Today’s guest is Emily Scott. Emily is a legacy and philanthropic guide, author and passion-holic. She has authored a book titled “Tails of Devotion, A Look at the Bond Between People and Their Pets” which has successfully raised funds for animal welfare. She also has a TED talk, in which, much like today, she expresses the importance of passion.
In this episode Josh and Emily discuss how meaningful it is to pursue passions, whether it be in business or personal life.
Some key points that are touched on in this episode:
- Why we should focus on passion rather than goals
- The importance of passion to everyday enhance life
- How and why sharing different perspectives can broaden your mindset and creativity
- Why businesses require passion
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful.
Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick and you’re at The Sustainable Business.
Our guest today is Emily Scott. I met Emily at a program last summer called the Purposeful Planning Institute. We ended up spending– oh, I don’t know, three, four, or five hours talking with Emily and another Emily who I can’t remember her last name but it was like the duo Emily’s, we were having this great conversation with. And during the conversation, I found out that Emily Scott, who is our guest today, is a passion-holic. And I just found that really interesting and said, “Well, you’ve got to come on my podcast because I think passion is really important in creating a sustainable business.
So let’s bring Emily in and we’ll start talking about passion.
Hey, Emily, how are you today?
Emily: Hi, Josh. How are you?
Josh: I’m great. Thank you.
So tell me something. What is a passion-holic? Is that the term or is it passionate-holic?
Emily: Well, it could be either. You can take it and change it if you would like. It’s up to you. I didn’t copyright it so you could do whatever you want with it.
So I created passionholic because I did a project. I do, when I turn a new decade. I do this thing called the decade dare. It’s outside my comfort zone. It’s to raise a lot of money for a particular cause.
And so, that year, I did something around animal welfare. And I did a coffee table book. And I had never written a book. I had no idea. Thank God, I didn’t know what I had walked into because I would’ve never even thought to do it. And it totally engaged me, from a creative standpoint, from a strategic standpoint, a business standpoint.
And it occurred to me that the phrase workaholic isn’t correct. And that’s why I coined passionholic. And the definition is “a person whose passion engages one’s being so completely that other pursuits pale in comparison.” And so, it’s not that I don’t want to do anything else. It’s that nothing else makes me as energized, and as open, and as curious as what I was doing right then and there.
Josh: So tell us a story about doing your book, and passion, and how that helped you get through there.
Emily: It’s interesting because I just met with Dave Evans who, in the Standford D-school, he and Bill Burnett have a Design Your Life course and they wrote a book. And we were talking about passion. And it’s actually not singular. It’s passions. And I think that’s the big piece of it that when somebody says, “So what is your passion?” It’s the same thing as saying, “What’s your favorite movie?” to me. It’s sort of like well, “it depends what,” you know.
And so, now you start saying, “Okay, so what are your favorite movies? What are your passions?” Big difference and much more open to a conversation. And I think that’s what came out with the book – that I was learning. I was raising funds for a cause I really cared about. I was engaging with others. I was solving problems as being strategic, sort of, take the list of things that I have passion around, from a self-engagement, involvement, what you want to do with your life and time. And that just happened. And the whole exploration of that and learning, I hadn’t raised my level of consciousness around that and how important it was to me as well as engaging with really smart people, Josh, and learning a lot.
And this was a biggie for me, learning how much I loved not just learning but learning about people and their narratives because we all have an interesting story. And how people got to where they are is fascinating to me. And now, at the ripe old age of 61, as I do Emily 6.0, that’s a very big piece of my business.
Josh: So it sounds to me like it’s not passion, it’s actually stacking passions that makes life interesting.
Emily: So talk to me about stacking. I agree on the other part. I’m not quite sure about the stacking word.
Josh: Well, an interesting life might have several passions and you’ll stack them on top of each other as you move through things. As I’m seeing you think about what you said is that, a passion is pretty narrow and pretty limiting. But when you start working on several passions and your passions might actually work in consort with each other. That’s sort of like stacking on top of each other.
Emily: So I see what you’re saying and I think that’s an option. And I would and that – instead of or that, I would and it. You know, Josh, from our conversations that I’m a big believer in Jim Collins’ the brilliance of the and versus the tyranny of the or. That I’m thinking of passions as side by side acting in concert. To me, it’s more horizontal than vertical. But again, it can be either way, right?
One of the things that we talk about a lot is how are we aligning everything. And I think of alignment as something that– to me, stacking gives it almost a hierarchy. Whereas, alignment is “how does everything integrate on a similar level?”
Josh: Okay, that’s probably a better way of saying it, I would think.
Emily: A different way, Josh. A different way.
Josh: It’s okay to be better. I’m fine with that. I tend to be incorrect way more than I’m correct about things that come out of my mouth.
Emily: I don’t know. I don’t agree with you. You and I have had a lot of conversations. That I beg to differ.
Josh: At any rate, the whole thing with passion, where do you think that fits in with values? Does passion come from values? Or do values come from passion?
Emily: So that’s a really great question. And it’s one that I think about a lot, given what I do for a living. I would offer up the following: I think if we spend time to think about our inner life – and our inner life, for me is “Who are we?” And that would be, “What are your values? What are your priorities? How do you think about things? What resonates with you?” And that’s a big exploration. There’s no easy answer there. And it takes time and thought. And if you can take your inner life and manifest it to your outer life, I think that manifests passion. Because I think that what happens is your attention then manifests your passion. So you think about what you do for a living and how did that evolve.
And, to me, given our conversations, what came out – and you and I haven’t spent a huge amount of time around all of this but from what I hear from you is that you recognized the pieces of your skill set, of your mindset, of your values and how they acted in your businesses and it brought you to the place in your journey where you are now. And I also would say that I believe that passions change and evolve over time. So I think this is a constant evolution.
I don’t necessarily know if your values change. I think maybe your values are enhanced. I think they can take different paths. So, in a business setting at some point, your passion may have been to create. And then you start a company. You create a product. You create a service. And that was your passion. X amount of years later that has happened, the business or the service has been created. And now what? Do you stop being passionate or have you found that you really love the sales process. Or you really love the management process. Or you love the people process. Or you love engaging your community. And how does that keep on coming back to your values so that there’s this self-reflection opportunity that you give yourself at saying, “How do I get my inner life into my outer life?” I think you can keep being passionate. It just may look different.
Josh: So you just came up with something which I find sort of interesting–
Emily: Just sort of?
Josh: Well– okay. It was actually my thought that was sort of interesting, not what you said. At least, to me, it was sort of interesting. And that is that passion is around journey not goals.
Emily: Absolutely. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.
Josh: Right. So I am basically not a big fan of goals for a whole host of reasons. I actually find goals are limiting factors. They’re not un-limiting factors. They’re not freeing. They’re constraining.
Emily: I agree.
Josh: And my experience is not that it does happen all the time but by not having goals– like I have gotten results that are much bigger than I ever would have had if I did have goals.
Josh: So, again, if you’re going to live a passion-filled life, you’re probably going to have a life that’s filled with overarching goals but they’re not numeric goals. They’re not something that’s easily measured. It might be, “I want to have a good life” might be a goal. And then you get to fill in, “What does it mean to have a good life with a whole bunch of passions that help fulfill that?” Does that make sense?
Emily: I think it makes a lot of sense. I think one of the things that we do have incorrectly – and, again, this is I think why Dave Evans and Bill Burnett’s Designing Your Life really resonated for me is, “Can we really be sure that we’ve framed our questions or our thoughts correctly?” And one of the things that they talk about is that designers constantly know about re-framing.
So let’s talk about a business. So I started my acting as a guiding the thought partner for my business, The Power of And, a year ago. Now, I could’ve said, “Okay, so in one year, I want to have X amount of clients and I want to make X amount of money.”
So let’s just say, I want a dozen clients in a year. So I now get 10 clients at the end of the year. Does that mean that my business is not successful and I should shut it down? So I think we get so attached to the executive summary of “This is what it has to look like.” Maybe it’s because we all have learned to color in the lines. And those artists and designers and architects, for whatever reason, decided not to pay attention to that and said, “I’m coloring outside the lines because it makes infinitely more sense. And it’s going to be something more interesting, or beautiful, or well thought out.” And I think as long as you take that step back and say like, “What’s really the point here?” And what’s really the question?”
And, Josh, one of the things you and I talked about a lot is coming to the conversation curious and I would say, “Turn that same thought to your own inner dialogue.” If you can have that curious conversation, say, “So what is this really about?” You know, little kids do this all the time, right? Why? Why? Why? You know, to the point that we want to sit down and we stop. Well, why would we stop? Let’s keep asking ourselves the question. And let’s keep figuring out how to re-frame it.
Josh: I’m glad you brought up the word “why” because I think it’s a word that should be used– and again, we need to get rid of the word “should” completely.
Josh: It’s a word that needs to be used a little bit less often. And we need to be more creative in our why questions. For example, “What would happen if?” is a why question. “What would be different if this happened?” is a why question. “How will this make your life better?” is a why question.
And when you ask why questions in that way, my experience is you’re engaging your entire brain. And the research shows that the word “why” is actually you get linear answers, you don’t get holistic answers. So anybody that’s listening, I would encourage you to think about not using the word “why”, if at all possible, and instead be a little bit more creative and come up with a phrase that helps you ask why but engages you in a much deeper thought process.
Emily: I would also offer to have that process with others. And with others who are outside your skill set because we all come at it from a different perspective. You ask just open-ended questions and you’re sitting in a room of marketing people, with technology people, with ops people, you know, whatever it be – engineers that having these open-ended– many people call it a brainstorming session which is fine. I like to think of it as more of an open dialogue.
Sometimes, I think brainstorming puts you on the hook for like, “Oh my God, I have to be really creative and come up with wild ideas.” But it’s so interesting to me and I would say that I wish this country did more of it, is to have these kinds of open dialogues where you are really just sharing different perspectives. And it’s fascinating to me. Again, we’re going to go back to this mantra that I have of coming to the conversation curious. It’s fascinating to me how often, when these conversations happen, and these open-ended – what I call, high-gain questions occur, what people say and how they look at it. And that helps train you how to re-frame questions so when you’re by yourself, there’s a little bit of muscle memory, maybe, that’s created by this that you can start figuring out how to re-frame your own questions without having the group around you. Does that make sense?
Josh: It makes a lot of sense.
So the thing that I found interesting is that your comment about talking to people outside your expertise. And I agree with that by the way 100%. And the reason is inside every expert’s mind are rules about what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable within that particular world. Like in the financial planning world, there are rules. In the accounting world, there are rules. But if an accountant ends up talking to an engineer who is curious, the engineer will likely ask questions that are outside of the realm of the rules that a particular profession has.
And then you start getting to say, “Well, what would happen if this was allowed? Or what would happen if if you decide to do it this way instead of that way?” And if your answer is, “Well, that’s the way it’s done.” I’m going to encourage you to consider the options that it doesn’t mean that’s the way it has to be done.
Emily: That’s right. That’s right.
Josh: Like my example in the financial planning world, financial plans generally take six to eight weeks to get done. It’s back and forth. The planner is the expert. The client is going to the expert to get the answer.
I’d rather do it in a collaborative manner. I mean, our financial plans don’t take eight weeks. They take two hours. Literally. I mean, I get together with a client. We put something up on the screen. The client sees what the numbers say and I say, “Well, what do you want to change?” And they start taking and moving priorities around. It’s interactive. They get to control the situation. And frankly, our customers, in every business, is the expert at what they want. And in my experience, too often, we let the “expert adviser” tell us what we should be doing instead of us asking, “How can you get me to where I want to go.” I mean, I’m not sure that has a lot to do with passion but–
Emily: Well, you know, this is interesting because there can be passion for the sake of passion. But let’s talk about what you and I do day and day and that is trying to help. You’re in business. I’m dealing with people in their personal lives around having their world reflect who they are as human beings. We’re trying to determine how you incorporate passion into your life and how, going back to your inner life becoming your outer life. And so, all of this I think takes that.
So if you want to be passionate around your business, yes, of course, there’s also the reality of “What does the financial situation look like? And how do we get– there are practical pieces of passion. To me, it’s not passion for passion’s sakes. You can go, “Oh, wow. I really love it.” You’re not going to really love it if your business goes under. Or as a human being, you suddenly lose all of your wealth. And so, there is the practical side of it.
Josh: I do have to interrupt you there. If you don’t have passion, your business is going to go south. If you do have passion, you’re going to likely have the energy to do what it takes to save your business.
Emily: Perfect. Perfect. There you go. Bravo! Exactly.
Josh: Because that actually has happened to me a couple of times where I was right on the brink of bankruptcy but without passion I would’ve never had the energy to get the business through where it needed to get through and make the changes to make the business work.
Emily: Yeah, there you have it.
Josh: So the truth is, without passion you’re not likely to have a very successful business.
Emily: Yeah. And I think, also, one of the things that I talk to people about, either in their philanthropy or in their estate legacy planning, is that they were passionate one point and now they’re not. And what we’ve spent time in, and I’m sure I will bet. And I usually only bet when I know I’m going to win, that you have have this with your clients. And you had this in your own business that– again, we talked about this earlier, that your passions evolve.
And so, suddenly, you’re not happy anymore in your business. And I would say, “Before you jump ship”– so often, you don’t have the luxury of jumping ship, to take a step back and say, “So what pieces of my day make me happy? What pieces do I feel alive by? What pieces do I look for to doing so I don’t do the other pieces?”
One could say I’m procrastinating. And I would say, “Maybe it’s not procrastination. Maybe those are are the pieces that you just don’t like doing everyday and you like doing what you’re doing.” And so, if you can, again, re-frame and start focusing on the pieces that you like and try to see, “Are those other pieces, can they be delegated? Can they be sent away? Can they be outsourced? Does it have to be on my daily activity log?” I think you can get re-energized.
Josh: I think that makes perfectly good sense.
Emily, unfortunately, for the podcast, we are out of time. I would love to have people find a way for them to get a hold of you. So if someone wanted to contact you, how would they go about doing so?
Emily: There are several ways. I have a website. It’s emilyscottand.com because, again, I’m all about the and and not about the or. And that’s probably the easiest way. And there’s contact information there.
I’m on LinkedIn. I’m on Facebook. Facebook is The Power of AND – again, A-N-D. The Power of AND. And so, I look forward to it. And I look forward talking to anybody asking. And actually, as much as I like answering questions, I really like asking the question. So I look forward to having those dialogues.
And I have an offer for folks who are listening. I have a one-hour free audio CD. It’s called Success to Sustainability: The Five Things You Need to Do to Create a Personally and Economically Sustainable Business. It’s really easy to get. You take out your smartphone. And you don’t take out your smartphone when you’re driving, especially when I’m riding my bike. But you take out your smartphone and you text the word SUSTAINABLE to 44222. That’s the word SUSTAINABLE to 44222. And you will get a link. You click on the link. You give me your name and your address and we mail the CD to you. If you happen to be a person who doesn’t own a CD player anymore and I’m told that there are more and more of us out there. I happen to own about 12 but I’m the exception to this. All you have to do is email me at email@example.com. Let me know that you don’t have a CD player and I’ll send you the audio file.
This is Josh Patrick. You’re at the Sustainable Business. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802‑846‑1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.