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Getting Unstuck – Cultivating Curiosity

Education Podcasts

Curiosity sits at the intersection of creativity, effective human interactions, problem-solving and purposeful change. Unfortunately, the pace of life — at home, work, and school — often sidetracks our natural curiosity. So, let’s see the familiar from a different angle or something new as a possibility to consider.


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Curiosity sits at the intersection of creativity, effective human interactions, problem-solving and purposeful change. Unfortunately, the pace of life — at home, work, and school — often sidetracks our natural curiosity. So, let’s see the familiar from a different angle or something new as a possibility to consider.




257: One Woman's Journey From Trauma to Gratitude

Guest A veteran San Francisco radio broadcaster, Joanne Greene currently hosts two podcasts - “All the F Words”, in which two writer friends nearly 30 years apart explore issues that begin with the letter “F” and “In This Story….” Joanne’s 3-minute essays, set to music. In June 2023 she publishes By Accident: A Memoir of Letting Go, her inspiring and growth-filled memoir through and emergence from life-threatening calamities. Summary In this episode, Joanne shares her life before and after a traumatic accident where she was hit by a truck while crossing the street. Three key discussion points emerged from our conversation. • Firstly, Joanne reflects on her fast-paced lifestyle as a means of distraction and how her parents' upbringing influenced her need to prove herself and be a provider. • Secondly, she delves into her decision to write a memoir, exploring the process of discovering its focus, the challenges of transitioning from a career in radio to writing, and the lessons she learned along the way, such as patience and controlling one's response to challenges. • Lastly, Joanne discusses the universal takeaways from her memoir, emphasizing the power of gratitude, the support of her family, and the blessings in her life. References/Links @JoanneRGreene on Twitter


256: How to Bring Some Zen into Your Life

Guest Mark Reid is host of the “Zen Sammich” podcast and a maker of traditional handmade Japanese paper, called washi, where he lives in Yamaguchi, Japan. Before that he was an attorney, beginning his career as an Assistant District Attorney in New York. He’s also been a professor of English at three universities in Japan and a graduate teaching assistant at Florida State University in Religious Studies. Summary In this episode, we discuss • Why Mark left the practice of law and moved to Japan to make paper. • The origins and purpose of Mark’s podcast, “Zen Sammich.” • The importance of Mark’s morning ritual. • How to calm your mind in an anxious situation. • An easy way to cultivate patience. References/Links


255: How and Why to Lead with Intuition

Guest Jennifer Jane Young is an Intuitive Business & Leadership Advisor and Founder of The School of Intuitive Leadership. She helps entrepreneurs and leaders find the path of least resistance, make the biggest impact and create sustainable, aligned success through intuitive leadership. Jennifer is also the author of the forthcoming book, Say Yes to Your Yes – How to trust your gut and take the leap in business (and life) Summary The conversation explored the concept of intuitive leadership, which involves tapping into one's inner wisdom and aligning it with personal goals. Jennifer highlighted the universality of intuition and the importance of practicing it through mindful reflection. We also discussed the “School of Intuitive Leadership,” which supports individuals in taking intuitive action within a community. Jennifer shared personal experiences of embracing the unknown and growing through creativity and mindfulness. Finally, we discussed following intuitive nudges and making meaningful connections in life. References/Links


254: Why Should We Invest in Space Exploration?

Dr. Alan Stern is an aerospace executive and planetary scientist with experience on 29 space mission teams, 14 of which he played a principal investigator role. Among those, he is the leader of NASA’s New Horizons, the first mission to explore Pluto and the Kuiper Belt—making the farthest exploration of worlds in history. Summary Our conversation explored a number of questions: Why was the exploration of Pluto important? How does it remain so? What are the leadership lessons associated with the program? How can leaders encourage the identification of problems that could compromise the mission? Why is it essential to have a precise mission goal and sub-objectives? What qualities should leaders look for when hiring people? How can educators use space exploration to inspire students toward science and engineering careers? Why is the continued exploration of space critical? References/Links Instagram - chasingnewhorizons2018 Twitter - @AlanStern


253: How Can You Reframe Your Inner Story to Create a Healthier Reality?

Guest Valerie Gordon is a 10-time Emmy-winning television producer with over 20 years of producing and overseeing award-winning content for HBO, ESPN, CBS, and the Olympic Games. She knows what makes a story meaningful and memorable and the incredible power of stories to engage, educate and entertain. An engaging speaker with innovative programming, Valerie offers audiences and individuals the storytelling strategies to stand out, whether they want to land a job, secure a promotion, nail the presentation, close the sale, or plan their next chapter. Summary Valerie and I discuss the importance of storytelling in leadership and how to improve storytelling skills. We dive into her highly readable book FIRE YOUR NARRATOR: A Storyteller’s Guide to Getting Out of Your Head and Into Your Life, which explores the impact of our internal communications on external communications. Valerie shares her own internal voice, "Squash," and how it hindered her growth. We explore a few of the ten narrator archetypes and some strategies for reshaping personal narratives and achieving healthier perspectives. The book also combines personal stories, neuroscience, and humor to help readers improve their storytelling skills. References/Links Website: More on the book: (Available on Amazon and Connect with Valerie on LinkedIn: Follow The Storytelling Strategist on Facebook: on Instagram:


252: Who Owns the Land and Water and Access to Them?

Guest Hal Herring is an award-winning journalist and contributing editor at Field and Stream magazine. He is also the host of the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Podcast and Blast. Summary The debate over public and private land and water in the United States has raised concerns over public access to natural resources. While large tracts of land are being bought up in the West, the major consequence is not raising real estate prices but rather a growing indifference to conservation and the environment. Politics plays a significant role in this issue, as policymakers tend to prioritize other issues, such as immigration and economic concerns. Public ignorance and indifference also contribute to this problem. There is a need for a more informed and less indifferent citizenry to address this issue, recognizing people's spiritual connection with nature's ecosystem. The three major topics discussed in this podcast conversation are: The debate over private and public land and water: The conversation delves into the issue of public access to public land and water, with a focus on the debate between private and public ownership. The Wyoming hunters' case is used as an illustration. Why environmental and conservation work is challenging: We discuss the challenges faced by environmental and conservation workers, including political lobbying, public ignorance and indifference, and the difficulty of passing conservation legislation. The spiritual connection, recognizing one’s place in nature’s ecosystem: We discussed the need for humans to recognize that they live in and are a part of the natural world – nature is not just a place they visit. This is especially important to recognize to broaden the discussion beyond what’s good for hunters and fishers. References / Links Hal’s website New York Times article Backcountry Hunters and Anglers BHA Podcast and Blast The Wilderness of Hope John Jeavons E&ENews Trout Unlimited


251: How Do Film Composers Help Tell a Movie's Story?

Guest Jeanine Cowen is an active media composer and educator. She is the chair and professor of practice of the Screen Scoring department at the University of Southern California. Formerly the Vice President for Curriculum and Program Innovation at Berklee, she is an experienced and skilled educator and innovator. She is an active freelance composer, music producer, and sound designer focusing primarily on the intersection of audio and visual medias, with particular interest in the burgeoning VR/AR/XR worlds and video games.Cowen's compositions have been heard throughout film, television, video games and the stage in works which include the definitive documentary The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo. Summary The conversation revolves around the music score of "The Night Window," a scene from the World War I film "1917." (See below.) The scene focuses on Lance Cpl. Schofield as he runs through the blazing ruins of a French village, dodging bullets and night flares. The haunting score, composed by Thomas Newman, begins softly and then accelerates to contribute to the scene's emotion. The episode delves into how film composers generate a movie’s score, including discussions with the director and film editor. The importance of how film composers help tell a film’s story in films is highlighted, as they speak with notes when actors and screenwriters speak with words. Referenced / Links The Night Window Scene


250: A Life-Altering Event Can Still Mean a Rich, Fulfilling Life

Guest Rick Locke was born and raised in Erie, PA. He earned a BS in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA in finance from Rutgers University. Rick’s professional career in information technology spanned 39 years. He completed his career as Chief Information Officer at his last two companies and retired in 2014.Rick became interested in photography around 1980. He learned the craft through photo magazines and adult education classes. Initially, family and career demands limited his photographic endeavors to family vacations. By the early 2000s, with more time to devote to photography, he began to pursue his passion for photography more seriously. Summary What makes Rick unique and interesting is that he is now an outstanding photographer despite the fact that he is legally blind, the result of macular degeneration. He can still see out of the corner of his eye, which he wisely named his website, "Out of the Corner of My Eye." Following the theme of episodes 246 and 247, Rick’s story is a great example of serendipity. The universe puts situations in front of us. Sometimes we see them, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we act on them, and sometimes we don’t. Rick created luck out of what others might have seen as a tragedy. While he was blessed with support from family, friends, doctors, and technology, Rick’s personality and strength of character encouraged him to look at his challenge from a different and more positive angle. Links / References Website: Facebook:


249: How to Become Mentally "All in" as a Solopreneur

Guest April Vokey is a fly fishing writer, fly-tyer, and speaker. After guiding in British Columbia for ten years, she now splits her year between camp in northern BC and Australia. She is an FFF certified casting instructor, forager, bowhunter, and mother. Summary April Vokey can’t help but look at life differently. From a very early age, April loved fishing and hunting. She’s decided to shun quote-unquote more traditional work and instead start a business where she would be “all in” as a fly fishing guide, provide instructional courses, write, be a keynote speaker, and host a podcast on all things related to her interests while being a wife and mother came. Her decision came with the expected challenges, but as a female in a male-dominated industry, she faced some challenges that men doing the same work would never have to face. April is also passionate about the environment and conservation, especially now that she is raising her daughter to be a steward of the Earth. Links/References Interview with John Dietsch


248: Encouraging Student Curiosity Part 3

Summary In this podcast episode, my cohost, Steve Miletto, of the “Teaching, Learning, Leading K12” podcast, and I talk with Elizabethton, TN High School teachers Daniel Proffitt, Jason Clevinger, and Patrick Roberts. Elizabethton is an XQ Super School with a mission to build a culture for learners to think and act as changemakers. This episode discusses how the school actualizes this mission at the individual student level through its curriculum, school activities, and professional development. The school advocates for student agency, giving students a voice and choice in what and how they want to learn and promotes curiosity as a core determinant of academic achievement. The episode also explores how faculty members in traditional core subjects such as Math, English, Science, and History encourage curiosity. Referenced Teaching, Learning, Leading K12 podcast XQ Super School Elizabethton High School


247: Author Cindy House on Serendipity: Creating Her Own Smart Luck

Summary Cindy House is the author of Mother Noise, a memoir in essays, and is a regular opener for author/humorist David Sedaris on his tours across the country. She teaches in the MFA program at Lesley University. In this brief episode, we follow Dr. Christian Busch’s 3-part process to showcase a beautiful example of personal serendipity — the act of creating personal smart luck. Social Media >Website: >Memoir: Mother Noise Referenced For more on the 3-part Serendipity process, see episode #246 with guest Dr. Christian Busch.


246: Dr. Christian Busch on Connecting Life's Dots Going Forward

Summary Steve Jobs famously said, “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.” Today’s guest would respectfully disagree. As guest Dr. Christian Busch writes, “serendipity is not just about a coincidence that happens to us, but it is actually through the process of spotting and connecting the dots do we start to see bridges where others see gaps.” This episode will explore that process. Thus, Serendipity is “unexpected good luck resulting from unplanned moments in which proactive decisions lead to positive outcomes. Serendipity is the hidden force in the world.” Serendipity is smart luck versus blind luck. Guest Dr. Christian Busch is the author of The Serendipity Mindset and an internationally known expert in the areas of innovation, purpose-driven leadership, and serendipity. He is the director of the CGA Global Economy Program at New York University (NYU), and also teaches at the London School of Economics (LSE). He is a co-founder of Leaders on Purpose and the Sandbox Network and a former director of LSE's Innovation Lab. He is a member of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Expert Forum, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and on the Thinkers50 Radar list of the 30 thinkers "most likely to shape the future. Links/References Book: The Serendipity Mindset Twitter: @ChrisSerendip LinkedIn: Christian Busch Book: Meaningful Coincidences


245: The Jewish Deli—Where Everyone Knew Your Name

Guest Ted Merwin, Ph.D. is a Senior Writer for the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). Before coming to JFNA, he worked as AIPAC’s Synagogue Initiative Director for the Mid-Atlantic Region. For many years, Ted taught Judaic studies at Dickinson College (Carlisle, Pa), where he was the founding director of the Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life. Summary Look between the slices of rye bread of a traditional Jewish deli sandwich, and a time capsule of Jewish life in America emerges. The Jewish deli – a uniquely American institution – is the story of migration from Eastern and Central Europe and the struggle between wanting to retain Jewish culture and assimilate into American life. The story of Jewish life begins in the crowded tenements of New York City, migrates to the other boroughs, the nearby suburbs, and eventually throughout the U.S. Key Discussions How the Jewish deli in America √ emerged as an institution unlike what immigrants had experienced in the shtetls of Eastern Europe. √ evolved as a focal point of Jewish identity and remembrance, as a unifier of different immigrant Jewish cultures, and as a communal gathering place, especially for men. √ had its roots in the culinary habits of German Jewish immigrants √ rose in importance during the great depression and the rise of the American Nazi Party, especially in New York City. √ migrated outside of New York City – to the suburbs, Miami and Los Angeles – in the aftermath of World War II. √ as an institution declined due to various factors. Social Media/Referenced ULTRA Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli “I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli at the New York Historical Society (through April 2, 2023)


244: A Vietnam Veteran on Leading Self and Others

Guest Lee Ellis is a nationally-recognized leadership coach, award-winning author, certified speaking professional* (CSP), a Vietnam Veteran and former POW, and USAF Colonel (Ret) | President, Leading with Honor Summary Some of the most interesting writing on leadership has come from active and former military personnel, but Lee Ellis has the added dimension of learning leadership lessons the hard way as a five and half year Prisoner of War in the infamous Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War. Key Discussions √ How the POW experience influenced Lee’s leadership abilities and practices. √ The importance of leaders showing vulnerability. √ The leader’s role in establishing culture. √ The best leaders integrate a focus on results and on the people doing the work. √ Why adaptation is a critical leadership skill. √ Why it’s important for a leader to cultivate a culture that fosters creativity and innovation. Links/references Leading with Honor website Leading with Honor book Engaging with Honor book


243: Decluttering to Create Healthy Connections

Guest Founder of “Cherish Your World,” Laura Staley facilitates healthier connections to home, others, and self through decluttering, Feng Shui, and emotional intelligence. She’s the author of Abundant Heart, Live Inspired, Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui, & the Cherish Your World Gift Book. Summary For good reasons and bad, we surround ourselves with things. In this episode, we look at how "things" occupy our space — not just in terms of the physical world in which we exist, but at how that physical space reflects what’s going on in our head and heart. Key Discussions √ Our things aren’t just things, they have stories attached to them. √ The three organizational styles. √ Decluttering the head, heart, and home — and seeing the relationship between the three. √ The two drivers of clutter. √ The importance of sharing your abundance with those who have lost everything. √ The relationship between decluttering and death. Links / References


242: Planning for Our Exit — Now

Guest In 2011, coach and author Jane Duncan Rogers was devastated when her husband died. However, six years later, with two books and a TedX talk to her credit, she now runs her not-for-profit, “Before I Go Solutions.” Its mission is to create a world where people are at ease talking about and planning ahead for death. It helps accomplish this by providing products and programs so people can create a good end-of-life plan and benefit from the peace of mind this brings. Summary Generally speaking, our philosophy in the Western world is to ignore death and pretend that it's not going to happen. There’s another way to look at things. Key Discussions √ Why and how Jane started her organization, “Before I Go Solutions” √ How she and her husband approached his impending death and why it produced a sense of relief and comfort √ Why death planning is really an act of love √ What questions we need to ask when planning for our death √ How and why we should approach “death cleansing” √ Why it’s critical to manage “secret papers” √ The obstacles people put in front of themselves before engaging in death planning √ The elephant in the room √ The options to burial √ What to say to someone grieving Referenced Social media Website TEDx Talk Facebook: Twitter: Linked In: Instagram: Books: Before I Go Gifted by Grief The Comfort Crisis


241: Encouraging Student Curiosity Part 2

Guests Jeff Carver is an English teacher who has been working in New Orleans charter schools for the last nine years. Before teaching, he spent the good part of a decade working in music and advertising. Nia DeCoux is a writer, educator, and activist who believes that when done well, storytelling and teaching become the same practice. Her work has been honored by both the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and the National Black Arts Festival. Summary While many educators continue to follow the standard 150-year-old approach to instruction and learning, and others are leaving the profession for various reasons, many teachers are helping to ignite their students’ inherent curiosity. Key Discussions √ Desired learner outcomes for tested and non-tested courses √ How student performance against the mission is measured √ The importance of place-based and project-based learning √ How kids and parents adapt to the unique New Harmony environment √ Why Jeff and Nia became teachers, and how their teaching changed over time √ How to introduce students to the idea of voice and choice √ How to help teachers experiment with allowing students’ curiosity Social media/References website: Rising by Elizabeth Rush


240: Teaching—The River That Runs Through A Life

Guest —John Dietsch is an award-winning author and writer/producer best known for supervising the fly fishing scenes and doubling for Brad Pitt in the classic OSCAR-winning film A River Runs Through It. John’s latest book, Graced by Waters, explores our connection to the outdoors through the prism of fly fishing and investigates its transformative and healing power in the face of loss. John currently teaches English literature, guides fly fishing, and facilitates wellness river retreats when he is not writing (or fishing) from his home in Pacific Palisades, California. Summary — Water is the most common physical property found on Earth, but its spiritual properties — its ability to soothe our souls, nurture us, and facilitate deep personal reflection — are just as important. John Dietsch, fly fisher, guide, film producer, author, and teacher, helps us wade into it. Key Discussions √ John’s calling and its relationship to water. √ Focus on the process vs. the result. √ The spiritual qualities and connection to water, and why being in water for the fly fisherman is as important as catching fish. √ The purpose of faith. √ The importance of making mistakes. √ The two types of fly fishermen and how those types apply to life. √ John’s role on A River Runs Through It and the iconic fly fishing scene at the film's end. √ How the film and the film's metaphor parallel events in John’s life. And how the film helped him work through his own pain from the loss of his brothers. √ How serendipity/synchronicity can play a role in our lives if we’re observant. Social Media/References John Dietsch 3104159232 Retreats Media Graced by Waters book Good Night Oppy The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter Home Waters by John Maclean


239: What is the Purpose of School?

Guest — Rhonda Broussard is an author, entrepreneur, and futurist. One Good Question: How Countries Prepare Youth to Lead is her first book. Broussard is an award-winning education entrepreneur and sought-after public speaker. She is the founder and CEO of Beloved Community, a national nonprofit committed to sustainable economic equity in schools, the workforce, and housing. She is a 28-year educator and researcher who founded and led a network of language immersion and international schools in the US. Broussard studied education in Cameroon, Martinique, metropolitan France, Finland, and New Zealand. Her essays have been featured in The Future of University, North American Edition; Building Bridges, One Leader at a Time; This I Believe, Personal Essays by the Women and Men of Eisenhower Fellowships; IB World magazine, and Forbes Magazine. Summary — In this episode, we touch on various reasons for our K-12 system of schooling. Is it to prepare students for a career, acquire knowledge and skills, or develop creative thinking and problem solver abilities? And what about student agency? How much voice and choice in determining what and how students want to learn should we allow? Key Discussions √ How allowing educators more time to wonder will pay dividends in terms of improved instruction. √ Why there is an inherent tension between giving educators time to wonder and the urgency to reform. √ What the role of schooling is. √ How the world of work and the expectations of a career have changed over time. √ How we can, on the one hand, respect and believe in greater student agency while reducing our tendency to limit it because it means a loss of our traditional authority. √ How global educators are grappling with the same question and coming up with different answers. Links / References For more information, visit IG: @RhondaBroussard_Author Twitter: @BroussardRhonda The Reluctant Creative by Dr. Caroline Brookfield Getting Unstuck Interview with Biology teacher, Nate Hassman Getting Unstuck Interview with Tennessee high school educators Getting Unstuck Interview with Michele Chen


238: Want to Increase Your Self Confidence?

Guest Dr. Nate Zinsser is an expert in the psychology of human performance who consults with individuals and organizations seeking a competitive edge. He has been at the forefront of applied sport psychology for over thirty years. From 1992 to 2022 Dr Zinsser directed a cutting-edge applied sport psychology program at the United States Military Academy’s Center for Enhanced Performance. He is the author of The Confident Mind: A Battle-Tested Guide to Unshakable Performance. Summary Confidence is a state of mind achieved through training, choosing to focus on select experiences, and the ability to tell oneself a story based on a belief in a positive future. Key Discussions √ What are the Rosenthal or the Pygmalion effects, and how do they speak to performance? √ What is confidence? √ How does confidence apply to non-athlete and non-military leaders? √ What is the three-part process of becoming a confident leader? √ How does choice become a factor in building confidence? √ How important is it to read non-verbal communication? √ How do resilience and an “anti-fragile” mentality relate to confidence? √ Why do negative self-doubting thoughts keep popping into our heads? Links / References website The Confident Mind: A Battle-Tested Guide to Unshakable Performance Leading With Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton by Colonel Lee Ellis