119: Off the Clock—Finding Time Freedom with Laura Vanderkam

119: Off the Clock—Finding Time Freedom with Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam is a productivity tour de force: she has written four books in the last several years, launched a podcast, and given talks all over the country—all while running a household with her husband and four children.

I’d tell you that I truly don’t know how she does it, except that she already wrote a book to answer that question called, what else, I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time. One of my other favorites was her runaway bestseller among the Fast Company crowd, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings--and Life.

The focus of this week’s podcast conversation is her newest book, Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done. Laura reveals the counterintuitive principles the most time-free people have adopted, and teaches mindset shifts to help you feel calm on the busiest days.

118: Union Theological Seminary—Reflections on My First Month of Grad School

118: Union Theological Seminary—Reflections on My First Month of Grad School

“Welcome to Holy Hogwarts,” my fellow first-year Ariel said to me with a smile, as I walked through the Union campus entrance into the school’s small courtyard for my first day of orientation. I was grateful for his warmth and levity, a brief reprieve from my nerves about what to expect from my classes and fellow students.

After those three days of orientation I felt like I was on a rickety, upward-climbing rollercoaster, ticking up toward a crescendo before the rush of adrenaline and momentum to follow from the big drop. Am I making a huge mistake? I wondered. Will I fit in here? What if I can’t juggle school, work, speaking travel, and the new commute? Did I really think this through enough?

But alas, I’m just over a month in, and absolutely loving the program. I’m working on a two-year Masters degree with a focus (for now) in Interreligious Engagement. I love the material, and feel so lucky that I get to study, talk, and read about some of life’s deepest questions all week long! Getting used to the firehose of reading, classes and writing assignments was a shock—but not in a bad way. More like taking a cold-water plunge: surprising and breath-taking, but incredibly refreshing and the perfect shake-up for entering my seventh year of self-employment (and living in New York). I am still struggling a bit with when to schedule meetings, podcast interviews, and outings with friends, but I know I’m still early in the adjustment process.

Listen in to this weeks (semi-rambling, sorry!) episode on impressions from my first month at school—what I’m learning, how I’m adjusting, and where “inner game” resources like self-compassion come into play.

117: Activist Venture Capital and Teaching Yoga and Meditation at Rikers with Marcus Glover

I had the great fortune of sitting behind Marcus Glover on a bus ride to Wallkill Prison for a Defy Ventures business mentoring day, and time flew as we talked about everything from him teaching yoga and meditation at Rikers, to criminal justice work, to his mission of funding minority-owned businesses through disruptive venture capital. 

I can’t wait for you to listen in on this conversation and get your own powerful dose of Marcus magic! You’ll hear about his passion for well-told stories, practicing empathy (rather than the misguided savior complex), cultural competency around dismantling privilege, and much more.

Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/marcus-glover.

Enjoying the show? Get insider bonuses by joining the Pivot Podcast community at  Patreon.com/pivot.

More About Marcus Glover

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Marcus Glover is a Partner at Southbox, an early-stage investment fund focusing in areas of high-growth technology startups and disruptive content producers. He founded TEDxHarlem in 2010 and has also consulted entertainers and athletes including Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent, Shakira, The Black Eyed Peas, Kobe Bryant, Ray Lewis, Peyton Manning, Rihanna, Allen Iverson, Eli Manning.

Presently, Marcus is devoted to investing and advising early stage ventures. He also holds a deep commitment to social justice and criminal justice reform serving as a board member of New York Tri State Board of Directors for DefyVentures.org and LiberationPrisonYoga.org. Through his work with these organizations, Marcus has become a dedicated mentor to incarcerated men, women and youth and also volunteers as a yoga and meditation instructor leading juvenile programs at Rikers Island Prison.

Topics We Cover

  • How he got started teaching yoga and meditation at Rikers

  • Embracing his own brokenness, yoga as a platform for personal transformation

  • Why the goal of prison programs isn’t what most people going in might think

  • Our goal is to offer unconditional presence

  • His passion for well-told stories, telling stories that empower us versus disempower us

  • Own your story: the pieces that seem successful and the ones that feel broken - it’s the shards that we shy away from, but that’s what makes us more relatable, more human

  • How he ended up at venture capital to further his mission of conscious investing

  • Main critique of VC is cultural competency: as much as it has been pioneering in all these ways of technological discovery, it hasn’t done a great job of disrupting diversity and inclusion

  • Systemic biases that have been here for decades, but as a platform, VC has the power to continue to transform in all of these areas

  • His next frontier for social justice and venture capital: cannabis. For example, The People’s Dispensary - seeks to reinvest profits into communities that have been harmed by the War on Drugs

  • Focus on double-bottom line: people and profits

  • Activist venture capital means “making an investment and level the playing field in everything I do”; also, “protecting against the downside of privileged people coming in and owning all the wealth and communities of color owning all the despair”

  • Reciprocal dismantling of privilege - as a culture we need to develop that IQ around how we level playing fields

  • Privilege is in many ways the barrier to empathy, even though it’s something many of us enjoy

  • MLK: saw his job as to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable

  • Success is the greatest illusion there is. Can any entertainer or athlete say that their success is their own?

  • Secret weapon to try after listening to this episode!

117: Activist Venture Capital and Teaching Yoga and Meditation at Rikers with Marcus Glover

Listen below or on iTunesSoundCloud, YouTubeOvercastStitcher, or Google Play Music:

Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesGoogle Play or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly(ish) #PivotList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I'm reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I'm geeking out on.

Want to support the show and become a founding member of the Pivot Podcast community? Join us on Patreon here.

116: Caught in Internet Infinity Pools? Make Time By Setting a Daily Highlight and 5-Day Sprints

116: Caught in Internet Infinity Pools? Make Time By Setting a Daily Highlight and 5-Day Sprints

Are you getting sucked into endless scrolling in Infinity Pools like email, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook? It's okay, we all do. We all know these apps are designed to be addictive. After all, tech is the only industry other than drugs that calls its customers "users." 

It's so easy to look back on the day and wonder, "Where on earth did the time go?!" We've drained ourselves of all energy and yet often come up empty, feeling we have nothing to show for it. At least I'll speak for myself and say that's how I feel when inadvertently taking a ride on what John Zeratsky calls the "Busy Bandwagon."

But what do we do about it? How do we "make time" without the same tired productivity principles that have only led to more exhaustion? John is co-author of a new book called Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day. We’re cut from the same corporate cloth—he worked at Google for 10 years at YouTube and Google Ventures, and has worked as a designer in the Bay Area for fifteen years before striking out on his own last year. I think you'll love this conversation for practical tips on finding more space and joy in work, and why the opposite of exhaustion isn’t necessarily rest.

115: "People are People" — Exploring Neurodiversity with Mark Rufino

115: "People are People" — Exploring Neurodiversity with Mark Rufino

Mark Rufino is a social worker and audio engineer, who works with adults with developmental disabilities and their families. However, even the term "developmental disability" or "intellectual disability" is becoming a misnomer. Mark is part of a growing movement of people who believe it's time we upgrade our old way of thinking "that we need to fix you to fit into our society."

The term neurodiversity is growing in popularity, and implies that there is no “normal” way of thinking and “autistic” way of thinking, for example; we are all wired to do different things. I think you'll love this conversation around exploring what's behind behavior, Mark's emphasis on deeper listening (in surprising and novel ways), and his reference to a book that states "the opposite of anxiety is not calm, it’s trust.”

114: Illuminating Invisible Privilege with Karen Pittelman (and Why She Gave Away Her $3 Million Trust At 24)

114: Illuminating Invisible Privilege with Karen Pittelman (and Why She Gave Away Her $3 Million Trust At 24)

This is one of my favorite interviews, and a conversation that is crucial for understanding and revealing the hidden influences that shape many of our views on society, wealth and power. I have heard terms like white privilege (which applies to me), but I hadn't thought to look into the notion of invisible privilege until earlier this year. You may think it doesn't apply to you (as I used to), especially if you're not in the "Top 1%."

But as a recent Atlantic article revealed, The 9.9 Percent is the New American Aristocracy, privilege is something that affects more of us than we might immediately self-identify with, particularly for many who see themselves as part of the "middle class." (A necessary note: some of you may be in the Top 1%—and you're welcome here!—and some of you may be struggling to get by, and  you're welcome here too).

After hearing it thrown around quite a bit in social change circles, I got curious. What does invisible privilege really mean? How does it affect me, and others like me? And how does it relate to broader social change? I'm so grateful for Karen Pittleman, who answers these questions with kindness, compassion, and clarity in this week's conversation. I can't wait for you to hear her story of giving away a $3 million trust fund when she turned 24 years old (now she's given over $13 million to activist-led funds), and her input on how we can all work together to redistribute wealth and power as we work toward a more just society.  

113: The Seeker's Journey with Daniel Aaron

So many of us are on a seekers journey—looking for greater knowledge, wisdom, healing, insight and transformation. And may even the ever-elusive holy grail of enlightenment, whatever that means. If you ask me, I believe we have three primary purposes on this planet: to learn, to love and to serve. And of course, to enjoy life along the way :) 

Daniel Aaron is a fascinating fellow seeker who describes his own journey as guided by a divine power, as he explores all variety of mystical and practical practices and shares them with thousands of others through yoga, sangha (community), and coaching. His mission is "to bring in a new era, where the new-normal is love and truth – kindness, authenticity and radiance – for all beings, of every species." I hope you enjoy the this week's conversation! 

Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/daniel-aaron. Enjoying the show? Make my week by donating just $1 and episode at Patreon.com/pivot.

More About Daniel Aaron

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Daniel Aaron is a teacher, writer, and human potential coach with a half century of joyous seeking and more than 25 years of experience in yoga and personal transformation for thousands of others.

Creator of the world-recognized Daniel Aaron Yoga Teacher Trainings in 2005, Daniel also founded the Radiantly Alive Yoga studio in Ubud, Bali in 2012. He is a seeker of wisdom, mystical and practical, and how we can apply it to radically upgrade our lives.

From enlightened gurus to the deepest therapists, cutting-edge nutrition, fasting and cleansing Ashrams, centers and caves, Maine to Bali (with a few hundred vistas along the way), he has lived everything from an excruciating childhood (which was also full of love) to helping others find everyday, guaranteed joy and entrepreneurial brilliance (including his own massively painful lessons and mistakes). 

Topics We Cover

  • His chaotic childhood upbringing, a crucial realization at three years old: “There’s got to be more than this"

  • Being orphaned at a relatively early age amongst parents and siblings

  • How he pulled himself out of hopelessness and turned to a path of seeking

  • Discovering astrology in his twenties despite previously thinking it was ridiculous

  • Describing himself as “He is as ordinary as ordinary can be.”

  • We shine and are our best selves when we accept all parts of ourselves

  • What inspired him to start Radiantly Alive—and how he knew it was time to leave

  • Seeker’s mission: awaken, heal, discover, learn

  • Pain and difficulty as a signal to move on, no longer living his dharma (true path)

  • Creating a virtual sangha, or community, to amplify individuals’ vibrant lives - creates an energy unto itself

  • Buddhism, “It’s hard to awaken on one’s own”

  • Satsang: “Gathering of people in the name of truth” - it’s about our intention when we come together

  • To live a spiritual life in a way that is fulfilling and also contributing to the world

  • What’s behind his philosophies that “his religion is his life,” and his passion in studying "The real yoga of life, beyond the physical fitness practices”

  • Patanjali’s teachings of ahimsa, doing as little harm as possible (non-violence), and satya, or honesty and authenticity—the key to it is to live both of those at the same time

  • His mission is to bring in a new era, where the new-normal is love and truth – kindness, authenticity and radiance – for all beings, of every species.

  • "A world where an aberrant act of meanness creates a ripple of alarm that immediately engenders a response of love and understanding so powerful that it melts the pain and meanness and harmony is restored.”

  • What we are all needing to learn as a culture, the gifts of the darkness: we can’t afford to have division, what we need is inclusion

  • The Fantastic 4 of his daily rituals: The importance of daily practices to remember where he’s set his compass coordinates and stay connected to hope and positivity

  • The Sun Breath exercise and why it’s so powerful to raise frequency or vibration

The Seeker's Journey with Daniel Aaron

Listen below or on iTunesSoundCloud, YouTubeOvercastStitcher, or Google Play Music:

Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesGoogle Play or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly(ish) #PivotList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I'm reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I'm geeking out on.

Want to support the show and become a founding member of the Pivot Podcast community? Join us on Patreon here.

112: Whose Voice is in Your Head? Perfection Detox Round Two with Petra Kolber

112: Whose Voice is in Your Head? Perfection Detox Round Two with Petra Kolber

I am beyond lucky to have the brilliant Petra Kolber as one of my best friends in New York City, and just delighted to celebrate her book launch this week!! It's been a long journey, and one that forced her to confront the very message of her book: overcoming the inner critic and imposter syndrome because "the world needs your voice, not your perfect silence."

As I wrote in the show notes for our first Pivot Podcast interview in January 2017, Petra just radiates joy and truly walks her talk. When she enters a room, it lights all the way up with her positivity, passion for life and joie de vivre.

But that doesn't mean she hasn't wrestled with her own dragons, particularly around perfectionism (as have so many of us). Coming from decades in the fitness industry, Petra struggled with the pressure to be perfect in looks, body, business, and beyond. 

As a two-time cancer survivor, she is passionate about waking people up to the precious gift of time. Her mission is to inspire people to move more and to fear less, so they can stretch their dreams, strengthen their courage muscle, and build an inspired life full of joy and gratitude. In this follow-up show we explore her book publishing process ups and downs, moving past the mirror, the platinum rule (a favorite new concept!) of self-compassion, and much more. 

111: Ten Thousand Buddhas and Unlocking Creativity with Artist Amanda Giacomini

111: Ten Thousand Buddhas and Unlocking Creativity with Artist Amanda Giacomini

One of the best parts of having this podcast is who I am fortunate to cross paths with, and the ongoing surprise of who reaches out to me. Some of you may remember when I was falling out of my chair (or rather, the closet that doubles as podcasting studio) to interview one of my favorite musicians, Trevor Hall. Well, one of the best side outcomes was getting to know his team better, Tim and Isabelle at N3W LEVEL Management. We met in-person for the first time earlier this summer, and the hours flew by! Instant kindred spirits and friends for life :)

So I was every bit as excited when they mentioned another one of their artists' ambitious projects: Amanda Giacomini's mission to paint 10,000 Buddhas around the world. Amanda has been teaching yoga for over 25 years, and she’s been an artist for almost the same amount of time. Ten Thousand Buddhas is her worldwide, highly sought after art project—including large scale murals and fine art paintings—that she completed last year after five years of steadily working toward her goal. In this conversation we dive into what she learned, how it inspired her to break out of her typical shell (and artist studio), and naturopathic practices that keep her sane while touring with her husband MC Yogi. 

110: Jesus, Mary and Joe Jonas—Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s Exploration across Religion, LGBTQ Equality and the Entertainment Industry

110: Jesus, Mary and Joe Jonas—Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s Exploration across Religion, LGBTQ Equality and the Entertainment Industry

I love serendipitous podcast guest recruiting. This one starts over coffee with my longtime blog-turned-IRL friend Rachael King, who recently founded a company called PodPeople to connect new shows with creative teams.

When I told her about themes I had been exploring on the Pivot Podcast she said, "You HAVE to talk to Jonathan Parks-Ramage." She had just helped produce a new podcast for Medium where he read his article aloud, Jesus, Mary and Joe Jonas: A Journey Into LA's Hippest Evangelical Church. I was captivated by his story, and by his intention to research and write about topics at the intersection of faith, LGBTQ advocacy and the entertainment industry. A man after my own unique pivot intersection heart! 

I hope you enjoy this week's conversation on what it was like to come out with two parents who are ministers, the colliding life crises that sparked his decision to pivot from Sundance as a television executive to freelance writing, and his unique perspective studying the quirks of the entertainment industry and the religious institutions that crop up around it.