#23: How Kindness Softens Grief-How to Support Those Living Through Loss (Ben’s Bells with Jeannette Maré)

 

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Have you ever been face-to-face with someone who has experienced unimaginable heartbreak and been at a loss for words?

My guest’s personal insight into grief as a result of the sudden unexpected death of her 2 year old son will bring you to tears, inspire your soul, and provide you with tangible ways to meaningfully support parents, students, or colleagues who have experienced devastating loss.

Jeannette Maré is the founder and Executive Director of Ben’s Bells Project. Jeannette’s leadership has anchored the organization through remarkable growth, including the opening of four studios, collaborating with hundreds of local organizations and recruiting more than 25,000 annual volunteers. As part of her vision, Ben’s Bells has become nationally recognized and “kindness” is becoming part of the nation’s collective consciousness.Jeannette lives in Tucson and is grateful to have the opportunity to combine her two passions – teaching and community building – in her role with Ben’s Bells.

You can find her on social media @bensbells or on her website [www.bensbells.org][1]. For more information visit my website [smallactbigimpact.com][2] and search for episode #23.
[1]: http://bensbells.org
[2]: http://smallactbigimpact.com

Storytelling is Leadership: 6 Sentences to Help your Story

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These days, I find myself observing and mentally noting with fervour the magical elements that conspire to empower great leaders. There is a universality about great leadership that makes it easy for those to assume that one either has it or one doesn’t. However, in this growth mindset culture, we know that to be a fallacy. Leadership is a cultivated skill not a role we’re simply born into.

Sure, it helps to be competent at the work you do because competence surely goes a long distance in helping to create trust. But, I’d argue that true leadership goes beyond being the best at your job. Leadership is about enabling those around you to be their best, do their best work, and doing so in a way that helps them to feel autonomous, valued, and empowered. From what I’ve seen, read, listened to, and from the people with whom I’ve personally spoken on the KindSight 101 Podcast (and within my own life), leadership is rooted in storytelling. A solid story can do more to convince people to believe you, join your ranks, or sell you ideas than any coercive, strategic approaches can. Show me a good storyteller and I’ll show you a good leader.

So, how to tell a good story? I recently read the book To Sell is Human by the amazing Dan Pink (Seriously, if you haven’t heard him on a podcast, read or listened to one of his books/speeches, you’re missing out! He’s a guru in motivation and sales…and he’s funny, too!). He introduced me to Emma Coat’s Pixar Pitch framework, which uses the Hero’s Journey to formulate your ideas/story/pitch into a palatable pitch. You want to pique curiosity, solve someone’s problem, create value, and be specific enough that someone can see themselves benefitting from the solution you offer.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Set the tone for the way things are currently: Who is in the story, where do they live, what is the context? – Once upon a time…
  2. Talk about the routine of life-the status quo- Every day…
  3. Create tension and a disruption from the status quo- One day…
  4. What are the consequences of that event or disruption? – Because of that…
  5. What are the further consequences? – Because of that…
  6. Arrive at the conclusion, where things have returned to stasis, but things are better than they were- Until finally…

Take the Finding Nemo Plot, for instance:

  1. Once upon a time there was a fish named Marlin who lost his wife and was protective of his forgetful son, Nemo.
  2. Every day, Nemo would be warned by his Dad not to venture beyond the dangers of their coral reef.
  3. One day, Nemo ignores the warnings and swims beyond the cozy comforts of his home, to the open ocean.
  4. Because of that, he winds up being captured and winds up in a fish tank in someone’s home.
  5. Because of that, Marlin begins a tireless journey to find his son with the help of a few kind creatures at his side.
  6. Until finally, Marlin and Nemo reunite and understand that love is dependent on a sense of trust.

Here’s the Small Act Big Impact story in six sentences:

  1. Once upon a time, there was an education crisis in our schools and communities across North America and the World-at-large.
  2. Everyday, more than 25% of our students were mired in hopelessness, stress, depression, anxiety, and loneliness, to the point where it made it hard for them to learn, connect with one another, and feel deep and authentic happiness and life satisfaction. This was affecting their learning and well-being, making it hard for them to be their best expressions of themselves.
  3. One day, neuroscientists discovered that happiness and fulfilment could be derived from generosity and kindness on a chemical level in the brain. We learned we could learn to develop kindness habits that would release continuous happiness hormones not only to those demonstrating generosity and receiving kindness, but to even those who witnessed it.
  4. Because of that, Small Act Big Impact developed a 21-Day Kindness Challenge to encourage students, teachers, parents, businesses, communities, and educational leaders to develop meaningful habits of kindness that would ripple out into the community, inspiring people to adopt the habits, themselves.
  5. Because of that, students, teachers, and leaders began feeling happier and more hopeful, bringing levels of hopelessness, stress, anxiety, and depression down.
  6. Until finally, everyone knew that the path to living happy lives resides in our ability to help one another through deep and intentional kindness.

How will storytelling help you to become the leader you want to be?

#22: What Love Can Teach You About Learning: How to Get to Know Your Colleagues and Students Better (with Mandy Len Catron)

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Whether you want to create rapport with a new staff member, employee or student, this is a must listen episode for you! Get ready for deep dive into the topic of love, vulnerability, consent in the age of the “me too” movement and learning the practice of truly seeing one another.

My guest plunges into the story of how it took just 36 questions to fall in love with her now-husband and how the experience illuminates simple effective ways to create platonic rapport within schools amongst staff, parents, and students. Hope you enjoy this fun conversation.
You can find her on twitter, facebook and Instagram by searching Mandy Len Catron or on her website [mandylencatron.com][1]

Originally from Appalachian Virginia, Mandy Len Catron now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Rumpus, and The Walrus, as well as literary journals and anthologies.

She writes about love and love stories at The Love Story Project, and she teaches English and creative writing at the University of British Columbia. Her article “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This” was one of the most po

 

Head, Heart, Hands

Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness: Head, Heart, and Hands

In order to feel proud of our communities, I believe we need to wrap our arms around those who struggle within them. Caring for people starts with a willingness to see, hear, and understand one another with an open heart. We have to begin with empathy, compassion, and an eagerness to bravely step into our kindness.

Empathy is the practice of being able to understand the feelings and circumstances of others, and putting yourself in their shoes.

IMG_4410.jpgImagine your friend has just spent the last hour meticulously creating a LEGO structure. Smiling ear to ear, she makes her way over, balancing the creation in the palm of her hand, when suddenly, her foot catches the edge of the rug beneath her. Time slows as her body sails through the air, the structure and pieces fly in all directions. Her chest hits the ground with defeat. In that moment, you understand how disappointed she must feel. You understand it, but you don’t feel disappointed yourself. That’s empathy.

Then, compassion hits you. Compassion literally means to suffer with. You start remembering that time when you built the best LEGO house you’d ever made and how you wanted to show it to your neighbour, but before you could beckon him over to check it out, your little brother had made other plans. With one sweep of his hands, your prized construction was destroyed. Remembering this moment makes you feel a flash of that same devastation again. Suddenly, you actually start feeling a sense of disappointment alongside her. Compassion takes the mind-based understanding of empathy, and moves it into our hearts.

Kindness is the ability to act upon our empathy and compassion for others by taking meaningful action, transforming the world drip-by-drip.  

In the case of your friend’s LEGO structure, for example, kindness is helping her to reconstruct it, giving her a hug, or helping her up. We are all responsible for one another.

 

 

#21: Instagram, Poetry, and Anxiety: What Teachers can Learn from Diving Head-First into Vulnerability (with Brittin Oakman)

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You’re going to love my guest today. Through her vulnerable poetry, she had made meaningful connections to tens of thousands of loyal followers on Instagram. You might be thinking; how does this relate to teaching? We discuss the ways that writing enables us to process our self-discovery and emotions Excellent teachers recognize the place for meaningful reflection in their practice not only for themselves, but for their students.

We touch on process over product, overcoming fear, getting to know the quiet, unassuming people in our lives because they often surprise the world with how much they have to say when given half a chance, and developing a sense of worthiness. This conversation is a warm cup of tea for the teacher’s soul.

Brittin Oakman who is currently combining dreams and ambitions by abroad in Scotland while completing her MSc. Health Psychology, is a soulful Canadian writer and storyteller, Health and Wellness advocate, and incredibly popular (with over 41, 000 followers) Instagram personality. You can find her @b.oakman on Instagram . For more information visit my website [smallactbigimpact.com][1] and search for episode #21.
[1]: http://smallactbigimpact.com

 

Analysis Paralysis: Just Leap!

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I call them “jump-off-the-cliff-moments.”

Those moments that cause your stomach to lurch as you launch yourself off the safe confines of the rich earth that support your shaky legs.

It’s the difference between dreamers and doers.

Jumping off the cliff requires you to abandon the all-too-common narrative of self-doubt and boldly replace it with the belief (even-just-for-an-instant) that you have the capacity to do better, that you have the worthiness to deserve it, and the unwavering knowledge that somehow, through magical cocktail of faith and persistence, you’ll be resourceful enough to build yourself a parachute as you plummet through the air.

So, about paralysis. Is it really that you can’t choose? Or, is it truly about the fact that you’re scared to do so?

Paralysis is a form of hiding. It’s a mechanism that our ancient mammalian brain uses to signal to us that we’re about to step into a dangerous place.

“Retreat!” it shouts at us with frantic urgency. Obediently, most of us freeze. Quit dreaming. Quit trying to step outside of our comfort zones. Just before things get interesting.

Because interesting means you might be wrong. You might fail. You might leap before others and get judged for it. You might departure from the status quo. You might not be accepted by the tribe.

Then, what?

Analysis paralysis will stop your forward momentum to express yourself fully.

Instead, choose to dream. Choose to take the first step. I urge you to leap off the cliff.

action= change=growth=wisdom and learning=trust=leadership 

Ep # 20 Hang Loos-Surviving a Public Lifestyle (with Casey-Jo Loos)

IMG_4240Have you ever wondered what an educator and a popular radio dj have in common? In this energizing episode, my guest and I explore how to survive a public lifestyle while living with anxiety and depression. We delve into the experience of battling with perfectionism, the pressure of conformity, vulnerability, and overcoming the desire to please the arm chair critics. Through her unique perspective, we learn profound insights will help you foster a culture of psychological safety and creativity within your classroom. Hope you enjoy!

Self-described as a “fruitloop in a bowl of cheerios” my guest Casey Jo Loos is the energetic and hilarious radio dj from Vancouver’s beloved 107.3 The Peak Radio Station. She has a passion for connection through media, radio & television, a former canucks tv host, ctv news community reporter and host, and much music VJ finalist. and teaches yoga and meditation on her downtime.

Find her @caseyjoloos on Instagram and facebook or on her website [caseyjoloos.com][1]. For more information visit my website [smallactbigimpact.com][2] and search for episode #20.

An Alternative to the Dreaded Resolution

75796DC9-D5AF-49FF-B3C2-44425D551995.jpegAs we sit on the cusp of a new year, full of promise, it’s enticing to want to create a long list of things to check off that brings us closer to the goals that signal success, to imagine that this year will be vastly different/better than last year, and in doing so, place the heavy weight of anticipation of achievement upon yourself.

In light of last year’s rejection of the practice of naming a yearly resolution, I’ve opted to join the #oneword train. One word has the power to keep you aligned to your vision without creating additional baggage. It’s more of a reminder of areas you want to grow and who you want to become, than a quest for accolades or achievements.

So, what is mine this year? Patience.

Some who know me might be surprised, as I tend to be an outwardly patient person. I’m learning to trust the process of creation, to be patient with myself, and to make space for reflection.

The truth is, even the simple practice of focusing on one small goal makes it possible to make significant changes to the way you move through your life.

Today, for instance, my one word enabled me to patiently wait out my 2.5 year old son as he moved along the continuum from hating snow, snowsuits, mittens, the sight of snow (anything related to snow and the mountain) to actually laughing and giggling as we catapulted ourselves down the snow-covered hill on a little sled. Patience. It’s powerful to step back with a deep understanding that things will not always happen at your pace. It’s possible that things may not happen at all according to plan. That said, rushing and pushing and forcing won’t get you where you need to go.

 

What’s your #oneword?
#patience #positivevibes#grateful #kindness #newyearseve#oneword

# 29 – Dr. Allison Rees

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Have you ever wanted to learn the key to raising successful, independent, and happy children? The key is not shooting for obedience!

During this fascinating conversation, we explore how to side-step power struggles, how to explain anger to a child, how to stay calm when children are pushing us beyond our limit, and how to maintain age-appropriate expectations of our students.

We examine how to set boundaries within our brave new social media landscape and how to support children when they are demonstrating depressive or anxious symptoms.

Finally, we explore the two strategies all teachers should be implementing to develop psychological safety within their classrooms. Hope you enjoy!

Allison Rees has been teaching LIFE Seminars since 1991 with her main focus on parenting. Allison and her colleague Dr. Alison Miller have produced two books: Sidestepping the Power Struggle and The Parent Child Connection. Her history involves a 12 year radio show, weekly appearances on the news, a private practice working with families, training other professionals, writing articles and perhaps her greatest feat, raising two children who are now amazing young adults. You can find her online at [lifeseminars.com][1]. For more information visit my website [smallactbigimpact.com][2] and search for episode # 29.

E 19: Twenty Actionable Ways to Integrate Kindness into your Curriculum Starting Monday (with Sheila Sjolseth)

Sheila Sjolseth

Sheila Sjolseth brings to life acts of kindness and service projects that families and kids can do. In her daily adventures of serving with her young boys, she has witnessed the awesome things that happen when kids serve others. She started serving daily with her boys in 2012, when they were 3 and 5 years old. What started as a way to teach her kids empathy has transitioned to a way of life and a connection with thousands of others.

Born and raised in small towns across Texas, the oldest of four girls, she felt a call early on to help others for her career. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Special Education from The University of Texas at Austin and her Masters of Education in Learning and Teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Moving across the US and the world several times over, Sheila has taught in a variety of settings from a classroom in small town Texas, to a psychiatric unit in Chicago, to the US Department of Education. Public school, private school, charter school, and in the community, Sheila has had the opportunity to teach and present in almost every type of setting.
Along each step of the way, she worked with parents and students to improve parenting and learning skills. Known for her innovative teaching skills and ability to reach even the “hardest to reach” student, Sheila’s professional background is rooted in applying best teaching practices while addressing the needs of the student. As an educator and professional with 20 years of experience in working with children and parents, she truly believes that teaching kids to be kind results in a happier family.

As the President and Founder of Pennies of Time: Teach Kids to Serve, Sheila works with families and other community focused organizations to help families integrate kindness into daily habits. “Kindness as a lifestyle . . . not an item on a ‘to do’ list.” She is a 2015 Daily Point of Light Winner for contributions to family volunteerism and community service.

Her goal: For families to choose to complete an act of kindness as often as they go to soccer practice or to the movies.

“Let’s elevate the meaningful activities that we do as a family and lessen the activities that isolate us from one another.”

Her upcoming book will be released in late 2018.

Synopsis of Book:
Join Sheila in a journey through a magical land visiting families struggling to be kind in an unkind world. Her book is a storybook parenting resource that helps parents see what they can do to foster kindness and compassion in their homes. From an engaging story-line, poignant real life stories, and practical tools families can use, Sheila guides parents from doable first steps to an inspiring future where our children are compassionate problem- solvers.

Website
Pennies of Time-Kindness Academy
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