The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Meet the Mentor: Frazer Buntin (part 3)

We hope you’ve been enjoying the feature on Frazer so far! If you haven’t read the previous parts yet, you can catch them here and here. Today, Frazer will be answering some questions I threw his way.

What are three principles that leaders should live by?
1.      Intense personal reflection
2.      Don’t give a shit
3.      Facilitate radical candor

What three words would you use to describe yourself?
1.      Intuitive
2.      Active
3.      Controlling (see, not all roses and rainbows!)

What’s the best advice that someone has ever given you?
“Use your head”

If there’s an aspect of your journey that has surprised you so far, what would you say it is?
How quickly we can adapt to change

Now-Frazer meets early-20’s-Frazer. What advice would you give him?
If I could give my early-20’s “me” some advice, it would be to not listen to my 42-year old self if I ever show up from the future with advice. Our paths need to happen. Our paths need to unfold. The unfolding is our life.

My incredibly wise words to college seniors when I go back to Sewanee to speak are:

“Do something! As that something will lead to something else.”

There is no defined path for us. There is no single right answer. However, if forced, I would tell myself to take more chances, live interesting places, do more cool shit that I haven’t done before, keep cultivating friends, let love happen, reflect intensely, don’t give such a shit.

Congratulations! You just won a million dollars. What are you going to do with it?
If I won a million dollars, I would perhaps start one micro-foundation of something for each of my kids, for something that are passionate about. I would use it as a way to help them create and cultivate something worthy over their lives. I think this could be a really cool experience for my kids to participate in running a micro-foundation. This perhaps could be the most valuable education they could receive and a really fun way for me to spend time with them.

If you were invited to give a TED talk, what would you speak about?
I would absolutely give a TED talk on the intersection of intense personal reflection and not giving a shit.

What’s your favourite book, and recommended reading for others?
Favorite book:
Panther in the Sky by James Alexander Thom.  It’s not my favorite book from a content standpoint but it was the book that really got me connected into reading at a young age so for that reason, it is my favorite book.

Recommended reading:
A New Earth by Ekhart Tolle
Reflections of a Ghost by Andrew Lytle
Working Days by John Steinbeck

Your biggest source of strength is…

Do you know what your goals and ambitions are going forward?
My goals and ambitions going forward are to live a full life, moment by moment. That’s as specific as I am right now.

If you could host a dinner party and invite any three people, dead or alive, who would they be?
I would invite my wife, my son, and my daughter. We would dress up in formal wear and listen to hip hop music.

Many people have different success rituals. Which are yours?
For success rituals, we also would need dozens of pages to cover this topic. I am a very ritualistic person, and I have many rituals that I constantly refine and use to extreme degrees. These rituals include morning routines, workload and schedule management, parenting, nutrition, exercise, sleep. Perhaps we can do a follow-up on these and get into more detail (editor’s note: keep an eye out for this!).

In my first post, I mentioned that Frazer is working on an exciting new project – he’s working to add a new title under his belt – that of ‘author’. Back to Frazer…

Yes, I am working on a book project right now, which includes some of the topics covered in these posts. It is a book about feelings. Specifically, the way we feel throughout our professional careers during points of intensity. Typically, behind any extreme period within our careers (highs, lows, frustrations, fears), there are a set of common feelings. “I feel like I am drowning in work.” “I feel like I am stuck.” “I feel like no one cares about my career.” “I feel like a monkey can do my job.”

I explore why we have these feelings, with deep context of the underlying causes. I also use my experiences throughout my career of having these same feelings to explain tactics to cope through the friction that these feelings create. I have had some crazy-ass experiences in my career, and they have given me some deep points of context. A rare few get context in our professional careers, so the value of the book will hopefully be both understanding that context and taking action from it. The output of this context is this same professional acceleration.

I was inspired to write this book over a long period of time but especially after doing a mentoring session with a large group of professionals at Evolent. One of the participants sent me an email afterward that tipped me over the edge into action.

Similar to mentoring, my ability to share wisdom through context creates efficiency out of inefficiency. The audience for the book is likely primarily individuals who are earlier in their career. However, the spectrum of feelings can span across a broad scope of levels and points of time, so there is value in the material for most folks. I hope to help others understand these periods of intense feelings and equip them with some tools to deal with these periods. At the same time, I hope to make them laugh, as some of the stuff that has happened to me is damn funny.

If anyone is interested further in learning more about the project, you can reach me at

Thanks much for inviting me to contribute!

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