Season 1
19 Minutes

E44 | Special Edition | What If The Stories You Tell Yourself Are All Wrong?

Hear 3 richly accomplished humans tell me how they shifted into completely unexpected new lives.

Tom Asacker is an iconic business thinker and bestselling author of 6 books, including "Sandbox Wisdom" and "The Business of Belief."

Adriana Machado, former CEO of GE Brazil and one of the most celebrated women business leaders, has founded The Briyah Institute where she champions an impact economy.

Sam Yau, former corporate CEO and Head of the Board at the pioneering Esalen Institute in California, has emerged as a soul-stirring poet.

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Achim Nowak  00:03

Hey, this is Achim Nowak, executive coach and host of the my fourth act podcast. If life is a five act play, how will you spend your for that? I have conversations with exceptional humans who have created bold and unexpected for tax, listen, and to be inspired. And please rate us and subscribe on whatever platform you are listening on. Let’s get started. Welcome to the my fourth act podcast. As I reflect on Season One of this podcast, I reflect on 43 conversations I’ve had with inspiring human beings who have created bold and surprising fourth acts. I have spoken with award winning authors, motivational speakers, lawyers, doctors, nurses. But more importantly, I’ve spoken with people who at some point, changed their lives or allowed their lives to change into something that was different, and perhaps bigger and larger than they had envisioned for themselves. In other words, they stepped into another act. And I want to share with you three highlights from those conversations that stand out for me. These three individuals were and are supremely successful in what they have chosen to do. But at one point, their lives completely changed. And they shifted into another gear. And I want to take you back to my very first podcast episode. My guest was Tom a Sacher. Tom is a brilliant writer, he has six books out, best selling books, sandbox wisdom was his first, the business of belief is probably what he’s best known for IAM, Keats is his most recent book. Tom is an iconic business thinker. He’s a brand strategist. He likes to rattle the cage. And he’s an adviser to businesses and humans, about the choices they make. And Thomas has written a lot about how we create a story, how we get attached to our stories, and how perhaps the stories we have created for ourselves are all wrong and do not suit us anymore. So we’re going to listen to a moment in my conversation with Tom. When he had just been fired by GE, where he had to use his own language, a meltdown. And out of nowhere, seemingly nowhere it came the urge to write his first book. Well, that’s less.

Tom Asacker  03:33

So when I had that vision collision, which is key, and I left I said, That’s it, I’m done. I’m gone, whatever. And I remember I’m sitting at my breakfast table. Now I’m unemployed. It’s probably around mid morning, closer to noon. And I’m staring down into a cup of coffee right now all raggedy bathrobe and I just I’m holding my head, my eyes shut. And I look up and I see my youngest daughter and she, she’s eating a bowl of cereal. And she’s so lit up by the spoon in her hand. And I’m looking I’m watching her and I said Andrea, what do you do with a spoon? And she’s turning it around and her eyebrows are popping up. But she’s she said, Daddy, when I look at the spoon this way. I’m right side up. But if I turn it around, I’m upside down. How come? Okay, immediately. I could feel it. I could feel it getting ready to flow out of my mouth. I was getting ready to say to her concave and convex. And I said wait a minute. Those are just terms that there’s no there’s no information in that. Those are words. Yeah. And I realized I don’t know why I cannot explain to this young person why and all of a sudden a connection Hit me. And I realized that people in business used all kinds of big words, my 10 years in GE, they didn’t even understand what those words meant. They didn’t understand the real intricacies of why people do what they do, how they were in business, what making money, why customers were staying loyal, none of it. So I said, Okay, I’m gonna write a book, I don’t even know how this came out. In my head, I said, I’m gonna write a book about a CEO who loses his way in business and in his life, they loses his passion, his creativity. And by chance, he has an experience with this little girl and through her eyes, rediscovers how to open his mind, open his eyes, be curious, be creative, be compassionate. I said, I’m going to write this I’m going to call it sandbox wisdom. I had I had all this stuff going on. In my head, I said, I’m gonna have on the cover, a pair of sneakers and a business shoes next to each other. And then I went out and I started to do this thing. And there was no self publishing, there was no Amazon, there was nothing. And and

Achim Nowak  06:09

because big, just just to make clear, because you’re an old guy who’s been around before, I just want to make this clear for our listeners.

Tom Asacker  06:16

I think I’m in the sixth or seventh. So So I said, Well, somebody must be able to print books. Yeah. So I went out, I found somebody that could print books. I did not take the advice of any of these publishers. One publisher said it’s too long. And it was like 100 something pages. Another one said it’s too short. I was getting information from everybody. I said The heck with this. I went and printed 1000s of copies. My wife was saying, Look, this is our money that we have left here. And you’re spending it and we’ve got books stacking up now. What are you doing? I said, I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know. I don’t care. I’m doing it. It doesn’t matter. And then I started reading things that CEOs would write and I went, Oh, he seems to get it. And I pack these things in envelopes, wrote a little card and sent them out to all these CEOs. Yeah, I mean, the next thing you know, I’m getting, I’m getting phone calls, all from all over the place, come out and talk to our people about this book. And I wasn’t a speaker, I’d never spoken in my life. That’s how it happened. It was just, I poured my energy into the world. It connected with people that I had no idea that it would, and it changed the trajectory of my life.

Achim Nowak  07:34

Adriana Machado is one of the most celebrated women business leaders in all of Latin America. And ironically building on the conversation we just had with Tommy Sacher. Adriana was the CEO of GE, Brazil. She stepped into this role when she was in her early 40s. She was the first female leader in such a role in Brazil. And at the Ana was groomed for a larger international role within within GE, she and her husband, as they were waiting for this role moved to Miami to facilitate the schooling of her children. And then that role with GE never materialized. And other Yunus life changed. And the clip I’m going to share with us right now, at the ANA talks about meeting Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize winner from Bangladesh, who really pioneered the use of microcredit, and micro finance, and how this encounter with another human and his ideas changed. What she has ended up doing with her life. Let’s listen.

Adriana Machado  09:02

My husband and I, we decided that we could do it, we could not wait for GE to decide where I would go working for GE but take a time of absence. Go to the us start our family life there so that then when GE told me where to go, my kids would be ready to go wherever I wanted to go. So I took that leap of faith, not knowing, not dreaming that I would leave GE at all. So that gave me confidence because I knew I had GE was just a time of absence of absence. So everything was going to continue to be the way I always thought it was going to be. But little did I know that she was already going through a lot of turmoil back then. And now we know what happened and everything that is surfaced and more visible now but back then we didn’t know and I just trusted with all my heart that everything was going to be fine. So when it was happening, I confess I did not know what was hitting But one thing was sure I was comfortable. In my end, I started to learn that Miami had a life that I didn’t know before, because I always heard of the touristy part of Miami, you know, all the different things that man is are known for. But there are some good people just like you, yes, I can marry so many people, so many good friends I made. And it is it is rather comfortable for me to be here. It’s closer to home, I can fly in a direct flight back to my parents, and I can be there fast, and the weather and the culture, everything is so convenient. And my family is very happy here. So when that came, so the GE situation was happening. Miami was our new home, we decided to stay. And then I meet Muhammad Yunus. What a privilege is that he comes to Miami to start the Grameen Bank, we have an opportunity, thanks to Google, brought him there for this luncheon introduced me to him, and I have a chance to have a conversation with him. And this man tells me that he’s changing the situation in Bangladesh, by changing the mindset of the young people by saying to them, you are not job seekers, you are job creators. Because there is always there is all only unemployment, because there is employment. If everybody is looking for a job, and there aren’t enough jobs in the market, there will be people frustrated. But if you tell this young people how powerful they are, and that they can create their own jobs, they can be intrapreneurs. They can’t, they don’t have to wait for the perfect job to land on the perfect job and prepare for the perfect job. They can change the world. Wow. I heard him say that. And I said, yes, you’re absolutely right. I’m going to use that in my talks. Because I was always invited because I’m used to that. And I will use that in my talks. Then I go wait a minute. How can you use that in your thoughts? If you’re looking for a job yourself? You have to live this saying before you say it. And that’s when I realized, oh my god, I have to do it, I have to make it happen. I’m not going to wait for GE or any other company. I’m going to create my own UI. So then it’s it all started to sink in. I started to, you know, panic a little bit. But that’s when I realized that I could do it and I needed to do it. So I looked for the best practices. I went to MIT to see how you create a startup in I have been in this journey since like a Adriana Machado Sam Yao had a career as a corporate CEO. He was born in China came to this to United States as a young man, and had cereal opportunities to be the CEO of companies that needed to transform and change. And Sam was the CEO who facilitated those changes. His last company was a billion dollar enterprise. And Sam was always interested in understanding or investigating the deeper questions in life. Our purpose, what matters, why we do what we do. So he became the head of the board of the Esalen Institute in California, which is the pioneering center for personal growth and personal development in an incredibly beautiful setting right on the coast. And he was thriving in that role in in the investigation of the deeper questions of life until his son Ryan committed suicide and everything. In Sam’s life changed after Ryan’s death. I’ve had a brother who committed suicide as well. So Sam’s story resonates with me in a in a very personal way. What surprised even Sam is that he came out of his experience becoming a poet, which is something he had never envisioned for himself. So I want to share with you the story of how writing and writing poetry showed up in Sam’s life and how he honored the call. Here was semi out

Sam Yau  14:57

this is a major change as Ryan was in the other room. And I recognize that now he transitioned back to be a spirit. But I’m also a spirit in the human clothes. So I asked myself the question, what if I live as a spirit as a soul, you know, they’re interchangeable in the context here. And in the human clothes, spirit, the human clothes, human who has to sew, now, this is a inversion of the priority. And basically, His death is like a hurricane. Okay. And, and it, it left, you know, a huge swath of debris. And what I meant is that, you know, I lose interest in a lot of things. And they say, okay, so I asked myself, so if I miss so, so tell me, what should I do now. And I get messages from difference. sources that the way I’m going to heal, not just for myself or other people, in words, there was a total surprise to me. And I say, Okay, I don’t understand what it is about. Let me see unfolding within three months, people came into my life, it’s like dropping, you know, in parachute, you know, I got a couple people who inspired me to write poetry. And then I got a teacher that came into my life, the best coach I had, and I have someone who read one poem of mine, and wanted to do original art to illustrate or to, to be inspired. And, and, and then, and then I have a group of friends who just, you know, keep feeding back to me. So I was just so I was, you know, going along with, with what I was told, and then the evidence is so strong, that writing poetry, as well, what I was going to do is so clear.

Achim Nowak  17:23

Many of us have stories about what our lives should look like. And as Sam Yao so beautifully reminds us. In the end, we are all souls. And the souls have yearnings, they have a purpose. And sometimes the stories we have created, do not match our souls desires. I invite you to find your ways of listening to what your soul desires for you. When we do sometimes amazing fourth acts show up in our lives. If you’re inspired by the stories, or heard from Tom aseco, or at the AMA Machado and Sam Yao, you can listen to the entire conversations at my fourth There are also 40 Other great conversations you can listen to. They’re all equally inspiring. So I invite you to take a moment. Choose a podcast that resonates with you. Listen, and be inspired. Until next time, be well. Bye for now. Like what you heard, please go to my fourth And subscribe to receive my updates on upcoming episodes. Please also subscribe to us on the platform of your choice. Rate us give us a review and let us all create some magical fourth acts together. Ciao


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