On this episode of 6 Star Business, we chat with Shel Horowitz about how individuals can make a difference in the world today. We delve into various topics such as environmentalism, social justice, sustainable business practices, and gratitude. The podcast covers how businesses can integrate sustainability and social responsibility within their operations and their marketing strategies, pointing out the benefits of being a trailblazer for positive change. Additionally, Horowitz shares his experiences and offers strategic tips on how to initiate and sustain change. We also discuss the importance of personal growth, learning, and finding joy in simple things.
Here’s a summary of what we discussed:
00:03:07 Developing profitable products with social benefits.
00:21:54 Marketing and social change are intertwined; examples of ordinary people creating change.
00:41:50 "Sustainability is good for business and world."
00:50:34 Going beyond 5 stars is possible.
00:54:43 Overcoming limiting beliefs, living frugally, adventurously.
01:01:11 Collaboration exists among different species in nature.
01:05:19 Follow your heart, modify dreams, gradual change.
and much more… enjoy!
Here’s some information about our guest:
Shel Horowitz, CEO & Founder of Going Beyond Sustainability; Transformpreneur
Shel Horowitz works with companies to find the sweet spot where profitability meets environmental and social good: helping to create, identify, and market products and services that turn hunger and poverty into abundance, racism and othering into equity, war into peace, catastrophic climate change into planetary balance, and pandemic disease into global health. His latest award-winning book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, is endorsed by Seth Godin, Chicken Soup's Jack Canfield, and many others. Please give Shel your full attention as he shows how you, too, can be a big difference and a healthy profit.
Something Interesting About You
1) I started the movement that saved a mountain. 2) I've posted a daily public Gratitude Journal since March, 2018 (more than 1500 days, so far)
What are you famous for?
Looking for holistic solutions that accomplish multiple goals and may draw from across multiple industries or organization types.
"Impossible is a Dare: Business for a Better World"
(move your mouse to "event videos")
The purpose of the 6 Star Business is to help businesses find more meaning, purpose and profits in their endeavours. We seek to 'do it differently' and encourage everyone to rise above the status quo to do what it takes to be different: with meaning, purpose and intention. With those key ingredients, you'll be on your way to 6 Stars faster than you realise!
If you'd like to get in touch please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Again. that world I was born into was a racist, sexist, polluted place that we've made enormous strides to get out from under some of those burdens And I like to think that my work contributed in some small and some not so small ways to do that.Speaker 2:
Hello, i'm your host, aveline Clark, and this is the Six Star Business Podcast, where we have conversations with amazing, incredible people, all about what it takes to be Six Star going beyond the status quo, doing things differently, and how they bring purpose, love and impact into their businesses every day. I love this episode, michelle. He's just such a passionate lover of the earth, lover of people, business and bringing them all together in this nice intersection of peace, harmony, collaboration, and that's what he lives and breathes, that's how he operates, it's what drives all the things he does. When I asked him afterwards, what do you think your genius is? What is it that you do the best? He said I help people find their sweet spot where profitability meets environmental and social good, and that is exactly who he is. It's a great conversation. He's got a lot of interesting anecdotes, stories, a perspective that I've not heard yet on this podcast, and Coray, my co-host tonight, had a great time talking with him. So enjoy this one with Shell Horowitz. Hello, here we are. It's another episode of Six Star Business Podcast. I'm so excited about this today. First of all, welcome my co-host, coray. How are you doing?Speaker 3:
I'm fabulous and I'm looking forward to our new guest And the amazing story he's going to tell us. So welcome Shell.Speaker 2:
Thank you, welcome, shell. So nice to have you here. We're in a cross-continent conversation today, and this is why I love technology, and normally Coray's in Germany, but he's in Australia at the moment, so we've got two continents represented And, yeah, let's get into this. I'm going to start off by asking you just a few questions so that we can get to know you better. And first of all, can you tell us where you are in the world?Speaker 1:
I am in Hadley, massachusetts, united States, which is two hours from Boston, three and a half from New York and long, long, many hours from you.Speaker 2:
Thank you, so good to have you here. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you for the first time recently, and I knew that having you on the podcast was going to be even just more delightful, so thanks for coming along. I would love to know from you who do you serve and how do you serve them?Speaker 1:
I look for the places where an organization can profit by developing products and services that hit the sweet spot that incorporates both profitability and environmental and social good And that may sound a little vague in general. so I'll give you examples of companies that are doing this. For example, there's a number of companies, one in particular called D-Lite, d-period, l-i-g-h-t, that produce solar-powered LED lamps and they sell them into places where either there's been no lamp or there's been kerosene, which is toxic, flammable, dangerous, smelly, expensive and, of course, a fossil fuel with a big carbon footprint. So they sell these lamps on a time payment basis. so if they were, the customer was paying, say, $2 a month for kerosene before they pay $2 a month to the lamp and then they can, 10 or 20 months later they own the lamp. And this is working on so many levels because it's getting rid of the nasty kerosene, it's getting rid of the fire hazard, the fumes, it's providing better quality light. so maybe this family can start a sideline cottage industry or the kids could get better grades in school and go on to better careers, jobs, of course for the people who sell and service the units and, of course, a profit for the company. So that's kind of the model that I try to emulate in my consulting, but it's different for every single business or organization that comes through me, because it's not something that you can just scale it out, cookie cutter. It's going to be very much an individual thing, tailored to the strengths of that particular business and the people who are in it, as well as their customer networks, their supplier networks and all the rest of it. So it's very exciting And I've put a ton of information about this on my website, goingbeyondsustainabilitycom, and also in my 10th book, guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, which I co-authored with Jay Conrad Levinson, who did the first hundred or so Guerrilla marketing books. And it's just every day is fresh and interesting and exciting.Speaker 2:
Wow, i listened to that and I'm just really in awe and excited to hear what you're doing for the world, for people, and finding efficiencies. But you're also innovating because, like you said, your approach is not cookie cutter. It's not like you've got this template that you then sell into every company. It's very unique to that business and also the market they serve, and you're looking for solutions that actually solve real problems and help people.Speaker 1:
Yeah, things like hunger and poverty, racism, climate change, war, little things like that, just the small things. And obviously no one company is going to solve all those things with one product or service, but they'll chip away at it and eventually you reach a critical mass and society changes. I think we're approaching that point in a number of areas and it's a very exciting time to be doing this work.Speaker 2:
How long have you been doing this Well?Speaker 1:
I started my business, oh my goodness, 42 years ago, but it didn't look anything like what it looks like now And it evolved many times, and I'd say this evolution really started in 2000. In 1999, a developer announced that he was going to build 40 big luxury homes on the mountain next to the state park behind my house, which those of you listeners who are on video I would know it That is the state park, that mountain there, and then the next mountain over was where that housing project was going to be, and I was the one who said no, i don't think you're going to do that. So I started this movement to save that mountain And I thought if we were enough of a pain in the developer's project for a long enough time that maybe after about five years he would go away. Well, it only took 13 months. We won a near total victory in a very short time, just over a year. And that campaign. I have been both an organizer and a marketer for more than 50 years at this point and I'm only 66. So I started kind of ridiculously young And I was kind of looking at what we had done and what we had done right and what we could have done better after that campaign was over And I realized that I had brought in pretty much everything I knew from the marketing world to win this organizing campaign. So then I started thinking what can I bring from the organizing world, the social justice, environmental justice world, into the business community? So we won in very late 2000. And by 2002, i was really incorporating this into my speeches. By 2003, i had the first of four books I've done on this intersection of doing the right thing with being a successful business. And it's just grown since then. My thinking continues to evolve And I find that the world is just again. I know I used the word exciting already, but it's really fascinating How fast progress is happening and yet there's this other strand of how other forces are trying to pull things in the wrong direction. So we now have the added component of trying to not only do the right thing but put enough roadblocks in the people who are trying to completely destroy the earth we live on in the service of short-term greed to show them a better way. And one of the things I think that really sets me apart from a lot of people in the environmental business world is that I look at business as an ally. I see that if you show business that this is actually a successful formula, then you have them on your side. And we see lots and lots of big companies are now understanding this, and that was not true when I started this work. But a few years ago I went to something called the Responsible Business Summit and the speakers were from companies like Coca-Cola, danone, general Motors. I mean companies that 40 years ago you would have never thought are socially conscious.Speaker 2:
Before we get into this, i'd love to ask Shell what do you like doing when you're not busy serving people? Something you like to do outside of this very important, colorful work?Speaker 1:
Well, outside is a big part of it. I try to get out to our time every day. I try to get two hours of exercise a day and I like at least one hour of that to be outside. I have that beautiful mountain that you saw and I get to hike on it, and we have lots of other good hiking here. I have a bicycle that I use. I actually like to do free-form rock and roll dancing. I am an addicted reader. Most years I have read about 80 books. Since I started keeping track, last year it was only 60, because I started doing cardio classes every other day with my wife and during the time that I had been reading on my exercise bike. I'm a person of many interests. I love going to live music. I love traveling to exotic places. I have been to close to 50 countries and all 50 US states And I go there not just, oh, you see the sights and drink the beers, but I really look at how can that experience serve the people that I serve? Also, like I went to Iceland and I came back writing about how this country has basically gone completely renewable for anything that's not a vehicle, and this was back in 2011. By now, they've probably done it for a fair amount of their vehicle fleet too. I went to Israel and Palestine and came back talking about the groups that were working for peace in that troubled land. So I'm always learning. I'm very excited I'm going to Japan for a family wedding in August And I've never been, and I'm sure that will be very exciting and very growthful. Be interesting to see, for one thing, how the legendary bullet train actually works And also how you deal with the incredible crowd conditions, which I've been to India and China, which are both pretty crowded places, but in Japan there is this filter of decorum on top of it that is not necessarily present in the other really crowded places I've been, so I'm going to be very curious to see what that's like.Speaker 2:
That's exciting. I love your quest for adventure And you sound busier than most people, many years your junior. My life is too short to say It's true.Speaker 1:
I didn't mention my grandson, who is a joy in my life. I spend a lot of time, usually about three afternoons a week, with him, and my wife and I usually get together so we can't get too tired because we're there to spell each other And he's a bundle of energy and just wicked, responsive and smart, and it's been such a treasure to watch him grow these last few months.Speaker 2:
Lovely, they're so precious, they're the moments, right, the important things. You've already shared so much that our listeners would be going, wow, like you're creating opportunities, you're a force for good, you're finding ways to connect profitability and business into the world, the world's frontline issues and problems. Really, i just I'd love to go into this further Now. I asked you, helen, you've been doing it. You shared a little bit about the mountain, that story about how you help save the mountain from the developer. What's been, if there is there been some pivotal sort of moments along your journey that's brought you to where you are today?Speaker 1:
Yeah, there were quite a few. I'll share a couple of them. The first one was all the way back in 1969 when I was 12 years old and I went to my first demonstration about the Vietnam War. And I was sitting there listening to the speeches and one of the speakers said the Vietnam War is an undeclared war. And I had not known that and I had been the good little student studying my social studies and learning about the three branches of American government and the checks and balances and how everything was designed to make sure that autocracy didn't happen, and that all came crashing down in that one comment. So then I started questioning absolutely everything and flirting with various alternatives to the system we had and learning more about. Even back then it was pretty clear to me that these movements were all related. You hear these days a lot about the synergies between climate justice and racial and economic justice and social justice, but I guess I saw those connections pretty early on. I had a very working class friend and old communist from the 1940s who used to take us to a lot of demonstrations, me and her three kids and one other kid in the neighborhood and listening to her I learned a lot about what it was like for working people. I was raised socially middle class and economically lower class, which is an interesting dynamic A house full of books, always going to museums, but the museums were ones that didn't charge admission concerts. So having the middle class cultural aspects but also growing up in a family that really didn't have extra money. So, and then Adele was somebody who never had any money, never had the pretense of money, but she had really solid connections in the labor movement, in some of the non-mainstream political parties, And she also found time for art in her life. She sang in Pete Seeker's Chorus. She was the one who introduced me to Melvina Reynolds and Led Belly's music. It was very exciting to have her as a mentor very early. So I didn't start going to demonstrations with her until after that day when I heard that speaker. But then I became friends, first with her daughter, who was my age, and then with her, And that was a major influence. I'll skip forward a couple of years. In college I did a research paper on the pros and cons of nuclear power And I discovered very, very quickly that there aren't any pros and that the cons were far more serious than I thought. So I got into the safe energy movement and got arrested at a nuclear power plant construction site in 1977. And it turned out that that action was way more significant than we knew at the time. We 1,414 of us were arrested, which is a pretty large number, especially for a state like New Hampshire, which is a very small rural state. They didn't actually have room for 1,400 people in their jail system, So they put us in National Guard Armories and had these 17 year old National Guard kids guarding us And we had dialogues with them. We had a little university in there. People who knew more than other people in the room about something would share it And it was just this amazing learning community. And we came out and lo and behold, all over the US, movements very similar to the Clamshell Alliance, which was the group that I was in, had sprung up in every part of the country the Sunflower Alliance and the Abalone Alliance. They were all using the same nonviolent group processes that we were using, involving consensus. They were all very similar analyses about why nuclear power didn't work and what we can do instead, which was solar, wind, hydro, etc. So by doing this action, we created a national movement, And that's not all. Because of that national movement, I am convinced, is the reason why, when Three Mile Island happened, two years later we heard about it, Whereas we had not heard about Browns Ferry in Alabama in 1975 and Rico Fermi in Michigan in 1966 and some other really serious nuclear accidents that had happened before this movement. And because of Three Mile Island and the movie The China Syndrome which was also influenced by us, I think, and these groups sprouting up all over the country, that dream of stuffing nuclear power down everybody's throats all around the country didn't happen. They topped off in the United States in 104. Richard Nixon, who was president in the 1960s and 70s. He said we needed to have a thousand. So that was a real thing that we did is we stopped that movement one tenth of the way before that goal. So let's see. Oh, I guess going off to college and getting involved with the LGBT and women's communities. There was an important step in my own personal understanding of different kinds of oppression Going to live in a social change community for nine months And then coming up here and learning how to function in a rural, traditional New England culture after growing up in New York City and going to school in a radicals campus in Ohio. So all of those prepped me for being able to step into that moment when this developer announced that plan and organized this brand new movement And then from there it just kept kept growing It's. I am one of those people who thinks I will continue growing and learning until I can't open my eyes, can't breathe and I'm underground. Basically, I am never going to be one of those people who said I'm done.Speaker 2:
I can tell that about you. It must feel really rewarding to see the journey like in hindsight and look at those pivotal moments and see how you've created some impact in others and the ripple effect of that. It must just fuel you in some way, Oh absolutely.Speaker 1:
Yes, yes, i get totally juiced when I'm talking, giving a speech, and I can see people kind of like you can see the wheels turning and then thinking, oh, i never thought of it that way before. And yes, this possibility for change One of the things that I do. It's not in my TED Talk, i added it later, but my keynote speech is usually called impossible as a dare and it's based on this wonderful quote from, of all people, muhammad Ali Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the possibility. They have to change it. Sorry, the power. They have to change it. My eyes just played a trick on me. Impossible is not a fact, it's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration, it's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary, impossible is nothing. I love that. Yeah, that anchored my TED Talk and many of the speeches I've done since. And again, reading I would love to see every world leader having a copy of this book and having a copy of Paul Pullman's book, net Positive and Paul Pollock's book on business solution to poverty, and there's a reading list I would love to give every president and world leader in this world. And not all of them are books I've written, but some of them are.Speaker 2:
Are you first and foremost an activist for change and a marketer second, or do you see them as intertwined?Speaker 1:
They're completely intertwined, it's like braided hair. Everything I've ever done in social change has included my marketing skills and everything I've ever done in marketing has included at least my social change analysis And the things like looking beyond silos, looking for the intersections. That all comes from the social change side, looking at the power of ordinary people, and this is something a lot of business owners maybe. They start their business with a great idea but they don't necessarily have the skills to carry it out. And I talk about people like a seamstress named Rosa Parks, who was the quintessential fulcrum point for the civil rights movement at one time, and she was, incidentally, that was not a random act, she was a trained activist and most people don't know that, but she, yeah, she sees the moment. And then a bunch of people, including Martin Luther King, spent a year supporting that movement, and so that was one kind of ordinary person. And going to Coray's continent, we have the example of a shipyard electrician in Poland, right next to his country of Germany, named Lekwalesa, who started the solidarity movement or was one of its leaders and became Poland's president eventually. So you know if a shipyard electrician and a seamstress can make earth-shattering changes. Or in Avelines' hemisphere, there's the South African example of Nelson Mandela, who would have thought that somebody serving a life sentence for he wasn't a terrorist, but that was basically what he was convicted of would become a superhero, and who would have thought that the ordinary people of Ireland and Northern Ireland could make a peace. That's as somebody who's been involved in Israel-Palestine stuff for a long time. I keep focusing on those two examples of South Africa and Ireland because it's I need to have hope that it's possible, and it looks very bad, especially with the new Israeli government.Speaker 2:
There's a lot there. So you've spent your life in service to the world and the problems that you see in the world and constantly living, like you say, in hope that change is possible, and there's. I believe change is possible because we see it, i mean by virtue of this organism, of the planet and life we're always changing It's about. I think, how can this change happen for good, rather than separate and just be just change in a destructive way rather than a positive, constructive way? And I see you as a mechanism for assisting that constructive, positive change, which is really exciting, challenging, but yeah, like you said, why can't there be more Nelson Mandela's and Rosa Parks and the president of Pakistan? sorry, poland, poland, and why not shell? I mean, the most powerful people I believe are those typically behind the scenes, the smaller person that's actually doing a lot of this work and organizing things, and sometimes they're the ones that matter the most. So the work you're doing is really important And I just want to honor you for that and say thank you, thank you for being you and being courageous and brave.Speaker 1:
It's really, really validating to have that said, and so thank you, And it's also I really do believe that each of us has the power to be a change agent and that none of us can do it all. So we have to work together with others and we have to pick our movements and our battles, but it's totally possible. I mean the enormous amount of change in my little tiny lifetime a speck in geologic time, huge pain when the things like the culture of sexism that I was born into, the culture of racism those are things that are not okay anymore in most parts of society. There are the extremists, of course, and they're very loud and obnoxious and they do things like try to overrun the capital of the United States but or to elect horrible governors in some states that are really trying to be little dictators. But they are the minority. Most people want to live a good life and to live in harmony with the other people around them and with the planet that they're on. And in one of my other talks, in making green sexy, i talk about different kinds of markets for green products and services, and it might be worth sharing that little bit here, because you have the one extreme, you have the super committed, the deep greens, people like me who live and breathe this stuff, who will make all of their consumer choices based on how good is this for the planet and for the different groups of people and other creatures involved. And then you have what I call the lazy greens people like my mother-in-law, who buys the recycled toilet paper brand because she is in the supermarket and it is stocked on the shelves next to the Virgin Forest brands, so she will not go out of her way to make an impact, but if the impact is right there as a simple choice, she'll take it. And then you have the non-greens, who have to be convinced of the value of what you're offering. And then, even more, you have the anti-greens, the hostels, and you can sell green products and services to the hostile ones. You just have to do it based on what's in it for them. So I'm not saying that this company is hostile to green. They're actually very proactively green. But what is the retailer that probably has the reputation, more than any other retailer, for being all about the bottom line, for being all about profitability? Here in the US, it's Walmart. And if ever there was not a tree hugger company, it's Walmart. And yet in all my years of consulting and speaking and writing on these issues, i will never do one hundredth of what Walmart has done to green's supply chain. Because basically they told their suppliers if you want to sell in our shelves, you got to clean up your act. And they had very, totally selfish reasons for it. They are actually. We have a huge supermarket chain that's all natural foods, called Whole Foods in the United States And Walmart sells more organic food than Whole Foods and they sell it to working class people who don't go to Whole Foods. So they basically doubled the market. They sell I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of low watt LED light bulbs, low flush toilets, and they're doing it to make money. And they've also slashed their own energy costs to redesigning their trucks, their buildings and everything else to really take advantage of designing with the earth as opposed to opposed to it. And if Walmart can do it, then the hippie companies like Patagonia and Ben and Jerry's have it easy, because their market is right there, in line as the deep green market.Speaker 2:
And, of course, walmart, like you say. I mean they're one of the largest retailers And in Australia we have, i guess we've got Target Paymart. They're kind of similar to the Walmart. I mean, yeah, we've got Costco but there's only a few Costco stores in Australia But it's really that Target kind of big W brand And I can see, just listening to what you're saying, how I say easy but influential it is for a company like Walmart to make that little switch and then impact a massive supply chain and the customers And you know so many other people. The ripple effect is huge because of the reach that they have.Speaker 1:
And you mentioned Costco. That's actually a company that I love to talk about. also. Their previous CEO in about 20 years ago, man named Jim Senegal, was quite a visionary. Among other things, he took a salary that is, by you know, large corporation standards. He was working for free. He was making like something like $300,000 a year And he was paying his workers at a time when Walmart and Sam's Club were paying like $8 an hour US. He was paying 17. And he was. if you've ever been in a Costco, you know people are going there to shop. I mean, it is crowded And their prices are low and their quality is pretty good And they had all these social innovations. at the time, A lot of companies, a lot of really old companies, started as social impact companies. Oddly enough, the chocolate industry is full of them Cadbury and the whole British Commonwealth, Hershey over here in America. those were started as social impact companies. They did amazing things for their workers in the 1850s, 1860s. Somewhere along the way they lost their way And now I actually eat quite a bit of chocolate and all the chocolate I buy is fair trade and organic, And that puts Hershey's out of the question, And I think Cadbury has a few that qualify, but their stuff is too sweet for me. anyway. I like really dark chocolate, So I buy brands like Theo and Equal Exchange. I'm getting my bars of somewhere between 70 and 100%. But these are things we, as individual consumers. we can choose not to buy from the companies that are exploiting others. We can choose not to buy from the companies that are not doing right by the earth. And you think you don't have any impact. but if you and your 10,000 best friends on Facebook all decide to do something at the same time, you have more impact than you think of. And, speaking of Facebook, I should mention that I have a gratitude practice. that's public and I have done for more than 1500 days. I have chronicled on Facebook what I'm grateful for that day.Speaker 2:
And that really amazes me, shell, because of how busy you are and what you do that you have the time to sit down and write this daily gratitude piece and publish on Facebook.Speaker 1:
I make the time I probably average an hour a day on it And, interestingly enough, it's built in my community on Facebook. I have all these people paying attention to that who never paid anything else and he attention to any of the other things I did, but it's been a healing process for me. It forces me to go around my day looking for things to be grateful for and then taking enough photos that I remember them, and this interview will be in tonight's, which may not get posted till tomorrow morning, because some of the things I need to get done today, but I think today is something like day 1500 and 30. I started in March 2018. And also, writing is a skill that comes easily to me and is how I've made a big chunk of my living for many, many decades, and having that. So for me to write a gratitude journal is not as daunting, maybe, as for someone else who's not a writer to do that. I've written 10 books and thousands of articles and probably a couple thousand poems, and writing is just one of the things that I do, and I do. You know I look for joy in my life and the gratitude journal helps me to find that, and but I always did, even before I started doing that And I look for ways to make other people's lives joyful. I'm always introducing people to other people I think they should know, or sending a clip into social media like, oh, look what this cool project is doing on the other side of the world, and then doing writing materials that will actually help people. So, for example, because you were listening to this call today, if you go to Going Beyond Sustainable, that try that again. Going Beyond Sustainability there we go Dot com, slash freebies. You'll see a whole bunch of gifts, and the one that I want to highlight tonight is called 10 success and profitability secrets for businesses looking to do social and environmental good, and it's both a real quick cheat sheet of the 10 points and then a few pages of going into some detail about them, but the whole thing's only, i think, six pages and it's an easy read. And you get that along with the subscription to my newsletter that I've been publishing. Oh, my goodness, i started publishing my first easy in 1996, 97, somewhere around there a long time ago.Speaker 2:
You're a writer. you're experienced. That's very clear. Thank you for sharing that URL with your freebies, by the way, and we'll have that in the notes so people can go there and grab your or your freebies and your gifts. Thank you, they sound awesome. I just want to touch on the joy and the gratitude, and so this is such a simple thing. But as you were talking, it became really clear that everything that you're doing it's not for your benefit, right, right back from when you went to that first protest. the whole reason that you want to see change in the world is to create more joy. Would that be right?Speaker 1:
Partially right To create more joy, but also because I'm selfish, because I want a better world and the way I see myself as getting to a better world is to helping to create it. Yeah, So I will not. I will not actually accept the condition that you put on it that I'm doing this as self-sacrifice, because it's not a sacrifice. It's work that I find great fulfillment in and that I have been privileged to be in some movements where we actually won, which is not a privilege that every activist gets to have. I've been in plenty that didn't win, But what I do feel is winning is the overall tide. Again, that world I was born into was a racist, sexist, polluted place that we've made enormous strides to get out from under some of those burdens And I like to think that my work contributed in some small and some not so small ways to do that.Speaker 2:
And I have on the activist side there are really three places I'm putting energy right now. One is immigration justice in the West which is still a nightmare you've just said.Speaker 1:
The second is local electoral politics in my tiny little community of 5,000. And we have twice taken over the governing body of the town with people who are aligned with these ideas of change.Speaker 2:
And then the third one is back to what I was doing in the 1970s unsafe energy. He's taking notes and he's going to come out with something soon. Of those three passions, shell, which one? of you folks is right now, i'm not wired that way.Speaker 1:
I am taking some of your energy and attention. I don't call myself a generalist. I call myself a multi specialist. Well, today I was. We just had our first in person meeting after three years of only doing Zoom for our immigration justice group, which is called Jewish activists for immigration justice of Western Massachusetts, and out of that meeting we decided to revisit the mission statement that we wrote in 2019. And my wife actually just made a pass at summarizing all the things that came out of that meeting that we wanted to put in, and then I went through it and did an edit of that. So that's what I did about two hours before we had this call. And but you know, i really kind of juggle them all because later in the week I have a meeting the clamshell alliance website committee that I'm on which is bringing back a website that went dead when our webmaster died and took the passwords to the grave. So we lost that domain and we put up a new domain and we put up new content. And there's this wonderful statement that we've collaborated on about why nuclear power still makes absolutely no sense and what the alternatives are, and another piece of it about the history of the organization and the process innovations that we created, which I would saySpeaker 2:
influenced heavily, like occupying a little bit and standing rock movement. Because I'm thinking about the list. So it's nice to see that our most of our list is still relevant and is still influencing people? Maybe medium-sized business owners. they're entrepreneurs.Speaker 1:
And this week.Speaker 2:
I don't have to do anything about this, thinking about we had our election. What can they take from this, or what can they, what can you advise them or give them as a way for them to even think about this, like what's in it for them, if they haven't already thought about it? How can they take that first step to becoming more conscious or open and aware about this?Speaker 3:
Okay, i love that question and it's going to take a few minutes to give it its due. So, for starters, you want to look at the low hanging fruit. Where are the places where doing the right thing will actually cut your expenses, increase your profits? That's usually there's a lot of that to find, and then if you want to go to the deeper stuff, then you can start funding out of the savings you've already created. So that's one thing. Another is to look at the benefits. The world is demanding this. Companies that are not addressing these issues are going to be left behind, because if people have a choice between something that is the same quality and the same price, something that's going to make a difference in the world or is going to continue the dangerous status quo, they're going to go with the one that makes the positive difference, and you see this in something even as commodified as ice cream. If you're in the super premium aisle of the supermarket and you can choose a brand that you know is doing good things with its money, like Ben and Jerry's, or one that is part of a big, nasty conglomerate that is known for abusing its workers and polluting the area where its plants are and passing a far greater percentage to high executives and far lower percentage to the workers. Where are you going to put your six bucks for that pint of ice cream? You see this in how Toyota got in early with the Prius and, lo and behold, this funky looking car with an electric motor became a status symbol, and all these wealthy people were buying Priyai, and so there are a lot of advantages there. The other thing is, i normally give 15 minutes of free consultation to anybody who asks, but for Aveline's tribe I'll make it 30. And that's enough to go pretty deep. I mean, we've been on this call for not much more than that, and we've covered a lot of ground, and so you can go to I'm sure that Aveline will put the link to my scheduler in the show page And so just mention that you were on this call and you get a half an hour of my time for free and we can look at what you have done in your business so far. Where are the strengths? where are the adaptabilities? where can this thing you've done with one goal or one process be twisted inside out to come out a little differently? Maybe it's a different audience or market, or maybe it's an extra step in the process, or maybe it's a new product entirely that you didn't think about, but that is really well within your wheelhouse And again, it's bespoke. It's going to be different for every single one, and to me that makes it fun, because I've got enough ADHD that I don't want to do the same thing over and over and over. But for the companies it's great, because they get my brain for a half an hour and then, if they want to go deeper, my rates are quite affordable. And just today I was on a get to know you call, like the one that you and I had some weeks back, and he asked me oh, what's a good referral for you? So I told him a little bit about who I was looking to serve, and then I asked him the same question and he was in a market that was basically disappearing because he's competing with the AI engine.Speaker 2:
Thank you so much, Sal.Speaker 1:
That is extremely generous and I hope that the listeners can see the value of that, because just listening to you the breadth of your experience across different industries and in different ways and understanding so many things that you've got this ability to create connections between different industries, places you know that many people just don't have that foresight, you know, i can see that you look at things very broadly and clearly, and many people and holistically, exactly So you see the big picture, and it's a very rare skill.Speaker 2:
So tapping into your brain, for that is huge.Speaker 1:
And holistically. Yeah, i keep in mind always that the drive up window that we associate with fast food restaurants was actually I used to think it was invented by banks, but actually there were laundry, dry cleaning services that got there even before the banks, so that kind of cross pollination from one industry to a totally different industry. I think of some of the clients that I have served, i had a guy come to me for a marketing plan once, for he had two products. One was a social network for people who lived in green apartment buildings and the other was property management suite specifically aimed at managing green apartment buildings, and I told him he should franchise internationally. I scared him. I think he was really only looking at his own local market in Vancouver, canada. But I said this is something you could really take anywhere. It's totally replicable what you're doing, and he'd never thought about that. I had a conference center come to me. It happened to be a conference center that, in three or four incarnations previously, had been really the birthplace of the safe energy movement in the United States. And for him I said let's make this hallowed ground, let's attract the yoga teachers and the conference leaders for whom this would be such an honor to set foot on your property where these events happened, and that's not something that an AI engine can do. I'll share one more example. This is strictly marketing. I had an ice cream company ask me to do some marketing work for them. One of the issues they were having is that they had a manufacturing problem and they couldn't use the regular packaging. So they did these generic packages and I wrote a label for them that said like our new labels, neither do we, and then explained why they couldn't use the regular ones And just made it humorous and it was just right there. The ideas I'm very blessed that ideas come to me quickly, and one of the books that I intend to write if I have a retire is called How to Find Your Next 10,000 Articles.Speaker 2:
How to find your next 10,000 ideas, and that's something that was originally article ideas.Speaker 1:
Then I realized I got the idea that I could broaden it to many other types of ideas And I have a recent folder for that that's decades obsolete and I'd have to really start it over from scratch. But the idea of doing that book is something I've never forgotten and may do eventually.Speaker 2:
I have probably research folders for 20 books I might write. Sometimes A read is looked at. Yeah, okay.Speaker 1:
Okay, all right, 10 under my name and then a couple that I've ghost written for clients.Speaker 2:
Yeah, Thank you for that. Now, this is six copies of the podcast.Speaker 1:
Obviously, we connected and we had such a great connection and this is the later and more current time and I invited you over the podcast and I'm really keen to know what it was that attracted you.Speaker 2:
Obviously you want to see me again and hang out for an hour, but and that is of course, also going beyond sustainabilitycom. There's a page for the book And likewise, which is why I invited you. But what does six star mean to you? When you hear the term six star business?Speaker 1:
Yes, yeah. Well, we always think about five tar being five star being the excellence limit. So going beyond that it's like dialing the volume knob to 11 instead of where it stops at 10. So you're going for the ephemeral and perhaps fickle 110% that, if you think mathematically, isn't possible, but if you think spiritually and holistically and conceptually, of course it's possible. We always can dig in deeper. It's well known that we only use a tiny fraction of our brains. So if you can use a slightly larger fraction, then you're exceeding the goals And I think that's good. You have to do it in a way that honors your own personhood, your own health, your own growth, your own need to rest. And yes, even I do sleep six or seven hours a night And I do find all the nature walking I do very recharging and playing with my grand kid very recharging. I do a lot of things like the food I eat, which is I have been oh, my goodness, i've been a vegetarian. This summer will make 50 years since I stopped eating, and most of the food I eat is organic and local as well, and quite a bit of it has grown either right here in our garden or three miles up the road at the community supported agriculture farm that we're members of, and so we eat really well here. In fact, lately when I go to restaurants I'm kind of disappointed, like I eat better at home And I'm a creative cook, and one thing I'm not good about is documenting that I can't measure anything and cook it. It'll never come out. I just have to throw it in, taste it and change it a little bit up. But I have many outlets for creativity is what I'm trying to say, and again, it's sort of a well rounded and holistic approach. I don't just do one thing. I had a friend who wrote a book called The Renaissance Soul And it was for people like me and, i think, you, who would just die if they could only do one thing. There are the Mozart's, who they're born in diapers, they're writing music and they're still writing music when they die, but there are the Ben Franklin, buckminster, fuller, wild and Crazy people who want to go in a hundred different directions and will settle for ten at a time, and it's a fun existence, i have to say. But it's challenging because, like the tradition, one of the reasons that I've developed all my skills as a marketing heretic and my advice is so different from other people is I don't fit the boxes. If I tried to do things the traditional way and have my one product funnel and have my one industry, i would be bored, and I find it hard to be bored Absolutely, and I love your holistic approach to everything what you said about the six dot. You're into that, you know if you're doing that work over and over again the same thing for years, i don't know about the spiritual aspect, and then different people. Why are you doing this?Speaker 2:
Approach and.Speaker 1:
I'm very happy that there are people who are so many very focused. I like your answer. Just it was very interesting. You know, like I said, you're different.Speaker 2:
Everyone's different And I love asking the question because we always get different answers that highlight how you agree. Yeah, perfect, that's what I love. I love that. What do you see as being one of the biggest barriers to people becoming six star?Speaker 1:
Yeah, and I was totally unrehearsed. I did listen to one of your podcasts and I knew on some subliminal level that question was going to be there, but I didn't give it any of these questions Any prethought. I think we are all of us facing limiting beliefs that were thrust upon us as children, and they're going to be different for every person. I have been fairly lucky in that most of mine seem to concentrate on either personal energy which, in spite of as much as I do, there's a part of me that would like to beat myself up for not doing more or about I recognize that I do have money barriers. My way of dealing with that, rather than solving the money blocks, is to simply create non-material wealth. So I, for example, i travel more than most of my friends who make 10 times my income, but I know how to travel inexpensively and educationally and well. One of the things I do is I'm a member of two different home stay networks. So often when I'm in a foreign country, i'm staying in somebody's house and living as they live for a couple of days and maybe exploring their city with them, or maybe getting recommendations on cool things I wouldn't have known from a guidebook to seek out or from a website. But I wrote a long, long time ago. I wrote a book on having fun cheaply called the Penny Pinching Heednest or Headnest, you might say And it was a fun book to write. And it was a really fun book to research. And the research started probably 10 years before I knew I was going to write the book, because that's just how I was living my life. I had very little money, but I had a value of seeing live entertainment, of going to new places, of eating new foods and trying restaurants. So I found ways to do that. It cost little or nothing, and so I am able to maintain a lifestyle that looks on the surface like it's out of proportion for my income, but really it's perfectly aligned. It's just that I don't do things the way other people do them. I treat everything as an adventure. And there it is. And also I'm lucky not to have expensive editions like smoking or heavy consumption of alcohol, so that helps as well. So I'm not as frugal as I was when I was writing that book in the 90s, but I recognize that I have the luxury now that I don't have to watch every penny And I still I still usher concerts, get to see them for free. I've seen some very big names that way Once in a while. I still work as press for an event like that. I'm attending something called the US Book Show. Virtually I could have gone down to New York, but it wasn't a good time for me to go in person. But I did one of their conferences for press a couple of years ago and they liked what I did. A few weeks ago, i got an email saying we have already given you a press conference. We hope you can show up. Okay, so different strategies like that And I have because I'm a marketer and I hang out with other marketers I know a lot of people who are millionaires And I actually think that I have a happier quality of life than many of them, even if not only do I not have Lamborghini in my driveway, but I have a 2012 Honda Fit and a bicycle. And about high status cars have never been important to me. A high status house is not important to me. I love where I live. I'm very privileged to live in a magnificent 260 some odd year old farmhouse.Speaker 2:
I love that That was built to last Thanks to sharing all those things. I love to have this beautiful view in four directions and all the things that you do, how you pay only a hundred and three thousand dollars without the high income or the high.Speaker 1:
I guess I just found a house that needs to be my price range. Very, very interesting. We should send some money to upgrade. But far less than to buy a house.Speaker 2:
You've been very quiet. I'm really keen to hear from you.Speaker 3:
You rarely see me actually being that quiet and not asking any question, but this time I just lean back and enjoy it, the amazing story we could just get told. So I'm fascinated to. What I found the most fascinating is your innate curiosity, literally, which is actually your key component. Yeah, why you are so easily come up with solutions to problems. Yeah, people are bothered with And, as you said, you're multi specialist. Yeah, you're unified and connective people, especially nowadays Very important, where people remind themselves that being in a community, being part of a community where it's all about collaboration, nurturing each other, is so important than living on their own, being selfish. Yeah, not the understanding of your selfish. Selfish in the sense of I want to go, i want to create a better world. Their selfish is really very self centric And I'm admiring you for your various missions And I encourage everybody just to listen into this podcast and hopefully also support you. Yeah, in getting those movements to critical mess so we can be heard voice. Yeah, out there. Very important, not the schema.Speaker 1:
Yes, Thank you, and I, just while you were talking, i flashed on something I read a couple months ago, i think it was in Evolution 2.0 by Perry Marshall. The idea of collaboration is not necessarily only a human thing, that other species collaborate, both within members of their own species but also with other species. There are symbiotic relationships that look on the surface like they might be parasite or predatory, but are actually collaborative. Trees are definitely a part of that. Trees and fungi are very closely connected And then, of course, different animals get nutrition from the trees and then return that nutrition to the soil in the form of poop, and nature doesn't waste anything. And nature, this whole idea of survival of the fittest and competition cutthroat and all that is really a human construct. And while, okay, i'm a cat owner, i see what happens when you put a cat in a field that has lots of mice. It's not pretty. But I also see that the mice are nurturing, probably, an ecosystem by keeping smaller annoyances in check, and they are serving purposes that we probably don't fully understand. And it's just what a miracle it is this planet that we live on. It's so finely constructed when you think that if you brought up a spider to human size. Her web is strong enough to stop a moving jet plane. Think about that. So if you want to build a bridge, ask a spider how, because they know more than we do. This whole idea of biomimicry is a wonderful new science of the last 20, 30 years. It's looking at how has nature solved these problems And how can we model that. And it comes into all sorts of cool things, like an adhesive that was modeled after the way geckos walk upside down on a ceiling.Speaker 2:
And now the conversation has started. We could talk about this for another hour. Honestly, the biomimicry is so exciting to me And it's so interesting, right? Yes, but I love what you said about the collaboration piece as well. And yeah, so true, so true. And, if anything for me, i'm always looking at ways to look outside of my own little space And that's, i think, what you've demonstrated today, shell, how you do that, and you look outside of your own pond You've got many ponds and you look holistically at the earth and all of the different systems that operate, to learn things and create connections and see how we can learn from each other and therefore become better.Speaker 1:
Yeah, and it's. it ripples through, because what I learned about biomimicry influences the way that I think about individualized, bespoke approaches for different clients, because that's what biomimicry is. You have a system that's going to work really well in India where it's dry for 11 months and then torrential floods for one month. That system is not going to work in a place that's all desert or all rain forest. You need different solutions in those. You might even need different solutions for different the same problem on different sides of the same tree.Speaker 2:
Exactly, i love it. I love the way your brain works And I really, really love your energy and your curiosity, so it's brilliant.Speaker 1:
Thank you, it has been brilliant.Speaker 2:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, as we come to a close, do you have any final tidbits or little piece of advice for our listeners, any nuggets of wisdom?Speaker 1:
I would say look for ways to follow your heart, but also look for the ways that are going to make those things practical. So you don't have to give up your dreams, but you may have to modify them a little bit to fit some constraints, at least temporarily, and over time you may be able to overcome those constraints. That's one. Another would be there are two kinds of change in the world. There's kaizen, the gradual, step-by-step improvement, and then there's the great leap forward. I actually did a newsletter on this a couple of months ago that those are two different styles and neither is wrong and both are situational. In some situations you're going to take the little tiny step, but then, once you've gotten three, four steps down the road, you say, oh, now I can take the great leap. I needed those extra eight inches that I didn't have before to be able to cross this kaizen. So you're building groundwork for yourself, and then it may be another series of gradual evolutions for a while, and then another great leap. I'm thinking about smartphones, for example. Have going from flip phones to smartphones was a great leap, but it was made possible by little incremental changes such as oh, we can put a really terrible internet browser on this flip phone And then somebody would get that and say, well, what, we made it a good internet experience. What would that be like? And now, if you think about it, we, with this little device, we are carrying the world's knowledge in our pockets. It's not all in our pocket, but we can access it. We have every library. It's out there. You can watch news programs from other countries. You can. Just what a change that is. And that's only one of many big innovations. When you add that in with things like 3D printing and, yes, ai is going to change our world, is already changing our world in good ways and not so good ways. And some of these other and this thinking as organisms within a bio region, as communities that can communicate and work together and share common goals if that's appropriate and then draw apart and do their own thing when they're not. You probably didn't expect this long and complicated answer. I didn't expect to give it, but I should stop there.Speaker 2:
Oh, shell, thank you so much. Wow, there's a lot there.Speaker 3:
We can always do chapter two of this podcast.Speaker 1:
I've been a repeat podcast guest for a few programs. I like to do at least six months in between, but it's amazing. I feel this call has really been energizing and we've gone into areas that I don't normally talk about. There's no such thing as a standard podcast for me, but there's a general framework they usually follow and this one is mostly out of that box And that's fun for me And I like hearing myself going to new places And I think you and I have just right. We had it when we were talking without the camera. We had just have a really good get in. I think we really connect on some cellular level. That's different.Speaker 2:
I agree, agree, totally. Yeah, i love it And I'd love to have you back at some stage, shell. I know there's some more specific topics I think we could go into. That would really be beneficial for all our listeners. So, but today, thank you so much, it has been an absolute honor and privilege, and thank you for the gifts that you offered our listeners. Again, the links will be in the show notes below here that Shell has given us. And, yeah, is there any final comments that you'd like to make, shell?Speaker 1:
Yeah, just like what you heard today. You'll find tons of resources at goingbeyondsustainabilitycom, including that freebies page with the 10 success and profitability secrets and the half an hour consultation and all the rest of it And just keep learning, keep doing. You need both. You need to absorb and I am somebody who loves to absorb knowledge but you also need to act.Speaker 2:
Yeah, absolutely, perfectly, perfectly finished. Thank you so much.Speaker 3: