104: (A Course in) Miracles at Work—On Spiritual Intelligence with Emily Bennington

104: (A Course in) Miracles at Work—On Spiritual Intelligence with Emily Bennington

Emily Bennington and I have been on parallel pivot paths since we first connected online in 2011. So imagine my surprise when I was searching on Google images for a visual depiction of the word "Grace." I downloaded my favorite and lo and behold, it was pointing to Emily's site with a landing page informing readers about her new direction: teaching others to live and lead with grace, based upon her interpretations of the Course in Miracles as it applies to work and careers.  

In this episode we talk about what the Course is, how we can apply spiritual intelligence to our day-to-day interactions, how to create miracles through powerful mental shifts, and Emily's pivot from entrepreneur giving mainstream career advice to an exciting new full-time role as Executive Director for the Circle of Atonement.

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

103: Strong Inside Out—Pivoting from OCD and Depression toward Mind-Body Alignment with Amy Clover

103: Strong Inside Out—Pivoting from OCD and Depression toward Mind-Body Alignment with Amy Clover

Amy Clover has a powerful story to share about pivoting her mindset from one of self-flagellation and control toward acceptance and flexibility in body, mind and spirit. After battling for years with eating disorders, depression and a failed suicide attempt in a fitness industry that grew increasingly oppressive, she now teaches people how to build strength from the inside out. In her own words:

I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and hate who’s looking back, to feel like you have no control whatsoever over your mind or your life, to feel like you’re so broken that you’re beyond healing. I’ve struggled with clinical depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and eating disorders throughout my entire life. In fact, they almost killed me. I hit rock bottom in 2005 when I was hospitalized on suicide watch. 

Having my freedom stripped from me in that hospital shocked me back to life: it hit me that I’d given up. I’d never even tried to take action to feel better because I just assumed that nothing would ever work for me. With this realization fresh in my mind, I committed to working on myself from the inside out as soon as I was released. After all, the worst had already happened. I figured I had nothing else to lose.

Amy's recovery, and the mindset and methods she developed that created a true sense of freedom, are what we'll cover in this week's show, along with some of her recent business pivots. 

102: How to Pivot Your Business When You Feel Trapped by Its Success — with Jason Van Orden

102: How to Pivot Your Business When You Feel Trapped by Its Success — with Jason Van Orden

Is pivoting just a way of rebranding failure as NYT writer Jacob Silverman would have us believe? I say no way José. In fact, pivots are often a product of our success. As I shared in the #PivotList newsletter I wrote in response to Silverman's somewhat snarky article, Silicon Valley start-ups do tend to talk about pivoting in response to their initial strategy failing. Or in the case of Ross from Friends, when a couch just won't fit around a tight corner :) 

But I believe that pivoting is the new crucial skill we must all foster, a far cry from being just another silly PR performance. If you've hit a pivot point or plateau, it means you have outgrown your current career or business and are ready for something new. We should celebrate that, and all the searching and small experiments that follow!

That's why I'm thrilled to bring you this week's Pivot Podcast conversation with my friend Jason Van Orden, a fascinating guy who was early to the podcasting and internet marketing scene, but who began to feel trapped by that very success, unsure about how to redefine himself from a unique perch atop of his industry. He is chock full of wisdom and systems to help you navigate out from under success that you've outgrown, and I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did! 

101: The Soul of an Octopus—Exploring Consciousness and Animal Communication with Sy Montgomery

101: The Soul of an Octopus—Exploring Consciousness and Animal Communication with Sy Montgomery

When exploring a branch of highly evolved animal consciousness that evolved in parallel (and completely separate) from our own, Sy Montgomery is sure of one thing: “If I have a soul, an octopus does too.” If you want even the tiniest dose of confirmation, try to keep your eyes dry while watching this octopus thank its rescuer in a two-minute video that has garnered 11 million views and counting: releasing a stranded octopus. (If you have more time, Amazing Octopus: Most Intelligent Animal on Earth is a must-watch too!) 

I am over-the-moon to bring you this week's interview with Sy, who became an instant soul-friend the moment we started talking. I'm in awe of her career as a naturalist writing about and befriending pigs, tigers, dolphins, hyenas, and now octopuses (not octopi as many assume for plural form!) around the world. I love her passion for animals, and the heart with which she shares their beautiful stories and spirits. 

Sy has been described by the Boston Globe as "Part Emily Dickinson, part Indiana Jones.” Researching articles, films, and her 26 books for adults and children, she has been chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Rwanda, hunted by a tiger in India, and swum with piranhas, electric eels and pink dolphins in the Amazon. Her work has taken her from the cloud forest of Papua New Guinea (for a book on tree kangaroos) to the Altai Mountains of the Gobi (for another on snow leopards.) 

For her recent book (the one that inspired me to reach out), The Soul of an Octopus, a National Book Award finalist, Sy befriended octopuses at the New England aquarium and scuba dived and snorkeled with wild octopuses in Mexico and French Polynesia. We also talk in detail about The Good, Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood (2006), a memoir about her 14-year relationship with her pig who grew to be 750 pounds, famous within her town of Hancock, and beloved by all who met him. 

At the end, we briefly dive into her routines for such prolific writing while traveling, and her practice of reflecting beyond the details of what happened to "what that day showed me."

100: Ten Lessons Learned in 3+ Years of Podcasting

100: Ten Lessons Learned in 3+ Years of Podcasting

This week marks a big milestone for the Pivot Podcast, as we celebrate the 100th episode! This has been more than three years in the making, from the show's early, scrappy beginnings in late 2014, when I got the book deal for Pivot, to when I started publishing weekly in earnest in 2015.

Podcasting is a labor of love, but the biggest surprises for me have come from the priceless benefits: connecting more deeply with my author heroes, with all of you who are here listening, and learning every day along the way. 

In addition to the countless content nuggets of wisdom I’ve taken away from these 100 interviews—on everything from cyber security to finding one's home frequency (check out the full show archive here)—in this week's episode I'm sharing 10 behind-the-scenes lessons from three years of podcasting. As I’ve always said with blogging, which I did for nearly ten years before switching to this format, what you see (and hear) today is the result of 1,000 tiny iterations over time. 

My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired with Benjamin Spall

My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired with Benjamin Spall

Although many of us aspire to rewarding morning routines (and enjoy geeking out on the best of what others come up with), on some days just getting out of bed is a victory. To this end, one of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander's new book, My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired, comes from Ana Marie Cox, a political columnist and culture critic.

Cox says, "When you come up with a morning routine, understand that you’re undertaking it in order to do something good for yourself, not to meet some stranger’s standard of productivity."

With that in mind, I invite you to this week's conversation with Ben where we discuss common themes across morning routines, and how to take some pressure off of trying to meet impossibly high Inner Critic Morning Routine Police expectations. I'm also honored to be featured in My Morning Routine, with a subtitle for my chapter that made me chuckle: "When your evening routine starts at 3:00 in the afternoon." Listen in to find out what I do with all that wind-down time :) 

Defying the Odds: Jason Wang's Pivot from Prison to Helping Others Transform Their Hustle

Defying the Odds: Jason Wang's Pivot from Prison to Helping Others Transform Their Hustle

Jason Wang knows a thing or two about being an underdog. Growing up as an only child of two immigrant parents living through poverty and abuse, he knows all too well the challenges of overcoming obstacles to transform generational legacies of poverty, crime, and violence.

I had the great pleasure of meeting him earlier this year at a mentoring night for Defy Ventures, an organization that teaches entrepreneurship to men and women with criminal histories to help "transform their hustle." (Find a volunteer opportunity near you here!) Jason's radiance, joy and contagious positive energy blew me away. And then I heard his powerful comeback story and knew I had to share it with all of you. But first, a little context about what brought me to that mentoring night . . . 

In the years since Pivot launched, I have developed a strong desire to work with those who aren’t fortunate enough to pivot by choice, or who are perhaps embarking upon one of the greatest pivot opportunities of their lives: rebuilding after poverty, homelessness, and prison.

Earlier this year, I blazed through Defy founder Catherine Hoke’s book, A Second Chance, with an urgency that I couldn’t explain. Simultaneously, I read books on addiction, ADD, and the mind-body stress-disease connection by Dr. Gabor Mate. Next I sought out further reading on our incredibly broken criminal justice system, and read dozens of stories of people who had been wronged or disadvantaged because of their race and economic circumstances in runaway bestsellers like Just Mercy, The Other Wes Moore, The New Jim Crow, and Hillbilly Elegy. I read about Father Gregory Boyle’s inspiring work to employ and empower former gang members in downtown Los Angeles in Tattoos on the Heart and Barking to the Choir.

Many, if not all, of the people described within the pages experienced unthinkable trauma as children. Drugs and criminal activity were not the problem, they were their attempted solution to the pain of disconnection. Their stories made me cry, and cracked my heart open in a thousand new places. Stories of intense physical, mental, and emotional abuse. One parent’s form of childcare for her son? Putting him in the dryer until she was ready to let him out again. Another’s involved asking her six-year-old to “just kill [himself] already,” for being such a burden, before dropping him off at an orphanage saying she had no clue whose child this was. Or like Jason whose father tried to kill him three times before he was ten years old. 

As the authors above illuminate, many of these people never had a true first chance at life, let alone a second. Father Boyle describes as “a compassion that stands in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than in judgment at how they carry it.” It is with this reverence for the resilience of these incredible souls that I bring you Jason's story, and hopefully many more like it moving forward.  

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

Conscious Business, Superconscious Capitalism, and The Meaning Revolution with Fred Kofman: a Teacher Who Changed My Life Without Knowing It

Conscious Business, Superconscious Capitalism, and The Meaning Revolution with Fred Kofman: a Teacher Who Changed My Life Without Knowing It

Although it wouldn't be like him to take much (if any credit), Fred Kofman changed the trajectory of my life. This week I got the privilege of thanking him, live on the Pivot Podcast.

A little backstory: In 2006, while working at Google on the training team under Sheryl Sandberg’s Online Sales & Operations organization, I was fortunate to participate in a three-day immersion called Conscious Business, based on a book by visionary leader, teacher and thinker Fred Kofman.

Just 23 years old at the time, it opened my eyes to powerful principles like taking full responsibility (player versus victim), making and keeping impeccable commitments, integrity in action, success beyond success, and much more. Two small examples: I stopped saying the phrase, “I’ll try” — replacing it instead with what I will (or will not) do and by when — and I aim for total truth in my speech, over even small white lies, such as saying I’m not feeling well as a reason to back out on plans if that’s not true.

As part of the program, I also had three coaching sessions that led to my biggest contributions at Google, and everything I’m doing now. Because of those sessions, I connected with my mission to help others, completed CTI’s coach training and certification, co-created Google’s global Career Guru program to help launch these meaningful conversations for others, started the Life After College blog that became my first book in 2011, then left to pursue my own business, write Pivot . . . and the rest is history—or at least readily available on previous Pivot Podcasts 😃

And this week, nearly twelve years later, I got to connect with Fred to interview him about his new book, The Meaning Revolution: The Power of Transcendent Leadership, diving into his thoughts around “superconscious capitalism” — how business is enhanced through spirituality, meaning and love — and how he decided to make his own pivots from Axialent to LinkedIn and now Google as a leadership development advisor.

Most importantly, to Fred: thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for who you are, all that you stand for, and the many fires you light within others.

The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business with Elaine Pofeldt

The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business with Elaine Pofeldt

I have always been curious about solopreneurs who choose to stay small, like me. Seven years into running my own business, I still deliberately choose not to scale in a way that requires hiring any full-time employees or by too much added infrastructure, to support two of my biggest business values of freedom and agility.

But that doesn't mean that I exclude higher earnings as a necessary byproduct. My business mantras: optimize for revenue and joy, look for ways to earn twice as much in half the time (with ease and with even greater impact), and let it be easy, let it be fun.

So I was delighted to stumble upon Elaine Pofeldt, who is similarly obsessed with researching non-employer businesses with 7-figure earnings. In this week's conversation we dive into what she discovered while writing The Million-Dollar, One-Person BusinessRelated note: I've captured my best strategies for nearly quadrupling my income while working half the time (with no full-time employees) in my Delegation Ninja course.

Cultivate a Courage Habit with Kate Swoboda

Cultivate a Courage Habit with Kate Swoboda

Kate Swoboda believes that "courage can absolutely be cultivated,” just as we improve other skills with habit-building principles in mind. The problem is that sometimes we apply the cue-routine-reward to our fears instead. We get triggered, fall into familiar patterns, then gloss over it with a reward that's a pale replacement for what our heart really wants.

What's the alternative? Listen to this week's Pivot Podcast conversation to learn Kate's four-step process for avoiding common fear routine traps—perfectionist, saboteur, martyr, or pessimist—and building your courage muscles instead.