PIVOT Podcast

[Best Of] Deep Work: Ditch Cognitive Junk Food with Cal Newport

[Best Of] Deep Work: Ditch Cognitive Junk Food with Cal Newport

As I get up to speed in my first semester at Union Theological Seminary, I’m re-launching a few of my favorite podcast episodes from four years of archives: I hope you enjoy some of these oldies but goodies, particularly if you missed them the first time around! Here’s a conversation I loved with Cal Newport from April 2016.

When was the last time you were in the zone?There’s nothing I love more than working with time flying. The sun rises and sets and I barely notice because I’m so engrossed in my work. Cal Newport calls this deep work, and says that contrary to what many assume, it is a skill, not a habit. That means it takes deliberate practice, and is a cognitive muscle that can atrophy with disuse—something we are all prone to as we get sucked into network tools like social media and email. I loved this conversation and I know you will too! Enjoy 

“At the exact point that deep work is becoming increasingly valuable, it is also becoming more rare.”

—Cal Newport

[Best Of] Live Fiercely, Study Deeply . . . While Earning a Living — with Jonathan Fields

[Best Of] Live Fiercely, Study Deeply . . . While Earning a Living — with Jonathan Fields

"Uncertainty may bring unease, but it also brings a vital energy, the exhilaration of creation. Without uncertainty, there is no possibility." —Jonathan Fields

As I get up to speed in my first semester at Union, I’m re-launching a few of my favorite podcast episodes from four years of archives: I hope you enjoy some of these oldies but goodies, particularly if you missed them the first time around! Here’s a conversation I loved with dear friend and mentor Jonathan Fields, from October 2016.

Jonathan Fields' mission is to "live fiercely and study deeply." How does he do that while earning a living? That's what we unpack in this week's episode. According to Jonathan, "There are only two ways to earn a living: you're either solving a problem or delivering a delight. If you're lucky and creative, you do both simultaneously."

Jonathan—or "JF" as I like to call him—has been a longtime mentor whose pivots have inspired me and countless others at every turn: from lawyer to yoga studio founder to author of three books, Jonathan is now studying and embodying what it means to live a good life. We recorded this episode from his plush velvety couches at Good Life Project Headquarters (aka his apartment on the Upper West Side) — I hope you enjoy this off-the-cuff conversation as much as I did. Be sure to grab Jonathan's new book, How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom, out this week! And his free recently released Unbusy Manifesto

[Best Of] Martha Beck on Enlightenment and Messages our Bodies Send

[Best Of] Martha Beck on Enlightenment and Messages our Bodies Send

As I get up to speed in my first semester at Union, I’m re-launching a few of my favorite podcast episodes from four years of archives: I hope you enjoy some of these oldies but goodies, particularly if you missed them the first time around! Here’s a conversation with one of my author superheroes, Martha Beck, who says “Suffering is a sign you are about to be woken up again.”

This week we tackle a tiny little topic—enlightenment—with one of my all-time favorite authors and thinkers, Martha Beck. I have read all eight of Martha's books (two or three times each) as they helped me through some of my biggest transitions in life and work. Martha is someone who blazes her own trails and has inspired me to do the same time and time again. 

I admire Martha for her tremendous courage. She's been through hell and back, from leaving the Mormon church despite getting death threats and her entire family disowning her, keeping her pregnancy after finding out her baby had Down Syndrome and her Harvard colleagues suggested otherwise, or following her body's signals to turn away from the academic life that was making her sick, and even saying no to Oprah when it didn't feel right to say yes.

[Best Of] Rebirth: On Fear, Flow, Love and Magic with Kamal Ravikant

[Best Of] Rebirth: On Fear, Flow, Love and Magic with Kamal Ravikant

As I get up to speed in my first semester at Union, I’m re-launching a few of my favorite podcast episodes from four years of archives: I hope you enjoy some of these oldies but goodies, particularly if you missed them the first time around! Here’s a conversation I loved from January 2017 with Kamal Ravikant :)

What lies on the other side of our fear? According to Kamal Ravikant, magic. "That's the promise of the heart," he writes in an early chapter of his wonderful new book, Rebirth: A Fable of Love, Forgiveness, and Following Your Heart. This is one of my all-time favorite Pivot Podcast conversations: Kamal inspires courage in vulnerability, living with an open heart, and road-tested practices on loving yourself and living your truth. Every moment of talking with him was a delight, and I hope you enjoy this week's conversation on life's biggest topics as much as I did! 

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

Marcus+Glover.jpg

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

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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.