The Brainy Business Podcast
Andrea Learned (00:04):
I’m psyched to share another great between-seasons conversation. I was recently interviewed by Melina Palmer of the Brainy Business Podcast, and our discussion was rich. This feels like a masterclass in high-level climate influence and includes discussion of how to harness your influence around climate or anything else as a tool for personal and professional progression. It also includes a discussion on how to construct a powerful leadership platform that amplifies your influence and more. Listen, learn, and add The Brainy Business to your favorite podcast list.
Welcome to Episode 319 of The Brainy Business, understanding the psychology of why people buy. In today’s episode, I’m excited to introduce you to Andrea Lurnett, host of The Living Change podcast. Ready? Let’s get started.
You are listening to the Brainy Business podcast, where we dig into the psychology of why people buy and help you incorporate behavioral economics into your business, making it more brain-friendly. Now here’s your host, Melina Palmer.
Melina Palmer (01:19):
Hello, everyone. My name is Melina Palmer, and I want to welcome you to The Brainy Business Podcast. In today’s conversation, I’m joined by Andrea Learned. Andrea is the host of the podcast, Living Change, a quest for climate leadership. She’s also an author and strategic advisor with a 25-year career in marketing, communications, and thought leadership platform development. She’s known for her climate influence insight and intuitive community engagement expertise advising clients in the clean energy, food systems, transportation, and policy sectors. Her podcast, Living Change, highlights the stories of the surprising validator, political, cultural, and corporate leaders who are influencing scalable climate action in their lives and work. So how did we get put together today? Well, when I recently did a call out on LinkedIn asking for what people wanted to hear about on the show. Thank you to all the listeners who chimed in and nominated people and talked about concepts you are interested in. By the way, I’m so excited to go through and curate all this great content for you. So Andrea is someone who reached out to me with the idea of sharing about increasing climate influence. As we discussed the idea more, I knew it would resonate since, as I mentioned in Tuesday’s episode, which was a refresh of my conversation with Vanessa Bondz about her book, You Have More Influence Than You Think, almost a third of the episodes in the top 10 most downloaded of all time were on influence. So I knew that this was something you would enjoy. While Andrea is really focused on climate change, which is a very important topic. We also discuss how you can increase your influence around anything you care about without having to shout about it, especially because that usually doesn’t work. So if you are looking for people to more naturally follow your influence and to be able to nudge people to change their behavior in ways that support great causes you believe in, you’re in for a treat. Really quickly, before we get into the conversation, I want to be sure you know that there are links in the show notes for everything, including related past episodes, links to articles and books, and so much more. It’s all within the app you’re listening to and at thegrainybusiness.com/319. Now let’s jump right in and Andrea Learned, welcome to The Brainy Business Podcast.
Andrea Learned (03:48):
Thank you so much. I’m really excited to be here, Melina.
Melina Palmer (03:51):
Yes, I’m excited to have you. We had a little bit of a pre-chat, but this is a fun scenario where I put out a call out on LinkedIn saying, Hey, who do you want to hear on the show next? What are we interested in? We were not connected prior to this. I believe it just, like you said, algorithm presented it to you and you’re like, I don’t know who this is or whatever, but we just started a conversation from there. I, too, know less about your background than I typically know with guests. Can you share a bit about yourself and the work that you do?
Andrea Learned (04:30) :
Sure, yeah. I think one of the things that excited me when I first saw your call was, one, you’re in the same state. Also, I’m very interested in behavioral economics. It was just this wonderful match. But anyway, I am an expert and an advisor in what I call climate influence, and I’m also the host of The Living Change Podcast, which is about unusual suspects in climate leadership, and we can go into that more. My deeper background has been corporate sustainability, communication strategy. And then really deeply that may be of interest to your audience is that I was really deeply involved in marketing to women consulting and wrote a book about it way back when. We can get into that later if you’re interested. I would say that my mission is really to help those with any leadership platform. I look a lot at corporate and political leaders to own their voice and leverage their power to nudge their peers to act more boldly on climate. It’s like, how do you build climate influence? Why would you build it? Right? And then how can you really leverage it? That seriously drives me internally. It’s not this thing I made up. It’s just been in my soul for so long, and finally I’m really out there yelling about it. It’s great to be here to share about that a little bit more.
Melina Palmer (05:54):
Yeah. I had mentioned to you that the overall topic of influence is one that has really, really resonated with the audience here. So I recently celebrated the five-year anniversary of the show.Hooray.
Andrea Learned (06:11):
Melina Palmer (06:12):
Thank you. Yeah, over 300 episodes now, and we just keep on keeping on with that. As part of that, I did the top 10, really top 20 most downloaded episodes of all time, of which Robert Caldini, when he was on the show talking about Influence, his amazing book with its new and expanded version that came out in ’21, is in the top 10 downloaded episodes, as well as Zoe Chance with her book, Influence is Your Superpower.
Andrea Learned (06:43):
I know her. Yes, I know her.
Melina Palmer (06:44):
Yeah, I love her. Amazing, wonderful person. Okay, we’ll talk about her in a second. Then Vanessa Bonds, and her book is called You Have More Influence Than You Think. Those were all in the top 10. Maybe one went a little bit beyond that, but really downloaded episodes of the show of all time. To have all those really great, influenced people be here, I know that it’s something that’s important to the audience. I like this idea of, like you said, climate influence and/or any aspect of something that you really care about, that you’re an advocate for, that you want others to be on board with. You’re trying to get that buy-in for the language that I like to use. And don’t want to just be the megaphone doesn’t work. How can you be having that influence, especially when you have a platform, whether that’s as a large brand or as a thought leader, you always have… There’s a little something you can do. And so thinking about that influence, I think, is really, really important. How do you know Zoe?
Andrea Learned (07:51):
Well, I mean, it’s funny because maybe this is true for your listeners, too. I didn’t realize that influence was so important to me before I got into the space. Then I read Robert Cialdini’s book back in the gazillion years ago. Then I read Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. Then I came across Zoe’s book recently, and I think I heard her on a podcast. Yay, podcasts. I got in touch with her really quickly because it really spoke to me related to my topic. It was almost like until you start to get a little bit of a niggling about influence you don’t realize, then once you learn anything about influence, whether it is, as you say, an advocate or you’ve got a message or a business that you’re pitching, et cetera, it is fascinating. Right? And because it can be so subtle, I think knowing more about it really helps you differentiate from all the loud, head-banging competitors you have or the noise of other issues that are coming up. I think influence is fascinating. That’s why when I pieced together what I was doing with my work, I thought, Oh, my gosh, the greatest way to describe it is that I am advising and helping people understand how to build and leverage climate influence.
Melina Palmer (09:07):
Yeah, definitely. I love that. One other book slash episode I’m going to be linking to in the show notes is David McRaney, when he was on the show talking about how minds change. So one, if you have not read this book yet-.
Andrea Learned (09:22):
Melina Palmer (09:22):
-top of the list.
Andrea Learned (09:24):
Okay. Yay. Excited.
Melina Palmer (09:25):
Super amazing book. So share a little bit about then what you found when it comes to influence and how that ties in with this idea of climate influence.
Andrea Learned (09:40):
Well, the people that I’ve worked with for over 15 years have long been corporate sustainability leaders or kind of NGO executive directors, nonprofit executive directors. The thing that I’ve been watching is who gets the most engagement and understanding of how to use, say, LinkedIn? Looking at the B2B platforms and watching that, and then comparing it with if the brand says X on a stage or in some messaging or marketing, and then the leader, the sustainability leader or the CEO is doing Y over on LinkedIn. One, how are those comparing? And then in the corporate sustainability space, I was watching and just several key people kept coming up and I was like, That person really knows what they’re doing. They are engaging. They’ll not only post, but they’ll be going back and forth in comments and actually really adding value. The whole idea of social media and me being able to watch it in real-time has helped me identify leaders who understand how to use social platforms. Then you can just watch their influence and you can watch them then be picked up to be on stage at the next conference, or you watch their career go that way. And so pacing that together, I just thought, This is brilliant because I can, in a way, build a bench of leaders who are ready for media to see them. One of the things I’m always talking about in my work is you know and your brand knows that what they want is media coverage, ultimately, in the climate space. One of the things that you need to be doing is to be visible and accessible for media. If they see that you’re engaged on LinkedIn or wherever now, people are going to go, probably not Twitter, they will go-.
Melina Palmer (11:29):
It’s X now, at least.
Andrea Learned (11:31):
It’s X. Right. Excuse me. Yes, X.
Melina Palmer (11:33):
Just for the context of the day that we’re recording for the peek behind the curtain, because this will come out later, that brand change happened like four hours ago. The website, so…
Andrea Learned (11:45):
We don’t even know how to say when they’re tweeting because when they’re exing, I don’t know.
Melina Palmer (11:49):
When they’re exing? That’s weird.
Andrea Learned (11:51):
So the influence and the other thing that I see from a brand perspective is they’re really hyper-aware of their communications and their messaging, but they’re not often smart enough to really leverage their leader and help their leader gain their own influence, which only aligns and amplifies. As you can see, I can get nerdy about this, but there’s huge opportunity in sustainability and climate.
Melina Palmer (12:18):
Hey, Good news. You’re in the right place to be super nerdy. You’re with your tribe for that. What I think is really interesting about just taking this down this behavior path. If we think about… You as a business person and you think about the thing that we really hate having to do, which is pitching. Pitching sucks. I’ve talked about it. I have another of the top most downloaded episodes is on how to pitch your business successfully. I’ll link to that in the show notes too. When you think about pitching the media, you need to be super… Make it easy, easy, easy, easy, easy, easy, easy for them because they have so much that they’re dealing with. You talk about being overloaded, low cognitive bandwidth, trying to just grab and churn as quickly as you can. If there’s any friction or difficulty in that process, they will move along. When you think about your company and a piece of friction being as the person in the media, who will I even pitch for this? Who could talk about it? Who’s going to be eloquent enough? Are they saying the thing that I want them to say? And like trying to track down the right person in your organization to pitch, you’re asking them to do a lot of work and heavy lifting to where they’ll just keep going to the same people that we’ve known and seen a lot because it’s easy. That’s that default heuristic there. If your leader is more visible, people that can talk about… I’m trying to think about this. To where you can see, Oh, Andrea is the X, Y, Z of this company. They are already talking about this. I’ve been able to see it. I know who to pitch. I know who to ask for.
Andrea Learned (14:13):
Yeah. To your point, you are delivering, if you’re on social media or more visible and engaged, you are delivering almost not a blueprint, but it’s a path or it’s a journey where these media are just following you going, Oh, wait, that person tends to add good comments or really value about XYZ topic. I’m going to take a note. When I’m covering that industry, Bob Smith from whatever company is the one to talk to. The other thing I’ll say a lot of times when people are thinking about media or pitching, they immediately go to, Well, I’ve got a good press release and I’m going to pitch them the story in two weeks and whatever. No, my point is to build that influence. You have to be warming the relationship the whole time. The point about being out there and being visible and engaging and even sharing and loving up, as I call it, media. If there’s a great story on your topic and somebody in the media has written about it, think Steve Jones who wrote that piece and add a teeny bit of value and walk away. What you’re doing is you’re building it. Six months from now, Steve Jones will come back and go, You made a comment once, and then I started following you, and then this is what we’re building. We want a warm relationship, and that’s key to this influence stuff.
Melina Palmer (15:31):
Right. Yeah, in that pitching your business episode and in all the… I feel like everything I’ve ever talked about. But is really in this… Business is a long game. Relationships are a long game. If you are waiting until you want and need something and making it about you, it’s going to be so much more difficult to get anything to happen. Just sprinkling and putting goodness out there, it’s going to come back around.
Andrea Learned (16:04):
The other thing I wanted to mention, related to what you just said about the corporation needing to have a couple of good spokespeople to out there telling the story, one of the things that happened that I’ve watched in both corporate and NGO and nonprofit kind of worlds is that they media train and they script people to a high degree. When media out there looking for comments, they don’t necessarily want to know that they’re going to get the scripted message, they want to know the human. By building a platform and thinking about your own leadership influence two things, it gives media a warmer or a more interesting conversation to potentially have. The other thing that people don’t really think about is if you’re building a leadership platform for your sector, you carry that thing with you wherever you go next. The point is that you’re building this leadership platform, it doesn’t stay necessarily with your brand. I think a lot of us know now that we aren’t necessarily living with our brand or our organization forever. In fact, I think people are turning over much more quickly. You build a leadership in your sector, you can carry that, and that’s social capital that you carry with you wherever you go. So influence is a super smart thing for you to build as an individual and not keep tying it so directly to your organization.
Melina Palmer (17:21):
For sure. Yeah. Just knowing that, like you’re saying, if you are this unknown faceless thing within an organization, and then it’s time to be out in the world, you’re an unknown faceless entity. It’s a lot harder to stand out in that way. So it is, of course, important to make sure that if you are at an organization, you want to align whatever you’re sharing on your own in a way that it meets all those media standards and the training and things that you’re talking about. I think the other side of that, to is media does also like to know that someone’s going to be able to be polished to speak in good sound bites to be able to give a really solid interview. If you don’t already have that media training, being able to show that in the video, in whatever you’re putting out there, that it’s cohesive, that it’s not this rambling, never-ending, like what are we talking about? To be able to show that you would be a good resource is valuable.
Andrea Learned (18:33):
Right. It is valuable, for sure. Good point.
Melina Palmer (18:36):
Yeah. What have you found? Do you have any great stories as far as where someone has been able to leverage their influence in a way that may be surprising or looking at leaning on tips you’ve given based on what you’ve learned about influence research that the audience can learn from?
Andrea Learned (18:58):
Yeah. The thing that I really emphasize is being seen doing the thing that you’re trying to forward. The folks, the political leaders, especially that I interview for my Living Change podcast, are people who themselves ride a bike for local transportation. John Bauters, for example, the mayor of Emeryville, he rides his bike for everything. You see the mayor pull up on his bike. Then you see the mayor, you hear the mayor talking about affordable housing. You hear him talking about homeless people and building relationships with them. It all lines because he’s out on the streets riding his bike. It’s being seen doing the thing, and that’s really my point. The other group of people that I interview are people that have gone plant-based, and I talk about, to your point, not loudly banging a drum about it or putting a neon sign in, Hi, I rode my bike here. Let me tell you about my bike. It’s not that at all. It’s, Oh, just arrived to my city council meeting, and you just take a selfie and there’s a bike in the background. Quiet little hints that you’re sprinkling out, like you said of, Oh, I ate at this great restaurant, happens to be plant-based. Stuff like that. I’m actually curious how that, in your world, ties into behavioral economic stuff, I will say that that Nudge book really got me thinking. Now, I can’t say that I know every detail and everything I’m talking about completely aligns, but the idea of that, of making it really easy for constituents and stakeholders to see that you are branded in a way next to your bike. I also interviewed a mayor. He used to be the mayor of Milwaukee, Oregon, near us, down the street a little bit. Now he is in the Oregon State House of the Representative. Now, he originally got into being a mayor because he’s a photographer for National Geographic. His name is Mark Gamba. He’s a photographer for National Geographic and saw climate change in action all over the world and was just like, Oh, my goodness, how can I affect change? Then he was like, I’ll become a local mayor. Key part and parcel of being a mayor was him riding a bike because that’s the way he got around, but being seen doing it. That became part of even media coverage of him. Or he’d get to a city council meeting and plop his wet bike pannier down in his helmet. These are the little, this is how you influence your peers. What I would say about that is that your peers are watching that. You’re not yelling at them about it. Then they’re seeing that you seem to have a lot of people that are cheering you on, or you seem to have an easier time presenting safe infrastructure in your streets. Why is that? You’re nudging your peers. To think and act like you a little bit more.
Melina Palmer (21:47):
Yeah, definitely the personal brand and how that aligns with whatever initiatives and things you’re working on. This definitely walk the walk slash ride the ride. Pedal the dog. Right, right, right. Instead of just saying you care about sustainability and climate and then you drive a… What’s the big crazy thing these days? Is it a Hummer? Still? I don’t know. I don’t know. Some gas-guzzling truck or whatever it is where people go
Andrea Learned (22:19):
Melina Palmer (22:21):
Really? You don’t have to be at the full extreme of everything to be able to fit and make a difference. I think it really comes to… There’s a really great quote that is from Peter Stidle in his book, Neurobranding. He says how a brand is a memory. As we build on the psychology of how all relationships, our entire existence is based on things that have already happened, and there’s a different article from psychology today that’s talking about how everything is like Lego, right? That we’re building all these different things to create an impression of how we feel about others, how we feel about companies, and how this all comes together. Aligning your Lego, plural being Lego and not Legos, but you get what I’m writing. Where we don’t just have a big mess of pieces on the floor, but we’re able to make sure that things are lining up and building an image that we want people to have of us and how we exist to where you can look at me and see, Oh, you’re this type of person. You care about these things. This shows with this, and you’re getting traction. How are you doing that? And it’s easy to make those connections that those are building a clearer picture is going to help. When we think about all of our existence and how people interact with us are based on those memories and getting as many of them to line up as possible is, I think, a way that helps us to really make that be a really abstract idea, feel more concrete.
Andrea Learned (24:05):
Oh, yes. I hadn’t heard that, and I appreciate that. I’m looking forward to following up and reading that book. One of the things about making sure that all these little impressions add up, it goes back to your point of how all of this is a long-term game. You can’t do any of this overnight. You can’t get the story on the cover of The New York Times overnight. You can’t get everyone to start riding their bike overnight. It is a long-term game. The other thing is, to your point, sometimes leaders, especially, are afraid or shy to come out because people will say, Well, you’re not perfect in every way, so why should we trust you on this? You need to, as a leader or someone who’s trying to make this new impression, part of your package, you need to be brave to be seen on the journey and be honest about, I’m not doing everything right, but wow, starting to ride my bike to take my kid to school rather than drive my SDV a mile has just brought me joy. You’re talking personally about how you’re on this journey like everybody else, and I think that’s huge.
Melina Palmer (25:11):
Yeah, I think it ties in, too. I did an episode on vulnerability loops and talk about that in my second book and how it’s this opening up to for trust and whatnot and being willing to be seen helps people. I always forget the exact quote in the original some of the paper and research that talks about vulnerability loops, but it’s something along the lines of you have to… It’s this jumping, taking the step and know that people will build the bridge underneath you, but you have to be the one to take that first step. It feels uncomfortable, but people want, not everybody, but most people will want to reach out underneath and help that to build the bridge of trust underneath you if you’re willing to go out there first.
Andrea Learned (26:02):
Yeah. I think that’s something that every time one more of us takes this lead, we encourage the next person who’s just on the fence about coming out, about what they do to go, Oh, that person did it. I can be braver. Which is part of my like, I want a lot more corporate leaders and political leaders to be braver. I want them to see that one or two people have gone before them. It can be done. It has been done. They did it safely. They landed softly. This is how we tell the story of the more of us express that we’re on a journey, the better. Because right now we live in a world where it’s either or. You’re on this side or you’re on that side. You’re da da da. That’s not where it’s not working. It’s like everyone’s on this journey. How are these little impressions that we’re putting out there continuing to reflect that? That’s really inviting people in.
Melina Palmer (26:56):
Yeah. Yesterday I was on a long walk with my… I know I had mentioned to you, I haven’t really talked about… I haven’t mentioned this at all on the show because I haven’t done an interview since it happened, and hopefully this comes out after… Anyway, my two-year-old, so the brainy baby, little Hudson, he broke his leg and it’s very sad and he’s in a big old cast and we have to keep him immobilized for five to six weeks, hopefully not longer. That means lots and lots of time on walks during the day so that he can nap. I was on a very long walk, like a three-hour walk with him yesterday while he was sleeping. I was listening to the Time to Walk series from Apple. I really like the stuff they have in the Apple Fitness. They have Time to Run, Time to Walk. I ended up listening to Jane Goodall and Malala, not even going to attempt to pronounce.
Andrea Learned (27:57):
I know who you’re talking about.
Melina Palmer (27:59):
Sure. Yeah. She is Malala, we know youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize, if you’re not familiar for people that are listening. But they were both talking about their causes. I was just struck by how much it lines up with the conversation we were planning to have today. I actually didn’t choose them for that reason. I just thought that they looked like interesting conversations because a lot of who they have are actors and things, but I grabbed some of these ones. And so, of course, Malala is really caring a lot about girls being educated from around the world and making sure they have access to education and how you can be showcasing that women deserve a voice. That’s really what… And to be heard, to be able to learn, that is what she cares about. And aligning it in everything that she’s doing, in the conversations she’s having, in the way that she’s seen, and all these things, right? And then with Jane Goodall, and talking about her work with chimpanzees and how she was putting this out into the world, but then seeing how she has now become such a big advocate for the climate because of what it’s been doing for chimpanzee populations and saying also it has to do it’s digging in deeper and seeing that this is a lot of the problems where the habitats for chimpanzees are going away is actually having to do with poverty and lack of access to other things because people are then having to go cut down trees and try to sell them or to be poaching or whatever it is because they don’t have another option. Where she was saying she’s incredibly shy, never wanted to be this advocate and voice, but it was like something that you couldn’t not do once you see what’s happening. Then how do you line everything else up? Whatever your cause is, whatever you care about, I think it just was interesting timing for me.
Andrea Learned (29:59):
Well, I really appreciate that because the other thing that happens is people will say, I’m not far enough along in my career, or I’m not a big enough deal for my leadership platform to be worth whatever. My point is always you probably have a couple of hundred followers on Instagram that you better believe they like you, they’re following you, they believe that you have value. You could start to influence those people. That’s huge because I’m old enough that I remember this very old Faberge Organics shampoo commercial, which was you tell two people and they tell two people and it just became this. Anyone who is older than, I don’t know, 45 would probably remember it. But you have to trust and believe that you have more influence than you think you do.
Melina Palmer (30:49):
Yeah, Vanessa Bons, You Have More Influence Than You Think.
Andrea Learned (30:53):
That’s the thing that I think a lot of people related to climate should be really realizing.
Melina Palmer (30:58):
Right. And every little drop, every pebble matters, right? As far as the ripples that happen there. Like you say, if you get one or two people to go, Huh, and stop a little bit, disrupt that pattern, it can make a difference, and then they go to investigate a little bit more. I think I saw when I was looking across your profiles and things before we scheduled the interview, that you had a video on Instagram, whatnot, might have started as a TikTok. I’m not really sure. But it was saying, Be aware of, if you say you care about the planet and then you’re talking about high consumption or looking at the items you’re recommending or what you show that you use or wear, that all just has an impact on what people see and what they’ll do. If they want to emulate what you’re doing, those things that we think, Oh, it doesn’t matter that I have this and that. No one will notice. But what if they did? They might later. Is it really the thing you want to be having out in the world? I guess in that way?
Andrea Learned (32:15):
Right. That goes back to just also making sure that you’re very aware of you’re on a journey. You can’t be expressing something about emissions or climate or whatever and then get really excited about the brand new SUV you bought and how you drive everywhere or whatever. Not that you couldn’t have done the SUV before you were converted. One of the things that I have online is a workshop I did for an organization called 50 by 40 talking about conversion storytelling. That is that the most powerful stories are of the people that used to, I’ll just give this example, eat a whole bunch of meat, and then all of a sudden, one day they realized that they needed to go plant-based. That person, that experience that that person had is going to be more, and you can tell me, the influence level of a story that’s that extreme from one to the other, my understanding is that’s going to be pretty powerful. I’ve seen that in my work. So-and-so used to drive a big truck, and now they’ve decided that for all the five-mile-round radius trips in their city, they’re going to ride a bike. Conversion stories, the moment of, Oh, my goodness, I got to change my way. Telling that story over and over again is hugely powerful.
Melina Palmer (33:31):
Yeah, for sure. I think with that, and I’ve been doing a series on storytelling this summer, so this lines up with a lot of what people have been hearing on the show recently. But the aspect of being able to see yourself in the story, it’s really easy to say, Yeah, that person is vegan, but… Where we say like, but you can fill in the blank to why it doesn’t apply to you and why you couldn’t do that to make the change that you don’t feel like you want to make because you really like bacon or whatever it is.
Andrea Learned (34:08):
Right, right. Yeah.
Melina Palmer (34:09):
It’s easy to explain it away without having those other details or facts and or to feel like it would be too hard or it’s not worth it or whatever it is. You can again just say, I’ll deal with that later. Because our brains get overwhelmed, they like the status quo, want to stay where they are. If you see, though, someone who is more extreme than you, and it’s also easy to say like, Oh, change is hard, and I’ll deal with that later. There’s a little bit of time discounting in there where we say, Tomorrow, I’ll do better. Then tomorrow comes in, The cheeseburgers, your option again. You go, Well, maybe tomorrow. Again, right? With that, if you, though, see that someone who was way more extreme than you or similar to you and they found this joy or this value or they’ve or have this uplift in whatever way, you go, Huh. It just is going to hit a little bit different. You go, Well, maybe I could do that. Maybe then you see that they started with Meatless Monday, and they have some recipes that they posted that help them along their journey where it feels like I could try one of those. And then they just share like, Hey, today I’m making whatever this plant-based curry for a Meatless Monday, and here’s the recipe. Like, Oh, it’s so delicious. Then we get mirror neurons going and we’re feeling the vibe of it and feels like it’s super unnecessary or unrelated to like, Who would want to watch that? But people watch that stuff constantly. If it comes with the story, it just is that much more powerful.
Andrea Learned (35:54):
Well, and I think the other thing is that you are seeing this more on Instagram and TikTok and all the platforms. It’s not going, This is my amazing vegan recipe. You’re saying, and I think that that draws people in. So not leading with the point, not leading with the vegan or bikes or I hate your car or whatever, but going at it from a really accessible. I mean, we’re talking about accessibility a lot, like making these stories accessible. I did a great interview with John Richards of KEXP. It’s the first episode of Living Change. At one point, we’re talking about being vegan and his friends and his community know that he’s vegan. They feel weird talking to him about it. I think there’s a story in there where he talks about having a friend who’s like, I’d really like to go vegan, but I really just can’t see giving up cheese on pizza and going on and on. I think John’s like, So go vegan, but for you, just eat pizza if you want to. I hear that a lot. I’d really like to go vegan, but to your point, it’s like, You know what? If that’s the one thing holding you back, eat that thing and veer plant-based. That’s amazing.
Melina Palmer (37:06):
Right. Yeah. I also think it’s funny that… That just reminded me. I have celiac disease and people… Actually, I’ve always said that I’m thankful that I have this diagnosis and not just people saying, Oh, you probably shouldn’t eat gluten. Because if that were the case, I’d be eating it all the time because it’s really hard when you don’t have to do something and knowing like, Hey, your intestines are going to die if you eat that. Do not do it. Cool, right? It’s a lot easier to be firm, and I have to care about prep and all these things that it’s a pain to make sure that staff changes their gloves. There are places I can’t eat, and I travel a lot for work, and there are a lot of times where I’m just having to eat protein bars. That’s okay, right? Because that’s a… It’s very a similar journey to what I know that a lot of people who are vegan are on. You tell people, Oh, I have celiac disease. Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry. I could have possibly… I could never not have whatever the thing is. Well, if you could just eat the one thing, like if it’s your last meal or you get one splurge, what would you have? It’s like, There’s just enough stuff. I don’t need my last meal to make it so I feel miserable afterward. I guess it’s just not… It’s not worth it. But for those sorts of things, if you have to go all the way and be extreme about it, you can. Those are extreme diets to see like, Okay, if I do go, what if I do vegan or plant-based for 30 days? I’m gonna to do that. Then if you wanted to be more extreme and have the story, somebody could do their like, I tried this for a month and what happened? Follow your journey. I’ve actually seen… I saw someone did that. They were like, the most… I’ll find this in the search of YouTube world where it was a guy who was the most eating out hamburgers for every single meal thing and then went totally plant-based for like 30 days. It was this journey of how he was more energized and on all these things. But he went into it was like, no way it’s going to happen and whatever. But again, the story is relatable.
Andrea Learned (39:27):
That story is amazing. I will share related, and it’s funny that we keep pointing to podcasts because I guess now we’re in that world. But I don’t know how many of our listeners know. Well, I guess a lot of people listen to WTF podcast, the Mark Meron podcast, amazing interviews, et cetera, et cetera. Well, if you’ve been listening to him over time, you’ve heard him talking about brsiket. He can’t wait to cook his brsiket and all this so-and-so dropped off this meat or whatever, and he’s all excited. Well, recently, within the past couple of months, I think his doctor said, You might want to try doing plant-based. He’s been doing it, and he’s been very publicly talking about it, and I think he’s doing a great job. One, it seems to me that it’s working for him, but also he’s very conscious to say that I’m currently plant-based. That also doesn’t make anyone listening feel like, again, the extreme of, I’m plant-based, it is what it is, but just acknowledging that you’re in your life right now at this moment, you’re currently whatever. I think that lends itself to a lot more accessibility for other people. And then again to this person who’s got a lot of influence in a big platform, just sharing parts of his day. He’s sharing that. One of the reasons he’s trying plant-based is health, but also he’s very aware of climate. He just mentions that. He sprinkles that around. I think that will have a lot of influence.
Melina Palmer (40:48):
For sure. That’s where, again, you’re like, Oh, the brisket guy is trying it? Maybe I will, too. His taste aligns with… I also enjoy brisket. He found a plant-based one, I guess I’ll try it or whatever, right? I think there is a little bit of a… We like the little bit of a challenge or a timeline on something, too. If it’s to say, for this week, I’m going to do this, or I’m going to do Meatless Mondays for three months and see what happens. Or you can make a rule of something that you’re going to try just to see what would it even look like to not have meat for 24 hours. How would I even handle that?
Andrea Learned (41:29):
Yeah, and I think in terms of being a person who might influence others, thinking of how you’re expressing that, and so not to go too deep on the vegan thing because it can also work with the bike thing. You can also say, for the month of May, which I think is bike month all the time, or for the month of whatever, I’m going to ride my bike for short trips for three days a week. Just do that. I think what most people who ride their bike regularly know is once you get started, you’re pretty likely to do it as regularly as you can. To your point, trusting the process, get started, and you’ll be amazed at the interesting directions your life might take.
Melina Palmer (42:10):
Yeah. I’m forgetting whose book this is in, but-someone makes the point of this… You just have to start. We hear this advice all the time, but if you give yourself, it’s in this tiny habits world, but I know it’s not in that book, that you want to just do the first little thing and give yourself the permission that if you don’t do anything more than that, you don’t have to. They were talking about how it was like their sister who was trying to walk more or to run or whatever that it was you just have to walk to the end of the driveway, and then you can be done if you want. But you have to put on your running clothes, you have to put on the shoes, and you get out there. If you choose to walk back, fine, you’re done. But most of the time you may choose to go do something a little bit beyond whatever that thing is. Just that first little step, that overcoming that feeling of discomfort can be enough to then keep going. Once you see, Oh, that was easy, and now I’ve done it, I’m the type of person that does this, this becomes a self-hurting piece that we can do it again and again for whatever it is. And I would just suggest to, if you are looking to try something like that, it feels a little bit scary, assume whether it’s related to climate change or anything else, don’t be scared to ask a question. That piece of being vulnerable, again, right? I keep going to the vegan piece because it’s plant-based or whatever because it’s an easy example for people, I think, because we eat a lot more than we do other things. If you were to say, Hey, I’m considering doing Meatless Monday. Again, just like a random thing I’ve been talking about here. Does anybody have a great recipe? What are some recipes I should really try for anybody that does this? Then what’s cool about that is you end up getting more social proof then for people that comment that say, Oh, when I started Meatless Monday, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. This was my go-to, or I tried this thing, or I don’t like that, but do this. Then more people see like, Hey, there are a lot of people that have more of a plant-based diet option in some way and are not eating meat for every single meal that we think that they are. And then you get to see, Oh, I wonder what that rate. Then people see even just the chain of responses and people wanting to support you on that journey. People are more supportive than we think they are. Seeing that more people are doing it, I think, is just valuable. Even asking the question and if you don’t do anything with it, hopefully you do. But if you go out there and just say, Hey, I’ve been considering this. What do you think? That could be your little contribution to the world, too.
Andrea Learned (45:08):
100%. Because you can either do that as somebody who’s curious about it, or it could be a strategy as a climate-thinking leader, like the people I’m talking about who have influence and just say, Listen, I love riding my bike. I think I’ll post. Hey, I decided to ride my bike today to take the kids to school. Anybody else do that? Like, posing things as questions. I think that they’ve learned on LinkedIn. That’s one of the things they say about if you really want to leverage LinkedIn, write something and then pose a question. You’re inviting people in. Whether you’re just trying it or you’re a person leading and wanting to leverage some influence, asking questions and opening that up is a really good way to start to pull a little bit more people in. The social proof, that concept is just so powerful.
Melina Palmer (45:55):
For sure. Well, I will expand and note that on my three-hour walk that I did with Hudson yesterday, I walked to the Farmer’s Market, that is a few miles from our house, and bought some flowers from a local provider that we like down there, and then walked my way back after that. My husband and I have started doing that fairly often. It’s like, How much further can we go? We walked to lunch, which a couple of weekends ago we walked and did 15 miles, which was a bit much, but it was still like…
Andrea Learned (46:34):
Yeah, but you’d be surprised what you can end up doing, right?
Melina Palmer (46:38):
Yeah. It’s something we enjoy. Walking is our thing that we like to do. We like to scroll and talk. But you get to run some errands or walk some errands while you’re in the mix of that, which is nice and just showing what you can do if you plan accordingly and whatnot. Well, thank you for coming to talk with me about climate influence. For everyone, do you have one, as we go here, top tip for people, maybe something we didn’t talk about yet today that you think is really important for people that are looking to have more of that subtle influence in their lives and careers?
Andrea Learned (47:19):
Yeah, I think the topic is… I mean, we can’t skirt it at this whole time, and that is, be brave enough. You may not post or make a big deal about what you’re doing as a broadcast message say, but get more conscious of contributing and adding value and maybe that’s in your social media comments or whatever. That’s one way to get braver with feeling out whether you have influence and if people are listening to you, that will start to make you braver then also to post and to do things a little bit more boldly. I think the influence starts small and start by engaging, not pointing any fingers or highlights at yourself. Then you’ll see and you’ll slowly get comfortable being more of someone a little bit more on a platform forwarding climate influence. Yeah, this has been a wonderful conversation. Thank you so much, Melina.
Melina Palmer (48:10):
Yeah, of course. Thanks for joining me. For everyone who now wants to learn more about you to follow you to get more of your tips and tidbits, where should they go? What’s the best route for them to do that?
Andrea Learned (48:20):
I think the very, very easiest thing, because I would love for them to listen to my podcast and I’ve got websites and I’ve got all this other stuff, the easiest way to find all of that is maybe to go to livingchangepodcast.com, which will bring them to my site, which then they can find my social platforms, et cetera, et cetera.
Melina Palmer (48:40):
Perfect. Well, we will definitely link to livingchangepodcast.com in the show notes for everyone to make that real easy as well as your LinkedIn and some of those top channels and everything. Again, Andrea, thank you for taking the time to join me today. It was a lot of fun to chat with you.
Andrea Learned (48:57):
It was wonderful. Thanks so much, Melina.
Melina Palmer (48:58):
Thank you again to Andrea Learned for joining me on the show today. What got your brain buzzing in today’s conversation? For me, I always love talking about invisible-ish influence and how alignment and authenticity makes it easier for people to follow you and whatever it is you’re championing, be it climate change initiatives or anything else that’s important to you. As we talked about in the episode, leaving a comment on a post or asking a question on your social media can start the conversation and help leverage social proof in a really cool way. What causes do you care about? What have you done to increase your influence? And what are you going to try after listening to this conversation? I would love to hear about it, and I’m sure Andrea would, too. Come let us know on social media a great time to test this out. You can find me as the Brainy Biz pretty much everywhere, and as Melina Palmer on LinkedIn, I will definitely be asking this question, so you should have a way to go ahead and respond, especially if you listen to this episode right when it comes out, which is why it’s a good idea to subscribe so you always get the episodes right when they are released.
There are links to My Handles and ways to connect with myself and Andrea all waiting for you in the show notes for this episode, along with links to related past episodes, books, and more. Those are all within the app you’re listening to and at thebrainybusiness.com/319. Thank you again to Andrea Learned for joining me on the show today. It was a delight to chat with and learn from you. Join me Tuesday for another Brainy episode of The Brainy Business Podcast. It’s going to be a lot of fun. You won’t want to miss it. Until then, thanks again for listening and learning with me. Remember to be thoughtful.
Thank you for listening to The Brainy Business Podcast. Melina offers virtual strategy sessions, workshops, and other services to help businesses be more brain-friendly. For more free resources, visit thebrainybusiness.com.