The Future of Work: Psychedelics, Co-Elevation, and Radical Adaptability

Episode 157

Keith Ferrazzi

Keith Ferrazzi is a bestselling author, speaker, entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, and an enthusiastic team transformation coach committed to helping teams harness Radical Adaptability and Co-Elevation® to positively transform organizations in an unpredictable work world. Keith’s mission for the past 20 years has been to serve extraordinary teams as they achieve great missions while building deep friendships along the way. In this episode of the Third Wave podcast, Keith talks with Paul F. Austin about the intersection of plant medicine, business, and effective leadership.

Podcast Highlights

  • Keith’s experience with plant medicines.
  • Building meaningful community.
  • The two different awakenings with psychedelics.
  • Leading Without Authority and Keith’s newest book.
  • Defining “co-elevation”.
  • Creating “radical adaptability”.
  • Psychedelics for Fortune 500 companies and executive teams.
  • How plant medicines help develop soft skills for leadership.

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Podcast Transcript

0:00:00.3 Keith Ferrazzi: I’m going to Europe for a couple of critical conferences where I’ll be representing, in a sense, the vision that large organizations will be leveraging psychedelics in the pursuit of not just mental health in the workplace, but productivity, which I know is a bit of a stretch for a number of individuals in the traditional world to believe, but I absolutely believe within five years, it will be more common than it is in a microcosm of, say, for instance, the ecosystem of start-up organizations and unicorns in the Bay Area.


0:00:40.2 Paul Austin: Welcome to The Third Wave Podcast. I’m your host, Paul Austin, here to bring you cutting edge interviews with leading scientists, entrepreneurs and medical professionals who are exploring how we can integrate psychedelics in an intentional and responsible way for both healing and transformation. It is my honor and privilege to bring you these episodes as you get deeper and deeper into why these medicines are so critical to the future of humanity. So let’s go, and let’s see what we can explore and learn together in this incredibly important time.

0:01:19.0 PA: Hey listeners, I’m excited today to have Keith Ferrazzi on the podcast. We recorded this during Third Wave’s Virtual Summit that was hosted on May 20th and 21st, so this is a bit of a shorter podcast, but it is very dense, and I interview Keith in sort of a Q and A style, which is perfect for this. And what we go really deep into is this crossover or intersection between the future of work and intentional psychedelic use. Now, Keith Ferrazzi is a best selling author, speaker, entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, and an enthusiastic team transformation coach, committed to helping teams harness radical adaptability and co-elevation to positively transform organizations in an unpredictable work world. Keith’s mission for the past 20 years has been to serve extraordinary teams as they achieve great missions while building deep friendships along the way.

0:02:16.6 PA: Keith and I first met on a 1Heart Journeys Ayahuasca Retreat at the end of 2018, early 2019, he’s been a good friend ever since then, and it’s really been an honor to be in his presence and learn from him about what he leverages and utilizes to transform executive teams. Just a few highlights of what we cover, today we’re gonna talk about Keith’s experiences with plant medicines, what it takes to build meaningful community, the two different awakenings with psychedelics, we’ll define co-elevation, we’ll talk about what it takes to create radical adaptability, and then we’ll also go into psychedelics for Fortune 50 companies and executive teams. And finally, we’ll discuss how plant medicines help develop the necessary soft skills for leadership. I found this conversation incredibly inspiring and contextual for everything that we talk about here at Third Wave. And before we get into the episode today,first a word from our sponsors.

0:03:22.9 PA: Hey listeners. Today’s podcast is brought to you by the Apollo wearable. I first started wearing the Apollo in the midst of the COVID quarantine over two years ago. It helped my body to regulate itself, to calm down, to stay more focused, and to meditate in the morning, and I use it to really regulate my nervous system in a time of incredible stress, and I’ve continued to use it on a day-to-day basis, it is indispensable in my daily routine. Here’s the thing, the Apollo is a wearable that improves your body’s resilience to stress by helping you to sleep better, stay calm and stay more focused. Developed by neuroscientists and physicians, the Apollo wearable delivers gentle, soothing vibrations that condition your nervous system to recover and rebalance after stress. I tell folks that it’s like a micro dose on your wrist that helps you to feel more present and connected, especially when in the midst of a psychedelic experience, it’s a phenomenal complement to any psychedelic experience. In fact, Apollo is currently running an IRB-approved clinical trial in conjunction with MAPS to understand the long-term efficacy of the Apollo wearable with PTSD patients who have undergone MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

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0:05:09.3 PA: Keith Ferrazzi, I just wanna welcome you to the Virtual Summit, Psychedelics and the new coaching paradigm, it’s an honor to have you here. And Keith, where I wanna start is just as a brief intro of who you are, as an opener for the video for the summit.

0:05:25.8 KF: Alright, Paul, thank you very much and I appreciate being here today. I’m Keith Ferrazzi, I am an executive coach of teams. As distinct from where a lot of individuals have built a beautiful practice around coaching specific individuals, what I’ve been studying is the inter-dependency of a group of individuals and how they get their greatest performance. I created a word for it, I call it co-elevation. It’s a group that significantly collaborates to get better outcomes, a group committed to a shared mission, but a group that’s committed to each other’s success as well, lifting each other up, and that doesn’t always mean positivity, it could also mean positive critique, it could also mean sharpening the ideas on wrestling healthy ways with effective conflict within an organization. And we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to help accelerate the success and turn around many, many organizations that we all know very well, and that’s been our practice for over 20 years.

0:06:38.3 PA: Beautiful. And so then the next part that I wanna open up is just what was your introduction into the world of coaching, why have you committed so much of your time to mastering this craft?

0:06:49.0 KF: Actually, before we go there, I think I probably missed the opportunity to weave in the plant medicine component.

0:06:54.0 PA: Let’s do that.

0:06:54.5 KF: Yeah… Let me just think how I wanna go there. On a personal basis, I’ve always been a seeker. I think that probably is born from a great deal of childhood trauma and insecurity, and the good news is, even though I hadn’t been awoken, I recognized enough that I needed to doggedly move in the direction of the pursuit. And I remember in the earliest days of my life pursuing coaching, in a sense, from an Anglican priest, not the priest of my family, but an Anglican priest that I felt psychologically safe sharing with. I remember going to therapy at Yale University when nobody did, only those who would hit a serious wall would consider such an activity. But of course, throughout my years, anything from Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, insight seminars, Warner Erhard, all of these individuals, not only became pursuits of mine, but friends. And then when I had a significant break up with my last partner, I awakened to the idea that I needed something deeper… And by the way, I had found some pretty deep solutions in plant medicine…

0:08:32.0 KF: I’m sorry, in meditation, before I found plant medicine, Vipassana 10-day sits of meditation, 10 days of silence, which is an extraordinary opportunity if anybody hasn’t done a Vipassana sit. But I found my way into plant medicine first with psilocybin and then with ayahuasca. And that became game-changing for me. Not that any of the other pursuits subsided, but this provided a wormhole into a place in myself that I saw and experienced real healing and real growth and real opportunity. I have been committed for quite some time to the power of this medicine in pursuit of general mental well-being, certainly in terms of mental health, but I mean general mental well-being. And I sat on a panel not long ago where I am absolutely committed, in fact, I’m going to Europe for a couple of critical conferences, Davos and the DLD conference, where I’ll be representing, in a sense, the vision that large organizations will be leveraging psychedelics, whether that be microdosing or journeying, in the pursuit of not just mental health in the workplace, but productivity, which I know is a bit of a stretch for a number of individuals in the traditional world to believe, but I absolutely believe within five years, it will be more common than it is in a microcosm of, say, for instance, the ecosystem of start-up organizations and unicorns in the Bay Area.

0:10:21.7 PA: And that’s something that I wanna end on, ’cause I think that that… I’m so glad you brought that up. I didn’t know if that would be an appropriate topic for us, but it feels like even with co-elevation and radical adaptability, those two frames that you’ve created, the benefits of plant medicine map really well on to how they can help teams with adopting those two frames.

0:10:46.3 KF: That’s actually a really good idea. Let me go through that a little bit with you. So I don’t have the book here, let me see…

0:10:54.0 PA: Never Eat Alone?

0:10:55.7 KF: You know, starting with Never Eat Alone…

0:10:57.2 PA: The number one New York Times best seller, is that the… That’s the one? That’s how I found out about you. [chuckle]

0:11:03.3 KF: I’ve had a couple. Just kidding.

0:11:04.6 PA: You’ve had a couple. [chuckle]

0:11:07.6 KF: Yeah, I’m just looking at the data publication, I always forget, I think it’s 2006. I don’t see it right now. 2005.

0:11:15.2 PA: 2005.

0:11:17.3 KF: Yeah. So when this book was published first, it became an awakening in business, in the world of business, to what I’ve come to call the relational sciences, how do individuals relate with each other. Of course, people bought it because it’s the number one best selling book around networking, but so if you’re a coach, you have to read Never Eat Alone, and it’s not because I get royalties, it’s because it’s a single reservoir of information for you to build your practice through more authentic and deep relationships. So many people feel that networking is this contrived manipulative thing you do when you wanna get things out of people, when in reality, it’s the thing that you do in walking through the world, being of service. Being of service. Now, it’s very interesting because… And I’ll give you a little cheat to what I’ve learned about Never Eat Alone in over… 2005, approaching a couple of dozen years at some point soon. What I found was that it can be exhausting. But the good news about the book, it’s written in a way that you can just eat like popcorn little practices that will significantly help you, you don’t have to do it all. But it’s a wonderful architecture for you to consider the journey depending upon the degree to which you wanna build your practice and have an impact in the world and have financial security.

0:13:00.1 KF: Those practices have given me a lifetime of financial security, and it’s given me a lifetime of success personally. So for that basic reason, I highly encourage you, but the degree to which you pursue it is really a personal choice. And coming out of the pandemic, I feel that many of us have been laid a table to make some very powerful personal choices; how much is enough, how much do we wanna do… We had a beautiful while tragic reboot for each of us in ourselves, and so I’m not gonna… If I were to read that book today as who I am today, I’d be exhausted. By the way I happen to be an introvert, but I’m a learned extrovert because if I hadn’t been a learned extrovert, I wouldn’t have gotten out of poverty as a young child. I had to learn that relationships were the portal to opportunity in my life, which was absolutely true and documented in the book.

0:14:05.2 KF: But the little wormhole that I’ll give you, is that you wake up today and you don’t have to build networks as voraciously as I once thought. Today, you can build communities. Today, you can build communities. And Paul, it’s exactly what you’re doing here. You haven’t chosen to deepen one-on-one relationships with hundreds of individuals, you probably have that as well, but you’re creating a community that you’re hosting. And by virtue of creating a community that you’re hosting, your brand elevates and you serve. And so that beautiful ecosystem of creating community is, really, a short-cut to the traditional “I’ve gotta run around being a great networker.”

0:14:56.9 KF: So I wanted to just sort of leap forward almost 20 years, and that’s a great deal of what we learn, and it’s now how I write books, actually. It’s now how I write books. It’s how I write books and it’s how I think about things. If I have an idea, I now begin… The first thing I find is a partner around the idea, and then I start venturing with the partner. And then I start convening other people who care about the idea, which become a community, and we collectively work on sharing best practices which ultimately can become articles and books. So ideas are communities. And I think you’ve done this as well, Paul. If I’m not mistaken, you’re working on a book on this subject, right?

0:15:42.8 PA: Correct.

0:15:43.8 KF: Yeah. So that model is a very elegant model for all of us to use, moving from ideas to community to published work, and to collective commerce, where people can work together and co-elevate. So that was Never Eat Alone. The next body of research that I did was a body of research called Who’s Got Your Back. And it was about eight years. I’m not gonna force anybody to watch me look at the next pub date, I forget these things. There’s about eight years of research looking at the power of small groups to transform each other’s lives. And I believe very strongly in peer-to-peer coaching, very strongly, in a sense it’s what I’m bringing to teams that I’m coaching. I’m bringing an awakening that these teams are coaches of each other even though they don’t think of themselves as that, but I bring that into the group. But it’s also, we’ve all seen it in the power of AA, in small groups of individuals committed to each other’s sobriety, Weight Watchers committed to health and well-being, or what’s now called WW. I was just with my friend Mindy Grossman, who really has worked to transform that organization. But even all along, that group had a statistically significant better weight loss than other organizations like it because of the peer-to-peer support.

0:17:13.9 KF: So I started realizing that networks could, if with the intention of deep transformation… So think about the first book about networking, second book about how networks… And I really… I love that book. Who’s Got Your Back is one of my favorite books. Particularly for those of you out there who are practitioners, I’d very much say that that book is an important book because I document the methodology that I extracted from AA and other intimate support groups. And I created a mechanism, I called them lifeline groups at the time, lifeline groups; what does it mean to have a group of people? So if you wanted to commune or convene a group of individuals committed to each other’s success as a community leader, as a peer-to-peer coach… I think, Paul, that I would highly recommend all of your people to become proficient at leading peer-to-peer coaching groups. I think it would be a powerful practice for all of them to have. And the methodology for that, by the way, is in Who’s Got Your Back. Very detailed. What do you do at the beginning of the meetings, how do you run the meetings, etcetera, all documented very proficiently in that book. You were about to say something, Paul?

0:18:31.0 PA: Well, I’m just thinking, how does this map onto psychedelics, where oftentimes, after we have the psychedelic experiences, we host integration circles, like, 1Heart Journeys, when we went, we would work with Ayahuasca, and the next morning we would come and support one another. And this phrase, peer-to-peer coaching, has often come up about even the coaches that we’re training, where we’re really training them in peer-to-peer coaching, where they’re in there, they’re in it with you, and oftentimes, with psychedelics, there’s a lot of difficult and challenging stuff that comes up. And the sense of peer-to-peer coaching and feeling like someone’s got your back when you’re going and you’re… Or going with courage into some of your darkest parts is so helpful. It is that lifeline, like you said.

0:19:09.5 KF: And I also want… I want us to realize that I think so much of… I think plant medicine and psychedelics have two different awakenings. This is now not through science or study, this is just through my own personal experience. There’s a shift of self, no question. You’re going through difficult things. But I think the biggest shift, to be honest, is a shift with other. You’re sitting there, you know, I’m in a journey and I’m envisioning my relationships with the people in my work place, and I’m seeing how I need to be a better leader, or I’m envisioning my relationships as a child and I’m empathizing with my parents in ways that I hadn’t before. Oddly enough, some of the most powerful awakenings that I get in psychedelic journeys are awakenings of other. We think about… It’s interesting how we… Our language internalize them as individual awakenings about me. But they’re not; they’re about us. And the one thing that I feel that psychedelics do, is it creates a collectivism, it just…

0:20:24.9 KF: It literally plugs you in to the network. I love the Fantastic Fungi movie, where right now, I’m just envisioning the network of psilocybin in mushroom tentacles throughout the planet. It just plugs you in. Now, I don’t wanna get too universalist nor… I’m not a particularly woo-woo guy, believe it or not. I’m a very… As much as I’m… Anyway, I’m a very… I’m a pragmatist, that the idea of going to different planes of the universe, the idea of experiencing interstellar universal travel, etcetera… Even the idea of seeing God, to me… I happen to be a Christian, but to me, what I see this medicine doing is that it totally relieves the ego, which protects me and helps me reconnect with us, and whether it’s specific experiences or in general. And therefore, to me, the processing should be in on us, because when we come out of therapy… I’m sorry, when we come out of a plant medicine journey, plant medicine therapy, I feel like…

0:22:00.4 KF: Or psychedelic therapy, I feel like the immediate connection to the people around us is our first practice ground for application for what we just went through. ‘Cause it’s one thing to be disassociated, you can be in that experience and you can re-program as my significant other did. He re-programmed his connection to his mother during a journey, which was a powerful awakening, truly just… And then he was able to get on the phone with her and having a wholly different relationship in short order. But I feel like that kind of reprogramming is cut short if we only act on the individuals in our journeys, why not the individuals who journeyed with us? Which is probably the safest interconnected group, ’cause they just had a similar vulnerable experience. So again, you’re right, the peer-to-peer coaching, the integration circles, I think, of course, is a critical element of the journey. So the next book really applied all of this philosophy, both of working in… Well, networking and turned that into, how do you work in networks? The book is called Leading Without Authority, and that book…

0:23:23.8 PA: And it’s by your Winnie the Pooh thing over your right shoulder there. Yeah.

0:23:26.0 KF: It’s right over there, yeah. By the way, yeah, the book that is not mine but I highly recommend it to everybody is The Tao of Pooh.

0:23:37.7 PA: The Tao of Pooh? I love that.

0:23:37.8 KF: Beautiful. Taoism as expressed through Winnie the Pooh. I think it’s… Winnie the Pooh is one of the most great spiritual characters. God’s gift to society. So Leading Without Authority started to apply the models of peer-to-peer to how we work together in the workplace. Very important book for you to have your clients read if they’re in a workplace. If they’re in a workplace, or if they have a mission they’re trying to achieve, inevitably, you are trying to achieve things by leveraging other people. So Never Eat Alone opens up relationship for opportunity. Who’s Got Your Back convenes a small group of people deeply committed to each other. Leading Without Authority takes those two principles and brings it to leadership. How do you lead in loose networks? Which is what we inevitably are working with. And that’s a great book to give your clients to read, ’cause they’ve got to navigate and get out of… There’s a whole section in that book around victimization and abdicating personal responsibility because people aren’t playing in the way you want them to play, which happens all the time in business to many people’s detriment.

0:25:06.0 KF: Then the next book was the book that we originally came on here to talk about, but I wanted to give people a little bit of a runway to the intellectual property because if they’re just catching up on this journey now, there’s some work to do. But the most recent book is called Competing in the New World of Work, where we took a very rigorous research approach on how to leap forward 20 years coming out of the pandemic, or at least 10, and use the pandemic as a reboot for organizational and business, and to a great extent, personal success. And there’s really some four fundamental frameworks: How do we live with greater foresight, how do we live in a more adaptable fashion, how do we live with a greater degree of collaboration and inclusion, particularly in a hybrid world where you have unending opportunity to include people in thinking and ideation and decision making. And then finally, how do we do all of that with great resilience, which is where I partnered with Headspace and WW Weight Watchers, and many of the psychedelic companies ’cause I was heavily invested, during the pandemic, in the psychedelic space, out of personal commitment to the space.

0:26:32.5 KF: I think I probably went 20% of my net worth into the psychedelic space because I believed in it that much, and still do. My returns haven’t been stellar as we know where the market is but I don’t care, this is so critical to bring this source to, and this medicine to people, so that’s been the journey. We’re doing a couple more books right now, but we’ll talk about that in a year.

0:27:01.2 PA: So let’s get into some of these phrases that have come up. In Leading Without Authority, you mentioned the phrase co-elevation, you’ve talked about it, you kinda mentioned it briefly here, but I’d love if you could just expound on what is co-elevation and I remember when we were on our 1Heart Journey together a few years ago, you were getting ready to publish Leading Without Authority, and I think you actually pushed back the publication date because of those ayahuasca journeys that you went through. And so I’d just love to hear a little reflection from you on how has ayahuasca, how have plant medicines helped to further inform your own philosophy around co-elevation in the way that you coach organizational teams.

0:27:39.3 KF: Yeah, thank you. So the methodologies that we’ve adopted so far are co-elevation plus radical adaptability. And those two frameworks together make up how an organization, a system, a team should work in today’s very volatile world. Co-elevation basic principle is, it’s a deep commitment to eight fundamental belief systems and eight fundamental behaviors among a group of people, foremost of which is full transparency and candor. A team has to be able to tell each other the truth, a group of individuals have to be able to push each other, collaborate, wrestle ideas. Now, that is daunting to many relationships, we have too much conflict avoidance in this world, too much scarcity of relationships, and therefore fear of people having transparency. One of the things as a coach I’m constantly doing is encouraging people to be courageous, but courage isn’t as easy to muster. One of the tactics that I have when I’m coaching is to encourage people to be high integrity, high integrity. You can tell somebody to be courageous, but many people don’t think they’re courageous. Most of us think we’re reasonable integrity. But if you let people know that they’re holding back truth to another individual, lacks integrity, then they’ll begin to think differently about it, it’ll put a higher threshold.

0:29:15.2 KF: ‘Cause I think it’s true. A dear friend of mine was grappling with whether to tell her boyfriend that she was struggling with wanting to have children. The boyfriend definitely wanted to have children, she didn’t wanna have children. The relationship was going fine, they kept talking about it possibly, they’re not even married yet. But I’ve just said to her, I said, “Listen, you’re a high integrity individual and you’re lacking integrity by not sharing this.” In the same regard, the same individual was really protecting her heart. She was very concerned about over-stretching and being really hurt, and she wasn’t willing to even call this individual her boyfriend publicly. And she certainly wasn’t willing to state, or profess her outward love for this individual. They were having a great relationship, she would say. And again, I just told her she was out of integrity. You know, everything about the relationship showed that that was her boyfriend, everything about the relationship showed that she was in love, and she was out of integrity by not being willing to give that gift to her partner. Now, if I had just said, “Be courageous,” imagine how that lands on somebody, “be courageous.”

0:30:46.0 KF: You and I have probably coached hundreds and hundreds of people who lacked courage and stayed out of courage for a very long time. But I find that when you cloak it… And what is integrity? It’s just, it’s embracing truth. And so if you get people to really understand that they’re out of integrity, I think they shift quicker. It’s a leverage tool. Anyway, so what I was talking about was the integrity of candor. And the underpinning of co-elevation though is a strong relationship a real care for people. And you can get away with a lot of candor if people know that you love them, that you care for them, if you’re committed to them. And so the relational sciences really start with productivity at the top, candor, collaboration, accountability, holding each other accountable. But the permission for that comes in building the relationship, the formula is generosity and commitment. Generosity and care give you the permission for the candor, the collaboration and the accountability. So that’s co-elevation. And then we have a whole set of practices that we teach in Leading Without Authority and how you do and bring that co-elevation to a relationship. How do you earn that right, how do you bring that candor, etcetera.

0:32:15.9 KF: What words do you use? But then you move over radical adaptability. And radical adaptability means that if we just stay on a momentum of the past, which in the world of work, we’ve been doing so for decades and it hasn’t been working. People talk about the future of work as if it’s upon us, but we’ve been having bullshit conferences on it for 20 years. And it’s now an opportunity to create inflection points for us in this big gap. But we should be doing that constantly. What we learned in the pandemic was that it was a massive reboot, it was a massive inflection point, and I’m even seeing organizations not leveraging that inflection point going back to work, which is why I created the foundation, Go Forward to Work, not go back to work, how do you go forward to work.

0:33:09.7 KF: Yeah. Those two things. And that really, as I mentioned earlier, on radical adaptability, that’s around creating a mechanism in your life where you’re constantly getting inputs, so you know… Your foresight, so you know how to adapt your strategies, so that you can then be agile. And a big part of that is to be inclusive. Inclusion, collaboration, insights from multiple people give you that incremental foresight. So all of us, even when I’m talking to real estate agents, you have that team, that posse, that set of individuals in your ecosystem, in your space, that are constantly giving you inputs of what’s happening and what’s changing. And again, Paul, I celebrate you because you’re doing that with this community. This is a posse, which if you allow this group to have its collective insights, not just receiving it broadcast from people like me, but one of the things that I would ask you to do in the upcoming session would be, send people in… How many people do you think might be there? Hundreds, thousands, I don’t know, what’s your expectation?

0:34:26.0 PA: Yeah, about 2000 is what we’re expecting.

0:34:28.7 KF: I would highly recommend that you provide an exercise for them, where you snap your fingers, put everybody into a breakout room, Tony Robbins knows how to do it, and with his technology… He uses Zoom, I don’t know what you’ll be using. But put everybody into a breakout room and open a Google Doc or a Google Form, and have that group submit to you one of the most important questions we as a community need to answer. Let’s collect that information, let’s assess that information, and then let’s publish that information back to them. And then we could start organizing subgroups around aggregated sections of questions. Right? And start cracking the code of those together. That’s radical adaptability. How do constantly use the community to pivot and change our direction and fulfill and co-create together? It’s a very simple idea, but it’s a very powerful one. I’m getting organizations to crowdsource that kind of insight within their entire company and external ecosystem.

0:35:44.4 PA: And these are major organizations, like Fortune 50 companies, these aren’t just start-ups necessarily, right?

0:35:51.4 KF: 100%. We have barbels in a sense, in terms of where we work. We work with the Fortune 100, 500, and then we work with unicorns. And then I work with… We have a psychedelic group that works with psychedelic start-ups, just because we believe in that practice and we invest and work in that space.

0:36:13.2 PA: So Keith, let’s spend the last, we have about 10 minutes left or so, and I really wanna get your insight on what you had sort of dropped a note about what you were gonna speak at Davos in May about, which is kind of your… You’ve been really a pioneer in the future of work, which is now becoming the present of work, like was mentioned in Competing in the New World of Work, and you’ve also now been doing plant medicine for many years. And when I think of Fortune 50 companies and exec teams, a lot of people are very skeptical about, would they actually be interested in these sorts of tools, and I get the sense that you’re saying they will, increasingly so. And so I’d love to just hear…

0:36:49.1 KF: Well, they are.

0:36:50.1 PA: And they are.

0:36:51.6 KF: They are. They are. First step is a personal journey, right? By me having done the work, I can walk the planet. And in my conversations with my clients, I can speak about the journey I’ve had for myself, so that testimonial could… At least, it’s interesting. I would say that there’s more a full lack of understanding or even awareness of this space than there is objections to it. Once I mention plant medicine, ayahuasca, psilocybin, I get more blank stares than I get anything else. Just literally, no clue what it is. You and I live in this echo chamber of being on the coasts and understanding what this medicine can do for people, and clearly in the worlds that we both live in and that all of us live in, we think that everybody understands this or at least have read some New York Times article or some Poland book or something, but no they haven’t.

0:37:56.0 KF: So part of it is just being vocal about your healing. That’s it. And I think I’ve had this conversation with Ron and Levy about the use of the word plant medicine versus psychedelic, and I know plant medicine is only a small subset. And I’ve also gone to field trip and I’ve done intramuscular ketamine therapy, I’ve done MDMA therapy. So I definitely see and I’m a very strong advocate for journeys beyond plant medicine, but I tend to feel like that I can get people opened and awakened to nature-based plant medicine first. It seems a smoother entry. Now look, it’s interesting, because some people still think of them as drugs, and my key is to have them not use that term unless they’re gonna use drugs, just like they would use… SSRIs are a drug, or aspirin or erythromycin is a drug.

0:39:10.7 KF: I want to get them to equate the fact that if a friend of yours was suffering from a mental challenge, mental illness, mental disability, that you wouldn’t forbid them from getting medicine from a doctor. Well, we’re just introducing a new set of medicines, a new class of medicines. Anyway, with that in mind, what I’ve gone on record as saying is, I see the path, and I pursued this with heads of HR, where there will be, at first, non-insurance supported psychedelic therapy and work that will be supported by corporations. Before there may be insurance reimbursement, they’ll be self-paid reimbursement for this type of work.

0:40:02.4 KF: I see that happening within five years, it’s already happening, as you know with Bronner did the work where he actually created a great system, but it’s gonna happen more frequently. And once that starts to happen, the ability for insurers to catch up to that won’t be far behind, but… And again, for me, it’s not only… And I think just like my friend Sanjay Gupta did for cannabis, he started with CBD for childhood epilepsy, he made the world aware that there’s a little girl having epileptic seizures, which is cured by, I think it was called… Was it Charlotte’s Web, I forget the name of the… Stanley Brothers…

0:40:54.2 PA: Yeah, it’s Charlotte’s Web.

0:40:54.3 KF: Charlotte’s Web. And it was cured by an innocuous substance that isn’t even psychoactive. And then all of a sudden, that was a tipping point, and then you started seeing medicinal marijuana, and anyway, the story is well known for everybody here, but we’ll be going through that same journey, that same pilgrimage in the psychedelic space. And everybody here, I’m sure, believes and knows that to be true, but I see it being a productivity lifter, when I say a productivity lifter, I don’t mean getting more out of people, but yes, I do. Same thing, you go back to the beginning of our conversation and how the awakening and otherness… I’m coaching a team right now, it’s a very well-known team with a very well-known CEO.

0:41:43.6 KF: And it’s very clear, and there’s a particular individual on this team that is… I can tell… I mean, he she… I won’t even go into that details to who this individual is. But this individual is really suffering, and I can see their behaviors and their acting out really pulling the team down, and the person is likely to have a job loss ahead of them. And it’s a shame because he she is an incredibly, a capable, smart individual who I could… And I had literally said to the CEO, because it’s a CEO who has also done medicine personally, I said to the CEO, I said, “God, I just… I wish we could get he she to do an ayahuasca journey. I just wish we could get this individual to do a journey because that’s the kind of massive chiropractic investment adjustment that we need for her him, so… ” Anyway, and we both sort of… We weren’t laughing about it, this wasn’t some joke, this was, “This is what we really need to get this individual adjusted.” I do, I think of these medicines as a chiropractic adjustment to mental well-being.

0:43:07.2 PA: So final question before we wrap up. You were kind of hinting at this before, but just at the intersection of psychedelics and leadership, you’ve mentioned productivity, but you’ve also talked about your own path and in leading with vulnerability and talking about your own experiences with this. When we’re talking about leadership performance, why is it that you think plant medicines are such powerful tools to help develop those soft skills that are so central to efficacious leadership?

0:43:33.7 KF: Well, you know, you and the people here know more about the science as to why this happens, and we can all… I was with Paul Stamets last week, and I’ve heard his presentations so many times about what it does and how it works. But what’s important is to recognize that work is interrelated, work isn’t an individual, it just isn’t. And what these medicines do is they open up the otherness, the us, they make the us effective, they make the us less scared, less reactive. And it gives us a degree of potential in relationships that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.

0:44:21.5 KF: And so that’s, to me, why this is such an important medicine, because even today, and this is why I started the conversation, everybody talks about leadership competencies; I talk about team competencies. All of my work is about team and how teams effectively work interdependently together. That is a whole different study. That is a whole different study than working with the individual, and it’s a whole different study than working with the individual and another individual, which is, leadership talks so much about how you manage a person or lead a person, and it’s how do you get a person to inter-relate with others better? That’s leadership, it’s leading teams, not just leading individuals.

0:45:10.4 PA: With a core common purpose and that broader mission that they’re reaching out towards. Beautiful. Well Keith…

0:45:15.4 KF: Yeah. Well, Paul, thank you.

0:45:19.9 PA: You are welcome, thank you, Thank you for showing up and being present and sharing so much of your wisdom. It’s always an honor to sit down with you and chat about these things. And for our listeners, we’ve got the full scope of your books in terms of what has been written. Any last words you wanna share before we… Before we wrap today?

0:45:43.4 KF: No, I think that the real key is that the tools have opened up a lot in the last two years in terms of inclusion, collaboration, the technology has changed. And so we’ve got to make sure that we catch up to that technology in our work behaviors. We’re running workshops now, which by the way, if anybody’s interested, reach out to us online and offer up your services if you feel you would be great. If you have some specialties in hybrid work tools and hybrid work ways, that scenario we’re investing a lot in because the tools have changed the way we work, but you haven’t. Meaning, the world hasn’t changed the way we worked enough to use the tools to change the way we should work. So we’re spending a lot of time on that right now.

0:46:36.8 PA: Beautiful. Thank you, Keith.

0:46:39.1 KF: Paul, thank you.


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