Wow, this has been quite a year, hasn’t it?
2020 included a pandemic, political chaos, fires, economic turmoil, blatant racism, sexism, transphobia, and a whole bunch of other problems. I think most people are looking forward to seeing 2020 growing distant in their rearview mirrors.
Before we sign off on this year, though, I want to look back on a few of the positives. There were a lot of eyes opened to the extent of racism and economic disparity throughout both the U.S. and Canada (other places too, but these are the countries that I’m a citizen of). There was an increased appreciation for first responders, health care workers, grocery clerks, teachers, and moms (women were disproportionally hurt both by the pandemic and the economic impact of it because they’re more likely to be nurses, grocery clerks, teachers, and the parent who had to stay home to care for children out of school or loved ones who were sick). I sincerely hope that eyes remain wide open, the appreciation lasts, and the desire to change things goes on long after the pandemic is gone.
While it’s been a challenging year for me personally (working from home since March, worried about my family and friends and the state of the world), some of the challenges and events have been good.
Within days of coming home everything started shutting down, but I had the opportunity to help a lot of professors and other instructors quickly make the shift to teaching remotely, including encouraging changes to the overall way that they teach, with several of them confirming that the while teaching from a distance isn’t idea, the changes they’re making are things they’ll want to keep even once back in the classroom.
And I launched a podcast, which turned out to be perfect timing to do so. Potential guests were staying home instead of travelling for talks or to promote new books, which meant they were available to speak with me. The 37th episode of the Better Me Podcast will go live next Monday, and it will be the last one for 2020, just as this is the last blog post for the year. Both will return in January.
Since you’re going to have so much time on your hands over the holidays, what with staying home instead of travelling, below is a list of the top ten episodes of the podcast (based on the number of downloads and excluding episodes where it was just me, no guest).
May 2021 bring you good health, happiness, friendship, and love.
Top Ten Better Me Podcast Episodes:
10) Remember Your ‘Why’ (with guest Loleen Berdahl) – How can you get through the pandemic while taking care of yourself, your family, and your team? Heather spoke with Professor Loleen Berdahl, Head of Political Studies at the University of Saskatchewan about what Berdahl sees as the key that helps her get through this while looking out for her family, her colleagues, and the students – remember “why” you’re doing it.
9) Episode 19 – Entitled to Nothing, Grateful for Everything (with Lisa Thomaidis) – For episode 19, I had the privilege of speaking with Lisa Thomaidis, coach of both the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and Canadian National Womens’ basketball teams. We talked about the tumultuous year she’s had, the reputation she and her players have for their kindness toward fans and opponents, and what it was like coaching superstar Sabine Dukate who moved from Latvia to play for Thomaidis and the Huskies.
8) Episode 30 – Leadership Self-Care and Team-Care (with guest Mary Burgess) – Good leaders care for their teams, while also taking care of themselves. Mary Burgess, the Executive Director of BCcampus, and I chatted about her leadership style and the role that’s played in supporting her team through these tumultuous times.
7) Episode 26 – Mindfulness For You and Your Family (with guest Jessica Morey) – To launch the second season of the Better Me Podcast, I was joined by Jessica Morey, co-founder of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education. We talked about a range of topics including how mindfulness can help children and young adults through these trying times, as well as helping their parents, plus the importance of self-care for people with leadership roles.
6) Episode 24 – Changing Minds and Hearts to Make the World a Better Place (with guest Heather Fenyes) – In this episode I chat with my good friend Heather Fenyes about her work through various education initiatives to foster critical thinking and civil conversations about the challenging issues the world is facing.
5) Episode 32 – Books, Books, and More Books (with guest Jennifer Diehr) – For this episode, my long-time friend Jennifer Diehr joined me again to catch up and talk about the books we’ve been reading since our previous podcast (episode 17) and what’s in our ever-growing stack of “to-reads”. I also talked about the short film and book The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. You can find the short film at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ad3CMri3hOs&feature=youtu.be
4) Episode 23 – Moving Forward When Things Go Sideways (with guest Shelby Edwards) – For this episode I had the privilege of speaking with retired U.S. Army Major and “expert on things going sideways“, Shelby Edwards. Shelby and I had a wonderful and, frankly fun conversation about how what she learned while in the military, the poetry of Mary Oliver, and dogs have been instrumental in not only helping her get through the difficult times, but also to strive to make the world a better place.
3) Episode 8 – ‘Light a Fire’ (with guest Jefferey Straker) – Award-winning singer / songwriter Jefferey Straker joined me to talk about his upcoming album, the death of his mother, and how that experience has inspired him to try to be the best person that he can be. Listen to his new song “Light A Fire” co-written and produced by Royal Wood. https://youtu.be/tTsP_cfQRVk
2) Episode 4 – Getting Past Your ‘Mego’ (with guest Ted Mouradian) – Heather sits down with author, speaker, entrepreneur, and president of The 2% Factor Inc., Ted Mouradian to talk about his Law of Cooperative Action and getting past your “mego” during these difficult times. For more information about Ted, the Law of Cooperative Action, and The 2% Factor, see the2percentfactor.com or email Ted at Ted@the2percentfactor.com
1) Episode 29 – Nothing Much Happens (with guest Kathryn Nicolai) – I had the opportunity to speak with writer and podcaster Kathryn Nicolai about her very success podcast, Nothing Much Happens, and her new book of the same name. We talked about sleep, story telling, and how knowing you’re making a difference can bring joy to you. Kathryn’s website is nothingmuchhappens.com where you can find more information about her, the podcast, and the book, as well as some stories to get you started on a good nights sleep.