Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant is a wildlife ecologist with an expertise in uncovering how human activity influences carnivore behavior and ecology. She is a National Geographic Explorer, host the PBS podcast Going Wild with Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant, and is the cohost on NBC’s Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Protecting the Wild.  She is the first black woman to ever host a television nature show. Her new book is titled: Wild Life: Finding My Purpose in an Untamed World.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • She attended a high school for the performing arts because of her voice yet refused to apply for a conservatory to continue her musical studies knowing that her life vision was to become a nature show host.
  • Having black leaders in wildlife conservation during her first field study project in Kenya was transformative in helping her understand that she could actually do this for a living.
  • Learning firsthand of lions killing local villagers in Tanzania was an experience that taught her that the wellbeing of people has to come first in wildlife conservation.
  • Capturing and tagging a rare lemur during a mission critical expedition to protect a rainforest in Madagascar allowed her to overcome her self-doubt, increase her self-confidence, and realize her full potential.
  • As cohost on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Protecting the Wild, Rae has fulfilled her lifelong dream and become the first black woman to ever host a television nature show.
  • “Excellence is being your best and your truest. It’s being aligned with your values, aligned with your energy, and aligned with the balance you’re seeking.”

 

Notes:

Book: Wild Life: Finding My Purpose in an Untamed World

Podcast: Going Wild with Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant

TV show: Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Protecting the Wild

Personal website: Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant

Bubba Watson is a professional golfer. He has won two major PGA championships, both victories at the Masters.  He has a total of 12 PGA tournament wins and reached a world ranking of 2nd in 2015.  He has played in the LIV Golf league since 2022.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Bubba never had formal lessons. He was entirely self-taught. He would just go by feel and practice over and over until he understood how to position himself and swing to achieve a certain shot.
  • In college his drive to be better at golf was due to immaturity – he was mad at people. These days his drive to be better is so he can help people.  Paying it forward is much more important than trying to be the best in the world.
  • He built a distinguishable brand as Bubba – the new age redneck country boy, despite not hunting or dipping or smoking or country music.
  • He was kind and considerate off the golf course but had a hot temper on the course. Pride and ego was eating him alive.  He got caught up in the rankings and allowed that to dictate how he felt about himself.
  • His first Masters victory was on the heels of adopting their first baby so allowing his mind to focus on something outside of golf removed him from the excessive pressure which allowed him to play the match of his life.
  • Joining LIV Golf wasn’t about the money but an opportunity to play golf in a team format which he misses and the entrepreneurial opportunity to own a franchise in an emerging league.
  • “Excellence is touching others in a way that makes their lives better. It’s giving people an opportunity to be successful.”

 

Notes:

Book: Up and Down: Victories and Struggles in the Course of Life

Personal Website: Bubba Watson

LIV site: Bubba Watson and the RangeGoats

Frans Lanting has been hailed as one of the great photographers of our time. For more than three decades he has documented wildlife from the Amazon to Antarctica to promote understanding about the Earth and its natural history through images that convey a passion for nature and a sense of wonder about our living planet.  He has received many honors including Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the Lennart Nilsson Award, The Netherlands’ highest conservation honor – the Royal Order of the Golden Ark, the Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography, and the Lifetime Achievement Award in nature photography. His latest book is titled: Bay of Life: From Wind to Whales.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Not knowing the rules will make you experiment with anything and everything. Be aware of the rules but then put them to the side and do things your own way.
  • His empathy toward animals allows him to capture their personalities which are as distinct as our own personalities.
  • Unlike the prevailing methods of photographing the animals from a distance, Frans likes to get up close and personal and take his pictures at eye level to create a more intimate interaction.
  • Too many people are overly fixated with technology but what’s most important is knowing what’s interesting to you and your connection with the subject in front of you.
  • Unlike painting where you start with a blank canvas, with photography you go in the opposite direction and have to delete as much as possible until there is clarity.
  • His photography evolved from capturing a single species to capturing the essence of nature as a network of relationships amongst many species.

 

Notes:

Books:

Bay of Life: From Wind to Whales

Into Africa

Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape

Other books by Frans

Exhibitions:

LIFE: A Journey Through Time

Bay of Life

Website:

Frans Lanting

Carol Tomé is the Chief Executive Officer of UPS.  Previously she served as Chief Financial Officer for The Home Depot.  Carol serves as board member for Verizon Communications, Inc., board of councilors for the Carter Center and is a board trustee for Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation and the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  Carol has been named twice to the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and was listed second on The Wall Street Journal’s list of best Chief Financial Officers, and among the top 50 most powerful women in business by Fortune magazine.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • She was a competitive downhill ski racer growing up which taught her the importance of advanced preparation. To this day she goes into every meeting well prepared.
  • When she first joined Home Depot, she wasn’t getting through and winning people over so she went to work in the stores to learn the business so she could speak their language.
  • She had a transformative moment at Home Depot when she realized that she was working too hard and didn’t have a purpose and dedicated herself from that day forward to making a difference. This changed how she interacted with the people around her.
  • Much of her success was learning to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, faster than you, and better than you. They lift you up and give you wings.
  • One of her ingredients to success has been to be well networked. Always first look to make deposits with people so down the road you’re in a position to ask for a withdrawal.
  • “Excellence is about thinking all the way around the problem. Go slow to go fast. Or in the language of home improvement, measure twice, cut once.”

Bob Waldinger is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is also the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development and director of the program in Psychodynamic Therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital.  He is a practicing psychiatrist and a Zen master who teaches meditation around the world.  His latest book is titled: The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • His TEDx talk in 2015 is still one of the most popular TED talks ever with over 44 million views and growing.
  • When trying to optimize happiness, most of us try to strike a balance between eudaimonia, which refers to a state of wellbeing in which a person feels that their life has meaning and purpose, and hedonia, which is more about fleeting happiness.
  • The essence of the findings from the study boils down to relationships. That relationships are more important to long term health and happiness than diet or exercise or anything else in our lives.
  • Contrary to stereotypes, women are not any more likely to form relationships than men. They just have a different means of engaging with one another.
  • About 50% of our wellbeing set point is determined by genetics, 10% is based on our current life circumstance, and 40% is within our control.
  • “Excellence is being as fully and deeply engaged in something as I can be in something I care about.”

 

Notes:

Book: The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness

Ted Talks:

What Makes a Good Life?

The Secret to a Happy Life

John Mather is a Senior Astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He is also the Senior Project Scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope. His research centers on infrared astronomy and cosmology. He was the chief scientist for the Cosmic Background Explorer and received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006 for his precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation.  He has served on advisory and working groups for the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • The James Webb Space Telescope uses infrared technology which allows us to see through the dust clouds to see stars being born.
  • “Maybe the formation of life doesn’t require a rare and exotic coincidence but maybe it’s something that always happens when given the chance.”
  • Like Neil deGrasse Tyson, John visited the Hayden Planetarium as a kid which ignited his early passion for astronomy.
  • He didn’t have his entire career mapped out but rather followed his curiosity and said yes when opportunity would present itself.
  • While society holds the theorists in higher regard than the experimentalists like John, that never deterred him.
  • Stephen Hawking called his discovery of hot and cold spots in the cosmic background radiation “The most significant scientific discovery of this century if not of all time.”
  • COBE took 15 years from inception to launch and the James Webb 27 years but John was able to stay the course on both, keeping himself and his teams motivated along the way.
  • His secret to success isn’t being the smartest one in the room and always knowing the answer but rather not being afraid to ask others.

Will Guidara is the former co-owner of Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad, and is the cofounder of the Welcome Conference, an annual hospitality symposium. In 2017, Eleven Madison Park was voted the world’s best restaurant by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants annual ranking.  He has coauthored four cookbooks, was named one of Crain’s New York Business’s 40 Under 40, and is a recipient of WSJ Magazine’s Innovator Award. His new book is called Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Unreasonable hospitality is being just as relentless, as focused, as intentional in your pursuit of how you make people feel as you are with every other facet of what you do for a living.
  • One of our most deeply held needs as human beings is we want to feel known and seen.
  • One of Will’s favorite quotes that speaks to hospitality is one from Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you say. They’ll forget what you do. But they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”
  • “If you don’t understand the importance of your work, the nobility of what you put out into the world every day, it’s very hard to be the best version of yourself consistently.”
  • He has kept a paperweight on his desk since he was a child which reads: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” If you don’t have the confidence and conviction to answer it honestly, it’s unlikely you’ll ever achieve it.
  • Whenever you’re leading a group of people, it’s one thing to have a good idea. It’s meaningless if you can’t convey that idea to your team such that you’re all moving in unison and in the same direction.
  • It’s important to be both “restaurant smart” and “corporate smart”. That is, balancing what’s best for the guests with what’s best for the bottom line.
  • To become the number one restaurant in the world, he had to balance a culture of excellence with a culture of unreasonable hospitality.
  • “If you are not being as intentional, as relentless, and as unreasonable about how you make people feel as you are about whatever product you make or service you offer, you are leaving extraordinary opportunities on the table.”

 

Notes:

Book: Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect

The Welcome Conference

David Copperfield is a magician and entertainer, best known for his combination of storytelling and illusion, and described by Forbes as the most commercially successful magician in history.  His illusions have included the disappearance of a Learjet, the vanishing and reappearance of the Statue of Liberty, levitating over the Grand Canyon, walking through the Great Wall of China, escaping from Alcatraz prison, and flying on stage.  He has received 21 Emmy Awards, 11 Guinness World Records, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a knighthood by the French government, and the Living Legend award by the US Library of Congress.  You can watch him live performing 7 days a week at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • While he’s passionate about magic and one of the greatest magicians ever, at heart he is a storyteller. He is a multidimensional entertainer.
  • His role models growing up weren’t other magicians but actors and dancers like Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. And storytellers like Walt Disney.
  • He likes to make audiences feel something in the heart, not just a challenge in the brain.
  • To this day he is inspired by a quote he read as a kid: “You’re only as good as you dare to be bad.” You can’t do something unique and special without taking some risks along the way.
  • The formula for his success is summarized with his mantra: “Passion, preparation, and persistence.”
  • He still has imposture syndrome at times which pushes him to continue to keep trying to perfect his craft.
  • “Excellence is about nothing ever being finished. It’s a process that never ends.”