As many of us are seeing and experiencing firsthand, we’re living in a time of divisive politics and widespread conflict. While these conditions present difficult challenges, it’s also an opportunity for growth if we can find the courage and strength to engage in a new way. This is the belief of today’s inspiring guest, William Ury, who has dedicated his life to transforming conflicts from destructive impulses into opportunities for collaboration and growth.

William is a renowned negotiator, anthropologist, and bestselling author whose insights and expertise have reshaped the way we approach conflict resolution. Among other top books he’s written, he is the co-author of  Getting to Yes, the world’s all-time bestselling book on negotiation with more than 15 million copies sold. William has served as a negotiator in many of the most challenging disputes of our time, having consulted for the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon, as well as dozens of Fortune 500 companies. He is also the co-founder of Harvard’s distinguished Program on Negotiation, and has served as a negotiation adviser and mediator in conflicts ranging from Kentucky wildcat coal mine strikes to family feuds, from US partisan battles to wars in the Middle East, Colombia, Korea, and Ukraine. 

His highly-anticipated new book, Possible: How We Survive (and Thrive) in an Age of Conflict, draws on decades of experience to shed light on some of the toughest conflicts of our time and how we can find a way forward.

Today’s conversation takes us on a fascinating journey, from William’s first interest in negotiation and conflict resolution as a young child, to the central lessons he lays out in his books, to some of his most intense negotiating experiences with key figures, like Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. We learn about his Pathways to Possible method and how to transform seemingly impossible situations into creative and productive conversations before exploring the concept of self-mastery and engaging the third side in any conflict, and more.

Join us as we explore William’s journey and his invaluable insights on navigating both personal and geopolitical conflicts with courage, self-mastery and compassion. Tune in to see conflict in a new light, tap into your innate potential, and approach animosity with curiosity.


Key Points From This Episode:

  • Get to know William Ury, how he developed his interest in negotiation, and the many books he’s written on the subject. [01:58]
  • How to transform conflict and approach it collaboratively rather than destructively. [07:25]
  • The state of conflict in the world today and the courageous leadership required to move us forward. [10:55]
  • Key differences between geopolitical conflicts and interpersonal conflicts. [15:43]
  • The Pathways to Possible method for negotiating and engaging in conflict. [18:46]
  • Three kinds of potential we can unlock to transform seemingly impossible situations into creative and productive conversations. [20:25]
  • William’s account of negotiating with Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, in very difficult circumstances. [23:52]
  • The self-mastery and learning required to engage the third side in any conflict. [29:55]
  • How William prepares for intense conflict (and why he doesn’t attempt to do it alone). [34:35]
  • The joy that infuses William’s work, how to tap into the power of play, and the importance of taking a moment to relax before doing something difficult. [35:44]


For More Information: 

William Ury

William Ury on LinkedIn

William Ury on Facebook

William Ury on X

William Ury on TED

Harvards Program on Negotiation

Possible: How We Survive (and Thrive) in an Age of Conflict

Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations

Getting to Yes with Yourself: How to Get What You Truly Want
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
Path to Possible



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“My motto is ‘meet animosity with curiosity.’” — @WilliamUryGTY [0:19:26]

“I’ve seen humans at their worst, but I’ve also seen humans at their best – and I’ve watched how, in seemingly impossible situations, people have risen to the challenge.” — @WilliamUryGTY [0:19:53]

“What I’ve tried to do in Possible is lay out what I see us doing, which is awakening our own human potential. It’s right here. It’s not some magic and it’s not even a magical person like myself showing up. It’s within us all the time.” — @WilliamUryGTY [0:20:06] 

“The reason why [people find it so hard] to listen to others in difficult situations is they haven’t listened to themselves first. They haven’t understood and paid attention to their own emotions and thoughts.” — @WilliamUryGTY [0:23:34] 

“Do not give advice to those who are not open to receiving it.” — @WilliamUryGTY [0:29:07]

“What we fail to realize is [that] there’s always a third side, which is the friends, the neighbors, the relatives, the co-workers, the colleagues, the community around us that’s affected by the conflict.” — @WilliamUryGTY [0:31:46]


Watch our Finding Brave episodes on YouTube!

Don’t forget – you can experience each Finding Brave episode in both audio and video formats! Check out new and recent episodes on my YouTube channel at And please leave us a comment and a thumbs up if you like the show!



Kathy’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss shares vital information on the 7 most damaging power gaps that 98% of professional women face and how to overcome them. Boost your power and confidence today!


Best Career Coaches 2020