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Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns 0:19
It's beautiful day for the #piratebroadcast. Welcome back. As we move forward in this world of craziness in 2020, we want to make sure that you have an opportunity to reflect on a little bit of #motivation, #inspiration, empathy, compassion in and what we want to talk about today is all about that. Just a few housekeeping notes...I want to make sure that you are aware of the fact that if you're joining us late or you're watching this in the future, you have an opportunity to watch on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Periscope, and LinkedIn live as well. Also, there's a podcast attached to this. So you can always attach and subscribe and get notified from russjohns.com/piratebroadcast. There are over 250 episodes there right now and a ton of amazing content with incredible individuals that are sharing interesting stories. Today is no different because we're talking about #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Today, we have Scott Mason in the room. Scott, thank you so much for being here. It's a pleasure, as always,
Scott Mason 1:45
Thank you. I consider it a privilege to be your guest on this show. It's awesome.
Russ Johns 1:51
Well, you know, we were talking earlier before the show, and we covered a lot of subjects in a very short period of time. So I want to kind of unfold a little bit about this. It sounds as if you are much like I am. You've had an incredible wealthy life in terms of experience. You've had different careers and different subject matters and different perspectives on life. It's opened up a few ideas that you probably didn't have 30 years ago. When you're starting your career and you've kind of evolved to where you are. One of the things that fascinates me is the idea and the opportunity to understand how you got from point A to point B and where are you right now? How do you see life taking place and unfolding for yourself? So take us back a few years and kind of walk us through your journey and kind of give us perspective on what you're doing today.
Scott Mason 2:57
Thank you. Well, first of all, 30 years ago when I was 1, just kidding. Yeah, 30 years ago, I left about three years ago, I left where I grew up, which was Kansas, I was born actually in England, adopted by a working class family of African Americans, who raised me in the rural Midwest. I remember I would go jogging in the wheat fields and hour after hour, I would just jog away and look up at the sky and imagine there's so much more out there. So of course, I had to go all the way and end up in New York City.
Russ Johns 3:36
Adventure adventure, we're not in Kansas anymore.
Scott Mason 3:38
Totally. Unfortunately, I didn't have any ruby slippers, so I could not save on airfare I wish I had, though, let me tell ya. But in any event, I went to law school and began practicing law for the city of New York under first the Giuliani administration. Then the Bloomberg administration. I started out practicing in house various government agencies, but then later ended up in an executive and management capacity there. After that in nonprofit, all along, though, the decisions that I made, particularly at this point in my life, were driven by purely logical analyses along with internalization of what people said I was good at or what would be right for me, not necessarily what I was driven in my heart to do, or I would even argue on my heart. So the government career, I did it for 20 years. I have my pension. So I know I'll never eat dog food when I am very old. Then nonprofit I liked, I was doing good things for the world with an organization that ran domestic violence and homeless shelters. So it was doing indisputably great stuff, but it was also not quite what I was meant to do. I went into the entrepreneurial sector work for a small manufacturing company that grew in scale, which was a blast, but even then, rather than quenching my desire to sort of figure out my own destiny, it actually intensified it and triggered it more and more and more. So really directly and at a metaphysical level, answering your question how I ended up here in career four, it was driven by the desire, once my business partner and I invested in that manufacturing company we realized that we wanted to move separately, we had different visions for the company, nothing hostile, that I needed to figure out to really get to this next act. Why? Why was I here? I remember having an epiphany. I was riding my bike through Central Park at night in the rain, like an idiot and thinking, Scott, you've been given gifts, you've been given skills, and now you've been given experiences, how are you going to use those to get where you want to go? But in that bike ride, Russ, my mindset shifted. It occurred to me, Scott, you've been given these gifts, these experiences, these talents, not to get where you want to go, but to be of service. How can I best be of service?When that shift happened, Russ, I actually began to cry on a bicycle in the middle of the night in the rain in Central Park I could have died, but I couldn't help myself. Because I'm so overwhelmed with emotion, everything changed. That's how I began to move where I am now.
Russ Johns 6:43
Hopefully, everyone has the opportunity to see and experience that kind of a moment in their life where you're always taken inward and you're thinking, what can I achieve for myself? What can I achieve for my family? What can I achieve for my results? What's in it for me? And then you shift that and say, What can I deliver to the world? What's my legacy? What's my intent? What's my purpose, and when you get to the point of figuring that out, it's it's a beautiful day. It's amazing, and I continue to work at it. I'm here every single day, helping people, maybe shining a light on somebody that's like yourself doing some good work, and bringing something positive to the world. I just feel that when people stop and reflect on what value they bring to the table, it opens the doors for them in an entirely new perspective. So from that moment on, what was the perspective you lived with and are living with now and growing into, Scott Mason, the motivational speaker?
Scott Mason 8:03
Thank you so much. First of all, I think that one of the things that I needed to do at that point was figure out, okay, I'm here to be of service, what does that service look like, and to pull back my ego, to claim the fact that I have an ego like we all do,once you claim it, and then own that you haven't admitted it and that is driving you, it gives you the power to pull back, and then to open myself up to what I call Providence. The stream that I'm swimming in, that's driving, in my opinion, where we're designed to go, and how our lives can be optimized in this universe. There's been a long process that I could talk for hours about, and I know, no one but me would be interested, but I will tell you what has led me to conclude, is that why I'm here is to be the agent for connecting people, building relationships between people, and empowering people to connect with their own higher purpose. So they can build a better self, then in turn, build a better world. We were talking before the show about the nature of the world where I don't think anyone listening, irrespective of their political, philosophical or other orientation, would argue that we're living in singularly, challenging and chaotic times. What does that mean? We can't just go out there and effectively bring sense to it all. Take this world to the next level, unless we have our own closet clean. That means being connected with who we are. In my opinion, that's usually connected to finding our providential purpose, which is our service within the universe. It may be unexpected, maybe ways that people might not otherwise see is apparent, but it all has a role.That's how we're going to be able to navigate this understanding that we're connected, that we have the moral imperative for us to not just be connected with ourselves and our purpose, but then to externalize that out as well.
Russ Johns 10:19
I also want to add to that, because you bring up some good points, and I want to kind of unfold it a little bit as we are all connected. We, like you said, regardless of political affiliation, religious association, the lifestyle, employment, jobs, anything along those lines, we are all connected, and we are, in some way, shape or form. If we pull a thread long enough, there will be a connection. It may be a long time before we discover what that happens to be; however, I can almost guarantee there's never been a conversation that I've ever had, where I haven't had an opportunity to find some common ground. That common ground is what bonds us and it allows us to be the resilient people we are and the opportunity to say, wow, I may not know everything. I know a few people that know something else that I don't know and that makes me stronger, that makes me richer in my life because I have associations with other people. Those connections that we have, those bonds that we make, are what molded us into humanity. I think a lot of people right now, when they think about themselves, and they don't think about the bigger picture of the kindness and the connections and the the empathy and the compassion that they have, and to see other people's perspective and listen, not to respond, but listen to actually hear what is being shared. It's like change my opinion, kind of mentality. I think right now, what you're saying is, you have opened up your doors and your heart and your eyes and your opinions to other opportunities and other perspectives. Even though you know you have the higher purpose of being yourself and being involved with creativity and everything that goes along with that.
Scott Mason 12:30
I think that is so powerful. I could not agree with it more. First of all, it can be, as you correctly implied, easy for us to forget that as human beings, we actually do have major things that unite every single one of us. Just off the top of my head, 2 experiences unite every single human being: 1, the experience of being born. 2, If we're grown up, the experience of childhood. If there is no other way for us to find commonality,by the way, if I'm ever talking to someone who I don't know, and I can't find anything to talk about, just ask them about their biography, because we all have those experiences, if absolutely nothing else in common. If we have things that are fundamentally in common, then really, to what extent are the other differences that we might have irreconcilable? Well, there are variances in those differences. For instance, there are those that believe other people don't have fundamental human rights or they should be subject to torture, or extermination or genocide or things like that. Those are pretty substantial disagreements. However, even in situations like that, openness to understanding where someone is coming from, can begin to give you...and questioning them about, not in a needling sort of way, but a curious, honest sort of way, a, can, exactly what you said, teach you a lot. b. begin to throw out what you call that thread that unites us and maybe begin to put together a little comfortable, nice secure knot. When I was in college, I went to an Urban Studies program that my college offered in Chicago, and I stayed on the south side with some kids from other colleges. One of them had a gun in the house. They were extraordinarily homophobic and they made it clear that they had a gun in that house so that I knew that fact. That was frightening. It was one of those things where you might think, we don't have a lot in common, but we had to be there. We had to live together. I'll never forget sitting down with one of them and having exactly that sort of conversation. What is it that you have against me as a gay person? What is it that bothers you so much? He began to answer the questions, really, it was a "him" focused conversation because I didn't understand and I needed to understand. By the end of that conversation, and for many I know a significant amount of time later, simply by me not just talking at him, lecturing him, scolding him about how stupid he was, or ignorant. He told me, Scott, you changed my life, I've learned so much from you, when he didn't understand how much I learned from him. I can't put myself, of my own volition, in the mind of someone who hates me for something that is fundamental to who I am. But if I ask, I begin to really stretch my empathy as far as I can go and understand, Russ, that's when miracle sort of stuff happens.
Russ Johns 15:51
Absolutely, positively. It's those barriers that when we get past them, we absolutely have an opportunity to grow as humanity. It's like we're all breathing the same air. We've all been processed through the miracle of living and being born on this planet and I don't see any other planets around here that have a lot of people. Lots of invitations have been handed out. So being on this planet and being here is number one. Now, obviously, like you mentioned, there are circumstances where having an opinion and the wrong opinion can be dangerously fatal and that's an unfortunate circumstance that is also part of humanity. However, if we take personal responsibility for our own actions, and we start centered in ourselves, and saying, how can I be the best person in my life? And for those around me? How can I provide the best possible outcome and the most value every single day to those around me, life becomes so much different and it's a major impact, it has a ripple effect, across all circumstances, good and bad.
Scott Mason 17:22
It's funny, because I strongly believe that anytime your actions impact another human being, particularly if it's an impact that's involuntary on the part of the person that's being impacted, you are acting as a leader. It is incumbent upon you to then take responsibility as a leader, accordingly. So we are actually leaders far more often in our lives, than we normally would be willing to acknowledge and recognize. The reason why I say all that is because taking accountability for actions is at the absolute core of sustainable leadership. Now, I worked in large organizational cultures that were defined by what some might call radical fingerpointing, or radical belief. I definitely spent the early part of my career learning, unfortunately, all too well, the power that can appear to come through finding ways to deflect blame on other people. But like you said, It limits you so much, you have so microcosmed your ability to grow. That really, the opportunity costs that comes from doing anything other than taking radical accountability for your life, and your actions are to me, unacceptable. Again, if you want to pull closer to your higher purpose, if you really want to experience what we were talking about earlier, a life that is amazing and fulfilling, then you're going to have to take responsibility for that. Because if you're not doing exactly what your purpose is, it is up to you and only you to make that change. No one else can force you to do it.
Russ Johns 19:29
Yeah. It has to come from the inside. Hey, Scott, I want to give a shout out to a few individuals here that are in the pirate community. Angie saying, good morning before getting back to work. Angie, thank you for dropping in. I love the support that you offer and as always, your light in the day, every every day. Gabriel same thing. Hello, everyone. Hi to my fellow pirates. Happy Thursday friends. I admire your ability, Gabriel to show up and be present anywhere you are. Thank you. Thank you so much for the introductions to a number of individuals that I will be having on the show in the future. Mark Halpert says, oh yeah, Scott is the best! A bundle of smart energy for all of us to emulate. It seems like he has some fans. So Mark is awesome. He's a pirate as well. So Oh, yes. He's a bundle of smart energy for us to emulate. That went in there twice but that's that's quite alright. It's worth saying twice. Gabriel says, hi LinkedIn family. Happy Thursday morning fellow pirates. Cathi Spooner says, good morning. For those that are listening in, I wanted to announce these individuals because the podcast is out there. You can listen on the podcast where all fine podcasts are streamed. If you can't watch the show, or you can't catch it live, you can always check out the podcast. Oleg! Yes, take ownership of everything that makes you who you are. Yeah. I love that. Oleg, thank you so much. He's amazing. He has an amazing story as well.
Scott Mason 21:28
Russ Johns 21:31
Made from Scratch Broadcast says, really great conversation fellows. I'm watching on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. That's awesome. Is the streaming ok, Gabriel? Is it streaming? Cathi Spooner says, I love it. Be still first she says. Oleg, good morning, Gabriel says. Cathi Spooner, hello Cathi...how are you today? So the pirate community is like this, Scott, if you haven't noticed.There's a lot of friendships that are being made. A lot of those threads that are being built and, you know, developed. So it's really great to see this happening. Gabriel, good morning, Oleg says. Michael Baker says, good morning. How are you from Florida? Michael is an amazing individual that has been watching the #pirate#broadcast. So Oleg says, how do either or both of you embrace opinions of others that may not be in full agreement with your vision, putting you down instead of helping you up. That's a brilliant question Oleg and I want to come back to that in a moment because...Gabriel says, Oleg, love the Overcoming Odds podcast live. How are things in Austin? I'm in Dallas/Fort Worth area. Then Cathi Spooner says yes, listen and seek to understand and "see" each other. That doesn't mean we have to agree on the solution. It means we can't figure out the solution until we first see the humanity in each other. Yes, it's important for us to really reflect on because that's something that we really need to consider. Michael Baker says, open, honest conversation with true communication and mutual understanding leads to forgiveness to not condemn others. Responsibility and accountability lead to maturity. I couldn't agree with you more. Michael continues, we all set an example for others all the time in what we do, whether we realize it or not. Then Howard Kaufman says, motivational, you are highlighting how important developing true authentic leadership behaviors as the foundation for developing true connections. Gabriel says, Howard Kaufman, absolutely, sir! I want to come back to the question that Oleg brought up? How do we embrace the opinions of others, even if it doesn't fit in our vision of what our life needs to be? I'd like to add to that I admire and I support those differing opinions because I believe that everybody has an opportunity to share their opinion. Even if it's not my opinion, I want you to have the ability and opportunity to share your opinions. So let's expand on this a little bit before we wrap up here today, Scott, and share some thoughts on that.
Scott Mason 24:57
Yeah, I'll actually start with an extreme version of that that happened in my life. Something that, when people hear the story, they might find it hard to believe that I ever really embraced...but I did and it was transformative. So as I mentioned before, I worked for many years for government. And some of the agencies that I work for, as I also mentioned earlier, had cultures that were not the most uplifting. In fact, they were quite the opposite. I will never forget one agency commissioner, who was the head of a government agency that I worked for, wanted to take a particular action that would have been government initiative. She wanted to move forward with it. She was very excited about it. I discussed it with some other of my colleagues who reported directly to her and we loved the idea. But we realized that there were a whole number of fiscal, legal, political and other reasons why this just was not viable. Of course, all of my peers said, Scott, will you be the one to tell her? We think you will tell her very well? Yeah, boy, I don't know why at the time, I considered that a compliment, but I did and I agreed. More the fool me. Anyway, I went there in a meeting with her to talk about this with a bunch of my staff, as well as my peers. She heard me out and I really attempted to approach this in a way that was focusing on objective factors and weren't judgmental about the initiative that she wanted to roll out, because really, her initiative, there's nothing wrong with it. After I said, my piece, she looked at me and she said, Scott, you know, every single time you come and talk to me, I have to say to myself, you sound so stupid, that if I were you, I'd buy a gun, put it in my mouth, and just shoot. She disagreed with my point of view about myself and she was actively putting me down publicly, in front of my own staff, in a way that was pretty much as dramatic as you can do.
Russ Johns 27:19
That's pretty dramatic.
Scott Mason 27:21
Yeah, obviously, I've never forgotten it. I doubt anyone in the room ever forgot it either. Fortunately, I didn't choose to embrace her point of view. Instead, I initially just laughed it off. I will never believe, surprisingly enough, that I'm so stupid that I should commit suicide; however, I can use that sort of statement as an opportunity for growth. How do I respond to someone who wants to put me down? How do I respond to someone whose vision about my capabilities, and by implication, my future, is to say the very least dismissive, if not outright hostile? How do I respond under pressure? What are the gifts that this person gave me. At the end of the day, we may never be able to accept the substance of what someone says about us, about our vision for our future, about an affinity group that we belong to, or any of the other whole host of things that make up our social view, and our life. But as you probably would save yourself, we can be responsible for how we respond. I chose in the moment to depersonalize as a response. But I also chose and would urge other folks to go beyond that and say, what opportunity does this present? As hard and indescribably painful as it may be, again, to set aside ego, preconceived notions about what's right, what's wrong, judgment about the other person on their behavior. What can I pull out of this that's meaningful and that can help me go down that providential path. That's right for me. I learned a lot from her because of that. Will I love her? No, but am I grateful for the fact that this happened? Russ, I would be lying if I were to say anything I want to say.
Russ Johns 29:26
Yeah, and I think that's important for everybody to understand and hear today because, ultimately, what we choose to receive as a message is up to us. We're the ultimate decision maker on what we accept as our reality. We are the ones that have the lock and the key to understanding. Yes, that's an opinion you have and it's an interesting opinion; however, I choose not to accept that opinion. It goes back full circle to when we started this conversation, Scott, take responsibility for your emotions, your reactions, your attitude, your empathy, your compassion and your love and forgiveness. Because ultimately, it's up to you to decide how you want to live and it's up to you to decide how you want to live for others.
Scott Mason 30:27
When you accept that, when you own it, your life is going to be beyond what you could have ever imagined. And that's true power.
Russ Johns 30:43
Yeah and on that note, Scott, thank you so much for being here. I loved this conversation, I know that we could carry it on for several more hours. Also, the pirate community here is open, understanding and willing to make those connections, make those conversations happen. Start the opportunity out there and make sure that you are reaching out connecting with Scott. Scott, where's the best place for people to connect with you besides LinkedIn?
Scott Mason 31:22
www.speakerscott.com. Speaker Scott, one word.com. There's a contact form in there. I love hearing from folks. So use that contact form, reach out to me and we'll be friends before you know.
Russ Johns 31:38
Fantastic and connect with him on LinkedIn, too. Tell him Russ sent you and tell him that you're a pirate and you want to a connection. So introductions, connections and all of the things that come along with it are here. Thank you everyone for being here today. If you missed out on the opportunity to watch this live, it's always available at www.russjohns.com/piratebroadcast, and all the podcasting episodes and you know, wherever...YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. So don't be a stranger because , #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree and you #enjoytheday. Take care, Scott.
Scott Mason 32:24
Thank you for joining the #PirateBroadcast. If you found this content valuable, please like, comment and share it across your social media channels. I would love the opportunity to help others grow in their business. The #PirateSyndicate is a platform where you show up, we produce the show. It's that easy. If you want to be seen, be heard and be talked about, join the #PirateSyndicate today.
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