Fire in The BellyFire in The Belly

Working With Essence - Carol Sanford Interview

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Carol has a precious way of looking at life. After a decades’ long career helping businesses continue to innovate in the long-term, Carol has found an approach to her work that integrates her Mohawk First Nations heritage and “logical” business economics. She has been called a “positive contrarian” by peers and her students for how she tries to embed traditional, holistic teachings in modern-day theory. We have a wonderful conversation about how to exercise our own capabilities to find out what we are made of, how we can trade passion for more sustainable caring, and how to make the most out of every day by waking up with the aim of staying humble and to learn something new. 



  • Don’t trust someone immediately if they call themselves an expert without testing it through your own life experience first. Someone self-identifying as an expert might mean they’ve studied a fragment of something for a number of hours but they also have a bit of an ego about what they’ve learned. 
  • Go into each day open and willing to learn. You can't think that what you know right now is it, you have to be prepared for cracking open your own worldview.
  • Work hard at figuring out a way of improving your own capability to test out ideas in the world and in real life, so you can find out what works for you. 
  • We are all connected. We have individual roles to play within our families, within our local communities, and we are affecting change within those structures that slowly ripple outwards. 



  • “Well, ego is a very useful instrument if my essence is in charge of it. So, ego in some traditions, and this is one that I question, is we have to kill ego. Well, that didn't quite make sense because ego for me has a couple of different directions:it can go toward arrogance and hubris, [the whole] “I'm the best thing since sliced bread”, or it can go toward courage, helping myself overcome that which I could be reactive to. Ego to me is an instrument of direction setting; it’s an instrument that we use to manage the parts of ourselves that are not useful.”
  • “I remember one morning when I woke up and remembered a message from my grandfather about ‘what do you need to be humble about today? What do you need to be humble about? ‘So I started using that to ask [myself daily] what my aim should be.”
  • I am often asked about what I am passionate about and have fire about. I always say, those are the things that get people in trouble, because we end up on a roller coaster, and things are great, and then things are low. What I really pursue is caring. I made it in a way of growing people. And I find that if I pay more attention to that than passion or fire, that I'm [going to have a more]  stable energy.”
  • “I had a grandfather who was part Mohawk, which is an Indigenous tribe here in the U.S., part of the Iroquois nation. And he was the one that taught me that idea. He said the calmness, the quiet allows you to see more and manage yourself in uncertainty and changing times. The way you want to do it is not to be subjected to whatever is out there pulling you or scaring you. And I have to tell you, it took a very long time to grow that in me.” 



Carol Sanford is a consistently recognized disruptor and contrarian working side by side with Fortune 500 and new economy executives in designing and leading systemic business change and design. Through her university and in-house educational offerings, global speaking platforms, best selling multi-award-winning books, and human development work, Carol works with executive leaders who see the possibility to change the nature of work through developing people and work systems that ignite motivation everywhere. 

For four decades, Carol has worked with great leaders of successful businesses such as Google, DuPont, Intel, P&G, and Seventh Generation, educating them to develop their people and ensure a continuous stream of innovation.

Among her many recognitions, Carol was recently named Executive in Residence and Senior Fellow in Social Innovation at Babson College and received the Athena Award for Excellence in Business, Mentorship and Community Service.

Carol lives in the Seattle area. 



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Learn more about Carol’s book Indirect Work

Buy Carol’s book on Indiebound


The ‘Mighty Pete Lonton’ from the ‘Mighty 247’ company is your main host of ‘Fire in The Belly’. 

Pete is an entrepreneur, mentor, coach, property Investor, and father of three beautiful girls. Pete’s background is in project management and property, but his true passion is the ‘Fire in The Belly’ project itself. His mission is to help others find their potential and become the mightiest version of themselves. Pete openly talks about losing both of his parents, suffering periods of depression, business downturn and burn-out, and ultimately his years spent not stoking ‘Fire in the Belly’. In 2017, at 37 years of age that changed, and he is now on a journey of learning, growing, accepting, and inspiring others.

Pete can connect with people and intuitively asks questions to reveal a person’s passion and discover how to live their mightiest life. The true power of ‘Fire in The Belly’ is the Q&A’s - Questions and Actions section. 

The ‘Fire in The Belly’ brand and the programme is rapidly expanding into podcasts, seminars, talks, business workshops, development courses, and rapid results mentoring.



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