Inspired Every Day With Kevin Paul Scott

17 May , 2024 podcasts

Inspired Every Day With Kevin Paul Scott

The Coca-Cola Compassion Lab | Kevin Paul Scott | Being Inspired


Being inspired propels us to a life of purpose and fulfillment, but what exactly is inspiration? How do we cultivate it in our daily lives? ADDO co-founder and Inspired Every Day author Kevin Paul Scott joins us in this episode to break down the elements of living an inspired life. He discusses the essence of inspiration, its impact on productivity at work, and the transformative power of being inspired every day. Get inspired and unlock your potential for greatness!

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Inspired Every Day With Kevin Paul Scott

A Cultural Playbook To Uplift Us All


I don’t know anyone who isn’t looking for a little inspiration in life, and there are many different ways that we can find it. My guest is Kevin Paul Scott. He is on a mission to inspire not just individuals but to bring them into an organization so that it is amplified and impactful. I first met Kevin at an industry event. His energy on stage was electric. There’s so much passion for what is possible.

He shares this vision around the world. He’s traveled six continents and spoken to leaders from more than 1,000 countries. Kevin co-founded the leadership consultancy ADDO, which is Latin for inspire, which is appropriate. ADDO has developed the National Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, the Coca-Cola Leader Lab, and the Baltimore Ravens Leadership Institute.

He speaks and consults on elevating the employee experience while inspiring brand loyalty, employees, and customers. He has been featured on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and in a ton of different publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and LA Times. He is the author of five books, including his latest, Inspired Every Day. We cover a lot of ground in this conversation. You’ll see how Kevin is always thinking about new ways to make an impact. It’s that powerful energy at work to help organizations find their groove. Please enjoy the conversation with inspiring Kevin Paul Scott.

Kevin, thank you so much for taking the time. We did not meet that long ago. We met at Think Strategic. Why do I feel like I’ve known you for 1,000 years? It’s easy to talk to you. I appreciate you doing this. Thank you.

We had fun at Think Strategic in Vegas. We did get to hang out in your neck of the woods.

In this conversation, we’re going to dig into a lot of stuff. You were born to be on the stage. I have never seen someone more comfortable, confident, and eloquent in sharing your passion. It was quite amazing. I want everyone to know you are fabulous in that regard.

Thank you. That is so kind.

The Spark Within

Let’s get into this. Let’s start talking about all things inspiration. As we talked about before, we hit record, the stuff that we can’t always quantify, but that matters in the world because we’re kindred spirits with that. Let’s go way back and start out with your origin story. I always do that on the show, but it’s telling about what happened in your life that brought you to where you are now.

I grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia. My dad was a firefighter. I was the first person in my family to go to college. I went to the University of Georgia. You’re a Florida State girl. Is that right?

I am.

I show up at college. If you’ve ever gone to any large school, whether it’s any of these big state schools, there are 1,000,001 things you can get involved with when you show up there, whatever your political affiliation, faith, affiliation, sororities, and fraternities. I showed up, and I have a friend who said, “Kevin, you need to get involved with a charity that helps kids with HIV and AIDS.”

I didn’t know anything about HIV and AIDS. I knew Africa and Magic Johnson. That was about it at the time. I was like, “If I’m going to get involved with the charity, I’d rather get involved with something I have a personal relationship with, like people affected by cancer or students with special needs.” My friend was a good salesperson.

What I’m thinking about is you’re saying this is why he was adamant about this. Maybe you can share that.

I feel like if I’m going to be raising money for a cause, I need to feel invested in it. My friend sold me. I’m almost embarrassed to say this. I’m going to be transparent with you from the beginning. He said, “There are two reasons you need to get involved. Number one, the football coaches are involved.” I like football. I was like, “This sounds compelling.” The second reason he said, “There are 1,000 college students at this university that volunteer for this charity, and 80% of them are girls.

Now, the truth comes out.

I hope my wife doesn’t read this. She hates it when I tell her that. I joined because it was like a bait and switch. Something that changed the trajectory of my life is I ended up learning that the area we live in has the second highest-rated pediatric AIDS in the country. These are kids who were born in this world with a lot of things stacked up against them. Of the kids we worked with, 90% of them came from family incomes of $10,000 or less a year.

Get the picture. You’ve got the disease, stigma, and poverty all on top of each other. We did two things. We did mentoring programs, think Big Brother and Big Sister, but specifically for kids with HIV and AIDS. We did one-day special events. This is what changed the trajectory for me. We turned our football stadium into a giant movie theater. We brought a bunch of these kids up for this remarkable event. They got to watch the movie The Incredibles on the Jumbotron. We thought they were going to be excited. They were on the field and the movie.

Here’s what we learned. Most of them didn’t hear anything about the movie or the stadium. They were excited to have a college student to hang out with for the day and somebody to have as a friend. My group worked with a six-year-old little girl. She told us she was most excited about the free sandwiches that were coming at the end of the movie. There are a lot of great companies. Coca-Cola worked with the brand that day. It was a Chick-fil-A sandwich. She said, “Chick-fil-A is my favorite and I never get to eat it.” We got her the sandwich.

This is several years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday. We came back to the 50-yard line. We sat down and cut the sandwich in half. She inhaled the first half of it like you’ve never seen somebody eat a sandwich. She took the other half and wrapped it back up. I remember asking her, I was like, “This is what you’ve talked about all day. Don’t you want to finish the rest of the sandwich?” I’ll never forget what she said. She said, “I want to finish it, but I want to save it for my grandmother at home, who never gets to have Chick-fil-A.” That day, 50% of the kids there lost a parent. This is a girl who lost both of her parents and lived at home with her grandmother.

Let me give you two things that shaped my life. Number one is no knock to any professor reading this, but I learned more about leadership from that six-year-old girl than I’ve learned from anybody else, certainly on that college campus. I believe real leadership is servant leadership. I define servant leadership this way. How do you take the resources you have and leverage them to help other people? How do you take your talents and your abilities and what you have and leverage them to help others? I had a lot of big plans for what I wanted to do in life, but that moment was how we create more opportunities for students, particularly young people who have the potential but need a platform and a push. It set the next several years of my life on fulfilling a journey to impact young people.

Steve Jobs always talks about how you can only connect the dots looking back, but these plot twists happen because you had no interest in going into that. Your friend drags you into it. Here, you have this life-changing experience and humbling because you see a child do that, and you’re like, “Would I have done that?”

Look at the character in the sense of values of this young child who has gone through so much. That launches you into this greater trajectory of creating businesses that can help young people grow and thrive and become, which is beautiful. That’s what I think is so beautiful. The symphonies we create together are because there’s free will, but there’s also this interesting dance of destiny that comes into play, which is cool. Talk a little more about what you created from that and what your life’s work is like right now.

That moment made me realize that we don’t remember days. We remember moments. How do we create more moments? The next step for us was the first company created out of college, which was a study abroad program to take college students on trips overseas. The belief was that if you could get students out of the classroom and out of their comfort zone, they would be ripe. I say it this way. A change of pace plus a change of place equals a change of perspective. You can get people out of those places. The same is true for adults. It’s not students.

We don't remember days. We remember moments. Share on X

That was our audience of students. We did that for a few years. We saw an amazing transformation with students. The two things that I had a desire to do were reach a larger group and do it on a scale that impacted students across a socioeconomic spectrum. The journey after that was about how we impact more students across the country. It led to a program that we created. This is the Chick-fil-A meter. I’m going to say Chick-fil-A twice. We’ll try not to say it the rest of the time, but a program with Chick-fil-A, called Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, is in high schools across the country.

What happens if you enter that academy? What type of support do you get?

We believe that students have the opportunity to make a difference. Pearl Buck said it this way. I feel like you can hang with this, Kathy. A lot of adults can’t anymore. He said, “The young don’t know enough to be prudent. Therefore, they attempt the impossible and achieve it generation after generation.” I spend a lot of my time now working with executives, but do you know what I love about working with young people? They’re not as jaded and cynical. They’re not as quick to tell you what can’t happen.

The program is designed to give students a framework to create a project to impact their community. It’s amazing what these students come up with these visions to make a difference. Kathy, it sounds like a nonprofit. We’d have all about impact. What I love is this intersection of purpose and business. How do you do that together? We’re able to do that in a way that accomplishes the objectives of a brand while at the same time being true to the impact that we want to make.


Have you heard of the concept of Ikigai? It’s the intersection of your natural gifts and passions with what the world needs. That’s where the magic happens because talk about the young mind. The young mind is open to possibility and potential. I often wonder how we would all be at any age if we lived through our hearts at a young level to know what’s possible, take the curated wisdom that we’ve accumulated through our careers in our lives, and dream even bigger.

So much of what we talk about in the Compassion Lab is about raising consciousness. Raising consciousness means that you take a step up and out into what you could create beyond limitation and know that you are always thinking about the greater good and how to be in service. That’s what you’re doing with these programs. I would love to see more of that energy and that spirit across all age demographics. I agree with you. The young have a certain way of doing that. I love hearing how much you light up when you talk about this.

In some ways, we need to be more honest with young people. We need to let them think about their potential and help them as they think about their path to the future. With a younger audience, I will always draw these three concentric circles. When you talk about Ikigai, if you want to find your purpose, you find it at the intersection of three things, Affinity, Ability, and Opportunity.

If you want to find your purpose, you find it at the intersection of three things: affinity, ability, and opportunity. Share on X

Affinity is what you enjoy. Ability is what you’re good at, and you need both. When you say, “Do what you care about.” If you’re not good at it, that doesn’t work long. The opportunity is what they are willing to pay you to do. There’s affinity and ability, but there’s no opportunity. That’s a great hobby. That’s not a great career. While we talk about it with young people, you’re a reminder that it’s not too late when you’re talking about raising consciousness that you can be 40, 50, 60, or 70. It’s never too late to be what you might have been. That’s what we need to do.

I don’t know if you know Chip Conley. He’s a wonderful friend. He started the Modern Elder Academy, which is for people in midlife. The whole idea is, what can you create from midlife? We’re talking about how you stay inspired from youth to old age. We all know some older people. I watched that documentary about Blue Zones. These people are 100 years old. They’re dancing, vibrant, and amazing. They’re living from inspiration.

Engagement And Inspiration

Let’s talk about inspiration because this is a big part of your mission in this world. Before we hit record, we were like, “How do you operationalize inspiration? How do you answer the why for people on how important it is?” You think it’s obvious, but it’s not always obvious. Let’s start with this question. What’s the difference between engagement? We talk a lot about whether you are engaged in the corporate arena and business. What’s the difference between engagement and inspiration?

That’s tough because they, on the surface, look a lot alike. I believe you will not consistently be engaged if you aren’t inspired. Engagement is, do I show up every day intentionally about the work I’m doing? Inspiration is, am I excited about it? Does it breathe life? The word inspire means to breathe life into. Motivation and engagement are similar. They will sustain you for a season. Inspiration is something that you need to sustain you over the long haul.

We will all ebb and flow, but that’s why we’re talking about getting to that sweet spot of your gifts and what the world needs. When you work in that, you can have a bad day, and difficult things happen because life is life. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows all the time, at least not in my world. If your purpose fundamentally inspires you, you can handle the rough stuff because you’re grounded in the vision of what you’re trying to create. I might be engaged because it might stimulate my intellect, and I might find this challenging, like the people I’m working with. That’s different than doing something from the heart, that vision.

Can I share with you this inspirational journey that I’ve been on because I’m curious about your thoughts on it? We started ADDO in 2011. ADDO is the Latin word for inspire. When you say, “Inspiration is something that I care a lot about.” If I’m being transparent, there were a few years, 2015, 2016, and 2017, where I felt a little insecure about that because our mission is to inspire people today to impact tomorrow. I had somebody I won’t mention saying, “That’s not a real business. That’s a nonprofit. Real businesses focus on delivering shareholder value. That’s what a business is. I feel like there was a season of waffling.

As the journey went on, what I realized is, especially when we started to have these challenges post-COVID and even a little bit before that with the war for talent and people leaving, why are companies having trouble attracting people? Why do they have so much trouble retaining them? Why do they have so much trouble engaging them? It’s because the people aren’t inspired.

Inspiration is not this fluffy knife to have woo-woo. It is what we need. There is a cost to people not being inspired. It’s costing you customers and turnover costs. I have asked thousands of people two questions over the last several years, and they are striking. My first question is, are you inspired at work right now? This is not a scientific study. Nobody gets uncomfortable with it. Ninety-plus percent say they’re not inspired at work.

The Ingredients To Inspiration

If they’re in front of their boss, they raise their hand. They’re inspired. How many are inspired? Most of them are. I’ll ask the second question. Can you think of a time you have been inspired at work? Almost every single person can think of that moment or multiple moments. They have been inspired. The question was, if there are times we are inspired and times we aren’t, could we identify what exists when we are inspired? I’m going to use a term that I do not probably have the credibility to use. Could we reverse engineer inspiration? Could we create an environment where we’re not inspired to help us be inspired?

It’s a recipe. What are the ingredients to the recipe? How do we create that all the time? Here’s why it looks simple, but here’s why it’s not simple. Since I’ve been in leadership for a long time, I’ve gone through these stages of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. I need to make everyone happy. I need to figure out how to create the perfect environment and do this and do that. Here’s the tricky part. The perfect environment for you is not the perfect environment for your three teammates, even in parenting. I do something. One of my sons is like, “Yeah, I love that.” The other one is like, “No, you embarrassed me by saying that loving thing in front of all my friends.”

Purpose, partners, and problems – without these three ingredients, you cannot consistently be inspired. Share on X

I wish people would see me now because I’m jumping up and facing my hand.

That’s why the simplest when you get into the nuance becomes complex because we’re trying to figure out that equation. Here’s what I’ve come to believe, and I would love your thoughts on this, Kevin. As leaders, we are inviting people into a space of possibility. We are removing the things that would be disengaging and uninspiring, but the rest of it has to be intrinsic, which even comes back to who we hire, how we place people in jobs, and how we challenge our teams. There’s some dance here because I have found as much as I’ve wanted to find that recipe, I’ve had a tough time doing it.

The last three things you mentioned line up with it. You talked about who we bring in, what they’re working on, and the challenges for them. You should have written the book because that is what I wanted. Let me share truthfully. I wanted to have the eight steps to be inspired, like seven steps and ten strategies that work. That helps you sell books and get speaking engagements.

What I found was it’s not 8, 10, or 12. I wouldn’t even say these three are all of them. I found that without these three ingredients, you cannot consistently be inspired. These are the table stakes baseline you need. You about named them. In my three, I’ll go ahead and give them to you, and we’ll unpack them. These are purpose, partners, and problems.

Purpose is what we’re talking about a lot of this show. I tell people this line all the time. When your purpose is clear, the mundane becomes meaningful. You realize why you’re doing what you’re doing. You’re willing to do a lot of other things that may not be fun, exciting, or glamorous, but you understand how they tie into your purpose.

Number two is partners. When you say the people you let in, that’s who you are going to do with life with. A lot of the reason people aren’t inspired is because we don’t have the right teams. There’s a quote that I love that’s weird, but I’ll share it with you. John Gardner said this. He said, “I pity the leader caught between unloving critics and uncritical lovers.”

I feel sorry for the leader caught between on one end. Unloving critics are the people that don’t like us. They criticize, critique, and condemn. They’re going to be negative no matter what. He said, “I feel sorry for the leader who has unloving critics on one side and on the other side, uncritical lovers.” I know lover is a weird term in leadership, but he’s saying, “The people who claim to like us, but they tell us only what we want to hear, not what we need to do.”

Kathy, as you have moved up in leadership, I feel like the higher you move in an organization, the tougher it is because you get more people who tell you what you want to hear. Your boss may not. You need people who love you enough to encourage you and also prod you at times. Purpose, partners, and this last one is problems.

You said the challenges. In some ways, we have misread the room in that thinking that everybody wants their life to be easier. Most of the time, this is because they have not fulfilled their purpose. The truth is, when you have a clear purpose, people want appropriate levels of challenge. When I’m in a room, I ask people this question 90% of the time. I ask them, “What have you accomplished in life you’re most proud of?” It’s like being a single parent, raising kids, staying married, getting out of debt, going through college, and running a marathon. The things that we accomplish in life we’re most proud of are always hard. Yet most of us spend most of our lives trying to make them as easy as possible. If we are going to be inspired, we have to have partners and appropriate problems.

I’ve thought about this a lot. I saw something on social media. It was some meme about you spending all this time at work and only X amount of time at the beach on vacation. I am all about vacation. I love the beach. I love to travel and time away. The reason it’s fabulous is the contrast between the challenges and what you’re working through. Humans are made that way. That’s how we grow.

Granted, with not 24/7, we’d all like a little break. I believe it doesn’t have to be hard. It can be fun because you’re like, “I have to crack the code here. I have to figure this out.” Even in doing that, there can be a flow where you’re trying to solve the problem. That is everything. When you look back on your life, it is what you overcome. It’s not what was handed to you on the silver platter.

It does require some attention. I have a friend who says, “People spend more time planning their vacation than they do planning their life.” We have three young kids. We got a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old, and an 11-month-old. We’re planning a trip to Disney. We’re leaving the eleven-month-old, who will be a year and a half. We’re leaving him at home. We’re taking our older ones. My wife and I have had so much discussion about this trip, like, “How do you get here? Should you stay at this place yet?”

You need to be prepared.

What is the level of intentionality, and how often am I intentional with other things? It’s not that’s not important. It’s important. There are other people who will stay in a career for several years who hate it and are not intentional about it.

It’s because we don’t like change. It’s the devil we know. It’s hard for humans to make that shift. It’s interesting because I was talking to my mom. We were talking about this concept. We want to do the right work in our lives as we evolve as humans. Her question was like, “What does that look like? What do I have to do?” There are a lot of practices in this, but I would boil it down to this one thing. Are you aware and awake?

I can tell you I have days that are not my best days, but I’m aware because I’m like, “I’m not feeling good. I’m a little bit down.” I’m aware of that. I’m not rejecting that, but I know it’s affecting my performance for that day. I’m aware that if someone comes to me, and it is an employee or one of my sons, am I moving slowly enough to pick up on what they need? Not what they say but what their energy is.

That sense of awareness, which is interchangeable with intentionality, is saying, “I’m going to show up to the best of what I have in every moment. That’s going to change.” It’s being aware because we’ve all been asleep at the wheel. We’re driving home. We’re not paying any attention. We’re unconscious. If I talk about consciousness, it’s the opposite of going through life asleep.

When you say you’re asleep at the wheel, I think about when I get up in the morning and drive to my office. I’ve done it thousands of times. I’m on autopilot. I know where I’m going. If I’m going to Coca-Cola in Atlanta, where I’m not normally driving into it, I’m driving in there, or when I land at LAX, and I’m going to meet you at a place I’ve never been before, I’m aware of what I’m doing.

Autopilot in certain seasons has benefits. We’re allowed to think and do other things. I can listen to my podcast on there. I can do other things. The problem is when we stay on autopilot when we need to not be. That’s where you’re talking about this awareness. Some people hear that, and they’re like, “If I walk through being aware all the time, that may feel overwhelming sensory overload.” How do you recognize the need to turn off autopilot and turn on awareness in certain seasons and moments?

I think about that in multiple dimensions. Some of that is turning on awareness physically. What did I eat? When was the last time I worked out? Did I get enough sleep? Sometimes, it’s intellectually. What am I thinking about? Sometimes, it’s emotionally. I don’t even realize this. I walked into a meeting. There was an important meeting. I had looked at my phone before somebody walked in. Somebody had texted me some bad news.

This isn’t bad news as somebody has died. This is not that bad news. It was a client thing, but it affected my entire meeting because, emotionally, I was there. I think about spiritually who I am. When you turn on awareness, I challenge people to turn them on in all of those areas because you may think it’s these other things, but it may be the awareness that you haven’t eaten well.

You and I like to deal not in the black-and-white tangible but in some of the more philosophical dynamics. I think about it as the energy of the interactions. What’s the nonverbal? Is it 70%, 80%, or 2%? What’s the right number? It’s not what I’m saying to you. It’s my nonverbal. Nonverbal is not my facial expression. It’s how I’m moving my body, but it’s my energy. When you get that text and are annoyed, concerned, or want to solve the problem, you are not present fully. You were present, but you were with that text.

That happens all the time. I’ve had times when I get into problem-solving mode. I have to figure this out. It’s go-time. I’ll get serious in my demeanor. I’ve had team members come to me later like, “Are you okay?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m fine. It’s go-time.” On the other hand, I create a space at other times. I’m like, “What’s going on with you?” I’m inviting people in.

The power of managing that energy is a big deal because it changes your interactions. We’re talking about it at work, but as a parent, how does your child feel when you’re fully present to what’s going on with them enough to dig a little bit deeper, make sure that they feel heard, and say, “I believe you. Tell me more about that.” There’s such a difference.”

The thing that resonates in my mind is that in business, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to manage our time, and we need to focus on how to manage our energy. It makes a huge difference, not the quantity of time we spend but the way we show up, especially in leadership.

It’s a huge difference. The challenge we’re having is how do we architect our day and our week. We’ve all lived those days. We’re like next, next, back to back, back to back. We don’t have the ability to recover in the right way. We might check the box we get through the day, but what’s the quality of the interactions? With this whole interchange of quantity versus quality, how in business and in life are we choosing to create a life of quality? We love checking off the list. It feels good, but was that interaction or that activity fruitful and aligned? That takes a little bit more time.

The intentionality piece is key. When we are intentional and we can align our energy in the right way, we get disproportionately better results. The output is better. The thing that we’ve talked about before that is key is some of this is tougher to quantify. When you can’t quantify it, that’s why it’s often overlooked. I can quantify time more easily than I can quantify energy. Let’s focus on that. I don’t know if we’re going to get better results from that. I can quantify productivity in a way that I can’t quantify the inspiration levels of our team. What we know is that when our team is inspired, they are not only more productive but also have better output.

When our team is inspired, they are not only more productive but their outputs are also better. Share on X

The Inspiration Level Of The Leader

There’s no question, but you’re right. It’s challenging to measure it so that you can say, “X equaled Y.” In the business world, it is what we need and want. Here’s a question for you returning to the inspiration thread. There is a belief in a saying that an organization cannot go beyond the consciousness level of the leader. When we think about how we evolve in consciousness, I would think that it is the same. That it also can’t move beyond the inspiration level of the leader. Do you think that’s true? Why?

Yes and no. Let’s start with yes. If you, as the leader, are not inspired, the level of inspiration on your team will never exceed yours. Not consistently. For seasons, they’re doing something meaningful, but you have got to find a way to be inspired. Over time, if you’ve checked out, I can promise you they have. That’s where I say yes.

Here’s where I say no. I do believe the leader needs to be more inspired. A lot of times, when you hear inspiration, it creates a concern or insecurity among some leaders who do not see themselves as inspirational leaders because they think the inspirational leaders are the ones who get up and give the speech. Here’s how the team is going. They lay out the strategy. Everybody is ready to run through a brick wall.

A leader who may find themselves more introverted or tactical and are not as good with their verbal skills may find themselves to not be as inspirational. I believe in those moments. You can still inspire your team. You have to do three things. You have to foster, find, and fuel. Foster inspiration, find it and fuel it. You have to create the environment to exist. The second is you have to find it. You may be inspired, but you’re not inspirational. Find stories on your team that are inspirational, and your job is to fuel it.

The most inspiring leaders don’t try to manufacture inspiration. They find it and fuel it. You don’t have to manufacture. You find it, and if it’s a fire, imagine I’m blowing on the fire. I’m trying to breathe life into it. I’m taking gasoline and pouring it on there. You need to be inspired, but if you don’t find yourself to be inspiring, find those stories and fuel them and you can still be a catalyst in your organization.

It’s that confusion with charisma. Some people are charismatic. What would the Gen Zs call it? They got the risk. Not everyone has the risk. I have worked for leaders who inspired me by what they modeled. I knew that they walked their talk. They could stand in front of the room and say, “This is what we’re going to do. This is why it matters.” They could say it. They didn’t have any pom-poms or jazz hands.” I knew it was real because charisma can backfire. If it’s all charisma, there’s nothing behind that.

Going back to this delicate balance we touched on earlier, intrinsic and extrinsic, the equation is tough because people respond to different types of personalities. I love what you’re saying about foster, find, and fuel. Here’s where I want to dig even deeper because this is connected to the level of integrity and value that the organization has. There are 1,000 books and theories about leadership. Where do you think this level of alignment and value comes into play to inspire people?

There are many thoughts here. Let’s start with two. I’m curious about your thoughts on this. When we think about value, your value is only a value if it costs you something, like if it’s worthwhile. A lot of times, we say we value something, but we value integrity. That’s table stakes. A value is what I care about enough that I’m willing to sacrifice for it.

I’m not saying this should be the same for every business, but we say that we value people in our business, and we use this tagline because we do focus a lot on quantitative measures. We talk about all these numbers and say, “Every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters.” If each of those stories matters and we’re going to value people, it has to influence our behavior. Our beliefs have to impact our behavior. That doesn’t mean that somebody is not going to get fired. It doesn’t mean that everything is going to always be great. What it means is we’re going to be careful in the way that we do something.

I debated saying this. I probably shouldn’t, but I’m going to say it. In most businesses, values are created more by the marketing department to put externally. They sound nice, but it doesn’t drive behavior. When they’re most effective is when they drive behavior. When an individual can then link up with the values of a business and say, “Their values resonate with me,” that’s what I want to be about personally. What’s your take on that?

I would add that it comes back to this intentionality we were talking about because I have taught a course in the past for an individual to identify their core values and make some assessments on how they’re living by them. What has been surprising to me in the process has been how many people haven’t thought about it.

If I say, “What are your top three values?” They’re like, “I don’t know.” We might say, “Integrity is important.” There are a ton of values. There are going to be moments in your life when they’re conflicting. You have to make a choice. Do I value risk? Do I value security? Do I value honesty? It takes some thought. This is a full-circle conversation.

For those reading who say, “I’m not in leadership. I’m doing my thing.” Let’s talk to everybody for a minute about this. Everyone gets to decide, “Who do I want to be? What am I about? Are those values true to my essence?” Sometimes, you might say, “One of my values is I’m going to be super courageous.” Maybe that’s not your jam and essence. Back to Ikigai, I do think there’s got to be some intersection.

Once you choose, “This is where I stand, and I’m going to show up that way again,” I promise you, you might not be the leader of the team, but you’ll be the team member that everyone looks to because they’re going to go that person. They know who they are, and they show up that way. Haven’t you seen that time and time again?

Those individuals who are driven by their values are often the most centered leaders. That’s what people are looking for. It’s somebody who is solid. That’s where I say their cost values will cost you. You trust that person because you know they’re not going to be blown by this fad or this person’s opinion. If it goes against their values, they’re not going to change from it.

Wouldn’t you want a friend and a partner that way? Someone that you know who they are.

Let’s talk about that because if we talk about friends, the reality is the statistics would say that people are lonelier now than they’ve ever been. Yeah. The oldest lack of friendship. This old quote keeps coming back to mind for me and people who are starving in that area. The late great Zig Ziglar used to say, “If you go out looking for a friend, you’ll find they’re scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.” When you are saying this to me, the reminder is we want a leader who has values, but let’s be the leaders who have those. Let’s start by being those people and being that type of friend. It’s amazing how that will help cultivate a community of like-minded individuals.

We want a leader who has values, but let's be the leaders who have those. Let's start by being those people. It's amazing how that will help cultivate a community of like-minded individuals. Share on X

I believe the quote, “We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.” This is common stuff. I’m not saying anything new here, but are you the hero or the victim of your story? We all know the victims are like, “They’re that way, and I can’t be this because of that.” Are you going to step into the arena and be the hero of your story or not? It doesn’t mean there isn’t a challenge, but you get to the end of your life with, like, “I stepped in, and I did what I needed to do, which is the way it ought to be.”

I’m watching our time. We can go for a long time here. I still have a few rapid-fire questions to close this out. Before I go to rapid-fire, I want to make sure people know. If they want to book you to speak and learn about your work and you, and you’ve written all these great books, where can they find you?

There are two best ways. One is A lot of people ask me do I go by all three names. I don’t. Kevin Scott is common. It’s easier to find on LinkedIn and all those channels. Our company is ADDO. Our website is What I do speaking is in a room. What we like to do at ADDO is take that and infuse it into an entire organization to help communicate the goals of the leader and the language of the learner. If I’m with a group of leaders and they want to get it down to the front line, those are the internal and sometimes even customer-facing campaigns that ADDO does.

Rapid Fire Questions Just For Fun

You do an amazing job of it because you can hear from the conversation. You believe in this, from your life story, from that moment that young person kept half a sandwich for grandmother. You want to spread inspiration through the world. The world is changed by intentionality, inspiration, consciousness, and a value-based life. It’s fantastic. Thank you for contributing to that. Can we end with a few rapid-fire questions for fun?

Yeah, that’ll be fun.

The first one, Kevin, is what would surprise people about you?

My desire for adventure would be a surprise to people. In the season of a lot of traveling, I got to do a lot of cool things. Cage diving with great white sharks out the coast of South Africa, trekking mountain gorillas in Rwanda and rafting the Nile in Uganda. Those things are fun. I don’t get to do as many of those now with three kids, but I love that.

Having three kids is as difficult as trekking with gorillas. You brought the adventure home. Those other things are fantastic. The next question is, if you weren’t doing what you were doing now and you had an entirely different career, what would it be?

My kindergarten teacher said that I would be a lawyer, a preacher, or a politician.

I could see that.

I don’t think that’s flattering. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but I love to be in front of a room and help people see a better potential or future for themselves. In one of those other areas, I don’t know about lawyers. Maybe not that one. Politics is bad these days.

Preacher, I could see that you are. You’re gifted on the stage. You belong there. The third one is that we’ve been talking about living this way this whole conversation, but what makes you feel most alive?

There are two things that come immediately to mind. One is seeing other people live out their purpose when it moves to action. The toughest part about speaking is you see people get excited, but seeing them get excited doesn’t make the difference. It’s when they put it into practice. Specifically, I love seeing that with my kids. When I see the light bulb turn on for them and they understand something and connect how practicing ends up affecting how they perform, it gets me fired up.

What was the last book that opened your mind that blew you away?

This one is not one that I’ve put into practice well. John Mark Comer wrote a book called The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. I’m an Enneagram three. I find a lot of value in being a human doing sometimes instead of a human being of accomplishing and checking things off the list. I’m trying to learn how to be comfortable being and not always doing.

Most of us are human doings a lot of the time. We feel you. We talked about what makes you alive. What brings you peace?

Faith is a key part for me and finding those moments alone. I’m trying to learn. My wife is teaching me solitude and moments. I’m not good at that yet, but a lot of times, it’s being on a car ride by myself somewhere and having that time to think when I’m not sitting in traffic. Atlanta and LA are two bad cities for that, but in other places, they can bring me peace.

Last question, Kevin. Your definition of a life well lived.

A life well lived is one that will outlive you. I launched a podcast with a mutual friend of ours around the concept of legacy. Legacy, in some way, seems like this big thing. Somebody asks a question, “Do you know your great-great grandparents’ name?” I don’t. I know a lot of people don’t. To think this concept is that we’re 2 or 3 generations away from people not remembering a whole lot about us. Is legacy doing those big things that people are going to remember forever? Are a real legacy, that intentionality, whether it’s your family, friends, or community, and pouring into them in a way that will make their life better? A life well lived is to invest in things that will outlive you.

A life well lived is one that will outlive you. Share on X


What I love about your answers is service comes up again. I would like to thank you for being one of the people who wants to inspire, raise the game and consciousness, and be of service to the greatest of good to others. I’m honored to know you and to know your work. Thank you so much for taking the time to have this fun conversation. I’m grateful.

I’m grateful for what you do, and thanks for being such a light of inspiration in the corporate environment.

Thank you.


Important Links


About Kevin Paul Scott

The Coca-Cola Compassion Lab | Kevin Paul Scott | Being InspiredKevin Paul Scott has traveled to six continents and spoken to leaders from more than 100 countries. Kevin co-founded the leadership consultancy ADDO, Latin for “Inspire”, which has developed the national Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, Coca-Cola Leader Lab, and the Baltimore Ravens Leadership Institute. He speaks and consults organizations on elevating the employee experience through attracting, retaining, and developing talent, while inspiring brand loyalty in employees and customers.

For his leadership and business acumen, Kevin has been featured on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. He is the author of five books, including his latest: Inspired Every Day.

Kevin is the proud husband to Laura and father of three children. Together, they enjoy cheering on the Atlanta Braves and University of Georgia Bulldogs.


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