1 Big idea to think about

  • Our deep inner desire to live with meaning can only be achieved through interpersonal communication.

2 ways you can apply this

  • Invite yourself or someone close to you to tell a simple life story. e.g., How did you make your first dollar? Who is your most respected elder? Then ask that person honest, open questions. 
  • Get that person’s feedback, not on the answer to the question, but on whether it was an honest, open question.

3 Questions to ask

  • Do I primarily listen and communicate at deep or surface levels?
  • What is one way I could help someone feel heard, seen, and understood?
  • Who is one person that I would like to help feel heard, seen, and understood?

Key Moments From The Show 

  • The Circle of Trust and typical team dynamics (2:36)
  • How to incorporate Circle of Trust principles in your home or work (3:56)
  • A deep dive into asking open, honest questions (8:39)
  • The intent of an open, honest question (14:10)
  • How to help others experience the joy of being heard (16:59)
  • How mutual understanding can be the antidote for pain (22:17)
  • The cost of only listening at the surface level (28:07)
  • Mutual understanding and leadership (29:45)
  • Why being heard, seen, and understood is a deep human need (31:21)
  • What Parker would like on his tombstone (38:20)
  • A task that is worthy of attention (40:40)

Links and Resources You’ll Love from the Episode

Connect with Parker J. Palmer

Twitter | LinkedIn | YouTube | Facebook | Website

Greg McKeown (00:04):

Welcome. I’m your host, Greg McKeown. I’m the author of two New York Times bestsellers, Effortless and Essentialism. And I’m here with you to learn how people can understand each other, such a simple subject, but so important. So essential in today’s world. We are back now for the second part of an interview with Parker Palmer. Parker Palmer is now 83 years old. He has all of the wisdom of a most remarkable life, helping people the world over to better understand themselves and each other. I can think of nobody better to be able to lead us through not only the big picture ideas but also with the actionable advice to put this into practice in our lives. And that’s what we’re going to get to in this part, two of a conversation with the author thinker, mentor guide Parker  Palmer, let’s get to it.

Remember to teach the ideas in this podcast episode to someone else within the next 24 to 48 hours of listening. When I hear you describe this circle of trust, I can’t help but contrast it to the typical team dynamics that I’ve observed. And I would say that the primary norm of team dynamics inside of businesses is not one of intellectual debate and arguing and so on, which itself could be an error if you went too far in that direction. But the kind I see is generally a form of awkward silence. If I’m going to see dysfunction, I generally see it on that side. Not always, but let’s say 80 or 90% of the time, it’s on that side where people sit and pretend to agree. Maybe it’s a very subtle, tiny head nod. It’s like the least physical representation of agreement that they can possibly give. So they don’t want the career-limiting move of disagreeing openly with the manager or whatever’s been said, but they don’t want to physically agree either. And so then the real meeting happens after the meeting is passed, and it’s this sort of fakery that’s happening there. So what is portable of this for somebody listening? If they’re a CEO. If they’re an executive, a manager somewhere. If they don’t have an external facilitator, is it possible? What’s your thoughts?

Parker Palmer (03:12):

Again? I think you’re right on. I’d love to say just a couple of things about that. Yes. There are portable elements of the circle of trust approach, and we actually teach participants in our retreats what those portable elements are after they’ve experienced them. And after they, and now that they understand the power of them, we say, look, let’s tease out some modules of our approach here that you could take back to your workplace. And so we constantly have people going back to healthcare settings or educational institutions or religious organizations and using these modules. The number one is personal storytelling. One of the things that strikes me about what goes on within businesses is that people can work alongside each other for a year, three years, 10 years, 15 years without knowing at the end of the road anymore about each other’s lives than they did when they walked in the door in the first place.

Greg McKeown (04:10):

It’s a breathtaking error.

Parker Palmer (04:12):

It is a breathtaking error because what it does, as you know, is get in the way of the formation of the fabric of community on which resilience depends. We do a lot, you know, we talk, we blabber a lot these days about resilience, but it’s all aimed at individuals. But resilience is partly an individual deal, but it’s also a communal deal. It’s about supporting each other, and you don’t support each other if you don’t know squat about each other. And, so people in our retreats get accustomed to telling simple life stories. Non-Threatening life stories in brief form in a way that builds community. I’ll give you an example. Sit down with a staff of eight people, ask them to each, take a few, a couple of minutes to go around the table and tell the story of the first dollar they ever made in their lives.

Just tell the story. People can answer that at any level of vulnerability they want. And for some, I’ve heard people do this. They will simply say, well, you know, I worked as a clerk in a grocery store, and it was an interesting experience, and people love talking about themselves if they have permission to do so. And for some will say, well, my job was a lifesaver, because it got me out of a really rough home situation, you know, on evenings and weekends. And I was making money of my own at the same time. What’s the best vacation you ever took? Tell a little story about an elder in your life. Who’s meant something to you? Stories like these consistently pursued over a period of time. Yeah. They take up 20 minutes, 25 minutes at the start of a staff meeting, but they pay off hugely in the weaving of a communal fabric with eight or 10 people around the table.

A second portable module is the asking of honest, open questions. We now have organizations that have been influenced by leaders in our group in every sector of work where once a month or so, or when they have a tough issue to confront, they will first have a session where they are limited to asking honest, open questions of people who have various proposals on what to do about that tough situation. It’s not a debate. It’s a listening experience. And the listening is enhanced by simply saying to a person with a proposal. Well, you say we should do X. What does that really mean? How would that work? What’s under the hood of that? What do you have in mind? You say we should do Y tell us about that. What would that look like? No conclusions get reached. The decision, the final decision, doesn’t get thrashed out, but when you come back to the decision-making a few days later, people have a much broader and deeper view of what their options are than they did before they had a chance to spend 45 minutes asking each other honest, open questions. So there, there are lots of things like that.

Greg McKeown (07:38):

Can we double-click on this, open, honest questions? You mentioned it before. You’ve shared another few examples of the kinds of questions one can ask. I mean, I think the heart of it is asking a question you don’t know the answer to.

Parker Palmer (07:54):

Or don’t think, you know, the answer to.

Greg McKeown (07:57):

Don’t think, you know, the answer to, but it’s more than that, and you’ve done it so often. It rolls off the tongue for you. So an open, honest question is, I mean, I think you are asking to learn you, you are genuinely wanting to give someone space, give us either more examples of questions you can ask that would be open, honest questions or unpack it or to more for us.

Parker Palmer (08:23):

Yeah, that’s great. I mean, it’s almost as if I’m listening to someone who helped me bring all of this to life over the last 25 years. Because you get it very, very deeply. So yes, there’s a lot about asking honest, open questions that can be named simply as another way of looking at a process of inquiry. Inquiry into life, inquiry into reality, inquiry into how things are inside us and outside us. So here’s an example. In our circle of trust retreats, we’re often dealing with very intimate issues, right? Such as the guy who’s under enormous ethical stress because he’s on the edge of violating his Hippocratic oath. That’s very intimate. Those are dangerous depths because a whole life gets called into question. You know, now I have done a lot of work in major classes, and research universities where I would no more try to raise intimate questions in a faculty workshop than I would try to fly to the moon.

The culture won’t bear it. But here’s what I’ve done, Greg, to give you an example of honest, open questions. I’ve gathered faculty, among whom are people who are working on course designs for the next semester. And I’ve taught these rules of inquiry. I haven’t used any of our labels for them because I have to keep it within the lingua franca of academic life. And I’ve said, look, this is an inquiry process of the very same sort that all of you use in your fields of scholarship. Nobody ever won a Nobel Prize in physics by telling an atom what to do or who it is. But people have won Nobel prizes by asking honest, open questions about the behavior of atomic particles, and every field of inquiry has an analog to that. So what’s going to happen here is you are first going to read a Pracy of a colleague’s course design.

You’re then going to hear that person flesh it out. We’re going to divide up into groups of six to do this. And each of those groups will have one person who’s bringing a course design to you. And then you’re going to have a dedicated period of time, an hour and a half, a long period of time to ask of that person honest, open questions. And examples would be, have you ever taught a course like this before? How do you think students are going to receive this course? How did you decide on these books for your bibliography rather than perhaps others that might have been appropriate to the subject? A whole range of questions, depending on the particulars of the course design and question that allow the person who’s working on the course design to think more deeply and more openly about that course design without having a faculty colleague do what faculty colleagues often do, which is to look at you across the circle and say, as they’re puffing on their pipe, I see you don’t have Schwartz on your bibliography, and I wonder why. Perhaps it’s because it’s only available in the original Hungarian, and you don’t have the language. You know, these kinds of put-down comments that are absolutely excluded by rigorous learning of honest, open questions.

And I’ll say this too, we go to real trouble to teach honest, open questions in our circles of trust because it’s not easy. It’s very countercultural. It swims upstream against a lot that we’ve taught, been taught, or that we’ve learned it’s often learned in self-defense. So we will model the process by having one of us a facilitator. There’s always more than one in a group have a real-life problem to bring to the group, and then split up, split the group up into small groups to work on good honest, open questions. Come back with the staff member who’s posed the issue, ask that person those questions, and get that person’s feedback. Not on the answer to the question, but on whether it was an honest, open question. You do that in real time with real people, and the learning goes much deeper.

Greg McKeown (13:09):

What is the intent of open, honest question? Is it understanding? Is that the right word that the intent behind an open, honest question is to understand what somebody’s saying to help them understand what they’re saying? Or is it some other intent?

Parker Palmer (13:27):

I would say it’s a great question. And I would say, Greg, that the purest intent for those, you know, who are on this journey, the purest intent is to simply hear that other person into deeper speech to give that other person a chance to say more of whatever may be inside them, about what they’re wrestling with than they have said to this point. That’s the purest intent. Now, sometimes that begins with, I’m curious about X, Y, or Z, but if you make an honest effort at an honest, open question, you may be, you might ask a question like this in describing this experience: You said you were angry. Could you tell us more about what anger looks like for you and where it came from, and how it played itself out in this situation? Now that may have started as a question of personal curiosity, but it becomes a question that serves the speaker well by inviting that person into exploring a word that they themselves used. You know it would not be an honest, open question to say, you never mentioned anger. You must have been angry about this. You know, that might be a question a therapist would pose, but not in a clearness committee. You stay with the person’s language. You stay with what the person is telling you. And the purest intent is to help that person understand sort of the story behind the story. The question behind the question at greater depth.

Greg McKeown (15:07):

I mean, that just makes perfect sense to me. And it feels like a similar intent would exist for empathically restating what somebody is saying because the point in both cases is to allow someone to hear themselves at a deeper level than they are currently operating at so that they can start to look at all that confusion inside and start to open it up and unravel it and look at themselves. And what you are describing, I think, is the sort of miracle of transformation that you can experience and see in the other person when these intents of communication are honored.

Parker Palmer (15:57):


Greg McKeown (15:58):

And so instead of for, let’s say, 50 years of all that just noise inside confusion for once. They’re actually getting beyond the surface and starting to examine it all. And, oh, that’s, I guess, I didn’t think I thought I thought this, but I, that, isn’t what it is. It’s this thing. And what’s underneath that thing and deeper and deeper, this transformation. This leads me to put to you a question and a dilemma I have on these subjects, which is for someone who hasn’t experienced this yet, either been listened to and understood deeply. So they haven’t experienced that, and they haven’t experienced what happens when they do it for somebody else. They haven’t experienced the miracle of it, you know, what’s in it for them. How can you capture that for someone who hasn’t yet experienced it? It’s a non-trivial problem. Because if what we are saying previously is true, that people don’t often experience this, right? And yet you have, how do you help someone who doesn’t yet know they should care about this, to care about this? Is my question making sense?

Parker Palmer (17:15):

Oh yes. Absolutely. I’ll tell you just quickly what my personal experience, because obviously, I hadn’t experienced this for all my life, you know, it’s not like I was born into it.

Greg McKeown (17:27):


Parker Palmer (17:28):

So my personal experience was being at Berkeley in the sixties, being invited into different forms of community, and finding them invasive and abusive.

Greg McKeown (17:37):


Parker Palmer (17:38):

A lot. So what looked like a safe situation turned out to be a situation in which somebody wanted to manipulate me in one way or another. There was a lot of that going around, and there still is a lot of that going around. And I found some of that in my community organizing too, where it got, I don’t know, elevated or lowered to political dynamics where somebody’s trying to say, you know, it’s my way or the highway, and I’ll run over you if you don’t go with me. And so by the time I got to Pendle Hill for what I thought was just one year in this Quaker, living, learning community, and started experiencing these more open inquiring ways among Quakerswhich included an emphasis on the inner teacher and on the importance of a particular form of community, not a community that tells you what to do, but a community that hears Ethan to speech.

I was ripe for the picking. Now I think the one transportable or portable element in that story is this. And I’m not quite sure how to talk about it, what we need to do. And I think writers and speakers and leaders of various sorts have an important role to play here. What we need to do is to offer people a better diagnostic of where their pain is coming from. Because you don’t go in for treatment. You don’t go in for a journey toward wholeness until you start to understand where your sense of brokenness is coming from. And if we can start to say to people, and you can’t say this to them directly, it would be insulting. But if leaders, writers, speakers, teachers, et cetera, can start to say to people. I know you’re in a lot of pain.

I know you’re suffering. I, you know, I hear it every day in private settings, as people come to me to explore their problems. And some of this is coming from the fact that you don’t feel seen and heard. You feel like this basic human need to be seen and heard and thus appreciated for who you are. And what you’re attempting to do is just not met. So if you’re interested in moving beyond that pain, here’s something you can do. The diagnostic then leads to a remedy. It’s a little akin to what I was saying about the politics of rage. If that’s our diagnostic, then let’s just put all these raging people in cages and throw away the key. But if it’s politics of the broken hearted, let’s inquire into where that broken heart is coming from, and let’s help people find things to do about it that are life-giving rather than death-dealing. So it’s a culture shift, isn’t it, to reframe the sources of pain in our lives because it is pain that motivates us ultimately. As you know, from my writing, in the course of my life have made three deep dives into clinical depression. And it was that pain that took me further on journey of self-examination, not just in my closet but in community because I could not have survived that without both elements in my life.

Greg McKeown (21:17):

What felt pain do you think is most common that this kind of mutual understanding is the antidote for? What do you see in the present for people that they are conscious of a certain pain in their lives right now? What’s your experience with that?

Parker Palmer (21:39):

That’s another great question. It seems to me that several things come to mind. I’m lost. People will often say I’m, you know, I, I just feel lost. This world is so confusing. I’m utterly lost. I feel unappreciated is a big one. I feel dis I feel marginalized, not just unappreciated, but dis-appreciated. It’s all at the feeling level. Isn’t it? I feel I live my life in a paralyzing state of confusion. I barely have the energy to get out the door. And when I do, I have, I don’t know where I’m going or what’s the right thing to do. You know, there’s an old saying most people live lives of quiet desperation. So often, the kind of pain we’re talking about lives at a very quiet level. And again, I, it seems to me that that’s where diagnostics come in.

We have to help people understand that these feelings can legitimately be called pain and that they have pain has sources. And the sources often disconnect in people’s lives. There’s one phrase I would like to introduce into this conversation, Greg, that I think is relevant at this point. There’s now been a lot of research on the centrality of what’s called relational trust to the functioning of nearly everything in our society. And if you, if anybody’s wondering why it seems like everything is falling apart right now, it’s in part because relational trust has fallen apart. It’s at very low levels, not only between us as individuals, but with the major institutions in of American life. Anthony Bryk and Barbara Schneider did some magnificent research around the role of relational trust in the Chicago public schools, a longitudinal 10-year study, and a whole body of literature has grown out of that.

That shows that relational trust tops everything as a driver of institutional of mission success or failure. Everything, including money and governance and staff training, none of that works. And those are the things we usually throw at institutions to get them better. Of course, none of that works if, within that institution, relational trusts are at, trust is at a low level. And if it’s led by people who don’t understand the importance of cultivating relational trust as a critical task of leadership, you know, that’s why leaders ought to be opening up these safe spaces, these trust-building spaces for the sake of mission success. This isn’t fluffy touchy, feely stuff. This is about making things work in a society where not a whole lot of things are working.

Greg McKeown (24:53):

There’s two maybe final places I want to go here. The first is just to riff on that last point that you made. So as people that have listened to this podcast for a while will have heard me use, like define what a trim tab is. And, of course, a trim tab is that smaller rudder that moves the larger rudder that moves the ship. And it seems to me that what you were just saying is that this type of mutual understanding is the trim tab for improved culture and improved results. And so, even if you don’t care or don’t yet understand why you should care about getting people to understand each other, you can’t have the things you think you want, you can’t have better culture. You can’t have better relationships. You can’t have sustainably better results and performance in the organization without improving this because this is the bottleneck now to mix up my metaphors for achieving those things. That’s what I think I heard. Did I get that right?

Parker Palmer (25:59):

Yes, absolutely. And I would dare to say, to depart for a moment from Quaker language, that it might be the whole freaking rudder in some situations. In some situations, you know, even more than the trim tab, it could be.

Greg McKeown (26:15):

Yes. It’s the thing. Yeah. And so we talk about all these results we want and improvements in culture and relationships, but actually the little black box. So to speak, that determines what you, whether you get that transformation or whether you get the status quo, or whether you get even worse results than you’ve had at sort of toxic culture and the downward spiral is actually this, this is the key behind all of that.

Parker Palmer (26:44):

Yes. And so that, in turn, challenges raises a challenging question. Why do we keep throwing so much in terms of money and staff training and models of governance? Not that those things are unimportant, but why do we do that when we know that we’re not turning the rudder and the ship is still going on the same Titanic course?

Greg McKeown (27:07):

I think it’s a beautiful question. And I think it’s sort of a matter example of everything we’re talking about, because if you don’t have a habit of listening to understand, to get deeper, to allow people to speak, to hear yourself in your own thoughts and to discern. If you don’t have all of that, you’re constantly operating at the surface. And the risk, of course, is that at the surface, you are addressing the wrong thing.

Parker Palmer (27:39):


Greg McKeown (27:39):

And so the cost of that, I have an executive friend at, let’s say, the world’s most valuable technology company. And he just said that in his life, as an IT executive, the distinctive issue between engineers is not whether they’re smart, right? I mean, across the board, you know, most of them are smart. It’s the degree to which they can get to the root of the issue. Can they understand the core of it? And he said, in one company, he worked in great talent, but they weren’t great at that. The company he’s at now they’re much better at that. But he said he once worked with someone who was head and shoulders better than any of them. And he said that’s the distinctive skill we need. That’s the ability, because otherwise, you waste everything. You can spend millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars. If you say it from a government point of view, you could say billions or even trillions of dollars addressing the wrong issue. That’s waste of an unbelievable proportion.

Parker Palmer (28:43):

Yeah, absolutely. And I, it occurred to me while you were speaking, Greg, that the leader who is constantly investing in variables that we know are less important than this trim tab or rudder variable, that is, that’s a person who ought to generate a little self-knowledge around the question. Why am I doing that? And if I were to do it, if I were to find myself doing that, and I have on occasion in my own work, I think I know what the answer would be. Ah, I’m a leader who wants to color within the lines, who doesn’t want to become known as someone who’s reaching for touchy, feely stuff or stuff that my peers deem irrelevant or fluff. And I need to think about that. Who am I trying to serve here? Am I trying to serve the mission and the people who are pursuing that mission in my company? Where am I trying to buff up my own image among people who may have it all wrong? In a leadership culture that may just have its head screwed on improperly.

Greg McKeown (29:58):

It’s an honest self-reflective question. Which game am I playing? Am I playing the look smarter than my peer to my boss so that I just, you know, can keep moving up the hierarchy? Or am I playing a game of actually trying to really improve things to really help do great work that I’m proud of? There’s another question. I’m going to say it’s my final question and see if I stay true to that. At the heart of all of this, I think, is a premise that says that being seen, heard deeply understood is one of the great human needs, perhaps the most important human need. And I take that as being true, based on these years of experience, that that’s something like that’s right, assuming you do as well. And you can tell me if you do or not. What have you learned about why that is such a deep human need? Not the evidence to support that assumption, but like, if the assumption is true, why is it true? What is it inside of us, neurologically or psychologically or spiritually, that drives such a premium around this often unmet need?

Parker Palmer (31:30):

Yeah. Well, I, it seems to me, Greg, I mean, that’s a great sort of existential question, and I’m gonna give you an existential answer.

Greg McKeown (31:38):


Parker Palmer (31:39):

And I’m going to give it right from where I sit because it’s something I think about from time to time, 83 years old mortality in sight every day. You know, the old body’s starting to fail in this way and that, and the mind may be as well, although I’ll be the last to acknowledge it. But your listeners can weigh in on that one.

Greg McKeown (32:02):

So it’s not happened yet.

Parker Palmer (32:06):

So at my age, facing mortality, this quiet question arises, is anybody gonna miss me? And that builds on a more fundamental question. The question behind the question, which is what we’ve been reaching for in this conversation, has anybody noticed that I’m here and, and truly, I mean, some people will say, well wait a minute, you know, you’ve written 10 books and hundreds of articles and a bunch of poems, and you’ve won this and that award and given talks in front of big audiences and so forth. Of course, someone will know you’re here. Well, I have friends who died a year ago, and you can’t Google their names and get current references. You know, we have different benchmarks of does anybody has, will anybody know that I was here? And some of them are pretty foolish, like Googling names.

My dad doesn’t appear anywhere in Google except for his obituary. But in my mind, he was a great man and a great father. And he’s very much with me, but, you know, I think the existential root of this fundamental need to be seen and heard and in some way or another valued or appreciated, at least to the extent that somebody’s putting energy into seeing and hearing me, I think it comes from that existential question of will anybody notice when I’m gone. And no matter how many gold medals you have collected in your life. That’s not the answer. That is not the answer. We’re all looking for something more substantial than that. I won’t, as I draw my last breath, I will not be asking myself, did I sell enough books? Did I get enough good reviews? Those questions become completely irrelevant when you face into your own mortality. So I think we have a lot of examples. I mean, one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard about the struggles of many young people in our society, kids and teenagers, is that what they all need to feel whole is at least one adult in their lives. And I’ll use the phrase that this researcher used one adult in their lives who’s just wild, crazy about them. Just wild, crazy about them. And, you know, surrounds them with that unconditional affirmation day after day after day, time after time. Well, that’s the young people’s version of being seen and heard, and what that opens for me, more importantly, Greg is what I can do to help someone else feel seen and heard. I mean, that, to me, the ultimate question is really not, will anybody miss me? The ultimate question is, will I have maxed out on my possibilities of helping other people feel seen and heard during X number of years on earth? You know, if not, I think I’ve blown a big opportunity,

Greg McKeown (35:32):

What you are saying there bridges this subject of understanding each other, isn’t just about interpersonal communication, right? Yes. That’s one way to frame it, but it’s about something much more core than that. Yes. It’s about meaning in life is about an individual’s meaning and that we cannot achieve personal meaning without this kind of interpersonal experience. Like we cannot. I think that feels right to me from what we’re talking about and why it’s so jugular, why it, why we can’t just say, well, just be a little more effective in your interpersonal communication or not. It doesn’t really matter. No, it, somehow, it matters way more than it should matter. It has this disproportionate effect on performance, on culture, on satisfaction in people, in opening them up to their potential ability. It’s like, it is for me a practical fact that that is true, but why it is true has alluded me. And I do think that what you are connecting it to helps to express why it is as impactful as it is. This is how people actually feel real and, therefore, able to be something. You know, you become a person, become real, and then become meaningful. I mean, it’s so core at the identity level.

Parker Palmer (37:09):

It is everything absolutely is about identity and integrity, I think. And as a two-way street, you know. From others toward me, from me toward others. So I know we’re getting to the end, but just one of the things I kind of love to do is laugh at myself. So I’ll tell you a quick story. Please

Keep us on the same train of thought but rounded out. So my wife and I were visiting the beautiful, beautiful cemetery here in our hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, the other day, where our remains will eventually rest. And as we walked around and were reading the interesting engravings on different tombstones, she said, what do you want on your tombstone? Because we try to have a really open conversation about mortality. I think that’s important. And I said, oh, that’s easy. I just have my name and my dates. And then the words Google me.

She said, what? I said I’m serious. That’ll save engraving costs. You know, look at my resume. You wouldn’t want to engrave all of that on the tombstone. So just Google me will do the trick, and yeah, a hundred years from now, nobody will know what that means either. But in the meantime, I’ve had some fun.

Greg McKeown (38:31):

Oh, that’s fun. I mean, you could just put your website on there. Of course, if you’re going to go, if you, if you’re going down, down this path. Yeah. I think I want to just summarize one time here that that deep inner desire to live with meaning can only be achieved through interpersonal communication. If that doesn’t strike people listening to this as strange, I think it should, because in most of the literature that has been written about how to find meaning to design your life around meaning, and, and it may be my own work would be included in this era. It tilts towards individual pursuit. And I just think in practice that that isn’t going to work. It doesn’t work. I don’t fully understand why it doesn’t work, but my experience is that all meaning really is discovered in this interplay between people. Yeah. That’s where it happens.

Parker Palmer (39:40):

A constant touchstone for me, Greg, is that we find meaning within us and between us. Between us always means relational. It always means interpersonal communication on steroids, not just sitting around chatting, crafting these carefully thought out spaces, holding them with care. Because what we’re trying to do is to hold meaning and purpose, identity and integrity for one another. And that’s a task worthy of attention

Greg McKeown (40:11):

Worthy of attention, as is this conversation with you. You are worthy of attention. This subject is worthy of attention. People can, as your tombstone will remind them Google you for more information. They should read about you at The Center for Courage and Renewal. They should read any and all of your 10 books. Parker Palmer, thank you so much for taking this time and being on the podcast today.

Parker Palmer (40:35):

Thank you, Greg. It’s been a delight, and I’ve learned a lot. Take care.

Greg McKeown (40:40):

Thank you.

What a joy it is to have had a chance to not only learn from Parker Palmer for years now but to also have a chance to talk with him directly. I hope that you have found in this part 2 interview as much value as I have. Practical things that you can start doing immediately individually as the CEO of your own life or as a manager to other people. Thank you. Really thank you for listening. If you haven’t signed up yet for the 1-minute Wednesday newsletter, I’d really encourage that you do that. You can go to Gregmckeown.com/1MW. And if you found value in this episode with Parker Palmer, please write a review on Apple Podcasts. The first five people to write a review of this episode will receive a signed copy of Effortless. All you do is send a photo of your review with your name and address to info@Gregmckeown.com. And while you’re at it, subscribe to this podcast so that you can receive the next episode effortlessly. They come out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I will see you next time. Just think of what could happen. If you could deeply understand yourself and deeply understand the other people in your life. That is a simple but game-changing experience.