. What’s calling you? Which bit of this huge systemic challenge is calling you?
For me, it’s what we've just talked about. It’s mental embodied wisdom, development of consciousness, better businesses, better leaders. But which bit of, is it poverty? Is it child wellbeing? Is it the environment? Is it the trees? Is it, you know, what is calling you? And that again isn't something that might just be immediate, it might be a few weeks and months and years to really find where your bed is. Cause you can’t do it all. No one can do it all. As much as we think we'd like to.
And then I guess the third question, just to make it – and this is emerging, by the way, I didn't have a plan for this answer. So, take yourself seriously, take the world seriously. And then spend, you know, your little bit of time you have each week to reflect about your work and your business with your coach, whatever, how can you shape your product process, business model to play a part in the bringing about of a regenerative economy in a flourishing world for everyone. Because you can. It doesn't matter what you do.
I even heard recently, you know, cigarette companies are now developing vaccines with the, you know, the mosaic tobacco technology. That is a purpose turnaround. So, that's what I say. Pay attention to you. Pay attention to what in the world is calling you to heal the world. To whole the world.
The world – there’s a beautiful phrase in Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, Jewish wisdom, called tikkun olam. The healing of the world. But it comes from the healing of yourself. Tikkun ha'nefesh, the healing of you. And the two things are always happening at all times.
So that's, I think – I guess I'm actually – I probably should also say that I do run an amazing leadership program that does just this. And it's called Master Transformational Leadership, and we have cohorts running, you know, every few months and you can find it on our website and I would love you to come and join me. It's open to anyone and it starts deep in and ends on systemic change in nine months.
Brian Beckcom: So, one thing that really drew me to podcasts, and one thing that really I felt like I was drawn to was interviewing people like Nick Jankel. Seriously, I started this podcast during the quarantine and largely because I was just sick of all the negativity and what I considered to be very poor and unwise leadership. And I thought to myself, “Man, I know a lot of people that are not like that. I know of a lot of very positive optimistic can-do leaders and I want to get that out in the world a little bit.”
And so, this has been, for me, this has been a little bit of a passion project. And again, it's because of people like you. Guests like you that I think sometimes we get so drowned in negative news and negative feedback cycles and arguing on social media that it's easy to forget that there's people like Nick Jankel out in the world that, seriously, that bring such wisdom and positivity and energy and creativity to the world.
So, Nick, I think that's kind of a perfect way to end the episode, although I'm a little bit upset about it cause I think we could seriously talk for another two hours, easily, about, you know, I'm looking over at my notes that I made before the show and we haven't touched on 90% of what I wanted to talk about. But truly, Nick, you are the exact kind of human being that I wanted to feature on my podcast when I started and it really gives me a tremendous sense of pleasure and a tremendous sense of accomplishment to have somebody like you on the show. So, thank you for everything you do and that you've done and that you will do.
And please tell us, Nick, real quickly before I let you go, tell us where people can find you online, on the internet and social media and places like that.
Nick Jankel: Yeah. Increasingly off it, but no, I will be here. But that has been, actually, one of my embodied wisdom lessons is to spend more time off technologies. I'm sure that’s true for most of us. But just to say thank you. I really received that and I think that was a really important thing for me to hear today. So, thank you for sharing your heart and your truth and having me and being so open to go through. I mean, we've talked about pretty much the whole of the human experience a little bit in the last bit of time.
So, if you want to connect with me, website: SwitchOnNow.com. SwitchOnNow.com/Leadership is where the leadership stuff is. Facebook and Instagram I’m probably more on and that's Facebook.com or Instagram.com/SwitchOnNow.
I am on Twitter. It's not a major thing for me. And on Medium, I write a lot on Medium, and those are probably good. The website’s got all the links on it. But sign up to the email cause that’s the newsletter, cause that's really where I share whatever I'm working on. Podcasts, Medium articles, whatever.
Brian Beckcom: Beautiful. Well, Nick Jankel, thank you for being such a positive force in this world. A force for good. Please keep doing what you're doing and maybe we can get you back on the show again to talk about the 90% of the things that I didn't even get to.
Nick Jankel: That’d be great. I would love that.
Brian Beckcom: Thank you, Nick.