Tea with a Titan is a weekly 1-hour podcast during which long-time interview-buff Mary-Jo Dionne speaks with those people who have one thing in common. The quest for authentic greatness. Be it entrepreneur, athlete, entertainer, artist, philanthropist, thought-leader, or difference maker, if the target is greatness -- even in the face of hurdles -- Mary-Jo will be having tea with them.
Episode 071: Dr. Russ Kennedy -- The Anxiety MD
What we cover: In this moment, we are safe.
Today's guest is Dr Russ Kennedy – someone I have known since 2004, when I launched my brief stint into the stand up comedy world. Russ was a fellow comic, and I got to know him then, and I always really liked him. I eventually set that aside as I evolved as a writer and instead focused more on my foray into the world of one-woman shows – but Russ remained in my orbit because my brother Julien Dionne and his girlfriend Jennifer Grant are comics and so I continued to see Russ perform over the years. The thing I dug about Russ is that he wasn’t just a comic, he had this whole other side to him. He was a neuroscientist and a medical doctor as well. It’s not everyday you meet someone so robust in background. But that’s who Russ is. As a physician, and someone who very openly speaks about his own struggle with anxiety and his father’s battle with mental illness, he has recently launched a fantastic course and online resource called The Kennedy Method. Which you can learn more about by visiting MJDionne.com and clicking on the podcaster tab. There are so many of us – I would venture to say the majority of the population – who at one time or another experiences some form of at least temporarily debilitating self-doubt, fear, worry, anxiety. And so this is a conversation for us all. Russ isn’t just a doctor, he’s been the patient. He gets it. He knows.
Episode 070: Stacey Shand -- Ultra-distance athlete and adventurer
What we cover: "I took the road less travelled by, and that has made all the difference." -- Robert Frost
Today’s guest is Stacey Shand. If there is a woman more easy to have a Girl Crush on that Stacey Shand, I have yet to meet her.
Stacey is an ultra-extreme endurance athlete and adventurer. She is affectionately known as ‘Racey Stacey’, and she has been keeping a promise she made to herself from her hospital bed following a near tragic auto accident a number of years ago. When she was faced with the realities of what could have been, she vowed never to take her physical abilities -- her physical and mental strength -- whatever that might look like, for granted again. She went from being virtually inactive and even skipping gym class… to giving her first 5km a try at the age of 25… to the woman she is today – someone who has done approximately 100 marathons, and a woman intent on completing what are known as the toughest races on the planet. I’m not just talking about Ironman, I’m talking about Ultraman and Marathon de Sables and Badwater.
One of the things she and I talk about is the idea of "the road not taken” – a concept popularized by the poet Robert Frost. So for this episode, I dug out my copy – a copy I have cherished since the mid-1980s when the dad of my best friend Erin – his name was Gordon Simons – was dying and he knew I wanted to be a writer and he shared that his favourite writer was Robert Frost, and he gave me two of his collections. The following year, this poem was read at his funeral. I have it here – so if it’s been a while since you’ve really considered the words and the message, here it is:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Episode 069: Kevin Reynolds -- Olympic Figure Skater
What we cover: "Take the past for what it is. And then, focus on moving forward." -- Kevin Reynolds
Today's guest is Kevin Reynolds. He is, of course, the Canadian figure skating super star who won silver at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, as part of the mixed team event.
According to the official Olympics athlete site, he is the first skater in the world to ever land a quad-triple-triple combination, and in 2010 he became the first man ever to land two quadruple jumps in the short program – and we talk about all that goodness.
But this is by no means just a talk about skating. You don’t have to be up on your figure skating lingo to follow along – despite the fact that many of us will be up on it on account of we Canadians following the recent success of our own ice dancers, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. This is a conversation about getting up after we fall – figuratively and literally. It’s about recognizing what Kevin calls that “glimmer of hope” in order to set the wheels in motion and turn a dream into reality. It’s about harnessing the adrenaline we’ve all felt at one point or another, and turning that into something positive. It’s about learning to replace the question: “What if it all goes wrong?” with “What if it all goes right?”
It’s a peek behind the curtain of the present-moment focus that is required to compete and perform at this elite a level.
And, it’s a conversation about the Top 5 skating movies in pop culture, and I’ve posted that complete list at MJDionne.com, under the podcaster tab. So there’s that.
Episode 068: Sherry Strong -- Chef, Nutritionist, Food Philosopher
What we cover: “Addiction is the body’s way of telling you that you’re not listening to your soul.” – Sherry Strong
Today's guest is Sherry Strong – and strong she is. She is a woman who, after 35-years of playing the “victim”, which so many of us are guilty of from time to time – and who also struggled with an addiction to sugar to numb the sadness, took a good look in the mirror and said enough is enough. She was, as she puts it: “sick, obese, tired, and wanted to die.” Today, she is a professional chef, a nutritionist, and a food philosopher – and she can fit her entire body into one leg of her former pants. She has some really wise insights in terms of what it means to have a healthy relationship with food. And it’s all about looking to nature and our relationship to nature – look to the natural abundance of whole foods; what nature intended. She can also help you get off of sugar in as a little as 8-weeks with her famous online program. And if 8 weeks feels too daunting for you, she’s devised a new 7-day plan as well. Surely, we can all give a clean, sugar-free lifestyle a try for one week out of 52 this year. Because, despite our best efforts, sugar is everywhere. In a typical grocery store that carries 6,000 products – sugar is in 80% of what’s available. You can find all that amazing info to get you started on a sugar-free lifestyle at MJDionne.com – click on the podcaster tab.
I started this series as a gift to my two daughters so that they will have a library of resources to turn to when they are in need of a new way of seeing things. Because so often, that’s all that we need to get us out of a funk. So if you’re listening to this from far off into the future, JouJou and Birdie, whatever it is you’re going through, just know that your mom believes in you and loves you and knows you’ve got the world in the palm of your hands. And that my biggest wish for you, is that you will make all your decisions from a place of self-love – and Sherry and I talk about that today.
Episode 067: Mary-Jo Dionne -- writer/speaker/performer/podcaster
What we cover: In the interest of full disclosure, I have been ridiculously spread thin – as we all can get from time to time – and completely run down, wrapping up deadlines before I shut the office down until the new year. I have been up late into the night with a sick 2-year-old. And I have been going through this incredibly heavy sadness on account of learning that someone I cared for very much in my high school life, died – but the thing of it all is that he died many years ago. Nearly 25, in fact. And I only just found out. Grieving after-the-fact is a strange and lonely thing. If you’ve ever been there, have found out news in a delayed fashion and have had to grieve alone, I feel your pain – the solitary sadness. Long story short, I have felt anything but titan-y the last couple weeks. More sloggy than titan-y. A friend of mine once said to me: As achievers, we need to learn to cut ourselves some slack. To let ourselves off the hook just every once in a while. And so, as we near the Holiday season, that is what I am doing. I am popping in quick-like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a very Happy Holidays – wherever you are, we have listeners in 80 countries now and whatever the traditions are in your home, so long as they are centred around love and gratitude and giving and memory-making and kindness, that’s all that matters right?
We will be back in January 2018, with a host of awesome guest titans – I promise, it won’t just be me with my semi-stuffed nose. It is my most sincere aim to be refreshed, and renewed, and ready to play my A-Game once again. To focus on that which truly matters – and for each of us, the answer to that will be different.
Happy New Year!
Episode 066: Anna Rice -- Two-time Olympic badminton player
What we cover: “The most important things I’ve learned in life, I’ve learned on the badminton court.” – Anna Rice
Today’s Guest Titan is two-time Olympian, Anna Rice – a woman who admits that, as far as life goes, everything she’s learned so far, she’s learned on the badminton court. This is a woman who is ripe with insights, and who possesses a calm wisdom that I found quite intoxicating, really. I know you’re going to love her.
This isn’t really a conversation about badminton, so much as it is a conversation about our own thought processes, the stories we make up about ourselves, our relationship with ego and Self, and even what it means and what it takes to do those things that we legitimately love. It’s also a chat that just happens to be bursting with goodness as it pertains to the way we are raising our kids and the things to take into consideration when it comes to our own desires for them and for their own achievements – like the gift of letting them fall, for one -- for those of us who have small humans around the house.
I adore this woman -- she is wise, wise, wise.
Insightful & Inspirational!
Every episode is inspirational in it's own unique way. Such amazing and wonderfull guest!
Great new podcast
I am always on the lookout for a great podcast and Tea with a Titan is it!
Love Love Love
You are my Titan! Love hearing your laugh. I feel inspired after every episode. You are spreading goodness keep it up.