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The Courageous Life Podcast
with Joshua Steinfeldt
MISSION: The aim of this podcast is simple: To begin a global conversation that offers insights, inspiring stories, and practical strategies which might empower people to tap into their courage, overcome their fear, and pursue what matters most to them in life, work, and love.
STRUCTURE: To accomplish the mission I have put together a simple structure for The Courageous Life that has 3 primary components -
Interviews with courageous thought leaders in diverse fields that include but are not limited to: positive psychology, mindfulness, coaching, healthcare, leadership, social activism, education, athletics, and more.
Profiles in courage - or what I am calling the "everyday heroes" segment of the show. There will be episodes with a variety of individuals who have demonstrated profound acts of courage in the face of a wide range of challenges or adversities.
An emphasis on practical tools and strategies for overcoming doubts and fears, and for navigating uncertainty.
TEAM: I would like to send out a huge thank you to the incredibly talented Matt Donner who created and composed the original music for the Courageous Life and who acts as the Executive Producer for the show. To learn more about Matt, his work, or services he offers please visit www.mattdonner.com
I would also like to express gratitude to world renowned photographer Chris McLennan and his wife for generously donating the original photo we are using as the background image for the Courageous Life Podcast logo and for their encouragement to make this project happen. For more about Chris and his amazing work click here
SUPPORT THE SHOW: The Courageous Life Podcast has taken hundreds of hours of dedication, and hard work to make happen. I remain passionate about the mission, and hope to continue to make episodes for a long time to come. With your help, I have no doubt this is a realistic goal. If you find this project valuable and would like to support what we are doing there are a few ways you can help
Donate - click on the donate now button below and you will be taken directly to our donation page. Every little bit helps!
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Thupten Jinpa holds his Ph.D. from Cambridge University and has been the principal English translator to the Dalai Lama since 1985. He has translated and collaborated on numerous books by the Dalai Lama including the New York Times Bestsellers Ethics for the New Millennium and The Art of Happiness. He is also the author of A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives and is the main author of Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) developed for Stanford University in 2009.
In this conversation -
How compassion differs from empathy
How compassion can be trained and the some of the neuroscience behind it
What Jinpa has learned about compassion from the Dalai Lama
How compassion training may be the next big wave (particularly in healthcare settings) after mindfulness
How compassion may be able to help bring us together, overcome tribalism and decrease polarization
Mark Nepo is a world renowned poet, story teller, teacher, New York Times best-selling author and past guest on Oprah Winfrey’s: Super Soul Sunday. In this episode we sat down to explore many topics from his teachings, his life, and his new book, More Together Than Alone, including:
Loneliness and it’s antidote
Building community, connection, and belonging
Mark’s creative process and how he approaches writing
Mark’s journey with cancer and how that has impacted his life and his work
Courage and compassion
In this episode - Author, renowned meditation teacher, and Senior Director of the NYU Global and Spiritual Life Center, Yael Shy, and I sat down to discuss:
Mindfulness (what it is, and why many people practice)
How mindfulness and meditation can support people as they navigate major life transitions (like going to college, starting a career, becoming a parent, etc)
Why mindfulness can be considered a form of courage
How meditation can help with challenges and difficulties including strong emotions, and feelings of anxiety
More topics out of her outstanding new book: What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond
Background: Yael is the Senior Director of the NYU Global Spiritual Life Center and the NYU 'Of Many' Institute for Multifaith and Spiritual Leadership, as well as the Founder and Director of MindfulNYU, the largest campus-wide mindfulness initiative in the country. She teaches regularly at MNDFL in NYC and is a sought after speaker, teacher, and writer on meditation, interfaith engagement and spirituality. She is the author of the award-winning book, What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond(Parallax, November 2017).
Drs. James and Janice Prochaska, and I, sat down to discuss a wide variety of topics related to their new book, Changing to Thrive:
How we can successfully make changes in our lives, around our health, or in our work that we may have put off, or struggled with in the past
Overcoming fear and other obstacles that hold us back from changing
How to skillfully support people as they go through the process of change
James O. Prochaska is Director of Cancer Prevention Research Center and Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Rhode Island. He is the author of over 400 publications, including four books, Changing to Thrive, Changing for Good, Systems of Psychotherapy, and The Transtheoretical Approach. Additionally, Dr. Prochaska is internationally recognized for his work as a developer of the stage model of behavior change and is the founder of Pro-Change Behavior Systems. He has also recently been recognized as one of the top three most preeminent clinical psychologists. For more about James or Janice Prochaska please visit www.jprochaska.com
One of the most published authors in the field of social work, Dr. Janice M. Prochaska has led research and development teams for health behavior and organizational change programs as the CEO at Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc. from 1997 – 2015. Her collaborations include applying the Model to cutting edge issues like simultaneously reducing multiple risk behaviors and enhancing multiple domains of well-being, healthy weight management in children and adults, preventing bullying, keeping individuals out of trouble with the law, and advancing careers with populations like women scientists.
In this episode I sat down with Professional Coach, Peace Corps Volunteer, Entrepreneur, and Storyteller, Lisa Daron. Lisa has set off on a mission she calls "The Connection Cure" to see if she can heal herself from chronic illness by traveling across the country and forming meaningful moments of connection with people she meets along the way. For more on The Connection Cure please visit www.theconnectioncure.com
Lisa Daron Grossman has been a practicing certified Professional Coach from the Coaches Training Institute and the International Coaches Federation since 2010. She is a practitioner of Positive Psychology, holds her MFA in Creative Nonfiction writing, BA in Anthropology, and a certificate in Mind-Body Medicine. As a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Lisa draws on fifteen years of learning and experience working with non-profits and NGOs in the public health and arts sectors of Swaziland.
Prior to working as a coach Lisa worked with storytelling as a documentary filmmaker, a copywriter for the Smithsonian channel, a New York City tour guide, and a professional team builder for over ten years.
Lisa is currently living on the road full-time.
Alison Canavan is an award winning author of wellness book “Minding Mum”, a health and wellness coach, Master NLP Practioner, motivational speaker and mindfulness facilitator. Having travelled the world as one of Ireland’s most successful international models for nearly two decades, in recent years she has devoted her time to her greatest passion: true health and wellbeing.
Helping people to join the dots with their health and wellbeing is Alison’s primary goal and passion. Her interest in nutrition began in 2009 when she started studying Fitness Nutrition Coaching under NESTA (National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association), in the United States. She graduated with distinction in Nutrition and Health Coaching from Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health (IINH). She holds an Advanced Diploma in Diet and Nutrition therapeutics. She is currently continuing her studies in mindfulness at UCLA.
Alison has become a highly sought after motivational speaker, regularly being invited to deliver talks and workshops on health, wellbeing, meditation, mental health and sobriety at conferences, festivals and events for both the general public and corporate clients. She spoke at The Mindful Life Conference in Washington in April 2017. She has lectured in Trinity College on the module of Motherhood and Mental Health. She also delivers talks on stress in the workplace to CEO’s and business leaders across the country.
Alison has a weekly wellness column called ‘NIRVANA’ in The Sunday Independent in Ireland and a column in Positive Life Magazine. She has contributed to numerous publications through the years including You Magazine, VIP Magazine, The Daily Mail and many more. She is also a regular contributor to radio and TV shows. For more on Alison visit www.alisoncanavan.com
Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology in 1973 and has lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions and medical centers around the world. She received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, was an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University, and was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress.
She is Director of the Project on Being with Dying, and Founder of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. She is also founder of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal.
A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and founder of Prajna Mountain Buddhist Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on engaged Buddhism. She is the author of multiple books, with the most recent being: Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet.
James Doty, MD, is a clinical professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University School of Medicine. CCARE is a research center that examines the neuroscience of compassion and altruism collaborating with Stanford colleagues in neuroscience and psychology, as well as throughout the world. He trained in neurosurgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and completed fellowships in pediatric neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia (CHOP). He also spent 9 years on active duty service in the U.S. Army Medical Corp. Dr. Doty is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart that has been translated to over 30 languages. He is also the senior editor of the Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science and Presently is developing collaborative research projects to assess the effect of compassion training on immune function and other physiologic determinates of health, the use of mentoring as a method of instilling compassion in students and the use of compassion training to decrease pain. His work has been quoted in a variety of publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. He speaks frequently throughout the world on the science of compassion. For more about Dr. Doty go here.
Leah Weiss, Ph.D., MSW, is a teacher, researcher, and meditation expert at Stanford University specializing in the application of mindfulness and compassion in secular contexts. Her perennially waitlisted course at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Leading with Mindfulness and Compassion, is breaking new ground in an MBA program already famous for innovation. In 2015, she was given the role of Women in Management Facilitator at Stanford business school. As Principal Teacher and Trainer for Stanford’s Compassion Cultivation Training program, founded by the Dalai Lama, Leah developed the curriculum to train more teachers to meet a growing interest in compassion as it applies to people’s work, family, community, and selves. Her first book, How We Work, has recently been released. In addition to her wide range of speaking and consulting work for leading organizations and healthcare settings, Leah also works with the Department of Veterans Affairs, where she teaches mindfulness and compassion to help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress, and to help VA staff around the Bay Area cope with the stress of their jobs helping veterans. For more on Leah go here.
Daniel Lerner is an in-demand speaker, author, strengths-based performance coach and instructor of the science of happiness, one of the most popular undergraduate courses at New York University. Employing cutting-edge research into positive psychology and peak performance, Dan works with students, established and high-potential performing artists, athletes and numerous Fortune 500 companies and executives around the world helping them manage stress and anxiety, achieve well-being, uncover their core strengths and define and realize their own brand of success. With a deep passion for helping the next generation of talent achieve their utmost potential, Dan, along with his co-author and teaching partner Dr. Alan Schlechter, penned U Thrive: How to Succeed in College (and Life). For more on Dan visit www.daniellerner.com
Sharon Salzberg is a central figure in the field of meditation, a world-renowned teacher, and New York Times best-selling author. She has played a crucial role in bringing meditation and mindfulness practices to the West and into mainstream culture since 1974, when she first began teaching. She is the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts and the author of ten books including the New York Times best-seller, Real Happiness, her seminal work,Lovingkindness, and, Real Love, her latest release by Flatiron Books. Acclaimed for her humorous, down-to-earth teaching style, Sharon offers a secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them instantly accessible. She is a regular columnist for On Being, a contributor to Huffington Post, and the host of her own podcast: The Metta Hour. For more on Sharon visit www.sharonsalzberg.com
Mike Erwin is the CEO of The Character & Leadership Center and co-founder & president of the Positivity Project - a non-profit organization with the mission to empower America’s youth to build stronger relationships. He is the co-author of Lead Yourself First by Bloomsbury Press (2017). The book focuses on how solitude strengthens people’s character---and their ability to lead with clarity, balance and conviction. Mike is also a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, assigned to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he serves as an Assistant Professor in Leadership & Psychology.
While in graduate school at the University of Michigan in 2010, Mike founded a non-profit organization named Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB). Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activity. Team RWB has 138,000 members and 212 chapters across the world.
Emily Esfahani Smith is a journalist and the author of The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed With Happiness. Her articles and essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Criterion, and other publications.
The former managing editor of The New Criterion, Smith is also an editor at the Stanford University's Hoover Institution, where she advises the Ben Franklin Circles project, a collaboration with the 92nd Street Y and Citizen University to build meaning in local communities.
Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. His books are available in 26 languages and include Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture. His latest book, Resilient, is due out in 2018. A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, he’s been an invited speaker at Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, and other major universities, and taught in meditation centers worldwide. In 2016 he gave a keynote address at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association. His work has been featured on the BBC, CBS, NPR, and other major media. His free offerings include the Just One Thing newsletter (over 120,000 subscribers), Buddha’s Brain Facebook (over 650,000 likes), and Being Well podcast. His online Foundations of Well-Being program helps people use positive neuroplasticity to grow key inner strengths like resilience, self-worth, and compassion, and anyone with financial need can do it for free.
Through executive education Johann Berlin is committed to harnessing people's passions by strengthening the connection individuals, teams and organizations have to themselves, to each other, and toward greater shared purpose. Prior to joining TLEX Institute, Johann scaled boutique triple bottom line and social sector companies from concept to high-impact with a special focus on: innovative and disruptive wellness, leadership, innovation initiatives with projects being mentioned in Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Psychology Today, Washington Post and Wharton School Of Business Journal. Johann has given talks at places like: TEDx London, GE HealthCare, Stanford Center for Compassion, Microsoft, Intuit, Shell, AMEX, Amazon, and the Wharton School of Business, among others. He also is a writing contributor for Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Virgin Unite, Real Leaders, Thrive Global, and the Huffington Post. For more on Johann visit: http://tlexinstitute.com
Dr. Fred Luskin is the author of multiple books, including the bestseller, Forgive For Good. He is also the Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects, an ongoing series of workshops and research projects that investigate the effectiveness of his forgiveness methods on a variety of populations. The forgiveness project has successfully explored forgiveness therapy with people who suffered from the violence in Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone as well as the attacks on the World Trade Center during 9/11. In addition, his work has been successfully applied and researched in corporate, medical, legal and religious settings. He currently serves as a Senior Consultant in Health Promotion at Stanford University and offers lectures, workshops, seminars and trainings on the importance, health benefits and training of forgiveness, stress management and emotional competence throughout the United States. For more on Dr. Luskin visit: learningtoforgive.com
Dr. Judson Brewer is a thought leader in the field of habit change and the “science of self-mastery”, having combined over 20 years of experience with mindfulness training with his scientific research therein. He is the Chief of the Division of Mindfulness, Director of Research at the Center for Mindfulness and associate professor in medicine and psychiatry at UMass Medical School. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, trained US Olympic coaches, and his work has been featured on 60 Minutes, TED (4th most viewed talk of 2016, with over 8 Million views), Time magazine (top 100 new health discoveries of 2013), Forbes, BBC, NPR), Businessweek and others. A psychiatrist and internationally known expert in mindfulness training for addictions, Brewer has developed and tested novel mindfulness programs for habit change, including both in-person and app-based treatments for smoking, emotional eating, and anxiety. He is the author of The Craving Mind: from cigarettes to smartphones to love, why we get hooked and how we can break bad habits. For more on Dr. Brewer visit: www.judsonbrewer.com
ep. 08: Miracle messages and using social media as a force for good - an interview with kevin adler
Kevin Adler is the Founder and CEO of Miracle Messages, an award-winning nonprofit that reunites the homeless with their loved ones. To date, MM has facilitated over 100 reunions, with 25% getting a person off-the-streets. Their vision is to reunite 1 million people by 2023. For his work, Kevin has been named a TED Resident, TED Speaker, MassChallenge winner, and "Emerging Innovator" by American Express / Ashoka. Miracle Messages has been featured widely, including in the New York Times, NPR, People, on a Shinola billboard in Times Square, and NowThis, whose video reached 26 million views. As a speaker, Kevin has given talks at TED, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Occidental, Singularity University, Microsoft, and Zappos, to name a few. For more on Kevin check out kevinfadler.com
ep. 07: unlocking creativity and the courage to be authentic - an interview with dr. scott barry kaufman
Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, is an author, researcher, speaker, and public science communicator who is interested in using psychological science to help all kinds of minds live a creative, fulfilling, and meaningful life. He is a professor of positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and author and/or editor of 7 books, including Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined and Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind (with Carolyn Gregoire). His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and Harvard Business Review, and he writes a blog at Scientific American called Beautiful Minds. Kaufman is also host of The Psychology Podcast.
ep. 06: tragedy to triumph: The power of posttraumatic growth - an interview with dr. joyce mikal-flynn
Dr. Joyce Mikal-Flynn received her BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing) from University of San Francisco, her FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner) from University of California, Davis, and her MSN (Master’s of Science in Nursing) from California State University, Sacramento. Her Doctor of Education was completed in 2007 at St. Mary’s College, Moraga. She is CEO of Metahab.com and an associate professor at Sacramento State University teaching courses in: Neuroscience and Traumatology. Her system of recovery and rehabilitation, MetaHabilitation©, guides survivors and families toward posttraumatic growth (PTG) and is currently utilized in veteran and oncology programs, individuals with chronic pain, addiction and dependency and in private practices. Her work is presented internationally and nationally. Multiple publications include her book, Turning Tragedy Into Triumph. Metahabilitation; A Contemporary Model of Rehabilitation. For more on Dr. Mikal-Flynn go here.
ep. 05: mindfulness and the courage to move into discomfort - an interview with cory muscara
Cory Muscara is on a life-long journey to understand the causes and conditions that lead to suffering and wellbeing. As founder of the Long Island Center for Mindfulness, Cory's work is primarily in the field of mindfulness meditation. In 2012, he spent 6 months in silence practicing Vipassana meditation as a Buddhist monk in Burma under the instruction of Sayadaw U Pandita. Cory currently serves as faculty at Columbia Teachers College where he teaches mindfulness to school leaders from across the country, and is also an assistant instructor for the Master of Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He offers keynotes, mindfulness training and mindfulness-based leadership consulting to businesses, schools and healthcare systems, and is a regular guest on the Dr. Oz show in the topic of mindfulness meditation. You can learn more about Cory here
ep. 04: Courage, Happiness, and purpose-driven cultures - an interview with sunny Grosso
Sunny Grosso is a happiness consultant, a Zappos culture specialist, and a thought leader in the culture movement. She helped found the Delivering Happiness consulting team where she co-built the model, developed the approach and led the coaching team. Passionate about creating positive work cultures, she travels the world speaking, coaching and consulting on sustainable culture building. She brings an informed, lively brand of energy to her clients, focused on revealing and transforming their best authentic culture from the individual to the team to the organizational level.
ep. 03: The science of courage and overcoming fear - an interview with cindy pury, ph d.
Cindy Pury sits on the faculty at Clemson University where she is a professor of psychology and serves as an undergraduate coordinator. Trained as both a clinical psychologist and a researcher, Cindy started out with an interest in studying cognition and fear, looking specifically at threat appraisals. In 2003 Cindy began to wonder about whether there was a different way people might cope when faced with threats. This led to her work to better understand courage from an empirical standpoint. Cindy is now one of the world's leading thinkers on the science of courage. In conjunction with Shane Lopez, she co-edited the first major book on the psychology of courage which compiled leading scientific and philosophical underpinnings of this ancient virtue. She was also instrumental in bringing together the first courage summit in 2007. An event sponsored by the American Psychological Association that brought together researches to discuss the topic. Cindy has also published a number of peer reviewed scientific journal articles on the subject of courage. You can find out more about Cindy here
ep. 02: Peak performance, mental toughness, & lessons in leadership - an interview with paddy steinfort
Paddy Steinfort is the founder of Toughness.com and a performance coach to elite athletes. A former professional athlete himself, Paddy stayed in the world of elite performance after his playing days ended, serving as a physiotherapist, coach, and manager for a variety of professional football teams in Australia. Through these experiences he saw a huge need to help talented people on the human side of performance and decided to enroll in the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. Under the guidance of Dr. Angela Duckworth, he ran research on performers. Specifically looking at how to train and shape environments to help these individuals handle stress better. He has since provided performance improvement program design and coaching for teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA Division 1 Football. Paddy also authored the bestselling book Breakfast With Bails - What a Dying Coach Taught Me About Life, Learning, and Leadership. For more on Paddy go here
ep. 01: overcoming adversity, sisu, and a 1500 mile run to end the silence around abuse - an interview with emilia Lahti
Emilia Lahti, MsC, MAPP, is a doctoral candidate at the Aalto University School of Science and Technology in Helsinki. She is passionate about action research, social justice, and unearthing new, innovative ways to apply scientific knowledge to solve humanity's grand challenges. She holds master's degrees in social psychology (University of Tampere, Finland) and applied positive psychology (MAPP, University of Pennsylvania) and is an alumna of the Singularity University Global Solutions Program located at NASA Ames Research Park in California. Under the guidance of Dr. Angela Duckworth, Emilia completed her master's thesis on the Finnish construct of 'sisu'. She is also the founder of the Finnish Positive Psychology Association. To find out more about Emilia, her mission, or how to support the SISU Not Silence campaign check out www.emilialahti.com