Global Leadership Series
Unlocking Resilience Podcast: William Shatner – Resilience Makes the Leader
Everbridge CEO, David Meredith spends some time talking with award-winning entertainer William Shatner to discuss the role of resilience in leadership. Shatner reveals insights into his experience with numerous leaders and CEOs. From discussing his own experience as a leader in films, television, and beyond, to developing his personal brand of questing for knowledge, Shatner and Meredith touch on leaders of popular companies such as Priceline and Amazon, as he heads into space on Blue Origin with Jeff Bezos. Listen for more about Shark Week, Rescue 911, and Shatner’s album.
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Episode Show Notes:
2:20 – “Hey, why don’t we drive that motorcycle from Chicago to Los Angeles?” A Lesson in Staying Resilient
5:55 – “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Adaptability and leadership.
6:58 – The importance of “educated guesses” and knowing what you don’t know.
7:57 – Dr. Fauci’s leadership during COVID.
10:08 – Technology: digital transformation’s importance in mitigating effects of critical events.
11:34 – Taking leaps. Jeff Bezos and Regression to the Mean
14:30 – William Shatner as Artificial Intelligence
16:36 – Businesses and Futuristic Technology
18:40 – The importance of Hyper-Local Threat Intelligence
19:09 – Leadership is Learning from Mistakes – Priceline’s Stock
21:30 – Building an Iconic Brand – “There was some talk about me going up with Bezos on his Blue Origin.”
24:20 – Questing for Knowledge
26:16 – Rescue 911 and crisis management
29:00 – William Shatner’s Upcoming projects: 29:33 – New album, Shark Week
31:22 – Dealing with Fear and the Courage of First Responders
33:37 – “I Don’t Understand”
36:47 – “Ask questions, just ask questions, seek knowledge.”
David Meredith (00:00):
Hello and welcome. I’m David Meredith CEO of Everbridge. I’m honored to host this edition of our podcast, which serves as the latest extension of our successful Everbridge Executive Speaker series, where we featured many world leaders, including presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, former secretary of state Madeline Albright, General Colin Powell, healthcare experts, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, Sanjay Gupta, and Scott Gottlieb and C-level business leaders, including Sir Richard Branson, Josh Harris, who co-founded Apollo Global Management and co-owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, as well as discussions with board and C-level business executives from Major League Baseball, Goldman Sachs, Moderna, the Coca-Cola Company, Salesforce.com, Volkswagen, and many others.
David Meredith (00:50):
We developed this speaker series to share best practices and insights on the confluence between leadership, technology, and resilience, both at the personal and organizational level. I feel honored to welcome our legendary guest today. William Shatner. Mr. Shatner has cultivated a career spanning over 60 years as an award-winning actor-director, producer-writer, recording artists, and horseman. He is one of Hollywood’s most recognizable figures and a major philanthropist. Listing his accomplishments in television, film and stage alone would take up our allotted of time. So let’s jump into the interview. Mr. Shatner, welcome. We met once before a few years ago, after you spoke at the Tobin Center in San Antonio, where I was on the board of directors. You sold out the theater and the audience was completely enraptured by your presence and storytelling. And we’re really excited to talk to you again today. So thank you.
William Shatner (01:46):
David Meredith (01:47):
So I wanted to start, if you look at your career span more than six decades, you’ve been famously dubbed the “Comeback kid” by the media for your continued success, as an award-winning actor, director, producer, author, recording artists among many other endeavors. At Everbridge, We’re using our technology to help leaders from all types of organizations to maintain resilience in the face of critical events that threaten them. So we were interested to get your perspectives based on your successful career. What are some of the lessons you’ve learned about staying resilient and how people in organizations can do the same?
William Shatner (02:25):
Well, first of all, I’m working from the premise that I know nothing. I’ve got a new talk show on the air, going on the air in a week or two, which is entitled: “I Don’t Understand”. And it’s everything I don’t understand, which is everything I don’t understand. I mean, I don’t understand anything, but what comes to mind when you mentioned a problem and the resilience and what do you do? I, along with a couple of other people designed and built, I didn’t build it, we farmed that out of course, a motorcycle really futuristic motorcycle. And we decided, I decided, “Hey, why don’t we drive that motorcycle from Chicago to Los Angeles?” And we introduced it to the press and I hadn’t seen it before I got in it. And I got in it and it didn’t work. We had 150 people of press and the motorcycle wouldn’t go.
William Shatner (03:26):
So we adjourned. And we went back to a boardroom and 14, 15 of us sat there. “What are we going to do?” Do we just say, “it’s a bust and we’re not going to do it.” No, we couldn’t. So I’m filming this as a documentary. And now I’m thinking of the documentary that I’ve put together, I directed and we’ve edited. And I’m thinking of that round table that we were all sitting at. And I, as the leader, so-called leader, director of the film and my idea, and I said, “what do we do?” I assessed everybody around the table. I needed to know what everybody thought. And after I heard everybody’s thought, somehow they germinated an idea that came from me. Why don’t we rent me a motorcycle immediately put this one in a cart, in a truck, ship it to every place that we were going to stop, but I would still ride across the continent on a motorcycle, which is what we did.
William Shatner (04:37):
So we had this round table discussion. I assessed everybody, got everybody’s facts and figures had an inspiration. And we went on that. Now that inspiration could have come from anybody, as long as I recognize that, that was the solution. And that was one episode in my life of dealing with a critical situation and wondering, not having any idea of what to do and devising a methodology.
David Meredith (05:06):
Well, I love that example because so often in business and in life things, don’t go according to plan. And that’s really the essence of resilience. What happens? How do you handle that? And just kind of go through it, around it, figure out a way, as you did, in that particular case, in a collaborative way.
William Shatner (05:21):
What we all know to one degree or another, that nothing works out the way you want. What was it?… Mike, the heavyweight champion said that “you go in with a plan and in the ring and the moment you get hit in the face, the plan falls apart.” The moment you start something, every plan, the plans that you had are immediately, what happens in real life after your plan is made is sometimes
David Meredith (05:56):
Yeah, that’s a great quote. Yeah. Everyone has a plan to their punch in the face. Actually, I wasn’t going to ask you about this, but did I see a tattoo on your face?
William Shatner (06:06):
Mike Tyson, Mike Tyson. So I’ve been around Mike for a while now, and that is something he said, you have a battle plan and you get hit in the face and everything. And that’s the truth for anything. It’s one thing to start your business, start your day. And it’s going according to plan. That’s great. There’s nothing new going on there, but the moment the phone doesn’t work. The moment somebody comes in with a call with an emergency, all your plans are out the window and now you need to be resilient. And it’s that resilience that makes the leader.
David Meredith (06:45):
That’s excellent. Thank you. I also wasn’t going to ask you about this. So I’m actually curious, you mentioned your new show. So could you just share, what are some of the things that you don’t know about that you’re going to profile? Because in 90 years, you know a lot of stuff. So I’m curious what happened.
William Shatner (06:59):
No, no. I got to tell it’s the other way around in 90 years you learn, you don’t know anything. And the other part, if you’re able to come to the other truth is nobody else does either. So you’ve got to approach everybody like “Oh that’s okay.” But they really don’t know because you secretly know, you really don’t know. You’re kind of guessing almost all the time. Now it’s an educated guess. You’re not going to say “I’m going to jump off the bridge”, but you’re also not knowing quite what to do. You’re guessing. The really experienced people or the people with an ego the people who… Have a bit of an ego, I guess the best word I can come up with say, “well, I know what to do. I can, I can do this.” But most of us are saying, “oh gosh, what do I do now?” And you’re making educated guesses. And the guesses has to come from facts.
William Shatner (07:57):
I’m thinking, for example, you had on your series, Dr. Fauci.
Watch Dr. Fauci’s COVID19R2R session now
Imagine putting yourself in his position from the very beginning, when he’s being denigrated and he’s looking at facts coming in, that aren’t whole facts. He’s making decisions based on abbreviated facts. He makes the right decision, but it’s the wrong decision. And he saddled with it. “Have mass, don’t have mass get mass.” And he saddled with that for six months. “Oh, you told us to have mass.” “oh, you should have told us to have mass. You told us not to have mass. Now you have mass.” He didn’t know he didn’t have the facts. And now the facts began to come in and he began to change his opinion. Of course, he would. And then he was denigrated for so long. He had to hold his opinion. He had to hold his calmness. He had to be within himself, Dr. Fauci. He had to have enough self-knowledge to know, “I know what I’m talking about. And I know what I’m saying is the truth. And I will continue to say it.” That’s a huge example of leadership.
David Meredith (09:08):
Yeah. We actually are doing a lot to support the CDC foundation. They’re doing so much good work around the world and public health workers in general. I think have gotten a hard time, but they’re really working hard trying to keep people safe. So we try to support them as best we can.
William Shatner (09:24):
As well, you should. And it’s my opinion that this pandemic that we’re in the United States, at least we’re coming out of is a rehearsal for the things that are, that are coming our way. And we all know what that those are building walls already in Miami to hold back the sea and all that kind of thing. That’s happening down the road in our lifetime, those major problems are going to work themselves out. We need to have the facts we need to act. Global Warming is a fact of life, we’re all going to have to deal with it. And it’s going to be companies like yours. That’s going to have to help us make solutions.
David Meredith (10:08):
Thank you. Yeah at Everbridge, we’re really focused on how can we use technology to bring people together, to mitigate some of these really intractable issues that we’re facing as a society.
William Shatner (10:18):
What we need is a battle plan. Like they had with the atomic bomb. We need to, I don’t know, get carbon dioxide out of the air. We need innovation. We need technology. We need to put this country behind the technology that will get us out. Technology got us here. Technology can get us out of here. If the people will it and I don’t know who it’s up to get the people to will it, but it’s do or die. Absolute necessity.
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David Meredith (11:00):
Yeah, I agree. And I think that gets us to this concept of leadership. So let me ask you about that because, at the end of the day, we have the tools, how do we get the leadership to bring us there? And you’ve portrayed and written about legendary leaders throughout your career. Many people listening to this podcast are CEOs of multinational corporations, global leaders in government and healthcare. So I was interested to hear some of the lessons in leadership that you’ve observed in your lifetime. And particularly during times of crisis, such as what we’ve all been dealing with going through this global pandemic.
William Shatner (11:34):
Right. Well, I know nothing. So I’m a little help in any specific. Well, I look at somebody like Jeff Bezos who worked out of a garage, and then several years later has this an incredible company. What made him think that he could do this thing that nobody else had done? Taking advantage of this new technology and working with this new technology and making decisions based on intuition. He had no facts but somewhere buried in his brain was, “well, let’s do this for the first time. Let’s deliver here, let’s make this bigger than that.” I mean, those individuals, they are so assured that what they’re going to do is the right thing to do, or at least their temerity of doing something is less than their concept of going forward. They’re more forward-looking than they are looking back, but surely they’ve got to look back and say, “Am I ruining my family? Am I ruining my life by making this decision that nobody else has done before? Because I think I can do it.”
William Shatner (12:52):
What kind of an ego does that need? What kind of facts does that need to marshal? What kind of assistance does he have around him to say, “If you do this, if you do that, maybe this, maybe that.” And he has a group of people around him that can offer that individual, man or woman, the advice that he can make that decision. War leaders have had it all the time.
William Shatner (13:15):
That’s the way war leaders work. They have people who are knowledgeable in many areas, but finally, as the President has said, “the buck stops here.” And that’s a very unusual individual who has that kind of ego to say, “yes, I think that’s the way to go.”
David Meredith (13:35):
You know, it’s interesting. You touched on something there and in preparing for this and looking at your incredible career and seeing the success that Bezos has had, as he’s recently stepped down as CEO, and you look at people like Michael Jordan, who’s won six championships. There’s this concept called Regression to the Mean, and what that means is if you’re below average, you kind of get pulled up to average. If you’re above average, you get satisfied at a certain point, you slow down and you go down to average. And I was curious if you’ve thought about what is that drive, because there’s been points I’m sure at your career, and you’re you’re as prolific today as you’ve ever been. You’ve got a new TV series. I watched a new movie. It’s great. You know, your books, you’re doing everything. It seems like that thing in Jeff Bezos, because he could have stopped halfway along and had a legendary career. And is there something, is there some magic there that…
William Shatner (14:30):
I don’t know about Mr. Bezos. For myself, I’m offered, I’m told of an opportunity. For example, a gentlemen, Steven Smith comes up to me and says, “I’m working in Artificial Intelligence and this is our idea. We photograph you for a morning” or in my case for five days, “we’ll put 18 cameras around. We’ll shoot you in 3D. We will ask you,” in my case, ” 1,000 questions over five days, we will feed this to Artificial Intelligence. We’re going to call it Story File. And we have the technology in which you can press a button on your computer and ask this 3D image of you, Bill Shatner, a question about yourself.”
William Shatner (15:24):
What is the use of that technology? My mind left immediately to gravestones. Imagine being buried, instead of a picture or a semi-permanent camera in your gravestone, you press a button, anybody coming to visit you after you’re dead and ask “Daddy, what was it like when…” And you, daddy gives an answer to the people who have come to grieve. And they’re there for who knows how long.
William Shatner (15:59):
Salesman, the best salesman in the world records all this. And then you can ask that computer, any question, and that salesman, whether it’s a car, you went to buy a car, you ask this car salesman questions, he is programmed as Artificial Intelligence to answer the question. I can’t make a tour in Europe, this coming year, we’re going to film it and project it, and I will perform in 3D. I mean the use of 3D and Artificial Intelligence is only limited by our imagination.
William Shatner (16:36):
And we’re only beginning to come to grips with that. But that idea sang to me. I thought, “my God, of course!” I’m in the process of trying to stay with that level of that business that are on the horizon of technology on the horizon of the future. There’s so many things coming down the road that are futuristic. I mean, everything needs to be done. Everything needs to be cleaned up the air, the water, the people’s minds, businesses, technology, 5D I mean, there’s so much burgeoning right now. I have been in a storm of depression about the coming events, which I mentioned earlier. I fear for my children, my grandchildren, the coming world. But I happened to interview a guy on my show, I Don’t Understand, his subject and he teaches it is how can you achieve happiness?
William Shatner (17:43):
And he was the most positive person I’ve ever heard of. There’s less poverty in the world right now. There’s more education, technology is burgeoning and he went through the list of things that the world is coming to that is so great. It’s the first time I’ve heard somebody positive in, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody as positive and like you, I laughed and I was filled with joy until I read the news. I got depressed again. But there is reason to be positive. And you just have to look at the facts rather than being scared by all these fear mongers who say “the currency is dead and the country’s dead. Democracy is dead.” It’s not, not with leaders and people who marshal the facts, deal with the emergencies and come out on top.
David Meredith (18:40):
Yeah that’s a great point. This state of mind is hugely important. And AI is something we know a lot about. We use it to curate 25,000 data feeds so we can tell our customers when their situational awareness, if there are people or there are threats, if their supply chain are at danger, their operations. So we’re constantly looking to leverage more and more AI and machine learning to get better at that. But I love the examples you gave. And I think you’re right, they’re going to be popular.
William Shatner (19:09):
And then there’s equal examples of poor decisions made. I’ve been asked quite a bit about Priceline. So Priceline hired me to be their spokesperson so many years ago, and we started doing amusing commercials, and it was the dot-com era. And it was Priceline.com. And I was told, “don’t say, ‘Priceline’, you say ‘Priceline.com’. It’s like a whole name”. So I’d say “Priceline.com.” And they said, “alright we’re a young company. We don’t have any money.” And I said, “oh, I’ll tell you what, give me stock.” I’d never done that before, but I’ll take a flyer on the stock. So they gave me a lot of stock. It was like worth 25 cents. And then we began the commercials and this thing began, the dot-com companies went sky high and the stock went to an $175, something like that.
William Shatner (20:04):
And I thought “I’m rich! I’ve got thousands! I’m rich!” But there is, as you well know… What’s the phrase where you can’t sell the stock for a year and a half?
David Meredith (20:17):
William Shatner (20:17):
There’s a lockup. So I had a lockup, I had to wait a year and a half during which time the dot-com explosion disappeared.
David Meredith (20:30):
It became the “dot-bomb”
William Shatner (20:32):
It bombed, dot-com bomb. So now my stock was worth 25 cents again. So somebody said, “well, why don’t you sell it?” I might as well sell it. So I sold it. Whereupon my sagacity at my working with the company, the stock has dealt with $2,000 or something like that. And I don’t have any.
David Meredith (20:50):
Well I was going to ask you about that. Cause that was a great example. If you think about it, it’s almost a commodity type service, booking travel, and through the power of storytelling and the power, I think it might’ve been your personality. You really create a differentiation about something that was maybe hard to differentiate. And along those lines, I wanted to congratulate you for receiving this 2015 Voice Arts Icon Award for Lifetime Achievement. And what that means is when people hear your voice, anywhere in the world, they instantly know it’s you and that makes for an incredibly powerful brand. So one of the things, I guess, selfishly, we talked before about how Everbridge is going from a critical communications to now this new critical event management category leader. And we’re trying to use storytelling to educate people about that and the importance of it. So I was interested in terms of any lessons you have in terms of the nature of how do you create an iconic brand that’s globally recognizable, stands the test of time, either through companies you represented or just through your own brand over time, any lessons you could share with us on that?
William Shatner (22:00):
Well I think that’s very dangerous. I mean, for a company like Amazon and they deliver and that’s their brand and that’s what they stick with, although I’m sure that I know they’re going off into space. There was some talk about me going up with Bezos on his Blue Origin. And they’re all trying to do all that stuff, Tesla and all, but for me as an individual, orienting yourself to one idea, one concept like outer space or technology, I don’t want to do that. I want to do other things. So I’m doing talk shows, I’m doing Comicons, I’m doing things like this. Where I’m spreading myself around, because it seems interesting. So my brand for me is, do I find that interesting? Does that appeal to me? Why would I come on something like your show, where I know I’m totally unqualified, all I’m doing is making decisions for myself.
William Shatner (23:14):
Do I find that interesting? Do I not find that interesting? And I’m wrong as many times as I’m right only you don’t hear how I’m wrong. I’ve just told you about Priceline who paid me very well. So I was wrong about that, but the stock, had I waited months, had I knowledge had I talked to you and you said, “well, you know, booking travel is big.” I would’ve thought, “well, maybe I won’t sell it.” But as far as I’m concerned, all dot-coms were bad. And I listened to them. I didn’t get the facts.
William Shatner (23:45):
So branding is a very dangerous thing, I think. Because you can be known for a brand and that’s great, but if you step outside the brand to look for new fields, you may be condemned and they won’t buy what you have, because it’s not part of your brand. So you have to be careful about branding yourself. I don’t want to brand myself with being just futuristic. I want to brand myself with being, searching for knowledge of all kinds. I’m in the quest. In my latter days of life, I get a thrill out of acquiring knowledge.
William Shatner (24:24):
I get goosebumps when I take my phone and I start doing that thing, there’s a name for it, where you get to a red-lined word, and then you hit the word and it takes you further. And you go zigzagging through knowledge. The knowledge that humanity’s put together for the last 100,000 years. It’s incredible. It’s incredible. I’ve just been doing, prior to us talking, I’ve just been doing the history of the world, how the planet evolved the 4.5 billion years and the time it took to cool. I mean it’s fascinating to acquire this knowledge. To acquire knowledge is in itself a brand. I mean, I love acquiring knowledge. Is that a brand? I don’t know, but
David Meredith (25:14):
Fascinating answer because you have been able to connect with so many different generations all around the world. And I think part of that is your ability to continue to learn and expand and go outside the boundaries and it has been quite, I’m sure it’s very fulfilling and also quite a big part of probably your continued success.
William Shatner (25:35):
Why do we look for more knowledge? There’s a subject for I Don’t Understand, of what value me and the years that I have on me to know the geologic terminology and where each age, where each geologic age came and went and what was going on. I’m not going to use that. I’m using it right now, but only as an example of an itinerant search for knowledge. Of what value is that? And yet I’m thrilled by the acquisition of that knowledge.
David Meredith (26:16):
That’s great. I’ve got a few more I want to touch on before I lose you. One thing you worked on, which was actually groundbreaking at the time, and I remember watching it and it’s super relevant to what we’re doing. So you hosted Rescue 911, which was the first reality-based television series actually ran for impressive seven years. And I thought that series did a great job of serving as a teaching tool to many people. And a lot of times folks were credited that helped save viewers lives from what they learned.
William Shatner (26:47):
It saved thousands of lives.
David Meredith (26:50):
Absolutely. Yeah. And so, we have 2,000 customers that are first responders, and we actually have a set of solutions where we’re trying to transform the whole 911 system to a next generation version. So it’s something that we work on with the government.
William Shatner (27:04):
That’s a perfect match for your company, 911 and the whole crisis management there.
David Meredith (27:10):
Yeah. And so I guess, any thoughts, I mean, your experience in terms of the importance of critical event management…
William Shatner (27:17):
Let me tell you a fascinating story about the 911. And this was one of the shows and it’s remained in my mind ever since. A couple with children are in a house they’re sleeping at night and it’s stormy night outside, and they’ve got the heaters on and the wife wakes up with a terrible headache. She says to her husband, “I got this you got to take me to the hospital.” So they bundle up and they leave the children in the house and they drive to the hospital. And now they’re in the waiting room waiting. She’s got this terrible headache. And the television set is on in the lobby. And the television set is on Rescue 911. And on Rescue 911, they’re talking about monoxide gas and the symptoms of monoxide gas. And the lady says, “that’s my symptoms! And The children are in the house.” And they drive back and they saved their children based on the information they got from 911.
David Meredith (28:16):
William Shatner (28:18):
Incredible story isn’t it?
David Meredith (28:19):
If you never did anything besides that, you should feel pretty good.
William Shatner (28:22):
David Meredith (28:23):
Do you ever hear from those folks? Are they ever…
William Shatner (28:26):
No. They have Probably forgotten it all but I haven’t because in my mind I see her saying, “wait a minute, that’s what I’ve got. I’ve got this blinding headache. That’s what carbon monoxide poisoning is the children, Sam, the children!” And they go back into the storm and drive through the storm and get the kids out into the fresh air.
David Meredith (28:49):
That’s fantastic. That’s a really great story. Thank you. You’ve talked about again, you’re so active doing so many things. It’s hard to keep up with it. I wanted to give you an opportunity to talk about some of the other projects. My wife and I watched your new movie Senior Moment it’s hilarious with Christopher Lloyd. We enjoyed it. I got credit for doing a rom-com. So now my wife’s going to watch an action movie with me next time.
William Shatner (29:15):
We have to deal with that.
David Meredith (29:20):
Exactly. So I was curious, anything else, you talked about your new show. One thing you talked about earlier, you were talking about Shark Week. I don’t know if you want to share some of anything you’re working on in the future that you want to share with folks.
William Shatner (29:33):
Well, I mean, I’ve got a new album coming out. That’s going to be, I think the best thing I’ve ever done based on, and we wrote it. I have a friend of mine who’s a great poet in New York city. He has a friend that he went to university with and grew up and was part of a musical band. So he introduced me to Dan. So Rob, Dan and I worked on an album, a personal album of things, events that happened to me that I would talk to Rob the poet about and say, “well, you know, when I left home, I had all my belongings in a little cheap car, the little Morris Minor that I’d bought for $400 and I was on my way to Toronto, the New York of Canada. And I was crossing the bridge probably over the St. Lawrence river and an 18 Wheeler was coming at me. And it almost shoved me over the side of the bridge. And I realized, if I went over the side of the bridge and I drowned everything, everything that was in the car and me would have disappeared. It would be like, I’d never lived” but it didn’t happen.
William Shatner (30:43):
And then I realized in a philosophical way that everybody crosses a bridge and everybody has an 18 Wheeler coming at them. And we wrote a song [inaudible 00:30:55] and there’s 13 songs in the album of that ilk where personal things have happened, we’ve written a beautiful number, great musicians have come aboard to help with the tracks. And it’s called, “Bill” if you will. And it will be released in late August, it could be the best thing I’ve ever done I think. it’s of certainly great interest.
William Shatner (31:22):
You know, we’ve talked about Story File. The Shark Week thing was monumental. We dealt with fear, fear in everything is a huge factor in your business. You have an emergency and your first impulse is to panic and run. That’s just the nature of human beings. I marvel, I played a policeman on television for several years, and I got to know policemen quite well. Policemen are human beings filled with the same faults and glories of all humankind. And in order to go into a building where a criminal is trying to kill you, I mean, what kind of courage does that take? What kind of a human being runs towards the emergency as against, away from the emergency? As most of us will do, because they have an element of training, but training only goes so far, that part of your brain, which has to deal with emergency after emergency.
William Shatner (32:31):
And you realize that only by thinking only by knowledge, only by training, can you deal with emergencies, like an individual policeman has to. That’s the same thing as the CEO of a business that gets a hit. Don’t panic. You’ve got to deal with facts. You’ve got to learn not to fear. When I went down with those sharks, 18 foot Tiger sharks, looking at me with mouths that big. I mean I had to will myself to still my fear and there was help there, but at any moment, 10 feet away, they’re darkingly fast. It was an enormous experience doing Shark Week for me, which is all…
David Meredith (33:24):
Yeah, Really the premise of what we try to do is help people be prepared for the unexpected. And when you’re in that crisis have as much of that kind of pre-baked as possible. Because when you’re in the moment, it’s hard to figure it out exactly
William Shatner (33:37):
Impossible. Impossible. And in my show, “I Don’t Understand”, I’m asking questions all the time. “Tell me about this. Tell me what you mean. Well, I don’t understand.” I’m able to say I sold the show in my ability to say, “I don’t understand.” That means I really don’t understand anything. So Bob Ballard, the great ocean scientist who discovered the Titanic, filmed the Titanic, the ship itself. I said to him, “why would a world-class ocean scientist want to go film, take the time to go search for the Titanic? Why would you do that? I don’t understand why you would do that.” Watch the show and see the answer. It’s fantastic.
William Shatner (34:37):
So I have a show that allows me to ask questions. What is panic? How do you deal with panic? What do you mean you train them? What do you train? How do you get the facts? So I’m able to minutely go through with you and your business to sing, “but I don’t understand how did you get into it? Do you panic? Why do you panic? What is panic? I’m able to ask those questions, because I genuinely don’t understand. And it’s the most mundane things that we all take for granted. How does this work? How does it work? You understand how it works?
David Meredith (35:22):
Not as well as I should.
William Shatner (35:24):
No, you don’t understand. You don’t understand. If you don’t understand how it works, you don’t understand how it works. Not as well as I should, is a whatever the word is, an excuse for not understanding how it works, because if you don’t understand any of it, you don’t understand any of it.
David Meredith (35:43):
You know, right, absolutely.
William Shatner (35:43):
You may understand that the crystal vibrates, but what does that mean? Why does it vibrate? Why does a crystal, when you take a sliver of crystal from here and you vibrate it here and vibrates a 1,000 miles over there, instantaneously. Why?! We don’t know!
David Meredith (36:03):
Well, I’m going to tune into your show for sure. And I hope you have an episode, at least one on the UFO’s and the UAPs. Cause I’m kind of curious.
William Shatner (36:10):
We do UFO’s as well.
David Meredith (36:11):
Okay good good.
William Shatner (36:12):
I talked to the head of NASA about UFO’s and what they think and what they [inaudible 00:36:18]
David Meredith (36:18):
Excellent. Well, you’ve been very generous with your time, Mr. Shatner, in summation, I want to thank you again on behalf of society, humankind, all of your fans around the world for your prolific career, that continues to have such a deep and lasting positive impact on our culture and society. And as we wrap up, any parting advice for any leaders in terms of just personal resilience or anything you want to leave with people? You’ve already left so much.
William Shatner (36:47):
Ask questions, just ask questions, seek knowledge. That’s why we’re here I believe. We’re here to see the glory of the connection of the whole world.
David Meredith (36:59):
That’s great. Great note to end it on. Thank you again, Mr. Shatner. It’s been a pleasure. True pleasure speaking with you today.
William Shatner (37:05):
Thank you. Take care.
Discover the Competitive Advantage of Resiliency
About the “Unlocking Resilience: Global Leadership Series”: featuring William Shatner as its inaugural guest. The podcast features global influencers, government leaders, C-level executives and top healthcare experts as they discuss the confluence of leadership, technology and resilience at both the personal and organizational level. Topics include overcoming personal challenges to create a life of resilience, effective strategies for building organizational resilience and business continuity in the face of critical events, perspectives on the future of work, and leadership best practices for fulfilling duty of care in a post-pandemic world, among other topics.
The first-of-its-kind “Unlocking Resilience” podcast can be downloaded from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Deezer, and JioSaavn & Gaana.