CESA 6 Smart Thinking Podcast

By: Ted Neitzke, CESA 6 CEO

The Smart Thinking Podcast is geared toward everyone and anyone who has an interest in the future of a child. The goal is to support personal reflection, develop greater understanding and grow personally and professionally in our missions to help kids. This school year we will be interviewing politicians, physicians, policy makers, authors, kids, parents and teachers and having deep discussions about the future of kids. Podcasts of 7 to 10 minutes will be released every Monday morning, and podcasts of 35 to 40 minutes featuring a guest will be released twice a month.

Contact me: ted@cesa6.org

Follow me on Twitter: @tneitzke

Like us on Facebook: @smrtthnkng


Episode 69: Books for Break

This episode details four texts that I recommend you read or gift over the break.

  • * Big Potential
  • * Talk Like Ted
  • * Leadership In Turbulent Times
  • * Winnies Great War

Episode 68: Step to Success – But Mind the Gap (Tool)

The two most important steps in the change process are creating and communicating a plan. Too often we forget the need to be simple and elegant in our processes. This episode discusses a way to support change in your professional and personal life.

  • * Describe how you can employ a step diagram gap analysis tool to help illustrate the need for change.
  • * List current situations you are in and describe the desired state.
  • * Reflect on ways that you can better employ tools in order to support those you serve in the communication of change.

Episode 67: Leadership Health (Tool)

In this episode we will explore a strategy to support your leadership by practicing one of the most important behaviors of a leader: reflection. Learn how to use a quick tool to increase your leadership health and set your mind straight.

  • * How far away is a Walgreens so that you can go get a little journal?
  • * Can you take 15 minutes a night to strengthen your leadership health?
  • * List ways that you could encourage others to work on their leadership health.

Episode 66: Thanks for Failing (Leadership/Reflection)

This episode explores the importance of recognizing the journey when people fail. We reflect upon the importance of looking at things that don’t work out so that we can coach others to the next level of success by building off of failed experiences.

  • * Describe ways in which you can recognize those you serve when they miss the mark?
  • * List strategies that can be employed to encourage risk-taking in your organization or life after failure.
  • * How good are you at creating a culture where people can rebound from a lack of immediate success?

Episode 65: W.A.I.T. To Speak (Reflection & Tool)

This episode explores the W.A.I.T. strategy for when we are in conversations with others (Why Am I Talking?) We also explore tools you can employ to foster a culture that allows all voices to be heard.

  • * Can you practice WAIT?
  • * List strategies you could shift to a consensogram format.
  • * Describe ways that you can create a culture of W.A.I.T.

Episode 64: Learned Helpfulness (Strategy/Mindset)

This episode is a discussion on how to approach performance results and new information by shaping the mindset of those you serve. We will explore fixed mindset verses a continuous improvement mindset and review strategies to help you set the stage for success.

  • * Describe how you prepare others for information that details their work or performance.
  • * List the improvement mindset qualities.
  • * Develop a plan for yourself so that you can model an improvement mindset when addressing problems in your organization.

Episode 63: Leadership that Electrifies (Reflection)

This episode focuses on what happens when leadership grows from within. We discuss the importance of supporting others by creating a culture around three values and then watching as the energy creates electrifying leadership.

  • * Describe how you will create a core language around what is valued.
  • * What are three values you need to reinforce, model and coach everyday?
  • * List ways you’ve seen others take your energy and create electricity!

Episode 62: Resilience By Example (Leadership Profile)

This episode is a conversation around the importance of being resilient in your minutes, days, actions, projects and leadership. Defy the pessimists by being more Churchill.

  • * Describe what you need to do to be resilient in your life and leadership.
  • * List what you would need to do to march through hell with optimism.
  • * Describe what you need to do in order to defy the pessimism around you.
  • * List the skills you need to grow in order to lead others to being resilient.

Episode 61: The long view (Leadership Mindset)

As a leader are you focusing on the long view or the short term? This episode explores the behaviors of leaders who look to the future, focus on the success of others, and find the energy to get over the obstacles they face.

  • * Describe the type of leader you are – long view or short sighted.
  • * List the behaviors needed for you to look past the immediate needs and create long viewed conditions for success.
  • * When running through your day – do you find yourself reacting to the cracks in the road or jumping over them because you saw them coming?

Episode 60: Being Vulnerable (Leadership Tools)

It is critical to create conditions so that the people you serve can be vulnerable. It is a leader’s responsibility to employ strategies for success, and this episode explores how to use tools to avoid embarrassing moments for everyone.

  • * Describe how you could increase vulnerability amongst those you serve.
  • * List tools you could use to support risk taking and engagement.
  • * Analyze what makes you embarrassed and reflect upon what you do to avoid those situations.


Episode 59: The Siblings’ Mission (Inspiration)

This episode is an interview with Mike, the older brother of Amy. Amy is special because she is fun, funny and loving and also has Down syndrome. This interview is an inspirational story of how three siblings love and care for their 49-year-old sister Amy. Listen as you hear how they work with, care for, and live with all the gifts that Amy brings to them.

Friend: https://www.facebook.com/PORT-YAMAHA-162375717686

Episode 58: Homecoming 2 – Who Made You – You? (Leadership and Toolbox)

This episode is a great activity that will support both your own reflection and those that you serve. Be prepared for a wonderful and emotional opportunity to think about who made you – you!

  • * Describe how you can support the leadership of others through reflective practices?
  • * Who are your four people?
  • * What are your four values?
  • * If the people on your list were always watching you – would you be modeling those values in your life, action and decisions?

Episode 57: Charting your way to success (Toolbox)

The leadership profile in this episode is going to take a little bit of a different angle. I want to reflect with you upon the people — behind great leaders and review the idea that leadership is everywhere.

Too often we believe that great leaders are born, that there is truly a thing called an overnight sensation. In reality, no one gets where they are without great mentoring, role models or unique life experiences.

  • * List ways that you can send people in a new direction this week.
  • * Who in your life needs a little guidance and mentoring?
  • * What potential do you see in others when you first meet them?
  • * Do you focus on the success of others?


Episode 56: Bill and Fred – The Power of Mentoring (Leadership Profile)

This episode is dedicated to a process that will allow you and those you serve to be in a position to reevaluate how you lead, when you address change, and how you maintain your capacity for leading by developing a map to support your system.

  • * One change by leadership means ten for those they serve – how’s that resonating with you?
  • * Will you develop a process to see the work?
  • * When you institute new projects or expectations, what is your process to ensure those you serve have capacity?

Episode 55: Connect To Collaborate (Tool)

How you start out the relationship of a team is critical. This episode will provide you the strategies you need in order to more quickly build connections that lead to greater collaboration.

  • * Describe how you could start out your next gathering in order to support greater connections.
  • * List ways that you can engage people in new ways.
  • * Do you have the courage to create connections in the face of the naysayers?
  • * Can you create a culture of collaboration in a new way?

Episode 54: Welcome Back to School (Strategy)

This episode focuses on a strategy that can be employed to help you maintain a positive mindset throughout the entire year.

  • * Will you take 15 minutes today to ensure you’ll calendar reflection questions for yourself throughout the year?
  • * How will you support others if you don’t remind yourself to reflect about your current leadership mindset?
  • * How can you better serve others through processes like these?
  • * Are you leading today with the same energy you were the first day?”

Episode 53: The Hand of Royalty (Leadership Profile)

Leadership is everywhere and anyone who has influence over another person is a leader. Human beings learn best from the example of others and when you have an influential platform you have an opportunity to impact others. This episode profiles a princess who changed the world with a simple gesture.

  • * How aware are you of your words and actions when you are around others?
  • * Describe how you use your leadership to support the humility of others so they recognize they’re being studied.
  • * Would you have had the courage to take the hand of the man in London?
  • * What will you do different today as a leader in order to change the world?

Episode 52: You First! (Leadership)

This episode is a discussion about having a “you first” attitude for those you serve. When you have a “you first” mindset, you are looking for ways to improve others, you are looking for doors to open in other people’s leadership, and you are looking for strategies to support them so that they realize their potential.

  • * When was the last time you opened a door for someone?
  • * How can you literally and figurative open doors for those you serve?
  • * Finally, what can you do to create a culture of “you first?”

Episode 51: RCA: Reflect Collaborate Act (Toolbox)

This episode focuses on a process that will allow leaders to support the learning of those they serve. The process allows the audience to think, talk, and work with the new information in a simple way that will encourage collaboration as well as the retention of knowledge.

  • * Describe how you currently support those you lead in their ability to reflect upon new knowledge.
  • * What process do you have in place to support the retention of knowledge.
  • * Do you have time to go onto the CESA 6 webpage and print off the Knowledge of Illusion Brief? www.cesa6.org/cms_files/resources/The-Knowledge-Illusion.pdf
  • * Finally, when you are with others how do you support their ability to learn from your shared experience if you are not employing a process?

Episode 50: Celebrate Getting Halfway

Did you ever notice that just about halfway through any journey, project or task – you lose a little motivation? In this episode we are going to look at a quick strategy to help leaders reflect upon how far they’ve come and provide some fuel for you or those you serve to get to the finish line.

  • * What journey are you and those you serve on right now?
  • * When was the last time you stopped and looked around with your team and discussed the work and efforts?
  • * What are your processes for celebration?
  • * Do you have money in the budget for colorful post-it pads?


Episode 49: Dare to Fail Greatly

Leaders need to have an understanding of history, understand the immediate situation and have a strong vision for the future. Too often leaders are good at one of the three critical components needed to make good decisions and in this episode we will explore how one man understood the past, lived in the present and envisioned the future in an eerily accurate fashion.

  • * How often do you allow the cynics to manipulate your mindset?
  • * Are you good at acknowledging the past, recognizing the situation and visioning for the future?
  • * Are you strong enough to ignore the cynics and do what you believe is the best to meet your informed vision?
  • * Do you recognize the benefits of failing and then daring to fail greatly?


Episode 48: Mindset Matters

What do you do when you have a sense of optimism and you find yourself being actively anchored by pessimists? This episode will explore the mindset of improvement and how important it is to maintain an optimistic train of thought.

  • * Are you reflecting in order to grow or are you believing you’re buffalo and accidently admiring the cows?
  • * What behaviors do you model around improvement?
  • * Do admire solutions or admire the problem?
  • * Do you fix problems or do you fix blame?
  • * Do you seek strategies or do you seek excuses


Episode 47: Graduate and Grow

This week’s episode is entitled: Graduate and Grow. I explore how we should use every experience each day to review our learning and reflect to be better tomorrow.

  • * How can you increase your own awareness of the contribution of others to your success?
  • * Where are you going to get your ticket punched today, tomorrow, and everyday?
  • * What risks are you willing to take to grow?
  • * List the ways you will live your life so that each day you graduate from one to the other!

Episode 46: Learning – to Lead

As we approach the summer, I want to give you a few texts that I would recommend you read in order to grow your leadership. Each book I have read and I am recommending for a different reason – but each is interesting and will allow you to grow as a leader.


Episode 45: Feeding Growth Through Feedback

This episode explores a process that allows you to intentionally collect feedback so that you can pivot quickly, improve, and reflect for greater success.

  • * How do you use feedback to grow yourself and others?
  • * Can you apply the plus/delta process to everything you do?
  • * How could you apply this process in your personal and professional life?
  • * What are your deltas and how willing are you to change your behaviors so that you can better serve others?

Episode 44: Success Through Succession

In life and leadership many of us individually are working very hard to support and serve others. But what are we doing as leaders each day to prepare those around us to lead and keep the momentum going in our world? This week let’s do some smart thinking on how we can prepare others to be successful by reflecting upon how to support succession.

  • * In your life do you think about succession and sharing your skills and knowledge with those around you?
  • * In your professional life, are you looking at those around you and supporting their leadership development by intentionally exposing them to your knowledge, networks, and processes?
  • * Do you treat every relationship in the master/apprentice mode – switching the roles depending on your relationship with others?
  • * Do you create succession around you by teaching others to fish – or do you just feed them for short-term success?

Episode 43: Educated and Grateful

This week in the United States is teacher appreciation week and I wanted us to do some smart thinking and reflection around those that ensure that we have the ability to be one of the most educated cultures in the world.

  • * List as many of your teachers as you can?
  • * What did these educators do for you to make you who you are today?
  • * What can you do to reinforce the work of the honorable educators in your life?
  • * What will you do to help guide others into the greatest profession in the world?

Episode 42: Image of a Leader

Everywhere you go and everything you do — people are watching, people are paying attention, and people are formulating judgments. So what do you do with that type of knowledge and how do you lead knowing that the world is watching?

  • * What is your leadership reputation amongst your friends and colleagues?
  • * If you were to put your reactions to situations in the mirror, what would your image reflect?
  • * Who are your role models and would they be proud of how you lead?
  • * Finally, do you practice reflection in an effort to grow as a leader for those you serve?

Episode 41: Compliment Your Way to Success

This episode explores the need for leaders to reinforce the energy and effort of others. Take a listen as we discuss the real way to get people to be their best.

  • * What is the last compliment you paid to someone between the ages of 13 and 100?
  • * If you serve adolescents and young adults – how do you make certain they know that you are proud of them?
  • * If you serve older adults—how do you make certain they know that you know that they positively contribute to the team?
  • * Can you practice seeing simple successes in others?


Episode 40: The Stories in Our Head

Too often we do not confront the ideas and stories swirling around in our heads. This episode describes two strategies that can be employed to support your ability to make informed decisions and grow your ability to coach yourself and others.

  • * What are the stories in your head and will you confront those stories by sharing them?
  • * When you get to a point of frustration or anxiety can you demonstrate the courage to expel the new narrative and get to the heart of the matter?
  • * Will you take the time to put your eyes on the entire situation so that you see the reasons you are getting the results you are?
  • * Lastly, what will you do as you start to feel a story emerging in your head – will you immediately confront it or allow it to grow into a chapter book?

Episode 39: Committing to Lead

Leading others is never easy. Leadership is: rewarding, difficult, engaging, stressful, heart swelling and heartbreaking. However, there is one trait that takes leaders from one level to the next – commitment.

  • Describe how you can coach others to committing to leadership?
  • How committed are you to growing personally and professionally?
  • How do you practice putting others before self?
  • When you commit to serving others and leading — how do you keep yourself accountable?

Episode 38: Parents of a Rock Star

This episode is a conversation with two parents whose daughter grew up to co-found The Well Pennies. Join me for a conversation with two ordinary parents who have an extraordinary mindset. Hear how a 90-cent tip leads to a parenting philosophy around gardening and acceptance. This episode is filled with wisdom and explores how two parents approached raising a talented and confident woman.

Episode 37: Two Types of Patience

This episode is going to explore the need to be patient in both actions and decision-making. We will discuss the two extremes of people around patience and look at strategies to support you and them on the journey of excellence.

  • Can you shift your mindset to see people you believe to be procrastinators or lazy to people who have high levels of patience?
  • What behaviors need to be adjusted in order to be more supportive of people with varying levels of patience?
  • If you work around impatient people who are rockets, what behaviors do you need to adjust in order to guide those people to success?
  • On the patience scale where do you fall? Overly patient or no patience? How do you explain that to others so that you are not misunderstood?

Episode 36: The Power of a coaching

This episode is about the power of having a coach to support you in your leadership. We will explore self-coaching as well as having a coach. Never underestimate the power of having someone else in your life to support your leadership in a candid and honest way.

  • Do you have the courage to coach yourself?
  • Can you practice the self-coaching techniques of writing out a process map?
  • Can you reflect using self-talk?
  • Do you have the ability to challenge the stories in your head so that you can be clear moving forward?

Episode 35: Rebounding as a Leader

Everyone has bad moments or days. But what you choose to do once this occurs makes a difference. Listen this week as we discuss the importance of being able to rebound. Rebounders have three core behaviors – they persevere, use instinct and have courage.

Note: sound quality is not as good as normal – this was recorded at a Holiday Inn in Indianapolis and I had to buffer a lot of noises from the neighboring interstate.

  • * This week if you get knocked down in the figurative sense– can you rebound?
  • * How good are you at following your gut? Do you trust your instincts?
  • * Who in your life can guide you or coach you to courage?
  • * When faced with difficulty this week – will you succumb or overcome?

Email: ted@cesa6.org

Twitter: @tneitzke

Facebook: @smrtthnkng

Episode 34: The Skill of Listening

Why is it so hard to listen to other people? Join me this week as we explore the science behind our inability to always pay attention and be attentive with intention.

No reflections — just a challenge this week!

Twitter: @tneitzke

Facebook: @smrtthnkng

Episode 33: A Conversation with An Optimist – Supt. Aaron Sadoff

What happens when you get two obnoxiously optimistic people together for a conversation about being positive? Join me and find out as I have a great discussion with Supt. Aaron Sadoff, one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. Aaron works each day to transform the lives of everyone he meets with his messages of happiness as well as his optimistic outlook on every situation.

Twitter: @tneitzke

Facebook: @smrtthnkng

Episode 32: The Answer Starts with Why

Before we are too quick to find a solution – we need to make certain that we have first identified the problem. We have to ask ourselves, “Are we trying to solve the problem or are we trying to find the problem?” We should always be trying to find the problem. Without an understanding of the issue we cannot solve anything.

  • * What cyclical issues are you facing that could be five why’d?
  • * When faced with an issue this week – can you ask yourself if you are trying to find the solution or are you trying to find the problem?
  • * Who in your life is naturally inquisitive and would be a good coach to help you drill past the quick solution?
  • * How can you avoid quick solutions that may have unintended consequences?

Twitter: @tneitzke

Facebook: @smrtthnkng

Episode 31: The Wisdom of Diversity

The key to finding elegance in complexity is to embrace as many people as possible. People have all different talents and perspective – very few times is one person correct in their assumptions – but as soon as you infuse diversity in the decision – you get rich, deep and meaningful solutions.

The research behind diversity in the workplace is pretty clear. Companies that have a woman on their Board of Directors out perform companies without female leadership and teams that have diversity go even further in performance.

  • * How can you demonstrate the wisdom of the crowd?
  • * What do you need to do differently in order to increase diverse thinking in your leadership?
  • * Who are you surrounded with and how willing are they to embrace all others in the decision making process?
  • * What groups could use your diversity?
  • * Finally, what is one way in which you can embrace the differences of others this week to keep yourself and your leadership honest?

Twitter: @tneitzke

Facebook: @smrtthnkng

Episode 30: Behind Every Champion

Behind each champion there are other people who are championing for him or her. Each of us as leaders has the opportunity to be part of that story when we choose our leadership behaviors and actions. Champions have characteristics that are universal – they are resilient, committed, driven, talented, strong. But champions are not only athletes – they’re ordinary leaders and people who every day demonstrate the skills and mindsets necessary to be their best for others.

  • * What will you do moving forward to ensure that you can support the needs of future champions?
  • * How are you advocating for the success of others through your behaviors?
  • * When a future champion is in need – how are you demonstrating empathy?
  • * Who stood behind you and showed you the way to your success?
  • * Can you be kind to everyone you meet and genuinely compliment or encourage them this week?
  • * Finally, who in your mind is the most successful person you know and what role did you play in their story?

Twitter: @tneitzke

Facebook: @smrtthnkng

Smart Summary: The Power of Moments

Episode 29: Risk it to Avoid Regret

The path of least resistance is paved with things forgotten – no one remembers the ordinary things we do – we remember the extraordinary moments of courage and risk. The path of reward is paved with the chances we took and filled with memories, emotions, tears and joy. Join us this week for a conversation about risk and regret.

  • * If you see a child, student or colleague facing a tough choice – how will you support them in taking the risks they need to find success?
  • * “Most of us have two lives: the life we live and the un-lived life within us. Between the two stands resistance.” – what is stopping you from the un-lived life?
  • * What is your greatest failure and what lessons can you share with others to encourage them to take risks?
  • * What risks are you facing that you are avoiding taking?

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Episode 28: Be a Good Forgiver

There is a lot of research that shows the act of forgiveness in leadership and life makes you a better and stronger person. This episode will help you to develop the practice of forgiveness in your leadership.

  • * Who around you do you need to forgive?
  • * When someone around you falters, what will you do differently in order to support them and their leadership?
  • * Do you actively put time between your reactions and actions in situations when those you serve fail to meet an expectation?
  • * How good are you at forgiving yourself?

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Episode 27: A Conversation with the Well Pennies

What is it like to be a professional musician? How do you start? What are the obstacles and lessons when you take on the leadership of following your passions?

Join us for an extended conversation with two extraordinary people as we discuss their journey and their motivations. The Well Pennies provide the theme music for the Smart Thinking podcast and the founders are also a remarkable couple that demonstrates buffalo leadership behaviors.

This episode is especially insightful and powerful for those aspiring to have a life in the arts.

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Episode 26: Forest v. the Trees

One of the greatest qualities of leadership is reflection, and we often forget to take a second and elevate ourselves out of the micro moment and move ourselves to the macro analysis. Join us for a conversation of how to step back from your situation and look at it differently and/or with another person to gain perspective.

  • * Thinking of your current and most significant issue – how could you change your view so that you see the problem in a new way?
  • * Can you scrabble that problem so that a solution may emerge?
  • * When mountaineers climb, they often bring along a guide or Sherpa – who are your Sherpas – who are the people who can guide you to new heights so that you can see the problem or issue for what it is?
  • * Finally, when you get emotionally engaged in a situation, what will be your strategy to step back and climb to a new height of understanding before responding.

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Episode 25: Creating Collaboration

True collaboration has to be defined and modeled. In a multi-generational world we do a poor job of demonstrating collaboration. I suggest that you start by showing popular examples of collaboration and then breaking down the roles that people play in truly collaborative environments and then asking the team members to identify what they can contribute.

  • * What processes can you put in place to ensure that the right people are working together?
  • * What strength(s) do you bring to the group?
  • * What anchors or weaknesses do you bring to the group?
  • * How confident are you identifying those strengths and gaps for others?
  • * When we expect people to collaborate, do we first show them examples of real collaboration?
  • * Finally, what do you need to do differently in the future on teams in order to be more collaborative so that people will seek you out for their team?

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Episode 24: Be it Resolved

Happy New Year and welcome to 2018 and goodbye 2017. This podcast is about growing yourself as a person and a leader in the upcoming year, as well as developing a process to help you be better. Go small to go big and find yourself content in 365 days.

  • * What is your vision for a better you?
  • * What is one small thing you can do today to change your life?
  • * Instead of spending money on trying to diet and upending your entire life – what small step can you take everyday to improve your eating habits?
  • * Write down your three strengths – and then one strategy to build upon each of those.
  • * Finally, this year each morning when you look into the mirror, can you set one goal for the day that gets you toward your vision?

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Episode 23: Riding And Reflecting

Listen on the ride in between traditions this holiday season. This is an active reflection podcast for the people in the car! Take some time to discuss what is good about being friends and family and plan a moment for the future.

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Episode 22: The Tradition Leader

This podcast is dedicated to making you think differently and reflectively about your roles with your friends, your colleagues and your family. Every culture has traditions and they are key to our culture. They’re important because they are the fabric of a family, a community, a workplace, a classroom and civilization.

  • * Who is the tradition leader in your culture?
  • * What values will you model when celebrating?
  • * How will you demonstrate your gratitude for the traditions?
  • * What traditions have gotten lost and lead the tradition once more?
  • * Lastly, who in your life will not have the opportunity to celebrate a tradition and how can you weave them into your culture’s fabric this season?

Buy the Well Pennies Holiday Song Jingle Bells here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/jingle-bells-single/575053297

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Episode 21: A Lasting Legacy

Join us for a discussion that explores your legacy and how two headstones in a colonial graveyard sparked deep reflection. We will explore how you and the way you lead and live define your legacy.

  • * How consistent are you in living your life in the service of others?
  • * Can you be described simply by those you are around?
  • * When you lead – do you lead from your core values?
  • * Finally, write down the six words you’d like to define your history.

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Episode 20: Don’t Worry – Be Happy

Happiness is a key driver for success, engagement, and satisfaction. This episode focuses on the keys to being a happy leader. They are: friendship, kindness, movement, getting caught up in what you are doing, purposeful reflection, having a set of guiding principles and being optimistic.

  • * Will you find a way to persevere when faced with an unhappy situation and model for others the strength it takes to be an optimist?
  • * How are you going to serve others this week by modeling happiness?
  • * Of the qualities discussed for happy people – what one area can you focus on this week so that you can grow your own happiness?
  • * Finally, who is the least happy person you know and how can you shine a lot of light on them this week to help heat their spirit?

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Episode 19: A Buffalo Named Auggie

Leaders are always on the look out for opportunities to find buffalos and emulate their behavior, learn from their choices, and observe them in their natural settings. We ourselves gain courage from seeing others take a risk or doing something different. Join us for an episode where we explore how the main character from the book WONDER can inspire us all to be a little more buffalo.

  • * When faced with an uncomfortable situation what will you do different this week?
  • * Take sometime to think through the situations you may face this week and reflect upon your response.
  • * Describe the characteristics of others with courage.
  • * If you are in the triangle of conflict – can you think empathetically for the person who needs your help and take that first ride on the road to courage for others?

See Sharon’s story at: www.graymatter-matters.com

WONDER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob7fPOzbmzE

Episode 18: The Kid Doctor – a conversation with Dan Hagerman

This episode is a conversation with Dr. Dan Hagerman. We learn about his education and how he formed his thinking around many of the issues facing parents and children today. We discuss everything from peanut allergies to autism, ADHD to picky eaters as well as why he believes things are a little bit the same and different for today’s children and parents.

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Episode 17: Thanksgiving: Giving your gift — a gift

How do we take the tradition of Thanksgiving and shift it a little to increase the true nature of giving thanks? Join me for a discussion on how to make sure that those around you recognize what it is they’ve done for you.

  • * Reflect on who you will be around this thanksgiving. What have each of them taught you?
  • * Once you identify the learning from those in the room—how can you quickly articulate the gift they’ve given you?
  • * Can you make this year different for yourself and others by bringing to light how thankful you are for the gift they’ve given you?

Giving Tuesday – help me help others:

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Episode 16: Thinking About Thinking

Episode 16 explores thinking and more specifically – divergent thinking. When did all the creativity and ability for adults to come up with bold new ideas slow down or even stop? We explore the need for adults to stop interfering in the creativity of children and work together through collaboration to be divergent in our thinking.

  • * As a parent, teacher, leader – how can you promote divergent thinking?
  • * If you’re in a leadership position, how can you promote divergent thinking by allowing people to figure out how to do what needs to be done instead of telling them and disengaging them in the process?

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Episode 15: A Conversation with State Superintendent Tony Evers

Episode 15 is a conversation with Wisconsin State Superintendent Tony Evers. We discuss everything from his days growing up on the grounds of a hospital, to making cheese and the current state of public education in Wisconsin and the nation. Join us for a great discussion around educational practices and the future of learning. This episode was recorded in the summer of 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Episode 14: Choices v. Decisions

Episode 14 asks you to reflect on your mission and describes the difference between choices and decisions. The distinction is great and we need to know the difference. So take a listen and be prepared to write your mission.

  • * Using three terms – answer this question – why do you exist?
  • * How can you use this process to support the leadership others?
  • * How can you use this process in all areas of your life to advance yourself and others?
  • * What is the difference between choices and decisions?

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Episode 13: Where Did All the Fun Go?

Fun – why is it such a big deal when something turns out to be fun? Why is it when people tell you “it’s going to be fun” so many of us sigh? Life should be purposeful. Life should be engaging. Life should have deep meaning. Shouldn’t life also be fun?

  • * Did you know that the oldest recorded joke is from around 1600 BC and is a Sumerian fart joke? Why is being fun or funny viewed as a lack of seriousness?
  • * In a world where everyone looks at a screen in their hand to capture a moment in which they are living—what can be done to capture that moment in a non-electronic way and make it fun?
  • * If you are not having fun – who are you dragging down with you? As you approach your week – how can you turn the normal into the abnormal experience and make it memorable and fun?
  • * Finally, how can you reinforce those in your life who are fun so that they know you enjoy what they do for you and how can you pay that forward to others?

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Episode 12: “Point A” – the mindset of a four-time cancer conqueror

Today’s podcast is one of our bi-weekly interview episodes. Today’s guest is Jim Brindley. Jim beat three types of cancer — four times. Listen as he discusses and describes his journey and shares a great mindset for all of us to learn from.

  • * How can you re-frame your life and find greater appreciation for all you have?
  • * When faced with your next challenge how can you take Jim’s point A mindset and make a more fulfilling life for yourself.

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Episode 11: A Momentous Moment

Today’s podcast is about you reflecting on your history and what influenced you to love – what you love and who fueled that passion. The episode is also a tribute to one of the people in my life that sent me in a new direction.

  • * As a friend, parent, teacher or leader – how do you live your life, so that you can model for others, your passions and potentially seed them within someone else?
  • * How can you take what is the ordinary and make it extraordinary – PowerPoints, interactions, assignments, a sales pitch, your lesson plans or even a simple conversation?
  • * In the next few days how can you demonstrate your passions so that others become passionate?

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Episode 10: Perception V. Reality – Managing Your Mind For Change

Episode 10 investigates how you approach change and your perception when faced with a “new normal.” Leadership, on all levels, is about looking at the changes around us and seeking the why. Driving your mind to understanding the change and working within the new reality is a core skill of leaders. Victims cast blame while leaders cast solutions.

  • * When faced with the reality of change, how will you approach it? Will you look at it the same way you always have or will you change your perception?
  • * As a leader, teacher, or parent, how can you support others when they are confronted with change? Will you simply tell them to deal with it or will you show them a new way to look at it?
  • * Reflect on your own attitude when faced with change. How do you model the acceptance off the shift in your reality? Do you look at the reason for change or do you try to justify not changing?
  • * Finally, when you create change in the lives of others – how can you demonstrate “what is in it for them” so that they can help their own brain and heart accept the new reality.

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Episode 9: A Conversation with Sen. Lena Taylor

Senator Lena Taylor, representing the 4th Senate district from Milwaukee, is this week’s extended conversation. Join us as we talk about everything from her education in grade school and high school to her journey to law school and the state Senate in Madison. This conversation was recorded in the summer of 2017 and is part of a series of conversations with elected officials in Wisconsin. These episodes are designed to build a better understanding of the policy and lawmakers guiding our future in Wisconsin.

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Episode 8: Full Service V. Self Service

This episode explores your attitude towards serving others. Service to others is a core principle of all religions and cultures. Yet the idea of service for others is constantly talked about and measured. Service is interpreted by so many in so many ways, but it boils down to one simple principle: selflessness. The concept of putting everyone you meet first.

  • * Teachers, parents, leaders – how are you developing service for others?
  • * What are your classroom/families core values and how are you reinforcing them?
  • * How are you modeling service and a “you first” attitude?
  • * When someone comes into your service station – -what is your first response? Is it – I don’t have time for this or is it let’s do this?
  • * Finally, a challenge – upon completion of this podcast how can you serve the very next person you meet?

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Episode 7: Oh, to be in High School again

This year at homecoming, will you be criticizing this generation and their traditions or will you be appreciating their unique contributions? Listen this week as we explore homecoming and the ways that we can support our children with a little wisdom and empathy.

  • * If you are a teacher, parent, grandparent aunt or uncle – how are you demonstrating your appreciation for the interests of the younger generation?
  • * Do you ever stop and say hey – explain that to me – instead of judging it and editorializing because you don’t understand it?
  • * Do you take the time to stop and have discussions about their struggles in their moment and just listen?

Episode 6: The Heroine: Quick to Judge v. Quick to Understand

Episode 6 is the journey of one parent and how she and her family worked through incredibly difficult times and the impacts addiction have on a family. You will reflect on your own role in the lives of others and the empathy you need to have to support people in your life. As you’ll hear, too many of us judge people with addictions and we fail to remember that that is someone’s child. As Em points out, we are way too quick to judge and extremely slow to understand.

Episode 5: Motivation or Motionless

The key to motivating yourself is through small victories, positive experiences and the intrinsic spark you feel when you find success. By taking the time to fix what is bugging you, slowing down and taking a gentle step forward, you allow yourself the greatest opportunity for success. This leads to a spark within and overrides the magnetism of pessimism.

  • * Where in life do you find yourself least motivated?
  • * What is the smallest step you could take to change what is bothering you about that situation?
  • * What great thing do you want to do for yourself or others and what is the first step?
  • * If you have an Eeyore moment — what step can you take to put a little bounce into your inner Tiger?
  • * Finally and most importantly – how can you use small step thinking to help others change for the better?

Episode 4: The Kid from kenosha – Opportunities or obstacles?

When you flip your perspective on your problems you begin to appreciate them in a new way. Mindset matters and it changes your outlook and gives you energy.Are you framing your problems as opportunities or obstacles? Are you truly putting the nature of your current issues into perspective? Are you listening to others and helping them grow through their situation? How are you modeling gratitude and motivating others with your positive perspective? Are you surrounding yourself with those that fuel your gratitude or those that drain your motivation?

Episode 3: A Conversation With Governor Scott Walker

Episode 3 is one of my conversations with interesting people that I will post bi-monthly. I am fortunate to get into some interesting environments and meet fascinating people. This is my effort to share these conversations so that you can be a part of my unique experiences and learn along with me. I am inquisitive by nature and believe that we can all grow and learn from anyone we meet.This episode is the conversation I had with Gov. Scott Walker during the summer of 2017. We discuss everything from Star Wars to Barry Manilow as well as his appreciation for teachers. Gov. Walker shares his vision for Wisconsin and his journey from Colorado Springs to becoming the Governor of Wisconsin.

Episode 2: Relevant or relaxed

Are you staying relevant or are you relaxed? Paul McCartney is the epitome of reinvention to remain relevant. After the Beatles broke up, who would have thought Sir Paul would be as relevant nearly five decades later? What are you going to do differently so you can remain relevant? What behaviors in yourself will you work to grow? How will you stay relevant so you can better serve others?

Episode 1: Buffalo V. Cow

How to develop an optimistic mindset: Are you a buffalo or a cow? Optimistic or pessimistic? The two animals respond very differently when facing Rocky Mountain storms. Listen to how you can be a buffalo and face issues head-on. Problems that are procrastinated on are only amplified; waiting only makes it worse.

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