Inclusion, Diversity and encountering something different and unexpected. We all have reacted to different kinds of people and unexpected situations often with fear and unacceptance. Join blind World Trade Center survivor, No. 1 NY Times Bestseller and C
I met Rishika Kartik through her father while at a board meeting of the Colorado Center for the Blind. Rishika currently is a sophomore at Brown University. As you will hear during our conversation, Rishika is extremely articulate. More importantly, she is very curious about almost everything and she loves to learn. She came by these traits honestly through the guidance of her parents. As a Freshman at Brown last year, she taught a course, started her own company/initiative and she has delivered a TEDx talk. It was quite stimulating to hear Rishika talk about the life experiences she already has had and what she has learned about herself and others. She has some great insights that I am certain will agree with you. Already she has plans for activities for this year that she will talk about. I can hardly wait for her plans to become real activities we all can experience. About the Guest: Rishika Kartik is a creative activist and disability advocate. She works to improve holistic community health and make spaces, products, and experiences more accessible to those with disabilities. As the founder of “Touch and Create Studios” and the “Vision of the Artist's Soul” project, she has worked to make museums more inclusive and increase artistic and educational opportunities for blind people nationwide. As a sighted member of the National Federation of the Blind, she has collaborated with mentors to advocate for legislation at the Capitol and teach blind children STEM, braille literacy, and independent living skills training. Rishika is a TEDx speaker, a 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar, a Coca-Cola Scholar, a Live Más Scholar, and the recipient of the 2021 INSITE Grant, the 2020 Arts In Society Grant, and the 2021 Dairy Arts Center Micro-Grant . She also explores youth advocacy as a board member of Mirror Image Arts, a nonprofit that disrupts the school-to-prison pipeline through participatory theater. A current undergraduate student at Brown University, Rishika is creating her own major in “Disability and Design.” In her free time, Rishika is the 2023-2024 Co-Studio Lead for Brown/RISD Design for America, 2023 President of Brown Arts and Politics, a Student Associate for the Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces, and a proud supporter of Disability Justice at Brown. Rishika's greatest joy lies in teaching, learning, and relationship-building. In the past, she has done social science research at the Bedny Neuroplasticity Lab at Johns Hopkins and the American Foundation for the Blind, as well as medical research for the Department of Obstetrics and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery at CU Anschutz Medical Campus. She is currently conducting independent research as a 2023 Royce Fellowship Recipient analyzing the importance of "tactile fluency" for rehabilitation in blind communities. In Spring of 2023, Rishika partnered with 2 blind peers to create and teach a new course at Brown: "Blindness, Arts, and Media," and her writing has been published in papers such as Future Reflections Magazine and the Braille Monitor. In the future, she hopes to continue advocacy work through public speaking, artwork, design, and blogs on my website, rishikastudio.com. Ways to connect with Rishika: Website: https://www.rishikastudio.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rishika-kartik/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rishikakstudio/ Tedx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jiTWP0lCls About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes
I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to meet so many interesting people who come from such a large and diverse background. Today we get to spend time with Elizabeth Louis. For much of her adult life, Elizabeth worked in the television and entertainment industry. What she didn't realize until later was that her talents really came from coaching people. She did it as a child, and finally in 2016 she began to do it as a career by leaving all the politics and entertainment infighting behind. Elizabeth and I have a wide-ranging conversation talking about everything from pessimism to optimism, why we all behave as we do and we talk about things like Trust and Teamwork. I think you will find Elizabeth's comments and observations to be quite poignant and relevant to life today. About the Guest: Elizabeth Louis is an executive performance coach who guides high performers, STEM executives, top athletes, and driven entrepreneurs who want to increase their impact, influence, and income. Her work lies at the intersection of neuroscience and the psychology of high performance: She is a trained therapist with graduate degrees in Positive Psychology and education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a decade of experience coaching top executives. Through her 1:1 coaching for hundreds of clients, she creates personalized programs to help leaders eliminate the limiting mindsets holding them back — and upgrade their identities by leveraging the power of neuroplasticity, new thought patterns, effective communication, and influential leadership by creating psychological safety for teams. For Elizabeth, the ultimate goal is both the tangible and the intangible. Her evidence-based approaches lead to business results backed by data, and the permanent changes are priceless: a champion mindset that creates meaning in your life and in the lives of others. Ways to connect with Alexandra: Website: ElizabethLouis.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethLouisCoaching Instagram: instagram.com/elizabethlouiscoaching Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ElizabethLouis Linkedin personal profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/louiselizabeth/ Call to action: What thinking trap is limiting your performance? elizabethlouis.com/thinkingtrapquiz About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson ** 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson ** 01:21 Well, Hi, and welcome to an episode of unstoppable mindset. Today, we get to introduce to you and get to chat with an executive coach. She says she's an executive performance coach, and she deals with a lot of people from athletes to high performers in a variety of environments. And I'm gonna really be interested to hear about all that. But that comes later. Now we got to start by saying hi to Elizabeth, and we really appreciate you being here. And welcome to unstoppable mindset. Elizabeth Louis ** 01:53 Thank you so much, Michael. I am so excited to be here. Michael Hingson ** 01:56 Well, we're we're glad you're here. Now. Where are you located? Elizabeth Louis ** 02:00 I'm in Virginia. Michael Hingson ** 02:04 So is it hot? Elizabeth Louis ** 02:06 Oh, gosh, yes. It's like a light switch flipped and all of a sudden the humidity came. But it was it was a we didn't get that humidity until later. Which you know, you gotta take the winds. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 02:16 Well, for people who want to know, this is the summertime for all of us when we're recording this. And right now, here. It's 97 degrees in Southern California on the high desert. And it's about 11:34am. So we're gonna get to 100. Today once again, but we don't have the humidity that you do. Elizabeth Louis ** 02:37 Know. And but you're actually hotter than we are right now. Because it's only 90 degrees here. But Elizabeth Louis ** 02:44 the humidity only 45%. humid. Wow. For outside, though, so maybe you guys have it worse right now. Michael Hingson ** 02:56 I don't I don't I've got an air conditioner. So I'm fine. Yes, we'll live with that. Well, I'm really glad you're here. Looking forward to learning all about being an executive performer, coach and all that. But why don't we start with the early Elizabeth, you growing up? And tell us about you? And what where you came from why you do what you do? Or anything else that you want to say? Elizabeth Louis ** 03:21 Oh, yeah, so I got into this by accident. Actually, I have about I don't know, 10 or 15 years and Television and Film Producing. I know right big twist or big shift to psychology. But long story short, I had a rough childhood, like a lot of people out there. And I was mentally tortured, and I wanted to be mentally free. And I ended up being diagnosed with complex PTSD when I was 26. And there was not a single therapist that I ran into that could help me get transformation. They just wanted me to cope. And I didn't believe in coping, I believe mental freedom was possible. And so long story short, I got my first master's in positive psychology with a subspecialty in coaching psychology to see if I could fix myself and that's where I fell in love with neuroscience and neurobiology and neuro psychology especially. And I ended up getting mental freedom and then I just was good at it. The rest became history Michael Hingson ** 04:19 without kind of going into a lot of detail when you say mentally tortured. What does that mean? Yeah, Elizabeth Louis ** 04:23 that's a great question. I so my childhood was rough. My brother tried killing me my whole childhood. I didn't know that was like, not normal until a few years ago to be completely honest. And so I just I was very hyper vigilant. I was very stressed. I was very just always on edge ready to freak out or feel like I was being attacked and I just felt so stressed and anxious all the time. And I just wanted healing from it. I also had a handful of experiences of where I was sexually abused by professionals in the medical world. And I just wanting healing and peace to come into my soul in my mind, if that makes sense. Yeah, Michael Hingson ** 05:04 I understand. Well, that's really kind of sad. Did he ever get over doing that or wanting to do that? Elizabeth Louis ** 05:10 Yes, he did. Thankfully, thank the Lord, right. He's actually not that type of person anymore. And he and I are working on our relationship. So I forgive him. I'm actually grateful because it's helped me become such a strong and mentally tough person, which has helped me excel in my career. Michael Hingson ** 05:28 Yeah. And you've you, you've, well, you sound normal, whatever that means. Right? I had to say that. For a psychologist. I had to say that. Weird Elizabeth Louis ** 05:39 though normal is boring. Michael Hingson ** 05:43 Well, you sound like you have your head on straight then. Yes, I did it. And we could do we could do that. So did you grow up in Virginia, where you are now? Or where are you from? Originally? Elizabeth Louis ** 05:54 I did grew up in Virginia. And then I moved to Atlanta, and then Africa, and then back to Virginia. That's kind of Yeah, Michael Hingson ** 06:02 what took you to Africa? Well, Elizabeth Louis ** 06:04 um, my background is in television producing. And so I had the privilege of doing a wildlife documentary, documentary internship. And so I lived on a game reserve for about 40 days, and it was absolutely incredible. Michael Hingson ** 06:20 Did you have any up close and personal conversation with lions? Elizabeth Louis ** 06:23 Oh, my God. It's funny. You say that, because I actually almost got attacked by a lion. It's kind of a funny story. I was, I think 2425 And I was on top of the Land Rover filming the lions. And there were cubs and cubs can be very curious. Yeah. And the cub was about to jump on the hood of the Land Rover, and I'm on the roof of the Land Rover. And all of a sudden in the background, you see mommy just booking it. And so we don't worry about the cub. We worry about mama, mama lion. And at that moment, the Ranger screamed at me Liz freeze. And the funny part is I got the worst charley horse in my hip. And that moment, and I was like, great. 24 I'm gonna die. Luckily, the we use you carry pepper spray with you when you're, and we wafted it towards them. And so that caused them to shift but had I lived? It would have been really cool to be like, Look, my lion scar. Just totally Trump's your SharkBite. Michael Hingson ** 07:20 Yeah. Well, but still who wants to deal with the pain if you don't have to? Elizabeth Louis ** 07:27 Exactly, especially in a second world? Country? Michael Hingson ** 07:31 And what was the lion Mata you was the cub who was curious, but that's the way lions are. Elizabeth Louis ** 07:36 Mama lions are very protective male lions don't do a lot that look look scary. Michael Hingson ** 07:41 Yeah, they're not. It's fair. So what other kinds of things did you do while doing television producing and so on? Elizabeth Louis ** 07:50 Well, I did on a range of things. I mean, I've worked with Turner entertainment B et. I did a lot of freelance stuff, working on small independent projects. I have done stuff in front of the camera behind the camera. I really liked line producing at the time, but then it just got very political and I don't know I think television shows today are more dark than they've ever been. And I'm okay to not be in it anymore. Michael Hingson ** 08:19 Yeah, it gets a little bit tiring to be involved in dark i I must admit, I like a lot of the older television shows even the the the ones that are more serious than the drag that's in Perry Mason's and other things of the world. But I like mash and Happy Days and other things like that. And the Twilight Zone, they're just not as dark at all is a lot of what we see today. I would Elizabeth Louis ** 08:43 agree. And the older stuff actually has a plot nowadays, it's just action. And I'm like, this made no sense. And this is so unrealistic. Michael Hingson ** 08:53 The the exceptions that you can make an excuse for things like we just went to see Indiana Jones and the dial of destiny. Oh, and there are inconsistencies like in one scene. One of the good guys ends up underwater and gets out of some handcuffs, his flashlight dies. But the next day, he's got a flashlight again, and you're going where did that come from? But that's what makes that kind of movie fun. It's just an action fun film. Not dark at all. In a lot of senses. It's just good entertainment. It was a lot of fun. Awesome. Elizabeth Louis ** 09:29 Yeah, it's nice to hear that. That stuff is coming back out. Because for a while there, it was just like oh my, Michael Hingson ** 09:37 my niece and I went to see it. And I kept saying to her during and then after the movie, I kept saying, gee, I wish they have a little action in this movie. I mean, there was a chase scene every 10th of a second. It was great. It was fun. But but you know, we need some of that to get away from a lot of things. And it seems to me that all All too often people take life so seriously. And they worry about all sorts of things over which they don't have any influence or control, but they still worry about them anyway. Right? So true. So how did you and when did you get into coaching? Elizabeth Louis ** 10:15 Um, it was a fluke, to be honest. So I went to graduate school to get my degree in positive psychology with a subspecialty and coaching psychology. And before I even graduated, I was naturally gifted at it, I guess you could say, and my professors started giving me their overflow of clientele. And I started pretty early on professionally at least, I will say, I realized I started doing this when I was eight years old, not knowing I was doing it because I was the therapist of the family. I kind of my because my dad died when I was seven. So my mom was stuck to raise with this rebellious child herself. And so a lot of times she would confide in me and students at school would confide in me, but professionally, it was in 2016 2015, when my professors were giving me their overflow. And it turned out I was just really good at getting people transformation quickly. And at that neurological level, which allows for permanency because that's high performers want everything done, like you know, three years ago. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 11:18 Yeah. And get it done. Now, instant gratification, which doesn't always work either. No, Elizabeth Louis ** 11:24 it doesn't. And at the end of the day, rarely it does. But there's things you can do to suffocate neurons and develop neurons. Michael Hingson ** 11:34 Things like, Elizabeth Louis ** 11:36 well, it kind of depends on the situation. Like, for instance, if you struggle with PTSD, there is a technique that you can do, it's a visualization technique, which is, every time you have that, that that that hurtful memory, I guess we could say reappear in your mind's eye, if you ahead of time are really familiar with that area, you constantly take a step back in your mind's eye, and the less you feed it, the more that neurons will suffocate in a different situation. Like let's say you're trying to create new synaptic nerve connections. This is where neuroplasticity at its finest works. And so you want to change your language, you want to change the way you talk about things, you want to really upgrade your identity. And then it's walking and crew and thinking in that identity. It's a lot like dress for the job you want. But it's thinking, speaking and seeing that mentality. For instance, I at one point, had some health issues. And I didn't want to have the health issues. And I went through this program that helps retrain your brain. And this is when I was got really obsessed with neuroscience. And one of the big fundamentals in getting out of sickness, if you will, is not talking about it, because the more you talk about it, the more you actually strengthen that normalcy. And we have proven in neuroscience that 98 to 75% of all mental and physical illnesses are due to your thoughts and your thinking, which means two to 25% is due to your genetics and environment. So there's a lot to say about the power of the mind and how it operates. Michael Hingson ** 13:06 Yeah, the mind is a very powerful and complex thing. Although I also think that if we would stop and think more about what we do, in our mind, we could probably learn a whole lot more about ourselves than we tend to do. Oh Elizabeth Louis ** 13:23 my gosh, Michael, I love you. Yes. And you know, really what you're saying there is people with a prefrontal cortex are amazing. But most people are living in their limbic system. It's it's like when you call in for so many are like, Can you Can I speak to someone with a brain and not just the automated answers you've been told to give me. But you know, we are, you know, the brain develops back to front. And so unfortunately, not a lot of people are taught how to think anymore. Michael Hingson ** 13:49 No, and and I'm sure there was a lot of that that has always gone on. But certainly nowadays, I think that people are much less, not really encouraged to think we're not encouraged to be curious, which is so disappointing. It Elizabeth Louis ** 14:05 really is. I think curiosity is really a skill that can empower you to do so much. Michael Hingson ** 14:14 Well, it certainly can. And one of my favorite books is a book by Richard Fineman, the physicist is entitled surely you're joking Mr. Fineman adventures of a curious fellow in the first chapter. He talks about being curious, he said his father always encouraged him to be curious, like they were out in a park or something and there was a bird flying and his father said, why is that bird flying? You know, and just really encouraged and of course for a good physicist, a theoretical physicists but not just physicists, I think for anyone. Yeah, Curiosity is such an important thing. why things are as they are, how, how can they possibly be better or or what, what do I need to do from for me and for the world that will make it better. And being curious about stuff is just something we so strongly discourage. I remember once being in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. And typically, art museums don't really do a lot for me, because everything's behind glass. But my wife and I were there and there was a statue up on a pedestal. And she said, it's a really tall pedestal, and I reached up and I could touch the top of the pedestal and the toe of this woman's foot. And this guard shoots over don't touch that you can't touch that. Well, the reality is that, how am I going to know anything about it, and he had no sympathy or understanding, when in reality, there should be no reason why at least, people who can't see sculptures and other things ought not to be able to feel them. They can create procedures in museums and so on to allow for that. But they don't, because they operate under different principles like arts made to be seen. Well, it's not just me to be seen sports fans. Exactly. Well said, you know, and we really don't tend to encourage curiosity, my father and my mother did. My dad, especially I think, because my mom didn't think about as much she, I won't say, took me for granted in a negative way. Not at all. Both of them didn't care that I happened to be growing up blind. The doctors told them early on that I should be put away in a home for handicapped children, because no blind child could ever go up to mount anything. And my parents said nuts to that. And so they that never was an issue. They didn't deal with me in a in a negative way. I can't say that they didn't deal with me in a different way. Because there are things that you're going to do differently. I learned braille instead of reading print. Right. But my dad especially encouraged curiosity. And I thought that was great. Yeah, Elizabeth Louis ** 17:00 I think that's great, too. I'm someone that was naturally curious, like I'm most Social Learner, which means you deserve to learn at the end of the day, in your physicists example is perfect. Because as a as a psychologist, I'm constantly asking those questions, right? Especially when it comes to language. Like, why is that person using that word out of all the words that they could use? Or what does that word mean? Or what would it look like? Like this? Like, I can get to a point where it's like, I don't know if you ever saw Toy Story five, but I feel like I'm 40 sometimes where I'm just like, Oh, me, I could go into such a bunny trails. Michael Hingson ** 17:38 Yeah. And there's nothing wrong with that. Shouldn't be, but unfortunately, all too often. We seem to think that it isn't the right thing to do. Well, it's exactly the right thing to do. Well, if I were an alien up in space, looking down at Earth, I wouldn't want to come here, given the way people behave. If they're at all peaceful, they would, would really encourage curiosity. But you know, Elizabeth Louis ** 18:00 that's Yeah, well, you know, Curiosity is huge and empathy, too. It's really hard to be empathetic if you can't be curious. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 18:11 Yeah, it's, it's important to be able to do that. Yes, Elizabeth Louis ** 18:14 I mean, so important. And unfortunately, America has become more self absorbed and more AI centric. And that is a big downfall and curiosity because it just makes you consumed with yourself and not your community. Michael Hingson ** 18:26 What do you think it's that way? Why is that happening? Elizabeth Louis ** 18:30 Great question. Hi. I mean, I think a big part is social media. When I lived in South Africa, I will say I really saw the influence of Hollywood at a very different angle. And so I think we are just, I mean, we'll also Anglo Saxons. I mean, if you if you trace it back to all the way to when we came when the English came here, that was one of the reasons why they wanted to come here was that independence and Anglo Saxons have always preached it's Ay ay ay and not really a oui oui, oui, now it's shifted drastically, I'd argue from when they first came. It's gotten greater than the I'm mentality. Michael Hingson ** 19:08 Yeah, we have forgotten what teamwork is really all about so much. Elizabeth Louis ** 19:13 Yeah. And you really see that in corporations. Michael Hingson ** 19:17 I've heard of corporations, large corporations without mentioning any names where, at the end of the day, when a team does something great, who gets rewarded, who gets recognized the team leader, not necessarily the whole team, which is so unfortunate because the team leader is usually made to look good by the rest of the people on the team. And the reality is it should be a team effort. Elizabeth Louis ** 19:40 Agreed. I totally agree. And I think this is also why so many corporations are struggling to keep competent individuals. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 19:50 They forget what team is all about. I mean, there's so much truth to the idea that there is no I in team. It Elizabeth Louis ** 19:57 really is. It really is. I mean, Who knows what the next 30 years will bring? Michael Hingson ** 20:04 Well, the other side of it is that I tend to be pretty optimistic and believe that in the long run, things will work themselves out. And I don't know what it is necessarily going to take to make that happen. But I've got to believe that we can, we can learn and we can grow, and we can get better. Absolutely. Elizabeth Louis ** 20:22 And I think you're going to see, I would agree with that. And I think we're going to see those who are more humble, and considerate and we focused are going to be the ones that will probably propel forward because people People want to feel included. I mean, it's in our wiring to have a community and to love our community and care for our community. We aren't wired to be isolated. Michael Hingson ** 20:47 How do we get back to that, though? Or how do we move forward to that? Elizabeth Louis ** 20:52 I think humility is going to be the biggest thing, right? But you have to desire that and you can't force someone to want to get help if they don't want help. But you can love people, even the most toxic people. Michael Hingson ** 21:03 Right? But I think humility, or adopting a humble attitude is certainly something that makes a lot of sense. That's a very good point. Because again, all too often it's just I and me and not recognizing the the fact that it's us. Yeah, Elizabeth Louis ** 21:21 I mean, because if you think about it, like we are, if you like it or not, we are connected. And it's healthier to be interdependent versus codependent, or self dependent. And like if you decide intentionally or not intentionally to get in a car accident, you impact everyone around you. And so you have to remember and that's that power of mindfulness. And mindfulness requires curiosity to to a degree, to remember that your actions do impact those around you regardless if you want to, believe it or not. Your opinion to that doesn't matter. Michael Hingson ** 21:52 Yeah, so what exactly would you say is mindfulness? Elizabeth Louis ** 21:56 Mindfulness is is, you know, the more I study it, the more I think it's bigger than I'm able to articulate in this one will statement. But mindfulness is being open and observing with curiosity and being judgment free. So it's having a non judgmental stance was tremendous curiosity, I think you have to have acceptance in it too, personally, meaning that you're open to the sensations and the feelings that your experience without trying without trying to control them? Michael Hingson ** 22:24 How do you teach somebody to be more mindful or adopt a more mindfulness attitude? Elizabeth Louis ** 22:30 There's lots of techniques. I mean, I think this is where it really comes to being personalized to the individual. But you know, CBT is even one of them cognitive behavior therapy. And then there's even branches of third wave, cognitive behavior therapy that is more explicit on mindfulness. One of the first things I tell people is you've got to grow your self awareness. And I like to tell people imagine being a fly on the wall in your own mental mind. Because we have to your point, right, it's like, people aren't always aware, you have to start paying attention to your thoughts. And this kind of freaked me out when I learned it, but you can have 6000 to 70,000 thoughts a day? And that's a lot of thoughts, right? Thoughts. I know and 95% Double Down. Exactly, exactly, no. But 95% of those thoughts are the same every single day. And 190 9% can be negative on average is 80%. And so I think you have to learn what your thinking style is, I do have a fun free quiz that will score you in 17 of the most common thinking traps. And you find that on my website, Elizabeth lewis.com. But what I found for mindfulness is it's it's it's shifting from that fixed mindset of I have to be perfect, or I have to be this way, or I should do this. And getting to know yourself. So many of us don't know who we are as adults, we we've been frozen ourselves as who we were as children. Michael Hingson ** 23:57 I think you sent me a link to that. And Ted, and we will include that in the notes. So hopefully people will will do that. And take the quiz. I haven't had a chance yet. It's been pretty hectic, but I do want to go take it. I'm going to be curious to see what it see. There we are back to curiosity again. Yes, Elizabeth Louis ** 24:16 I think, you know, I also think a lot of this is making up your mind and just doing it. I don't know if you've ever had a situation in your life where you're like, you know what, I'm just gonna make up my mind and this is what I'm gonna do burn the ships and move forward that can sometimes create a huge change in your life. Michael Hingson ** 24:33 Yeah, I mean, making up your mind making a decision. And again, I think it's important to do it for the right reason. So you make up your mind to do something and it doesn't necessarily work out just as you thought it would. Even that's okay. I I used to say all the time, I'm my own worst critic. Everybody does, right. They say I'm my own worst critic. I I'm gonna I don't want to look at this because I'm my own worst critic. What I've learned is, I'm my own best teacher, because I read somewhere, no one can teach you anything. You have to teach yourself. They can provide you the opportunity, they can tide you provide you the way, but you have to teach yourself. And I've learned that when I talk about listening to speeches, whenever I give a speech or listening to podcasts, when I do these, I love to go back and listen, because I want to hear me and see how I can make it better. But I've learned that it's not I'm my own worst critic, which is negative. It's I'm my own best teacher, which clearly is positive, and I can learn from even the best podcasts, or the best. I have the best of whatever I do, I can learn from that. Elizabeth Louis ** 25:40 Spoken like a true optimist. Michael Hingson ** 25:44 I love it. Oh, I've tended to be pretty optimistic in the world. Well, what you talk a lot about tough minded optimists. What is a tough minded optimist? Elizabeth Louis ** 25:53 A tough minded optimist is an individual who is usually faith driven, courageous, they're strong minded, they're positive, decisive, confident and intentional. And they value treating people with that unconditional love, that kindness, that compassion and that encouragement, I think a lot of people forget that. You can be a tough individual, right? You can be strong, determined able to face while also creating a framework of unconditional love or kindness. A lot of times I'm learning with some of my clients that they think it's one or the other is that all or nothing thinking, which is a dangerous trap to fall in. But you can you can have two opposing truths, if you will coexist. And it's it's learning how to rely on your resilience. And that optimism that something it really expecting something good to happen in the future is going to be your reward and whatever you're pursuing. Michael Hingson ** 26:49 Yeah, I think we oftentimes belt develop the wrong idea of what tough and tough mindedness needs to mean, I think it's resilient. But it doesn't necessarily mean that you're single minded to the point that you can't be open to other things and learn and grow from what you're doing. But you have to start somewhere. Elizabeth Louis ** 27:08 Agree it and I also don't think it means being aggressive, like, negatively aggressive, you can be assertive and still loving. And so it's again that that it's coming from that intentionality of kindness. Yeah, Michael Hingson ** 27:21 and love is something that is all around us and ought to be, I think, is Henry Drummond, who wrote the book, Love is the greatest thing in the world. It's a very short book, but it's a very relevant book, I think everyone should read because it, it talks about the fact that at the root of everything, love is really there. Elizabeth Louis ** 27:39 It really it really is, you just have to look for it. And unfortunately, not a lot of people have been given love. They know performance, love, but they don't know the type of love that humans really require. Which is unfortunate, but true. Michael Hingson ** 27:56 I talk about dogs a lot and talk about the fact that I do believe what people say that dogs love unconditionally. I don't think there's a question of that. I think that's in their makeup. They don't trust unconditionally, however. But the difference between dogs and what people have learned is that dogs are more open to developing a trusting relationship. And we tend to be, we could learn a lot from dogs in that, in that sense. Absolutely. Elizabeth Louis ** 28:24 And we could take it a little bit further to you know, dogs don't have the best memory, obviously, their prefrontal cortex is only 7% of their brain, whereas humans are 25% Not that our prefrontal cortex is where our memories are stored. But you know, the one thing about memories and the way our brain works is, you can't your memories not accurate at the end of the day. And so so many people get so locked in their past, when they're remembering their memories different every single time they remember them. And so you have to learn how to just let him go, my friend and I have a saying that every time our dogs blink, it's a new day, because their memory is so short. And it's like that's kind of the attitude you have to take you have to learn how to forgive and move forward. Not to say you need to enable people who hurt you. I mean, there's boundaries, right? But it's really learning how to like let go and move forward and hope for the best your past does not define your future. Michael Hingson ** 29:17 And that's really the issue your past can help you shape your future but that depends on how you choose to deal with it. Exactly. Elizabeth Louis ** 29:24 And your overall I would say identity which is your you know your mindset, your lens and your and your language and how you see the world. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 29:34 And I think that all too often I think you're right we we allow our memories to surface and sometimes some pretty strange ways. I think that we can learn to look at our memories and we can learn to learn from our memories, but again, we don't tend to very easily go into a mode of at the end of the day. Do some introspection in our worlds Elizabeth Louis ** 30:01 agree. And whenever I tell my whenever I have to do like trauma therapy with my clients, I remind them that you know how you're going to recall this traumatic memory is 100% Based on your self confidence, in your opinion of yourself today and the relations of these people. I mean, you cannot trust your memories, you can take insights and fine wisdoms and seeds in it. But you cannot accurately say that this memory is exactly what happened because your brain distorts it. Michael Hingson ** 30:31 Oh, can you learn? Or can you learn to? And can you help your brain developed to be more accurate and really relaying memories to you? Elizabeth Louis ** 30:40 There's things you can do to improve memory like, you know, older adults, it's really important for them to exercise at least three times a week. That is it has been proven to grow the hippocampus. But when it comes to like, accurate event memories, there's been a lot of interesting studies, you're not going to remember it effectively. There was this one study, and I can't remember who did it. But they they asked 14 year olds, what their life was like they asked him a series of questions about the quality of their life, the parenting, and were they faith based where they grown. And then they tracked them down in their 50s. And they asked them the same questions. And their answers completely contradicted. You know, the person who said they had a great childhood as an adult that they had a horrible childhood, the person who said I was raised as a Christian, as a child said, I was not raised as a Christian as an adult. And so your memories are really going to change based off of your perspective of life. So you really, you can't trust them. And really, the human brain was designed to not hold on to memories like that. But to be more Ford Focus, it's almost like a car, right? Like your windshield is the biggest window, you can see where the side side mirrors and the back mirror is very small for a reason, because we're supposed to be going forward, not backwards, right? Michael Hingson ** 31:59 Well, I know that when I think about my childhood, personally, and I have always, I think had pretty vivid memories of growing up. I don't view my childhood differently than I used to. But I do think that I sometimes express it differently. Like, I learned braille when I was in kindergarten in Chicago, and then the next year, we moved to California, and I didn't have a Braille teacher, or any kind of blindness related kind of teachings, until I went into the fourth grade, because we moved to a pretty rural area. And there were no teachers around to teach any of those skills. I would say today that I was probably more bored during, especially kindergarten, and not necessarily as active as other people in the class because I couldn't read books out loud or be part of a lot of those activities. But I also know deep down, I wasn't really bored. I listened. Right. So I, I think about that. So I'm sure in some senses, I could say I was probably more bored. But I don't recall being bored. But I do recall that, you know, I didn't have the opportunity to participate just like anyone else did, until I got to the fourth grade. And that was exciting, because then Braille books started arriving, which helped. But I've always really tried to keep memories and work. And I as a speaker for the last 22 years, I love to go back and listen even to some of the earlier presentations that I've given. Because I think they're also closer to September 11, having worked in the World Trade Center on that day. And I think that the earlier experiences are closer to it. But I like to go back and listen and make sure that I'm not changing a story. Unless there's some reason to add value. And I've had a few of those were there, there was a reason to, to change part of the story and add some value to it. But the memories are still the same. Elizabeth Louis ** 34:07 And some of those memories kind of more so border on facts of the overview, but when it comes to details of stuff, most of the time, you're inaccurate, and depending on you know what you've endured, you'll shift things. Memories. I mean, it's just not it's we're not supposed to spend that much time in our past. Right. Bringing your future into Your presence, Michael Hingson ** 34:25 right. Yeah. And so when I think of the past, it's all about what did I learn that I can use and one of the things that I have fun doing is I talk to people often about making choices, and one of the speeches that I give is all about making choices and that your choices are water going to in large part determine the direction you go, and I can trace back a long way to choices that I made that got me to the World Trade Center and got me to where I am today. And I can also then look at those and say If I make a good choice was the bad choice. And at the end of the day, did it really matter? Because it was still the choice that I made? It Elizabeth Louis ** 35:08 is true, right? Your choices are so important. It's it's definitely important to be intentional with a lot of choices. Michael Hingson ** 35:18 Yeah. And I think it's, I think it's important to look at, again, yourself at the end of every day and see how you can grow and improve from it. Like I said, we're our own best teachers. Well, I have brain Elizabeth Louis ** 35:31 Oh, sorry, no, go ahead. I was gonna say, well, the brain works best by reflection, discussion and movements. So one of the most powerful things you can do is intentionally reflect. I agree with that. I always reflect on my day at the end of the day, and I asked myself, Where can I? Where can I have been better? What did I learn? And how was I a champion today? Just to just to learn, right? I think reflection is so so powerful, because you, we're always learning, we're never gonna get life perfect. Michael Hingson ** 36:01 What's the other side of it is not only what could I have done better, but in the things that really went, well, anything else I could have done to enhance it? And I don't mind asking myself that question. And hopefully, sometimes get an answer that says, yeah, here's something else you could have done. Elizabeth Louis ** 36:16 Yeah. Or that awareness piece, right? Like, I think yesterday, I was slightly neurotic. And I like took a timeout and reflected like, Hey, why am I being neurotic and figured out the answer and move forward and re reoriented? And just, yeah, back to work? Michael Hingson ** 36:31 How do you help teach somebody to be a tough minded optimist, Elizabeth Louis ** 36:38 that's very much depends on where they are, and a little bit of their natural psychology. So one of the first things I do when I enroll a new client is I do a needs analysis. And it's where I get them to take four assessments. And I study and aggregate their data pretty aggressively to really have a thorough concept of who they are and how their mind thinks. And also the best way for me to teach them since that's so customizable, and one of the first things I look at as a psychometric assessment that scores them in 23, psychometrics, and there's actually a personality trait of tough mindedness that I look at as well as recognition and trust. And then their their ambition scores. And then from there, I kind of have to identify what's most impactful. For instance, if someone comes in and they have a very low score and trust, that tells me they're a pessimist, because trust and optimism are directly connected, just like low trust and pessimism are directly connected. So first, I have to increase their positive thinking, and usually their self efficacy. You've worked with a lot of high performers, maybe you've had this experience too, but some of them have very poor interpersonal traits. So they have low self esteem, they've got low self confidence, they're not very tough minded. They don't have the best ability at controlling their emotions and their temperament. And so first, you have to make sure the groundwork is done before we start building that first or second storey house. And then once we have the self efficacy and self confidence, and trust, strong, and we have their thinking more positive and their awareness grown, then it's teaching them how not to personalize things. And this is going to be very dependent on that thinking trap assessment. For instance, there is a thinking trap, that is called personalization, or discounting the positives. I want to know how quickly are they taking things to heart? Because let's be honest, Michael, like everyone has an opinion. And they're they all stink. They all say like, you don't have to agree with someone just because they say it. And that's why I look at that recognition score. Because I've learned high recognition, and sometimes even high nurturance can be a result of fear of man, meaning, you really see humans have the ability to affirm your worth, and you see them bigger than God or you might struggle codependency or peer pressure or people pleasing. And so we want to like take back power where power was never meant to be, if that makes sense. Yeah, Michael Hingson ** 39:07 it does. It's interesting. It's interesting that you say that, that an optimist is usually a person that that tends to be very trusting or has a lot of trust. The other side of that, though, is oftentimes don't people misplaced trust? And is that is that a skill that we need to better learn? Well, Elizabeth Louis ** 39:30 usually people who are misplacing their trust also have really high nurturance. And so they are that borderline codependent person that really is out of touch with their own emotions and wants to see the good in everything. So you have to have boundaries at the end of the day. I mean, I believe respecting people and always giving people the benefit of the doubt, but it's very easy to misplace your trust, especially if you come from trauma, I think, not to single out women but I just have seen it more in women Men, sometimes when there's been a woman who's had a traumatic past, they overshare. And it's like, stop, stop overly trusting people with your personal life, you have to learn some boundaries and learn that some of getting to know you is earned. You can't just blindly trust people and be foolish, there is a strategy, I guess we could argue to it. Michael Hingson ** 40:21 Yeah, I think that's probably make some sense that, that it's all about boundaries. Again, it gets back to like with the dog being open to trust. And I probably tend to be a little bit more trusting than I should. But I also have learned that while that's the case, I also say, okay, ultimately, I'm going to be open to trusting this individual, and I want them to trust me. But I'm going to look at everything that happens between us and so on, in order to decide whether I can put my trust in this individual. And I should do that to learn whether I trust them, I'm going to trust them, or do they have some other agenda? And and that's a problem. Elizabeth Louis ** 41:08 Exactly. And, you know, it's always important to reevaluate your relationships and who you're interacting with. Because sometimes you just gotta let people go, because it's not worth the energy. It's not worth the enabling them, right. And that's why you have to look at that high nurturance. Because those with high nurturance are more prone to enabling right there's a difference between forgiving and enabling. If someone keeps hitting you stop going back to them. You can forgive them from a distance. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 41:37 And that's the point you can forgive them. But you can do that from a distance. And there's nothing wrong with that. Yeah, just like you don't have to, you don't have to go back and say, I forgive you just so they can punch you in the mouth. Exactly. Elizabeth Louis ** 41:47 Like sometimes you have to learn how to love people from afar. Yeah, Michael Hingson ** 41:52 but still, love is the important part. Yeah, Elizabeth Louis ** 41:55 yeah. And you have to remember to and I think we don't do a good job, really in the world with this. But I think especially in America, love doesn't take away love freely gives. Whereas lust takes away. I always kind of chuckle when I get a client. They're like, they they're dating. Some of them like I'm so in love. I'm like, it's three months, it's three months, come on, you don't really know him that well, that last phase can last for about 24 months is what research this. Michael Hingson ** 42:21 When my wife and I decided to get married, we met in January of 1982. And in July, I proposed we, we we didn't talk a whole lot from January to probably the middle of March. And then we started talking more. She was a travel agent and I traveled I needed to travel to Hawaii, I needed to travel to Hawaii for some sales work that I needed to do in May. So I took my parents along. Karen was a travel agent. So she did our tickets and all that. And I just made the decision kind of on the way over I wanted to keep in touch with her and I called her twice a day from Hawaii. And that was fun. But in July, we propose I proposed and we got married in November. But we both have talked about that a lot since and what we decided was, we really knew from our own points of view what we wanted in a person. She was 33. I was 32. I would love to say I taught her everything. But you know, but but we were old enough that we approached it from the standpoint and we really knew what we wanted in a person. And it worked out for 40 years. Unfortunately, she passed this past November, but we were married 40 years. That's Elizabeth Louis ** 43:36 amazing. Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I think that's a big difference. You know, when I was saying that comment I was moreso thinking of, yeah, like clients who are serial daters who fall in love very quickly, in their mind's eye, right? You know, every girl or man they they get, it's like I'm in love. And I'm like, we need to maybe get you really clear on what she wants. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 43:58 And I know some people who are near my age who are and even and even, like 10 years younger, and they just decide they don't want to be alone, and they're off dating other people and all that. And that's fine. I think for me, I'm not sure that there would be a lot of relevance in in dating. And besides that, I know my wife is keeping an eye on me if I misbehave, I'm going to hear about it. Elizabeth Louis ** 44:24 Yeah. Well, and I think really what we're saying without saying it is the intention is so different, right? You know, it sounds like you and your late wife wanted to really create a partnership, whereas these people who are dating because they don't want to be alone. That's really a selfish reason of dating at the end of the day, you really stop and think about it. Michael Hingson ** 44:43 Yeah, it is. And the reality is, that's going back to you instead of a Wii. And maybe sometimes it sort of works, but is it really working? Because if you're doing it just because you want to be you don't want to be alone. That's the problem. Blum, Elizabeth Louis ** 45:00 it really is. And it's I'm going to also say it's not going to last, which is enforced right now. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 45:08 And it won't something is going to happen. Or if it if it lasts, it's going to be tumultuous. Oh, Elizabeth Louis ** 45:16 gosh, yes. Yeah. I mean, you were married for quite a bit time. I mean, it takes selflessness to be in a successful relationship. Michael Hingson ** 45:23 Yeah. But it is so much fun. Yeah, Elizabeth Louis ** 45:27 yes, it really is. When you meet the right person and you yourself are healthy, it can be so rewarding. Michael Hingson ** 45:33 Yeah. works out really well. Well, talking about the whole business of tough minded optimist, and so on again. The reality is we've we've discussed a lot about adversity and things that are a challenge in life. How does a tough minded optimists deal with adversity as opposed to other people? I gather, we're saying that the tough minded optimist is the way to go. I Elizabeth Louis ** 45:57 think so I might, you might be biased to that. Michael Hingson ** 46:03 Maybe we shouldn't talk about it. Just kidding. Yeah, what the heck it makes for a good podcast. Right? Elizabeth Louis ** 46:08 You know, most of the time. pessimist are just so easily defeated by adversity. And they fall into a huge spiral of self pity and even depression, which is, you know, a big, big umbrella. But what I've learned is the tough minded optimist, sees adversity as an opportunity to increase their character, their endurance, endurance, to grow, their faith, their hope, their belief, you know, they see these negative events as minor setbacks to be easily overcome and view positive events as evidence of further good things to come. Right. So it's not about like, pursuing the materialism. It's, it's about sharpening their skills in developing their character developing their endurance more, so that they can have just a better outcome, right? It's just it's an opera. It's like a trial right here. It's like, here's your opportunity to fight like a gladiator. Are you going to win? Are you going to lose? Are you going to be tough? You're going to do it? Are you going to sit there and complain? It's kind of am I allowed to cuss? Because I don't like to cuss but it's kind of like shit or get off the pie. Right? This is what you're facing. Let's make the best of it and see it as a challenge, not as a problem. Michael Hingson ** 47:20 Yeah. And, of course, that gets back to the whole issue of optimism. If you regard everything as a problem. You're never going to grow. Oh, Elizabeth Louis ** 47:30 and you're gonna have a crappy life. Because let's be real, you're gonna go from one problem to one problem. Life is rarely smooth sailing. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 47:39 So what does that get you? There's nothing wrong with challenges. It's all a question of how we deal with it and how we decide to approach life. I've always regarded life as an adventure. Like I regard the internet as a treasure trove of adventure. It's, it's, you know, there's the dark web and all that I appreciate that and have no interested in ever accessing it. If I have, I don't know what, and that's fine. But it's such an adventurous process to be able to deal with so much information. Rather than I have to have all of this information at my fingertips. I like the adventure. Elizabeth Louis ** 48:15 Yeah, and you know, what I love you, you shared there, this kind of goes back to curiosity, you know, that have to is such a perfectionistic mindset, right? You know, you desire to know all the knowledge versus that growth mindset of curiosity, and what's out there. I mean, I don't know how I don't know how people found information in the olden days. Now, I love encyclopedias. But you can just do it so much faster on the internet, and I will spend hours just researching and being curious and just learning because it's just so fascinating. All the things out there. Yeah, Michael Hingson ** 48:49 and there's so much and it's growing every day. Now, the unfortunate part is that most of the websites that are out there are not very accessible to people who are blind or who have a lot of other disabilities. It's like 98% of all websites, which is what accessibility helps to eliminate. But that also is an area of growth, where I think over time, we will recognize that we need to be more inclusive in presenting information so everyone has access to it. But it does tend to be a problem because again, we deal with the eye instead of the US. I Elizabeth Louis ** 49:20 would agree. And in fact, Michael I didn't even think about that, which I feel horrible, but I'm gonna admit it until I met you and then I was like, Oh my gosh, I need to fix my website so that it's more accessible to everyone because that was something I had never even it was like out of sight out of mind as much as I don't want to admit that. Michael Hingson ** 49:36 Well. I use out of sight out of mind all the time. I have a whole bunch of boxes a thin mints here at the house. I support the Girl Scouts, but a lot of them are in the freezer and a lot of them are up on a shelf and unless I happen to think about it, or happen to touch one of the boxes out of sight out of mind and they will be up there so I have a stash Elizabeth Louis ** 50:02 I'm going to come to your house. Michael Hingson ** 50:04 We have plenty of Thin Mints, and and venture fools and they're available. Like I said, supporting the Girl Scouts is an important thing to do, but they don't get eaten very fast. And so I've worked at keeping a decent weight. Oh, that's Elizabeth Louis ** 50:18 good. Because excuse. That's your, that's your excuse for sticking to it like it. Yeah, Michael Hingson ** 50:23 that's it. That's it. But it's but you know, but it's, but it's interesting that we really look at things in such interesting ways. And I and I hope that we'll all grow to be a little bit more open to the the weak concept, but it is a it is a challenge and it's in it's a skill that we need to learn. And I love your whole concept of tough minded optimist, because it's a skill. And it is something that anyone can develop if we work at it, Elizabeth Louis ** 50:53 when it's actually easier to be optimistic than pessimistic. Because let's be real, if fear felt good. Like we would do it more but feel fear, like we're not wired for fear. That's why it feels horrible. Whereas Love feels amazing. And so many of the pessimists out there are just bringing so much stress and anxiety onto their beings, when they don't have to like at some point, you have to learn how to focus on what's in your control and let go of everything else. Yeah, Michael Hingson ** 51:26 absolutely. The most important thing, and I think the most important concept that any of us could learn in today's world is don't worry about what you can't control focus on what you can't because it'll not drive you crazy to do that. Elizabeth Louis ** 51:40 I would agree. Last year, I went to a nurse psychotherapy training with some elite Ivy League professors and I was so excited to like nerd out with them because I specialize in neuro psychotherapy. So as a neuropsychologist conference, I apologize. And I was really excited to hear the like technicality and the jargon. And the biggest takeaway from one of the professor's was just like you have to learn how to control what you can control and let go of everything else. That is the biggest skill and the biggest freedom and I was just like, I'm so in agreement to that. But I was really expecting more nerdiness but I'll take it. Michael Hingson ** 52:16 Picky, picky, picky, right Elizabeth Louis ** 52:18 to write but it but that's the thing. Life is so much more simpler, then so many humans want to realize, Michael Hingson ** 52:26 yeah, it is just not that complicated. Now, I understand that it isn't necessarily easy to do. I have groused on this podcast a few times about weather prognosticators. So we had such rain and snow. even close to me, we live in a valley. So we got two inches of snow one Saturday afternoon. And that was the biggest snowstorm we had. So the kids didn't even get a snow day. But ski resorts within 30 miles of us that were five and six and 7000 feet higher than than we were. And they got a lot of snow. Okay, I appreciate that. And it was so much though that the some buildings collapsed and all that. And people were complaining about that. Then we got into May and all I kept hearing from all the weather people was May gray and June Gloom, it's gonna be cloudy and and you know, when are we going to get the sunshine and I'm sitting there going. You don't want to talk about the rest of what happens when we get all that sunshine, which is like 100 plus degrees and wildfires. Now we have 100 plus degrees of wildfires. And they're complaining that we're going to have to put up with his heat for so long. You can't ever Elizabeth Louis ** 53:36 please. No. But you know what, those people are pessimistic at the end of the day. Look at their focus. It's negative. Michael Hingson ** 53:42 Yeah, that's exactly the point is it's all negative. And it isn't doing any good. They have forgotten how to report and they want to put all this pessimism into it, which is so frustrating. Yeah, I hope people who are listening to happen to do the weather and you'll think about doing it differently in the future. Right? You're gonna say, Elizabeth Louis ** 54:01 Oh, I don't even remember anymore. I would agree. I stopped watching the news and especially the weather. Now I just like look at the radar. And I still have the same beliefs with the radar, as I do with the people because I mean, they're given it their best guess they could they could verbalize it with with optimism. But you know what the Newton. I mean, you've been around when the news went off. You know where it wasn't 24/7 the tone of the news has become more and more negative. And obviously, sensationalism sells, but like, I guess I'm still baffled that people are willing to accept it when it's like we know that this is their tone is negative. It's you're not going to hear great things. Michael Hingson ** 54:48 Once again, we're lowering our standards. Elizabeth Louis ** 54:50 Yeah, very well said my drop. Michael Hingson ** 54:54 It's It's pretty amazing. And it's so unfortunate that that it has to be that way. And you're right I do Do appreciate that sensationalism sells. But there are ways to present it. And then there are ways that maybe it shouldn't be presented. And I think that the media has an obligation to teach. And it's just unfortunate that they've not learned about how to teach. I Elizabeth Louis ** 55:17 used to work in the news, it's, it's it's such a business as it's gone. 24/7 And it used to be there, they would, they would teach, and they would share objectively and allow you to draw your own conclusions. Now, it's like, this is what you have to think. And if you don't think with it, if you don't agree, then you're wrong. You know, we don't have the ability to hold opposing truths anymore, like we used to, it's the lack of respect has decreased, I think we've Michael Hingson ** 55:48 forgotten how to have conversations to Elizabeth Louis ** 55:52 or like the fact that we could be friends, even if we have opposing opinions. Yeah. It's possible, the Michael Hingson ** 56:01 founder of the National Federation of the Blind, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, and his wife were from opposite political parties. Yet, they never divorced. You know, the you can disagree. And you know, there were things that my wife and I disagreed about. And I know other people who have have long running marriages, and they, they can disagree, and that's part of what really makes a neat marriage is that you can disagree, you know, you can disagree. And it's okay. Because back to what teamwork and Teaming is all about? Elizabeth Louis ** 56:38 Well, and, and I think, too, one of the reasons I believe that so many people who are my age are struggling with staying married or staying in committed relationships is because a lot of us weren't taught how to regulate our emotions, or how to suck it up butterfly, right. We were allowed to just quit when the going got hard. And to think that you're going to fully agree with someone 100% of the time, it's just foolishness. I mean, your perspective is different than everyone else's. So to think you'll agree all the time is silly. But I think if we could teach kids how to regulate their emotions, and maybe not coddle them so much, we might have some different outcomes. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 57:20 And the other part about it is if if you agreed all the time, it'd be pretty boring. Right? It'd be a challenge. Right? I would agree. So it's okay to differ a little. I Elizabeth Louis ** 57:34 would agree, you know, and, I mean, also, most of what we talked about is opinions. Even science is a theory and for whatever, you know, first aid for theory, a theory B contradicts it. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 57:48 And then when something comes along, and we really can prove it, what a joy. Right, exactly. So what do you do when you're not being a high performance coach? Elizabeth Louis ** 58:01 Oh, I love learning. Learning is something that I find so enjoyable. I love teaching, and I love exercising. My faith is really important to me. My puppy is really important to me. He's not a puppy, but he's a puppy. Michael Hingson ** 58:17 What kind? Elizabeth Louis ** 58:18 He's a Shih Tzu mix with a poodle. It's called a sheep. Michael Hingson ** 58:21 A sheep. Ooh, yeah. Yeah. They Elizabeth Louis ** 58:24 are apparently popular now. But he's, he's about 13. He's, he's the apple of my life. Michael Hingson ** 58:32 I have a seven year old black lab guide dog and a 13 and a half year old cat who runs the house? Yes. Yes, Elizabeth Louis ** 58:40 I bet. I bet. I bet it's um, it's funny. My I went to church this last Sunday, and there was this little short moment about cats and dogs and cats believe they are God. And dogs see their owner as God. Yeah. That's so accurate. It Michael Hingson ** 59:00 is absolutely so true. And you know, that's okay. My cat loves to get petted while she eats. She's developed this, and she'll yell at me until I come and pet her while she's eating less. And most of the time, it's okay. But she has also developed a little bit of a nap to try to get me to come in when I'm eating and I have started to push back a little bit and say stitch I'm eating. I'll be there when I'm done. Elizabeth Louis ** 59:27 Good for you. Michael Hingson ** 59:30 We got it. But you know, if she really wants me that badly, then she can come out and tell me rather than yelling from the bedroom. Elizabeth Louis ** 59:36 It's so my dog is like a husky in the sense of he's very talkative like that, too. And he has to have the last word and he and I will do a little bit of what it sounds like you and your cat do and I'm like, my dog's name some movement when I'm like, Man, we'll just chill buddy. Michael Hingson ** 59:53 Alamo the lab is absolutely wonderful and tends to just put up with anything and doesn't complain A bit. I have yet to hear him bark. And we've been together since February of 2018. But but he loves attention and he thinks he's a lap dog. If you sit on the floor, he's going to be in your lap and he's not going to
Alexandra Hoffmann, the founder and CEO of Crisis Ally, has many years of working in the corporate world to help leaders learn how better to manage and deal with crises they and their organizations face. She says that she began thinking about dealing with crisis management as a child. Not that she faced unusual or horrible crisis situations, but the concept peaked her interest from an early age. Growing up in France Alexandra wanted to be a police officer. As is required in France, she studied the law and obtained her LLB in criminal law from Parris University. She went on to secure two Master's degrees, one in corporate security and also one in business administration. Clearly she has a well-rounded knowledge that she decided to put to use in the world of managing crisis situation. Our discussions range in this episode from topics surrounding September 11, 2001 to how and why people react as they do to crisis situations. Alexandra has many relevant and thought provoking observations I believe we all will find interesting. On top of everything else, she has a husband and two small children who keep her spare time occupied. About the Guest: Alexandra Hoffmann is the CEO of Crisis Ally, which helps Crisis Leaders and their teams build the right capabilities to thrive through crises. Crisis Ally serves clients internationally. Thanks to a career with the French government and large international corporations, Alexandra has a rich operational and multicultural experience with strong expertise in Business Resilience, its boosting factors, and best practices to manage it. Alexandra is regularly interviewed in the print media to discuss corporate resilience topics, including Authority Magazine, Business Insider, and Thrive Global. She also writes for ASIS Security Management Magazine and the Crisis Response Journal and regularly presents at events. Over the course of her career, Alexandra has served in a couple of NGOs as a volunteer, such as the American Red Cross and the French Red Cross. Alexandra has an LLB in Criminal Law from Paris University, France, an M.Sc. in Corporate Security from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Alexandra is also a Certified Coach, trained in Neurosciences, and a Certified Yoga Teacher. Last but not least, Alexandra is a mom of two! Ways to connect with Alexandra: Website: https://www.crisisally.com/ LI: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ahoffmann/ About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson ** 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson ** 01:20 Well, good morning, it is morning here where I am. Welcome to unstoppable mindset. Today, we get to chat with Alexandra Hoffmann, who is the founder and CEO of Crisis Ally. And I am no stranger to crises, as many of you know, having been in the World Trade Center on September 11. And so I'm really anxious to hear what Alexandra has to say and to just chat about crises and whatever else comes along. She's also a mom. And that could be a crisis and of itself. And I bet she has stories about that. So we get to listen to all of that, and hopefully learn some things and just have a little bit of fun today. So Alexandra, welcome to unstoppable mindset. Thank Alexandra Hoffmann ** 02:03 you very much, Michael, for having me with you today. I'm really honored and very excited as Michael Hingson ** 02:08 well. Now you are located where I'm Alexandra Hoffmann ** 02:11 actually located in France, I'm French. Michael Hingson ** 02:15 So right now it's what time where you are, Alexandra Hoffmann ** 02:19 it is almost 6pm My time. Michael Hingson ** 02:22 So you're eight hours ahead of us, or actually nine hours ahead of us because it is almost 9am here where I am. So that's okay. It makes life fun. Well, we're really glad that you're here. Why don't we start by maybe you telling us a little bit about kind of the early Alexandria growing up and all that kind of stuff. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 02:46 All right. Michael Hingson ** 02:47 That kind of stuff makes it pretty general, doesn't it? Alexandra Hoffmann ** 02:49 Super General? And shall I start? Michael Hingson ** 02:53 Wherever you wish at the beginning? Alexandra Hoffmann ** 02:55 All right. All right. So I was born and grew up in Paris for until I my 20s I would say so. Nothing, I would say nothing exciting around that rights. And it started getting really exciting, at least for me when I started traveling around the world, after finishing my master's degree in law back in France. And I had an opportunity to start traveling to Asia, especially more specifically Vietnam, and then Hong Kong. And that really triggered a whole different life for myself, to discover the world to learn about new cultures to learn about a new job, which actually led me to where I am today. 25 years later. So so that's it for me in a in a really, really small nutshell. And apart from that I'm really part of a family with an older sister younger brother, and yeah, we had a pretty happy life. So everything went smoothly. For for me when I was when I was young, I want to say Michael Hingson ** 04:09 no, no major crises or anything like that, huh? We Alexandra Hoffmann ** 04:13 had some, like, you know, like every family I want to say and but yeah, I mean, my my sister got sick when we were young and that triggered a major crisis I wanted maybe that's, you know, that started planting, planting a seed at the time, about crisis management and willing the will to care for others and to, to care for for the human beings I want to say. But yeah, I mean, apart from that we had a very regular life, Michael Hingson ** 04:52 I want to say so you have two children. How old are they? Alexandra Hoffmann ** 04:55 I have a six year old boy and a three year old girl Oh, Michael Hingson ** 05:00 oh, probably great ages and the crises will start when they start dating. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 05:07 Yeah, I mean, we've had prices as well, since they were born. But very, very normal prices. I'm gonna say nothing critical. Yeah, very new prices. Michael Hingson ** 05:16 There's a husband to go along with all of that. Yes, there is one. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 05:20 We have our prices as well. So yeah, I mean, that's life, right. It's downs. And that's, that's part of the journey. Right? Michael Hingson ** 05:33 It is. Well, so tell me about the the travels, you said you traveled to Asia and so on? What prompted that? Going to Asia and other places. So Alexandra Hoffmann ** 05:42 I actually went to, to the US as well. And what prompted me to travel there is really the fact that I'm actually having a crisis because my kids want to watch in the room right now, which is completely unexpected. So my husband saved the day. But let's see for how long. So so no, I started traveling to Asia, because I, you know, I had this opportunity and then move to the US right after 911. Okay, because I wanted to start studying in corporate security. And I knew that there was a college back in New York, who is actually specialized in this. So I really wanted to take this opportunity, especially after 911 to really go there and and dive into this topic and really get get the knowledge, I want to I don't want to say the expertise at that point, right, because it was really early in my career, but at least learn as much as I could about this topic to then start my career in corporate security. Back in Asia was more mostly focused on law, on law and work, basically, because I was originally a law students, right, so but really, what triggered me to travel to the US was really to study corporate security. And originally, you have to know that I wanted to I studied law back in France, because I wanted to be a police officer. And in France, when you want to become a police officer, you have to go through law school, basically, it's it's mandatory. I know, it's very different than the US. So but my mind changed when I started traveling. And I realized I wanted to discover the world and speak English all the time. And, and there are new things and discover new cultures, basically. Michael Hingson ** 07:39 Yeah. And you know what, that's interesting. I've talked to a number of people who said the same sorts of things when they got to travel or when they wanted to travel. They very much enjoyed learning about new cultures and different kinds of environments and different kinds of people. And I know, even around the United States, and I've had the honor of doing that. And I've traveled to a number of countries, overseas, and so on as well. It is always fun to learn about new people and who they are and where they are and what they do and why they're the way they are. And it certainly is not up to me to to judge one kind of people as opposed to someone else. Everyone's customs are different. And that's what makes it so much fun, isn't it? Yeah, Alexandra Hoffmann ** 08:22 then I I couldn't agree more. And I, I need diversity. That's, that's, you know, that's how I feed myself. My soul, I want to say, right. So that's why meeting those diverse cultures and people is is a requirement for myself. Michael Hingson ** 08:41 Outside of France, what's the favorite place that you've been to that you really liked? Or do you have one? New York? Definitely. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 08:49 Yeah, definitely. Michael Hingson ** 08:50 Definitely. New York. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 08:52 I spent enough years there to fall in love with it. And yeah, Michael Hingson ** 08:57 yeah. There's nothing like New York. Yeah, you're you're absolutely right. I mean, there are other places that are so much fun as well. But there's nothing like New York, it's a great place to be in a great place to go. And it really is a city that is Frank Sinatra sings in the song, it doesn't sleep, because there's always something going on. And I remember for a while when I lived back in the area, or when I would travel there, places like the Carnegie Deli, which unfortunately closed which I'm sad about. But we're open to like four in the, in the morning. And then they opened again at six or 630. But they were they were open most of the time and other places there and always activity, which is just kind of cool. And one of the things I really liked about New York, and I don't know how much it's changed in the last, well, 20 years since well, 19 years since we moved, you could order any food or anything to be delivered, which for me was very convenient even being in the World Trade Center because I could order from some of the local delis and not necessarily have to go down and they would bring You showed up, which was great. Yeah. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 10:02 No, it's, it's it's Yeah. I mean, I have so many memories there. And it's there is no place like that. I can't say that I would live there again, especially with young kids, right, right now, but it's, yeah, it's New York is part of the now it's been part of me for many, many years. Michael Hingson ** 10:25 It's definitely an interesting and wonderful place to go. And I can very well understand why it's a favorite place of yours. And it's one of my favorite places as well. If we had to move back to that area, we lived in Westfield, New Jersey, my wife and I did and it was a better place to live for us, because my wife being in a wheelchair also needed a more accessible house than we would typically find. In New York City. She has now passed on, she did last November. But we've talked several times that if we ever had to go back that she'd rather live in the city, it's a lot more convenient, it's a lot more accessible. And there's just so much not only to do but so many conveniences to get her whatever she would need. It's pretty cool. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 11:11 Yeah, yeah, definitely. It's everything is practical there. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 11:17 Well, I think that's really pretty cool. So for you, you, so you've been involved in the law and corporate security. And I can see where those two concepts actually blend together, I assume that that you would agree that they they really can dovetail upon each other in some ways, and knowing about the law, and then dealing with security and so on, is is something that that you have a lot of background to be able to address. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 11:48 It's especially because I studied criminal law, right? So we're not supposed to I mean, we're not meant to chase criminals within the corporate environment, right. But it is connected in a way, especially from a value standpoint, I would say. Also the mindset. And we do have some times to conduct investigations, and also the fact that we have to constantly prepare for disruptive events, but also respond to those disruptive events. It's, it's highly connected, it's a very different job, but it's very connected. Let's put it this way. Yeah. So Michael Hingson ** 12:26 in terms of dealing with crises, and so on, and we've joked a little bit about it earlier, but he but in all seriousness, what are some things that lead you to really being interested in, in wanting to work in the arena of crisis management, whether crises of your own that you've had to face? Or just what kinds of things shape your experience to want to do this? It's Alexandra Hoffmann ** 12:51 I that's what I was telling you. That's the reason why I was telling you the beginning, maybe my childhood planted a seed on this, you know, with my sister getting sick and, and us having to adjust? I don't know, I, you know, I don't know for sure. But I know that 911 was definitely an event that triggered me to say I want to help serve corporate sector, the corporate sector, to help protecting the people working for the corporate sector, right. So that when a disruptive event happens, nine elevens or anything else, you know, professionals are there to assist them and make sure that everything is done to the best of our capabilities, basically, to protect and serve that within those private organization. Michael Hingson ** 13:45 Tell me a little bit about your thoughts concerning September 11. And what what you observed in terms of what was successful and maybe not so successful about managing that crisis? Oh, wow. I know, that's a pretty open ended question. But it's, it's a fascinating one, I would think to talk about it Alexandra Hoffmann ** 14:06 is a fascinating one. Well, for one thing, it's it, you know, it was a long time ago, I must say that, unlike you, I was not in New York at the time, right. I was actually sitting in Hong Kong, but when it happened, and I think it was basically, I don't know what word to use, actually, you know, by seeing what what happening and not understanding how we could not see this coming right. At the same time. I've read a few things since including one book that I always recommend my clients or anyone who's in my workshops or conferences to read, which is called the Ostrich Paradox. And it's a book that talks About, among other things, 911 and that explain that a lot of cognitive biases went into the process of risk management at the time when it comes to preparing for those disruptive events. Right. So, I think I mean, from what experts are saying, I think one of the big thing is that cognitive biases played a huge, huge role in this lack of preparation, I want to say and I mean, it's not like a preparation is it's in this event, I want to say, right, but at the same time, when you have planes landing at the top of building, you know, there's nothing that not much you can do to prevent the building from collapsing. Right. But so, yeah, it's a it's a difficult question. I want to say, Michael Hingson ** 15:52 yeah, it is. And it's a it's a challenge. When you say cognitive bias, what do you mean by that? Alexandra Hoffmann ** 16:00 Yeah. So when, as risk managers and as humans, okay, that's what the the so the, the, the Ostrich Paradox covers this area, in talks about six cognitive biases, which are humans, okay? It's everyone has those cognitive biases as risk managers, the author's highlight those six cognitive biases, alright. And some of them or the myopia bias, it means which is we are not meant our brain is not meant to, to see far ahead in the future. The thing is, when we manage risk, we are supposed to for to foresee the future. So we have to go against against this cognitive bias to evaluate risks. So when you think of 911, that's one of the biases that went into play. But this specific bias, okay, myopia, go, go happens in many, many other situations, right. Another thing is the bias of amnesia, we forget. So there were other situations where the World Trade Center had been attacked, as we know, right. And yet, you know, what I'm saying, Michael Hingson ** 17:16 I do this, Alexandra Hoffmann ** 17:17 this is human, our brain is not meant. Our brain is just meant, meant to focus on the now and here. And here. And now. That's it, because he wants to, it wants to make sure that we are that our life is not at stake, basically, and that we can survive. And then we can take care of for close family, let's say children, if we do have children, or at least partners, right? So apart from that our human or brain is not has not been built, to explore so far in the future and so far in the past. So when we analyze risks, that's something to really take into consideration and just mentioning two of those cognitive biases, right? But there's also the hurting effects, right? It's not going to happen, think about COVID. Think about the war in Ukraine, it's the same, it's not going to happen. Something like this cannot happen. At the time, everyone thought that was just that could have just happened in a Hollywood movie. Right? It's so this book is really, really interesting to the Ostrich Paradox. It's very insightful. And you can talk about we can talk about natural disasters as well, you know, the Fukushima event, all those events, you know? How have been tell me Sorry? No, go ahead. Go ahead. No, no, no, all those events, if we didn't, didn't have this cognitive biases built in, right, could have been handled differently, or seen differently, but we are who we are anywhere around the world, right? So we have to, to, to, to, to be aware about those cognitive biases. And I think that's the most important one. And in my work, I try to make my clients aware of these as much as possible, because it's these are really, really important in what we do. But Michael Hingson ** 19:18 is that really the way we're wired? Or is that a learned behavior? In other words, it seems to me I've heard so many times throughout the years that people do have the ability to do what if? And that the that's in a sense, what makes us different from dogs or other animals that, that we do have the ability to do what if? But I'm wondering if it's really so much our brain is wired not to, since it's a concept that all of us talk about and some people swear by? Or is it a learned behavior that we learn not to think that way? From what Alexandra Hoffmann ** 19:58 I know because I'm not a neuroscience? It's so, okay. Don't Don't quote me on this. That's okay. From what I've learned, from what I've learned. Studies, scientific studies show that it's actually the brain the way our brain functions. Okay? Now, there is actually one bias that's called confirmation bias. Okay? The confirmation bias is that say, I'm telling you want to think about something red, okay? And when you're gonna start looking around, everything's gonna be red, all of a sudden, you're gonna start talking about a subject, like, let's say we talk about confirmation bias, or any cognitive biases, for what we afford for what we say, Okay? I can bet anything that in the next coming days, you're going to hear more or Yeah, hear more about cognitive biases as well, because you're going to be much your brain will be much more attentive to those signals basically. So in a way, yes, it is trained behavior. But at the same time, this is also how your brain is wired, to be more attentive to signals, the heat that it that it that it recognizes basically, right, right. Michael Hingson ** 21:12 The the problem I see, and this isn't disagreeing with you, because I think it reaffirms, what you say is that at the same time, we think that soap September 11 happened, it'll never happen again. Or we maybe hope it won't happen again. And I think that we do become a little bit more attentive and attuned to trying to look for the signs, because so much of our world now talks about it that we're in a sense, forced to think about it regularly. And so we do. Also, I think, without getting into politics, we have any number of people who are supposed to know better, who say, well, it won't happen again. And, and so we don't have to worry about that kind of thing. Or they go overboard the other way, of course, it'll happen again. And we completely have to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, otherwise, we're going to be victims again. And in all of those cases, what it seems to me is that in reality, September 11, occurred, there are probably a lot of good reasons. Well, a lot of reasons why it occurred. We as a society didn't choose to understand some people, as well as perhaps we should have. I'm not convinced having read the September 11 report that with all of the information, we would have been able to predict and stop September 11, from happening, because I just don't think the information was there. That's one thing that the bad guys did very well. And the bad guys aren't a religion. The bad guys are a bunch of thugs who acted in the name of religion. But nevertheless, they they did what they did. And I think that, that what, what we also try to do is to put things out of our minds. I had a customer in New York, around the time of September 11. And we had been talking with them about it was a law firm about purchasing tape backup systems to keep all of their data backed up and stored in they would store it off site, September 11 happened and I happened to call the customer the next week, to see how they were doing. And they were had been town Manhattan, so they weren't directly affected by the World Trade Center. But the person that I had been working with said, Well, my boss said, we're not needing to buy any backup systems now, because September 11 happened, so it'll never happen again. So we don't have to backup their data, which is really crazy on one side, and on the other side, short sighted because you shouldn't do it for the reason of whether or not the World Trade Center happened or didn't happen. You should do it to protect your data. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 24:02 That's myopia. That's also optimism. Optimism is also a cognitive bias. They meant the author's mentioned in the book, The Ostrich Paradox, that we, we want to think we want to hope for the best. So without getting into politics. I think one of the big bias that comes into play is this. Because no one wants another 911 shoots you know, no one wants a COVID prices. No one wants the war in Ukraine, at least normal people, right. Michael Hingson ** 24:36 People don't there are some there were not normal. No, no, what no one wants Alexandra Hoffmann ** 24:40 that, you know, 1000s of people dying and things and no one wants, right. So I think I want to I want to hope maybe that's my own optimism bias talking but I want to hope that that's the case for most politics, right. It's they They just have they simply have this optimism bias plus the enormous workload that they have to deal with, right? So you combine everything the cognitive biases plus the workload, and that's a recipe for disaster. I have plenty of examples in France, of disruptive situation that happens with people's lives at stake. And, you know, it's just the workload of intelligence services was so much that every the, the, the intelligence was basically at the bottom of the pile and no one saw it or paid attention to it. It's, it's a lot of things, basically, it's a lot of things. Michael Hingson ** 25:40 It's interesting, we, over here, have been keeping up to at least to some degree, with the issue in France about raising the retirement age that McCrone wants to do what he wants to raise her from 62 to 64, as I understand it, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, but over here, the minimum retirement age is 65. And they they've talked about an even social security over here, has changed his rule slightly. But it, it's a little bit difficult to understand the vehemence that people are displaying, raising the retirement age from 62 to 64. Over there, and then there must be some solid reasons for it. But nevertheless, that's, I gotta believe, a major crisis that y'all are dealing with over there. It's it's, Alexandra Hoffmann ** 26:31 you know, it's complicated. And I'm not, it's, the thing is, I'm also a business owner. So retirement is not really a topic in my mind, I Michael Hingson ** 26:46 understand. Right. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 26:50 And I come from a family, business owners as well. So culturally, I was not really raised in an environment where we would just focus on when we're going to stop working. My dad was a really hard working men. And so I think I am too, I have no plan of work of stopping working, basically, because I love what I'm doing. And I may adjust as I'm growing old, and you know, but as long as I'm healthy, I'm fine. And I'm giving you this response. Because there's a big gap in the French, in French society, between people like myself, I want to say, because I have I want to say, the service job, basically, where I'm only using my brain to do my work, right. I'm not using my body. So my body's not being I want to say worn down over the years. But I think a lot of the complaints are coming from people working for companies and industries, where, you know, they have to actually use their body every day to carry heavy things around to work all night to care for children to care for elderly. And obviously doing this until a certain age is getting more and more difficult, right. So I think that's where the gap come from, in all I knew that's where the gap comes from. In France, it's that this part of the population, and rightfully, I want to say wants to be able to start early enough, when their body is not completely broken. Basically, that's where the if I want to summarize, Michael Hingson ** 28:39 right, and I figured as much that that would be the reason that most people would would take right or wrong. That's the feeling. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 28:49 Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So things have calmed down now. But we have other things we have in France, we have disruptive events on a regular basis. I don't know if you saw what happened this past couple of weeks, with the demonstrations at nine going on not demonstrations, the the How to see with the youth being really, really angry because there was a murder of a young kid. Yes. Yeah. So, riots. So that's the word I wasn't I wasn't looking for sorry. So there we've had very, very violent riots over the past couple of weeks. It's it's complicated, very societal, very complex, societal subjects, very complex subjects. Michael Hingson ** 29:42 Is that still going on? Alexandra Hoffmann ** 29:44 I don't know how it's come down. It's gone down. Yeah. Yeah. You Michael Hingson ** 29:49 know, if I can just go to an off the wall kind of thing. We've had our share over here of riots for one reason or another and And we've had our share of, of that kind of crisis. And so one thing I have never understood personally, and it's just me, I think, or at least I'm going to say it's, it's my mind anyway, is I understand why people may be very upset and why they riot. Why do they go around looting and breaking into stores and offices and other things and stealing things and damaging things that oftentimes don't even have anything to do with the subject of what they're writing about? Alexandra Hoffmann ** 30:29 Yeah, I I know. I know. And yeah, I I disagree. I wholeheartedly disagree with that way of demonstrating basically, all heartedly just disagree with that. I mean, we can't we can't be angry, like you said, and they had every I mean, people had every right to be angry with the situation, but as far as the damaging people's goods and and life projects and and life savings for many, many of them. I yeah, I that makes me angry. Michael Hingson ** 31:12 Does anyone have an explanation for why that kind of behavior takes place? Alexandra Hoffmann ** 31:18 I guess they will have to put it on someone. Right? Michael Hingson ** 31:21 I guess so. Yeah. Yeah, Alexandra Hoffmann ** 31:24 I get they have to, you know, when we're, when we're really No, when I'm really angry, which is, which doesn't happen every day, obviously. Unfortunately. Yes. If I'm not conscious of what's going on, I can have a tendency of, you know, looking for someone who's responsible, but me, right. But Michael Hingson ** 31:42 me is exactly right. You know, we never look at what could we do? Or what could we have done? Yeah. And there's not always a good answer that says that there's a lot we could have done. Take over here. The thing that we saw a few years ago, the George Floyd murders, the George Floyd murder, you know, most of us were not in a position to do anything about that. I suppose some people could have attacked or forced that officer to leave George Floyd alone and not kneel on his throat for nine minutes. And some of the officers should have done that. I don't know whether they have any guilt for not doing that. But still, there was so much that happened after that, that really ended up being not related directly to it, like damage and looting and all that. That is so frustrating. And it seems to happen all the time. And I've never understood that kind of behavior. And I could be angry and frustrated. But still, it's it's strange that that kind of thing goes on and makes the crisis worse. Yeah. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 32:48 And I think it's, I mean, whether it's for the George Floyd crisis, or what happened in France couple of weeks ago, I think it's just communities being really tired of that level of, you know, if you really high level of frustration that's been going on for years and years and years, for many reasons, justified or not justified, right. But I know that in France, we have a community of people who is who are actually is really frustrated about what's going on, you know, built this gap building and building and building day after day, between the rich and the poor, between who can have access to everything and who can not have access to everything. Yes, we have a free health system in France. But and free school, and you know, if I summarize, it's never completely 100% free, but it's, you know, it's nothing compared to what you guys have in the US. Okay, just put some perspective here. But at the same time, yeah, there's still so many things which are not fair in the system itself. There's still a huge lack of diversity in the way we approach a lot of topics. And yeah, it's, it's like, like I said, it's, these are really complex matters. That's why it's hard to pull to just pose a judgement on everything, right? It's really easy when we, when we see things like this to watch the news and say, Oh, my God, he's wrong or she's wrong or whatever. Well, I agree. It's, yeah, it's I think it leaves a lot of football thoughts and when I bring it back to myself, right, to say, okay, what can I do? The one thing I tell myself is okay, what can I do to raise my kids properly? And what can I do to serve? You know, my, my fellow human beings and my my friends and my clients, and the best way I can to promote a different energy really So that's really what I tried to do. That's really what I tried to do. Because of course, like you said, most of us cannot have much impact on such events, right. But I really think that if a lot of us put a lot of positive and a different energy out there, we'll see different things happening as well. Michael Hingson ** 35:24 You talk a lot about diversity. So I gather that you and and from your own experiences, you talk about it, I gather that you believe that diversity and experiencing diversity is an extremely valuable thing to do. And it leads to, hopefully, better grounding people and making them more resilient. Is that does that kind of sum it up? Alexandra Hoffmann ** 35:49 Yeah, but also more resilient. But more than that, much more open minded, much more open minded, because I think a lot of the frustration that may come from anyone you know, is about neglect. The fact that we don't know when we don't know when we don't understand something. So when we don't understand something, we're scared of it right, we can get scared of it really easily. 36:13 We're whereas Yeah, go ahead. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 36:15 Whereas when we try to face diversity, embrace diversity, and learn about diversity, asking questions and trying to understand others perspectives and points of view and ways of thinking, the opens up completely new worlds. Michael Hingson ** 36:35 And that's why. And that's why I said what I did earlier about September 11, and are not understanding people. We could go back and look at history and the way we dealt with Iran. Many years before September 11, and before even the revolution, and so on. And we as I think over here, a people viewed it as being so far out of our sphere of knowledge and somewhat influenced that it was really irrelevant. And that's the problem that we don't tend to learn. And I think that goes back to something you said that a lot of people don't learn to necessarily take a wider view of, of things. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 37:22 And that's why that's why diversity is such a big topic and what I want in my life, basically right, and especially since though, since I've become the business owner, because I need to be challenged constantly to make sure that when I'm thinking, you know, being a business owner is very lonely, right? So, because you have no one I mean, I have a team, but they're not here to tell me what to do. Right? I'm supposed to lead, right? And so I'm actually looking for teams, where who can actually challenge what I'm thinking, what I'm asking what I'm saying what I'm doing, not constantly, but on a regular basis. Right. And also, with my close family, I'm actually being asked them, I'm actually asking them to challenge me on a regular basis to regarding my decisions. And all of this because we are blind, right? It's super easy to have blind spots all the time because of those cognitive biases because of our own fears, because of many, many, many psychological things that go on in our brain. So that's why I'm a huge, huge advocate of diversity. Michael Hingson ** 38:33 What do you think makes a good leader, whether it's crisis or whatever? You've talked about leadership a lot? What what do you think are the qualities or traits for a good leader? Alexandra Hoffmann ** 38:45 There are, there are many that I could start listing. But if I had one, if I had to pick one category, that would be, as we say, in French, and several heads, which is being right is to know how to be knowing what to do is, is the easy part, I want to say especially as we build on experience, and as we grow older, and so on and so forth. I'm not saying that those decisions are always easy. But, you know, as far as being it's much more complex. And I think that's the most fascinating piece of leadership. Because it's about us, it's about us interacting with others. It's much more complex, because every single human being is unique. So even if we have an experience with certain kinds of people, it's going to be always going to be different with other other other people we encounter. Right? So focusing on being on top of doing is I think one of the biggest skills and responsibility a leader has Michael Hingson ** 39:59 Yeah, I, I hear what you're saying. I also think that knowing what to do is a very difficult thing. And I think one of the good skills that any good leader has, is going back to what you said, also allowing people to whether you want to use the word challenge or state their own opinions, because they may know something about what to do in a particular situation that is even better than what you know. And a good leader has to be able to recognize that and look at all aspects. And I know when I was leading sales forces, one of the things that I told every salesperson I ever hired was, I'm your boss, but I'm not here to boss you around. I'm here to add value to what you do to help you be more successful. So we need to learn to work together. And I think that is such an important thing that many people who are in positions of authority never really understand. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 41:07 I completely agree with you, Michael. And I want to add to what I said before what you just said that when I talked about being it's being humble, among other things, being humble, but I didn't want to summarize leadership to humility, right? So it's being humble, it's being a good communicator, it's being able to interact with different cultures with different ways of thinking with it's also being able to admit, responsibility to admit mistakes to to celebrate, right. So it's all of this together. So that when decisions need to be made, it becomes easier and smoother. It's not going to be perfect. Okay, yeah, I always say that is there is no such thing as perfect, even especially in when we talk about dealing with crisis. Because that's also I think one of the biggest caveats of a lot of reading materials I see is that we think it's, it's, there's an end, there's an end to to it, right? And I think it's there is no such thing, it's always a journey. It's always a learning journey for every leader have read about or discussed with or met in person, no matter, right? It's always a learning curve. Sometimes we have up sometimes we have downs. And sometimes we succeed, sometimes we mess up. So that's why and what so that's why one of the things I really put forth is the fact that it's a journey. It's it's not a it's not the end. And Michael Hingson ** 42:45 I think the times when perhaps someone messes up are the best times because those are the times that drive home the point something to learn here, even though there's something to learn, even when you're extremely successful, how can you maybe do it better, but we tend to focus on the mess up times more. And that's, that's fine. But still, it's not that we're a failure, it's that we need to learn and grow from it. And I suppose that get back to picking on politicians, I'm not sure they, they do a great job of that. But nevertheless, it's what any good leader should really do. And I think that it's a crucial thing. As you said, it's a journey, which is, which is really important. When did you form crisis ally. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 43:33 So I formed it at the end of 2018. At first, it was Alexandra Hoffman consulting, and it became crisis ally in 2020, during COVID, because when COVID Had I changed everything, the strategy, the business model, everything. And I also changed the the identity and I really didn't want the company to be about me. I want it to be about what we do and how we can serve our clients basically. 44:05 Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 44:08 You know, in the pandemic, the difference between the pandemic and the World Trade Center is that the pandemic, whether a lot of us necessarily recognized as much as we could have or should have, is it more directly affected everyone than the World Trade Center? Yes, the world shut down for a few days after September 11, especially the financial markets and so on. And yes, it was something that was an issue for most all of us. And I think it's true to say that the world stopped, but then it started again. And with the pandemic, we went through a different kind of situation that affected so many people. And I think a lot of us maybe didn't think it through as well as we could have. And I hope it doesn't happen again. But I'm not sure that that's the case. I know that in this country. We have an I've been reading over the last couple of days that deaths associated with the pandemic have brought the whole picture back down to, we're experiencing the amount of deaths we normally do. Even pre pandemic. So for the world, perhaps the pandemic is over. Maybe, or at least this one is over, but I guess we'll see. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 45:26 But, yeah, like it's, it's, it's hard to predict such things. I'm actually more concerned about natural disasters, if you want to, if you want my, my take on this one, much more concerned, because that's also easy. It's a confirmation bias, now that we see 911. Now, now that we've seen the pandemic, now, everyone is focused on this same with cyber attacks, basically, right. Everyone is focused on those because we've experienced them. I think we ought to be extremely cautious with natural disasters and what nature has in store for us because yeah, between the heat waves, and we had some major wildfires just a year ago, we're where I live. I know you've had your share as well. Canada has had its share recently as well, it's it's so professionally speaking from a risk perspective, natural disasters, I think are high on my list. And Michael Hingson ** 46:28 of course, the the and I, I agree with you the course of the question is, what can we do about it? And, again, I think, for me, I think it starts with getting back to dealing with some of the cognitive biases, and to recognize we have to deal a little bit with what if we may not be able to predict a particular national natural disaster, but we certainly can be more aware and make some preparations and be Alexandra Hoffmann ** 47:01 less surprised? Absolutely. Because Surprise, surprise, is what takes a toll on everyone. You know, surprise what, especially bad surprises, right like that. So being more aware of these, and like you said, like, like you said, and, and being less surprised by those events, it's much less traumatizing, much less traumatizing. It's much easier to cope right away, and to make decisions instantly, rather than just, you know, freezing. Here Michael Hingson ** 47:32 in the United States. And I'm sure elsewhere, we hear a lot about earthquakes. And Dr. Lucy Jones, here in Southern California, and others talk about predicting earthquakes or seeing earthquakes before they reach us. And now they're talking about maybe 10 to 62nd warning, which people will tell that's not very much. But that's incredible compared to the way it used to be. And if we continue to encourage the science, we'll probably find other things that will help give us more warnings. I know in Iceland, they're actually learning how to do a better job of predicting volcanic eruptions. And they're doing a really an incredible job. And like with anything, it's very expensive. Right now, the technology is a little bit challenging. But if we encourage the science, it will improve. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 48:33 That's interesting, because that's one of the takeaways from the Ostrich Paradox book that's mentioned about Fukushima, one of the experts scientists had said, If we invest in this technology, we'll have what we need to be prepared for such an event, because it was very expensive at the time, they said no to it. Yeah. And then Fukushima happens. Michael Hingson ** 48:53 And then Fukushima happened and Fukushima wasn't good. 48:57 They couldn't perceive the the tidal wave. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 49:03 Now, that's not what I want to say they couldn't perceive the risk as being high enough. The the measure the impact has been big, but the probability was so low for them was like, Okay, we're not going to invest millions or whatever, right, for something that has a super low probability from happening. Michael Hingson ** 49:23 And then it didn't. Yeah. Which is, of course, the issue. I was at Fukushima, oh, no more than a year after it happened. And, but I hear exactly what you're saying. And we need to recognize that things do occur and that we have to learn to address them. And again, it gets back to this whole idea of what if and the reality is, I think, there there are people who have a gift of learning to deal with what if, and we ought to honor and recognize that more than we do. core, some of them are not really dealing with what if, what if they're making things up? But there are people who do what if and who do it very well. And a lot of the scientists are specifically trying to address that kind of issue. Well, what if this happens? And what's the theory behind this? And? And how can it change? And we just don't address science nearly as much as it should. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 50:24 And I want to add, from where I am, I have been working with the corporate sector 22 years now. I've never, I've never met a scientist to talk about risks like this. So this is also something to understand. There's so many silos that we ought to break, eventually, when we talk about, you know, managing responding to disruptive events, yeah. Because communities don't need in some communities would need to meet to increase the level of awareness on so many things. Like we're talking about risk science and scientific studies and knowledge. Right? Right. Of course, I'm curious enough. So I go on google now or any other platform to learn as much as I can. But when you sit, you know, put yourself in chief security officers choose or chief risk officer shoes. Yeah, has no time to do such thing. Right. And the thing is, because we're used to think in a silo, I've never attended any team meeting, where we've invited over a scientist to talk about, I don't know, the risk of AI, the risk of natural disasters, the risk of cyber the risk of anything. Never. Why is that? I don't know. Because it's, it's a, I think it's just we don't think about it. And by just discussing it with you, I realize that's a huge gap. I've actually started bridging that, you know, with my putting my small stone to this, to this siloed world, I've actually started seeing this acknowledging this between universities and the corporate world. So I started teaching to universities, at universities, sorry, okay, too, because I realized that there were so many things I wasn't taught back at university, and I wished I had known before earlier in my career. So things could have been, I would want to say, easier, right? For myself or my teams. So I'm like, Okay, let's go to university and teach students what I've learned along the way to bridge that gap. But that's not that's not so common. That's not quite so common. And by just discussing with you, I realized that we, we don't talk to the scientific community Michael Hingson ** 52:51 in area and work on an Alexandra Hoffmann ** 52:53 area to work on unless you know, people I know people who have PhDs and degrees like this. And of course, they they are part of the scientific community. But that I mean, having a PhD is not being a scientist right to so. So yeah, you get my point. Because I don't want to hurt anyone's, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Michael Hingson ** 53:14 I do know, I hear what you're saying. What's an example of where Crisis Ally has really made a difference in what a company does? Alexandra Hoffmann ** 53:24 So I think what we try to do, each time we serve a client is really to make at least the teams who are supposed to work in this on the on these topics on these critical topics more resilient, more agile, and more adaptable to more sustainable, I want to say, right? ie we don't want people to crash. We want to be able we want people to be able to sustain protracted emergencies, protracted situation, right. So that's how we, we want to make a difference with the client we serve. And it's really about aligning the people behind one vision and one mission. So that's what we do when we serve clients. I have one specific example in mind, where there was a we were working with a team and there were there were a lot of misalignment around the mission, the vision around security, crisis management, business continuity, all those resilience related topics, right risk management as well. And we helped we helped the team align on these topics basically. So which I think will have some positive impact on the company as a whole. Michael Hingson ** 54:52 So for you looking ahead, what do you think is the most exciting thing about the future for crisis ally and what you're doing and where you're headed. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 55:03 The most exciting things that we're growing, I mean, revenue is growing. So that's really, really exciting. And it's growing really, really a lot. So it's, you know, I'm trying to plan for that, and foresee well how to handle what's coming, basically. And so I'm trying to envision new new partnerships, I want to say and also maybe hiring people for the for the company. So that's, that's something I'm thinking about for 2020 2420 25, you know, because it's really, it's really growing now. Michael Hingson ** 55:46 And that's exciting. And there's gonna be room for what you do for a long time. Have you written any books or any other online kinds of things? Not yet, have it done? With the Astrid. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 56:01 I've written articles, but I mean, really writing a book, I, you know, it takes time. And I haven't decided I haven't decided have decided not to put my energy on this. At this point in my life. That's fair. Michael Hingson ** 56:16 So you have two children to worry about. And then their crisis right now is that they didn't need to come in the room. So you know, is that leadership probably? Well, I want to figure out a way in the future to continue this, this is fun. And I would love to chat with you more. We've been doing this for a while now. And I don't want people to get too tired of us. But I think that's a fun discussion and one that we ought to continue in the future. Whenever you're, you're willing to do it. But if people want to reach out to you and learn about Crisis Ally and so on. So the best 56:51 way for people to reach me is on LinkedIn. Michael, like you found me on that we found each other on LinkedIn. I'm all the time I'm on LinkedIn all the time. It's, I also have my website, my company's website, which is www dot crisisally.com. But what's your Michael Hingson ** 57:08 LinkedIn name? That people can Alexandra Hoffmann.com H O F F M A N N? Yeah, Alexandra Hoffmann ** 57:13 I have to bring it to carry my daughter right now. You don't see her Michael, but she's asking for my arms. But Michael Hingson ** 57:22 nothing wrong with having a daughter around. I close my door, so my cat wouldn't come in and yell at me. Well, I want to thank you very much for being here. This has absolutely been delightful. And I do want to do it again. And I hope all of you found this interesting. What's your daughter's name? Amber, Emeril, Amber, and Amber. Yes, sir. Hello. Yeah. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 57:46 She got here with the headphones. So that's true. Well tell her how she left. She got bored. She got bored. Looking at the screen. Michael Hingson ** 57:52 She's done now. Yeah. Well, thank you for being here. And I hope all of you enjoyed this, please. We'd love to hear from you. We'd love your thoughts. Please reach out to me and give me your your opinions and your views on all of this. And anything else that you'd like to say, You can reach me at Michaelhi M i c h a e l h i at accessibe A c c e s s i b e.com. Or go to Michael Hingson m i c h a e l h i n g s o n.com/podcast. I hope wherever you're listening that you will at least please give us a five star rating and write a good review. We really appreciate your your positive and all of your comments. And and I hope that you'll do that. So that we can we can hear from you and Alexandra, if you or any of you listening out there might know of someone else who ought to be a guest on unstoppable mindset, please let us know we want to hear from you. We would love your suggestions and your recommendations. We value them and we will talk with anyone who wants to come on. So once more. Alexandra, thank you very much for being here. I've really enjoyed it. I hope all of our listeners have. And I want to just express my appreciation to you for being here. Alexandra Hoffmann ** 59:05 Thank you very, very much Michael for the discussion. It was very interesting. And I must say you caught me off guard of guard with a couple of questions. But that was also a very interesting just for that. And thank you very much for for having me on today and for listening. Michael Hingson ** 59:25 You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you'll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you're on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you're there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.
I had the pleasure of meeting Teri Wellbrock a few weeks ago and almost at once asked her to be a guest on Unstoppable Mindset. As with all our guests I asked her for a biography. What I received was a story about a woman who, from the age of four years old, experienced a variety of sexual and physical abuses and later was clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time as she experienced two bank robberies. In both robbery cases her life was in danger from gun-toting robbers. She will tell us all about her early life. More important, Teri will discuss how she was able to overcome her early life and become a successful psychologist whose main goal in life is to help others. She has a great deal of experience in dealing with emotional trauma and healing. We will talk about some of the techniques she uses and which were utilized to help her. Teri is a wonderful and engaging person. I am sure you will find her worth hearing. You also can seek out her podcast which she discusses near the end of our episode. About the Guest: Teri Wellbrock is a trauma warrior, having survived and thrived after learning to cope with her C-PTSD symptoms and 25 years of severe panic attacks by utilizing EMDR therapy, personal research and learned coping skills along with a foundation of faith and positivity. She is currently writing a book, Unicorn Shadows: From Trauma to Triumph – A Healing Guide, about her multiple traumas, with the intent to help others reach their own joyous and peaceful existence via her “story of hope”. She also speaks publicly about her triumph over trauma, including guest appearances on Healing from Grief and Loss online summit and Avaiya University's Overcoming PTSD online event. Teri is mom to three beautiful children (ages 29, 27, and 17); graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology; has written a children's book, The Doodle with the Noodle, with her daughter, about their Therapy Dog, Sammie the Labradoodle; has created the Sammie's Bundles of Hope project (bags filled with trinkets of hope donated to children with trauma history); and is producer and host of The Healing Place Podcast on iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, iHeartRadio and many more audio outlets (now downloaded in 125 countries and ranked in the TOP 2% globally out of 3.1 million shows). She maintains a blog at www.unicornshadows.com and writes a monthly Hope for Healing Newsletter. Teri's professional history includes sales, managing, teaching, and case management with a mental health agency. Her life p urpose is to make a positive difference in the lives of others and shine a light of hope into dark spaces. Ways to connect with Teri: WEBSITE www.teriwellbrock.com www.unicornshadows.com FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/TheHealingPlacePodcast/ LINKEDIN https://www.linkedin.com/in/teri-wellbrock/ About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson ** 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson ** 01:22 Well, greetings all once again. It is time for unstoppable mindset. I'm your host, Mike Hingston. And today we get to have a lovely conversation with Teri. Wellbrock. Teri has a great story to tell. And she talks about C PTSD and other things. And I'm anxious to learn about that, but just anxious to really get to know Teri better. So we'll jump right into it. And Teri, welcome to unstoppable mindset. We're really glad you're here. Teri Wellbrock ** 01:50 Oh my gosh, thank you so much for having me. I'm very excited to be here. And yeah, I'm, I've loved our conversations that we've had beforehand. And we were laughing so hard at finding movies that we love and yeah, it's gonna be great competition. Michael Hingson ** 02:05 Yeah, still not too much better than Young Frankenstein. But, you know, it's 02:09 still one of my all time Michael Hingson ** 02:13 I have yet to find somebody who remembers though, when when I start to talk with them. When I say Dr. Franken stone. They don't say that's Frankenstein. Right. Of course, if they did that, then I go. So it's Frederick Frankenstein. Yes. And you must be Igor. No, it's I go, I go. I spelled it Igor. Are they going to Rome and didn't they? Oh, Mel Brooks. Teri Wellbrock ** 02:46 Yes. Oh my gosh. Again. I love Madeline Kahn, Madeline Michael Hingson ** 02:49 Kahn. Well, Madeline Kahn. Leachman, Terry gar all of that crowd Marty Feldman. Yes, Gene Wilder all of them. What a group Well, anyway, we're really glad you're here and well, thanks. We can talk about them on another podcast and take a whole hour and have a lot of fights right quote the whole movie and that's it. Yeah, we could just do it you know. I can take care of that hump. What what Teri Wellbrock ** 03:22 you're gonna hear me snort laughing here. Michael Hingson ** 03:26 Well, tell us a little bit about kind of the earlier Teri the young Teri and all that how you started out and kind of stuff. Teri Wellbrock ** 03:34 Yeah, all that fun stuff. So when I when I stand on stages, or when a microphone in my hand and give presentations, I say I always start with my my trauma story, because I want to paint the picture of what I had gone through, but then I get to the happy and hopeful part. So so my early life my first 22 years of life are filled with horrific trauma. And I will gladly share I don't have a problem sharing the not gory details, but just a quick painted picture. When I was for an intoxicated parent attempted to drown me and my sister in a bathtub. When I was five, I was sexually molested by a 16 year old neighbor. When I was nine, I was sexually molested by a 19 year old neighbor when my mom sent me to borrow a can of soup. When I was 14, I was sexually accosted by a religious education director. I worked in the evenings for priests in our parish, and he was he was there and that evening, when I was 16 lost my virginity to date rape. Later that same year I was attacked by a gang downtown Cincinnati and sexually accosted later when I was 17, a police officer involved in that investigation asked my parents if he could take me to dinner to celebrate the convictions for that gang attack and my parents were like, Oh, he's a police officer, of course. But he did not take me to dinner. He took me back to his apartment where he attempted to rape me. 21 I was involved in a bank robbery a gun was held to my head and my coworker was stabbed three times with a hunting knife. I switched to our main office where my 19 year old sister worked. And three months later, the same assailants who had not been caught, would come back only this time, would pull the trigger and murder my coworker. I had run from the back of the bank and came face to face with an armed the second armed assailant, and he pointed his Luger at me, but the gun misfired and my life was yet again spared. My dad was physically abusive during the first 10 years of my life. So my life, those first 22 years were filled with chaos. And I after that second bank robbery started to have horrific panic attacks, and not understanding the impact of trauma on the body, particularly for children and not being able to process trauma. And so really spent the next 25 years trying to figure out how to survive and live in this. The destruction that had happened during those early years of my life. And then on 2013 stepped onto the healing path and everything changed. So that was a. Michael Hingson ** 06:28 And as I recall, your sister was actually at the desk where your co worker was killed, but she had just gone away for a break or something. Yes, Teri Wellbrock ** 06:39 she had just asked to go on break. And the arm the gunman came in firing into the ceiling. And my sister dove under a desk. She was just walking away. And the young lady that was murdered was the one that took my sister's place on the teller line. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 06:57 So how is your sister cope with all that? Teri Wellbrock ** 07:01 We talk quite often about how we come out, okay. You know, we say sane, and then we giggle and laugh about it. Because, you know, there's those moments we don't feel so sad. But neither of us are alcoholics. I mean, our mom was an alcoholic favorite. Neither of us turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. We, we have both done a lot of therapy and a lot of healing work. You know, I've done alternative healing, like EFT, tapping and mindfulness and meditation. And so a tremendous amount of it comes across my radar, I'm going to give it a whirl and see if it helps me along my journey. So my sister is very similar. She's certainly done a tremendous amount of healing. And she is a phenomenal artist. And so her, she releases and processes a lot through her artistry, and it's just such a gift. Michael Hingson ** 08:04 Well, yeah, that's an awful lot for anyone to go through. And I'm sitting here kind of saying to myself, and all I had to do was to get out of the World Trade Center on September 11. And my gosh, look at what you've done. It's not just been one time, but it's just been challenge after challenge. And you've obviously gone through it and been pretty successful what really turned it around, Teri Wellbrock ** 08:30 I would say my degrees in psychology. So after the second bank robbery, if you get married, had kiddos and I decided I really want to go back to school. I had gone for a year and a half and then dropped out of college. But this time I want to go and get my degree in psychology and understand. I still didn't understand trauma still didn't you know, that wasn't on the radar yet. But I wanted to understand. My mom had been through two bank robberies, and why Why was she handling it different? She didn't have panic attacks, what was going on. So I went back to school got a degree in psychology, which eventually led me to work in a mental health agency and through the school systems, and I was working with some kiddos again back in 2012 2013. And we were doing things like Kid yoga and art therapy to work through feelings that were coming up. We were doing bullying work we were doing so a lot of those things. And it was like this. I don't call it no fear. It's an angel whisper an aha moment, whatever it was, but it was just like the light bulb went off. And I remember being at home and thinking, holy moly, this stuff is helping me. And I realized in that moment like I was working with these kids, that really Little Teri's like little me was still inside there going, I need this, I need this. And so I ended up reaching out to a counselor and saying I need help with this. And after a few sessions, I think she realized that it was beyond her abilities. And she said, Teri, have you ever considered EMDR therapy and I was like, What the heck is EMDR Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. So it's a therapy that was developed by Dr. Shapiro, and she was working with soldiers returning from war. And realize that during therapy sessions, she would notice that their eyes were moving back and forth similar to REM sleep. And they were processing. The trauma is similar that we do with our, again, in REM sleep when we're dreaming. And so she developed this process where those who have been through traumas can either look at a light bar and have their eyes go back and forth, or hold on to vibrational paddles, which I did, I kept my eyes closed, because I found I was too distracted peripherally. But if I kept my eyes closed, I could hold these paddles, and they would vibrate, left right legs, back and forth, and my hand and it would create the same movement in my eyes. And and then I was able to return into traumatic events. So we would specifically go back to the first bank robbery or an event that had happened, and I would allow body memories to come back or visuals to come back whatever it was, that would surface. And then slowly, slowly, slowly over four years, 98 sessions we processed. So much of that trauma. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 12:09 Interesting. I, I'm sort of sitting here going to myself, I wonder how that would work with a blind person. But I guess with the vibrating paddles, because we don't, especially blind from birth, eye movements are pretty foreign to me, but I know that they're there. So it would be interesting to explore that someday, Teri Wellbrock ** 12:28 I still was thinking it is it was coming out of my mouth. I thought, oh my gosh, I wonder if they've ever done EMDR with someone who's blind? Because do blind people? Did the eyes move during REM sleep is one? Michael Hingson ** 12:42 Oh, sure. I'm sure they do. You know, dreaming is dreaming. And with dreaming, we use the sensations and the senses that we have. But I think REM sleep is something that is common to everyone. So I am sure that that it would be and that it is I have never awake to know whether I exhibit it, but I'm sure it does. I would be really surprised if it if it's not. What I don't learn to do is to have control over eye movements. And maybe that's why it's not an issue, it'd be the same thing. Blind or not, because I don't know how to look up or look down. But that doesn't mean my eyes don't move. Right. So I'm sure that REM sleep is is there. And and since as you pointed out, you use the panels, which essentially allow for the same sort of thing to happen. I wonder how that would work? It would be interesting to explore that. Teri Wellbrock ** 13:43 Yeah, I had, I had one therapist or similar counselor that had tried, where I had earphones on as well. And it was like the alternating the sound, alternating ears that just again it for whatever reason. caused my eyes to go right, left, right, left just just a slight little movements. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 14:07 But it doesn't take much to be noticed. So right. Interesting. The after researching, I think it would be an interesting thing to to explore. You know, the the reality is, is is not the only game in town, but it doesn't mean that we all really function differently. It's just that we use different techniques to get to the same place but some of these basic physiological sorts of things I think are pretty common across the board. But it would be interesting and maybe somebody who's listening to this will reach out and and have comments for us which would be fun to hear. Teri Wellbrock ** 14:40 Yes, let me know let me know let me know if you find something out. I'll let you know if I find something out. Yeah, there Michael Hingson ** 14:45 you go. Well, but nevertheless, you you were able to overcome all of it and be able to move forward. So you you went to college? Yeah, got your degree you got Your psychology degree Yes. Did you go to get any kind of a masters or I didn't, Teri Wellbrock ** 15:05 I was I was going to go on for my PhD in psychology, I wanted to work with kids. And I took a child abuse course. And again, it was one of those moments where it was like teary in hindsight, I say, oh, you should have known, because I just remember being so overwhelmed by the content, the videos that we were presented with the reading materials, I think that was the time I read, a boy named it or called boy called it and it was about horrific physical abuse and emotional abuse. And just remember, some crying some so much struggle with it, and I had the conversation with myself of, I don't think I can do this, because I would want to take every one of these kids home with me just show them what, you know, being protected and safe really is and I want to, you know, kill the parents, again, not understanding trauma, because it wasn't on the radar at that time. Because this was back in I graduated in 99. So it was just starting to be talked about the impacts of trauma. Michael Hingson ** 16:16 Yeah, that's the the other part about this whole concept of mental health, and, and growing is that, for the longest time, we, we never would talk about it. I was actually talking with someone, I think just yesterday on one of our podcast conversations, who said that, you know, when they grew up, which was in relatively the same kind of timeframe that I did, children were supposed to be seen and never heard. And they were discouraged from talking. And so it's only in more recent times that we start to really hear that kids and adults start to really talk about some of the things that go on in their lives. And they are the better for talking about it. But unfortunately, we see I'll still have all too many people who say, we don't want to talk about that that's not relevant. Right? Teri Wellbrock ** 17:11 Oh, gosh, talking about it. That's one of the biggest things I one of my favorite things to discuss is the importance of putting our stories out there sharing our truths. I know one of the things that I really study a lot now is aces, which are adverse childhood experiences in the impact of aces on so many things in adult lives, if children go through and they are not given the opportunity to do their processing work, which is talking about their, their traumas, or working through it, if they can't, or don't want to talk about it through other healing resources, such as tapping, and there's other somatic healing resources. But aces have an incredibly profound effect on having cancer having heart disease, I mean physical ailments, suicide ideology, you know, suicide ideation, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, these are the mental health portion of it. spiritual issues early, you know, sexual explorations, there's just it has an incredibly profound effect on kids. And so yes, it needs to be talked about 100%. Michael Hingson ** 18:33 And we discourage kids, although I think they're, obviously things need to be monitored, but we discourage kids. We did and do discourage kids from really exploring and learning and being allowed to ask questions. Yeah, way too much. And my parents were, were really pretty good about it. They they encouraged, especially me, I think, because my brother, who was two years older was able to see but for me, especially, they, they were pretty incredible. They encouraged me to ask and to explore, and they allowed that. I'm sure they want it monitored, and they watched but they encouraged it, which was pretty cool. Teri Wellbrock ** 19:21 Yeah, I certainly did with my three kids, because I wanted them to have such a different experience than I had because my dad was. He was six foot six 280 big strong guy, very violent my first 10 years of life, but my dad sought counseling. And I'll never forget when he sat me on his lap at 10 years old and said, Terry, I realized now after meeting with this therapist that I was taking my frustrations with your mother's alcoholism, girls and hitting you and I never should have hit you and I'll never hit you again and he didn't. And so he did healing work which She was incredibly impactful on my life. I was just gonna say that. Yeah, yeah, to see him and to apologize to his kid. And that was a huge lesson and forgiveness, which is a lot of work that I've done, I've done tremendous forgiveness work for all of my abusers, or the assailants that have crossed my path for myself, nor so for, not for them, but for me, you Michael Hingson ** 20:30 can't, you can't hold it in, you can't just sit there and hate. I met a person. reasonably soon after September 11. He had been a fireman. And he decided to join the New York Police Department because he wanted to kill all the terrorists that did everything or they might do anything to the United States. And I thought at the time, I appreciate your dedication, but that's a horrible reason to become a police officer. 20:57 Right? Michael Hingson ** 20:59 You know, we can't hate and I never did hate the people who did what they did on September 11. What I always thought was, you got what you deserve. You're not here anymore. And I'll bet you didn't get to go up to heaven and find 72 Virgins waiting for you either. Right? I doubt that very seriously. And I'm sure that's the case. But, you know, it wasn't a religious thing. It was a bunch of hoods a bunch of thugs who decided they wanted to try to have their way with the world, and they use the name of religion to do it. But I know that that's not what the Islamic religion is all about. Teri Wellbrock ** 21:44 Yeah, I agree. I think it was radical. Sorry. I'm moving Max. onto my lap again. Michael Hingson ** 21:52 Are we are we getting? Are we getting bored Max. Teri Wellbrock ** 21:56 He was getting he was getting I want to go run and bark at something. So Michael Hingson ** 22:02 Max is a Schnoodle. Part Schnauzer, part poodle, for those who don't know, cuz that came up before we started talking on on the recording, but that's what Max is. Yeah. Teri Wellbrock ** 22:14 So as to be my co host or my co guest right now. Michael Hingson ** 22:18 You know, Max has anything to say it's okay. But, you know, he's got to speak up. Teri Wellbrock ** 22:23 Right, right now he's just I'm rocking him in my arms. He wants to down and then he decided no, I won't back up. So there was a there was a moment where we were having a little bit of Michael Hingson ** 22:33 now what's the Labradoodles name? That Sammy, Teri Wellbrock ** 22:35 she's seeing me she was a registered therapy dog. So we used to volunteer with kids in school when we lived in Ohio. And that was, oh my God, it was so fulfilling, like, just great soul work. To be able to go into the schools, we worked through the counselor's office. And Sammy has a gift as he as I'm sure you know, there's these dogs have a way of just connecting beyond words. Alamo Michael Hingson ** 23:06 doesn't know a stranger, although he does know he's got to focus on his job. But I'm sure that if he ever changed careers, he'd be a wonderful emotional support dog or a therapy dog. But he's great at what he does. And he even likes our kitty. So that works out well. Good. And the kitty likes him. So it's fair. Teri Wellbrock ** 23:28 That's good. I keep joking and saying Sammy needs a cat. The rest of the family is not going along with me kiss. Sammy, she's just the sweetest, sweetest soul. Michael Hingson ** 23:38 Well, how old are the kids now? 23:40 The the Michael Hingson ** 23:42 your children, your grandchildren? Teri Wellbrock ** 23:44 Yeah. The human children. Those are the ones they are. So I have my son, oldest son is in Denver. He's going to be 30 This year I had around it. And then my youngest son is 27. And then we have a 17 year old daughter. So they're all great, wonderful kids. And then Sammy has got a birthday coming up. Gosh, next week, the 23rd. And Michael Hingson ** 24:11 is your daughter going to be a senior in high school? Teri Wellbrock ** 24:13 She is Yeah. I said she's headed off to take the AC T in a different city tomorrow. She just left and so yeah, all that fun stuff. We get to go touring colleges. She wants to be a pilot. Is that not crazy? I love it. Now I I'm just so blown away because I see those jets up in the air and I think how does that tube fly and that plummet to the earth and here my kid wants to wants to fly so she flew a plane at 16 for Christmas. We gave her a discovery flight and they took her up an instructor shook her up he lifted it off, but once it got into the air her, she flew it the entire time over the islands here in South Carolina, and then flew it back to Savannah international airport and he landed it. Michael Hingson ** 25:10 Wow. That's pretty cool. Well, you know, if that's what she wants to do, and she ends up being good at it, then great. Yeah, Teri Wellbrock ** 25:17 I think she'll really pursue it. So she wants to apply for Delta. Michael Hingson ** 25:22 A lot better than being a driver on the road. I'll tell you. Oh, for sure. As the I have, I still am of the opinion that we can't have autonomous vehicles any too soon, because we need to take driving out of the hands of drivers. Teri Wellbrock ** 25:36 I see it all the time. And people think I'm crazy for it. Because I say self driving vehicles, at least that will give you a better chance of surviving someone else. Yeah, you know, driving crazy. So yeah, I think it's awesome. I say we make Michael Hingson ** 25:54 sense to me. Yeah. So you have, you've obviously become much more aware of yourself, and you have you have thought about and obviously decided to move forward and not let all the stuff that happened to you. Take you down, if you will, how did how did you do that? And how? Well, let me just do that. How did how did you do that? And, you know, do you still think you have a ways to go or what? Teri Wellbrock ** 26:29 Yeah, that's a great question. And I used to ask myself that a lot. I would be like, how did I make it through all of them? What? Because people would tell me all the time, Terry, you radiate joy, you just have this light about you? And I would. And then they'd hear my story. And they would say how, how did you get through all of that, and you still just have this joyousness? And for life, one of my nicknames and I don't know, am I allowed to say a cuss word on your show, if you want. So one of my nicknames is glitter shitter. Because people were just like, you know, you're always looking at the positive, you're always just in so I didn't understand for a long time again until I started doing my my my trauma studies and understanding, resilience in importance of resilience. And so I had people in my life that helped me, not just survive, but believe in myself enough that I had built an incredible amount of resilience and ability to overcome. And my grandma Kitty was, quote, unquote, my, my babysitter, so my, my mom worked full time. And my dad would run, try to run various businesses, he struggled a lot because they would fail. And then he would start another one. But my grandma was the one that was home with me and my little sister. And she was the kindest, most loving, most gentle soul in simple things, like just peeling me an apple, or sitting me on her lap and watching general hospital together. I mean, it was just simple little gestures of love and kindness that helped me survive the chaos that was going on around me constantly. My my best friend's parents were, I would spend the night a lot at her house because it was just a gentle kind place to be her parents were very loving, kind people. And they felt safe there. And so they know Michael Hingson ** 28:45 some of the things that were going on with you. Teri Wellbrock ** 28:48 Nobody knew. Okay, no, I didn't. I didn't share any of it. And I was in my 30s. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 28:56 But you felt safe there. You were saying? Yeah, yeah. So Teri Wellbrock ** 28:59 it just again and I had a teacher so so we talk about trauma and in particularly aces adverse childhood experiences in kids. And what it is that the kids who are going through difficult situations, you know, maybe addiction at home or physical abuse or divorce or whatever it is that's causing some chaos in their life bullying at school. And that one of my previous podcast guests, Dr. Janine conahey. She was working on a program and what it was hashtag one caring adult. And that is, that's the key. That really is the key. It's having those people in place that help a child, believe in themselves, help a child know they're loved, help a child know that. Somebody is looking out for them. Someone cares. That makes him a powerful difference. Michael Hingson ** 29:57 Yeah. You meant shinned that you wandered sometimes with your mother being an alcoholic and so on. And if you didn't take that path, did she ever change her path? Or did that ever? Did she ever get any better? Teri Wellbrock ** 30:15 Yeah. And that's such a great story. Oh my gosh. So my mom just died this year on my birthday. So March 14 of this year, but my mom was a severe alcoholic my entire life. And in her early 80s, she hit her rock bottom. I was visiting my son in Colorado, we were in Estes Park, having a beautiful vacation and the phone rang. And that was the hospital saying, Hey, your mom is here. She's been detoxing, and we need someone to come pick her up. And I was like, I'm done. I'm done. I can't do it anymore. I was always the Savior. I was always the good girl, the one that would go in and clean up the mess and make everything better. And it couldn't do anymore. It's very codependent relationship. And so I walked away from her for three months. And it was the hardest thing I've ever, ever, ever done in my life. I cried every day. I thought I was a horrible human. But it was during those three months, when my sister had walked away, the grandkids had walked away. I had walked away. My dad was had died years before. And she was left to pick herself up by herself by herself. And she was very religious, very Catholic person. So she had a talk with her Jesus picture hanging on her wall. It she, she did it. And she lived for almost three years sober. And she would talk about it though I had her on my show twice. And we talked about the trauma. We talked about her journey. And she started to understand the the role that alcohol played in helping her survive her own childhood trauma. And so we I explained to her what what childhood trauma hit was doing to her. And she finally finally started to share her horrors that she had lived with and hadn't told anyone in 80 something years. And it started to help her heal. And she wasn't needing to turn to alcohol as much. In the end. She was diagnosed with liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. So the algo had done its damage. And then she dove back into the bottle because she took that as God's way of saying, Well, you got cancer and cirrhosis. So mice, Well, Justin, enjoy the booze. So she did. And it was the booze that ended up killing her she fell and couldn't survive. She just had to go into hospice and just couldn't, couldn't pull out of it that last time. So it Michael Hingson ** 33:11 is it is still sad. I you know, I know there are people that drink a lot. And I'm sure that it's mostly to, to hide or cover up things, but that's what they do. But I've never never felt a need to do anything like that. For me. I got to work through it, whatever it is. Yeah, Teri Wellbrock ** 33:33 I'm the same. I didn't like that feeling. I mean, I certainly drank in high school, it was it was the 80s. And it was like the thing to do. And it was more of a party scene social thing, but not a coping thing. And so it was very easy. It was very easy for me to step away from it and realize I don't drink now it doesn't mean I can't Yeah, I just I just choose not to I will go out to dinner and I have water. It's just what I do. Michael Hingson ** 34:02 I can have a drink every so often. And I will do it to be sociable. But it is weeks between a single drink if I have one. And I only do it because I'll just try to do it tonight. And that's it. We lived up near Napa for a while and so my wife and I would buy wine and that was always fun and but again, never any excessive amount. So a glass of wine, which can be healthy, but I've just never found the need to drink. Although I do like to tease. I always tell everybody I know that I feel bad for people who don't drink because when they get up in the morning, that's as good as they're gonna feel for the rest of the day. I watch and listen to Dean Martin. I know these things. Teri Wellbrock ** 34:45 I'll be Martin. Yeah. But Michael Hingson ** 34:48 but you know, just you really can't cover up. Whatever is going on. If you don't deal with it, then it's only going to hurt you and I'm glad that at least for a while. While she was able to and here it comes again. Talk about it, which is what helped? Yes. Teri Wellbrock ** 35:06 Oh, for sure. And, and she was grateful for the opportunity that we have, we're allowing her the space to, it really helped us all on our healing journeys, because we gave her the space to talk about it, and to say, not as an excuse of why she was drinking, and why it was so difficult for us as children, but reasoning that we were at least able to take a step back from our pain and say, Oh, now we get it. Now, now we understand, again, not an excuse doesn't excuse the behavior, things that had happened. But we were, we were able to say, oh, okay, in kind of like just a real quick little segue, when I did my forgiveness work with the bank robber that had held the gun in my head, and then later pulled the trigger and murdered Marsha Berger. I remember doing healing work with him, after he had died in prison. And I wrote him a letter of forgiveness. And but what I thought to myself was, he and I were both born these innocent little creatures, these these little babies. And it was just somewhere along his journey, he chose to go down a path that would eventually across mine, but his past was, was filled with choices of drugs and booze and, you know, horrors and murder and the bad things that he chose to do. And mine wasn't. But in looking at him, as like this, this little being this little light that came into the world, I was able to, that's how I was able to do my forgiveness work with him. Again, it didn't excuse his behaviors, but I was able to say, I don't know his trauma history. I don't know what his life was, like, I don't know, the horrors that he had maybe endured? Yes, he, he made very poor choices. But I don't know his story. So it really helped me to be able to let Michael Hingson ** 37:19 him go. But at the same time, there's only so much that you can do because the bottom line is he did make choices. He did do what he did. And you can't and aren't going to fix everything yourself. People need to learn to do that for themselves. And it's too bad that the bank robber person didn't do that. But But look at you, you know, you came out of it. And I think it's absolutely appropriate to forgive him for what he did. It doesn't condone it. But again, holding grudges doesn't help either. Teri Wellbrock ** 37:55 No, that's a heavy negativity to carry around the no I, again, I'd rather enjoy life and all the beauty that surrounds us, instead of carrying him and his weight with me. Michael Hingson ** 38:12 Did you? Well, I'll ask the first part of the question this way. So when did you and your mom or when did you decide that you and your mom could be friends? Teri Wellbrock ** 38:25 She's so cute. I miss her so much every day. It was after those three months, when she had I had walked away from her. And my phone would ring on occasion. And I wouldn't answer because I was just done. And I knew it was her and it was in the evening. So I knew she had probably been drinking. In one evening, my phone rang. And for whatever reason, again, I call them Angel Angel was something said, go ahead and answer it. And I did. And it was her and she said she remember her nickname for me was Titi Hi, Titi Hey, I dropped something behind my dresser and I can't get it. And I've been trying to try and try and and I said, Mom, do you need me to come help you get it out from there. And she said, that would be wonderful. And I said, all right. I'll be right down, hopped in my car went down, got it out. And then I sat on her couch. And she proceeded to tell me, I've been seeing to therapists we've been talking about everything I went through in my childhood. I not drinking anymore. And she just and I said oh my gosh. For the first time in her life. She's trying. Yeah. And that was the moment that I said, okay, even if she fails, even if she falls flat off on her face off that wagon. She has trying and that was it like right there that told me that she cared enough about herself about us to try. Michael Hingson ** 40:07 Yeah. And you know that that was a good start, unfortunately, something else came along that diverted her. And it's too bad that, that she allowed that to happen. But again, it's choice. And I think we all I know when I think about my life, and I spent a fair amount of time thinking about my life. And one of the things that I think about a lot is all the choices that got me to where I am, and I and I know what the choices are that I made. That led to me being where I am, and in the circumstances I am in, I know the positive ones or the negative ones, and I, I enjoy my life, I enjoy me, I know that there are things that if I had done them differently, might have left me with more money after my wife passed away. After being married for two years, but you know, it's all about, we really should understand the choices that we make. And it's important to think about that as much as we can, and use that to help ourselves grow. Teri Wellbrock ** 41:10 Oh, definitely. And, you know, I remember my mom saying that to me, she came down here to Hilton Head after we had moved and stayed for a week in her talking about that exact thing about not being not realizing that even 8485, whatever she was at that time, I think she was 85 when she was here how she was still learning in being able to grow. And I just think that's the coolest thing in the world was this 80 something year old, who was willing to do the hard work, she was willing to do the healing work. And so that's why one of my favorite hashtags long before any of this happened was always hashtag never give up. Because that was my motto in life. Never give up. Like, just keep going get back up again. And here she was in her 80s doing it. Michael Hingson ** 42:03 And I personally hope I'm always a student in five to sudden suddenly decide I'm not learning anything. I don't need to learn anything else. And I'm the bad the worst part. I won't say I was gonna say the better for it. That won't work. I'm the worst for it. Teri Wellbrock ** 42:17 Right, right. No, I love learning. Again, if it comes across my radar, especially in Trauma Recovery, I'm like, oh, let's try it. Let's see what this Michael Hingson ** 42:26 does. You mentioned tapping before what is that? So Teri Wellbrock ** 42:31 EFT or emotional freedom technique, and that that's been used that comes up a lot in Trauma Recovery conversations. And it's, it's a very what I call non invasive, meaning you don't necessarily have to go back to a traumatic event. So you can say, like, one of the remnants of mine was a fear of open spaces, because during that second bank robbery, I was trapped behind a house with an armed gunman to my right, I didn't know his gun was misfiring and an armed gunman to my left, who was firing his gun at police officers in a parking lot. And so I had to choose between death and death, like which direction do I go on? And so and I was out in the open, so it was, again, a fear of open, like being trapped in open spaces. And I so lost my train of Michael Hingson ** 43:18 thought, Well, I was asking about tapping, but go ahead. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Teri Wellbrock ** 43:23 So so we will go thank you for redirecting me. So we would go not necessarily like people can go not necessarily to that trauma that because they may not know what's come why they're having what's bringing up maybe a fear of open spaces. So you could go to oh, I'm sitting on a beach, and I'm having all of this anxiety, my legs are tingling, my I'm having the urge to run, I feel like I need to hide and I'm, you know, my eyes are darting around looking for, like, where's the danger. And so tapping with that is it's a process that you walk through, and again, I've done it. And so I'm not a practitioner, so I'm not going to do this justice, but it's a process of, of talking to yourself about that particular feeling. And then tapping on different parts of you're in, there's a whole there's a whole system to it, it's like you know, in between your eyes next next to your eye, under your under your eye, under your nose, on your chin, your collarbone like there's different like look like a monkey like under your armpit. And so and you walk through this entire process, and again, it's it's a matter of disengaging the the emotional attachment to something the event or, again, whether it's the trauma event itself, or the sitting out on the beach in a wide open space and what's coming up with that, if that makes sense. It does. Michael Hingson ** 44:59 I'm with you. I understand. It is fascinating. And it's a fascinating all the different techniques that that are developed some work better with some people than others. But we're doing so much to try to get people more engaged in. And I hope that people will do more of it because it helps a lot. Oh, Teri Wellbrock ** 45:22 I tell you what somatic healing came across my radar recently. And I was terrified to fly by myself. But my mom was so sick and in hospice, and I knew I had to hop on that flight. And I had to go, I had to go be with her. And somatic healing had come across my radar. And that was for me this particular somatic because there's various ones, I was placing my hand on a body part that I was feeling a lot of adrenaline surge and tingling. And I placed my hand and I would just say, I'm here, I recognize what are you trying to tell me, and you were safe. And so I would walk through, but it was recognizing these body parts that were very active, very alert, the energy was just, you know, tingling. And I did it when I got onto that flight. And I could feel my right arm just just for whatever reason, my right arm was just on fire, like, with energy. And I just was very gentle, very gentle with myself and just talked myself through it. And it was with me, and with the sensations, and then they just dissipated. And if they started to arise, again, I just put my hand back on and say, It's okay, I'm here with you need, what do you need? And now I, I mean, I had to go back and forth from my mom quite a bit. And now I'm just like a regular old traveler, hop on that flight and go. So it was awesome. But But again, I love what you say, there's so many different modalities and some work some days and but fill that toolbox. People feel that toolbox. Michael Hingson ** 47:06 Yeah, that's what it's about. I mentioned and ask you about your mom being your friend. And if you guys got to be friends, tell me more about what you think about friendship in connecting with with other people and soul connections and so on. Teri Wellbrock ** 47:20 Yeah, that goes back to what we were talking about before of sharing our truths of authenticity, which I think you are certainly an incredibly authentic person, when you come across. There's just the soul connection that happens when you when you just meet that person that's authentic. And I certainly put my truths out there and try to be like, Hey, this is me, this is what you get. And there's incredible power in being brave enough to be vulnerable, to be brave enough to put our truths out there and say, This is what's happened to me, or this is what I believe, or this is who I am. And when that happens in you're brave enough to do that. It's incredible. The gifts that will come to you through connection, and the people that will come across your path. And it'd be I don't know, moved inspired to connect with you. Yeah, it's a gift. Truly, it's a gift for yourself, but it's a gift for others, because it allows them then the opportunity to say, oh my gosh, me too. When I started putting my truths out in Facebook world, when I first started to say, I can't do this anymore, I have to set it free. And I started to put tidbits out about what I experienced in my childhood and my early life, I would get private messages or texts or phone calls from people that would say, I've never told anyone before, but and then they would open up and they would talk and they would share. And so it gives people it gives other people the opportunity to to share their truths, Michael Hingson ** 49:08 which helps you be able to say, which we've talked about a little bit, I get it or me to hashtag me too. And why that is clearly so important. Because if you can create that kind of a connection. And the issue, of course, is it's got to be genuine. Right? And and I think it's pretty easy for most people to tell if you're really sincere or not, but it's so important to be able to do that. Yes, Teri Wellbrock ** 49:36 well, that's that authentic piece. So you know, it's just again, I've become such a fan of energy and energy exchange, and there's just the certain people that you meet it's more often than not I meet beautiful souls, but every now and then you just meet the person that I am now I'm just like, nope, nope, that not this is going to be a big hold no for me and just gently walk away because it's not there. It's not real. And maybe that's, you know, a gardening thing that they, they've been through trauma, and they have up these walls, and they're trying to be something that they're not. But I just know enough for me to walk away from it. So, yeah, Michael Hingson ** 50:20 yeah. Well, what if I think you've talked about this some, but you've obviously adopted some strategies and coping skills that really help you. And you also talk about them, which is great. So you're, you're a great storyteller, which is important. But what are your favorite coping strategies and strategies that you use, that you also do share with others about? Hopefully helping them to move forward? Teri Wellbrock ** 50:47 Yes, well, I would say my biggest is mindfulness. But I've also incorporate that. So it's practice I literally put it on my calendar, when he first started doing it. On my to do list, it was like, whatever it was edit podcasts and write a chapter and what whatever it was, and then it would, I would literally put mindfulness practice on my to do list for the day on my calendar. Because practicing it, then it was it was creating a new habit, it just became such a, such a part of my daily life that I just do it now without even thinking. But with that, it was one of my favorites is 54321 mindfulness, and that is using your senses to be in The Now. So not in the traumas of the past, and not in the worries of the future that are usually triggered by the traumas of the past. But right here in the now like, what can I appreciate the beauty right here right now. And so the five senses are so I'm trying to remember the order of them. But oh, gosh, listen for or look for five things. Now I realize I'm talking to someone that's cannot see with your eyes. But Michael Hingson ** 52:09 let's remember the dictionary says to see is to perceive there's more to it. It's not the only game in town. It's fair to use. That's right, Teri Wellbrock ** 52:17 right. All right, good. Because once we get past five, which is the using your eyes, to look for things, it's using your ears to listen. And that one I love. That's my favorite. So it's sitting very quiet in really closing my eyes and trying to find the bird. That's the farthest away and see how far I can stretch my ears to hear something or listen to what's truly going on. Oh, I hear someone is mowing their grass, however many streets away and I hear a dog barking. And then three is touch in just using it to describe it in tremendous detail. Like, oh, I'm touching this leaf and it's got some bumps on it. And it's it's soft on the underside, though. And so it's really just using mindfulness to bring ourselves into this moment. And being able to then use some breath work to calm our bodies and just really just be here in the now. Nature. I use nature baths a lot. And so I incorporate all of that together. And then those are three things right there mindfulness, Nature Bath. And the other one that just flew out of my head. But but those are those are three of my favorites. Nature's of nature is very healing for me. I do have a story to tell you. That's very powerful. And so meditation and mindfulness, I was gone up to the little beach in our neighborhood. And I was very, very, very sick with mycotoxin poisoning. After moving into this house. The house had been filled with toxic mold and been condemned, but they lied on the disclosure and didn't tell us in the House have been rehabbed. So it looked gorgeous. But lurking behind the walls was a lot of mold. And it made me very, very ill and so I was I had lost 58 pounds. I had a rash all over my body and my throat was closing up with foods like it was very bad. So I gone up to sit on the speech and was praying and crying. Prayer is another one that I use in really meditating in meditative prayer and asking God universe angels, Holy Spirit, whoever's listening, whoever's here and around listening. If you could please, please, please give me a sign that I am on the right path with this healing journey, and that I'm going to make it through this. And I, my eyes were closed and I said, if you could just send me some big news neon sign like some dolphin would be great. Some, they'll call them dolphin of hope. And if you could just just send them across my path. And so I said, Alright, Dolphin, I'm ready for you. And I opened my eyes. And when I did what I think was 20 Dolphin fin popped out of the water right in front of me, it was probably for a dolphin that just kept, you know, coming up and going back under again, but, and I stopped crying. Because to me, it was so powerful in being connected in that moment and just allowing this. I had a no miracle this, this answer to come to me in welcoming it. And it did. And I knew in that moment that I was going to be okay. And that. Yeah, somebody was listening. Michael Hingson ** 55:51 Well, there you go. And you got your sign, which is all you can ask for. What do you mean by mindfulness? Teri Wellbrock ** 55:59 Mindfulness is, to me, I don't know if it's the definition that the practitioners use. But for me, mindfulness is being mindful. So very purposefully connected with the now meaning this moment. So if I were, like, I could say, oh, I'm looking at this blue light on my camera. And I love the color of the blue. And I would, and I would be very attentive about that particular blue, and then say, oh, my gosh, Max is in my lap. And he keeps trying to lick my hand, and it's tickling my fingers. And so, and it's funny. And so I'm rubbing his little belly, and then like, Oh, I love his little soft belly. So I'm talking to you. But meanwhile, I'm being very attentive to the fact of all of these things that are happening right here in the now. And so for me, that is mindfulness and being very present. Your awareness moment, this very beautiful moment, I'm having a wonderful conversation with another beautiful soul. And, again, holding Maxie on my lap. Michael Hingson ** 57:14 Well, and I told you about our cat, and I have not heard my cat once yell at me during all this. So she must be fed up for the moment anyway. All right, which is a good thing, which is a good thing. If you could reach as many people in the world as you wanted, who would you want to reach most? Teri Wellbrock ** 57:34 Oh, gosh, I would say trauma survivors that have gone through. Not that, not that it's a trauma race, I, you know, I want to say if four or more have an ACE score of four or more, which the ACES its adverse childhood experiences. You can you can do a score. So it's like, where your parents divorced? Did you experience physical abuse? Did you experience sexual abuse, so you give yourself a point for each of these different things on the score of zero to 10. But those who do have a four or higher there, they just tend to struggle that much more with so many different things, from addictions to again, physical ailments, and so forth. So that's my, that's my target audience, really, because I've lived it. And I want to tell all of them, no matter what you've been through, no matter what you've been through, you can reach this beautiful place of joy and tranquility, and be happy and love life. And yeah, no matter what you've been through, it's okay. So Michael Hingson ** 58:54 as a person who has been very involved in psychology, and also podcasting, and so on, do you work with people all over? Or what do you do these days? Teri Wellbrock ** 59:03 Yes, well, my show, which I know is podcasts, you you probably watch these things, too. It's been downloaded in 125 countries, top 2% globally by listen score out of 3.1 million shows. And I so that's my sole work is to put these beautiful conversations out with healers from all over the world. I recently did a healer to Hilton Head series, with 20 Different healers in this area on island just to show even though it's a global audience that look within your own community, and you'll be amazed at how many options are available for healing and again, from somatic to, I did a salt cave, which was a lot of fun, you know, you sit in a salt game and so that was doing something here We work on my body. And, again, it's fun to learn all of this and all of the different things that are available. I'm continuing to write my book, which is my memoir, but it's teaching memoir. So it's about lessons I learned along the way. And I've been writing that for 10 years, it's been a work in progress. And I think my mom passing was that last little bit I was holding on. So it's about 90%, complete. But she gave me her stamp of approval and said, Terry, it's time. It's time to put it out there. So I'm like, okay, good. I will, I will finish that up for you, Mama. So doing that I put out a monthly hope for healing newsletter. Yeah, so my, my, my mission really, is to just put messages of hope and healing out into the universe and share my story. I, I go on other shows. And we wrote a little children's book called The doodle with the noodle about Sammy our therapy dog. And, yeah, that's what I do. Michael Hingson ** 1:01:01 Do you do any coaching or create courses or anything like that? Yeah, I Teri Wellbrock ** 1:01:06 have some courses available. They're still they're out there, but still works in progress of working on those I've contemplated doing coaching. So yeah, that's on my radar as well. monetizing the podcast. So there's a lot of, I don't know, I struggle with that one. Because I think, and again, I getting a lot of messages from other podcasters, who say, of course, you're allowed to monetize your podcast. And it's been Yeah, it's a gift. But I don't know, I still, that's another work. I think that's impostor syndrome, that's one of the lingering things that I still still working through with all of the trauma remnants that I had worked through is thinking that my message is worthy. Michael Hingson ** 1:01:56 Let me let me tell you my view, as a speaker, as a keynote speaker, since the World Trade Center, and so on, I find that people who are willing to pay you for what you do, and who are not as interested in nickel and diming, you as really paying you and getting the benefit of what you have to offer are also much more likely to take seriously what you say I've had situations where people say, Oh, we only have like $1,000, we just can't pay more, no matter how famous or how good or how intelligent you are, we're just not ever gonna pay more than that. And they're always the ones that are the hardest to work with, for a variety of reasons, because they don't take it seriously. And even some of the times that I've agreed to donate my time, it can be a challenge. And they end up being more of a challenge than anything else. Because they think that you should be obligated to do this, as opposed to, they really appreciate and are willing to do what's necessary to bring your knowledge and wisdom into whatever it is that they're about. So, so much sense, I think there's a lot of value in charging Well, or coming up with some monetization scheme for the podcast. It doesn't need to be grossly hugely expensive. A person who does a podcast for just primarily about blindness and blind people, a gentleman in New Zealand named Jonathan mosun, has a podcast called Living blindly. And what he created was a subscription. And if you don't subscribe, then you might get a podcast, you can actually get the podcast on a Wednesday, but if you want to get it earlier, then you subscribe by donating 99 cents, or $1 or $5, or whatever you choose. And I think he has a minimum for the year. It's not expensive or anything, but then you get the podcasts the Sunday before everybody else does, which was clever, which is pretty clever. So he might you know, something to think about. Teri Wellbrock ** 1:04:11 I did. I did. Fractured Atlas is a sponsor. And it's a fiscal sponsorship and you have to apply for it. Well, the healing grace podcast was accepted into it. And so it helps with fundraising and all of that. And so I did a fundraising campaign for the show because they said hey, you know, I pay for this out of pocket. I've been doing it five years. It's not just a fluke that I'm out here doing this. And I was able to raise about $4,000 which was awesome because I bought a new nice nicer microphone and nicer camera, nice a laptop and so I was able to do some things to help Yeah, help make it that much better. Michael Hingson ** 1:04:52 See, there you go. Well, if people want to reach out and find you, how do they do that? Teri Wellbrock ** 1:04:57 They can connect through my website with says Teri Wellbrock.comand can you spell? Yeah,T E R, I just one R W E L L B R O C K, I always want to do the little rock symbol and I Michael Hingson ** 1:05:12 like.com.com Teri Wellbrock ** 1:05:18 Yes, yeah. And then the healing place podcasts you can find on Spotify and Apple and all your favorite audio outlets and YouTube. So very cool. Michael Hingson ** 1:05:28 Well, I hope people will reach out. I really appreciate your time and all of the valuable and invaluable insights that you've given today. It's been a great story. And I very much really appreciate you being here and value. All that we've had a chance to do and we need to do it again. Teri Wellbrock ** 1:05:47 Oh, for sure is it's just been such a joy again, I just I love you and your energy. And I appreciate you welcoming me into your space. So thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my story. Well, Michael Hingson ** 1:05:59 thank you and I hope all of you out there liked what we did today. Please give us a five star rating wherever you're listening and I would love it and I'm really appreciated. If you would reach out to me and give me your thoughts. Feel free to email me at Michaelhi at accessiBe.com. That's Michael mi c h a e l h i at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. We're going to our podcast page www dot Michael hingson.com/podcast. And Michael Hingson, of course is mi c h a e l h i n g s o n.com/podcast. But we'd love to hear from you. We value it. If you know anyone else who ought to come on unstoppable mindset please let us know or give us an introduction. Teri, same for you. We would really appreciate any people that you can think of we ought to have on and again, I just want to thank you for being with us today. And let's do it again soon. Teri Wellbrock ** 1:06:53 Absolutely. Thank you Thank you sending big hugs your way **Michael Hingson ** 1:07:01 You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you'll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you're on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you're there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.
Marsha Vanwynsberghe grew up in Ontario Canada and still lives there today. I met her a few months ago when I was invited to be a guest on her podcast, Own Your Choices Own Your Life. My team at Amplifyou, located in British Columbia, arranged my appearance and then, as is only fair, I asked them to help get Marsha to join me on Unstoppable Mindset. We had a fabulous conversation discussing everything from why more people don't share their own stories to how we, Marsha and I, learned to tell our own stories and how we help others to grow as they discover more about themselves. Marsha worked for a company for some 26 years while, as she discovered, learned a lot about coaching. She also faced her own life challenges as she will tell us. In 2020 the company employing her closed its doors. By that time Marsha realized how much coaching of others she already was doing. She started her own coaching program. As I said, she also has been operating her own podcasts which I urge you to find, of course after listening to Unstoppable Mindset. Marsha shows us the value of learning about facing our own inner selves and learning to tell our own stories. She discusses how many of her clients, through discussing their own experiences, have become more confident and how they have learned to be better persons in their own skins. About the Guest: Marsha Vanwynsberghe — Storytelling NLP Trainer, Speaker, Publisher & Author, 2xs Podcaster Marsha is the 6-time Bestselling Author of “When She Stopped Asking Why”. She shares her lessons as a parent who dealt with teen substance abuse that tore her family unit apart. Marsha has been published 7xs, most recently with her co-platform, Every Body Holds A Story, and she is on a mission to continue to help women and men to speak, share and publish their stories. Through her tools, OUTSPOKEN NLP certification, programs, coaching, and podcast, Marsha teaches the power of Radical Responsibility and Owning Your Choices in your own life. She empowers people how to heal and own their stories, be conscious leaders and build platform businesses that create massive impact. Ways to connect with Marsha: Website: https://www.marshavanw.com/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marshavanw/ Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/marsha.vanwynsberghe Linkedin: NLP Trainer, Storytelling Trainer, Speaker, Podcaster, Author - Marsha Vanwynsberghe Coaching | LinkedIn Podcast Link: Own Your Choices Own Your Life https://apple.co/3h2Jcti YouTube: https://bit.ly/3Dmk75q TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@marshavanw About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson ** 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson ** 01:21 Hi all and welcome to unstoppable mindset where inclusion diversity in the unexpected meet and who knows what else? Oh, that's the unexpected part. Sorry. Anyway, we're really glad you're here. And today, we get to have the opportunity to chat with a person who is a storytelling NLP trainer, a best selling author, a speaker, and a 2x s podcaster, among other things. And on top of that, she's very open about telling stories, which is great. I love people who want to tell stories. I've been in sales for a long time, and I learned that the best salespeople know how to tell good, true stories. That's another story, but we won't worry about it right now. But anyway, I'd like you all to meet Marsha Vanwynsberghe. My screen reader pronounced van winchburgh. But she was impressed by that it was pretty close. But it's van Weinsberg. And Marcia, welcome to unstoppable mindset. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 02:17 Thank you so much for having me, Michael, I'm thrilled to be here. Well, it's Michael Hingson ** 02:21 an honor to have you and I was on marshes podcast on your choice on your life. And that was a lot of fun. And I told her that the price for me being on was that she had to come on unstoppable mindset. And she was willing. So here we are, Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 02:36 well, I jumped at the invitation I just jumped Michael Hingson ** 02:40 Well, it's fun, and it's great to share. And it's it's great to get to know people and and get to know them even more when we get to do it the other way. And hopefully we'll do more things together as well. And love that. I would absolutely love that. Well tell us a little bit about kind of the early Marsha growing up and all that sort of stuff. It's always a great place to start. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 02:59 It is the early Marsha. So I was born in 1970. And I say that because um, you know, in that time and era, kids were to be seen and not heard. Yeah, I was very, I was very outspoken as a child. And I have pretty strong personality. And a I use my voice a lot. And back then we used to tell or we used to hear that, again, be seen and not heard. And I often think back to you know if if young girls, we can tell them that those are leadership skills and not bossy skills. It's there's a lot of things that I learned as a child, but I mean, I grew up with a family who we moved a few times. And my dad he started a business that continued to grow. So I really grew up around entrepreneurship, and finding and carving your own way and building resiliency. You know, working from a young age I was my first jobs were at 1213. So I grew up in that era of like, work hard. That mindset. Michael Hingson ** 04:12 Where did you Where were you born and where did you come from? Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 04:15 I was born in Chatham, Ontario. Yep. And then we moved up near a it's kind of farm area but near Woodstock Tillsonburg area for people who might know, in Ontario and I've lived it. I've been in Ontario my whole life. But that's where I was. I was born in the city and then I was moved to a farm which I really did not like my parents for that at the time. I didn't know it, but honestly the best move we ever did, but then I've lived within that vicinity for since then. Michael Hingson ** 04:49 Didn't you want a pony? I Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 04:51 did not. I did not. I worked in tobacco as a kid. I was not. I was definitely I had farm jobs I was I was a hard worker. Michael Hingson ** 05:04 Well, I suppose the benefit is that you learned to be a hard worker. And that's a good thing, although tobacco but of course that was then this is now. So it's a whole lot different environment. So very Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 05:17 different environment now, like that was definitely what we did then, for jobs. But I also at the same time it put me through school, that's how I paid for school, and I was able to, you know, go with that time. But yeah, it's a very different era, that is not something that you see very much of anymore, thank goodness, it's still there. But as we'll see it very much. Michael Hingson ** 05:38 I love to collect and listen to old radio shows from the 30s 40s and 50s. And so on one of the shows, I really like a lot is dragnet. And the reason I mentioned that is that dragnet for a while in the 50s, was sponsored by Fatima cigarettes. And it was fascinating listening to the commercials, statistics, prove Fatima cigarettes are better for you, and more like than any other cigarette, and of course, that's all they would ever say, Where are the statistics? But you know, that was advertising back then, too. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 06:13 It was advertising. It makes me nervous when you hear things like that, like the things that we thought were okay, not even okay, but that they were good for us. Yeah, we're not obviously not. Michael Hingson ** 06:25 I think at the same time today, some people would say, well, we should get rid of all that stuff. We shouldn't allow that. It's just not true. And the reality is, my belief is no, we shouldn't it's part of our history. And we need to recognize from whence we came. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 06:39 I think that's how we learn lessons. And we move forward. I mean, it's not perfect. There's still definitely a lot of issues, even health wise that I see now. But no, I agree with you. I don't think I think that is part of history. I think that is part of of history and what we walked through, and I mean, hopefully we continue to learn and do better, right and do better and make different choices, etc. But that's definitely what marketing was, then. Michael Hingson ** 07:08 Yeah, and it still is somewhat today, there's more than anything fear in marketing, Oh, me, sure you buy our car warranty service before your check engine light goes on, and just so many different things, we, we still have a lot of things to address at some point, although that isn't really necessarily being dishonest, but we still use fear a lot. And politicians use fear so much to completely distort the reality of what we ought to be doing, which is to analyze what they say, for ourselves, rather than just living in fear. And oh, someone said, this is true. So it must be so I Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 07:48 love that you said that. I really do. Because I feel like in some sense. We're losing the I don't want to say it's the ability because it's not the ability, but we're losing the practice of like distorted thinking and asking questions. And it's just, it's not to disagree, but I think that we should be asking questions and, and asking for, you know, doing some of our own research and looking and, and not just not just taking the advice without asking any questions. Yeah. And that's Michael Hingson ** 08:23 the real issue. And, and just the whole art of conversation seems to have gone by the, by the wayside in so many ways, especially with, and I'm not going to get too political, but a lot of the politicians all around, is it's all about trust me Do as I say not as I do. And we're encouraged not to ask questions, which is so unfortunate. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 08:47 It's scary. Actually. I think it's actually scary. Because I think that I think anytime that I am encouraged or questioned not to ask questions. If I go back to my nature, as I talked when I was younger, then that's the first thing I do. Yes. Very first thing I do. I'm like, huh, that doesn't feel right. That's Michael Hingson ** 09:07 and, you know, we, we let we let some people just steer us so much one of my favorite gripes of late is weather people out here in California. In May and June, we had a lot of marine layers and a lot of clouds and so on. So people were always complaining, the weather prognosticators were complaining about May gray and June gloom. Will it ever end? Yet? The reality is it kept the temperatures down. Now we're getting away from all of that. And we're up at like 95 or 96 Fahrenheit today. We were yesterday as well. And oh, what's happening? Now we're starting to see wildfires and we're hearing about why we have wildfires. And we're going to be in the fire season. And isn't that horrible? Well, you wished You wished it all on us? Because you didn't like may grand June gloom. I mean, we can't please anybody anymore. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 10:05 No. And it's interesting because I always like, I think, to look to go back to gratitude in some way, shape or form, as a Canadian who literally only has like three to four months a year that are nice, where it's warm. I mean, I couldn't even imagine being upset about made like, yeah, it's just perspective, right? It's a perspective, I look for the things to be grateful for. Michael Hingson ** 10:29 Yeah. And you know, what, the May grand June Gloom did keep things cool. Hardly any fires. I heard on the news this morning. There were four, although relatively small, and they were caught quickly, because we're getting better at dealing with it here. Small wildfires that helicopters and tankers dealt with very quickly. But nevertheless, now we're seeing it. And it's so unfortunate, we can't, we can never be satisfied. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 10:59 No, and I actually we don't have a lot of experience that within Ontario, where I live like other parts of Canada do. But this year, we definitely got the effects of the what we were surrounded by wildfires and the like, not literally, but the smoke came in. And we probably had about two weeks where, you know, it was yellow skies, it was hard to breathe. It had moments where it was really challenging. So it really did give a perspective of you know, I had people here who were saying like, this is just absolutely horrible. And like, it's not great, but I mean, we could be in the fire, like, yeah, not like it's still I can still go outside. It's still safe. It's not ideal, but I guess my brain, I'm looking at it going. I mean, I'm not in the fire. So it could be much worse. Michael Hingson ** 11:46 Do we know where the fires came from? And we had them on both Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 11:50 sides. We had them on our east coast. So in Nova Scotia had, and then Calgary has a really bad beginning of May. So they kind of came from both ways. Michael Hingson ** 12:03 Do we know what caused them yet? Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 12:05 Nope. Nothing I've heard. Michael Hingson ** 12:09 That's unfortunate. But, you know, the other side of it is was it was it really warm? Was that also part of it? Well, Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 12:15 I watched the interview, it was interesting, because I did watch with a lot of friends who were firefighters and I watched an interview with a firefighter who said that we had very like our snow was we had a very heavy winter, and the snow was gone early April. And then we had a lot of rain the beginning of April. And then it got really hot for about two weeks, and then it got dry, super dry. And it was just the perfect condition. They said it's absolutely a perfect condition for it to happen. So I think that's I don't remember a year like this that we sub assuming that was part of it. Michael Hingson ** 12:51 See down here with all of the marine layers and so on, and the fact that I don't know whether it's all gone, but as of the beginning of July, there was still snow on the ground in some parts of California, like the, the mountain areas and so on. And we didn't have hot, dry May, or mostly all we had no hot dry June. So now we're starting to see it. And I can understand that. And that would and I was always wondering, well, why did Canada get the fires that it did that sent the smoke everywhere? But it makes sense with what you're describing? Yeah, very similar Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 13:29 to what you said, like we ended up it was very, very hot in the US, not it not normal at all. And then we had no rain until almost the end of May, early June. So it was very, it was very strange spring for us. Now we had lots of rain since then. But it's okay. It's like actually cleared up there to be honest. So I take it again, it's perspective. Michael Hingson ** 13:51 It is. It's all about perspective, which makes a lot of sense. Well, so getting back to you and all that. So you went to college. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 14:01 I went to university here and I actually took I became a registered Kinesiologist. So I worked and post physical rehab for about 28 years. And over the last couple of years before I was done in that career, which ended very abruptly during 2020 and never came back until like probably eight or nine months later. And by that I knew the business had pretty much dissolved itself. And so I did that for I spent about 20 years and I did love it. I like the problem solving, like the thinking and the helping people. I had some people we were learning how to walk again, like that week post recovering from surgery. And then really as that time wore on, and my life was walking through some different challenges. Then I started to work into a space of like what Learning how to share stories and navigate a really difficult time. And so when the pandemic came, I actually just pivoted, went right into coaching online and supporting people online. And I felt like it had been like a complete out of nowhere. But it hadn't. I mean, out of the 20 years in working with physical rehab, I did a lot of coaching, I had to do an awful lot of coaching and supporting with people. So it was very similar. Michael Hingson ** 15:30 So when did he start involving yourself in the whole concept of NLP and bringing that into what you did. So Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 15:37 I actually did things very backwards. I, if I'll take it back to a little bit, about 1012 years ago, we started to experience teen substance abuse, I found my world get really, really small, and I lost my voice didn't know how to use it. And I really started to do a lot of work to learn how to, you know, reframe my thoughts and catch my what I was thinking and the words that I was saying, for probably three years, I was doing the beginning pieces of NLP without ever knowing that was NLP, I had no idea. And in 2020, it crossed my path. And I looked at it and when that's interesting, there was something about it that was intriguing to me, is learning to understand the power of my thoughts and how I my brain works and how to get it to my thoughts to actually support me and what I am creating. And what I want to do. The other piece that really intrigued me with NLP was that the way it was taught for me was that there was a lot of ways to support myself in healing. And I say that because I really didn't understand how we hold on to so much. I mean, trauma stress in our tissues in our body, and we push that down and we carry it for years, the LP tools helped me to really start to learn how to release that. And that helped me to work through some of the healing. So had I learned that earlier, I think that it would have actually really supported me earlier. But we all know that the teacher comes when we're ready, and I probably wouldn't have been ready, and I probably wouldn't have seen it, and I wouldn't have understood it. So it all happened in the timing that it was meant to happen. Michael Hingson ** 17:24 He told me a little bit about what NLP is what it stands for, and all of that, especially for those who who may not be very knowledgeable about it. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 17:33 Absolutely. It is called neuro linguistic programming. It's really the so neuro how we bring in our information, we all bring it into a number of our different senses. The linguistic is like the language, the words that we speak, the programs that we speak, how we be are able to take in that information and like delete, distort, generalize, put it together. And then the programs is really how we all function. Most of us, this is how it works. Our conscious mind is only responsible for like 5% of our thoughts, our beliefs, our decisions. And we set our goal with our conscious mind. Our subconscious mind is like the wheel that's never stopping. It's running on autopilot, nonstop. And most of us, we go into this space, this learning space, personal development space, helping others, we try and set goals for ourselves. And we do it with 5% of our capacity. But we're never addressing the stories, the limiting beliefs, the things that we have, that we're holding on to that keep blocking us. And then what happens is, is that you set a goal, you work like crazy to get to it. And you might just find fall shy of it. Or if you do achieve it, but you don't believe that you're worthy of receiving it. You'll self sabotage, you'll lose it you will keep on this cycle of always trying to strive and achieve more. And as you do that, it's just it, we put ourselves on that hamster wheel nonstop. And really, it's not the goal. That's the problem. It's Do we believe in ourselves to achieve the goal that is really what we want to work towards. And with so many of us who again, we've carried these stories in our bodies for so long. You can't just work harder to make something happen. It's sometimes you have to go backwards and figure out what it is that has been holding you back so that you can actually move towards your goals in a more aligned and effortless manner. Michael Hingson ** 19:46 One of the things that I find often and I've worked to get away from this but is that we don't tend to do much introspection, especially on a daily basis. We don't take Take time at the end of the day to look at what happened. Not and I don't like to use the word fail, because I think it's all about learning experiences. But what didn't go as well as it could? How do I make it better next time? What went really well? And what can I do to even improve that, and really pondering and thinking about what happened in the course of the day, and we don't, we don't do that we don't talk to ourselves, we don't talk with ourselves. And we really just figure Oh, I don't have time I got too much other stuff to do. So listening to you describe NLP really does in part go back to you've got to be your own best teacher and really learn how to do these things. I Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 20:40 couldn't agree with you more I really couldn't. I think this is the big thing is that we're on a journey of always learning to lead ourselves. That's what I believe. I think that we're learning always learning to lead ourselves. And one of the number one premise of NLP is to live out cause in your life. And that is, we can either live at cause or live in effect. When we live in effect. We are in a space in a mindset of victim mindset, anger, blame, resentment, all of those emotions. I lived there for a really long time. I think all of us at one point in their life have lived there. But when we stay there, we don't. We don't create change. When we live at cause we come to a space of saying like, how can that introspection you're talking about? How can I, you know, look at what went well, today? What's not going well? And one of the first things I'll do, I have moments sometimes where I'm like, well, Marsha, I'm really not really proud of how you're behaving right now, or what is going on with you acting this way. And it almost always comes down to if I'm completely honest, I have a moment of introspection, and I'm like, Okay, wow, you're not doing the things that you need to take care of you. You are not putting the boundaries in place, you're not getting the rest. Okay, so now how can we put that plan in place, and it's like a calibration that comes back to regularly being in that space of taking responsibility for myself, so that I can best lead myself, never about perfection. But there is I'm in a constant conversation with myself all day long. And when things are going right, when I could maybe do something differently, when I'm working to, you know, maybe celebrate something that I'm doing that is a challenge. I think that that piece of self awareness and introspection, is I don't want to call it a lost art. But it's not something that we're making time for on a continuum. Michael Hingson ** 22:42 Yeah, we're not at all. I love to, to joke and tell people, you know, when we talk about talking to ourselves, and so on and say, Well, do you get answers? When the reality is, of course, that the more we do, the more we do it, the more we will get answers. And the one I'm going to worry is when I don't get an answer. Yes, Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 23:03 yes, I'm with you. I am with you on that. Michael Hingson ** 23:08 Because we are Yeah, well, we really need to learn to communicate with our heart with ourselves and, and understand, as I have learned to tell people, I used to say I'm my own worst critic. And I've learned that's a horrible thing to say, it's really I'm my own best teacher, because I'm the only one who can really teach me other people can advise and give me information, but I'm the one that has to learn it. And I'm the one that has to teach it to me. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 23:36 I love that you've said that. Because I think that that's a really powerful reframe. And I think that's noticing that comes from a lot of the NLP training is learning how to reframe thoughts. But that's a really powerful reframe, because I have called myself my own worst critic for most of my life. I have and and it's interesting because, you know, there's, there's, there is an advantage, they do want to share one thing quickly, because in the area that I work in, where I help people with vulnerable stories, how to share, show them set, like show up, be seen user voice, one of the biggest things people are constantly afraid of, I would say one of the number one fears is what will people think of me? It's It's amazing. It is the number one fear, what will people think of me? And I often ask people like, well, what are some of the thoughts that you have about yourself? What do you say about yourself? Because I think when we really break it down, there's no one who's criticizing us nearly as bad as what we're doing to ourselves. And so when you start to see that, it's like, Wait, why am I giving all of this energy to what everyone else is saying? When really, I spend 24/7 with myself and my thoughts and what I'm saying to myself is never going to help me move forward. So that's the first piece of it. The second piece is that I think, again, my opinion but ever Every relationship that we build outside of ourselves comes from us first. So I can't be a really nice, I genuinely believe this, I can't go out and be a very nice human to everyone else and be an absolute piece of garbage to myself, because that is it's not authentic, that's not authentic at all. And so I think that if you want to create change in your life, even externally, with relationships, friends, whatever that is, it really does start with learning how to be a better human to yourself. Michael Hingson ** 25:34 Yeah, and you've got to learn to like yourself, and if you don't, then find out why. And it's okay to find out why. And the reality is own ultimately, people can make observations to you, but only you can really tell you why the two of you aren't getting along. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 25:54 Because I'm my best teacher, I love it. You said that I just, that's a beautiful reframe week, and we can be our best teacher and I am with you in the sense that I actually don't, I rarely use the word failure, because I don't like the connotation with it. Because I think everything is teaching us something. And we get to look at that is that well, that taught me something. Now, if I choose to make the same choice over and over and over, and I'm angry with everyone else in my life, there comes a point where I have to recognize that I'm the common denominator. So what can I do differently? How can I choose differently? How can I surround myself with different people? And then I'm learning the lessons that I'm here to learn. But I really think that we're on a constant cycle of learning. Michael Hingson ** 26:43 I love Albert Einstein's definition of insanity, which is that people who do the same thing the same way every time and expect a different result, certainly are not all there. No. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 26:57 And I mean, I listen, I've caught myself, there have been many times in my life where I've caught myself, and I'm frustrated with something or something that's happening. And it will be like, Wait, this is the exact same response that happens every single time. Yeah. And that's when it's like, no, so why would I possibly expect something different? Like why would i That doesn't make any sense. And I can catch it and work on that reframe. But again, this goes back to having this dialogue with myself with ourselves on a daily basis. Michael Hingson ** 27:28 What we tend to not understand or don't want to understand is that there really are basic laws that we live by and should live by. And if you are within those laws or not, but if you're doing something and you do it the same way, every time, you're gonna get the same result. And you have to decide whether you want that result. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 27:50 And if you don't, then something different is required of you, in order to create a different result. We do live I know people don't like that. But we do live the same lessons over and over until we learn the lesson, like do the same experiences over and over until we learn the lessons. And Michael Hingson ** 28:08 unfortunately, it happens time and time again, generation and generation again. And somehow we've got to do a better job of really learning that you've got to do things different if you want a different result when we were talking earlier about the whole issue of growing up and, and learning and recognizing what we learn and all that and like banning books, you know, we're getting away from understanding history. And so what are we doing? We're banning books, we're getting rid of the lessons or the places where we could get great lessons for poor excuses for banning the books in the first place. Yes, Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 28:51 I have a hard time understanding all of that not not to get like not getting political. I just have a really hard time understanding that we're just going to we did make mistakes in past 100% We made and we're still making them today. But banning things and ignoring it like it never happened, then we're not pulling lessons from that we're not learning something from that. I don't think that anything it I don't think it's beneficial to pretend that things didn't happen. I think we some very valuable lessons from some very big mistakes in history. Michael Hingson ** 29:26 Well, people have said that Dr. Seuss was a racist. And so we shouldn't be banning his books. Is that good justification for banning all the good things and all the positive stuff that kids get out of the books? Or does that open up a great opportunity to have a discussion and teach people the subtleties of maybe where racism did come through and some of the things that he wrote, but for the most part, people acknowledge that he did a great job or even To Kill a Mockingbird is is a real crazy one to talk about banning because it's All about discussing how people were treated inappropriately. I think Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 30:05 we have to continue having those conversations if we're going to change behavior and and learn how to treat Michael Hingson ** 30:12 people differently, should all of Bill Cosby's humor go away, simply because, as it turned out later in life, we found that he had feet of clay in some ways. And the reality is, I think they're two different things, the humor, and the the wonderful joy and laughter He brought to people as a stand up comic, and even in TV and so on, can't be erased. And if you do, you're missing so much. You Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 30:39 are and I think this is a this is a really interesting conversation, because I do not know the quote, but if we're only I'm not justifying, what if we are judged by our worst days, then like, nobody is going to nobody is is free, in a sense. And I think that we need to be accountable for our mistakes, especially when we are doing things like this. I definitely agree with you on this. But there has to come a point that, I mean, if I hold on to the energy of that feeling of holding the worst days of every person in my life against them, I'm not going to have anyone in my life. Because I mean, and what a terrible thing to focus on is only the worst things that people have done. Michael Hingson ** 31:31 And the reality is that there's so much positive energy that that we can attract, if we choose to be more positive than negative, and recognizing that we don't need to be negative, it doesn't add value to us. It Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 31:46 doesn't and that's and that's such a such an expression, such an understanding, it doesn't add value to us, many people and people will say, and we will have why. How do I show up when everyone around me is just negative like that, like, I don't know how to do it? Well, sometimes boundaries have to come in place. And sometimes you decide where you put your time and your energy. And you have to know that, you know, there are times where I will say no to certain things, because that's just not where I choose to put my energy. And I think this is really important. I'm not saying that because I'm judging somebody else. And I don't like how they're how they speak or how they show up. I'm doing that because that's what's best for me. That's, I feel like that's choosing ourselves, we get to choose who we spend that time and energy with. It's not about pointing fingers and making it about other people, we just get to decide where we put it. And I really think that there's a there's a difference between two. Yeah, Michael Hingson ** 32:45 yeah. And it's always a matter of choice as to which way you want to go. And like I've said to people, on many occasions, sometimes things happen to us that we don't have. And actually a lot of times probably things happen to us that we don't have any control over happening. But we always have control over how we choose to deal with what happens. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 33:07 Yes, and that is actually I'm probably going to butcher the quote, but it was years ago. For me one of the big turning points was when I heard Stephen Covey's quote, and it was that you are not a product of your circumstances, you are a product of your decisions. Yep, that that was a light switch for me moment where I went, Oh, okay, that no, that actually makes sense. Because I was living in a situation that I don't remember asking for, I didn't want it's not what I wanted to deal with. But I did have a choice in how I responded. And that really started to reframe my thoughts that I could choose how I show up, I could choose how I responded. And when you can start to take back even a sliver of choice in your life, it really will start to shift your energy and how you show up. If you actually I think the other piece of this is that when we stay in that angry victim mindset, and feel like this is just all unfair. And it's happening. No change happens there. And when we can start to become a product of our decisions, we can actually start to create change. And that's the it's a really powerful message for and I know it's not easy. I know it's not easy. I just know that it's soul choice. Michael Hingson ** 34:23 Yeah. It's always a choice. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 34:27 Well, you thought of energy that's wasted when it's not Michael Hingson ** 34:31 Oh, so much. Yeah. I love the quote I heard and I don't know about the truth of it, but I choose to think it makes sense that it takes 17 muscles in your face to frown But only three to smile. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 34:44 Isn't that something, isn't it? Yeah, it's in and that's a that's a choice. Sometimes when I go for a walk and I'm gonna walk my dog a lot or I'm in the store. I tried really hard to make eye contact and smile at people and it's an Have you seen how that's just not always? That might be seen as weird? But I actually have to do it? Michael Hingson ** 35:07 Yeah, well, and it makes such a difference. You smile, people smile at you. And it goes so far toward helping, I think people feel better. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 35:19 Yes. And you can be meeting people on sometimes their worst day. And sometimes that smile, that just gesture can make such a difference, and it can make an impact in both of your lives. Yeah, absolutely. Michael Hingson ** 35:31 And you may not even know the impact ever, or until later. But still, it makes a big difference. So many times we plant seeds that we don't necessarily know how they'll grow. And we may not even learn how they grow. But nevertheless, it's always good to to work on planting good seeds and and not bad ones. Now Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 35:54 100% And it made me think of I really like it. This is such a short and simple book. But I really like the is it Mitch album, the five people you meet? And I like that because the reframe there is that the people that you have the biggest impact on you might not even realize it. Yeah, like, there might they're not the they might not be the closest people to you. It could be somebody that you crossed paths on their worst day. And that created a ripple in their lives. And I just I've always loved that concept. Michael Hingson ** 36:27 Well, and you may not even ever No, no, how much of an impact you had one of my favorite stories, and I've told it a couple of times here, but I'll tell it again, is that in 2003, I went to New Zealand and I had been introduced and interviewed in 2001 by a gentleman who was always known as the Larry King of New Zealand. His name was Paul Holmes. And he came to interview us in the States at our home in New Jersey. And he said, If you ever get to New Zealand, let me know I want to interview you first. And so it turns out that there was an opportunity to go and do work in New Zealand for three weeks. And I emailed Paul and let him know we were coming. And we got there on a Wednesday morning and I got a chance to nap because it was a long flight. But we got there and napped. And then I was on his show that night at seven. And what happened was that a week later, a weekend a few days later was the second Saturday I was in New Zealand. Apparently, the show interviewing me reran. And the next day, and I wasn't connected with this at all. But a group of blind people took a river raft, and they had a guide. And they all went and they had a great time. And at the end, the guide said, I have to tell you a story. He said I was going to cancel this trip yesterday, because I didn't think fine people could do this and that you would have any fun at all. And I probably have to be jumping in the water and saving all of you. They said last night, I saw the Pol Home Show. And there was this bloke from the States I love it. This bloke from the states who was on who was in the World Trade Center on September 11. And he got out and I figured if he could get out and he could be here and talk about that, I should be able to have fun with all of you guys. And I have to tell you, this was the best trip I have ever had a chance to guide. Hi. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 38:25 Thank you for sharing that I have not heard that one. I love that story. That's beautiful. Michael Hingson ** 38:30 You just never know. And it will have always felt if I can make a difference in my life or one person's life, then I've done my job. And anything else beyond that is great. And I've chosen to speak because my belief is that if I can help people move on from September 11, and learn about blindness and guide dogs and so on, then it's a good thing. And that's what I've been working on for the last almost 22 years now. And having a lot of fun doing it. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 38:59 Yeah, I think that was one of the things that drew me to your story and knowing that I wanted to share it is because exactly that you are you're making a difference with your story. And it is just it's really opening up conversations and showing people how they can move forward and how they can make a difference. And I just I absolutely love that. Michael Hingson ** 39:22 Well tell me a little bit about you getting into doing a lot of storytelling. You said that you during your your career, which I assume ended mostly because of the pandemic, the company. Yeah. But you learn a lot about telling stories, which I always think is a great way to handle any situation and it helps people grow to have a greater understanding. But then you started coaching full time. And now you tell stories. So what does it mean to own your own story? Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 39:51 Well, I think I love this question. And I I just I think when it comes down to it. You either own your story Don't you to keep it super simple. If you are, we've all walked through an experience, we've all walked through challenges. But that doesn't have to identify us, right? It's part of us. But it doesn't have to be our identity. And I think that's the piece is that when you own the story, it doesn't own you. But when it does own you, it controls you. And I mean that in a sense that there is a tremendous amount of people who are hiding in what I would call a shame story, and are hiding it, hoping and praying that no one ever knows that they've struggled, that they're struggling, that there's a challenge happening. I think that has been even more amplified with social media. Because I think that for a long time, there was this this image that of, you know, perfectionism, and wow, look at how great everyone is doing, when that's just, it's just a snapshot of a person's day. And so when you don't own the story, it owns you. And for the longest time, I really tried to hide that part of myself, because I just didn't know how to deal with it. I didn't know how to deal with the criticism, and the judgments, and all of the words and and I'm still trying to, at the time was trying to navigate a really difficult time. And so when that those words started to land on me, like on your choices on your life and owning your story, and what did that look like? It was amazing that I came to a point of saying, Yes, I was a parent who dealt with teen substance abuse, it changed me at the core. And I learned how to share my story which allowed me to heal, which allowed me to build better relationships with my kids to really do something really good with the most difficult experience of my life. And part of that became sharing stories. How Hermie how do you share a difficult story? Like how do you share a story, especially when there's other people involved? How do you share a story when there's other people involved? And I think that is something that is misunderstood a lot. But here's the thing is, is that when we don't, when I first started to share my story, I was blown away by how many people would stop me and say, Oh, my gosh, that's my story. I've never told a soul. I've held on to it for 3040 years and listening to people. Be that victim to shame and shame. Shame, love secrecy. Right? So the more people shut it down, the more shame grows. So by helping people to share a story, then all of a sudden, they were able to feel free from that story. And it started to open up this this idea of how can we start to share more of us. And that's how we find our connections and how we build our connections. So storytelling wise, if I can share, I watched this today, I actually ran a masterclass today. Pardon me, I've been talking all day. But I ran a master class today. And I asked if there was anybody who wanted to come on live and practice how to share and frame a story. And one of the moms who jumped on I saw her jump, and I'm like, This is awesome. I'm so excited. Because I've had a number of conversations with her and both of her boys experience. They both had a genetic condition. They spent 18 years in the hospital, almost 95 in the hospital. So I could imagine what that family went through. They lost their one son, the other son survived. And she started to share. And she was very afraid she was scared to share it. She got quite emotional. But as she did it, people were commenting and pouring so much love and support into her that I actually made her pause and I said I need you to read these comments, like read these comments. And she just sat there and went, I had no idea. And I'm like, this is the point about our stories. Our stories show that we are so much more connected than we think that we are we are so much more alike than we think that we are. And I think that learning how to share our stories, normalizes our connections. And we don't have to walk the same story as somebody else in order to be connected to them. Because we're all connected by emotions, experiences, lessons, etc. So that's really where it started. And when I started to find my own freedom from my story, I actually started to heal, but listening to everyone else, give me feedback and tell me that that was their story. It just gave me fuel to keep going and I felt very compelled that this was my purpose in life was to start to change stigma and start to open up conversations about difficult topics. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 45:06 Well, and it's how do I say it is an exciting thing to be able to do and to recognize and then to help bring about, and whether you know, what it was we talked about before whether you know, what really happens and, and how you affect people or not isn't the issue, but at least you're the conduit, and you know that. I Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 45:26 like being the conduit, I'm actually I like, I actually like it. And it helped me to shift in looking that, you know, through the most difficult experience I've walked through, I was able to give it purpose. And because I could give it purpose that helped me to heal. And it helped me feel like, maybe that's what I'm supposed to be doing. And accounts are sent that to me. And it was etched in me, when I said no matter where I go, nobody's talking about difficult things in life. And she said, maybe that's good. You're supposed to, maybe you're supposed to talk and I'm like, You want me to just talk about this, like, What will people think what will they say? And I can tell you all of the stories I made up in my head about how bad it would be and how scary it would be none of them happened, survived. And I mean, you speak you understand, like, it's two big groups, we tell ourselves stories. But it was incredible experience. And I continue to do that to this day. And podcasting is part of it. And what it's done is brought connections into my life that I never would have had. And I know I've normalized a lot of topics that people don't want to talk about. But I do think the interesting thing is, is that, tying it back to the very beginning of my story and intro that I shared here, I grew up in an era when you didn't talk about difficult things, like you literally just put your smile on and pretended everything was fine. And so when I decided that I wanted to start sharing, I would love to say I was met with so much love and support. And that was not the truth. It took time because it was it was uncomfortable for people in my life. But I kept saying just trust me that I will be always sharing and leaving everyone in integrity. It's the utmost highest intention. And it didn't take long for others to see why I wanted to do it. And I'm so grateful that I did. Yeah. Well, Michael Hingson ** 47:22 you talked about having teen substance abuse in your family. And that had to be a hard thing. But learning to talk about it is also part of what probably was good therapy for you. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 47:33 It was the best therapy I've done all I have done so much different support. And I would say it was one of the best things that I ever did for myself healing wise and therapy wise. Michael Hingson ** 47:45 Ironically, picking on the media, as we often do for me, subjecting myself to literally hundreds of interviews after September 11. From from media people who asked anything from the most intelligent thought provoking questions to the dumbest questions in the world. Even so, it made me talk about September 11. And it made me do it in ways I would never have imagined. So for me, that was some of the best therapy I think I've ever had. And I and I think everybody in the media for it, ironically enough, after knowing that we we still have to pick on them anyway. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 48:23 Yeah, and I'm sure that like, I've had many people ask me questions, and I'm like, I am not answering that. Like, I'm just not there's no purpose behind that. I'm not saying that. People will ask I also think that people ask because they don't know, or they're looking for a sweet, they don't know. It's interesting, because I think I actually I'm gonna say this, I think that I would rather somebody asked me a question that's not appropriate, then give me that glance and judge and not ask, because sometimes people don't ask out of fear. And I've actually had a couple of really interesting opportunities when I where I've been able to use that conversation as a little bit of nice education. Because I think the other thing is, is that with my with our story, we didn't look like what most people thought, like who had this issue, which, to me, was all the more reason to start to talk about it. Because there's, there's hundreds of 1000s of me, it's not that I was the only one. And I mean, the only reason that most of us feel alone when it comes to these topics is because we're not talking and we're not alone. None of us are. And so I really think those are those are the pieces but I love how you share that. And I do think that by talking, I really wanted to help others out. And I was also helping myself. I didn't know that at the time. One of the best things I could have ever done, because Michael Hingson ** 49:58 it helped you as much as anything How did you discover that you could only own your own choices? Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 50:05 The hard way. I think the hard way, I spent a lot of time trying to fix, manage control, micromanage everything around me trying to make it better trying to save them trying to, you know, fight a system, I was just in this constant fight mode. And really what was happening there is nothing external to me was changing. And everything internal to me was changing, but not for the better. I was in a space where I was probably my worst health, I wasn't sleeping hardly at all, I didn't have hardly energy, I didn't have a lot of positive joy or good outlook in my life. And through a lot of work, and reading and support, I started to recognize that I wasn't owning any of my own choices. I was literally blaming everyone for that, and not taking any responsibility for myself. And ironically, when I started to do that, it got really easy to say, Wait, is that my choice? Nope, that was not mine, either. Nope, that one's not mine, either. And I literally would go through the list. And it was like, Oh, my gosh, I'm spending like, I was spending like, 97% of my day, doing everything that wasn't my choice, and then having nothing left for me. And then being angry at everyone else, because I had nothing left for me in order to do that. So owning owning my choices became a model for me. And when it came to wanting to start the podcast, on your choices on your life, that was I mean, people say that's too long of a title, you shouldn't do that. And I'm like those words saved me. And that's, that's literally they've become the pillar cornerstone for me. And they saved me so that it became very easy to use them. Michael Hingson ** 51:45 I never would have thought of calling your choices on your life being too long of a name. It Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 51:52 was I had so many people. I mean, this is the thing when you ever want to do anything new, be very careful how many pins you ask for? Yes, get a lot. Michael Hingson ** 52:04 Or feel free to get all the opinions and then you just have to synthesize them together and decide where you're gonna go. Exactly, Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 52:10 exactly. When I when I wrote my solo book in 2017. It's called when she stopped asking why. And I waited for a while for that title just hadn't come to me yet. And when it did, I went to my publisher. I'm like, I've got the name. It's once you stopped asking why. And the publisher said, Oh, no, that's just way too long. That's way too long, no one's going to understand it. And I said, I actually think more people are going to get it than anything. Because it's, you know, when we ask that when you ask the question, why it only is appropriate if you're moving towards something like if you're focusing on the why the bigger picture, and that mission. But if you're asking why as a victim, and why is this happening to me, that will never change the story. And for me, that's when the story change is I would catch myself and ask why. And it's like, no, wait, why does it matter? The what matters, what is the verb, what is an action, that is something I can control. And that's what I would just shift it to. So again, back to what you're saying, you've got to follow your gut on some of these things, and listen to what feels right for you. Michael Hingson ** 53:14 We forget all too often to follow our gut and our instincts. And they're always telling us the right answer. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 53:21 They are they're speaking to us, we just might not be listening. I Michael Hingson ** 53:25 learned that playing Trivial Pursuit learned it the hard way, you know, you got to listen to what your brain tells you. Because you're sitting there going, when a question comes up, and you get an answer. No, that can't be right. And you give another answer. And it turns out, you were supposed to answer what the original answer. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 53:40 The first one how many times in Toronto procedures that happen a lot all the Michael Hingson ** 53:43 time. A lot. So I work at it and and then and now people say when I play it, how can you get so many of these right? You know, and I just keep telling, telling them? I'm just listening to my gut? That's awesome. It is it's fun. Well, you know, when you are working with people, are you expecting to make a change? Or do you do you feel that's what you have to do? Or you're just really trying to help and let them make their own choices and decide whether they want to change or not be Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 54:16 the opposite? Yes, I again, back to conduit. I like to be the person. So this person who came on to the masterclass today, for example, I probably have four or five conversations with her. And this has just been something she's working towards, like these are difficult, vulnerable stories that people are showing up and trying to find a way to share. Because the intention is is that they want to do something good in the world with it. They want to help somebody else. They a lot of times like we're perfectly designed to help the younger version of who we work. And so they want to do something, but it will be in her own time and it will be in their own time. And she even said today she's like thank you for like just nudging me, but never We're pushing and I'm like, it's, I can't make you do anything. And if so, like, that's not where real change comes from. So I like to be a person who can help them to, a lot of times I can see what someone has available, but before they can see it, but I can't make them do it. That's it's never my job to make them do it, it's it's my job to show them what's possible. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 55:27 And you can't make the change happen. All you can do is at most set by example, as Gandhi said, Be the change you want to see in the world, but you have to do what you have to do, and be who you have to be. And hopefully, people will recognize the example. Yes, that's, Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 55:47 and that's why I think I really on a regular basis Share, Like I just share so openly, because I, I am never going to be the person who shows up online and saying everything is rainbows and butterflies, and it's a piece of cake. I'm not going to go on to complain, but I know how to be real. And it's like, you know, sometimes we're walking through really difficult times. And it requires me to focus even more on my own mindset and how I show up. But I will never show up and pretend that it's a piece of cake. And it's never a problem, because that's not relatable, that doesn't help anybody. I would rather show people how to navigate through something, and if it speaks to them, and it helps them to say I actually want to do something with my story, too. I would love to know how to help someone else out, then I hope it inspires them to do that. Michael Hingson ** 56:39 And what do you say when they say that? Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 56:41 I asked them, usually the first thing I ask them is what's the vulnerable story that you're holding on to that you wish you could share more openly with others. And for example, somebody will say, you know, I experienced this, I have dealt with addiction, I have dealt with this. And I helped them to come to a framework with their story where they're able to have perspective, and they're able to pull the lessons and the learnings and the experiences from what they walked through. Because that's what they share. Right? That's what you share, you don't share the details of the story. It's you share the experience of what you walked through and how you helped, like how you got yourself through. And that's what you share. So I really helped them to kind of dissect and look at like, what, what did these experiences teach you? Who are you now because of it? And what do you want to do in your life? Because of this? Yeah, that's Michael Hingson ** 57:43 what I was gonna get to is then what comes next? And it's what do you want to do with your life? Exactly. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 57:48 And for some people, it's like their entire mission now. And I just love it. To me, it's very, it's a ripple effect. And I'm grateful to see it firsthand is to watch people step into and share vulnerable stories. And when I see people do that, like, I just, I just cheer them on, because I know how scary that is. And I know how hard that is. But I also know that story is going to reach others. I actually interviewed a musician who had dealt with addiction for a number of years, most people didn't know it. And he's, you know, he was sharing online, he was building quite a following. He was singing people loved his music, at cetera. And it he said, you know, it was funny, it was building a following, until I decided to quit drinking. And then I started to share my story as somebody who was was working through addiction, then all of a sudden, he goes my following. And my support and my community grew tenfold. Because I let them see me, I gave them something to root for. And I just I think that is such a beautiful piece that as humans, we want to be able to support others. But that's going to require that we let others see themselves through our experiences. Like they have to be able to recognize that Wait, she knows what if she knows what I'm going through? Because I could I could hear it and her message. And then we start to build these connections. Michael Hingson ** 59:20 It isn't telling the story. It's telling the story in a personal and open way. So that people as you say, See you it's not just I'm going to tell the story and everything's gonna be great and people are gonna love me. Doesn't matter if you're not genuine. Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 59:40 No, it's the the authenticity, the genuineness. realness is so much more important. And even even here as an example for anybody who's listening. Like I didn't share much of my story. And I didn't have to. You don't have to share the details. It's not the details that is going to connect you with other people. It's that experience and what you choose to do with it. And I see such a bigger movement now of people who are recognizing that they've walked through something really difficult, and they want to do something good with it in the world. And I think that's how we start to change the conversation around these kinds of topics. Michael Hingson ** 1:00:20 When you start to tell your story, if you get somebody who really pushes back and criticizes you, how do you handle that? What do you do? And how do you rebound and go on? Well, Marsha Vanwynsberghe ** 1:00:30 in the beginning, it took me a while to rebound, I'm not gonna lie, like in the beginning, it was hard, because, you know, critics, nobody wants to be criticized. And but it didn't take long, I had some really good mentors, and I did a lot of work. It didn't take long to recognize that when you're going to talk about difficult things in life, you're gonna ruffle some feathers, you're gonna you're gonna push buttons, it's gonna happen. And people will always react to you based on whatever lens they're wearing. If they're wearing a lens of like victim anger, resentment, you don't get me you don't understand, I can't change that. I can't fix that. Like, I can just be me I can be I can. And I used to be the change, I literally wear that word on my bracelet like that is those are my go to words, I get to choose how I can be the change that I wish to see. And so that's always a reminder for me. But when I see that criticism now, this is how and I advise and share is this just my opinion on it, is when I see it, if it doesn't feel good for me, I will delete it lockup, if it is something that is constructive, that maybe a person is asking for some questions on, then I will I will try and answer because maybe this person is just a space of curiosity going wait, how do you move through something that's difficult. So I don't just take it at face value and judge it. But if it doesn't feel good, I still get criticism to this day, I will block delete, I will move things. I can really protect my energy put boundaries in place when it comes to putting myself out there. And I there are times that I have to remind myself, you know, sometimes I'll share something that's quite vulnerable. And I'll get 1015 Incredible comments back and I'll get one negative one. Do I choose to put all my energy into the one negative one? Or do I focus on the other 10 to 14 that were incredible. I think we get to choose what we focus on. And so the day that I start to focus on the only the negative comments, that person is, I can't I can't make them change. And maybe that's not their journey. And and that's not up to me. So when that happened, I just honestly I check in with myself again, go back to self like reflection and intention. And I look at it and say Did I say anything that was inappropriate? Did I do something I will go internally and look not being critical, but I will look to make sure I didn't do anything that wasn't. And then I just look at it and say I can't change that person sometimes even said thank you for your opinion. And sometimes I just block and delete, because I know that. I mean, at least once a week I get a message from a completely new person. I take those messages, I screenshot I save them
In this episode, I get to introduce you to Hawa Allarakhia. As you will learn, Hawa was born at only 25 weeks, more than three months premature. She lived in an incubator for the first four months of her life but survived and eventually thrived. She has some disabilities, but as you will see, Hawa decided not to let challenges stop her. She attended college at various campuses of the University of South Florida and has obtained a Bachelor's and Master's degree. She is now working in a Ph.D. program and plans to have her degree in two or three semesters. Hawa's parents always emphasized to her the need for a good education, something she very much takes to heart. She will tell us how she hopes to get involved in a higher education teaching role where she can help to teach students with disabilities that no matter what they can move forward and succeed. Talk about inspirational, that describes Hawa to a T. About the Guest: Hi, my name is Hawa Allarakhia. I am of Indian descent but was born and raised in the United States. I have traveled to every continent except Antarctica, and I don't plan to go there because I am a true Florida girl; I have lived in Manatee County my whole life. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in World Languages (Spanish) in the spring of 2016 from the University of South Florida- Saint Petersburg Campus. Yo soy una persona muy compasiva (I am a very compassionate person). In 2018, I graduated with a Master's in Education from the University of South Florida- Sarasota-Manatee Campus. I hope to work in a higher education setting to help instructors figure out the best way to teach students with disabilities in an online environment. Right now, I am pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Educational Program Development at the University of South Florida- Tampa Campus. I work part-time on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus as a graduate assistant in the Office of Research. As an academic consultant, I hope to use my personal experience to show students with disabilities that achieving success in university and obtaining employment is possible with hard work. Educational Philosophy I hope to teach students with disabilities online who wish to further their education. I will include elements that all learners find beneficial for optimum understanding of course objectives. To foster the development of cognitive thinking skills, I will help students learn how to make connections between course content and how to apply that content to real-life situations. My role as an instructor is to guide students through the course material and keep them focused on the course's objectives. Ways to connect with Hawa: Website: hawaallarakhia.weebly.com Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hawa-allarakhia-4a798b231/ About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson ** 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson ** 01:21 Well, and a gracious Good day to all of you. Once again, this is Mike Hingson, and your host. And this is unstoppable mindset where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Today we get to chat with Hawa Allarakhia. And Hawa. Hawa has a very interesting story. And I've got a really interesting question to ask right up front. I'm going to save it but I will tell you the question, how has a bachelor's and a master's degree and she is going after a doctorate? And how you're doing them all from the University of South Florida. But it's three different campuses. I'm curious about that. But you can answer that whenever you want to. But for right now, welcome to unstoppable mindset. We're really glad you're here. Hawa Allarakhia ** 02:06 Well, thank you so much for having me. It's a great pleasure. And I'm really excited about our conversation today. Michael Hingson ** 02:14 Well tell us a little bit about kind of you growing up the early Hawa and all that and let's go from there. So Hawa Allarakhia ** 02:21 I'm growing up, I am a true Fleur radian. I was born in Tampa, Florida. And I've had the fortunate experience of living in the area in the Tampa Bay area my entire life. So that's where my heart lies. And that's what I call home. In the early years, at birth, I was actually born 45 weeks gestation, weighing one pound and 11 ounces. And at birth, I received the diagnosis of cerebral palsy. What that means is I have a hemiparesis on my left side, which means my the left side of my body is a lot weaker than the right and I can't really use my arm too much in terms of my mobility as a child, I crawled everywhere. But then as I grew older, those wear and tear on the bones and muscles of my lower body didn't allow me to do that anymore. So I started using a walker more regularly. And, you know, just grew to do more things independently as I got older. But you know, the early years were filled with a lot of ups and downs when it came to school. You know, trying to figure out how to navigate the world of accommodations and everything like that No, school was a lot different than it is today. So I find that to be a bit of a blessing that I don't have to deal with those red tape and everything like people do today. But school was always like my light in all the stuff that I had to deal with, whether it was doctor's appointment, or physical therapy or even occupational therapy after school. You know, my parents taught me that education is literally my key to life and becoming, you know, a good working member of society. So I've always thought learning was so important and no matter how hard it was, whether it was staying up half the night to prep for the LSAT or just writing a paper because it took me longer to do than everybody else. I always knew that the end journey, you know, would be worth it. And that's kind of what led me to, you know, just continually pursuing education. Up until today and probably into the future. Michael Hingson ** 05:03 Wow. But you, you beat me I was born early. Also, I weighed two pounds 13 ounces and was born eight weeks premature. But since you were born so early, did you have any issues with eyesight at all and being given a pure oxygen environment, in an incubator, or any of those kinds of things until you were a little bit more substantial in life as it were? Yes. Hawa Allarakhia ** 05:31 So being born so prematurely, my parents were told that, you know, there would be a lot of different issues that I would have to deal with whether that was like, physical movement or, but also vision. And, you know, what they told my parents was, she's either gonna leave here in the incubator at four months, or four pounds, whichever comes first. So it just happened to be a coincidence that four months post birth, I reached four pounds. So let us go home Michael Hingson ** 06:14 that worked out well. Did you have any eyesight or vision issues? Or I should say, Do you have any today, Hawa Allarakhia ** 06:21 I do. So I'm, in terms of my vision, my left visual field is a lot weaker than my right, I have trouble focusing on distant objects. And then also, you know, when I hit the teenage years, I tried to learn how to drive like everybody else. And I'm with my homie periapsis. On the left side, what tended to happen was, even if I was looking, let's say, an object or taking my car to the right, my vision and my, like, the tension in my left side, would help hold me and the vehicle to the left. And, you know, kind of came to the conclusion after that, it probably was a better idea to put the possibility of driving on hold for a while. So I'm really looking forward to the ramping up that comes with autonomous vehicles, cuz I'm hoping that that will give me a lot more independence. Michael Hingson ** 07:33 You're not alone, I as well, I'm looking forward to that being perfected, and it and it will, it may take a little while yet, but we're gonna get good autonomous vehicle operations, is just that we are right now kind of in the nexus of all of it, and on the cusp of it, getting to the point where it will be pretty good, but it's going to happen. And we're seeing a lot of examples of it working. So I think the day is gonna come and that we'll all be able to take advantage of that. And frankly, I'm very happy about that. Because I think that given the way a lot of people drive today, we ought to take driving out of the hands of drivers. Anyway. Hawa Allarakhia ** 08:13 I definitely agree with you. I just every time I get in the car, I say a little prayer that I get to the destination without any incident. Michael Hingson ** 08:22 Yes, absolutely. So on the reason I asked about your eyesight, of course, is that being born premature, I also wasn't an incubator and did become blind because of that. What used to be called retro retro Fibro pleasure, which has now written up Theo prematurity. And I'm not sure that that's really a whole lot easier to spell, but they changed the words anyway. But so I've I've driven but under the direction of someone else. And I actually had an opportunity a few years ago to drive a Tesla. And the driver was was next to me, of course, but I actually drove a Tesla for about 15 miles down one of the busier roads going from Up Where We Live down toward San Bernardino, and Ontario. So we were driving down a hill, through a pass and so on, but it was a lot of fun. But I think that it will be good when we can really have autonomous vehicles that people can trust, and that are as safe as we really need them to be. And it'll happen. Hawa Allarakhia ** 09:29 I'm definitely I'm like it. I'll definitely be one of the first people in mind to try that out for Michael Hingson ** 09:37 sure. And by one it will be interesting to see well so you've come by your desires and interests in education very honestly, because your parents really taught you the value of doing that which is really pretty cool. So you started out by getting a bachelor was in in World Languages, specifically in Spanish, I believe Hawa Allarakhia ** 10:03 I did. And, you know, part of the reason I did that was actually twofold. At the time, during my undergraduate years, I was actually originally an elementary education major. And I got to the first stage of where we are required to do a teaching classroom internship. And, you know, this is one of those situations where even all the requests for accommodations in the world and, you know, all the written proof in the world who doesn't, you know, put forth the results you would like. So, in that situation, what happened was, I was assigned a first grade classroom with a lot about 20, something six year olds, when I had made a written request, that based on my skills, and experience, I would be more suited to work with older children in either the fourth or fifth grade, and I was requesting this as a type of accommodation so that I could be successful in the internship. And unfortunately, those requests were denied. And without, you know, concrete reason, and I was assigned into this lower level classroom, and, you know, getting little kids to listen to you, whether you're in a wheelchair or not, is quite a task. And, you know, when I brought my concerns to the college, you know, they were just kind of like, there's nothing really we can do, you have to pass. And then when I brought up the possibility of transferring to another campus that is affiliated with the university, and that, where I could move home, to do the internship at my local school, that suggestion was denied based on the difficulty that the supervisor would have to come and observe me. And basically, I was left with one choice, redo the internship in their selected setting at the same level, or, you know, just leave the program. So fortunately, I had been minoring in Spanish at the time. And the difference between a minor and a major at that point was only a few more classes, I believe, to at least four. So I switched my major and graduated when I was supposed to, but, you know, that's just one of life's challenges. And even though I was disappointed, in the end of how the situation ended, it was probably, you know, a positive thing, because when I went into grad school, and, you know, entered my master's in education, I felt like it was, you know, a better fit for me and more of my pace for learning, because I always saw myself as to even when I thought it was gonna be in, you know, K through 12, I always pictured myself at some type of administrator, like a guidance counselor or something like that. So, you know, and I just, I think, in the end, you know, I'm sort of on the path that I'm meant to be on. Well, Michael Hingson ** 13:37 so you, you got your degree in Spanish, but clearly, you still had an interest in education, because you went off then to what the Sarasota campus. If I'm, if I'm remembering, right, and you got your master's in education? I Hawa Allarakhia ** 13:56 did. I did. And, you know, my reason for coming to the Sarasota campus was because it was closer to home and I would end the program was online, so I wasn't really required to live on campus or anything like that. And coming home to Sarasota into the Sarasota campus, kind of afforded me like an opportunity to start working in higher education, as I'm currently doing right now. And you know, it's, it's offered me a lot of different experiences. I've worked in the field of admissions, academic advising, diversity inclusion, and currently I work as a graduate assistant here on Sarasota campus in the Office of Research. Well, so Michael Hingson ** 14:49 how do you think that the the sidelining, at least for a little while of what you had planned that is needing to graduated with a degree in Spanish as opposed to being an education. But and then going back to it, of course, but how do you think that, that them not accommodating your needs and so on, really has affected you and your outlook? Well, Hawa Allarakhia ** 15:17 I really think it affected me in my look, because, you know, besides the fact that my written requests were denied, I couldn't, you know, I didn't really feel supported by the, what they call the cooperating teacher who I was, you know, and being administered under and, you know, I couldn't, I had this feeling at the end of it, that in my gut that, you know, maybe she'd never come across as, even though she'd been teaching for over 35 years, maybe she'd never come across anyone who had any type of disability, and she just didn't know, like, how to navigate that, and how you know, how to be supportive, and all that kind of stuff. But, and maybe slightly, you know, she had some discriminatory problems with it with me being there. But the problem was, I couldn't actually, you know, prove any of that, and, like, build myself a case to say, all these factors have contributed to the fact that I couldn't succeed in this environment. And, you know, I just, I learned, I had to swallow, you know, all the hurt and difficulty and just say, No, I'm still going to finish, it might not be what I started, but I'm still gonna finish. And I can go back to the thing that I care about most in a different way. And I just had to take time to mourn the loss of the path that I thought it was going to be on, so that I could find a new one. And, you know, I just think that, I hope that you know, now, and there have been other students who might have been in my position, and they've succeeded. So I know that, you know, things are changing. But again, you know, the best way to make change is change it from the inside. Have Michael Hingson ** 17:16 you had any interaction with her since now going on and getting a master's degree and so on? Or have you been able to maybe have any kind of conversation about that with her? Hawa Allarakhia ** 17:28 No, you know, that the unfortunate thing about it, I don't, I haven't had that opportunity to have any type of conversation with any of the parties involved. Because they, for the university asked me not to continue communication with the, with the, with the educator that I was entered, supervising, under. And also those individuals who were involved in this scenario, with the university are no longer here. So, you know, that just that hasn't afforded me the opportunity to kind of go back and talk to them and say, Well, okay, this is what you did, but look, where I've ended up anyway, you know, kind of situation, but you know, who knows what the future holds, they might, they might reconnect with me on some other opportunity. And some point or, or not, I'm just, I'm kind of at the point where, you know, that's a part of my story, and it made me a stronger person. Michael Hingson ** 18:36 Well, and you don't want to take the approach of I told you, so. But rather, you want to progress yourself. And hopefully, the time will come that maybe you can be the teacher to help them better understand, unless they've gained along the way a better understanding, I hear what you're saying about the way it used to be. And now there's a lot more red tape and a lot of rules and so on. But at the same time, there's also in some ways, a lot more access than there used to be. I know my wife was in a wheelchair her whole life and you're using a wheelchair today. Hawa Allarakhia ** 19:11 So I, I use two types of mobility equipment while I'm here on campus. I use a motorized scooter. And then I also have a manual chair that if I'm with somebody else, then they push that push. I use that when I go out with my parents or when we're traveling, because it's easier to lug that around than a bagel scooter on the plane. Michael Hingson ** 19:41 Oh, yeah, definitely true. My wife's went to for her undergraduate work to the University of California at Riverside and was very actively involved back in that time when they had the International Year of the disabled and was very involved. advocating for access around the UC Riverside campus where there wasn't a lot of access upfront. And it was pre Americans with Disabilities Act as well. But but she was involved, I didn't have the same kinds of involvement. For me it was more access getting, or getting access to materials in Braille and so on. But she had very physical issues to deal with. And that is, she couldn't get into buildings and so on. And, but she worked through that, and she learned how to negotiate, and to educate, which is something that you're doing and you that you want to do. And that's, that's cool. And now we do have more laws on our side, if you will, than we used to, which does also help. It Hawa Allarakhia ** 20:48 does. You know, I think, I think the most important lesson that I've learned so far in life is that, you know, there's always room for improvement. I mean, everything has a kid, everything could always be brighter and more improved and more accessible. And, you know, the most important thing is for the people who have the lived experiences to just keep keep sharing their, their stories and their opinions and their voices. Because, you know, no one can stop your voice if unless you let them so that, you know, that's something I always believe in and carry with me every day. Michael Hingson ** 21:36 Yeah. And that is a wonderful attitude to have, and, and to carry with you. Well for you. So you knew I think instinctively that teaching first graders was probably going to be a challenge for you. My wife did some of that she was a teacher for 10 years. She liked third graders and fourth graders, she wasn't as excited about teaching much older kids because by that time, too many attitudes were developed. And it was harder to sometimes get the kids to do what she wanted. But she always loved teaching, like third graders, she thought that was really kind of, for her the best age to to teach. But for you. It sounds like you had to a degree, the same kind of attitude. But you ended up really advancing that further and going into higher education, who are what really sort of promoted that in your mind. And what caused you to really do that? Well, Hawa Allarakhia ** 22:36 that's a really interesting story. Because like I mentioned earlier, I really, when I started my undergraduate journey, I really pictured myself in sort of a K through 12 administrative role probably to send a guidance counselor, or what they call the ESC specialist. And that's where I saw myself going. And then when I was in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg campus, I had this advisor, and she, her name was Dr. Ford. And she was like, unlike any advisor I had met before then she was still supportive. She never pressured me into taking more classes than I thought I could handle. She never like felt made me feel bad if I was having a tough semester. And it wasn't going as well as I had hoped. And she just really stood by me, even after this whole changing majors debacle. She just was like, a big, big support for me. And you know, that, after that whole debacle, I started to think, you know, wait, maybe this is maybe there's a different path for me, maybe I don't have to be in, you know, a K through 12 setting. And I started to think about, you know, the other people that support students in higher ed and you know, and so I was like, well, I could be her, you know, for other people, and I could share my challenges that I faced with other students who have difficulties and so, you know, that's when I started thinking, Okay, I will need to get a master's degree. And then I said, Okay, well, if I, and then, you know, later on, I said, Well, I know people who have done her job and they have a master's degree, but the other part of my you know, vision to getting a doctorate degree actually comes back to my dad, because he is a physician and as a child, I didn't realize the limitations of my disability and I always pictured myself Oh, I'm going to be Just like Daddy, I'm going to be a doctor. And you know, and then obviously, as I got older, I realized that, you know, that path was probably going to be more difficult than I would like. And I found this new path and you know, in in time, I will follow this path and but somewhat, even though in a different field, follow in my dad's footsteps, and because I have a doctorate of my own, you Michael Hingson ** 25:29 will become a doctor. Which is fine. That's fair. And that is that is really cool. So then you'll have a family with at least two doctors in it. Yes. Which is always good. Now, I will ask the question I started out with earlier, you have now gone to three different University of South Florida campuses, how come switching from one campus to another? Well, what a spiteful question. I know. Hawa Allarakhia ** 26:00 I mean, it's all about the journey. When I started college, I actually didn't start out at the University of Florida. My first college experience happened at a place called Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. And I spent two years there and due to medical reasons, I had to come home to Sarasota to recover, recover from a shoulder operation. And after that operation, the people of Florida Gulf Coast, another accessibility issue. The people of Florida Gulf Coast would not let me live in the undergraduate housing, underclassmen undergraduate housing, which had the accessible dorms and facilities, they wanted me to move into upper classmen housing, which was apartment style, and didn't really meet my needs. So instead of getting into this huge argument, and like, you know, fighting a fight, that would probably take more time to win and put education on hold, I kind of reevaluated my situation. And I thought back to all those college tours I'd taken. And I thought where was the other place I thought was really cool. And that's where I kind of thought about the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg campus because it was not as big as the Tampa campus, which serves almost over 70,000 students. And it kind of gave me the best of both worlds, I could get to know my professors, and I could have a comfortable experience living on campus. So that's where I finished my undergrad years. And then when it came time for my master's degree, I looked at staying in St. Pete, but they just didn't have a program that I felt would meet my needs. So when I found the program at the Sarasota campus, I was like, Okay, well, this will be flexible, and I get to go home for for, you know, for my Masters, and that had led me to getting all these on campus opportunities in my current position. And as far as the Tampa campus goes, you know, even though we're consolidated into a single institution, we are still kind of in that infancy, where Tampa is the only campus where they have doctoral programs. So that's kind of how I ended up on all three campuses. And without that experience to say that, you know, I'm, I'm going to be what they call a triple bull, which means you've got every degree level on campus, one of the campuses, um, that's what the people call it around here. So it's gonna be good when it happens. And I'm excited for that day. Whenever that is going to be I can't put a pin on it right now. But I know it's going to be in the near future for sure. Michael Hingson ** 29:11 It's good to be a gypsy and be able to wander to different campuses. And in reality, of course, you do get different experiences, which is kind of fun. And I agree with you. I did my undergraduate work at the University of California at Irvine, and the year I became a freshman was the first year that campus had a graduating class. So I think there were like 2700 students on campus. It was a very large campus very open, not very many buildings, but buildings that were being constructed. Now the place is crazy. I was there a few years ago wouldn't even know how to get around the place. But there's a lot of value as you said in having an environment where you can really work with professors and meet professors and talk with them and how I have a lot more of a personal experience. And I really value that a lot, too. It's important to be able to have that. Well, so when you were in college, and you had, you had given me this question, what was the lesson that you learned in your first year of college, there was something that must have happened that really helped shape something. Hawa Allarakhia ** 30:21 Well, that lets it like most people, I started my college career during a summer session. So when you go to when you go to these orientations, there are so many people, and you actually, you've scheduled a meeting with an advisor to, you know, select your courses for this semester, but it's so crunched for time that they kind of pressure you into making certain decisions that if you had a little more time to think about it, you probably wouldn't do that. So what happened was, you know, they said, let's start out with two classes since that summer session. And you know, you want to get those general education requirements out of the way. So I'd signed up for composition one, and I believe it was intermediate algebra class. But I hadn't really had a lot of experience with this condensed learning environment where, instead of having four months to create a complete curriculum, you only had six weeks. So that put a lot of pressure on me to perform, and which raise my anxiety. And that didn't help me in the algebra class. So the lesson I would take from that is, whatever you do, no matter what math class it is, don't take it during the summer, ever. Michael Hingson ** 31:48 Yeah, it is, it is more of a challenge. And as you said, it is also an issue where you have less time to get things done. I never did take summer courses. But I was in college during Of course, the rest of the year. But I understand exactly what you're saying. So as you went through college going and getting your undergraduate degree and then getting your master's degree, what kind of lessons do you think you learned that will help you going forward? Well, Hawa Allarakhia ** 32:27 I think the one you know, for both of them. And even right now, while I'm pursuing my doctorate, the one lesson that I've learned is, you know, I need everybody, whatever your circumstances, you need to like, give yourself a break every once in a while, because there's all these outside forces that are already putting pressure on you, whether that's, you know, how much you have to work, and go to school or family obligations, or whatever it may be. But yeah, sometimes, you just need to give yourself a break. If you're, you know, if you'd rather turn in a good assignment that you've done, when you were like, ready and fresh, and you know, have your thoughts as clear as they can be, then one that might not be as good because you did it when you were too tired. So, you know, for those people who think I have to graduate in this certain amount of time. And you know, there's all this pressure that comes from other places, just, you don't take a step back and give yourself a break. I know, you know, there'll be people, whether that's your counselor, or even your friends who say, Come on, let's get done quick, and you know, then you'll get out to the real world. But this is a golden opportunity to learn all sorts of skills, whether they're inside the classroom or outside, and you need to take the time and opportunity to do that because, you know, going learning having this time to gain knowledge is giving me you're never have it again, it's invaluable. Michael Hingson ** 34:14 Do you do much in the way of extracurricular activities, or did you in your undergraduate and master's programs? Hawa Allarakhia ** 34:24 So I'm in undergrad while I was. At Florida Gulf Coast, I did participate in what they call Greek life, I was a part of the surety that a family friend was a member of and suggested that I join the first year was really exciting and I made a lot of friends and you know, it was we had all these campus events and I got you know, more comfortable socializing with people and everything and because we were what they call the first inaugural chapter of this organization on the campus, you know, most of the stuff was on campus. So that was fine. And it was fun. And it got me to meet people and stuff. But then the next year, here's where, you know, accessibility and kind of, you know, that kind of thing came into play, we started doing stuff off campus. And that's where I got a little bit uncomfortable with that, because that meant I had to rely on someone to, you know, maybe take me to the event and bring me home. And then I knew there was gonna be drinking involved, or because it was at like a restaurant or bar or something. And I was, I was just not comfortable putting my safety in the hands of somebody else. You know, when I, when I knew we were gonna come home, we and all that, and, you know, I made a conscious decision that, well, because of, for my own good, I kind of need to step away from this situation. And, you know, even if it probably wasn't the best for my social life, I think at the end of the day, it was probably, you know, a good decision in other aspects of my life, because I focused on school and, you know, doing other things. So, you know, but I do, I do think that, you know, that socialization is really important. And, you know, from what I know, now, from an accessibility standpoint, if I were to go back, I would have tried to be more vocal about, you know, making sure that we had, we continue to have more events on campus instead of off campus, so that, you know, other people who couldn't just pick up and go could participate. So yeah, yeah, Michael Hingson ** 36:56 it becomes an issue. What did you do during your masters? years? Did you do anything in terms of other than studying? Or did you just focus on that to get through? Hawa Allarakhia ** 37:08 Well, during my master's, because I felt like it was a little bit not easier, but there was not that, you know, you have to be in class in person from this time to this time, what I was able to do, and what I started doing during under during the master's program, and I continued to do to this day, is work on campus. So that's when I started working in admissions and advising. And, you know, and those are the experiences that brought me closer to the student and you know, and a different type of interaction, because you're interacting with people who are already attending the university, but you're also interacting with people who are thinking about attending the university, and you can share your experiences. And you can kind of be that those eyes and ears for the people who don't, you know, are thinking about where they want to take their education and career and life. Well, Michael Hingson ** 38:15 you have talked a lot about the whole issue of persons with disabilities and so on. So I want to really focus on that a little bit. But first, you graduated, you got your master's degree, and then what did you do? Because that's now been five years. Yeah, Hawa Allarakhia ** 38:35 so I graduated with my master's degree in May 2018. And after taking a short three month hiatus, I jumped right into pursuing my doctorate. So since the fall of 2018, I've been pursuing my doctorate right now, I just received permission from the dean to for them to assist me in distributing my instrument. So graduation survey, which is my instrument graduation is going to be shortly I can't put a date on it right now. But I'm hoping that it's gonna be, you know, within the next at least two or three semesters, I hope. So. After that, who knows where life takes me, I'm really into doing other things. I love traveling. So I'm hoping that once this school is kind of no longer a permanent part of my life, that you know, my family and I can do more traveling. Michael Hingson ** 39:45 You've been all over I think you said every year, every continent except Antarctica. Yes. Hawa Allarakhia ** 39:51 So that's, you know, that's one of the things we love to do as a family and my parents have been fortunate enough that they Have I let you know, the fact that we have to lug around all this mobility equipment stop us from seeing the world. So it's definitely one of the things that we do as a family for fun. And, you know, I'm definitely looking forward to doing more of that. Michael Hingson ** 40:16 Of course, you've got, in some senses, the advantage of using a manual chair and somebody pushing you. But obviously, you've seen a lot of inaccessible places. Hawa Allarakhia ** 40:26 Yeah, so um, I have and, you know, I've seen a lot of other interesting, I just came back from Norway a couple of weeks ago. And while I was there, I saw this individual, they had this, they turned their manual wheelchair into a motorized one, because he had this attachment, it kind of looks like a bicycle, like a bicycle handle that attach your, the front of your wheelchair, and it's a little it has a little motor inside. And then once you attach that to the wheelchair, and you use the controls, your, the wheelchair actually becomes motorized, like a little scooter. Michael Hingson ** 41:14 Yeah, my wife had one of those for a while before she started full time using a power chair. Hawa Allarakhia ** 41:22 Yeah, so I thought that was really interesting. And, you know, I'm definitely interested in exploring different, different things like that, as we, you know, travel more and all that kind of stuff. So, but it's always a good time to take a break kind of gives us opportunity to switch off and just spend time together as family, Michael Hingson ** 41:47 which is also important to be able to do, your family has been very supportive. Hawa Allarakhia ** 41:52 They have, I wouldn't be where I am without my parents or the rest of my extended family. They're always supporting me with whatever I want to do. You know, besides, well, you're in a doctorate program there. Once you finish the coursework, and you start doing your research. And your there is a lot of waiting, because you're waiting for feedback from a faculty member. And they might be working with like, at least 15 other students. So what I've been doing, since during those waiting periods are is writing lots of articles. And I'm trying to sort of build my, I'm trying to build my freelance portfolio. So I'm always looking for opportunities to write about diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and I'm even in the throes of outlining, ma'am, more based on essays that I'm writing right now, so those are the things I'm doing outside of like my current position at the University and school, Michael Hingson ** 42:58 what do you do at the university? What's your job? Hawa Allarakhia ** 43:00 So right now, I serve as the graduate assistant in the Office of Research, and I'm in charge of all our student programming. So I facilitate and plan and run our annual undergraduate and graduate research conference in the spring, I assist my boss in facilitating a workshop for graduate students about grant writing, and then in the summer, because she also does a workshop for faculty. I help her with that. So I do the some of the course design, I do the group some of the greeting, and I kind of just run and plan all the other events that we have going on in our office on campus. Michael Hingson ** 43:55 It sounds like you have a pretty supportive environment right now, though. Hawa Allarakhia ** 43:59 I do. I do. But I'm excited for what the future holds and who knows what other opportunities will come knocking? Michael Hingson ** 44:08 Well, yeah, that's gonna be an adventure, isn't it? What do you in terms of your own thoughts, at least at this point, what do you want to do once you get your your doctorate? So in Hawa Allarakhia ** 44:20 terms of what I really would, the path I'm seeing myself go on, is really heading back to the heading back to the classroom setting and hopefully, you know, teaching some courses that have to do with accessibility and education. And also, you know, there's also a lot of, you know, with all the legal stuff going on, there's also a lot of new contacts to that. So, you know, I'm hoping that in the in the next few searches section of my life, you know, I get to impart My wisdom and knowledge on other on fellow students. And in terms of accessibility and navigating college as a student, you know, I'm because I have a really unique opportunity here at the university, I'm gaining a doctorate in education, which focuses on program development, it means that the courses taught in the program are really kind of where they build their own, you build your own pack. So, you know, there's always new courses in development with the program. So I'm not really sure what type of courses I'm going to teach right now. But I know that the relationships I've built right now are gonna help me figure that out. Michael Hingson ** 45:49 Well, you are, it sounds like you want to stay in higher education, though, as opposed to going back down and teaching younger teaching to younger students? Hawa Allarakhia ** 45:58 I do, I do, because I've spent a lot of time here. And I think that the lessons that I've learned as a student, and in my work positions have just given me a really good per view of the struggles that people face and how they can overcome them, regardless of their disability or any challenge they have on their plate. Michael Hingson ** 46:26 What do you see is maybe some some critical issues that need to be addressed or challenges that exists today, in the whole field of higher education? You Hawa Allarakhia ** 46:37 know, I think our biggest challenge that we face right now is the stifling of diverse opinions and voices. Because especially here in this state, we are, we're if you don't, so here's what I don't understand about the context of how people view diversity. So if certain people view diversity as a positive thing that, you know, all, there are aspects of a person's personality and culture and everything that makes them them is so important to, to realize and recognize, while other people view highlighting those diverse aspects of a person as not positive, because it puts down what they consider the, you know, the status quo of how society should view people. So I think, you know, I think our major issue across higher ed, is to make sure that the, you know, all those diverse communities and even minority groups is to support their voice and make sure that, you know, they are they continue to be heard and grow and not to stifle that and kind of, you know, put them in a box and lock them away. We've already been through all that kind of stuff. And right now, I kind of feel like we're cycled, circling back to a time where I don't think anyone would be comfortable with where, you know, and back into the 50s, and the 60s, and all that kind of stuff. So I'm really doing my absolute best to raise voice when it comes to accessibility and all sorts of issues, because it is feeling kind of stifled at times. Michael Hingson ** 48:35 We've been watching on the news, I know out here, we have certainly seen on the news about all the things going on in Florida and the governor talking about not funding diversity and so on, does that affect persons with disabilities as much as it appears to be affecting other groups as well? Hawa Allarakhia ** 48:55 I think it does, because, you know, I think it does, because people, you know, people see that. So people see that, as you know, as a part of that. It's not officially a part of diversity, but it is in in a lot of contexts. And you know, I think where because it's not just it's not just stifling about diversity, but when it comes to accessibility, it's like, Well, it sounds services or, you know, some buildings are are already accessible, why do we have to make them better? So, that's where I think, you know, that's where I think this is, like less, that's where I think people are kind of taking advantage of the situation where they're saying that people it's already good enough, it doesn't need to be better. So and in some cases, you know, kind of take Your way those services and stuff like that. So I just think, you know, it is, it is a continuous battle that's happening here. And you know, there are people fighting for those rights every day. And you know, there are people who, but eventually, I hope that you know, the people who are in charge, you're gonna see that it's there. I think, honestly, they're only some of the people who are trying to stifle these voices, they're just doing it for their own benefit and out of fear. So that's where I think, you know, all this is coming from, from a place of fear. Michael Hingson ** 50:41 I think there's a lot of truth to that, that it's fear, it's not having a good education about it. And I would hope that with voices like yours, there, there will, we will be able to start to see some change, because it is an is an issue. And you said something just now that was very interesting, I gather that accessibility is not considered part of diversity in Florida. So Hawa Allarakhia ** 51:07 it's not that it's not considered but, um, you know, it's not, it's not it's all it's not an official part of the P i acronym. It's a it's an official part of the acronym, if you know what I mean. Michael Hingson ** 51:24 Yeah, well, the acronym of diversity, equity and inclusion. I've talked to a number of people on this podcast and and when I asked them to define diversity, they do provide definitions, and very rarely do they include disabilities at all. And I point that out, and they say, oh, it's, well, it's an equity or, or something like that? I think Hawa Allarakhia ** 51:48 they can. So I think a lot of people are of the opinion that it's, um, you know, it's kind of it's there without it having to be stated. But the thing is, I think that people who I think that's part of the problem, where because it's not officially embedded within that acronym, I think it kind of it kind of, it kind of acts as it acts almost invisibly, and it's only brought up when you say, but what about accessibility? And they're like, oh, yeah, okay. We know so well, now that you mentioned it. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Now that you mention it, yeah. But Michael Hingson ** 52:35 they didn't think about it before, which is really part of the issue. And that's what makes it so frustrating. Do you think that that also plays into what you talked about before the whole fear concept? It Hawa Allarakhia ** 52:47 does? It does. I do, I do think it plays into the fear concept. But here's the thing that I think also plays into the here concept, because I feel like it still in today's society, we are still, we're still, you know, tucking away, or we're still T people are still teaching their children that, you know, if they, they, they shouldn't, you know, pursue interactions with individuals with disabilities. And you know, that people with disabilities are should sort you know, could should sort of be in the shadows, I think that is something that still deeply ingrained within society, that the only thing that's going to change that is people just keep talking about it and raising awareness and that kind of thing. I don't, that's the only thing that's going to change that because I think, you know, ableism is still deeply deeply involved in the culture of society, across the world, and across the nation, I think it's still deeply embedded in society. And the only way it's going to change is that people just keep talking about it, and your podcasts are doing one of those things. Well, Michael Hingson ** 54:15 thank you. I do believe that it's all about the conversation. And we we don't get included in the conversation very much, even though the whole category, if you will, of persons with disabilities, according to the CDC is somewhere close to 25% of our population. Now, it's a fractured community because there are so many different disabilities and there isn't necessarily a lot of have a point of view of commonality, which maybe needs to be a little bit more brought to the forefront. But still, the bottom line is that it's a very large minority, and we don't see people Dealing with it, we don't see people, including us in the conversation. And it becomes very unfortunate when that occurs. Hawa Allarakhia ** 55:08 Yeah, I just think that, you know, include being included in the conversation is first step, and then, you know, bring, bring brought to the table to be part of the discussion and the building of solutions is really, and content is really the forefront of, you know, where people who were voices for accessibility and disability aren't need to put, continue to push and go. Because, you know, being having the opportunity to turn those voices into action is really the key to true change. Michael Hingson ** 55:53 Yeah, absolutely. So, as we move toward wrapping this up, when I really appreciate all your time, but what kind of advice do you have for people, both people who have disabilities and people who, who don't happen to be themselves as having disabilities? Hawa Allarakhia ** 56:14 Honestly, my number one piece of advice to anybody, whether you have a disability or not, is just just keep going. If you have a goal in mind, and, you know, you want to achieve it, keep going. All the people in the world can tell you, it's not possible, or you know, you can't do it, but you're the only person who can know what you can what you're capable of. So just don't sell yourself. Sure, you know, that's something that's something that I've struggled with, and I continue to strive to do. But at the same time, when if you're striving person, per opportunity, and you just keep hitting roadblocks, you know, try to find new parts and avenues. But, but at the same time, be willing to listen, and you know, sometimes you have to your circumstances are out of your control and sound. And it's important to realize that you can't, you can only do so much to change people's perception of you. And if they do, if they don't change that perception, that's not your fault. That's their fault. Michael Hingson ** 57:42 There's only so much you can do. Yeah, and you're right, you don't necessarily have control over what happened to you or some of the circumstances that you face. But you always have control over how you deal with it. Hawa Allarakhia ** 57:55 Exactly. Exactly. 100%. And Michael Hingson ** 57:59 that's what's really important. Well, I want to thank you for being here with us today. If people want to reach out to you and maybe talk with you or learn more from you, how might they do that? So Hawa Allarakhia ** 58:12 everyone, um, you can reach me on LinkedIn. And I'm, you know, I'm trying to build a base of communication. So I'm happy to chat with anybody about anything related to di accessibility. If you've got some opportunity, you think my fit my area, I'm happy to talk anytime. And you know, LinkedIn right now, I'm really heavy into LinkedIn. So that's my best form of communication. Michael Hingson ** 58:44 How do people reach out to you on LinkedIn, Hawa Allarakhia ** 58:47 so they can send me a private message, or they can also send me a connection request? And that usually, those are the two forms that I'm aware of people getting in touch via LinkedIn. So Michael Hingson ** 59:03 what's your LinkedIn name? Or how do they reach you? They just spell it. Hawa Allarakhia ** 59:08 Yeah, if they search for me, my first name is H A W A. And my last name is A L L A R A K H I A. Just Michael Hingson ** 59:22 like it sounds Hawa Allarakhia. And so it is easy to find her. And it is, as I said, just like it sounds. Well, I hope people will reach out and we really wish you a lot of success. I would like it a great deal. If you would, please stay in touch. I would like to do that as well. We want to hear more about adventures that you have and as you progress, how things go and you're always welcome to come back here to unstoppable mindset and chat some more. So I hope we can do that. Absolutely. Hawa Allarakhia ** 59:55 It was my pleasure. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I hope you have a good afternoon. and well Michael Hingson ** 1:00:00 and I hope all of you out there listening will reach out to Hawa I would also appreciate if you'd reach out to me I'd love to hear from you. Love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to email me at Michaelhi m i c h a e l h i at accessiBe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or go to our podcast page, which is www dot Michaelhingson.com/podcast. That's Michael Hingson m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. Also, as I asked every week and will continue to do so please give us a five star rating for our episode and our discussion with Hawa today. I think it's been great. I learned a lot and I really appreciate and value the insights that she's given us. So please give us a five star rating. I'm sure that how I would appreciate it as well. And again, reach out to her. And again one last time Hawa really we very much really appreciate you being here with us today and hope that we get a chance to chat some more in the future. Absolutely. Hawa Allarakhia ** 1:01:02 You have a good afternoon Michael Hingson ** 1:01:10 You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you'll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you're on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you're there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.
Prince Khan is all the above. Although he started out quite slow in school, he flourished in college. As he will tell us, in college, he decided to master his own lack of self-confidence and work at succeeding. He says it was his “unstoppable mindset” that saw him through. Prince refers to his personal unstoppable mindset many times during our conversation. This is not something I even knew he was planning. You will hear for yourself that he believes we all can develop an unstoppable mindset and he will tell us how we can make this happen. After college, Mr. Khan began working for a company first briefly in sales and then in other more business-related capacities. As he will describe, in college he discovered not only that he had an aptitude for business, but he actually liked the subject. After working at a company for five years he began teaching entrepreneurial concepts to others, especially in the small business arena. You can hear the passion about this in his voice. Prince offers us many invaluable life lessons we can all use in our business, life and personal worlds. About the Guest: Prince Khan CITP|FIBP is a Business Consultant with the Halton Region located out of Oakville, Ontario. Collectively over the past 10 years, Prince has worked for a small business, run his own business, and advised countless small businesses on strategies on how to improve their operations, marketing, financials and more. He currently works for the Halton Small Business Centre/ Global Business Centre, where he provides advisory services on business start-up, domestic expansion, along with supporting companies look at opportunities to scale their business globally. In terms of education, Prince is currently in the final stages of completing his Master's Degree at the University of Waterloo in Canada where he is pursuing his degree in the Master's in Economic Development and Innovation program. Prince went into this program with a passion for wanting to grow local economies, and understanding how the world can develop sustainable communities which drive local jobs, and investment. Joining the school of environment, and this program was a big step for Prince, who struggled academically early in his life. He proved himself and overcame his self-doubt by finishing with an 88% GPA in the program. In September 2021, Prince joined the University of Guelph-Humber out of Toronto, Ontario as a Sessional Lecturer teaching courses on entrepreneurship to third year business students pursuing their business degree. Prince has always had a passion to teaching, and mentoring others and is consistently looking for ways to help those in need. Becoming a lecturer at a University was a big dream he had in his late 20's. After being rejected for a number of programs in the Masters of Education program, he thought his dream was over. Luckily for Prince, he was able to connect with an individual who he had a lot of respect for who offered an opportunity to teach at Guelph-Humber without a Master's degree, and help his dream become a reality. In his free time, Prince loves to volunteer for local not-for-profit groups and present on various topics of interest. He has a passion for helping others succeed, and does this by motivating and inspiring others to develop a mindset that can help them overcome the mental barriers that hold them back. Ways to connect with Prince: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ecdevprince/; Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ecdevprince/ About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson ** 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson ** 01:21 Well, Hi, and welcome to another episode of unstoppable mindset. Today, our guest is Prince Khan, who lives up in Canada. In Ontario, as I recall, he is a business professional, he helps a lot of people who are in the business of being entrepreneurs or who want to be entrepreneurs, and does a lot of interesting things from what I've read. And I'm not going to give it away because it's more fun to let him talk about it. But Prince, I want to welcome you to unstoppable mindset. And thank you very much for being here. Prince Khan ** 01:54 The pleasure, Michael, thank you so much for having me. Michael Hingson ** 01:56 So I love to start by asking people to do something that you had suggested that you wanted to do anyway. And that is to tell us about the younger Prince growing up and where you come from and all that sort of stuff. Absolutely. Prince Khan ** 02:10 So we emigrated to Canada in 97. I remember it's August and it was early August, around I think I was fifth or sixth. And we had come to Canada with about $10,000 in our pocket. And where did you come from? We came from Pakistan. Okay. Yeah. So we thought about the Canadian dream. And my dad had really had high ambitions of coming to Canada and finding a job in engineering, which he specialized in back in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, as well as Proxxon. We came here and we were struggling. And we were living in poverty like conditions for the longest time. And my dad was struggling to find a job we ended up my parents ended up working in factories, my brother ended up having to move further out to try to secure some rent for the family. So it was challenging times when I was younger. And one of the things that I remember is, we couldn't afford to really focus on my education, or like my entertainment. And majority of the time, I was really just on put on the side. And I really struggled growing up and going to school. I know if I was in grade six, I was reading reading at a grade three level. And it was quite the challenge and growing up, it's it was so difficult. But now that I'm 32 years old, I've actually completed my master's, I teach at a university. I also provide a lot of small support to startups and entrepreneurs within the local community in Ontario. And I've really come far from where I really thought it could have been when I was younger. Well, what Michael Hingson ** 03:54 do you think the reasons were that when you all came over from Pakistan, and clearly with some very high hopes? Why was it such a struggle? In the beginning? Do you think the Prince Khan ** 04:06 thing is, I think coming to a new country, the integration piece of new immigrants and even refugees, it's quite difficult because a lot of people don't see your experience from back home as relevant experience in the country that you come to. So when my dad came here, even though he had years and years of engineering experience, they still didn't take him because number one, his age, he was over 50 years old. And two, they didn't see his international experience as relevant Canadian experience. So the problem was that because they didn't see that he couldn't integrate well into society. So we ended up doing a lot of labor jobs. My mom never worked in her life, but she had you under working in a factory alongside him just to make things meet up the or make our financials meet at the end of the month and pay our rent and try to just survive. Did Michael Hingson ** 04:55 he eventually or did they eventually kind of break through the barrier and did he ever get it? tends to go back into engineering. Prince Khan ** 05:01 No, he did. And unfortunately, he ended up doing security until he retired. But fortunately enough for his kids, me, my brother and my sister, my sister became really big in real estate, my brother ended up working for a large bank for about 25 years now. And I teach now I worked for the government. So the kids were able to get established. And there was an interesting point one of my co professors made when I had a conversation with him. He said, um, generation 1.5 generation that doesn't get all the benefits, but still get some reward from the aspirations of the first generation. Michael Hingson ** 05:38 Your brother and sister are older than you. Absolutely, Prince Khan ** 05:41 yeah. 11 or 12 years old, my sister is 10 years older. Michael Hingson ** 05:47 Yeah, it seemed like they were older since he's been in the banking industry for a long time. And she's been successful in in real estate, but you're getting there too, which is also important. But it is so sad that you had to experience or your parents had to experience not having any real level of acceptance for their international experience. And it's not exactly the same. But I know for me as a person who is blind, we get when you can either say diminished or demeaned or just negated a lot, simply because people think that eyesight is the only game in town. And it's so unfortunate that, that people do that. And I have yet to really figure out how to break through that. I think we're, we're talking about it more. And I think that's part of the conversation. And I would hope that people in Canada might think of future immigrants as being a little bit more able to be part of the culture, then maybe what happened was your father's generation. Correct. Prince Khan ** 06:54 So there is a little bit of better education now that's coming across. In Canada, specifically, they're they're certifying engineers a lot more quickly. Doctors, same thing. So they realize that they brought in all these people with all these expertise, but they're all doing labor jobs. And unfortunately, we have all this talent, but that talent is going to it's not it's going to waste at the end of the day. So the Kenyan government has kind of figured it out that let's let's try to certify these individuals as soon as possible so they can get into the workforce and add to our professional economy. Michael Hingson ** 07:28 Yeah, that's really the issue. And if there are certifications and programs that they have to go through, then Okay, great. But let's do it correctly. Yeah. And well, so again, I hope that in the future, maybe we've learned some lessons. I know, we've heard down here some news about some of the struggles of, of indigenous personnel up in Canada, whose children were sent to schools and taking completely out of their homes and all the challenges and horrible things that happened with that. We've, we've all had very funny illustrations and examples of where people aren't really using their vision or their imagination very well. I mean, vision in the sense of intelligence and imagination. Prince Khan ** 08:19 Correct? Yeah. So at the end of the day, you have to realize that there are, there's more to society than just what's out there. You need to be inclusive, and understand the diversity of what makes your country so unique. And make sure that you're accounting for everybody that lives within society. Why Michael Hingson ** 08:39 did you have a lot of challenges with reading and so on? Growing up, do you think? Prince Khan ** 08:45 Number one, I didn't have interest. I didn't care. I remember, I don't tell my grade six teacher this, but I remember read a lot of my books. He read the books, he did the analysis. And, you know, whenever we would have these reading circles, I would have no idea what's going on. Because I didn't read those books. I didn't write my papers. So I really tried to wing it in the sense that I tried to fake it till I make it. And I realized that I failed at that relatively quickly. Because when we came into those group circles, and we were talking about, you know, what was the main message that we received and the chapters that we had to read, I would never really have any response. And the teacher would get us like, Did you not get the book EQAO or any of those, those sort of things where we were tested. I was always a C to D student and never could get B's. If I was lucky, I may get one or two b's. But majority of the time education was just not my priority. And I always found it to be at the very end of of whatever I like to do. And I was like to hang out with my friends. And that's all I wanted to do. It might have come from the fact that my parents couldn't really give me that education or that that handholding because they themselves were struggling Michael Hingson ** 09:59 what turned into Around Prince Khan ** 10:02 the unstoppable mindset. So I realized eventually, once I graduated high school, that I had to make something of myself because at a certain age, you reach a point where you have to make these life decisions. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life doing absolutely nothing? Or do you want to spend your life making something of yourself. So when I got into college, that was my first drive and my first ambition. And as I told you, I struggled with education. But in college, I was able to get a good, good grades, and I was able to actually succeed, it got better. And my undergrad even though I was still scared and nervous, I still found it to be challenging, I still came out with a high ranking in terms of my grades. And then recently, I just did my masters. So I just completed the full 360 In terms of education. And I got the best grades in my master's program only because I learned from those pillars that I had built. And it was that unstoppable mindset, I knew I could do better and better and better each time. So I built those pillars of success and eventually get to get where I am today. Michael Hingson ** 11:09 So what degree did you get for your Bachelor's in your masters? Prince Khan ** 11:13 So in my Bachelor's, I did my undergrad in business, more specifically management. And then in my master's I did in an economic development and innovation, where we look to support communities in terms of investment, attraction, expansion, retention, as well as entrepreneurship and small business. Michael Hingson ** 11:30 What made you decide to go into business? Prince Khan ** 11:34 Initially, I didn't really see much skills for myself, like, I'll be honest with you. I like I didn't really see myself in sciences, I didn't really see myself in art. I think I almost failed art in grade nine. So I realized very quickly that art was not my thing. But business was something that was more generic. I was like, Okay, let me go in. Let me let me try it out. See how I'll do. I was very nervous because going from high school to college, in any capacity is very nerve wracking. But I went there, and then ended up enjoying I took finance when I went to college. And then once I graduated MT University, took business there in terms of management. But what drove me there was the fact that it seemed like an easier option, compared to a lot of other things out there. And I just wanted to explore it to see if it's something I liked. And fortunately enough, it was something I really thrived in. And I ended up doing as a full time thing in terms of my career. Michael Hingson ** 12:32 Did you think that maybe business was just going to be sort of slam dunk and easier to do not approach it that way at all, compared to like science and so on? Because obviously, it sounds like you had some fears and some concerns and so on? Did you just think business was going to be easier? It's just, you were nudged to go Prince Khan ** 12:50 that way? Yeah, so my mentor, originally was my brother. And he said, You know what, the entire family has been in business, my brother's been at the bank isn't once you just try it. If you don't like it, then you can always pivot and change afterwards and get into something else. So I was like, Sure, why not. So I just gave it a shot. And I realized, once I took the finance program at the College, that business was something I actually was good at. I failed in school, in high school and middle school and elementary because most of the courses I was taking weren't really related to what I enjoyed. So when I got to college, I actually enjoyed studying because it was more related to some of the things that were specific to something that excites me, something that's a little I'm a little bit more passionate about. And that went into university as well as my mat and Master's program. Michael Hingson ** 13:40 So you really liked the theory, it just really clicked with you. And there you are. Prince Khan ** 13:47 Exactly. And if it didn't click with me, then I would have realized very quickly that I need to pivot into something else. But I really find it exciting, I really found it to be something that I could use in my practical life. So that's why I decided to pursue it. And Michael Hingson ** 14:00 that's really the important thing, right? I mean, it's all about finding something that you not only discover that you're good at, but you discover that you really like and that you can make practical use of which is always a good thing. It doesn't really get a whole lot better than that does it? Prince Khan ** 14:18 Yeah, you have to enjoy what you do, right. And you have to enjoy what you study if you're taking a degree just because your parents are telling you to take a degree. And you don't really want to do it because it's just not something you're passionate about or you really enjoy, then you shouldn't be getting into something that you're not going to find value in the future. But if you genuinely enjoy it, if you genuinely want to learn at that point, education becomes a huge piece and then you try to figure out what is it that you really enjoy as an individual? Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 14:47 So you went ahead and you got your business degrees. And did you have any thought as to exactly what you were going to do with them while you're going through it? Your whole college program or what? Prince Khan ** 15:03 I had no idea. So when I finished my finance diploma, I'm like, Okay, I'm gonna get a job in accounting somewhere. And I remember I was being hired for a job by this entrepreneur named Steve Ostrovsky. He was he became a great, he became a great friend of mine. And I remember during the interview, he's like, okay, you've been, we've called you in for the council receivable Accounts Payable position, but I just want to let you know that the position has already taken, here's a sales job, you go do it if you enjoy it, and you can stay with the company. So it was a complete pivot. But you know, one thing I really admired about Steve was that he led me into the company, I did a job that that I hated for three to four months, only to get promoted to being the central person of that company, and then being able to really learn about entrepreneurship. And that's where a spark really came for small business. And when I worked at my company, and in Milton, Ontario, it was just so fascinating to learn about all the different facets of business from logistics, supply chain, Accounting, Finance Administration. And at that point, I knew that entrepreneurship was something that I really wanted to pursue. Michael Hingson ** 16:11 And what exactly does that mean? What did you want to do with it? Prince Khan ** 16:16 Coaching, advising, or running my own business, I knew I never wanted to work for a large corporation, I knew I didn't want to work for a big five firm of any sort. I wanted to work for a smaller company, because I knew smaller companies face a lot more challenges with respect to sustaining the organization, and always wanted to be that pillar that could come within an organization and help them grow to the level that they want to. So when I joined the city, and I joined the region, from a government perspective, the services we provide, they're absolutely free. And I'm able to go out there and support all the entrepreneurs and all the small businesses. And the benefit I get from it. It's not a monetary, it's more the respect and the passion that I see from these individuals. And I absolutely love what I do just because it drives me everyday to see their success. And Michael Hingson ** 17:05 the the emotional rewards have you actually seeing success in your success comes from seeing at least in part success of others. Absolutely. Prince Khan ** 17:17 That's what I enjoy more than seeing myself grow, to be honest with you, I love seeing others succeed, because allows me to be that back bone when I say you know what I was able to help them get to where they want to be. So in a way, it's kind of like life coaching, but for small business. So I've thoroughly enjoyed it. And from when I did my masters, I realized that I was in the right field, I knew I found my passion. And I knew I found what I was driven to do in my life. Michael Hingson ** 17:43 Now you had an interest, I believe in wanting to be an educator, and that didn't work out well. For you. Initially, Prince Khan ** 17:50 yeah. So I remember back in 2017, I applied to a number of different masters of education programs, because I wanted to be a teacher. And I struggled initially, because a lot of the programs rejected me. And I remember I used to sit at the table and look at the projection paper and say, No, I don't think this dream is ever going to become a reality I don't think I'm ever going to be able to teach. This is coming from someone who absolutely hated education, to going to loving education to the point that he wants to teach. So when I was staring at that rejection letter, I'm like, No, this, this rejection means I gotta try harder. And eventually, I got an opportunity to teach, but it was through a referral. And we were able to make it work. And I was able to find my passion. But if I decided to just give up and say, You know what? Teaching is not for me, people keep rejecting me, I would have probably not taken another opportunity. But even though all the odds are stacked against me, I still decided to do it. And I proved myself over and over again and now have become a solid pillar in this the institution that I teach and where do you teach? So I teach at the University of Guelph located out of Toronto, Ontario. Michael Hingson ** 18:57 Okay. But the but the issue is that you, you got into it in a sense and a little bit different way, because you went to work for a company, you developed a lot of experience at that company, you learned about entrepreneurship. And somebody finally saw that, well, maybe Prince has really got something that we need. Yeah. Prince Khan ** 19:22 And he doesn't need a master's of education to do so. Right. Prince has got that drive. Michael Hingson ** 19:28 He got a master's and it's in a different field, which makes it all the more valuable in a way. Yeah, Prince Khan ** 19:33 the Masters came after. That's the funny thing, right. I didn't have my masters when I started. Yes, no, it came afterwards. And it was really because one thing that I want to let everyone on the podcast know, the more you give back, the more you see in return. So students were a part of this program called DACA, which is basically a business competition for students. And I was heavily involved in the DACA competition with the students and mentoring and training a lot of these students at the University and a lot I then went on to win top three placements. And then the program had saw this and you know, he was like, wow, like, when are you going to come and teach? Are you able to teach? And I said, Absolutely, if you give me an opportunity, I will. So we figured a way around it. And even though I didn't have my masters, I was able to get into it. So if I had just said, You know what? I don't want to help anybody, I am so rejected I, I don't care about getting my masters anymore, I would have given up, right? But that's not me. I'm the type of person that's going to figure a way around it. So my way around, it was how do I volunteer my time? How do I give back to the community? How do I show myself my self worth to the people and the right people that will get me in positions where I need to be? Michael Hingson ** 20:45 And to yourself? And to myself? Exactly. Which is definitely a part of it? Because if you're really not convinced about yourself, then how are you going to convince anyone else? Prince Khan ** 20:56 Absolutely. So the confidence factor has to really be strong. And you have to be confident that you can pull through regardless of how many times you get rejected, or how many people say no. Michael Hingson ** 21:07 Do you have any notion of why you got so many rejections? Did you ever ask anyone or try to get some feedback about what was really going on? Prince Khan ** 21:16 No, because rejection is you know, when when people get rejected, they, they automatically assume they're not good enough, right? And I realized to actually over the over the past two, three years, that rejection is sometimes a good thing. Because it makes me realize that it's not that you're not good enough, it's just you maybe have made a mistake, or maybe you didn't live up to that expectation of what they were expecting, right. And I'll teach you to be more humble. Because if you think that you can get any job you can, you can get into any position because of all your the experiences and the knowledge that you have. There's people out there, they're always going to be better than you. Right and getting rejected doesn't mean that you're bad, it just means that somebody out there was better than you. So you just want to learn from those experiences. So nowadays, what I'm doing is I'm going back and saying, No, that's perfectly fine that you rejected me, I'm happy that you found someone that you know, fits your organization, or fits what you're looking for. Where did I go wrong? How can I improve myself? So I've learned to become more humble, through rejection. And that's one of the key skills you need. Rejection is actually becoming a skill for me now. Because with rejection, you learn and you learn and then you succeed. And Michael Hingson ** 22:29 that's why I asked the question, I was just curious what you do, because you have grown a lot if you went back to investigate with any of those people, what their thoughts were, whether they would even remember about why they rejected you. And clearly, if you have faith in the system, you're going to believe that they've rejected you for reasons. But sometimes knowing those reasons can be valuable to absolutely, Prince Khan ** 22:56 and I encourage everybody who's ever been rejected to find out why don't take it personally, but find out why. And I've learned recently, like I said that, to find out why you failed, or why you struggled or why you didn't get something that you really wanted. There's no harm in that. Right? You're you're learning from that experience, and then you're going to take it and you're going to move on. And then you're gonna do better next time, because you've taken that knowledge of why you struggled or why you didn't do the way you want it to do. So. Michael Hingson ** 23:26 There you go. So the fact is that we focus too much on this whole concept of failure. And I agree with the people who say failure isn't really not only isn't a bad thing, but failure is just an opportunity for you to learn how to advance and grow and maybe do it better the next time. It's not a bad thing at all. And we shouldn't consider it a failure. You know, for years. It's a little unrelated, but I've been using Guide Dogs for well, it'll be 60 It'll be 50. Well, it is now 59 years. Wow, I got my first guide dog on I think like about the first to July of 1964. So what's over 59 years. Anyway, for years, the dogs that didn't make it work, all failures, and they were rechecks and all sorts of terms. And somebody at one of the schools finally realized what an unfair label to put on the dog because the reality is less than half of the dogs will make it as guide dogs. And that's because, like with any job in any one, you're not necessarily cut out to do that job. There are so many things that go into being a guide dog, like not panicking at sounds not not being distracted easily. So many different things, learning to really focus on all that. And what they learned is they should call them career changed, which is a much more appropriate term. Some of Don't go on to do other careers, they will work at us as service dogs elsewhere. Some have gone to police departments, some have gone to be seizure detection dogs or cancer detection dogs. And some just go back to their puppy raisers and become well trained dogs in someone's home. But regexes is really the wrong term. And we, we allow ourselves to dwell on that way too much in our own lives, it seems to me, Prince Khan ** 25:24 absolutely, we all have our own special skill sets our own special way of doing things, and we can't white label everybody to be the same. Regardless of how close you are with someone or how competitive someone is in terms of their skill set with you, you have to learn that there are decisions that are made, it's not because you are bad, just like guide dogs, right? It's because maybe you were meant to do something different and something more unique. Michael Hingson ** 25:54 And it can be the trick, but the opportunity is really to find out what it is you're good at, or in the case of a guide dog that is career change, and doesn't become a guide dog, what their real role ought to be. And they're not as much involved in other than by demonstrating their talents, what that decision will be. But we certainly can and we should look at what are we good at? What do we really want to do? And then go after it. Like he said, you have Prince Khan ** 26:25 to enjoy what you do. Right? So some dogs may not enjoy being guide dogs because they're more outgoing, and they want to have a lot of energy. Right? That's one option. Yeah. Yeah. If you're the type of person that has a different personality, explore who you are, right? Don't assume that because society is labeled you as somebody who who's not capable, or, or whatnot. don't presume that who you are. That's what society thinks you are. But you can always create something of yourself by actually finding your passion and finding really what, what, where you will thrive. Michael Hingson ** 27:00 And it's also true that society may view you in a way that you don't want to be viewed as, or in a way that's inappropriate, which really are to call you to look at what messages Am I sending that makes them think that? Right? Prince Khan ** 27:14 So self reflection becomes a huge piece of that? Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 27:20 And it's important to really deal with that and grow. Absolutely, you know, I wanted to be a teacher, a different job came along, so I never had a rejection sort of thing. But I also learned along the way that when the other job came along, what did I end up doing more than anything else, teaching, the dealing with technology, and so on. And then I was put in a position where I had to choose to either be laid off from a company or change from more of a scientific research job that I was doing to go into sales, because the company didn't have enough revenue producers. They had moved me back from California to Boston to join the company. And I chose to do that, right. And then this VP of Marketing called me in and said, We gotta let you go, because we don't have enough revenue producers. And what you do is great, and you're doing well, but you're not a revenue producer, unless you want to go into sales. And I love to tell people, I lowered my standards and went from science to sales. But the reality is, once again, what I learned and I had the opportunity to really get some incredible sales training. What is sales? Sales is really teaching and counseling and advising and learning. So you get to be a student and a teacher if you're doing it, right. Correct. Prince Khan ** 28:44 Yes, sales is one of the key skills you need in life. And I run a program for students that's funded by the government of Ontario, where they get a grant of $3,000. And I always educate my students on when you're when you're going door to door, you know, how are you going to do that pitch? How are you going to reach out to those customers and entice them to make a purchase? Right? So instead of going to the conversation of, Hi, my name is so and so and I clean cars, you walk up to the door and say that's a nice car outside? Do you maintain it? Or does someone that you know that maintains it? Or do you want someone to help you maintain that car going in with a different conversation? That's That's what sales it's it's it's a it's an art at the end of the day, and that art is very valuable in your life, because it'll help you get further in life, because people will believe what you have to say, more than if you're just talking about facts and fiction. Michael Hingson ** 29:38 Yeah, I think it's both an art and a science there. There are components to both but you're absolutely right. Well, why is it that you hated sales early on? I gather you don't really hate sales anymore? Prince Khan ** 29:50 Yeah, absolutely. So I was never the phone type of person. So when a company in Milton, Ontario, I used to pick up the phone and I had to do cold calls. cold calling. And there were all outbound calls. And I would talk to my wife every day. And at the time, she was my girlfriend, and I said, I hate my life, I hate my life, I hate my life, over and over again. But you know, that took a lot of courage. And no one said, sales is easy, you're gonna get things shutter speeds, you're gonna get people saying, No, you're gonna get people yelling at you and screaming at you, and making you feel degraded. But at the end of the day, if you can come overcome those challenges, and the hate that you get, it makes you a stronger person, you're not going to be scared when you go into a conversation, and someone says, Well, I don't want it. At that point, you're gonna be like, Okay, that's fine. And then you learn to maybe improvise in terms of your sales tactic, or if the person is really hesitant on making a purchase, then you move on. But sales is the core of core of this world, because how do companies generate revenue? It's the sales department sales Michael Hingson ** 30:58 bar. And a lot of times when people are hesitant, or just say they don't want it, it's also appropriate to say, tell me more about that, what's the issue? Because a lot of times, people are in the habit of saying no upfront, and then you've got to and should explore it, which doesn't mean you're going to try to force something down their throat. But it's important to understand it. And I have found that when people say not interested, I will ask, well tell me more about why that's an issue. Because you're working for a company, I've seen many like what you do, and you need, or ought to have this kind of a product, tell me more about it. And you develop a relationship, you still may not make the sale, but you'll learn more, and you may make friends that will help you later on. Prince Khan ** 31:50 Absolutely. Because it's it's a process. And you're right, it's getting someone to know you getting them to like you gain them to trust you, and then getting them to buy from you or at least refer you out to someone else. Sales is not about going in with the intention of selling sales is going in with the intention of building that relationship. And you've hit it right on the mark with those comments. Michael Hingson ** 32:10 The best salesperson I ever hired. told me when I asked him, What are you going to be selling for our company, he said, The only thing I can really sell is myself, and my word. And I would expect you to back me up. The rest of it is stuff. The products are stuff, I can talk to you all day about the products. But that's not really what I'm selling, I can only sell me in my word. And he was right. And he's the only person in the number of people that I ever interviewed who was wise enough to say that, but he was absolutely right. And it was always the answer I was looking for. So needless to say, it was not a challenge to want to hire him. And I did. And he was the best sales guy I ever had working with me. Because I also believe that the other side of that is being a boss. And a boss shouldn't be a person that goes in and just tells people what to do. I always told him and everyone that I ever hired that as your supervisor, my job is to add value to what you do. And what you and I need to do as a team of two is figure out how I best add value to enhance you. Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know, and again, the people who got that did flourish, and used and learn the talents that I brought to them that could help them which is part of what it's all about. Prince Khan ** 33:32 Exactly, right. It's really built on a value when people don't buy products they buy they buy people are what is the representation of the people in your organization, the culture of that organization, or the sales team. Right? So absolutely, the value has to be so so strong from not just a product perspective, but the people perspective as well. It's a it's a juggling game at the end of the day. But the people are what essentially make that sale happen. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 34:03 My favorite sales story is Oh, I was traveling to Pittsburgh to see a customer. And we were supposed to be shipping some product to him. And it was supposed to arrive the day that I was going to meet him and I'd never met him before I talked on the phone a lot. And he called while I was in the air the day before and reached one of my colleagues. And she went and investigated and discovered that the product hadn't shipped. And he said, Well, wait a minute. I supposed to be meeting my kingsun tomorrow. And what's the deal? He said he saw it on the dock. And of course she immediately started laughing because she knew I was blind. And he said What's so funny and so she told him he said I didn't know he was blind. And he said, What do you mean he saw it on the dock so when he he finally met me he was he was fine. But of course he had to give me a hard time. What do you mean, you saw it on the dock, I said to see in the dictionary is not necessarily to be able to just use your eyes as to perceive, I went out and touch them. What's the deal? Well, they didn't ship. And so I called and found out that our president did something that he shouldn't have done, but he reallocated it, which was unfortunate. And we went, we worked through it and all that. But what, what he learned out of that was that when I say that I, I saw it on the dock, I went out and touched it, and made sure that the labels were right. And I had no control over what the president did, which is unfortunate, but it actually enhanced our relationship, which was cool. Yeah, Prince Khan ** 35:37 let's see a scenario like that. It's, it was that relationship that you built from that conversation, that are probably was able to help you secure that, a client or just the product. Michael Hingson ** 35:49 And years later, after September 11, I happened to be doing a presentation, the speech in Pittsburgh, he had retired and he came. And he said, I just had to come and renew acquaintance and say, Hello. And that was great. And he's you know, it's always kind of cool. When I talked about teaching, I did do student teaching. And some of my students, even years later, have come up to me. And of course, I now have voices that are a lot different than when they were in eighth grade in high school. But they remember me and boy, you know, that's as good as it gets them when they say kind things that's about a teacher, that's always good. Well, that's the way I've always felt about my teachers as well. So I appreciate it. Yeah, Prince Khan ** 36:34 it's a very humbling experience. It's more of giving back as a teacher, because you really become a history and the students life and their journey for that year or two years, or however long they take you. Right, then once that journey is over, and they've moved on, they're going to remember you and if you leave a good impression, they're going to come back and respect you for everything that you've done for them. If you need a bad impression, it's going to be a different story. Right? So you always want to be that humble individual that can build a solid brand. For not just yourself but the community around you. Yeah. It's Michael Hingson ** 37:09 it's so important to do that. We just don't need to be too full of ourselves. Prince Khan ** 37:14 Yeah, yeah. And that's the worst thing you can possibly do. People love talking about themselves. But at the end of the day, you also want to learn about who's on the other side of the fence? Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 37:25 And it's important to learn about them, too. That's part of the whole science and art of understanding people. Well, when you got your mat, well, you got your bachelor's and so on, you said you went to work for a company, you worked there for six years, was it? Prince Khan ** 37:39 So I worked at the City of Brampton for about five years? Michael Hingson ** 37:44 And then what did you go off in? Are you I guess, you went off to do what you're doing now, which is teaching. Prince Khan ** 37:49 So it's part part and parcel of it is teaching. But I've grown into becoming a business consultant at one of the regional level organizations at in Ontario. And what I do is I provide a lot of pro bono free consulting for companies that can just start their business, we go through budget forecasts, market research, marketing, and I work with mainly startups to really get them off on the right foot. Michael Hingson ** 38:14 And that's really the time to work with companies because the inertia hasn't become so strong that you have to break through a lot of things. As difficult as it can be, as opposed to having people who at least hopefully are a little bit more open to listening to what you have to say, Prince Khan ** 38:30 yeah, when you get to the larger corporations, they have a set structure. And if you come in with a different mindset, it's hard for them to change. And I watched this really neat video by a guy named Stephen Rossella back, and he talks about innovation and how smaller companies can innovate because they're very agile. But larger corporations can't because they have these set structures, and for them to create discovery and discover new innovation, it's hard for them. So it startups, they enjoy getting the feedback, taking it implementing it. And then if they succeed, great, they can sell that idea or grow that idea. If they fail, they move on with a large corporation, you have large stakeholders involved, and shareholders even that will hold you accountable if you have any sort of failure. So it gives startups more ability to really expand a lot faster. And it gives them more autonomy in terms of the control that they have. So that's what I really enjoy is coming up with a new idea, expressing that idea and then making a viable business out of it as well. And, Michael Hingson ** 39:34 again, it goes back to establishing those great relationships. Prince Khan ** 39:39 Absolutely. And all the clients that I deal with, it's always I make them my priority. I make sure that they get all the information that they need. And then they remember me I had one client reach out to me, I'd say a year later, and he said Prince, you helped me last year. I'm so thankful for everything that you did for me. And there was a long email and I was not not expecting it. But at the end of the day, it's the people to people relationship that you build, that's going to be in other people's mind. So the relationship you build with the people that you talk to, that's how they're going to remember you. And you have to remember to create a brand that is going to be memorable, but also a brand that people are going to respect. So I do that with a lot of my clients, I train them to the best of my ability, let them fly. And they always come back and always know, thank me for all the things that I've been able to do for them. And that's the biggest reward for their job that I do is they come Michael Hingson ** 40:35 back sometimes and say, here's where we are in the scheme of things. Can you help us even grow more? Prince Khan ** 40:42 Absolutely, I've had those situations and situations where they need employees, or they're struggling with revenue numbers, and they're trying to figure out new revenue streams. So we strategize all sorts of different things to try to figure out how can we really improved the bottom line for this company? How can we change their mindset to maybe think about not just hiring an employee, but maybe they need other resources, that may be able to supplement sort of some of the things that they're offering already? So it's really a holistic approach that I take? And, yeah, absolutely, I do get clients all the time that come back and say, I've reached my peak, can you get me to the next level? What Michael Hingson ** 41:16 do you do to really work to make yourself the best that you can be every day? Prince Khan ** 41:21 The best I can be, is based on a positive and unstoppable mindset. Right, going back to this podcast, I know that the individuals that I work with are there, because they're facing challenges, they're facing a barrier, they have a problem that, you know, they need to start a business because they can't afford to live on EMI anymore, or they want to turn their life around, or they have a business idea and they want to run with it. You're going to come up with all sorts of situations, some clients and good situation of the clients and positive or negative situations, but you always have to have that positive mindset and teach them that the value of entrepreneurship and where it can really take you and teaching them that. And when you start to run your own business, it really is that unstoppable mindset because you have to be consistently ambitious, consistently taking risks, and consistently having this positive attitude as well. So what keeps me up in terms of my job is having that positive energy and making sure that the people around me also feed off that energy to really help them scale and grow their company. So Michael Hingson ** 42:27 even with all the confidence in the other things that you are experiencing, which is always a good thing, do you occasionally still have times that you end up facing challenges that you're not sure how to solve? Prince Khan ** 42:41 Or a business perspective? Absolutely right. I'm not I'm not a master of anything. There are certain times where I don't have the answers. And unfortunately, you know that that happens. And we're human beings, and we're not digital technology, obviously, I mean, AI is out there now. But you have to look at other resources on how this person can get that same level of support is there someone else I can reach out to another network in my community that I can say, hey, I have this contact. And I generally do that if there are problems or barriers that I'm facing, I look out to external resources. And I'll be honest with you, because I've built such a positive relationship with the people around me, they're more than willing to just say, Prince, I got you, we're Prince happy to help you out. That's the type of person you want to be. And that's the type of person I am. And it's helps my clients because then they are able to get connected to the resource that can help them. What Michael Hingson ** 43:32 gets even more exciting is the time when you have to reach out to someone who you don't even know. But you you are courageous enough, as some people would probably put it to reach out. And you get to build a whole new relationship, which is so cool. Prince Khan ** 43:48 Yeah, I've done that many, many times. And there are contacts I'm thinking about in terms of our center and all the services that we offer for small businesses. And I see a contact and I just, for example, reach out and say, Hey, I'm seeing all the great things you're doing on social media or I see your profile, would you be open to just a quick 15 minute conversation so I can learn more about you. I build that relationship and a lot of these clients or these individuals that I meet, they end up actually becoming a great resource to the center. And I become sort of like a pillar of becoming that relationship builder within our center in our in our community. And I feel proud of that, right. It makes me feel better because our community has just gotten some more community champions that are able to support one another. Michael Hingson ** 44:34 It is so fun. It's always fun to grow. It's always fun to learn and, and to try to do better and make yourself better because the more that you do, the more you can help others. Prince Khan ** 44:48 Absolutely. The more you learn, the more you should get back. That's my mantra. I mean, I had mentors but I also did a lot of things on my own. You know, put myself up there constantly and I Learn from a lot of different failures in my life. So I want to make sure that people that do face similar barriers in life. No, I'm open to meeting them and just having a chat with them, telling them sort of the things that I went through some of the things that they can implement to have a better life and not have to struggle the same way that I was struggling, because a lot of us go through these, these periods of time where there's problems and problems or problems, and it just doesn't seem to end. But how do you overcome that? Right? So you sometimes need that individual to just say, it's gonna be okay. And yeah, it's, you're gonna overcome it. Michael Hingson ** 45:34 Yeah. Well, you mentioned mentors, tell me if you would about some of your your mentors, your favorite mentors, and maybe some things that that they helped with along the way? Yeah, I bet you have stories. Prince Khan ** 45:48 So Steve was actually my favorite mentor. So Steve was the person that first party for his small business. So there were a retractable awning company out of Milton, Ontario. And Steve taught me a lot of life lessons. So I used to sit next to him. And every time I would pick up the phone call, it was his company. So every time I've a blunder, or there's some sort of problem with what I'm saying, he'd always try to encourage me to use different words or use different languages. And every time we would have a conversation, he also gives me tips and advice. So I remember one time I was sitting down with him, and I was just asking him, how did you make such a successful business? Like, how did you come up with this idea? And he said, Prince, you know, there's the time is money, but cost is a constant. And I'm like, What do you mean by that? He said, either you have a lot of money to make the business successful, or you're going to be spending a lot of time trying to make it happen. And sometimes, you at the end of the day, you're going to actually end up having cost either way, because either it's either costing you your time or money. He said in his case, he was able to get an investor and the investor was able to support him. But if he didn't have that, then he'd be spending a lot of time trying this product out there. Yeah, and he was always looking for that customer, customer need versus sorry, the market need versus the customer need. So there's these things, these candidates that he still tells me to this day, and I'm still in contact with him, even though I don't work for the company anymore. So Steve was one of my favorite mentors. And then I had a couple of other mentors, Daniel Bishan, Jennifer Vivian, who were also great mentors of mine, when I worked at the City of Brampton, they really pushed me to become who I am, they really encouraged me to be more entrepreneurial, create events, do things out of the box, think like an entrepreneur, rather than just think, as a corporate individual. So they really became my good friends and colleagues. And they also pushed me to actually explore who I really am. And from that team, I learned that entrepreneurship was definitely for me. And I really enjoyed helping others and doing what I do today. Michael Hingson ** 47:48 When you talk about entrepreneurship, what exactly does that really mean to you? Prince Khan ** 47:54 The term means? Well, it could it can go a lot different ways. But that's why I asked. Yeah, so the three characteristics would be number one, someone who takes moderate to high levels of risk, someone who's ambitious, and someone who has the mindset of consistently trying to solve a problem. So when I define an entrepreneur, it really falls under these three categories, because entrepreneurs need to have that, if you're the type of person that's going to give up really easily. Entrepreneurship is not for you, if you don't have the ambition for what you're doing. Entrepreneurship is not for you, if you don't have the mindset of knowing that failure is going to happen. Entrepreneurship is not for you. People think it's easy. They're like, Okay, I'm going to start my own company, and I'm going to make it very successful, but you're working long hours, don't assume that you're going to work 40 hours a week, you're gonna work maybe 6070 hours a week, just become your baby. And people have to now start calling you constantly to get sales or get your products. And you're always going to face these barriers. And who's going to manage that you are a team member. But you're constantly on the call at that point. So entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It's for certain people that are willing to take that leap of faith knowing that your life will completely change if this product or service becomes successful, and you're going to be spending a lot of hours making it happen. Michael Hingson ** 49:17 And that's fair. And as long as you understand that as the entrepreneur, then and accept it, then you should be able to be comfortable in your skin and move forward. Prince Khan ** 49:29 Absolutely. And sometimes you do it and then you realize, hey, you know what, this is not for me. And that's perfectly fine. Right? Now, like like we were talking about earlier, you can white label everything that you do in your life. It's, you know, maybe you're passionate about it and you realize that it's not for you. That's perfectly fine acceptance of things in this sort of nature. When it comes to small businesses, especially it's perfectly fine, you look to move on and get into something a little bit more comfortable. And Michael Hingson ** 49:57 yeah, the other part about it is that you may We face challenges. And they may cause you to doubt your self worth. And you have to really take the time to analyze that and see what's really going on. Because it may very well be a process that you need to address, rather than you're really not good at it, or you're not really an entrepreneur or it could be the other way as well. But too often, we don't really spend time every day, just in an introspective world, thinking about what went on, and how do we make it better and what's going on in our lives? And we really ought to do that. Prince Khan ** 50:35 Absolutely. Michael Hingson ** 50:38 There's, there's always time to think and we, we oftentimes I hear it so often want to busy, I don't have time to do that. Of course you do. You just don't want to make that a priority. And hello, let's talk about the challenges that you're facing. Prince Khan ** 50:54 Yeah, so in terms of my personal challenges? Michael Hingson ** 50:57 Well, I mean, anybody? Yeah. Prince Khan ** 50:59 Yeah. The Michael Hingson ** 51:00 general you not use specifically. But you can talk about you if you want. That's okay. Prince Khan ** 51:05 No, no, that's fine. I know. I mean, a lot of people Yeah, you gotta learn about your own personal challenges and the problems that you're facing, and how do you overcome those? Yeah, Michael Hingson ** 51:16 it's, we need to, I think it's good to think about ourselves all the time. Where are we going? How are we getting there? What do we need to do to make tomorrow better than today? Right? It's okay, that's fair. Well, where do you see yourself in five years? I'm going forward. Yeah. Prince Khan ** 51:36 So once I took my economic development and innovation program at Waterloo, I realized that economic development is some it's a space that where I really want to be. And I really see myself being a director in a company in the next five or 10 years. And I'm ambitious, I'm 32 years old, Director at 32 years old, it's happened in the past. And in the next five years, I'm going to make it a goal to actually get to a higher post, and really achieve that goal. So I want to set some milestones for myself in terms of things I want to achieve, and things I want to accomplish in terms of my education and additional certification that I might need. Or my end goal in life is to reach a high post within a government organization. Michael Hingson ** 52:21 I would only say Don't ever forget that. Almost first and foremost, you're still a teacher. Right? And I think that's, that's really important to be able to do. So. I'm curious, you've used the term and I appreciate it a lot. Unstoppable mindset, a great deal. How does somebody gain that mindset? And for you, personally, how did you overcome a lot of the fears and so on, that really got you to have an unstoppable mindset and recognize it, which is, I think, very important. Prince Khan ** 52:53 Yeah, so I didn't really talk about it in the session today. But I deal with a lot of mental health issues, or depression, anxiety, I've had a little bit of add as well. I've realized through all the challenges I faced in my life, that no matter what you do, life is not going to stop for you. No one's going to stop for you and say, Hey, let's rewind time and make a new decision based on what we've done in the past, because maybe we do want prints or maybe we do want to work with prints, I realized that you have to set your own path, and you have to set your own destiny. But if you don't commit to doing it every single day, you're not going to get where you want to be. It's just like going to the gym, if you go to the gym once for one time, and then you go there for about eight, nine hours, you're not gonna get fit, you're not gonna get no, you're not gonna get the muscles that you want. But if you commit yourself 30 minutes every day, you're gonna get somewhere, you're gonna eventually get the body that you want. It's the same thing with your mindset. Once you set your goal in terms of where you want to be. You want to make sure that your mind and your heart are driven to achieving those goals and you try to find ways to get there. No matter how many times you fail, you keep picking yourself back up, because eventually, someone's going to give you that chance that somebody's going to take the leap of faith in you and your abilities. Michael Hingson ** 54:22 I think that one of the things he said though, that is extremely important is to always be humble, have humility. And when you're dealing with goals, when you're dealing with what you want to do make sure that it's something that's not only going to benefit you but I think it's important that it benefits other people too. Prince Khan ** 54:40 Humility is probably an empathy are two of the most important skills are not skills, per se, but more assets that you need to own as an individual. It's fine. If you if you don't have humility, then you're not going to get the same level of respect. And then you're not going to get that same sort of record. Question from the people around you? Michael Hingson ** 55:01 Can anyone develop those traits in themselves? Prince Khan ** 55:05 They can, but they have to do a self reflection to figure out, are they doing things the right way? Do when they talk to people? Are they feeling apathetic? If a student is failing in a course, or if a client is struggling? Are you going to say, well, this, this person is crazy, or, you know, this person doesn't work hard, or you do try to find a problem, and then try to figure out how can I help this person achieve the results that they want to achieve? Anyone can do it, it comes down to the mindset of what you think you have versus what people think you have, and then trying to find that gap in between of what the optimal solution to that unstoppable mindset really is. Michael Hingson ** 55:47 What kind of challenges do you still face every day that you have to work to overcome? Cuz I'm sure there are some. And you know, you probably don't talk about them because you work on them. And maybe it's become so automatic, but But you, you, you clearly probably have them. Yeah, Prince Khan ** 56:03 surprisingly, I struggle a lot with confidence. And I've struggled with it all my life, I used to get made fun of when I was younger. To this day, it still haunts me, I've gained a lot more confidence. Now. However, it's still something that when something doesn't go my way, I feel like I let myself down. And I feel like I'm the one solely responsible. But then I pick myself back up and say, You know what, keep moving, keep moving. Let's let's try it again. It's a, it's a problem. But it's also one of my driving factors. If confidence is something I'm struggling in, I'm trying to figure out a way to make myself better. And it only comes down through self reflection that I say, Forget what my mind is thinking, let's move on, let's go to the next job is going to the next interview, let's go to the next student, whatever the situation is, we try to really hone in on how can I do better next time, and then try it again. So even though I struggle a lot with confidence, I'm always trying to make myself try again, until I really will feel comfortable, hopefully in the next coming years. And myself. Michael Hingson ** 57:11 And that's really the key is you've made the decision, although you have to constantly work to to maintain it like anyone should. But you've made the decision that when something happens that doesn't go just as planned, you're going to pick yourself up and move on from it and evaluate yourself and see what you need to do. Exactly. Prince Khan ** 57:33 And if you can do that, as a human being, you're gonna go really far, i
I absolutely love hosting Unstoppable Mindset. I, and thus you, get to meet so many interesting and fascinating people. Jack Kountouris was born in London to a North Carolina mother and a father from Greece. He lived there until he came to the United States to attend college at Wake Forest. While in his Master's program he met a friend who had an interest, like Jack, in board games. After college Jack and his friend decided to become business partners and formed Dimension Board Games in 2021. For a bit, Jack lived again in London while his friend lived in Denver Colorado. Jack took up a full-time career as an executive recruiter while working to help start the company. Life became easier in May of 2022 when Jack moved to West Los Angeles. Now at least the two partners were pretty much in the same relative time zones. My time with Jack was especially interesting as Jack discusses challenges the two friends faced while starting and working to grow their business. He discusses openly the many challenges he faced as a new entrepreneur and he gives us some good lessons about how to move forward during trying times such as when the pandemic was at its height. I think you will find our time with Jack helpful and certainly inspiring. About the Guest: Jack Kountouris is a Greek-American entrepreneur who grew up in London and now aims to revolutionize the board game industry. With a unique cultural background stemming from his father's roots in Athens, Greece, and his mother's North Carolinian heritage, Jack brings a diverse perspective to the world of gaming. Having spent his formative years immersed in the vibrant atmosphere of London, Jack developed a deep appreciation for art, creativity, and innovation. He obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and it was during this time that a simple pastime of playing board games with his friend ignited a spark of inspiration. Fueling their entrepreneurial spirit, they founded Dimension Board Games, and their first game, "Invasion: The Conquest of Kings," was released in May 2022. Jack now lives in West Los Angeles, where he continues to innovate with his friend and business partner on new games while juggling a full-time career in the executive search industry. Through their captivating storytelling and immersive gameplay, they aim to leave a lasting legacy in the gaming industry for years to come. With an indomitable entrepreneurial spirit, Jack Kountouris brings a business perspective to the emerging board game landscape, captivating audiences, and redefining what it means to deliver joy and excitement to players of all ages. His journey is a testament to the power of creativity, persistence, and a commitment to making a difference in the world. Ways to connect with Madilynn: www.dimensionboardgames.com is the website to my company @jackountouris is my Instagram @dimensionboardgames is my company's instagram. About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson ** 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we're happy to meet you and to have you here with us. Michael Hingson ** 01:21 Well, hi there everyone. Welcome once again to unstoppable mindset. And today we get to have a conversation with a really interesting person at least I find him interesting, I think you're going to as well. You're going to hear some pretty unusual things that you haven't heard on unstoppable mindset before. But it's always good to stretch the envelope. And that's as always fun. Jack Kountouris is our guest today. Jack was born in London came over here to go to Wake Forest and earned his bachelor's and master's degree. He is an executive recruiter, we'll talk about that, because I think there's some relevance of that. But mostly, he has developed an interest. And I don't want to give it away. We'll get to it. But he's developed an interest which is incredibly fascinating. And I'm anxious to hear about it. I've never met someone who's doing some of the things that he's doing, but we'll get to that. Suspense right. Anyway, Jack, welcome to unstoppable mindset. We're glad to have you here. Jack Kountouris ** 02:24 Hi, Michael. Thanks. It's a pleasure to be here. Michael Hingson ** 02:27 So you, as you describe in your biography are Greek American, which is kind of fun. Father from Athens mother from was it North Carolina? Yeah. Jack Kountouris ** 02:37 Mama from NC little town, in the Outer Banks, Michael Hingson ** 02:40 and you didn't develop a North Carolina accent? Obviously. Jack Kountouris ** 02:45 No, I never did. I did grow up in London. So my accent got a bit of a Britishness to it. Michael Hingson ** 02:52 Well, there you go. Well, tell us a little bit about you. Maybe it's kind of the early Jack growing up and all that you grew up elsewhere. So that's always fun and fascinating to learn about. So I'd love to hear about the the younger Jack. Jack Kountouris ** 03:04 Yeah, of course. Yeah. Happy to tell you. So basically, I was born in London, to an American mother and a Greek dad. So living living in the city. I was basically growing up there. I went there all throughout high school, primary school, secondary school, and then high school. And yeah, we would have vacations. Every summer we go to my dad's family in Greece, and we also visit my mom's family over in NC. Yeah, so at the time of me graduating high school, I was applying to UK as as well as US colleges. And because they had the all NC connection, I mean, my brother was actually at Duke at the time. So I had to be more in touch with my and move out there for college. So yeah, I chose wake and absolutely loved by Christ there. Stay there, find bachelors, and then my graduate degree. Michael Hingson ** 04:02 What was Elementary and grim and high school like in London, how does it differ from what we experienced over here if you've had a chance to observe or learn more about that? Jack Kountouris ** 04:14 Oh, yeah. So it's very similar to how Paulien wave was what you can imagine, I'm sure. Basically, education system absolutely loved it. We had school uniforms, which everything was restricted in in that way, but honestly, I liked having the uniforms because you didn't really have to stress about what you can wear every day. But yeah, absolutely loved the British system, and actually loved the friends I made made there. But actually, when it came to high school, I went to the American School in London. So they will that was more of an American System international system. Michael Hingson ** 04:55 did well, of course, you did it in high school. So I mean, and happy exactly the same. But I know I studied German in high school and learned a lot about the whole German system. And one of the things that I learned is that they really emphasized over their learning a second language and English was one of the ones that they emphasized to the schools in London emphasize or encouraged a second language, or is that sort of the same thing as we see here? Jack Kountouris ** 05:24 Yeah, actually, they strictly encourage it so much. I was doing French I actually switched to Spanish in around high school. But from a very early age, my primary school, we actually were learning Latin, which was a fundamental language, so they really wanted to drive language learning as early as possible. Michael Hingson ** 05:45 Well on of course, we all know that learning languages earlier is probably easier and makes sense to do, which, which probably helps develop a broader view of the world by doing that, because I think over here, we don't tend to really encourage as much at least when I went to school, we didn't encourage as much the whole idea of necessarily learning a foreign language we, we did study some Spanish, but it wasn't really something that was greatly emphasized. So it's kind of interesting. And I learned various places in the world that in reality, it was different there than it was here. Jack Kountouris ** 06:22 Exactly. And me doing London, me doing Latin, I think very early on, really helped me later on to develop my Spanish skills, my French, my ability to read French as well. And yeah, me just learning Latin at a very young age. really helped me develop those skills. Michael Hingson ** 06:41 But you didn't learn to talk southern very well, huh? No, I'm not ready. I could do could really get too into. Jack Kountouris ** 06:51 Yeah, I speak my accent and this the only thing comes out? Yeah, Michael Hingson ** 06:55 well, that's okay. What did you get your college degrees in? Jack Kountouris ** 07:00 Yeah. So I wake first my Bachelor's my degree was in communication with a with minors in entrepreneurship and psychology as well. Michael Hingson ** 07:12 And then masters, Jack Kountouris ** 07:13 I'd say my master's was was in management, Michael Hingson ** 07:16 management. Okay. And how, how have you used those since leaving college? You're an executive recruiter? And I would assume that in some ways, some of those skills are valuable. Jack Kountouris ** 07:30 Yeah, well, actually, I recently thought about and I think like, my major and also my minors, they always they will come. They will come to me here in my everyday life now. Because as a recruiter, I'm communicating with people of like, all different, all different characteristics all the time. And, yeah, it's basically about helping people try and get the right job and vice versa, helping their jobs trying to get the right people to work new jobs. So definitely, it's more of a sales skill than I do use some psychology and like learning more about them and learning what they want. So yeah, recruiting and sales like I think it's a it's a great skill, to learn how to talk to people and learn to how to sell to people realize what they want, and see how you can help. Yeah, Michael Hingson ** 08:20 well, I agree with you. It is a sales skill, and it's a good sales skill. And, for me, having sold most of my adult life, and I've worked with several recruiters, I appreciate the ones who really do it well do understand sales and the psychology of selling and the various aspects of that that really make a lot of sense. So I'm excited to, to hear that, that you're doing it and that you really do view it as kind of a sales position because I think that's absolutely correct. So it's something to definitely think about. So how has recruiting even find might ask, and this isn't something that was in your questions, but I bet you know a lot about it. How's recruiting evolved or changed with the whole advent of the pandemic? Jack Kountouris ** 09:10 Yeah, so with the pandemic, it's been very cutthroat. I mean, I was lucky to be able to retain some forms during 2020. During the pandemic, of course, I was furloughed for that. But yeah, things in including not very cutthroat. It was a candidate LED market in a way but also company led in terms of not many companies were hiring, but there were lots of candidates out there who wanted who wanted to start working. And not a lot of them wants to move because who wants to move during pandemic FES you're in your job, then obviously, stay security job handling. Thing that things got really tough. The salaries and the rebate periods they weren't they were changed a lot make things a bit harder. But yeah, the thing of recruiting and sales is you just got to just gotta keep going. And eventually, it's law of averages, right? So eventually, the longer you do it, the more stressful come the you see Michael Hingson ** 10:15 that things are opening more or becoming a little less stressful and the more jobs are becoming available as the pandemic, at least for the moment dies down. Jack Kountouris ** 10:29 Yep, definitely, actually, I would say the pandemic 2020 Obviously, pandemic hit, and a lot of people lost their jobs. 2021 and 2022. People are still recovering, you could tell that some companies were were in the process of reinvigoration, and they were growing workforces again. But now in 2023, most companies are starting to start with a turn starting to do that rebuild. Michael Hingson ** 10:58 Yeah, it's, it's going to be a challenge for a while, I sincerely hope that we don't see some other form of the virus come along that we can't deal with. So that we go back to the place where we were in 2020 and 2021. I know, I attended the National Federation of the Blind national convention in Las Vegas in 2019. But then, by the time, July came in 2020, when we would normally have a convention, of course, everything was locked down. So there was a virtual convention in 2020. And in 2021. In 2022, it opened a little bit more. So there was a hybrid kind of convention. I didn't go again, my wife was not doing really well. And she also had rheumatoid arthritis, which meant that the whole auto immune system wasn't as robust as it really needed to be. So I didn't want to put her in danger by going to the convention, and a lot of people actually did get COVID. Last year at the convention, I went this year, I didn't really hear a lot about many people actually didn't hear about anyone who was confined to the room because they caught COVID at the convention, which I thought was good. But I think at the same time, we do need to be pretty cautious about it all. Jack Kountouris ** 12:19 Very cautious. I mean, who wants a number of very young teachers come out of nowhere? Michael Hingson ** 12:24 Yeah. And the problem is that, that it can if some strange thing occurs, so we'll see. But I'm, I'm really happy and excited to hear that things are starting to open and it makes your job a little bit easier. Because not only do you have candidates, but you have places to start to put them which is of course what you want to do. Jack Kountouris ** 12:48 Yes, of course. Michael Hingson ** 12:49 So at the same time, however, when you were at Wake Forest, you developed an interest in something else, we sort of alluded to it without talking about it. We'll call it the elephant in the room. It's the fun thing in the room. But why don't you? You know, tell us a little bit about how you got into it and what it's all about? Jack Kountouris ** 13:13 Yeah, the fun elephant in the room? Yeah. Obviously. Well, so me and my friend in business school, we loved playing board games a lot. And, and eventually, we were like playing board games. And we were thinking about, okay, how can we make this board game different? How can we make our own spin on this board game? Yeah. So eventually, we were developing and developing a new game. And then after graduation, of course, that was when COVID was at its height. So we will just indoors, we had to wait to no social life. So just being in the room all the time. So yeah, we took it amongst ourselves to just use that free time, that surplus free time, we had to just develop the board game and actually make a product, make a business and get it out there. Michael Hingson ** 14:03 So tell us about the business and what you have so far. Jack Kountouris ** 14:07 Of course, well, so the business we we have is a cold dimension bowl games. Our first board game invasion, the conquest of kings, was actually released last May. And we have around like hundreds of customers right now. They primarily nationwide, but some in the UK and some as well in Europe. But yeah, we still have that one game that's going strong sales are going strong for the net. But we also have a couple others in development. Of course, it's still very early on for these, a couple of games, a couple of expansions that we have in plans for the next couple of years Michael Hingson ** 14:46 in the world of technology and so on why board games as opposed to maybe creating an electronic game? Jack Kountouris ** 14:55 Yeah, so actually, this ties into what we talked about, about the pandemic Because mostly we're just stuck inside, we actually read so many articles about how board games were bringing people together how board games like board games offered, offered something that you couldn't really get like virtually. And if you were to stay indoors, at nights when board games came lots of popular I mean, it was a way to have your friends hang out of family without really having to go outside. So yeah, we actually saw in articles there actually a spike in both games during the pandemic. And also earlier, we noticed that the board games was a huge market. I mean, there was a there were particular niches around combat strategy board games, or uncooperative board games. And yeah, there was a huge market to take opportunity of. Michael Hingson ** 15:51 So you, you created a game. And so it got published, sort of more when the pandemic was was slowing down, but you're seeing still pretty good sales of it, and so on. Yeah, so Jack Kountouris ** 16:09 pretty good. We're going to a few conventions were up in is social media. So Instagram, followership, and conduct out? But yeah, primarily, conventions we're doing? We're still seeing the ad interest. We've gotten a couple of views from BoardGameGeek reviewers, and from just board game, people that habit. So yeah, we're seeing some success out there, we definitely have a game that people people really tend to enjoy. And actually, when you know, you have the product that people like, I mean, that's, that's good to get going with that. Michael Hingson ** 16:48 What kind of comments are you getting about invaders? Jack Kountouris ** 16:54 Yes, so we're getting, we're getting good reviews, I mean, we'd get we're getting some like, some area of critiques. Obviously, it was just me and my friends. So prior to that, we have no book, we have no board game experience in development. And we didn't really use Kickstarter, and most board games that are becoming new use Kickstarter, that's where they get the border map, or word of mouth. So us not using Kickstarter and choosing the Self Publish. That was already, in my opinion, a big hurdle that we had to accomplish. But yeah, once we got the reviews coming in, we actually got good, better insights. People who had reviewed like combat strategy games, before, they talked about our Resource Management, they talked about a combat system, there was actually one review we got, and the only downside of it was the size of a box. So yeah, people generally seem to get and seem to like our game. But on the flip side of that, obviously, there were some mistakes were made, like, little mistakes, and like the rule book and all that. And that just comes from us not having the experience of writing rule books of doing design of doing art for the bucks. So yeah, definitely, I will just improve and stuff to learn from for our next few games. Michael Hingson ** 18:21 So what did you learn about what you did wrong? And what did you do wrong as far as creating the rules? And what would you do differently next time? Jack Kountouris ** 18:30 Yeah, so what we did is we did like a primary primary rulebook. But yeah, what some people have been saying is, we need more like a reference guide. So what our rule but did is it did a good job in explaining the nuts and bolts of the rules. But it didn't, it didn't like the right really provide reference that you could use here in the game. And that's what it's all about. Because when you're when you haven't about the game, and you sign a game from scratch, it's like you need to you need to go to a rulebook every other time to remember this just for reference for the Michael Hingson ** 19:07 for the rules, until you get used to it. Exactly. Jack Kountouris ** 19:11 So adoption. That's the thing we've been working on a lot. Michael Hingson ** 19:16 So the next time do you think you would use Kickstarter? Does that do you think give you any advantages that you didn't get to utilize in developing the first game? Jack Kountouris ** 19:28 Yeah, so primarily, the advantage of Kickstarter that we missed out on was just the word of mouth because bought in geek that that's why the whole community of board gamers and particularly our target market demographic is and they advertised Kickstarter a lot. So they would have games like people don't even play and people just see on Kickstarter, feeling like it's interesting. And that's where you get the word of mouth. That's where you get investment as well. So I think for next few games, we We'll definitely think about about Kickstarter. Because obviously, when you have a product like this as, as opposed to a service, that means word of mouth is really everything you need to do everything you can to sell that product. Michael Hingson ** 20:16 And in a sense, you get to generate some revenue upfront, which also helps you start to see how much interest there might be in the game. Jack Kountouris ** 20:27 Exactly, yes. And yeah, that money aspect of it. It's it's definitely a major factor. Yeah, if there's investment in the original kick slow, that means, okay, we've got something then that gives us so much confidence. So yeah, I think definitely, that's, that's the primary thing we have learned from self publishing. So we can progress in the future. Michael Hingson ** 20:53 As anyone yet or any company approached you to talk about, gee, maybe we should buy this and make it a bigger thing, or have you gotten to that kind of point yet? Jack Kountouris ** 21:06 No, yeah, we're not we're not there yet. Yeah, I mean, we have talked to like retailers brick and mortar brick and mortars, but no, like, really serious conversations yet? Yeah. Who knows? Eventually, something like that might happen. Michael Hingson ** 21:22 Have you looked at major resale or sales places where you can get them to pick up the game and sell it? Jack Kountouris ** 21:31 Of course, and and many of the convention actually, we've done have been taken place at board game stores. We have one influencer, actually who her son runs a board game store. So when we had him review again, he actually published he actually split the games board games store. So lots of customers could come up. So yeah, board game stores, cafes, board, game cafes like that. And conventions, anywhere, we can display the game really. So people public can go buy it and say, Hey, that's a game. I don't know that. That's Michael Hingson ** 22:06 a modality. And again, the name of the game is Jack Kountouris ** 22:10 invasion, that Congress, the Kings, Michael Hingson ** 22:12 the conquest of kings, which is intriguing in of itself, which, which is great. I know that in terms of doing something like this, there had to be a lot of logistics, a lot of coordination. So you and your friend, I gather both went to Wake Forest. Jack Kountouris ** 22:33 Yes, in a master's program, we both did the masters and management. Cool. Michael Hingson ** 22:39 And so what really got you to decide that you wanted to start a company, because that's a pretty major decision. And I appreciate that you, you too, were in an environment where certainly doing something like this could be encouraged. But what made you decide to really knuckle down and go through the rigors of starting a company? Jack Kountouris ** 23:01 Yeah, so I remember on your earlier question, I talked about my communication and how I use the psychology mind I had. But also this is where that entrepreneurship minor ad came in. I did so much at Wake Forest, in terms of entrepreneurship, I kind of like really knew that at some point, there will be some product or some service that I would just, I would just take and run with. And honestly, I didn't really know it will be a board game until the opportunity. Opportunity came along. I mean, I really wasn't a board gamer before I met my friend from from the business school. So yeah, I think the opportunity arose because we were in business school, we have that atmosphere of like learning and requiring something better. And we had the business acumen as well, we were being taught every day. And yeah, we had the passion as well. So if you take the passion and combine it with business, it really makes for good environment and good atmosphere to actually take something, take something you love and run with it in the sense that you can actually make it make it something. Michael Hingson ** 24:14 What's the name of your company? Jack Kountouris ** 24:16 It's dimension board games. Michael Hingson ** 24:18 That's right dimension board games. So people go look for Dimension board games and by invasion, the conquest of kings. But anyway, that's another story. We'll leave that for people to do. But I go back to the question about electronic versions of games. One of the things that I've noticed, and even in some games that are accessible for for blind people, one of the things that I see with electronic games is you can buy more things or buy tokens or pay to get more resources and so on. Does any of that kind of thing exist in the board game world or is that something that you think is really necessary to would focus on that would give you some additional revenue? Jack Kountouris ** 25:04 Yeah, of course. So we have thought about certain add ons like that maybe you can add like more pieces add, like, add things to establish other abilities in the game. And we have definitely thought about in the long run, but right now we we just want to keep at the physical physical board game. Eventually, when we get popular, I mean, it's not if it's when we get popular, when we have a follower base, when we have that those many people playing our game, we will think about introducing something like that where people can really be on the lookout for for add ons for extra abilities and all that for the game. But uh, yeah, right now we just have a main focus on just just word of mouth and getting our games out there. Michael Hingson ** 25:53 So what was it like starting a company with a friend I mean, it was an adventure. And I regard life as an adventure. So clearly, you all the two of you started on on a great adventure, and you've stuck with it. And that doesn't always happen either. So you guys obviously get along? Well? Jack Kountouris ** 26:12 Yeah, we do. I mean, it was, it was really fun working with one of my best friends, and still really is fun to work with one of our best friends. Right now. We still do play tests, we still talk about the business, we still talk about new games we will have in production. But yeah, it was great not just to have a friend as a partner. But Tableau have a partner in general, it means that you're not really alone in innovation that you have when you have someone else who's who's working on the same thing. Makes you not have those anxieties and have that belief. Okay, I believe it. There's also someone else who believes it. So it makes you have more confidence in what you're wanting to do. And yeah, obviously working with my mom, our best friends, it was it was fantastic. And we had the we have like similar personalities well, so he can always like, talk off of each other and always build on each other. And yeah, it was absolutely fantastic. Michael Hingson ** 27:14 So where does your friend lives? He actually Jack Kountouris ** 27:17 moved out to Denver, Colorado after graduation for Mike, Michael Hingson ** 27:22 and what got you to Los Angeles? Jack Kountouris ** 27:25 Well, after my graduation from work, I actually went back to London for a little bit. I worked in London, as a recruiter, I started my recruitment career. And then eventually, this past year, just over one year now, one year ago now, while my companies in London, they were opening a new LA office. So I was still young enough to take the road Shanthi I'd always thought about maybe trying out the west coast and trying out in LA. So yeah, I basically my boss was moving a few of us to start over that office in LA and I was on with the lungs shows. So we saw the LA office. And that's that's how I moved. Michael Hingson ** 28:09 And so in a sense, it isn't is challenging from a timezone standpoint is it might be because you're only an hour difference. Jack Kountouris ** 28:19 So now, now, it's really not as you come out when I was in London, and my friend was in Denver, a seven hour gap. Yeah, that was that was that was hard to do. But now it's much better with us only we won't be in one hour apart. So whenever I want to talk about a new game idea, or talk about it and you new marketing strategy, I can just call them and we can say, oh, that's that's capable of having to call each other. Michael Hingson ** 28:49 Do you do that on the phone? Or on Zoom? Or how do you generally chat? Jack Kountouris ** 28:54 When generally and zoom when, because you Michael Hingson ** 28:57 can cat video easily just maybe Jack Kountouris ** 28:58 an idea of what we'll do a phone call but but generally it has been zoom. So we can really like brainstorm every little idea we have. Make sure it's make sure we're doing well. But Michael Hingson ** 29:12 yeah, and you can you can see each other which makes a lot of sense. Jack Kountouris ** 29:16 Exactly, exactly. Michael Hingson ** 29:19 So what kind of challenges though do you face since you have a full time job? And we appreciate I gather, you're probably taking some time from your full time job to be here this afternoon since it's only about four o'clock in the afternoon, but what kind of challenges do you face and issues do you have to encounter when you've got a full time job? Yet? You're trying to run a company which can also probably be somewhat of a full time job as well. Jack Kountouris ** 29:49 Yeah, definitely. It's it's a struggle taking the time, and especially since I moved so recently, so when I just moved to LA and this was like last night Summer, it was it was tough to get going to know I had the job. But no, also we had to keep the ball game business going. So took a lot of like strict, regimented, scheduling. And just, I've list like, right by me on my wall of everyday things I need to do after work things I need to shake off after work every day. So yeah, you just need to be strict and regimented about it. And honestly, like, it was tough signing it up tough when I had the change. But when I, when I applied myself, and gotten in the habit of it, it really didn't become as time consuming. Michael Hingson ** 30:41 So dimension board games started in what 2022? Was it Jack Kountouris ** 30:47 started in starting 2021. Actually, 2021 innovation was released in 2020. Right? Michael Hingson ** 30:53 But in 2021, you were still over in London, Jack Kountouris ** 30:57 2021, I was still over in London, my friend was in Denver. And that's when that's when predominantly most of the game development and operations stuff happened. So that was a real challenge released in May of last year. Michael Hingson ** 31:14 So that was a real challenge, though, because then you did have the timezone issues of being seven hours apart. That must have been fun. Jack Kountouris ** 31:22 Yeah, that was that was really fun. And I'm sure you know this, but because Denver seven hours behind that's basically meant that because I had a full time job on weekdays, we can't do anything, because because when I came back from work, he was at work and vice versa. And when he came back from work, I was asleep. So that basically meant Saturdays, Sundays and Fridays night and Friday nights were the most optimal time to have those zoom meetings began. Again, this was when we were we were just regrouping from the pandemic. So I socialized we're still trying to get back there. So it was easier to to damage these communications. Michael Hingson ** 32:09 Yeah, certainly is easier now. Now. Do you have a family? A wife or anything? Jack Kountouris ** 32:16 Yeah, so that's, that's, that's a good question. Yeah, I have I have a life. Michael Hingson ** 32:23 Are you married or anything like that? No, I'm not. So So you still have more of your own time than if you had a wife and a family that you'd have to deal with? So that probably helps a little bit too. Jack Kountouris ** 32:36 Exactly. Yeah, that did help. Yeah. For me, like family was just my parents, my brother and my sister in law, my grandma granddad, my grandma. Yeah, no, no girlfriend yet. Michael Hingson ** 32:49 No girlfriend yet, someday, but it'll happen. I know, for me, my wife passed away last November and my time became more my own. So working with accessiBe, which is in Israel 10 hours ahead. Sometimes, we get meetings very early in the morning, my time because they're 10 hours ahead. And so, for example, yesterday on Sunday, I had a meeting at seven in the morning, Sunday, this just yesterday. And it's easier to do when I know I don't have to worry about disturbing somebody else, just waking up a dog and a cat and they cope. But with a family when we were married for 40 years, it was always the thought of working in one place. And oftentimes I would be on one coast and company would be on the other coast. And I was transferred to various places to do things for companies. That happened through the World Trade Center. And of course, being in the World Trade Center on September 11. And then it wasn't such an issue because although I did for a while before September 11 work for companies when I was in New York, and they were in California, afterward, it was much more an issue where we were able to deal with stuff a lot closer. So I worked in, in California in Northern California for Guide Dogs for the Blind for a while, but we live there. And then afterward, it was just me running my own business that Michael Hingson group, so we didn't have to really be so challenged by different time zones. Until accessiBe came along, which they did in January of 2021. So for two years, it was a little bit of an issue or almost two years. But you know, there is something to be said for your own time. And so you can really do things on your schedule and you do have a friend you have to work with but still you guys are obviously working it out. Jack Kountouris ** 34:44 Yeah, we're trying. It's a struggle sometimes. But it's really great working with all my best friends and it's really great. Doing something that you love and when you're in the business of fun and games it's it's really hard to separate the fun from the business. Michael Hingson ** 35:01 Well, hopefully the business becomes fun. Yep. Jack Kountouris ** 35:07 It's it's starting to be like we're seeing we're seeing the success coming. And that's, that's fantastic. Plus now, Michael Hingson ** 35:15 that is exciting. It's a great thing to be able to do. So what are you learning from your first game? And as you go into future games, what are you learning about game development? There's a lot that obviously has to go into it. So what makes a perfect game? And how do you get there? Jack Kountouris ** 35:32 Oh, yeah, so so much stuff that goes into it. So many mistakes, people land on Yang, game game development, specifically, it's a lot of trial and error, a lot of looking after loopholes and really gets tedious sometimes. But yeah, to to give you give you a little bit of perspective, one of the things one of the ways that me and my friend works so much together is he has, so he has the knack for, for thinking big and a knack for thinking of the big thinking of the big ideas, starting like out wide. And I've not to like bring him bring him in. So having the small ideas. So what I do generally is find the loopholes. So what he would do is he he'd say, okay, Jack, I got an amazing idea. And then we'd be brainstorming a lot. And we'd be thinking about how to make that idea. accessible in the game, make the idea work out. So it's not too much in gameplay, not too much, you understand that? It can work out in the game in the physical hand game when they align too many loopholes to take advantage of. Michael Hingson ** 36:45 So do you get to the point is you're developing the game where you actually, the two of you just spend time playing the game to look for the loopholes, or the things that are working or not working? Jack Kountouris ** 36:59 Yeah, actually, that's predominantly what is all about. So I would say that there's one stage on which is thinking, thinking ideas, getting ideas from all over the place. And then we enter another stage where we take all those ideas, and like, what, maybe one by one or two by two, so we make sure that no ideas like convoluted with each other, we will test them out. And we will see how it works in the game and see if there's a way to make it simpler. Because one of the things we were noting in game development was there was a time where our game was super complicated and super, super long as well. This was very early on. So when we were really just out of ideation, really. So every, there was a point that every play test we made, we developed like little nuances to make the game simpler and make the game shorter. Michael Hingson ** 37:59 How long does it take to play the game? Now, if someone sits down or some people, how many people can play it at one time on the board? Jack Kountouris ** 38:10 So yeah, the base game is three to four, but it can be played with five as well as six to base game is three, four players Tamriel played with two players in the world. But it really hits a smooth point with three, four or five players. Michael Hingson ** 38:26 How long does it take to play a complete game? Jack Kountouris ** 38:29 It here's the thing it read really depends. Actually. Our game is military combat. So it depends what the characteristics of the players. So if if there are four players playing who are who are really outright combat and really aggressive from from the beginning, it's a shorter game. Michael Hingson ** 38:48 Somebody gets killed off soon. Yeah, Jack Kountouris ** 38:51 of course. And that happened that happened a lot of times. And yeah, on the flip side, if there if there was a game where for people who like really, really like to build up their kingdoms before they fight and really want to be be cautious about that about fighting, then you have the longer games. Usually average is about two hours, maybe two and a half. But if it's your first time trying to figure out the rulebook, it's not too Michael Hingson ** 39:18 bad. It's a it's an evenings entertainment. Jack Kountouris ** 39:23 Exactly. And then some games out there. Some games I love out there that I love them. But that seven hours, eight hours. It's insane sometimes. Michael Hingson ** 39:33 Yeah, I like Monopoly and monopoly you can do fairly quickly in a couple of hours and have a lot of fun with it. But the world has advanced a lot since Atlantic City and Boardwalk and Park Place. Yeah. So what what's the basic premise? Or what's the process of the game? Can you tell us a little bit about the plot and so on? Jack Kountouris ** 39:53 Yeah, so the basic premise of the game is you have the medieval can them. So you have a kingdom of castles and roads and castle walls between castles. So you try to build that up. And the way the map is you have the resources. And the resources are inherently in the map. So the placement of your castles and where you build your castle where you build your roads, they get you that those resources and they really, they really help develop, okay, who you'll be as an empire, what kind of resources you getting. And then the next slide, which will combat aspect of it, is you have a king. And also you have soldiers who kind of follow the king and the aim of the game was to be able to take other kings crowns. And the way you do actually you use the soldiers going along with the king to create armies and all that try to siege people's castle that and try to kill people's kings kill people's armies. So yeah, that there are really two, two parts of the game that the first half of it or should I say first third of it, is just building up your kingdom, trying to manage the resource you're getting. And then the next two thirds, you're getting into siege and castles getting into getting castles and getting into actual combat which which is is fantastic. It's a fantastic way to the game. Michael Hingson ** 41:17 So all kings no women. Jack Kountouris ** 41:20 Yeah, so that's the thing. We did think about doing, like Queen peace and maybe for the expansions. But because we just wanted one, one overarching piece to be like the most important thing. We're like between names. And then we think of it like King King was King seemed so perfect. We weren't thinking about that as a downside. Is it? Maybe not. Not general Germany equal. But yeah, we were thinking about games like chess. Well, obviously, the king is the main piece that you have to you have to take to win the game. So you're like, Okay, it's medieval. People understand that the king is the main piece. So yeah, right. Okay, that name Michael Hingson ** 42:05 at the same time. And chess, the queen is probably the most powerful piece on the board. Oh, yeah. So well, well, so the real question is, the very serious question is, who wins most of the games? You are your friend? Jack Kountouris ** 42:20 Oh, I can say quite confidently. I do. There you go. Actually, it was it was funny in the in the very beginning, it was having such a hard time with the game. In the VA, in the very beginning, there was such a disparity between me and him. But yeah, occasionally, like he got good. And now we're like really equal at the game. So yeah, I won't answer who wins between me and him. But between me, him and two other friends, it's usually either me or him who went, Michael Hingson ** 42:54 there you go. Well, the other part about it is though, you each bring, it sounds like different skills to the company and different skills to the game design, which is great, because you feed off each other. Exactly, we feed Jack Kountouris ** 43:09 on each other, feed off each other. And it's amazing, like personally and professionally. And in the games where we feed each other. And whenever he thinks an idea, it's like I think of the idea at the same time. We like easily able to like like connect, and really. So he says, Oh, I have this idea. And then I listen and say Oh, whatever. And he's like I was just thinking of that. And it's just great to because once we start that train, it's like I I am crane. So we started different locations. But we just come together with the days we're having, and it's fantastic to be able to brainstorm like that. Michael Hingson ** 43:51 Yeah. And it's always great when you have somebody, somebody who can really work with you that well, you guys were very fortunate that you found each other and are able to put all of this together. Jack Kountouris ** 44:07 Exactly, yes. Michael Hingson ** 44:09 So in in the whole process of constructing the game, where's the where's the game actually manufactured these days? Jack Kountouris ** 44:18 So the game was originally manufactured in China. I mean, we were we were looking into into local local manufacturers. But honestly, for the money purposes, China was a blast. So the way we haven't worked is we had the units manufactured in China. And then we store them in different phone centers, one on the West Coast and one near the east coast as well so we can easily be able to distribute to our customers. Michael Hingson ** 44:46 What I was wondering. And the reason I asked the question is what kind of affected the pandemic have for you in terms of supply chains and all that and especially since You came in as far as having a game on the market, closer to the end of the pandemic, but still, we keep hearing about supply chain problems and all that. So how's that affected you? And how have you dealt with it? Jack Kountouris ** 45:13 Of course, like I'd say, even though our game was actually released, like, towards the end of the pandemic, we are in the midst of we are in the midst of development, and we and they were in the midst of production all throughout 2021, even 2020. Yeah, so supply chains were huge problem, especially having a ship from China. Huge shipping delays. And it really was tough to really work it out. So initially, we actually opened up pre orders, open pre orders for the game in November of 2021, just to get the holiday holiday customers. But yeah, because of the supply chains, and because of problems with production overseas, and delays and delays. It wasn't until May. And this is late May that he was actually producing it was actually available. So unfortunately, we had some customers who had pre ordered the game for the holidays in December, and only were able to get the game in May. But uh, yeah, it really was tough to work out. Michael Hingson ** 46:21 How about now are more of the supply chain issues and so on? less of a problem. Jack Kountouris ** 46:29 So you know, it's less of that problem. But it's it's a it's a different problem. Really. It's it's obviously like, like political situations and all that. It's, it's still a problem, like getting the shipping on time, huge delays, price increases, well, we're worth manufactories B, it's a different problem than pandemic was. So everything that was lingering from the pandemic guy in supply chains, I think that's that's become minimized. Michael Hingson ** 47:02 But things seem to be going along pretty well. Right now, though, overall. Jack Kountouris ** 47:09 As well as it can be. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 47:11 Do you see improving, though, over time, or is it just kind of a steady state of challenges of one sort or another, but you're able to cope with them? Jack Kountouris ** 47:22 Yeah, status? I think the latter, honestly, sleep challenges. I mean, what were aware of the problems? We manufactured our first game in China. But yeah, honestly, like stuff has made us wonder. The second or maybe third is we'll try to manufacture them locally. Because, yeah, China, that was obviously when we were scrounging for money. And we were no, you're looking for investment. And, and the price in China was easy to manufacture. But just to optimize shipping and optimize time and all that we might be looking for affordable options that are local to the states and in the country to help speed things up rate. Michael Hingson ** 48:06 How much does the game cost if one wants to buy it? Jack Kountouris ** 48:09 Yes. So the game goes format goes for market rate of 59 $99. We do have continual seasonal discounts going on, at least discount for I think 30% We had another 20% discount at some point earlier this year. So yeah, we do run discounts every now and then our Instagram channels and Facebook platforms. Michael Hingson ** 48:37 Well, is it is it a game that's also available on places like Amazon, which is obviously a big selling potential place? Jack Kountouris ** 48:47 Now it is known among nationally. What we're doing is like E commerce. Because we're still in that stage. We're just getting a word of mouth from just getting the start. But yeah, we have looked at Amazon foam and Amazon FBA and so many hurdles to jump through. It's it's a plan, but it's a plan for the future. Michael Hingson ** 49:10 What did you do to stand out? Um, clearly there are a lot of board games, there are a lot of demands that are being put on people's attentions and so on. What did you do to stand out to get people to pay attention to invasion? Jack Kountouris ** 49:27 Mason? Yeah, that's a very good question. So that was I talked about how we didn't do a Kickstarter how we didn't really have to word of mouth. So that was already like, we were starting with, we assign a 15 back 15 feet back from the sideline there. And it was it was really tough to get the word of mouth. But yeah, I think the main stuff for us is we'd have we'd have influences we have with us we got on board games cake. We have people that we ask for review of the game, obviously in the beginning and the word of mouth Ain't from like friends and family. But yet it's one of those things. And we have the conventions as well. But the form of those things that you need to slow and steady wins the race, right? You need to begin from like nothing and you need to slowly build it up like an Instagram posts a day in the in the very beginning and really wasn't doing much. But now it's really getting more traction as we have more photo followership. And now we have more views on both games tickets more reputable and more credible for for people in the board games community. And, yeah, so pretty much slow and steady, slow and steady wins the race. Michael Hingson ** 50:42 You said something earlier than say you didn't do anything with Kickstarter, and this and so on you self published, which I appreciate. But what comes to mind is that what you are doing, and what is being done is regarding your game, very much like what goes into typical publishing, especially if you're doing self publishing, you got to do all the marketing, you've got to do all the demand creation, and so on. And so I'm hearing from you the same things that I hear from a lot of people we did with with my second book that we sell published, but even our first book, you have to be involved in the marketing habit. And you're gonna always be the best salespeople for the for the game. Jack Kountouris ** 51:29 Yeah, of course. And me, again, being being a recruiter, as my job my day job, it really brings out this this salesperson in me and I'm selling something I love. So I speak to the credibility of it. But yeah, Kickstarter, when you take power that way, it's pretty much a marketing platform. So we just had to do that without the board game community behind us. So that was the that was a hurdle for us. Michael Hingson ** 52:00 How large is the board game community? I mean, you, you've indicated the board games are still very popular. But how large? Is it compared to like electronic games and so on? Or is it just two completely different worlds? So it doesn't really give you the ability to compare the two. Jack Kountouris ** 52:18 So it is different? Well, you can't really make a direct comparison between the two. But it's a it's a large community. I mean, if you go on board games gig gaming caravan, or the community does their communities out there on Discord and such, there's so many board games, so many niche board games, and especially indie board games in the board, new creators. So many people just create board games, just like that. Get get board games out there. So often. It's really like an enrich community. There's so much out there so many niches of board games, resource boundary and combat cooperative, competitive. It's really a huge fantasy. Yeah. Michael Hingson ** 53:03 And so the more you can do to break in and come up with plots that are going to intrigue people, the better it is. Jack Kountouris ** 53:10 Exactly, exactly. You just need to need to have game ideas and given to people. Michael Hingson ** 53:17 We talked before this podcast last time we met about making it accessible. And I would love to explore how and if it would be doable to make the game accessible. So blind people could play it. And there are some people that, that do some things and making card games and other games successful. So it's something to explore, not sure that it would be a huge market as such, but it would be great if, when in the future, you produce games, you can make them accessible right from the outset. So you have one game that everyone can play, whether they can see the board, or feel the board, and that you just have the same game that's available for both. And I still think that that's the best way to deal with accessibility rather than having a different product for, say people who are blind as opposed to people who are not it. It's a unique sort of thing, but it would make for a very interesting discussion point and dialogue. Jack Kountouris ** 54:17 Oh, yeah, exactly. I mean, different different things we can do. Obviously, we have the rulebook. And if we can transfer it to braille, and I really becomes in our game, like I'm going to make the comparison to chess. Although there are some people who who know chess so much they can picture board in their heads, they can picture it and they can just make the move in their heads because they remember where everything is. Really becomes a lot like that. So maybe eventually, people can really feel the feel of Matt feel the Gameboy to know where everything is. And at that point, just just know what moves to make, based on the map pick As honestly, there is a very simple way with the resources to make the map able to make the map accessible, if you just feeling what what kind of resources I were Michael Hingson ** 55:12 something to explore Well, if you'd like to explore that and examine it in the future, let me know. Because I think it would be fun to try to connect you with people who might be able to help with that. For you. What have you learned from this experience? So far? In terms of creating a business? What, what kind of mistakes have you made in doing the business? Or what kind of lessons have you learned that are going to help you as you go forward? Jack Kountouris ** 55:38 Yeah, so Well, one lesson I have is to really have like a partner that you trust. And just in general, our partner, I spoke to this earlier, but they'll speak to it again. There's so much confidence when you know, there's at least one other person who has the same vision and believes in the same thing you do. It just really helps so much. The Void is anxiety, saying, Oh, what if no one likes it? Oh, what have I can't do this. But yeah, other than that, just? And yeah, you've probably heard this from the perspective of business people out there that many entrepreneurs, just the famous thing is they say, many people just fail at that first. And the first Ventures we have, we have made a few mistakes with which we will definitely learn from Wait, which costs, which actually costing us money. So we learned the hard way. But I think honestly, being an entrepreneur, having a business like this, learning the hard way is really goes with the function of it. Michael Hingson ** 56:45 What has all of this taught you that you can use in your full time regular job of being a recruiter? Because I'm sure that this must give you some empathy or better understanding of some of the things and are some of the places where you might be sending people I would think. Jack Kountouris ** 57:04 Yeah, so in recruitment, won't. What I will say is, sometimes you see people with CVS, and it's really black and white, sometimes the hiring manager, you see people with CVS, you see they're doing this passion project on the side, you see what they're doing on the side. And many of you will be like, Okay, what's relevant in that, because obviously, if you're doing something on the side, it's not really a full time job. But yet, it's given me a chance to have more patience and learn more about the the individual people not just about what they've been doing, how long they've been doing, and what they've accomplished, which, obviously, the name of the game in terms of equipment, but learn more about them on the people side of things, learn more about what drives them to learn more about their motivations. Michael Hingson ** 57:52 Studying psychology is a wonderful thing. But there's nothing like living it and seeing it in action to really be a great tool for you teaching yourself how to do it better. Jack Kountouris ** 58:04 Yep, that's exactly right, Michael. Michael Hingson ** 58:07 It's, it's as good as it gets. It's kind of fun. What's the future for Dimension board games then? So you're obviously working on games, anything you can talk about? Jack Kountouris ** 58:17 Yeah, a few things I can talk about. I don't want to talk talk too much, because it's pretty much in development. But we do have a few expansions may be coming. Another edition possibly for like next two years, or 2324 25. And eventually, we'd want to be in a place where we can just come up with with different games and be able to reuse, create the games we love and see if they're good enough. Michael Hingson ** 58:50 Do you think your games will continue to be sort of battle and conquest type games? Or are there other kinds of plots you might explore? Jack Kountouris ** 58:59 What I will say is ones, the ones we are thinking now and then backbend and the ones in development. They are combat. They are they are similar to the first game, but we do we are think about one that's that sets more than in this space mindset, which is more of a 2025 thing. We haven't really begun develop development on that so much, because we've just been focusing on invasion and the expansions and the other ones we have more immediately. But a yet a long, long term. Long term goal is to be thinking of games in another situation. So space and stuff Michael Hingson ** 59:38 like that. Question. Strategy games, though, are pretty popular. And so I'm not surprised. Jack Kountouris ** 59:43 Exactly, exactly. And if if we have a chance to create a classic game like Monopoly or Scrabble, that's more mainstream, then that'd be fantastic as well. Michael Hingson ** 59:54 Well, this is absolutely been fun. And as I said, I've never been able to have discussion like this, and I've learned a lot. And you've also given us some wonderful things to think about just good life lessons about entrepreneurship and the fact that when you work on something, you have to deal with setbacks. But at the same time, you need to look forward and move forward. And you've clearly done that you and your, your partner have done a lot of that, which is really exciting. And I appreciate the, the lessons and the thoughts that you've brought to us. If people want to learn more about invasion and learn more about you, and so on. How do they do that? Jack Kountouris ** 1:00:35 So yeah, I'm obviously you can look me up on LinkedIn, Jack Kountouris or on Facebook or any of the socials. But for dimension, board games, our Instagram handles at dimension board games, our URL is dimensionboardgames.com. Very simple like that. And also, we have a link from them to voting Schaik on our website, so you can see the more in depth reviews of the game on the invasion, the Congress, the Kings on board game, board games kick. So if you're looking for reviews of the game, just go to bogging games geek or even go to a Instagram page, because eventually, because sometimes we do post some reviews out there. Michael Hingson ** 1:01:19 spell your name so people can find you easily if they want to go to LinkedIn, and so on Jack Kountouris ** 1:01:24 J A C K K O U N T O U R I S Michael Hingson ** 1:01:34 So hunt down Jack and learn about invasion, the conquest of kings and dimension board games. And that sounds like there's a lot of exciting stuff coming up. And I'm going to try to keep up with it. And I'm hoping that we can maybe work together to make something accessible. I think that we don't as blind people get to share a lot of that stuff. And sometimes a few games are made somewhat accessible, or sometimes they're made fairly accessible, but it's still a small population compared to what's out there. So it would be fun to see some games come out right from the outset that worked for everyone. Jack Kountouris ** 1:02:16 Thanks so much, Michael. Well, I Michael Hingson ** 1:02:17 really appreciate it. And I appreciate you listening to us out there or watching us if you're doing it on YouTube. We really would love your comments, please feel free to send me any comments and thoughts and emails you have, you can reach me at Michaelhi m i c h a e l h i at accessiBe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or go to our podcast page www dot Michael hingson.com/podcasts. And Michael hingson is m i c h a e l h i n g s o n.com/podcast. Please give us a five star rating. We appreciate your ratings. We appreciate your reviews. And please not only rate but give us reviews. We love that. And I'm sure that Jack would love it if you say nice wonderful things about this when you hear it because that'll help what he's doing as well and we very much admire what you're doing. So I want to thank you one more time for being here and taking your time to come and talk to us about the game and what you're doing. Jack Kountouris ** 1:03:20 Thanks so much, Michael And thanks, everyone for listening. Michael Hingson ** 1:03:27 You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you'll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you're on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you're there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.
Madilynn Dale describes herself as “an author, blogger, freelancer, podcaster, producer, reader, mother, outdoors enthusiast” and so much more. I met Madilynn when I was invited to be a guest on her podcast, “The Chapter Goddess”. Of course, I also had to have her as a guest here. She consented and here we are. She always wanted to write, but never did anything seriously about it until after her son was born. She will tell us the story and describe why writing has become so important to her. To date, Madilynn has written and self-published 19 books with at least two more on the way to come out this year. Prolific by any standard since she has only been publishing books for three years. Her story and insights are not only inspiring, but Madilynn offers some good advice using her life experiences. She offers us all some good ideas of how to live and function better. About the Guest: Madilynn Dale is an author, blogger, freelancer, podcaster, producer, reader, mother, outdoors enthusiast, and overall creative. She's a host for several shows featured under Go Indie Now's wide umbrella, hosts a podcast channel of her own, and loves to travel. Madilynn enjoys chatting with creatives from all areas of the field and letting her viewers see the authentic side of each one of them. Madilynn is an Oklahoma author and holds several different degrees. She has a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology and an associate degree in Physical Therapy Assistant Sciences. Her creativity stems from something deep within, and through her bond with the creative flow, brings her stories to life. She never envisioned herself as a writer but took a leap of faith while pregnant and began a new journey. She enjoyed writing short stories as a kid and has been an avid reader since grade school. Madilynn's hobbies, when not writing, include reading, baking, crafting, hiking, playing with her son, caring for her rescue pets, gardening, teaching, and horseback riding. She loves to travel and explore. One day she hopes to expand her travels and see the world, but in the meantime, you'll find her working on her next novel. Ways to connect with Madilynn: https://www.thechaptergoddess.com/ Facebook https://m.facebook.com/MadilynnDaleAuthor https://m.facebook.com/groups/2693867800852468/ TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@mdwriter?lang=en Instagram https://www.instagram.com/madilynndalewrites/ M.D. The Chapter Goddess Www.thechaptergoddess.com About the Host: Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog. Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children's Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association's 2012 Hero Dog Awards. https://michaelhingson.com https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/ https://twitter.com/mhingson https://www.youtube.com/user/mhingson https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelhingson/ accessiBe Links https://accessibe.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/accessiBe https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/ Thanks for listening! Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! Subscribe to the podcast If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Leave us an Apple Podcasts review Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts. Transcription Notes Michael Hingson ** 00:00 Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I'm Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that's a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons wi