It turns out being a magician is pretty similar to being a teacher.
- In this episode, Brian Miller and I explore tactical ways to create connection with people in such a way that we can serve the world more fully.
- Have you ever struggled to remember someone’s name? Brian outlines some really easy way to do so.
- Brian tells some incredible stories, one of which highlights the magical nature of inclusion through the unifying power of magic.
- Brian talks about his wildly successful TED talk, Book (Three New People), his business, and his podcast.
Brian Miller is a magician, speaker, and author of personal success book Three New People: Make the Most of Your Daily Interactions and Stop Missing Amazing Opportunities. For 12 years he has shared his magic and his message with thousands of audiences in 11 countries across 4 continents. Based in Connecticut, Brian now performs his interactive blend of jaw dropping magic and laugh-out-loud comedy at 200+ events each year.
You can find out more about Brian’s Magic on his website or his speaking as a Connection Specialist here.
There is a special discount code located here on Brian’s website associated with KindSight 101, whereby you can get his amazing book for a whopping 40% off!
As a child, Brian suffered from a debilitating social and speech anxiety. He was bullied and mostly friendless through middle school. Though he loved magic tricks, he couldn’t muster the courage to perform for anyone. Brian got a fresh start in a new school for 9th grade, where he met another student who was also into magic. Through magic and friendship, Brian developed self-confidence for the very first time.
Founding his business at the early age of 16, Brian worked as a professional magician while completing a dual Bachelor’s of Science in mathematics and philosophy, achieving a 4.0 in philosophy and receiving two international awards for presenting original work. He was accepted into a PhD program for Philosophy of Language, but turned it down in order to pursue a career in entertainment.
Brian quickly found a following with college students on the national campus activities circuit, earning two nomination’s for “America’s Best Campus Artist” (Campus Activities Magazine) by the age of 24.
As his act evolved, so did the demand for his work. Brian developed a reputation for mixing world class entertainment with an engaging personality and the ability to adapt to any group. He began accepting invitations to entertain at exclusive private events throughout New England, such as bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, company holiday parties, and corporate events.
Military Entertainment and More
In April of 2016, Brian partnered with Navy Entertainment to bring magic to the American troops and their families stationed overseas on military bases. He has since completed 3 tours for the troops in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Brian calls these tours the most rewarding work of his career. Read about his most recent tour across Asia here.
Brian’s work has been featured in the Hartford Courant, The Huffington Post, MAGIC Magazine, Genii Magazine, and The Society of American Magicians Magazine. He was also showcased in the 2016 documentary film The Get Together about the legendary Abbott’s Get Together magic convention held annually for the past 80 years in Colon, MI.
Brian’s experience as a magician make him a dynamic and engaging corporate keynote speaker and youth motivational speaker. His TEDx talk “How to Magically Connect with Anyone” has been seen and shared by 3 million people worldwide.
Outside of magic Brian is a passionate musician. He has achieved critical acclaim as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter as half of the group Escher’s Enigma, a unique studio project with his father Russ Miller.
Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife Lindsey.
It turns out that belonging is a greater predictor of life-expectancy, well-being, happiness, and fulfillment than heart health, poverty, smoking, or obesity.
We can all affect the environments in which we live through our actions, because of the contagiousness of our behaviour.
Due to our nature as community-seeking beings, we were wired to seek out belonging through our connections to others. The mirror neurons in our bodies are designed to help us react and mimic the behaviours of those around us so that we will belong more easily.
In an attempt to improve their organization in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana-based Oschner Health System tried an out-of-the-box experiment. In his best-selling book “Before Happiness,” author Shawn Achor writes about the hospital’s decision to try to “raise levels of happiness first.” Oschner Health looked outside the usual medical literature and found a secret ingredient used by Ritz-Carlton hotels.
The 10/5 way “turns out to be the perfect example of how to transform an organization through positive inception. The 10/5 way involves just a few simple behavioral rules that all staff are trained to follow. If a guest walks by a Ritz employee within ten feet, the employee should make eye contact and smile. If that guest walks by within five feet, the employee should say, ‘Hello.'”
Despite initial skepticism, this deceptively simple technique “completely transformed the shared reality at the hospital. Not only did this improve patients’ satisfaction with care, it improved outcomes for the hospital,” Achor explained. He urges his readers to “try implementing the 10/5 way in your office or household.”
Just try it out. Look at someone in the eyes and give them a big smile. Chances are, they’ll smile right back at you. Our neuro-receptors release oxytocin (the love/belonging hormone) when someone smiles at us and when we smile. Smiling, because of our mirror neurons, has the power to change our brain chemistry. When we witness someone smiling or laughing, our brain responds as though we were laughing and smiling. So, just being around happy, joyous people can change the way we feel.
How can you contribute to your workplace, learning space, or community in such a way that you ignite a culture of belonging? What action can you take to help someone feel seen, heard, and valued, today?
#smallactbigimpact #kindsight101 #podcast #21daychallenge
Allie Apels and The Kindness Ninjas:
I recently had the amazing Allie Apels of @joysofkinder on my podcast to discuss the transformative power of her brainchild “Kindness Ninjas” Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program in her kindergarten class (#kindnessninjas).
Essentially, a few years ago, when Allie was faced with one of the most challenging groups of children she had ever taught, she and her teaching partner (yes, there were two teachers allocated to one class due to the high level of needs), came up with a brilliant way to encourage the development of a kind and supportive classroom. They introduced a kindness ambassador: the kindness ninja. Every day, leading up to Christmas break, Allie and her class would be greeted by the kindness ninja who would leave them notes and various random acts of kindness missions.
She explained that the experience was completely transformative. The class came together as a team and that year wound up becoming one of Allie’s favourite years as a teacher.
All About Our 15-Day Kindness Ninja Video Challenge Synergy
Not long after our conversation went live, we got the best idea ever and now…it’s about to go live!
This October, Allie and I are collaborating to bring your classroom an exciting synergy between the 21-Day-Kindness-Challenge and the Kindness Ninjas.
Every day, staring October 7th, 2019, we will be posting on our Instagram accounts 15 school-days worth of kindness ninja challenges to complete with your class. Our little kindness ninja will speak to your children through video using the chatterpix app.
We debated sharing the challenges ahead of time (we love a surprise), and decided to do so in order to give you amazing educators a head-start in your planning. Also, we will be posting the videos eventually to YouTube so that you can follow along on your own timeline at a later time!
How to Participate in the Challenge
- Follow us to see the videos! Follow Allie Apels on Instagram @joysofkinder and Morgane Michael @smallactbigimpact.
- Watch the daily videos with your students-comment, tag others to join, use the hashtag #kindnessninjas, and don’t forget to tag us in your comments/photos/examples! We love seeing your journey, too!
- Participate in all 15 challenges (tagging us and linking the hashtag, too) and you’ll enter to win a prize at the end of the challenge!
- Spread the love and kindness to your school, workplace and community!
Step-by-Step Breakdown with Prep Lists
- Day one: Create calming jars. Sneak into another classroom and leave the jars on the teacher’s desk for the class to enjoy.
- Items you’ll need: A tube of clear or glitter glue, container of glitter, food colouring, jar with an airtight seal, Krazy glue to secure the lid.
- Items you’ll need: A tube of clear or glitter glue, container of glitter, food colouring, jar with an airtight seal, Krazy glue to secure the lid.
- Day two: Work together to create a collaborative mural with an encouraging kindness message for your school.
- Items you might need-large bulletin-board paper, bulletin board letters, paint
- Here are some examples of ideas that we’ve seen and love:
- Day three: Line up along the hallways and offer smiles and high-fives to students when they come in from recess.
- Day four: Make Thanksgiving Art for a nearby senior’s centre and deliver it to them before the holiday to make their hearts a little fuller.
- Day five: Offer to help clean up your school grounds or a particular area of your school. Your custodian will thank you!
- Items you might need: Picker-upper sticks, gloves, bags
- Don’t forget to remind your kids about safety! You don’t want anyone picking up dangerous litter and hurting themselves.
- Day six: Make kindness pencils by attaching a kind message flag to colourful pencils, then sneak into another class and deposit them on their desks.
- You’ll need pencils, little paper flags (white labels work, make little flags out of paper, or pay $2 to use this template
- You’ll need pencils, little paper flags (white labels work, make little flags out of paper, or pay $2 to use this template
- Day seven: Create a giant card for a special staff member in your school to show your gratitude for all that they do.
- Day eight: Bring a book from home, wrap it, and gift it to another class. Or, wrap several books and leave them in special places for members of your community to find.
- Mrs. McIntosh from Alberta, Canada recently did an amazing job wrapping and hiding gently loved books to her community. Check out her blog post about it!
- What you will need: Gently loved books (one from the class or one from each student), wrapping paper (make, use newsprint, or purchase), notes explaining who it’s for and what it’s for. Check out Mrs. Mac’s example.
- Day nine: Write or trace notes of appreciation for the staff members of your school. Place the notes in their mailboxes or on their vehicle windshields.
- Day ten: Create a kindness cart to deliver cold beverages and snacks to teachers in your school (or set up the staff room for a special surprise treat day before lunch or recess):
- What you’ll need: beverages (large containers of iced tea/lemonade/tea/sparkling water and coffee) or individual cans. Also, cookies/crackers and cheese/and homemade treats are always appreciated.
- Students can make small posters or cards expressing their gratitude for those who serve the school.
- Day eleven: Create posters with uplifting and positive messages on them. When everyone is out for recess, tape them up on the mirrors of the bathrooms for all to see. Here is a free set of speech-bubble postersPosters to DecorateColour-in Postersor make your own (here are some quoteideas)!
- Day twelve: Create kindness clothespinswith lovely messages to pin on staff and students within your school.
- Check out some of the ideas from happinessishomemade.net about the kindness clothespins.
- You’ll need paint, modge-podge, and some small-sized printouts of encouraging messages to adapt this project for the classroom.
- Day thirteen: Create beautiful kindness bookmarks with encouraging notes on them. Sneak into your school library and hide them in the books. Here is a template from TPTBe Kind TemplateMultiple Message Bookmarks
- Day fourteen: Write special letters to people in your family thanking them for all that they do for you. Use fancy paper and envelopes to make it extra special.
- Day fifteen: Make a kindness big-book to gift to another class, to inspire them to be kind within your school. Each person can make a page to tell one way to be a kindness ninja. You could even send it to another school to spread the ripples of kindness throughout your community.
- Here is a template for the big book pages with a rhyme.
#kindnessninjas #smallactbigimpact #kindsight101
If you are an educator, school administrator, parent, camp counsellor, or employer, chances are you’ve had experience with challenging behaviours.
So often, we focus on crisis-management and behaviour-modification to attempt to make challenging behaviours “go away,” but as we know, sticker charts and reward systems do little to encourage intrinsic motivation and, furthermore, do not address the underlying problems that cause the problematic behaviours.
I sat down with Dr. Ross Greene this summer to discuss his Collaborative and Proactive Solutions model in order to learn how we can solve some of the most challenging school behaviours.
Here are some things we discuss:
- The Four Main Philosophies that guide Collaborative Proactive Solutions:
- Kids do well if they can.
- Your explanation guides your intervention.
- Be responsible to the hand you’ve been dealt.
- Challenging behaviours occur when certain demands and expectations exceed a kid’s ability to respond adaptively to their environment. It’s a method of communication.
- The Three Main “Umbrella” Lagging Skills
- Flexibility/ Adaptability
- Frustration Tolerance
- Problem Solving
- Inclusion through the lens of teaching lagging skills and taking an empathic approach to adapting to problems integrating 100% of the time within the classroom for 100% of tasks
- The Most Important Skill for an educator to lead with
- A Step-by-Step Framework to Implement CPS
- Empathy Step: Information gathering from the student- “What is hard for you about___? How does that make it hard for you to ____?”
- Define Adult Concerns: Explain and articulate adult expectations
- Invitation: Collaboration on a solution (having the student come up with some possible solutions to the problem and coming to a realistic, mutually satisfactory solution. “I wonder if there is something we can do about ____ do that you can ____? Do you have any ideas?”
- A Real World Example of CPS in Action: Dr. Greene takes us through a step-by-step example of the process
- Dr. Ross Greene answers 2 audience questions related to:
- Teen peer pressure
- School-Family Partnerships
- Dr. Ross Greene’s book recommendation: Sara Laurence Lightfoot‘s The Essential Conversation
Dr. Ross W. Greene is the author of Raising Human Beings, Lost and Found, Lost at School, and The Explosive Child. Dr. Greene was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for over twenty years, and is now founding director of the nonprofit organization Lives in the Balance (LivesintheBalance.org), through which he disseminates the model of care—now called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions—described in his books. Dr. Greene’s research has been funded by the US Department of Education, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Stanley Medical Research Institute, and the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group. He speaks widely throughout the world.
“We cannot solve problems with the same thinking that created them.”
Lives in the Balance is the non-profit organization founded by child psychologist Dr. Ross Greene, originator of the empirically supported Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) approach and New York Times bestselling author of the influential books The Explosive Child, Lost at School, Lost & Found, and Raising Human Beings.
Their vision is to foster collaboration and empathy, transform lives, and inspire change for all children (especially the most vulnerable), to heighten awareness of the detrimental and counterproductive effects of punitive interventions, and to address the systemic issues that impede our progress.
The mission of Lives in the Balance is to provide vital, accessible resources and programs to caregivers of behaviorally challenging kids; to bring the plight of these kids into the public consciousness; to address the systemic issues that cause many of these kids to slip through the cracks; and to promote parenting and disciplinary practices that foster the better side of human nature in all children. Their efforts are organized around the following initiatives:
Open Access: Through their Outreach initiatives — which include their website, their radio programs and Facebook groups, and their annual Summit — we ensure that parents, educators, mental health clinicians, and staff in restrictive therapeutic facilities have easy access to vast resources on the CPS model at little or no cost.
Lead the Change: Through their Advocacy efforts, they heighten awareness of the obsolete, counterproductive ways in which many behaviorally challenging kids are still treated; take action whenever we learn of schools and facilities that are treating kids — behaviorally challenging or not — in ways that are punitive, adversarial, and counterproductive; and provide consultation and training on non-punitive, non-adversarial, collaborative, proactive alternatives.
Fix The System: Through their proof-of-concept project — Invest in Maine’s At-Risk Kids (i-MARK) — we’re showing how a public-private partnership can eliminate many of the systemic issues that make it hard for at-risk kids and their families to access and receive the help they need. Once we’ve shown what can be done in one state, we’ll export the model to other states, provinces, and countries.
Lives in the Balance is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and your gift may qualify as a charitable deduction for federal income tax purposes. Our programs are funded by Dr. Greene and other philanthropic individuals and organizations. If you’re interested in supporting their vision and mission, please contact them by phone or by using the contact form on their website.
When we embark on a new creative venture, what often begins as a feeling of excitement can quickly transform into overwhelm.
Too often, when we express ourselves through art, take creative risks, or engage in work that challenges the status quo, self-destructive voices audibly whisper two of the following shame-fuelled messages:
“You’re not good enough.”
“Who the hell do you think you are?”
Those two powerful messages can stop us in our tracks, preventing us from sharing our story or our art with those who desperately need to hear it.
Fear masquerades as perfectionism and procrastination.
It’s a blessing to remind fellow creatives of their inherent value to the world.
Your pain points.
No one sees the world quite like you.
To be able to share your unique perspective with others is a gift.
It opens eyes.
It enables people to feel validated.
How to Be a Stellar Podcast Guest
Podcasting is the new frontier in marketing and business communication. Everyone seems to have one or want to be a guest on one. Now, it’s more important than ever to know how to hone your message so that it lands well with your desired audience. Sharing your ideas effectively is simple enough, but it helps to keep a few key elements in mind. I’d like to share a simple six-step framework I’ve learned from my own journey as a podcast host and coach, to help you do just that.
I’ve had the pleasure to experience the world of podcasting first-hand though my role as an online coach/mentor for Seth Godin’s The Podcast Fellowshipand through the creation of my own podcast, KindSight 101, a podcast where you’ll hear from world renowned educational leaders about the mobilizing power of kindness.
Alongside a handful of other incredible coaches, I’ve had the honour of mentoring hundreds of people through the process of creating a podcast that aligns with their brand, message, and the change they wish to make in the world. Since my introduction to podcasting in 2018 as a novice, I’ve had many people ask for advice about becoming a better podcast interviewee. I’d like to share 6 tips I’ve learned that will guide your success and excellence in communicating your message even more effectively as a podcast guest.
6 tips for being a stellar podcast guest:
- Singular Message:Think about your central theme or message. Can you sum it up in a sentence or less? It’s helpful to first think of your ideal audience? Can you describe an avatar that represents the ideal customer or listener? What is your product or message for? What problem are you seeking to solve with your work? If you can answer those questions eloquently and clearly, it’s likely people will sit up and take notice.
- Stories:People learn and connect to one another through narrative. Warren Buffet once said, in his annual letter to shareholders, that leadership lies in the ability to tell a good story. The best podcast guests I’ve had respond to questions by telling a story first, then zooming back out to the learning or actionable strategy. Have a few stories “in the bank” that relate to several subtopics connected to your overarching theme and story of origin. Telling a narrative makes the idea stickier and connects people more readily to your message by engaging their emotions. People are emotional beings. It is emotion that often causes people to act. If you can tell a story that motivates people to take meaningful action (buying your product, visiting your website, starting a new habit), you’ve won!
- Strategies:Have a few actionable tips related to your big idea. Often, I find that giving people a three-step system, approach, or set of guiding questions can help anchor your idea to a corresponding action. You don’t simply want to inspire people, you want to transform their lives. They can only do that if you leave them with a roadmap or some instruction about what to do once they’re inspired.
- Sales:Understand the difference between self-promotion and value creation: For some people the idea of selling one’s products or brand feels like a shameful and uncomfortable endeavour. Every successful guest I’ve spoken to believes so deeply that their message or idea will improve the lives of the audience that they confidently approach the interview from the perspective that it’s their moral imperative to shine light on it. The result? More people feel compelled to buy the book, subscribe to their blog, purchase their merch or buy their course.
- Statistics:Statistics are a helpful way to reinforce the science and rationale behind your concept. It’s a tricky balance. Stats, if overused, can put people to sleep, but harnessed properly can wake them up to a shocking reality or paint a picture worth remarking. Keep a few basic statistics in the bank related to your central theme, but always make stats come alive by comparing them to something tangible.
- Summarize: Don’t forget to summarize your main points a second time. When we are listening to audio, it sometimes takes a few repeats to let an idea sink in. According to the book How to Give a TED talk by Jeremy Donovan, people need to hear a central message approximately three times before it anchors in their minds. Having a 2-4-word mantra that summarizes the concept, helps with the stickiness of the idea. For example, in my speaking, I often tell stories that come back to my central philosophy of “small act, big impact.”
The podcasting genre has become a favourite medium for entrepreneurs, thought-leaders, and dreamers to make their mark on the world by spreading their message and networking synergistically with like-minds. These days, anyone with a message, niche market, or obscure set of skills can share their expertise through audio. Unlike YouTube, podcasting lends itself to our current multi-tasking culture. You can listen while you run. You can listen while you do menial household tasks. You can listen and transform the experience of the once-soul-crushing commute.
At the last check in June 2019, there were approximately 750,000 podcasts in existence (up from 26 percent since 2018). That number continues to grow exponentially as there are approximately 547 new podcast shows launched every day! Compared to the 25 million YouTube channels that exist, podcasting is still relatively under-developed and presents some significant opportunities for growth. According to a recent Apple survey, approximately only one in two Americans has listened to a podcast, so this number is sure to grow in the coming years.
With the growing number of enthusiastic podcast listeners, being a podcast guest is a great way to share your ideas, sell your product, promote your book, and uphold your company’s brand.
Kindness has the power to change even the toughest class!
Allie Apels is a mother of two, a wife, kindergarten teacher, and Sensei to her KINDergarten Kindness Ninjas based out of Airdrie Alberta, Canada.
She is passionate about empowering her little ninjas to become kind, contributing citizens, and change makers. With their red headbands, stealth, and sneaky skills; they’re encouraged to engage in random acts of kindness (aka. missions) and good deeds within their home, school, community, and World.
Most importantly, she focuses on teaching them how to spread kindness to themselves through mindfulness. They share their heart-warming stories with the World, in hopes to inspire others to join their movement. You can get more information on her website http://www.kindnessninjasrvs.com/, follow her on Instagram @joysofkinder or on twitter JoysofKinder @MrsApelsKinder .
I was recently listening to Oprah Winfrey’s Supersoul Conversations Podcast (which is amazing, BTW) and stumbled upon a conversation with Byron Katie about a really fascinating way that we can elongate the space between stimulus and response (a Viktor Frankel reference about the way that we can have more ownership and agency over the way we react to the challenges that life hands us).
She has a great 4-question framework that has done wonders in terms of re-thinking the worst-case scenario narratives that often start ramping up when things go sideways. I wanted to share them with YOU!
Imagine you’ve made plans with someone and you just can’t seem to get ahold of them. Perhaps, you start thinking that they are trying to avoid you or, worse, you think that something terrible has happened to them. Whatever your thought cycle, here’s a framework that can help you to dig yourself out:
- Is it true? Can I absolutely know that this is TRUTH? This is likely a story I am telling myself about what might have happened.
- How can I check that this is true? I could call. I could think back to past behaviours to see what might be in line with who this person usually is.
- How do I react when I believe this to be true? Unkind? Vengeful? Tearful? Guilty? Mind attack? Certainty-seeking? Imagining the worst?
- Who would you be without that thought? Peaceful. Trusting. Worthy. Enough. Faith-filled.
Here is a list of the 7 most important questions that enable you to evaluate whether your work is a good fit for you. These questions can help you to determine your overall job satisfaction and fulfilment. These can also help a teacher to think empathetically through the eyes of her students, when we swap the word “school” for “work” :
- Do I know what’s expected of me at work?
- Do I have the materials and the equipments I need to do my work right?
- Do I have the opportunity to do that I do best every day?
- In the last 7 days, have I received recognition or praise for good work?
- Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
- What matters to me most about work and is that aligned with my duties?
When you’ve answered these questions, it’s important to evaluate how much you have within your sphere of control to change through your actions or by simply changing your mindset. Sometimes, questions like these can also be clarifying when it comes to checking whether or not your current employment is aligned with the direction you want your life to take.