We tell positive stories of people who, thrive in life, connect with others, and contribute to the world in the face of adversity.
We ask and answer this one question:
"Tell me about a time when you were resilient."
Why "Thrive. Connect. Contribute."? You are here on earth to connect with others and contribute to the world. But before you can connect and contribute, you must first practice self-care. In other words, you must thrive. Thrive. Connect. Contribute. In that order.
Kindness, Courage, Grit, and Rites of Passage, with John Beede
What can we learn about masculinity from an adventurer?
John Beede a worldwide adventurer who has traveled to 67 countries, written 3 books, and given live presentations to nearly 1 million audience members.
He has climbed to the top of the tallest mountain on every continent, including Mount Everest. He has kite surfed in every ocean on the planet. In the last nine years, he survived avalanches, pulmonary edema, tribal warfare, and a whole lot of Clif bars.
But his biggest challenge was when he sat down quietly on a sofa and told someone about his pain.
John’s newest book is The Warrior Challenge: 8 Quests for Boys to Grow Up with Kindness, Courage, and Grit. In this important book, John talks about how to raise young men in challenging times. Traits we've always considered masculine--like being tough and not showing emotion--are no longer what we want for our boys. Especially when society most needs unity, empathy, and the understanding that all humans are created equal.
Learn more about John Beede:
Book: The Warrior Challenge: 8 Quests for Boys to Grow Up with Kindness, Courage, and Grit, https://amzn.to/2VtSdOi
John Beede: https://JohnBeede.com
John Beede on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johnbeede
John Beede on Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnbeede
John Beede on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnbd
When Life Disappoints, Rediscover Your Play, with Jeff Harry
What if your biggest setback can unlock a magical journey?
Jeff Harry uses a combination of positive psychology and play to unlock possibilities.
I asked Jeff to tell me about a time when he was resilient. His answer is epic.
“My best friend Dana and I are locking up the café,” Jeff Harry tells me. “We had put our heart and soul into it for the past year and a half. All my savings, and even money I didn't have - six figures to be exact - was invested in that cafe. Everyone tried to warn me, but I didn't listen. This is the last time we would be standing here, as we were closing the cafe down. We walked away with such shame.
“I felt like such a failure, a loser, naive, and stupid. I believed I would be in debt for the rest of my life, paying for this bad decision. What was I even thinking? Would I ever be able to bounce back? My inner critic beat up every day for the next year as I paid off debts and tried to scrounge up whatever money I could to free myself of this poor choice.
“A funny thing happened though. I was astonished that I was still alive. That even with this big failure, I hadn't had a nervous breakdown. I hadn't lost my job that actually paid me and for some reason because I hadn't died.
“I felt bold enough to fail again. Even if I fell flat on my face once again, it couldn't be as bad as this last failure. So, I decided to create a separate Corporate Special Events Wing for the LEGO-Inspired STEM Organization that I helped build.
“I started reaching out to the top Silicon Valley companies and pitching them to do special events that I didn't even know if I could pull off. I started doing crazy things because I was compelled to do it. For example, once I was watching a Marvel Movie, saw the VP of Creative Services, and went home and reached out to her on LinkedIn to see if we could collaborate on an event and she actually got back to me. Why not just ask every organization I ever dreamed of working with and just see who would say yes?
“That bold attitude and willingness to take risks culminated in us doing massive events and conferences for Amazon, LEGO, Google, Salesforce, and countless other Fortune 500 companies. We even broke a few World Records.
“I had no idea what I was doing, but I didn't care. Because I felt I could do anything after failing so miserably and surviving that failure. It really is true that you learn the most from failure and the more you are willing to fail, the more likely you will succeed. For example, James Dyson created 5126 failed prototypes before inventing the first bagless vacuum cleaner.”
Jeff’s persistence in the face of adversity paid off. Today, Jeff shows individuals and companies how to tap into their true selves and to feel their happiest and most fulfilled. He does that by playing. Jeff has worked with Google, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon, and Facebook, helping their staff to infuse more play into the day-to-day.
Jeff is an international speaker who has presented at conferences such as INBOUND, SXSW, and Australia’s Pausefest, showing audiences how major issues in the workplace can be solved using play.
Learn more about Jeff Harry:
Rediscover Your Play: https://www.rediscoveryourplay.com
New York Times Article on Jeff Harry: How Do We Add More Play To Our Grown-Up Life - Even Now: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/14/smarter-living/adults-play-work-life-balance.html
Success is an Inside Game, with Laura DiBenedetto
What do the happiest among us have in common?
Laura DiBenedetto’s story begins with bullying, abuse, bankruptcy, and burn out. More than anything, she wanted to be in control of her own destiny. So, at the age of 19, she launched the award-winning marketing company, Vision Advertising. Laura created, built, and ran the growth-oriented enterprise. She personally sold several million dollars in ongoing contracts. She was featured on Fox News and other Boston programming several times. She was recognized for business accomplishments and was named a 40 Under 40 winner at only age 23.
At the age of 37, Laura retired with a 6-figure passive income. She had all the outward appearance of having won at life. However, she was simply burnt out and unhappy. After years of self-improvement classes, workshops, books, and more, Laura was confused. She wondered why the personal development world had let her down. She sought to solve the problem.
Laura went on a radical journey of self-discovery, research, and testing, determined to find energy and lasting, fulfilling happiness in all areas of life. She found the answers – six of them, in fact.
Today, Laura is devoted to sharing the truths she discovered, so that others may find their own path out of misery and into lasting happiness. She shares what she has learned in her book, The Six Habits: Practical Tools for Bringing Your Dreams to Life.
Laura is a TEDx Speaker and bestselling author. She teaches how to create the life of our dreams without sacrificing what we love. As Founder and CEO of Vision Advertising, a company that she built aged 19, she has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build and grow profitable enterprises entirely on their terms.
Learn more about Laura DiBenedetto:
Book: The Six Habits: https://www.thesixhabits.com
Laura DiBenedetto: https://lauradibenedetto.com
Laura DiBenedetto’s TEDx Talk: https://youtu.be/5rYes2CHFIM
See the Possibilities in the Pandemic, with Claire Downey, Class Of 2020
What opportunities are now available to you because of the pandemic?
There is a Jedi mind trick that can help you to be resilient. When you are up against an obstacle, ask yourself, “What does this make possible?” By learning to focus on the possibilities, you can build your hope muscle.
That’s precisely what Claire Downey has learned to do.
Claire had a dream job that allowed her to travel worldwide and meet all the sports superstars. “I fell into a career in broadcasting,” Claire explains. “At university, I studied Sport and Exercise Science. Knowing I wanted to work in sport and not a lot else, I applied for a sports media graduate scheme. Somehow, I got the job despite my blue hair. My career has blossomed since, and I have been lucky to work at major events worldwide.”
Then she was stricken by a rare disease. “It’s not been easy, though. While working at a tennis tournament, I developed a rare autoimmune disease that knocked me for six months. It’s called Miller Fisher. I’m told it affects 1-2 people per million in their entire lifetime.
“Your immune system attacks your nerves. It leaves you with no reactions and, in my case, affecting my sight. Some people stay like this permanently, but I was one of the lucky ones that got better.
Then COVID-19 appeared, and Claire couldn’t work. “When lockdown happened in London, I had time to re-evaluate. I didn’t feel like I was contributing properly to society. My illness had also changed my outlook on life. When I heard about the Class of 2020 project, I couldn’t wait to get involved. Class of 2020 is a free e-learning community platform to boost confidence, teach new skills, and improve employability. Somehow, I ended up as part of the management team. The project is extraordinary.
“We have a group of volunteers who have never met each other, working together to build something remarkable. We created a free online learning platform where 18 to 25-year-olds can access learning materials donated by major companies.
“The Class of 2020 offering has a real community vibe. It helps build confidence, improve skills, and increase employability. The project is right at its infancy, and we have had many ups and quite a few downs. As we launch, it’s remarkable to see how much progress has been made, but I can also see we have a long road ahead of us.
A Lesson Learned
“Working on the Class of 2020 is sometimes very scary. I’ve been involved in things I would never have dreamed of, and it’s easy to feel out of your depth (imposter syndrome). It would be easy to give up, but that doesn’t help anyone. Sometimes you must take a deep breath and take the plunge.”
A Call to Action
“Take some time to assess what interests you. See the possibilities in COVID-19.
“Many of us are working from home. It offers more time to do the things we believe in - be it a hobby, mentoring, volunteering, learning a language, or setting up a new skill. Also, please get in touch if you want to get involved in Class of 2020. We are always looking for content to put on the platform. We’re looking for written or recorded content. And, if you think you could do with learning a new skill, please check out the website.”
Learn more about Claire Downey and Class Of 2020:
Class Of 2020 Website: https://www.classof2020.org.uk
Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/43211106
Claire Downey on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/claire-downey-38743954
Make Good Choices and Persevere, with Jennifer R. Farmer
Jennifer R. Farmer tells us how Black women thrive in work and life.
We’ve been talking about resilience. Who better to talk to than Jennifer? She has a book available for preorder, First and Only: A Black Woman's Guide to Thriving at Work and in Life.
Jennifer grew up in subsidized housing in Columbus, Ohio. “It was not uncommon for me to lay on the ground to escape the sound of bullets,” she explains. “When you grow up in poverty and you grow up in constant fear that you will survive, it's very difficult to see what your life could look like 10, 15, or 20 years down the line.
“And so if you were talking to that 11 or 12 year old girl who was very aware of the fact that she was poor, very aware of the fact that she was smart, but still didn't have all the opportunities that she may have seen others, she could not have imagined who she would become.
“College was not in my long-term plans. It was an attempt to escape the life I knew. Going to college was one of the best decisions I ever made. I gained more than knowledge. College gave me confidence. It gave me a new way to see the world and the belief that I was just as good as the next person.
“I have tried to do two things throughout my career: make good choices and persevere no matter what,” Jennifer says. “What distinguishes me from others is that I do not give up. I will always improve. I think critically about what it means to thrive, even in atmospheres not set up for my success.
“My father was very independent. He was very determined. I got that from him.
“My mother instilled in me that I don't ever give up. If you make a mistake., you can feel bad. Get up the next day and try again. I've learned that if I make a mistake, if I do something wrong, if I fail, it stings. But it stings a little bit less if there's a lesson that I can glean from it. If there's a strategy that I can put in place that will help me help me advance.
“I think what's unique about me is, my commitment is to keep trying. I may be down for season, but my commitment is to start again, even in the face of perceived failure; even in the face of personal disappointment; even when it seems like I have no clue what I'm going to do. That willingness to start again is really what enables all of us to succeed.”
“Life reflects the choice that we have made,” Jennifer says. “I always think about ‘OK, how did I get here?’ What choice did I make?
“And where do I want to be tomorrow. If I know where I want to be tomorrow, what choices do I have to make today to make that happen? When you think about your life, you can pinpoint different choices that set you up.
“For example, my decision to go to college. That set me up to think differently about the world. My decision to surround myself with people who are different from me gives me an opportunity to see the world from a broader perspective. My decision to leave my full-time job and to start my own company is setting me up to have a level of agency that I've always that I've always desired. It gives me a level of freedom that's important to me as a parent.”
Learn more about Jennifer R. Farmer:
Book: First and Only: A Black Woman's Guide to Thriving at Work and in Life: https://amzn.to/3jkQLaZ Book: Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide: Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide Website: https://www.jenniferrfarmer.org
Build Your Network Before You Need It, with Maxwell Ivey, The Blind Blogger
Our connections are a source of resilience.
Picture it. You are in a strange city, far away from home. You are suddenly struck ill. Now, imagine, if you also ran out of money and you weren’t sure how you were going to get home. Your voice is so hoarse, when you speak, no one can understand you. Oh, and to complicate things, you are blind.
That’s the situation that speaker, author, and blogger Maxwell Ivey found himself in a few years ago. “I was sick, hoarse, broke, and about to be homeless in New York City,” Max explains. “I had given a talk. I got through it with a combination of hot tea with honey, winter green life savers, and the showman's will to always go on. I even sang at the end of my talk although my voice cratered.”
Max went from coffee shop to coffee shop, drinking coffee and working the internet. “I couldn't call people because they couldn't understand me. Finally, one friend from California sent me money for a hotel. It was within walking distance of the diner. Another friend purchased a train ticket for me back home to Houston, Texas.
“Friends from church picked me up at the station. I was so sick” he remembers, “they made me put on gloves and mask. That was long before this pandemic.
“I was sick for several weeks. Dehydration caused me to be dizzy and have trouble talking. It was a month before I could speak normally and two months before I could sing again. Eventually I did overcome the catastrophe and put myself out there again. This time, I remained closer to home.
Building His Network
Maxwell Ivey is a totally blind man who grew up in a family of carnival owners. From an early age, he knew that he would eventually lose his vision.
Family, teachers, and other mentors taught him to be positive and see the possibilities. He graduated from a traditional high school and college. He achieved the rank of eagle scout.
After college, Max participated in the family carnival business until his dad's death.
He then started a business to help others sell their surplus carnival rides.
Max had to learn how to hand code html. He also had to recruit clients, set fees, write copy, manage media, use social media, build an email list, record videos, and more.
Max started blogging to share what he learned. People were inspired by his journey, and he began to gather a following. That lead to a second website as The Blind Blogger. He also published four self-help books. He started traveling the country to speak. That is how he found himself in New York City with no way to get home. His network came to his rescue.
Max advises listeners, “Start building your community now. Start by adding one supportive, encouraging, uplifting person and grow from there. Use social media to make real connections online. In times of crisis, it's the people you have come to know and trust who will help you the most.”
A Call to Action:
“Reach out to one person you like admire or trust and ask them to become part of your journey. It could even be me. I love inspiring others.”
Learn more about Maxwell Ivey, The Blind Blogger:
Website: http://www.theblindblogger.net Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheBlindBlogger LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maxwellivey Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/maxwellivey YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/maxwellivey Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/TheBlindBlogger
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Authentic, personal stories of resilience
Tony has a knack for curating and celebrating real people with authentic, personal stories of resilience, starting with himself.
This is a must-listen if you want to feel uplifted
If you are looking for a podcast that will leave you feeling like anything is possible this is the podcast for you. Tony is a great host who
asks thoughtful questions.
Thanks for staying positive during a difficult time. Looking forward to hearing these stories!