Embracing Leadership’s Dark Side with Adrian Koehler


In this episode, we delve into the intricate relationship between language, perception, and survival instincts in personal and professional contexts. Our insightful guest, Adrian Koehler, shares his profound understanding and experiences in helping individuals navigate chaos with clarity and mindfulness. He emphasizes the power of conscious decision-making and the brain’s inherent wiring for survival and energy conservation.

Adrian Koehler

Adrian Koehler is a leadership engagement expert and senior partner at the executive coaching firm, Take New Ground. He coaches executives and entrepreneurs in the art and science of leadership for themselves, their teams, and clients to create new, unprecedented results and experience fulfillment in their work.

He is the Founder and Senior Partner at Take New Ground, a leadership coaching, training and consulting firm based in Los Angeles. TNG partners with select executives and organizations to get the results they want by creating the culture they need. He is the co-host of an engaging podcast The Naked Leadership Podcast with TNG Sr Partner Dan Tocchini.

Drawing on his background in philanthropy, ministry, activism, and medicine, Adrian thrives in the extreme environments and finds comfort in difficult conversations—in fact, his passion for human performance has taken him around the globe, serving people in times of crisis, transformation, and stalemates. Over the last decade, Adrian has trained and developed leaders at NIKE, Virgin Hyperloop One, Jeni’s Ice Cream, Herschel Supply Co., Oprah Winfrey Network, Gavin DeBecker & Associates, Siegel & Gale, UCLA and elsewhere.

Prior to his work as an executive coach, Adrian was the founding executive director of The Cornerstone Project, a grant-giving foundation that supports positive life transformation and spiritual reconciliation for the incarcerated and those with criminal histories. Before moving to Los Angeles in 2005, Adrian worked as a pediatric intensive care specialist at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He has also served as a pastor and community organizer at Mosaic LA and founded serveLA, Mosaic’s community dedicated to holistic development for the marginalized and vulnerable in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing while playing football at Millikin University. Adrian resides in the heart of Hollywood, Los Angeles with his two children, Scout and Charli.


🔑 Key Themes & Takeaways:

  • Power of Perception: Understand how our brain’s survival mode influences our perceptions and decisions, and learn how to guide it towards more constructive outcomes. 🧠

  • Conscious Intervention: Discover the impact of conscious language and intervention in shifting from a state of fight or flight to one of logical thinking and planning. 🗣️

  • Navigating Chaos: Gain insights into Adrian’s approach to helping individuals and corporate leaders navigate chaos and crisis, fostering a new perspective and actionable solutions. 🌀

  • Integration and Authenticity: Explore the importance of integrating various aspects of oneself to lead a more authentic and fulfilling life, beyond the facade of survival needs. ✨

  • Embracing Growth and Challenges: Uncover the balance between challenging oneself and providing comfort, and how this balance can lead to growth and improved leadership. ⚖️

  • Phenomenology and Self-Discovery: Delve into the concepts of phenomenology, shadow work, and the importance of confronting and befriending one’s darker aspects for personal growth. 🔍

  • Courageous Living: Learn about the concept of living a courageous life by facing past traumas and embracing true self-discovery and personal growth. 🦁

  • Cultural and Leadership Transformation: Discover how Adrian and his firm ‘Take New Ground’ contribute to systemic changes in workplace culture and leadership for better work environments and team well-being. 🌱

We talk about:

  • 2:36 His diverse experience and background

  • 7:52 How our brains fire as if we are in life and death situations, and how corporate settings help us

  • 9:40 What he has learned about leadership

  • 11:13 How to get leaders to confront hidden aspects of themselves

  • 21:25 Big transformations he’s seen within his work

  • 26:50 Hugging the cactus

  • 35:46 The importance of having different approaches or views and still working together

  • 40:42 Rapid fire questions

🌈 Closing Thoughts:

By understanding and applying the principles discussed in this episode, individuals and leaders alike can foster environments of clarity, authenticity, and effective communication. We invite you to reflect on the themes of perception, authenticity, and emotional resilience in your life and leadership. Share your thoughts, experiences, or questions, and join us in transforming challenges into opportunities for growth and development.

#ConsciousDecisionMaking #LeadershipGrowth #AuthenticLiving #EmotionalResilience #TransformativeLeadership

Show More Show Less

Carolyn: My guest today is Adrian Koehler. Adrian is a leadership engagement expert and senior partner at the executive coaching firm, Take New Ground in Los Angeles, California. Currently he coaches executives and entrepreneurs in the art and science of leadership. And we are going to dig into the art side. Um, and I’m, I’m curious to hear how he frames his art, how he approaches this as an art.

And you’re going to hear about. The diverse background that he has coming into this from philanthropy, ministry, activism and medicine. And it has really shaped a viewpoint, uh, in leadership that is, is really having impact on his clients. So we’re going to talk about that and unpack that. We’re going to hear about, um, uh, programs that he does.

And I’m going to ask him about this cool term, hugging the cactus. I hope you’ll join us.

Well, hello, Evolve listeners and viewers, welcome to another episode of Evolve, a new era of leadership. And I’m really excited to get into this conversation with our guest today, Adrienne Kaler. Welcome to the show.

Adrian: Oh, I’m so happy to be here, Carolyn. Thanks for having me.

Carolyn: Well, you know, we met, um, we met several weeks ago via, well, we had a, um, sort of an intro call together and We got into some really deep topics really fast. So I’ve been looking forward to this because I,

Adrian: the trend is the trend with people like us? Like, like, Hey, let’s just, can we cut through all the, where do you live?

Carolyn: exactly. Yeah, exactly. And you know, when people can go there really quickly, I mean, it was, it was really, it was really cool.

Um, and so, um, I thought it’d be great to have you on the show and, and heads up to, to those of you listening, we’re going to dig into some topics and, and really, um, Invite you all to consider

Adrian: Hmm.

Carolyn: elements of yourself that perhaps you haven’t considered examining. Maybe you haven’t considered, um, the impact that it has on how you lead, but, uh, that’s where we’re going to go.

So, Adrian, I want to start off, um. Um, you know, I, I shared in the bio, you have a pretty rich background and you’ve seen a lot of different sides of human resilience and vulnerability. And I’m curious how that diverse experience has shaped your understanding of leadership.

Adrian: Yeah, well, just a bit. I’ll do some bullet points on my background just to catch listeners up. So I, uh, you know, grew up in a small town, Southern Illinois, parents were both school teachers, didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, went on to college, played sports in college, football player was like a premed guy, decided not to go the doctor route and did not have the stomach for that much school.

And honestly, not that analytical. Like I, I like data. I just don’t get off on data and I couldn’t like go do research for a long time. That’s not interesting. That’s not as interesting to me as human beings. Um, so I like being closer to the front lines. And, uh, so anyway, serendipitously out of a roommate in college who was a nursing major, never ever considered that, but when I was not going to do.

You know, doctor, I’m like, Oh, this is kind of doctor light. That’s fun. And his dad ran the ER in Gary, Indiana. So pretty intense, pretty crazy, cool dude. I’d never met any male nurses before. And, uh, so anyway, I got a nursing degree, moved to Chicago. Um, cause I was dating a girl, you know, the story, dating a girl in Chicago and followed my heart broke up two weeks after I got there.


Carolyn: Oh no.

Adrian: Hi, Angela. Love you. She’s married now. She’s happy. Um, the, uh, but I worked at a children’s hospital in Chicago. One of the best. We’re top three ranked in the country at the time. And I came in as a young buck, you know, right out of school, zero experience, um, decent students, uh, but very, very curious and very much.

I’ll go, I’ll do it. What are we doing? Uh, you know, very much. I’m an all in type. Um, and was on this, uh, resource team, which meant I floated onto all the different floors in the hospital. So I became a, like, a utility player, which was extra challenging and extra invigorating for me because I had to, like, just, I was just dangerous enough to know enough to do everything.

And then I had to go learn it. And then. I got to, uh, you know, find mentors in that space that were all really brilliant and some that were really helpful and hopefully you find two in one. So anyway, spent that time to the question, spent that time being with kids that were suffering and kids are almost always very innocent and whatever’s happening, uh, different than if you’re like treating an adult that smoked cigarettes for 80 years and now they have lung cancer and welcome to what you planned, my friend, but with, with.

You know, but with kids, you know, they’re always innocent and they just want to play. And also the parents obviously are very involved. And so, and they’re not sick, at least not sick physically. They’re sick spiritually or emotionally or like, you know, all over the place. So getting to the opportunity to get to work in that environment, very intense environment.

I was a pediatric intensive care. So kids are on the brink. There’s a lot of pressure to make sure everything is done perfectly. And you get ahead of issues and like that, but then also, if you want to be, you know, as effective as I wanted to be, can I also create an environment in which great things happen?

And that’s like the relationships happen. And when the doctors come in, great things happen. When the parents are there talking, great things happen. And we’re all moving forward. That became quite the, it’s quite the art of helping people befriend chaos. Um, and suffering cause there’s no, there’s no escaping it and you can escape it by being angry or being crazy or like being, you know, uh, usually the women were really controlling.

Um, And to their, I mean, that’s not a judgment. It’s like, you know, listen, if my kids sick, we’re going to get really clear right now about what’s happening and who’s in charge and why it’s taking 25 minutes. It

Carolyn: Yeah. So they’re kind of taking ownership and like getting right in there with it.

Adrian: Well, yeah. And that’s the best they, you know, when they’re looking at the worst possible scenario for their life, like losing your child,

Carolyn: Yeah.

Adrian: what’s harder than that?

There’s nothing harder than that. I would say, uh, even losing a spouse is easier than losing a child. So, um, you know, when they’re looking at that, they just, their brains. On the go. What do I do? Oh, I run this, you know, so moms did that. Usually guys got quiet and got angry. So anyway, those are the dynamics that would typically happen.

I got to see that there’s power in language. There’s power in language, meaning that they, the brain is going to generate whatever perception it wants to generate. You don’t really get a vote on that until you decide to tell it what to do, i. e. the mind, but the brain’s going to do its thing. And the brain is wired for survival and the, and you know, fight or flight.

It’s going to be in that state, the hyper amygdala state, like you’re not going to be logical. You’re not going to be planning. You’re going to be in fight or flight mode. Um, and. Now that happens until somebody comes in and intervenes and invites people to look at, look at what’s happening in a specific way, which that would be a theme throughout my life is helping people in the midst of chaos, take a, take a look.

So you’re seeing it this way and it’s generating this experience for you. And then out of that, all these thoughts and all these decisions and then all these actions and then all these results. Can we look at this a new way? You know, so not in a Pollyanna

Carolyn: do that, right. And be able to do that when there’s so much on the line, like life or death and in, in that situation you’re talking about the hospital. And so I just want to pause for a minute and relate that into. You know, what most corporate jobs are like, right? It can feel like life and death, um, emotionally and mentally, because we’re having to make decisions and collaborate and do all of these things at breakneck speed now with new tools and, and, and it’s.

Our brain is receiving signals, our nervous system is receiving signals that this is life or death. Is that fair to say?

Adrian: Oh, for sure. I mean, that’s the, that’s the, the brain’s number one agenda is to help us survive. Number one, we don’t get a vote on that. That’s gravity. Number two is save energy so we can survive later if we need to. That’s what the brain’s doing. Nobody gets to vote on that. That’s gravity for the, for the nervous system. It’s good to know that that’s, what’s happening. Otherwise we start to think this is how I am. This is who I am. And I can’t, if I can’t make that distinction between what my brain’s up to and what I’m up to, uh, then we won’t have much power and definitely not much versatility. And you just see options instead of seeing possibilities.

So that’s what I do for the listeners. That’s what I do. If I jump a couple steps in my career path, that’s what I do now. So I coach founders of companies, all very brilliant, very ambitious. Uh, it’s on them, you know, some of them very, very successful. Some of them on the verge of success. Some of them, they come to me and, you know, Rome is burning.

What do I do? Um, they’re in different places, but they’re all is, I mean, the, the hue might be different, but it’s all chaos, you know, and it’s crisis. Even this, even the crisis of success, I mean, if things are really working, you’re still in crisis, uh, because now you got to keep up. And now there’s, you know, people are renegotiating.

Some people are leaving. Some people are taking advantage of the situation. There’s hyper, you know, hyper political situation, whatever it is. It’s all chaos. So, um, I didn’t answer your question well, though, but what have I learned? So,

Carolyn: no, you did. You, well, you, but I mean, Hey, tell me, tell me what else you’ve learned about leadership. Yeah.

Adrian: Yeah, well, because I did the nursing thing and then I moved out to Los Angeles and I worked at a church for that’s about 3000 people and I would mobilize people to go serve in the city and take people overseas, especially when natural disasters would happen like Katrina or Haiti or, you know, when. When Pakistan was underwater, I took a doctor and we went and did, you know, clinic.

So taking people on these immersive experiences that will mark their life, hopefully in a really great way, almost always in a phenomenal, Oh my gosh, that was, you know, changed my life to get to serve these people who you’ll never know their names. They’ll never know your name, but your life was transformed forever.

Inviting people into philanthropic chaos. Did that for a good while. After that, I ran a foundation and we worked in the prison system, worked with murderers. We ran leadership trainings in prison with murderers and we ran these trainings and we train these murderers, which were all lifers. Uh, some of them, most of them with the possibility of parole, um, to go then be change agents, change agents in the prison because there’s, you know, they’ve been there for a long time.

They’ll maybe be there for a long time. They have the most influence, um, cause they know how to play the game in prison, which is a very dicey game. And there’s, you know, two, three, 5, 000, 20 year olds that are lost. Lost looking for mentors. And

Carolyn: in this and stuck in a system too,

Adrian: right on,

Carolyn: not serving them. Yeah.

Adrian: Oh no, Oh no. Those are criminal factories.

Prisons are. And so, uh, you know, our program, you know, recidivism is what you calculate in that world. Like what’s the chance of someone coming back to prison right now? It’s 87 percent that 87 guys, if they go out, they’ll come back. Um, if they go through our program, that number goes from 87 down to 12. So, and we’ve, we’ve, uh, followed people over the last 20 years that we’ve been doing this program. So, um, what have I seen about leadership? And, and this is, this is true in prison. It’s true in the boardroom. It’s true by the water cooler. It’s true everywhere. There’s one main.

Carolyn: true in the hospital.

Adrian: It’s true in the hospital is one main distinction that we worked with in prison that we work with, uh, always at least behind the scenes, if not right on the nose and any kind of offside I’m doing with the senior leadership team.

And it’s this continuum, um, people’s worldview. And if they, uh, the, the continuum is between victims stance.

Carolyn: Yep.

Adrian: And responsible. So victim stance, right? Like it’s not me. It’s something else. It’s someone else. It’s society. It’s the color of my skin. It’s the fact that I didn’t have a dad. It’s where I grew up, but just all that, those are just facts, but they’ve chosen to use the facts to say, those facts are what put me where I am today.

So they’re not responsible. Those things are responsible.

Carolyn: And I just want to acknowledge there’s a lot of, of, um, messaging that helps drive those facts and, and to, um, is that like, again, is that fair to say? Like, it’s, it’s hard to break out. It’s going to be harder for some people to break out of this thinking than others, just given

Adrian: Probably. I mean, I maybe. Maybe even that, even that I would just say, even that viewpoint, that it’s harder for some than others. I’m not saying it’s not harder for some than others, but even that as the reason that it’s harder is also kind of a victim y stance because it is a lot. I mean, trust me when we get in the conversation, but it is true by the way that, because human beings are naturally bent towards being a victim.

Freud actually got us there, right? So it’s worth his view. Which is the view of everything, almost every therapeutic intervener is this etiological view. Like I am the effect that whatever the, that is, is the cause. That’s why when you sit in a therapist, I left therapy and go to therapy. That, that view is dangerous.

Uh, it’s not usually that dangerous. It is just, it’ll keep you in the exact same spot. So

Carolyn: Well, I guess, how would you acknowledge then, Adrian, like, I know we’re taking a little bit of a side, a side, a side route here, but, um, how do we acknowledge that, you know, black people have a higher rate of being jailed than white people? Like, how do we, how do we, um, I guess

Adrian: Yeah. Well,

Carolyn: right?

Like they’re in a system that treats them differently than a white person.

Adrian: uh, I would say. That black criminals have a higher, you know, rate of incarceration than white criminals. Let’s just say that it’s not like black people and white people because not all black people are criminals. That’s the assumption in there. It’s like black people. No, no, no. People that perpetrate. Now I think it’s true.

And there’s are some, obviously some history of historical injustices of somebody that didn’t do anything in the color of their skin and the racist cop. That’s that can happen. And it does happen. That’s true.

Carolyn: Gotcha.

Adrian: but. You know, but so the question is it for at least for always for me and for anybody, um, that’s in the human transformation space is what’s all there.

What’s possible for, for one to be thinking about that would turn me into not doing criminal behavior. Now I’m saying that’s not the color of their skin that got them to say yes. That’s a whole series. That’s a whole series of decisions. And my point earlier was the more someone sees the world from a victim stance, the more they will perpetrate.

We know that. And if someone bakes into taking personal responsibility, I won’t go into it fully, but we had this exercise where it’s victim responsible and you have people tell the story of their life and what got them where they are. These, this is in prison and you know, we, and then we, they tell that story.

And then we have them tell the story from a victim posture. Like they got to really lay it on. They get it. They got, they’re in groups, right? Uh, pairs. So they got to convince the other person they’re a victim. Very easy for any of us, right? Any of us can pick any story in our life, any hardship in our life.

And if I want to be in a victim stance, it’s so easy. It’s so easy because our brains are kind of wired, wired this way. And it’s in, it’s a safer and easier to be able to play the victim. Um, And then they do that and then we have them tell the exact same stories from a responsible posture, which usually they have to go back in time, you know, so it’s no longer, did they show up at the gang party now?

When did I join the gang and what else could I have done? You know, when did I choose, choose to date that gal instead of not, I knew it was trouble. When did I choose to make, you know, start dealing drugs and the, yes, I needed the money or there other, were there other things I could have done to make money?

Or this was just the fastest route. Now, if you go back in time, you’ll see there’s all these crossroads that people set themselves up to have no other option. A lot of my guys that shot somebody, they showed up at, they showed up at a house and somebody started shooting at them and they started shooting back, whatever.

You know, I’d shoot back if I was getting shot at, um, but the point being is that their, what, what, what blew their minds was if they told it first off, if you decide to get responsible, it’s like betraying yourself because you’ve usually sold yourself on a story and sold other people on a story. And so you have to like betray your old self, which is takes, it’s quite a heroic act to like, Oh, you know what?

I was telling that big story. Yes. In some ways that’s true, but it’s also BS. It’s also not true. It’s, I just have been telling myself that true because I get a lot of hidden payoffs for that. But if I take responsibility, my experience in life is drastically different. I actually, I don’t, I’m not full of resentment if I’m responsible.

I’m not full of despair because I’m responsible and I, I got myself into here. I can get myself out. It’s not that. It’s not the, you know, the momentum of social, of social ills. If I’m poor and I live in Inglewood in California, I don’t have to go, you know, sell drugs. I can actually get out. I can go get a real job, you know, but you have, but that takes a lot of guts, but they feel great.

My point is they feel great about it and then they want to be responsible and then that changes the whole system. You know, if someone like right now, right now, those programs are still happening in Soledad state prison, 12 years later, every week they meet, have accountability groups around who they are, what their vision is, what they’re committed to.

They clean up any kind of wrong they’ve done immediately in the moment and hold each other to high account.

Carolyn: Right. And, and so let’s, let’s transfer that into the, into the boardroom or let’s just into the corporate space. We’re selling ourselves stories.

Adrian: sure.

Carolyn: Right. That’s, that’s the theme is it through all of these is we get stuck in selling ourselves these stories. And I know when you and I spoke, I was telling you about my book, trauma informed leadership, and you mentioned that people can use trauma as a convenient hiding place.

And so how can, and they’re not doing it intentionally, or maybe they are when they’re stuck in that victim mentality. Um, Yeah. Yeah. But my question is more focused on how do you get leaders in your work to confront these hidden aspects and integrate these hidden aspects of themselves? Hmm.

Adrian: I always start with the future. That’s where I start. Um, I, I start with what they want. And when you invite anybody to talk about what they want, almost always surprising to me. I’ve been doing this a long time now. I’ve been doing this type of coaching for almost 15 years. Um, it’s, it’s almost not surprising to me now, but I ask really robust, you know, smart, Adventurous, ambitious leaders about what they want for the future.

They, they, if, when I asked just two or three questions, they don’t know, like they’re not clear on what the future is. And these are all people that have slide decks everywhere about the future, but what do they want? What do you want to see happen? They there’s not, there’s not a big vivid picture there.

Now, why is that? Now, usually it’s because they don’t believe either in themselves, most of these folks really believe in themselves, but they don’t believe in their team or they don’t believe that the market’s going to sustain or something like that. And so when, but when you talk, so when you talk about the future, all their conversations about the present show up. And when you. Right. So talk about all of their resistance, I would say to that future being possible. Cause even if they say, Oh, we’re going to make, you know, 10 million next year. Great. Well, why not 20?

Carolyn: Hmm.

Adrian: I’ll ask why not? Okay. Great 10. What, but why not 20? Let’s talk about that for a second. And that’ll bring up all of their resistance, all the things that aren’t quite working well, all the spaces in which they’re stuck or the team is stuck or, you know, big, big changes they would have to make in order to make that happen.

And, and that’s now we’ve got a ball game. Right. So now we’ve got all of the real, the real conversation around current reality that needs to be explored. So sometimes if I try to go to your perspective and where you’re coming from. Almost always, there’s something that has happened in their past that what the distinction I would make is X happened, what I make up about what I made up about what happened actually becomes the memory.

We know that’s the way the memory works, right? So it’s not like. You know, we don’t, we, we remember things in experiences, but we are the, we are the painters, the, the, the thing that happened is the canvas and we paint meaning on it of whose fault it was, how hard it was, the impact of it, all that stuff. We, we paint a really great picture.

It could be glorious. It could be horrible. Um, rarely do we entertain the idea that I can change the picture. I can change the painting we, you know, for the, for the thing I said earlier, it’s like hard to like, say, you know what, I was blaming her for that divorce, but really I can see five or six reasons why it was me.

Carolyn: Hmm.

Adrian: And we rarely even just stop at that. Then we got to say, but her, you know, whatever we’re tend to, we tend to try to self justify just out of, I don’t know what people would call the ego or just it’s safer. It’s tells a better story. It, you know, it sells other people. Um, but then we end up. Living this false life, I would say it could be more specific about it, but we end up living this facade.

We live a persona and then we don’t actually integrate ourselves. We don’t fully own all the things that happen there. So we end up putting up this front so that it looks good. I mean, the survival needs are looking good, feeling good, being right, being in control so that we look good to ourselves or other people.

And we sell them on that. And then the, the, the thing with even all the. Really hard charging, brilliant leaders. They’re massively insecure. And I think every human being is pretty insecure. I am

Carolyn: Yep. I’d agree

Adrian: plenty of times, right? We’re all insecure, but they’ve ended up building a whole life around their persona. And most of the time, what it’ll take, I’ve got a dear friend going through a very hard time right now. And. There’s no way out, but to actually look at all the conversations he’s on, he’s been historically unwilling to look at, which are things from his past, the, the tragedy of losing his mother, the, the deadbeat, horrible person that his father was, all that would go in the trauma category.

Um, and how he’s related to it as he’s tried to outrun it, right? Like most people

Carolyn: Hey, I, yeah, I’ve been there. I’ve been there as well. And so Adrian, do you find in the leadership world, I mean, you’ve taken these life experiences, you’ve creating, uh, you’re creating some compelling work and is it fair to say your work is, is more with men than it is with women?

Adrian: Yeah. Not fully with men. I don’t like only work with men, but

Carolyn: Right. There’s a masculine energy though, that I’m sensing that it’s, um, and, and Hey, we need, I want to be clear. Like we need, we need all types of work. This isn’t just for like men or women to fix. This is, um, we all need to work on this. And this is why I was really interested, um, in our discussion because it’s more confronting the, what you’re talking about.

It’s more confronting and it’s not for everybody. Um, I think that’s,

Adrian: not sure it’s not for everybody. think I know what you mean. Like some people would like it and that’s true.

Carolyn: Well, I think. I’ll tell you it’s, um, there’s different ways to get there. And depending on people’s life stories, I think they need to have the agency to select how they’re going to get there. And if we’re confronted when we’re not ready to be confronted, like just our body hasn’t, um, or if we haven’t even accessed things about our past, that confronting is not gonna, is not gonna work.


Adrian: Maybe. I don’t want to keep, you’re going to keep going. I just, can we put that on the maybe category and let me just clarify a little bit.

Carolyn: sure.

Adrian: I’m giving you, I’m giving you bullet points here. Right. And I’m just kind of getting right, right to the point. If you saw me in a room, um, you know, we do this four day leadership.

Training for anybody, anybody can come. It’s public and it’s a deep conversation and it’s very, there’s tears and people are talking, looking at talking through the worst aspects of their lives, the worst decisions they’ve made, their biggest regrets, their biggest pain points. We do some family of origin stuff and it gets really deep.

Um, and everybody. I think the soul is always dying for growth. Um, you know, the brain wants what the brain wants, but the soul always wants some bit of progress, some bit of hope, you know, I think we’re wired that way. So, um, in, in like, they don’t want to go look at it, but I’m just at least saying like in those situations, it’s not like I’m standing up on a soapbox and say, get your shit together.

And that’s not it. That’s we actually for us. Uh, and take new ground. We come alongside of folks and let’s just take a look at this with love and compassion, you know, and cause it’s hard and it’s not,

Carolyn: And it’s collective I’m, I’m hearing here too, that it’s a collective journey, which is again, is another reminder like how our brains are wired is to be in connection with each other. And so they’re trying to figure out all this shit on our own,

Adrian: Yeah. So I would, I just wouldn’t co sign on that. It’s, it’s not for everybody. I know what you mean by that. I’m just saying that, uh, yeah, a lot of people aren’t going to take a leap in that context, but at least the first one to take a leap, but you’ll, if you came to my training, you’d see. Uh, somebody takes a leap and all of a sudden that has a cascading effect where somebody comes out of just, just being in the background, maybe just sitting in the, you know, we put people in an arc, they’re just sitting there and they take a leap and start to share from really awesome, vulnerable place that triggers so much openness with other people and people that they, they’ll say things they haven’t told anybody in 30 years, the thing they’re most ashamed of.

They’ll say it now. Why is that? Well, it’s because they’ve seen, and we were not up there with a white, you know, on a white board teaching people shit. That’s not my style. We’re sharing from my own life and my own mistakes and my own, you know, my own fraudulence and my, you know, I’ll, we’re very, as trainers, we’re with them and, and we’re not better than anybody, you know, whatever we were in it too.

So anyway, you would be, I would just watch it. I would, I know what you mean and whatever, but, um, everybody is dying for responsibility. Now it’s really scary. And it goes against, it goes in the face of culture, right? Uh, cause it’s so, um, it’s so normal for us to blame someone else for something and someone else can be the causal agent of something that happened to me, the that’s true.

Like I could be, I could be hurt. I could be betrayed. I could be fill in the blank. It could be, it wasn’t me. Now, if it does take guts to then take responsibility. Now you’re saying this is a masculine thing. I don’t think it is. Um, To take responsibility for how I’ve used that over the years that takes guts to do that.

Most of the kind of natural therapeutic mindset won’t go there. Because people don’t like it. Um, but I say there’s freedom in that. Like freedom comes from taking personal ownership and personal responsibility. That is, I think maybe naturally along the gender, like that’s, it is more of a masculine thing to do.

Maybe challenge is more masculine and comfort is more feminine, but I try to do both simultaneously. And a lot of the female leaders I’ve worked with have been good.

Carolyn: it’s, it’s an energy to me. It’s not, it’s not if you’re masculine or feminine, it’s, it’s just this notion of masculine energy is more controlling and goal oriented and feminine energy is a little bit more flow and intuitive. We need both. That’s all I’m saying.

Adrian: And I’ll say even just to that, maybe, I mean, I, I I’m very, very intuitive. That’s part of what makes me good at my job, like listening to people deeply, finding patterns, wondering specifically. Um, I’m really good at that and I happen to be a dude. So I, I know what you’re saying. You’re talking in generalities.

Carolyn: that’s my point. Like you, you have, and you know, you’re, you’re tapping into this, like the yin to your yang, but yeah. So I would say like, when you’re tapping into that, that’s, that’s exactly an example. I wish we actually had different names for it rather than feminine and masculine energy. Cause I think we can get caught up in, in that, um, sort of gendered piece.

Um, So it, this is like, this is, this is intense work that you are calling in leaders to go on a journey with you about, can you share, um, maybe some examples with the listeners about some big transformations that, that you’ve seen in leadership and the impact that it has had on their team when they are willing to, you know, pull back the curtain and acknowledge some things about their past that they haven’t.

Adrian: Yeah. Um, uh, one of my favorite people I’ve coached, I’ve been working with him for probably four years now. He ran a very successful public. I mean, everybody knows would know his brand. If I shared it, he created something that Elon Musk said was impossible. He made it happen. And there was lots of, you know, when I came in.

Things were not going so well. And I came in and started working with him. He’s the founder of the company and was the, the, uh, CTO at the time. And ended up coming through our work together, owning and becoming the CEO. There were certain conversations he was unwilling to have with his investors and his board, and that ruined the company. Um, Now, while just like lots of people, if they’re at that profile and spending that many hours a day, week, month doing that, his, his family life was horrible.

Carolyn: So, like, you say business, business conversations he was refusing to have with his board and his investors.

Adrian: yeah, he was, he was not having some specific business conversations. There was some to, to, to keep out the details, but there was just issues going on. Trajectory was off. It was, you

Carolyn: Right. Right. I just wanted to make sure that, that, that people weren’t thinking that you thought he need to come and bear his whole soul about his life. Like, and you, you weren’t saying that. So that’s all I was trying to

Adrian: No,

Carolyn: were business conversations that he was avoiding.

Adrian: Oh, a hundred percent, which, you know, we get clear about that and we can’t make anybody do anything, but all the things we said, Hey man, if you don’t do this, listen, let’s look at the future. If you keep up this cowardice, what’s going to happen. What’s going to happen. Let’s entertain that future.

Now, do you want that? No, I don’t want that good. Well, then this is the conversation to have and blah, blah, blah, blah. And I work with him to do it. I’m not that prescriptive, but I’m just telling it quickly for the sake of the podcast. Um, And he didn’t do it. And it all fell apart. Now, meaning, meanwhile, uh, his private life was falling apart. And so, we got really involved. And I got really involved in his private life. And people on my team started coaching his family. And his wife’s amazing. And there’s lots of mischief. Anytime there’s mischief on both sides of every Every breakdown, both people are responsible. So we got that stuff to the surface.

And now he’s launched a brand new company and he’s doing this really grand endeavor of living this integrated life. Like, can I not sell out and not prostitute myself for the sake of a corporate vision? Can I actually be the husband that I’m committed to being? Now that takes a lot of work, uh, to actually get also get her to the table.

Cause if she’s victim me about it, that’s not going to work either. That’s just hyper code dependent on the other side and the father that he wants to be. And even as he’s starting this company, he’s moving very slowly. To do something he’s never done before, which is to, uh, we never call it work life balance.

We talk about integration more, but to start this company and it’s on its way. And if they kill it, they’re in the defense space, AI defense space, it’ll be a billion dollar company. If they do that, can I do that? And still be the man, be the father that I’m committed to being at home.

Carolyn: Hmm.

Adrian: to, he has to buddy up to kind of to your question, all of the ways in which he’ll, he will sell out and blame anything else, blame the necessity of entrepreneurship or blame his wife and how she is, or blame the chaos of being a father or.

Blah, blah, blah, the board. And, you know, as he’s coming and getting more investors now, all that spooky history is right there next to him. And he has to see it. We talk about it like every week, like where are there ghosts in the room that you need to talk to because you don’t just avoid them because they’re there and they’re not there on accident.

Your brain is bringing them back to try to protect you. Now you can live a protected life or you can live a courageous life that’s kind of binary. I mean, you can shift of course, but you’re not going to like do both. But I, I of course go after living a courageous life. So when I, when, when I am scared of the past traumas coming back, can I see what’s happening, can I see the conversations that have just being that conversation, you know, cause not like there’s a difference between, uh, I am scared and, oh.

I know this conversation.

Carolyn: Hmm.

Adrian: I’m not, I I’m actually more scared that I’ll betray again, that I’ll give myself up for the sake of it. So he’s a heroic guy. He and he and his wife just came through that revenue process. And now he’s like the best evangelist for it because they came together in that room and dealt with all the.

Conversations that are under the table. And most of our conversations about trauma, the real ones means we’ll, we’ll, we’ll offer the icing on the cake to people in public, but like the real ones, which is usually the complexity of it. Like, that’s where like the, what happened to me and what did I do to myself?

Like, when did I self betray? I got betrayed, but when did I start self betraying all that really. Juicy, scary responsibility that’s usually under the table, not explored with other people for fear of not looking good in my own eyes or in their eyes or what would happen if I took responsibility for me being betrayed.

Most people won’t get close to that, but in that room,

Carolyn: Or even understand it. Like, I didn’t even understand what that meant for a long time. Like, what do you mean betrayed? Like, I’m fine. Move on. Um, so where does this term, this, this, this concept, um, hugging the cactus, is that like, what did you just describe? Like was that was hugging the cactus.

Adrian: Well, it’s right here. I mean, we, we, you know, we’re, we are, uh, philosophically we’re grounded in what’s called phenomenology, which is the study of becoming and, uh, one of the best phenomenologists of all time was, was, uh, Carl young and Carl was, uh, famous for his quote, what he called shadow work.

Um, Which, you know, is the invitation that we’re, we’re going to live where we are, there’s going to be aspects of ourselves that we are scared to death that are actually true. And the resistance of those conversations and those behaviors is actually what makes them more true. And, and we, we are imposters to ourselves because we’re not one person.

We’re several people inside one body. At least I know that for myself, like, there’s lots of, there’s lots of versions of Adrian and some of them I like, some of them I don’t like at all. And, and I, I, I, and so the hugging the cactus thing is first off, am I willing to look at my own dark side? You know, because we worked in prison system, we say all the time, like we’re all criminals and some of us are just more restable than others.

So we’ve all got darkness in us. We’ve all got inauthenticity in us, even who was it? Who was it? Alan Watts that, uh, that said, you know, We can never be authentic. The best we can be is authentic about our inauthenticity.

Carolyn: Hmm.

Adrian: we live inauthentic lives. We’re just conflicted, right? Like we’ll say one thing and we won’t really mean it, or we’ll do this thing and we don’t really mean it, or we’ll give up on ourselves, or will people please, and we’re lying to ourselves and then we’ll end up blaming them for it later or mom or history or blah, blah, blah.

But I, you know, I’m just, I’ve chosen to be unaware of those things and I live this conflicted life. Like, so we are inauthentic. Be just be, I know I am all the time. I’m not saying what I mean, or I’m not going all the way. I’m going 90 percent and pat myself on the back for it, but I’m not really willing to be truthful, which would take a lot more trust and, and courage, um, in other people, like trusting human beings is the greatest endeavor for any human.

It’s like, who can, can, am I willing to be vulnerable with another human being? So as we look at that and we find ways in which where we lie. Ways in which we hold back ways in which we withhold ways in which we judge instead of be open, all those things, those are our dark sides. And I could go into two hours of this, of course, but that’s the cactus.

That’s the thing. Like, how am I lying to myself, my own self deception? And am I willing to not judge that first off? Because the worst thing to do is to judge it. Because if I judge it, I won’t get close to it. And usually there’s, there’s gold in that conversation. Like what is it? Uh, Oh, I never remember his name, uh, foster.

Who’s the guy that did the hero’s journey. Anyway, the treasure you most seek.

Carolyn: Joseph, Joseph Campbell.

Adrian: Thank you. Campbell said the treasure you most seek is in the cave. You do not, you dare not enter

Carolyn: want to go in. Yeah.

Adrian: on. So that’s hugging the cactus. Can I look at these things that I’m scared to death are true and just befriend them? Can I get close to them?

Like when I, like, like my. I’m a very influential guy. I don’t mean like on Instagram. I know, I mean, I know how to influence people. I’ve been doing this a long time and I’m good at it. Now I can also manipulate people. I can take myself and take other people to a wrong place for my own selfish means. I’ve got stories upon stories about how I’ve done that.

Some ignorantly, some not ignorantly. Now I know that about myself, that I’ve got that type of skillset or power. And I don’t say that, I say that with humility here, just saying, I, I need to befriend that like the, if the evil intentions, when I’m in something just for myself and not in it for the other person, I need to not run from that conversation, but behold it and sit with it and even hug that, like, how am I a liar

Carolyn: Yeah. Well, and,

Adrian: hugging the

Carolyn: how, how do you, maybe if you were just sort of to, um, generally look at what, is there something that happens in somebody’s life that allows them to hug the cactus or to not be afraid of the cactus? Like, is there an event that somebody goes through and it’s like, holy shit, like, okay, I gotta do something about this.

Or can we influence people to hug the cactus even when they don’t want to?

Adrian: Okay. Few questions there. Um, well, proverbially, you know, rock bottom usually helps people. You know, whenever, when the

Carolyn: hard has happened.

Adrian: consequences have come, you know, rent’s due on all the bad decision and consequences come and it’s kind of that, oh crap moment and you can’t run from it and there’s no escaping it.

And you can’t keep justifying it or can’t outrun it with money or time or, you know, move to another city or start new friends or whatever. And sometimes it’s just all in your face. I was in a conversation like that this morning with a friend of mine and, and I just said, just stay right here, man, you’re doing great.

It’s horrible. It’s bad. And it’s always been this bad, by the way. It’s just right in your face right now. No, don’t run from this. You get close to it. Get close to it. And just, you need to believe that you aren’t, like, if you, if you choose to die to yourself, you won’t actually die. If you don’t choose to die to yourself, then you’ll die faster.

Physically. It’s kind of this, uh, you know, there’s every great religion. It’s got that, that, that theme running through it, like suffer really well. And what we’re talking about is suffering. So, uh, can, so the second question I think was, can we expedite that process for people? Yeah. That’s why, that’s when I, that’s why, that’s why I talk about the future because when I ask people about.

What’s happening and what they’re doing and, and whose fault it is. People want to talk about fault all the time instead of contribution, but I want them to talk about what’s generating this crappy situation you’re in now. And if you don’t do anything new, how bad is it going to be? And we get really.

Clear with hyper

Carolyn: Yep.

Adrian: of the future. That’s coming. If I make no courageous decision today, what is coming? And that sometimes will shake people out of their despair. You know, they’ll shake them out of, out of their, you know, apathy and just, you know, their victim stance of like, oh, it just is what it is now.

I just got to wait. Like, I don’t know if it’s that way. I mean, I know it’s not that way. I mean, anybody can step up and make a courageous choice. They’re, they’re priced to be paid for that. Um, so that’s the best. Version I know about how to do it because we are a mammalian and we’re always very intentional beings always, and people are smart and, and people, uh, while we want to protect ourselves, uh, we really don’t want to die.

Carolyn: Yeah. Yeah, no, it’s, it’s really Sorry, go ahead.

Adrian: I was just going to say, but there needs to be modeling in that as well, like if they, if they can hear a story, if I can share something from my own life, which I do freely in my work with people, um, just to say, Hey, this, I’ve been there, man, listen, let me tell you this story about what that was happening and then.

All of a sudden, one day I said, F it, you know what? I don’t care what happens. I’m going to live with integrity and I’m going to, I’m going to tell the truth to myself first and then tell the truth to other people. And it was a roll of the dice because you don’t know. And I have plenty of stories where I was honest after I’d blown something and people ran for the Hills and that’s human.

It’s. Not great, but it’s human. We all want somebody to befriend us in our worst moments. So when we, when we evacuate someone, when they’re actually honest about their criminality, that’s hypocritical of us, but we’re all that way, um, at times. But if you, if they have, if they, if they, we don’t tell these stories.

In public, very often about how someone blew it. And then they took deep responsibility. That’s why in the press, when somebody, especially in the political sphere, whatever, uh, you know, like we don’t forgive anybody, like forgiveness is a forgotten art in our culture. We all were dying for it. We’re dying for it.

It takes courage to forgive somebody because you have to pay attention. Now you were not paying attention before. Now you have to pay attention to be in relationship with them. Cause you know what they’re capable of, but the more people are taking responsibility for their own criminality, the more they aren’t offended by someone else’s.

I know that for me, like when someone’s lying to me, I get it

Carolyn: I think to forgive, we have to have already hugged the cactus. I think people who can forgive at that deep level have hugged the cactus and, um, yeah. Um, Adrian, can you tell us a little bit more? This is fascinating. I really, I’m, I’m, I’m really grateful that you’ve come on and shared this approach, your insight.

I really do believe that this work and collective healing that we’re trying to bring into the world, there are different ways to do it. And so I know we didn’t always like see exactly the same on things, but I think fundamentally, I think fundamentally though we have, I think we have agreement and our approaches.

Might be a little different. And like I said, I’m, I’m really happy that you came on to talk about it. Cause it sounds like you are doing some amazing work with people to help them. I love this term. Hug the cactus. Where could people find out more about this work that you’re doing?

Adrian: Yeah. Uh, just to do a second on that. Yeah, we have different approaches, which is cool. I think it’s beautiful. I mean, we need different approaches because to your point earlier, depending on where someone is in their own journey or what’s at stake for them, you know, there are, you know, usually people come to me when it’s on fire and my approach is helpful in that context because it’s about results and it’s about, you know, rigorous thinking and it’s not about comfort.

It’s about. Making you better turn this ship around tomorrow. Like you got to go have that tough conversation today. I don’t, I don’t, I would invite you not to care how you feel about it right now. You’ll, you can feel about it later. Now it’s all about taking appropriate action. So, but anyway, but it’s a bit at different times, you know, to anyway, so deep honor for you and your approach and it’s beautiful.

Um, and it is, it is essential if, uh, everything. I mean, in general, if we all did this where we could respect other people’s opinions and how we got to them, and I see so much virtue, I don’t know a ton because I’m not interviewing you on this podcast about your approach, but I can feel how you stand with people.

And as long as you’re fiercely committed to people and we’ll tell the truth to them, that’s great. I’m in. Yeah. Um, so, you know, so our firm is called take new ground. So we work with these fast moving founders and fast growing companies. Uh, and we do everything from like coaching work and do offsites. And we’ve got a consulting arm and we, you know, have seven companies in our portfolio that we have equity in.

And we come in and do some heavier work and bring in some MBA type thinkers to come, you know, run the nuts and bolts. But most of our work is around culture and it’s around leadership. And, uh, we love, we love that work. Uh, we’ve got a podcast ourself called the naked leadership podcast, where we talk about kind of the underbelly of issues and the thinking behind all the things.

So it’s not like a five steps to blah, blah, blah. Like there’s lots of podcasts. Go listen to those are YouTube that all day long. That’s great. We want to get to the human experience behind it. Uh, the real. The naked side of leadership. If we’re leading well, we will feel vulnerable. If we’re leading well, if we’re not leading well, we’re probably going to feel all certain and tons of momentum all the time.

But you’re going to avoiding things that are going to come back and eat your lunch later. We want to eat or eat that. We want to take those issues on now so that they stay at a two out of 10 and not get to a 10 out of 10 in a breakdown. So that’s the naked leadership podcast. And I was talking earlier about this four day experience.

That’s called the revenant. Process that Revenant mean to come, to come back from, uh, that’s on, wearerevenant. com, uh, or they can find me on Instagram, uh, adrian. k. If you’ve got any questions, I’ll point you that direction. It is not for the faint of heart. People come in because they’re dying for something new in their life, or they’ve got something they’ve been tolerating for a long time or something they can’t escape or something.

Maybe they’re coming back from a really hard season of their life. And this is all about personal leadership. How do you lead yourself? How do you know yourself? And how do you get ahold of the conversations? Usually the ones that are under the table or behind the scenes that are running the show.

Because a lot of life just seems to happen, but I’m saying that that’s not the way it is. That’s just the way it occurs to us that things happen, people happen, but if we can get a hold of the conversational, the, the, uh, reality happens in a conversation. Like it’s all what we call it thinking, but there’s like the, you know, there’s all that.

Now, can I illuminate that in a safe environment with no judgment at all? We have zero judgment. We’re just, Hey, let’s just talk about it. Let’s explore all of it. Like there’s no conversation too dangerous for us or too ugly for us or to, there’s no shame in our room either. We, people feel shame and they act all shameful.

We invite them out of that. Can we just talk about it and, and stop playing the shame game, which is a hiding place, not a feeling. Um, So if people are interested in that, we’ve got one coming up in the, at, in April in Los Angeles, where I’m from. And, uh, it’s great. It’s like 40 people in the room and they’re all ambitious people, all leaders.

For the most part, everybody’s leading, uh, in, in industry or leading their own company. And so it’s people that are leveraged, you know, and they come there, they come in life, like they. Uh, you know, either they, they’re leading a family or they’re late, they’re leading a team or they’re leading a whole business.

They do know that if they make a shift, it’s going to shift everything. That’s the beauty of it. So, and we’re all blind, right? We don’t see, we have blind spots. We there’s things that are invisible to us. You know, you know, we always say you can’t do really do surgery on yourself. So we need other people to be mirrors for us and this process of self discovery.

So people come out of there with new best friends and new lifelong partners and new

Carolyn: yeah. Well, it’s a big collective experience. Yeah. I can

Adrian: Four days, four day, 10 hour days. It’s, it’s amazing.

Carolyn: And so they can find that on your website then.

Adrian: They can, that’s a, I mean, hopefully, hopefully by the time this post, we’re going to actually integrate it into our take new ground website, but it’s actually a separate website right now called wearevenant. com. But if they, if they find me on Instagram, Adrian. k, if you say hi to me, I’ll send you any information you need.

Carolyn: All right. Well, we’ll make sure those links are in the, uh, in the show notes as well. Uh, Adrian, do you have time for 3 more questions that I ask all my guests? All right, so, um, 1 question I have, and this is in the spirit of encouraging self awareness, and you’ve gone a lot of places, uh, to a lot of places with that today.

Um, maybe just, um, a sentence or 2 about. Something you learned about yourself that really helped you take your self awareness to a new level.

Adrian: Oh, wow. Since the sentence or two of something I’ve learned about myself that took my self awareness to a whole new level. Wow. Wow. Wow. Um, I’ll just give you, give an example from this morning. Um, As a default setting of mine, I tend to people, please. I tend to put myself at the bottom of the list. Um, and that works like people love that, right? When you’re around them and you prioritize them, they love that. But then I end up living in lots of anxiety and lots of fear and lots of resentment.

And you know, I’m just learning that more and more and more about how I do that with unconsciously. And I, I think, you know, I grew up in a Christian background, service is a big deal, servant leadership’s a big deal, sacrificing for someone else is a big deal. It’s only really sacrifice though, if it comes from a place of authenticity and I’m actually being real with myself.

So, you know, I, I think the answer to your question probably is, you know, if I, if I ask myself the question, like, hold on, what do I really want in this moment?

Carolyn: Right.

Adrian: And that answer to that doesn’t have to be what happens either, but I ought to get clear about what my interests are, because if I don’t know what they are, I’ll just have a life that that other people shape or the team shapes

Carolyn: dah, dah, dah. You’ll just follow along.

Adrian: And then I’ll end up waking up miserable and I’ve done that in different seasons of my life. Uh, but you, you know, then I can actually fight for the both end. You know, both my needs and that other person’s needs can get met at the same time. It’s not some zero sum game, so that’s a little more than one line.

But anyway, that theme is very, very present for

Carolyn: Yeah. Thank you. Um, I’m curious if there is a, um, uh, a routine or a ritual that you really enjoy and rely on to help you stay calm and centered.

Adrian: Yeah. Uh, it has come and gone. I’m back into doing it, but journaling early in the morning is a big gift to

Carolyn: Mm.

Adrian: Um, you know, I did it as a kid, I did it in college and I didn’t do it for a long time and, and, um, on and off as like 43 now on and off. But I, I even just this last weekend I was with my team and I was, my team was asking me, what do I really love?

And I just, Oh, that’s. Like me sitting down and I’m a nerd. So I’ve got a journal and a fountain pen. I like writing with fountain pens. And I, so I don’t just sit and type stuff up. There’s something romantic about it where it’s exactly what I think the beauty of it for me is I get to see where I am. Like, like, how am I really doing?

That’s a question I haven’t asked myself enough in my life. Cause I’ll just drive. I’ll just go and get stuff done. And sometimes out of obligations, sometimes out of fear, sometimes out of, sometimes out of passion. I don’t like give myself the space to like, how am I really doing? You know, I threw my back out yesterday, woke up with a horrible, sometimes it’ll happen for me and it just hits me.

It’s like, I’ve been under, I live a very fast paced life. It’s very demanding on purpose. Like I do that on purpose and I like it that way. But you know, we were talking before we started recording, as you were asking how my week’s been. I’ve got four really close friends to me that are going through some deep crisis.

And I’m a guy that talks to them, all four every day. And that’s a lot of stress. And I’m happy to do it, but I’m carrying that a little bit. I try not to like make their crisis be my crisis, but I love them and I’m connected and I’m concerned about them. And so point being is like, is like giving myself freedom to like, see how I’m doing and then certain things.

It’s just to be with that, you know, like I’m, the stress isn’t going to go away. Um, because of what I’ve signed up for and I don’t have to, I thought about yesterday. I don’t have to be. You know, I said to myself in the shower, it’s like, I’m under a lot of stress. And I’m like, ah, the preposition is the challenge

Carolyn: Right.

Adrian: that I’m under this stress.

It’s on top of me. What if I got next to my stress that would open up a whole new world. I can look at it. What’s actually going on here. What do I have control over? What, where do I have choice that I’ve not taken choice? And where can I maybe be more honest to be more anyway. So being next to my stress helps me instead of being under my stress and journaling

Carolyn: And writing it. Yeah. Thank you. Um, and then the final question is, um, it’s about music. And so if you could share with us a song or genre of music that helps you feel connected to something bigger than yourself.

Adrian: Wow. Wow. I love music. I, uh, this last, this, um, the last few months, I’ve really gotten into a genre that I didn’t, that I hadn’t before, which is kind of this like singer songwriter country genre.

Carolyn: Hmm. Okay. What would be an example of an artist?

Adrian: sure. A couple of guys come to mind. One of this guy named Zach Brian, who’s taken the world by storm.

I don’t know if people, people don’t know Zach Brian. He’s, you know, he had nine out of the 10 slots on the billboard, his last album. Um, Took nine out of 10 slots that never happens. Um, and he’s just, he’s a poet, you know, he’s like an ex military guy country guy but he’s a poet and he writes from a very deep spot and Like he talks about it’s not like poppy stupid country.

It’s like actually soul

Carolyn: Yeah.

Adrian: know soul meets country and he’s so Zack Briner’s got him Tyler Childress There’s a handful of these songs that just are just really honest

Carolyn: Hmm.

Adrian: about the human experience, not just catchy and poppy that they, you know, so I’ve always been drawn towards like Ray Charles would be one of my favorite artists of all time or Joe Cocker and those guys, that genre is like my genre.

So I used to have a playlist in my, uh, on my iPod. Remember those, um,

Carolyn: I do.

Adrian: that was called gut tunes, gut tunes.

Carolyn: Yeah. Well, it sounds, yeah, like that deep, let’s get in there and get that emotion. Well, Adrian, thank you so much. As we said at the beginning, we went deep on this one, didn’t we?

Adrian: yeah. And just more to come, more to come. Um, but, but thank, thank you for having me on. Thank you for having me on. If there’s anybody that’s listening that wants to just have a exploratory conversation, I’m here for you. And if you just reach out to me and love to make some time,

Carolyn: Awesome. Well, thanks so much, Adrian, again, for coming on the show and, um, hopefully our paths will cross again.

Adrian: awesome. Can’t wait.

Carolyn: Ooh, that was a fun conversation with Adrian. Uh, wow. He’s doing some amazing work. He’s got this incredible background and I’m at the point now with confidence in myself and also with the podcast where I like to have people onto the show who might not be doing the work the exact same way that I’m doing it, but their integrity and their intent.

Is coming from a similar place. And so I hope that’s what you heard in my conversation with Adrian today, the approach that he takes to helping leaders find deeper pieces of themselves. You heard some of the remarkable success that he’s had with it and his approach isn’t going to fit for everybody. My approach is not going to fit for everybody.

The invitation that I’m extending to you on this podcast is. To find an approach and find a way that works for you that helps you get to know yourself. There are pieces of ourselves that we have hidden that we don’t even have access to. And if you are leading people, especially if you are leading large organizations or large teams of people, you will be impacting them.

And if there are pieces of yourself that you don’t know, or you’re not willing to know, you are going to inflict unintentional difficulty. And I’ll even say harm. And so that’s the invitation out of this podcast is to find a group, a person, um, people, an organization that will help support you on your own journey to understand yourself.

Thanks as always for tuning in. And I’d love to hear what you think about this episode. Also, please feel free to share it with friends and colleagues and. I’d love it if you could rate review and subscribe. It really helps out this podcast and to increase our reach. Thanks again for tuning in. We’ll see you on our next episode.


EVOLVE Podcast Episodes

Dr. Lee Cordell
Copy of eanol_podcast Card Titles  - 65
Erica Hornthal

Welcome to the Evolve community

Skip to content