AuthorRyan Hawk

Episode 186: Jason Van Camp – Green Beret: 300 Kill/Capture Combat Missions – Comfort In The Uncomfortable

 

Episode 186: Jason Van Camp – Green Beret: 300 Kill/Capture Combat Missions – Comfort In The Uncomfortable

Jason B.A. Van Camp is what Malcolm Gladwell would refer to as an Outlier; an exceptional person who is successful not just because of his personal accomplishments but his will to win and unique ability and willingness to unlock the potential of others. A decorated Green Beret, world traveler, and loyal friend, Jason has mastered the art of storytelling that reflect many of his own life adventures.  Jason is honored to be the Founder and Chairman of Mission 6 Zero.

Jason was born in Washington D.C. and raised across the Potomac River in Springfield, Virginia. In 1995, Jason was accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point. While at West Point, Jason played Linebacker for the Army Black Knights football team, served a two year LDS-Mormon mission to Russia, and, upon graduation, won the prestigious General Loeffke Award for Excellence in Foreign Languages.

After graduating from West Point, Jason volunteered to attend U.S. Army Ranger School in Fort Benning, GA where he earned his Ranger tab (2002). Jason then began a one year tour to Korea serving a few miles from the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) between South and North Korea.  Immediately after serving in Korea, Jason was deployed with the 101st Airborne Division in the invasion of Iraq (2003). In 2006, Jason won the coveted Green Beret and began serving as a Detachment Commander with 10th Special Forces Group in Fort Carson, Colorado.  As a Detachment Commander, Jason led his team on close to 300 combat missions to kill/capture high value targets as well as created and commanded one of the largest Foreign Internal Defense Force in U.S. history, training nearly 4000 Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers in hand to hand combat, raid and patrolling techniques, unconventional warfare and personal security detail tactics as well as deploying these forces on the battlefield.  During his 14 years in the U.S. Army, Jason has won numerous awards, notably the Bronze Star with V device for Valor as well as two additional Bronze Stars during numerous combat rotations as a Special Forces Detachment Commander in the Middle East and Africa.

In 2013, Jason earned his MBA from Brigham Young University and it was there that he developed a passion for entrepreneurship. Jason believes in servant leadership, the art of determination, and the power of storytelling. This philosophy has served him well in his life and has made him an experienced speaker and proponent of Mission 6 Zero’s six-domained Total Warrior Intelligence model. Jason is passionate about his experiences and his stories resonate with any audience; students, athletes, businesspersons that wants to be “passionate about passion.”

Episode 186: Jason Van Camp – Green Beret: 300 Kill/Capture Combat Missions – Comfort In The Uncomfortable

Subscribe on iTunes  or Stitcher Radio

The Learning Leader Show

“Repetition is the mother of learning.”

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Common themes to sustain excellence:
    • Understand the importance of simplicity
    • They know who they are
    • High level of self-awareness
  • The process for Army Special Forces Selection
  • The situational awareness training done in the military — how that helped Jason
  • You must understand why you made the decision you made — Must be thoughtful
  • Graduating from West Point — Progressing to Special Forces (why did he do this?)
  • What life is like as a football player at West Point
  • Becoming a Ranger and taking the next step to become a Green Beret
  • 3 Deployments to Iraq – actions taken and what was learned
  • Leading 300 Kill/Capture combat missions
  • Being promoted within the military
  • Speaking with Nate Boyer — “The difference between the success last year and the failure this year is Leadership”
  • Securing the very first Consultant deal with his new company with the New York Jets for $60,000
  • The strategy to create a meaningful leadership training session with an NFL team
  • “After 5 seconds on stage, you better have something to say”
  • Keys to earning laughs from the audience
    • Absolute confidence
    • Handling bad situations
    • Gather information from people in the audience before your speech
    • Use names/examples of people in the crowd
    • Ask for hecklers (be careful with this and make sure you’ve planned well)
  • 7 Ways to get comfortable with being uncomfortable
    • Start
    • Don’t quit
    • Push yourself past your comfort zone
    • Embrace the suck
    • Be around like minded people
    • Recognize your improvements
    • Rinse. Repeat
  • The Thayer method of learning employed at West Point

Continue Learning:

You may also like these episodes:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 071: Nate Boyer – Green Beret, Texas Football, The NFL

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

Did you enjoy the podcast?

If you enjoyed hearing Jason Van Camp on the show, please don’t hesitate to send me a note on Twitter or email me.

Episode edited by the great J Scott Donnell

The Learning Leader Show is supported by FreshBooksFreshBooks is offering a 30 day, unrestricted free trial to my listeners. To claim it, just go to FreshBooks.com/Learning and enter LEARNING LEADER in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section.

CONTINUE

Episode 185: Haben Girma – The First Deafblind Harvard Law Graduate, Champion Of Change

 

Episode 185: Haben Girma – The First Deafblind Harvard Law Graduate, Champion Of Change

An internationally acclaimed accessibility leader, Haben Girma has earned recognition as a White House “Champion of Change”, Forbes 30 under 30 leader, and BBC Women of Africa Hero. The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben champions equal access to information for people with disabilities. She has been honored by President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, and many others.

People with disabilities represent the largest minority group, numbering one billion worldwide. Reaching a group of this scale creates value for everyone. Organizations that prioritize accessibility benefit by gaining access to a much larger user base, improving the experience for both disabled and non-disabled users, and facilitating further innovation.

Watch Haben teach 4,000 developers the connection between Disability & Innovation at Apple’s 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Haben has been featured extensively in media round the world, including the BBC, CBS, Forbes, the Washington Post, MTV, NPR, and many more.

Haben grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where she currently lives. She holds a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology from Lewis & Clark College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. In addition to her accessibility work, she enjoys salsa dancing, surfing, and traveling the world.

Episode 185: Haben Girma – The First Deafblind Harvard Law Graduate, Champion Of Change

Subscribe on iTunes  or Stitcher Radio

The Learning Leader Show

“Excellent leaders are honest about their strengths and weaknesses.”

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Common themes to sustain excellence:
    • Honest about strengths and weaknesses
    • Great problem solvers
    • High level of self-awareness
  • Haben is Deafblind – she understands her strengths and weaknesses very well
  • Her TED Talk – Advocating for others — How and why she champions equal access to information for people with disabilities
  • Communicating and hugging President Barack Obama
  • How she communicates — The use of braille.  For our talk on this podcast, she had an interpreter listen to what I said and then type it out for her to read in braille
  • What are the best ways to communicate with people who are deaf — Haben helps me understand
  • Why you should never tell her that her story inspires you
  • How chocolate cake played a role in her becoming an advocacy attorney
  • What advice given to others who want to go into advocacy? Start with yourself. Maybe there is a gender bias, religious, or racial. Build up from there…
  • Haben describes how she experiences movies
  • The best piece of advice she’s received: Don’t insist on doing something by yourself. Ask for help. Work smart. Sometimes it’s better to be helped by others
  • What she hopes people learn from her speeches? That she continually adds value to others
  • Haben’s thoughts on Helen Keller – She’s brilliant
  • Haben’s brother is also Deafblind — He works in technology
  • How she actively makes a choice to ignore fear
  • Why Uber denied her a ride 3 times and what happened
  • Her Goals: Change our culture — Disability adds value… Trainings & Workshops

Positive Message To Send – We respect and admire disabled leaders, just as we respect and admire our non-disabled leaders.

Continue Learning:

You may also like these episodes:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 071: Nate Boyer – Green Beret, Texas Football, The NFL

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

Did you enjoy the podcast?

If you enjoyed hearing Haben Girma on the show, please don’t hesitate to send me a note on Twitter or email me.

Episode edited by the great J Scott Donnell

The Learning Leader Show is supported by FreshBooksFreshBooks is offering a 30 day, unrestricted free trial to my listeners. To claim it, just go to FreshBooks.com/Learning and enter LEARNING LEADER in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section.

FULL Transcription Of This Conversation As Follows:

Haben:             What we want to do is start thinking in terms of “We,” in terms of everyone being included and equal in value.  So, I try to move away from hierarchies, I try to move away from the word “inspiration,” which tends to carry pity.  Sometimes, it’s used as a disguise for saying, “Thank goodness I don’t have your problems.  I’m going to feel more grateful for my life because I don’t have problems as horrible as yours.”  That perpetuates negative hierarchies.

Intro:                Are leaders born, or are they made?  Our host, Ryan Hawk, believes that leaders can be made through determined, focused work on learning the art and science behind the makeup or other successful leaders.  Now it’s time to inhale knowledge and exhale success.  You’re listening to The Learning Leader Show with Ryan Hawk.

Ryan:               Pumped for our new sponsor this year.  It’s FreshBooks.  The working world has changed.  With the growth of the internet, there’s never been more opportunities for the self-employed.  To meet this end, FreshBooks is excited to announce the launch of an all-new version of their Cloud accounting software.  It’s been redesigned from the ground up and custom built for exactly the way you work.  Get ready for the simplest way to be more productive, organized, and most importantly, get paid quickly.  The all-new FreshBooks is not only easy to use; it’s also packed full of powerful features like create and send professional looking invoices in less than 30 seconds, set up online payments with just a couple of clicks and get paid up to four days faster, and see when your client has seen your invoice and put an end to the guessing games.  FreshBooks is offering a 30-day unrestricted free trial to my listeners.  To claim it, just go to FreshBooks.com/Learning and enter “Learning Leader” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.

Hey and welcome to The Learning Leader Show.  I am Ryan Hawk.  Thanks so much for being here.  My featured leader tonight is the highly intelligent Haben Girma.  She’s an internationally acclaimed accessibility leader.  She’s earned recognition as a White House Champion of Change, Forbes 30 Under 30 Leader, and BBC Women of Africa Hero.  She is the first deaf/blind person to graduate from Harvard Law School.  She campions equal access to information for people with disabilities.  Haben has been honored by President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, and many others.  A few of the topics we got into: The harmful messages we should avoid when discussing people with disabilities.  And Haben shares a story about her time with President Obama and hugging him.  Really funny and great part of our talk.  And then how she prepared and delivered a world-class TED Talk.  Ladies and gentlemen, you’re going to love this one with Haben Girma.

Okay, Haben.  Thanks so much for being here.  Excited to have this conversation with you on The Learning Leader Show.  First question is around leaders who have sustained excellence over an extended period of time.  I’m curious, from your perspective, whether speaking about yourself and others you’ve spent time around, what are some of the common themes or characteristics of those leaders who always seems to sustain excellence?

Haben:             Excellent leaders are honest about their skills and weaknesses.  I’m deaf/blind.  My vision and hearing is terrible.  So, I’m very intentional about not putting myself in spaces that would require things I’m not great at, such as relying on vision and audio.  My skills are in problem-solving, analytical reasoning, communication, and I put myself in environments where those skills are valued.  So, one of the really important things for leaders is to recognize what their skills are, what their weaknesses are, and being honest and working with that.

Ryan:               So, it seems like the best that you’ve been around, and yourself, have a high level of self-awareness.  Is that right?

Haben:             Exactly.  Self-awareness is key to success.

Ryan:               Okay.  Well, I need to tell you a story, Haben.  So, I was watching your TED Talk with my daughter, Ella, and we absolutely loved the story, the way that you mixed in humor, how you advocate for others.  Can you share a little bit about your story and how you got along this path?

Haben:             I haven’t always been an advocate.  It’s a process to learn to advocate for yourself, and when I was in college, the college cafeteria used a menu system that wasn’t accessible to blind students.  The menu was in print, and blind students can’t read print.  So, I asked the cafeteria, “Would you provide the menu in accessible formats?  Brail, digital?”  And they told me they were too busy, couldn’t really deal with the students with disabilities.  And I was frustrated and I didn’t know what to do because no one’s born knowing how to advocate for themselves.  You have to learn over time.  And I spent a few months trying to think about what I could do, and finally, I realized this is a civil rights issues.  The law requires that establishments like the cafeteria make their services accessible to people with disabilities.  And I came back and explained, “This isn’t about charity or your free time; this is a civil rights issue.  You’re required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to make reasonable accommodations, and if you don’t make the menu accessible, I’m going to take legal action.”

And when I framed it like that, everything changed.  They started to ensure the menus were accessible.  I finally had choices about what to eat.  Back then, I was vegetarian, so it was really frustrating to wait in line and then discover they were just serving burgers at that station.  I needed food choices, and when they made the menu accessible, I finally had choices.  And making that change at the cafeteria made me realize that not only can I advocate for myself, but I can advocate for others as well.  So, I decided to go to law school after college and advocate for others so that our whole community can become more inclusive.

Ryan:               And so, you’re the first deaf/blind Harvard Law graduate.  Is that correct?

Haben:             That’s right!

Ryan:               Yeah, I think, looking through everything you’ve done, you also were a ballroom dancer.  Is that also correct?

Haben:             Yes, you’re right.  You definitely did your homework, Ryan.

Ryan:               Well, you also mentioned the way that dancers can speak without actually saying words, and I found that to be an interesting and thought-provoking message.  Can you share more about how certain people are able to speak in other ways?

Haben:             So, for communication, I use a brail display and standard QWERTY keyboard, and people type what they’re saying and I read in digital brail.  Right now, it’s you speaking.  An interpreter is typing on a keyboard and I’m reading on a digital brail display and then responding by voice.  This is one form of communication.  Another form of communication is sign language.  If someone knows sign language, we can sign.  I’ll put my hand over their hand and feel their signs.  On the dancefloor, salsa, swing, waltz, those are also forms of sign language.  So, when someone knows salsa, I can communicate with them in salsa.  I know all the signals.  I’m able to read their body through their hands, their shoulders.  So, our bodies communicate in many different ways: through dance, through signs, through typing.  Human potential is limitless.

Ryan:               You also went to the White House and visited with President Obama and I watched the video earlier today of him.  I believe his quote was, “I couldn’t type a hug,” and then there’s this great moment of you and him hugging each other.  What was that like in the White House with President Obama?

Haben:             President Obama’s fantastic.  Let me talk a little bit about that hug.  Some people are very awkward about hugs, and they don’t know how to signal that they want a hug.  Sometimes it’s with eye contact, but eye contact is not accessible to me.  President Obama was very intuitive.  He signaled with his hand, “May we hug?”  It was very clear.  Some people are more communicative tactually than others, so it was beautiful to see that, and he also communicated using the keyboard.  I love when people can switch between communication styles: voice, sign, text.  It’s really helpful to be flexible and engage with people in whatever way works best for them.

Ryan:               You happen to have a very beautiful voice, and I read that you’ve got a lot of training.  How have you developed?  I know some people listening right now probably are saying that they’ve potentially heard other people who are deaf speak and it isn’t always as clear as your voice.  How have you trained yourself to be such a great speaker?  I mean you got up on a TED stage, you’ve been at the White House, all of these great places.

Haben:             Most people with hearing loss have a different type of hearing loss.  They have high frequency hearing loss, which is common when you get older.  My hearing loss is the opposite of that.  I have a little bit of high frequency, but little to no low frequency hearing.  And because of that, I’m able to hear consonants and speech intelligence is in the consonants.  But if you miss out the consonants, you’re more likely to have a deaf accent.  So, part of the reason I speak this way is because of the unique type of hearing loss I have.  I’ve also taken many theater classes, voice classes to build up my ability to communicate with people.  Communication is important.  That’s how we teach, that’s how we learn.  So, I’ve been doing everything I can to develop those skills.

Ryan:               Can you share some of the potential harmful messages that people should avoid when speaking with or speaking about somebody with a disability?

Haben:             There are common themes that are harmful when talking about disability.  One theme is the idea that people with disabilities exist for non-disabled people to feel grateful for the abilities they have.  But that’s harmful because it creates hierarchies of “us” versus “them.”  What we want to do is start thinking in terms of “We,” in terms of everyone being included and equal in value.  So, I try to move away from hierarchies, I try to move away from the word “inspiration,” which tends to carry pity.  Sometimes, it’s used as a disguise for saying, “Thank goodness I don’t have your problems.  I’m going to feel more grateful for my life because I don’t have problems as horrible as yours.”  That perpetuates negative hierarchies.  So, I try to move away from that and, instead, focus on every human has value.  We all deserve equal access.

Ryan:               How about back in the cafeteria?  There were some headlines written about you saying that you owe your activism in part to chocolate cake.  Can you dive deeper into that story?

Haben:             At the cafeteria, before they made the changes, I had no idea what they were serving.  I would go to a station at random, get food, go to a table, sit down, taste the food, and only then would I know what they were serving.  There were sometimes unhappy surprises.  And sometimes they would be serving chocolate cake and I wouldn’t know, and later in the day, one of my friends would be like, “Oh, Haben, did you try the chocolate cake today?  It was really good.”  And I would say, “Wait.  There was chocolate cake and no one told me?!  That’s not fair.”  And that was one of the reasons I wanted the menu to be accessible, so I would know when they were serving chocolate cake or tortellini or some of my other favorite foods.  Choices are important.  We all deserve to have choices, especially when we’re paying to eat there.

Ryan:               What is your advice to others and people who aspire to go into advocacy?

Haben:             First, start with you.  Get really strong advocating for your own needs and interests.  Even if you are non-disabled, you still face challenges.  Maybe it’s gender discrimination, maybe it’s religious, maybe racial.  There are many different forms of obstacles and challenges.  So, build up your ability to advocate for yourself and then use those skills to advocate for the greater community.

Ryan:               I hear you’re a fan of movies.  How do you experience movies?

Haben:             You know, I’m not a huge fan of movies because movies are very visual and auditory, things I’m not very good at.  But, when a movie is culturally significant, I want to be able to talk about culture.  I’ll read the screenplay of the movie, read the dialogue, read visual descriptions, and then I can hang out with friends and talk about why this movie was great, why this movie was not so great.  So, I don’t watch movies very often, but if I do, it’s through the screenplay.

Ryan:               What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and who was it from?

Haben:             When I was in law school, a friend saw me struggling, and I was struggling because I was insisting on doing something on my own rather than getting assistance in how to research a particular topic.  I wanted to spend the extra five hours, six hours to figure it out on my own rather than just asking the research librarian.  And my friend told me, “One piece of advice is to work smart rather than work hard.”  Sometimes it’s more effective to ask someone else for assistance rather than taking the extra time to do it on your own.  Not always, but it’s good to be flexible and recognize when it would benefit you to ask someone else for help.

Ryan:               Absolutely agree.  When you get up onstage to speak, what are the primary messages you are trying to convey?  What do you hope the people in the audience leave thinking?

Haben:             I want people to recognize that disability is an asset.  Being different is an asset.  I spent my life trying to figure out things, and because of that, I’ve developed really strong problem-solving skills.  All the teams I work with benefit from my strong problem-solving skills.  So, we want people with disabilities within our teams, our communities, our workforce because they add value.  A lot of the technology and changes we’ve seen throughout our history have been inspired by disability, everything from keyboards to email.  So, it’s really important to recognize that disability adds value to our communities.

Ryan:               Your brother is also deaf/blind.  Is that correct?

Haben:             My brother is also deaf/blind.  He lives in California and he teaches computers.  He helps individuals learn how to use assistive technology.

Ryan:               What is your relationship like with him?

Haben:             I am among four, and he’s the only other one who’s also deaf/blind.  So, we shared books growing up.  We were the only two in our family who actually read braille.

Ryan:               So, I know there’s a lot out there written about the bravery of your mom.  Can you share more about her bravery?

Haben:             My mom grew up in Eritrea amidst a civil war between Eritrea and Ethiopia.  Eritrea fought for independence.  Ethiopia wanted Eritrea to be part of a greater Ethiopia.  And Eritrea gained independence in the ‘90s.  So, my mother grew up during those struggles and she journeyed, walking, from Eritrea to Sudan and from Sudan, a refugee organization helped her come to the United States, and here, she had to learn everything all over again, a new culture, new systems.  So, those are the stories that I grew up with.  I grew up hearing her experiences and that taught me resilience.  Her story isn’t about disability, but it still teaches me to keep searching for solutions, keep continuing on my journey.

Ryan:               I know there are comparisons made to Helen Keller.  What do you think of those comparisons?

Haben:             Helen Keller was brilliant, hard-working, and she had touched many, many lives.  I had the benefit of growing up in a time where we had the Americans with Disabilities Act and technologies.  It’s much, much easier for me to connect and communicate with people in part because of the technologies we have now and because of the civil rights and cultural changes that have happened since her time.  So, sometimes I wonder, “What would Helen have accomplished?  What freedom would she have experience if she had grown up during this time with the Americans with Disabilities Act and with accessible technology?”

Ryan:               I want to go back, if possible, to your TED Talk.  And anyone who gives a TED Talk that’s on this podcast, Haben, I typically will ask them about their preparation process, how they prepared to get up onstage and do a great job.  What was your prep process like to give a fantastic TED Talk?

Haben:             Practice, practice, practice.  Lots of practice went into doing my TED Talk.  And beforehand, I went onstage the day before to get familiar with the stage, and one trick we used is to have a rug on the middle of the stage, so that way, I can feel through my feet when I’m on the center of the stage and when I’m slightly left or slightly right.  So, there are lots of little tricks that go into making a show successful, from tactile cues like a rug to practicing with different audiences.  Preparation makes a huge difference.

Ryan:               I think that is great advice for anyone, regardless of what they’re going to do.  I know it received a great response.  Did that talk changes your life?

Haben:             The talk has helped spread my message to more people.  I want to encourage more people to advocate for themselves, and the TED Talk communicates several messages.  One is it’s up to all of us to advocate for ourselves.  The other message is it’s up to communities to take steps to make their communities more inclusive.  Schools should ensure that everyone has access.  It’s not enough to just admit students with disabilities; you have to also make sure the cafeteria’s accessible, the digital platforms are accessible, the study abroad, math, science, that everything is accessible.

Ryan:               You have also spent a good amount of time traveling the world, speaking and advocating.  What have you learned maybe from a perspective?  What perspective did you learn from traveling the world?

Haben:             Every culture is different.  I was recently in India, Dubai, Mexico, and every culture sees disability differently.  Some cultures disapprove of difference and want everyone to the same.  Other cultures celebrate difference more.  So, it’s interesting for me to see how different cultures approach disability, and I do hope that more cultures start to embrace the unique attributes and talents of people with disabilities so that there’s less shame or judgement on those who are different.

Ryan:               What is a typical day like for you, considering that there are times when you’re traveling and other times when you’re at home?  So, what is a typical day for Haben?

Haben:             Most of the time, I’m traveling.  Most of this fall, I’ve not been home for more than two days.  When I am home, I spend a lot of time on my computer, I spend a lot of time meeting up with friends in San Francisco.  I also really love dancing, so I spend a lot of my weekends salsa dancing with friends.

Ryan:               I saw somebody else ask you this and I thought it was a good question, so I wanted to ask you: What do you fear?

Haben:             Fear is always there, always present.  I actively make a choice to ignore fear.  And sometimes when fear is present, it reminds us, “Hey, there’s something important here.”  Let’s go explore.  Let’s go learn why this fear exists and how we can overcome and move past this fear.

Ryan:               So, it doesn’t sound like you ignore it; you just embrace it.  Is that accurate?

Haben:             That’s a better way to phrase it.  So, when there’s fear, I embrace it and try to learn from it and allow it to be a learning opportunity.  You asked what I fear.  That’s a tricky question.  One thing I fear is that I’d stop learning.  I’m no longer in school.  I graduated from law school in 2013, so I don’t have teachers forcing me to learn material.  Now it’s up to me to continue learning and growing.  I have to make sure that I’m actively engaged and learning, and one of my fears is that I would stop learning.

Ryan:               A friend of mine, named Joe Drayer, initially connected you and I.  And he’d written you, I thought, very kind email saying he was moved by your advocacy and your message and connected us.  And for me, it’s very neat when something like that happens: A friend and listener connects me with somebody who would be a great guest.  When you saw that you were being connected with a guy who has a podcast called The Learning Leader Show, what was your first thought?

Haben:             I like the name “Learning Leaders.”  I love learning and I think learning is very important.  So, I was super curious, “What is this program?  Let me go learn about it,” and then I went onto your website to learn more.

Ryan:               What did you think?

Haben:             I think it’s a great program to teach people that learning is part of leadership.

Ryan:               Great answer.  Thank you.  So, Haben, what is next for you?  What do you see?  Do you set goals for yourself?  Or what do you see over the next year, two years, five years?   What are do hope happens?

Haben:             My goal right now is to change our culture so that disability is seen as an asset that adds value to communities.  Too often, the story of disability is that of problem and inconvenience and burden, so I want to change how our culture sees the disability story and provide new, positive stories of disability.  I’m doing that through multiple ways.  One way is through trainings and workshops for various organizations, which is what I spend my time doing: traveling and giving presentations.  Also through reading, also meeting with the leaders, and through media, like The Learning Leader Show.

Ryan:               Nice.  I noticed from looking at your Twitter account, which is @HabenGirma, you were denied for a ride in an Uber three times in one night, and this created some attention.  What happened when you tried to get an Uber and, three separate times, you were denied?  And what was the result from that?

Haben:             So, an ongoing problem with Uber and other taxi companies, car service companies, whatever you want to call them, is that many of the drivers are not trained about the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The ADA requires that all of these companies provide services to people with disabilities.  So, sometimes I get an Uber driver who says, “No dogs,” and I say, “Actually, you’re required by law to admit customers with service dogs.”  And sometimes they give in, sometimes they refuse.  And one night last month, three different drivers refused me ride.  It was cold, it was New York City, and after the third driver, I told my friend, “Maybe we should just try Yellow Cab.”  And she flagged down a Yellow Cab and I got in, it took us, and I went home.  I have had problems with Yellow Cabs as well.  So, it’s an ongoing problem that many of these drivers need to be trained.  The ADA requires equal access.  You need to admit customers with service dogs.  And I use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to share these stories to try to teach people the law that people with disabilities are permitted equal access.

Ryan:               It’s incredible.  It’s great to see.  At least not what they did, but how you responded.  Haben, just one more question, and that is where would you send the people listening or reading this transcript to learn more about you online?

Haben:             To learn more about my work, visit my website, HabenGirma.com.  It’s H-A-B-E-N-G-I-R-M-A dot com.

Ryan:               Great.  Well, thank you so much for being here.  It was great to talk to you and I’d love to continue our communication as we both progress on our journeys.

Haben:             Thanks for having me on the show, Ryan.  And thanks for encouraging everyone to continue learning, growing, and being leaders.

Ryan:               All right.  Thanks so much again, Haben.

Haben:             You’re very welcome.  Thank you, Ryan.

Outtro:             This episode of The Learning Leader Show is over, but we have plenty more to keep you locked in until next time.  Head           over to LearningLeaderShow.com for more information and to request your favorite entrepreneur, CEO, world-class athlete, or anyone else that inspires you.  You can also talk to Ryan directly by reaching out to him on Twitter @RyanHawk12.  Thanks again, and we’ll see you next time on The Learning Leader Show.

Ryan:               Pumped for our new sponsor this year.  It’s FreshBooks.  The working world has changed.  With the growth of the internet, there’s never been more opportunities for the self-employed.  To meet this end, FreshBooks is excited to announce the launch of an all-new version of their Cloud accounting software.  It’s been redesigned from the ground up and custom built for exactly the way you work.  Get ready for the simplest way to be more productive, organized, and most importantly, get paid quickly.  The all-new FreshBooks is not only easy to use; it’s also packed full of powerful features like create and send professional looking invoices in less than 30 seconds, set up online payments with just a couple of clicks and get paid up to four days faster, and see when your client has seen your invoice and put an end to the guessing games.  FreshBooks is offering a 30-day unrestricted free trial to my listeners.  To claim it, just go to FreshBooks.com/Learning and enter “Learning Leader” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.

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The Top 20 Episodes of 2016

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Episode 184: Scott Harrison – CEO of Charity Water “The Power of Storytelling”

 

Episode 184: Scott Harrison – CEO of Charity Water “The Power of Storytelling”

Scott Harrison is the founder and CEO of charity : water. With virtually no experience outside of throwing parties, Scott founded Charity Water by charging $20 cover for his 31st birthday party. 10 years later, they’ve turned that $20 into $240 million, and brought clean water to 6.4 million people. 

Scott believes in: Radical Transparency, Technology & Innovation For Good, and The Power of Storytelling.

charity: water is a non profit organization that works to bring clean and safe water to people in developing nations. charity: water uses all public donations to directly fund water projects such as building wells and sanitation facilities. Since its founding, charity: water has established 25 local partnerships, funded approximately 17,673 projects in 24 countries and provided roughly 6.4 million people with clean water. charity: water tackles the water crisis by working with local experts and community members to find the best sustainable solution in each place where they work, whether it’s a well, a piped system, a BioSand filter, or a system for harvesting rainwater. And with every water point they fund, their partners coordinate sanitation and hygiene training, and establish a local Water Committee to help keep water flowing for years to come. The organization’s goal is to bring clean water to 100 million people by 2020.

Episode 184: Scott Harrison – CEO of Charity Water “The Power of Storytelling”

Subscribe on iTunes  or Stitcher Radio

The Learning Leader Show

“Human Beings Are Creatures Of Stories.”

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Common themes to sustain excellence:
    • Why it’s vital that you first value excellence before sustaining it — Unfortunately not everyone values it
    • Then you must have integrity and generosity
  • The “ism’s” created at Charity Water
    • Design is vital in everything they do
    • They care deeply about details
    • There must be no typo’s
    • All PowerPoint presentations must be designed (no exceptions). Internal and external presentations are treated with equal importance
  • Always asking the question, “Was that excellent?”
  • What it means to be radically transparent
    • Telling and showing people exactly where their money is being spent (using GoPro’s to help tell this story)
  • Why Scott wanted to reinvent charity… How to build trust
  • Scott’s hiring process — The need for creative people that are likable and smart
    • Note: They had 500 people interview to be their receptionist
  • Using technology to improve donations (use of VR)
  • The power of story-telling
  • In hiring — “It’s either a Hell Yeah! or a No”
  • Favorite interview question — “What are the most important values you live by?”
    • He wants to know that they actually have values and have taken the time to think about what they are
    • Dan Pink – Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose
    • Scott will read their last 500 tweets to see if they are a happy person or if they are cynical and “hate” on others
  • Scott’s advice on giving and why we should do it

“What Are The Most Important Values You Live By?”

Continue Learning:

You may also like these episodes:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 071: Nate Boyer – Green Beret, Texas Football, The NFL

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

Did you enjoy the podcast?

If you enjoyed hearing Scott Harrison on the show, please don’t hesitate to send me a note on Twitter or email me.

Episode edited by the great J Scott Donnell

The Learning Leader Show is supported by FreshBooksFreshBooks is offering a 30 day, unrestricted free trial to my listeners. To claim it, just go to FreshBooks.com/Learning and enter LEARNING LEADER in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section.

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18 Keys To Sustaining Excellence

Over the past two years, I’ve recorded 178 conversations (for my podcast The Learning Leader Show) with some of the greatest leadership minds in the world: CEO’s, Entrepreneurs, Professional Athletes… I look for those who have done two things: 1) Sustained excellence over an extended period of time. 2) Have an understanding WHY they’ve performed at such a high level.

I recently sat down, reviewed transcripts, listened to many episodes, and pulled out the best answers to the one question that I consistently ask: “What are common characteristics of those who have sustained excellence over an extended period of time?” Here are the 18 best answers:

78. Kat Cole, Group President of Focus Brands – I think most about the productive achievers, who not only have traditional accomplishments but have also brought others along with them and made a difference.

Envision a scale: It’s a balance of two buckets ..of characteristics. The first bucket is courage and confidence. Productive achievers have a really well-built muscle around courage and confidence. They take risks and believe in their point of view. On the other side of that scale is another bucket: curiosity and humility. Leaders that have this bucket convey to others that they don’t know everything and, therefore, need the people around them. If you get one of those buckets too heavily weighted and the person gets out of balance, it’s very difficult to have sustained success. If you are too courageous and confident, then you’re a bull in a china shop. And if you’re too curious and humble, then you’re just a student.

127. Adam Grant, Bestselling Author, Wharton’s Top Rated Professor, TED Speaker – The most consistent attribute of wildly successful people is that they are dedicated learners. No matter how much excellence they achieve, they are always raising the bar. The more they accomplish, the more they expect of themselves, and they always have something new that they’re excited to learn. If that’s your goal, you’re always getting better and always gaining new insights. Curiosity is the starting point for all originality. When people come up with ideas that are not only different, but better, they began from looking at something and saying, “Why is it that way? Does it have to be that way? Is there another way to do it?”

107. Simon Sinek, Author and TED Speaker – Most people say vision and charisma, but I don’t think that’s true. One thing that I’ve found consistent among great leaders is courage. It takes tremendous courage to stick to your values when there are pressures from the market or superiors who want an expedient route. It takes tremendous courage to stick to your vision. It may take short-term personal sacrifice.

117. Tim Urban, Co-Founder & Writer of ‘Wait, But Why’, TED Speaker – If you want to boil it down, it comes down to having a voice that makes a splash. It’s about the level of impact one makes. Picture a white canvas. Most people paint in white, which means they’re contributing but they’re not changing the image. It’s white on white. But when someone challenges conventional wisdom, they change the entire image. The normal thing to say in the ’70s was that a personal computer would never be in someone’s home. Steve Jobs comes out with the Macintosh. He’s now painting in blue. Then, he keeps reinventing himself. He created a new way to listen to music, then a new phone, then a tablet. Now he’s painting in red. He kept painting in new colors.

86. Seth Godin, Best Selling Author, Entrepreneur, Hall of Fame Marketer- The only thing I’ve seen that these leaders have in common is that they’ve made a choice. And that choice is to make a difference. It’s easy to not make that choice. And if you do not make that choice, it is easy to believe that leadership belongs to other people, that the fickle finger of fate points to someone else by means of luck or good fortune. But it my experience, it is a choice.

114. Cal Newport, Professor, Best Selling Author – The leader respects how hard everything is that’s worth doing. If I was ever asked to give a commencement address, the title would be “Everything is Harder Than You Think.” Those who recognize that real, impactful work does not simply unfold with a clever combination of life hacks and prepare themselves for that battle, they’re the ones that produce at a really high level as opposed to those that have a quick flash in the pan.

115. Amy Porterfield: Social Media Strategy Consultant – The first word that comes to mind is consistency. I have really studied my mentors to understand how they keep moving forward. What I’ve noticed, in all of them, is that they are consistently creating content and they are consistently showing up. They are out there, doing what they’ve promised, over and over again.

42. Rob DeMartini, CEO of New Balance – My list of common characteristics among successful people has four things: The first, one that I always see, is that they are curious. They want to understand how things are working, how things happen, and if things could have happened differently. If you’re curious, it opens up questions and leads you towards learning that otherwise you wouldn’t have. The other three: energy, optimism, and a high sense of personal awareness. That last one is perhaps most important. Do you have a sense of how you’re being perceived, and do you understand how they are receiving your message?

105. David Burkus, Bestselling Author, Professor, TED Speaker – They have a consistent dissatisfaction. They have to balance the tension between stepping back and saying, “I did that and I am proud,” and looking at their work and seeing where they could have done better. Really, it’s a balance between gratefulness and dissatisfaction that keeps people striving for sustained excellence.

82. Dan Pink, Bestselling Author, TED Speaker – Curiosity. They follow their noses. They become interested in things even when they know a lot of things, in fact especially if they know a lot of stuff. The consequence of knowing a lot is in turn knowing how little you know. Also, and this is not uniform, but in many, many cases there is an element of generosity to these folks. Many of them are willing to help others, they aren’t people who pull up the ladder once they reach the top. And the third thing is that they are extraordinarily hard-working and conscientious. The old-fashioned virtues of persistence and grit and conscientiousness are hallmarks.

74. Tim Kight, CEO of Focus 3 – I have three decades of observation and research on that question, but here are the core things: People who consistently perform at the highest levels are intentional, purposeful and consistently building a skill. These people act and think with more intention, purpose and skill than others.

77. Adam Braun, Entrepreneur, Author, Founder Pencils of Promise – Three things stand out to me. The first is, they are tremendously and intrinsically motivated. They aren’t motivated by the extrinsic things. They may not care about the big house or the nicer car or more money. The successful people are simply motivated to be a better person tomorrow than they are today. Second, they display a tremendous amount of integrity. Integrity is the currency that buys trust. And the third is that they surround themselves with people that don’t play on their level, but play on the level above them. They’re always trying to play on the big kids’ court. They’re the eight-year-old trying to play with the 12-year-olds.

48. Cameron Herold, Best Selling Author, Entrepreneur, “CEO Whisperer” – One is sense of vulnerability. They’ve checked their ego at the door, and they’re not trying to be anybody except who they actually are. They’re authentically themselves. Another one is that they realize they are not the smartest person in the room. They’re trying to surround themselves with brilliant people. And they have a sense of curiosity. They aren’t there to talk about themselves. They’re intrigued with other people and with learning in the world.

122. Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Former President of Equinox, Gatorade, Nike – One of the biggest single things is curiosity, without a doubt, and that goes hand in hand with humility. They don’t ever feel like they’ve reached the top of the mountain. They don’t ever feel like they have all the answers. They’re always looking for more. And, even though many of them are often the best in the world at what they do, it’s that extraordinary humility that makes them feel like there’s more to do.

98. Alison Levine, Mountaineer, Bestselling Author, Key Note Speaker – A common characteristic is resilience more than anything else. You have to have that strong sense of resilience. You don’t have to be the best or strongest climber to get to the top of the mountain. You just have to be absolutely resilient about putting one foot in front of the other.

68. Joey Coleman, Inspirational Speaker, Entrepreneur – If I had to sum it up, I’d say it’s three things. First, they have a growth and learning mindset. They are constantly searching for knowledge, whether it be within their industry or beyond. They’re constantly consuming information and experiences. Secondly, these leaders have a common thread of gratitude. They understand how lucky and blessed they are. They appreciate the blessing and gifts in their life. Finally, the very best leaders are gentle with themselves. All too often, we can let our drive and desire to succeed become an all-consuming force inside of us, and it’s paired with a belief that we need to push even harder. The very best leaders can pause and occasionally stop that drive.

108. Steven Kotler, Author and Journalist – First and foremost, these people are ferocious about forward progress. There’s nothing mild about how they attack life. It’s full steam ahead. Everybody I’ve ever met who is super successful, either consciously or unconsciously, has created a life that maximizes the amount of time they can spend in the optimal state of mind for performance.

43. Philip McKernan, Inspirational Speaker – The eyes. It’s in the eyes. You can look into someone’s eyes and know if they’re aligned with the work they do and if they have peace of mind. If someone has peace of mind, it emanates out of their soul and, therefore, out of their eyes. I’ve used the eyes as a tool to call “bullsh%t,” for lack of a better term. If they’re not aligned, then their work is not expression of their soul, and thus not who they are but rather what they do.

Ryan Hawk is the host of The Learning Leader Show. A podcast born out of an innate curiosity to learn from the greatest leadership minds in the world. Forbes called it “The most dynamic leadership podcast out there.” Inc Magazine said it’s “One of the 5 podcasts to help you lead smarter.”

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