Erica Keswin—Rituals Roadmap: The Human Way to Transform Everyday Routines Into Workplace Magic, Working with Executives and Leaders, Grounding Practices, and More (#171)

Good things happen when people connect”. Purpose has to be actualized in every day to day work.

Erica Keswin is a workplace strategist who has worked for the past twenty years with some of the most iconic brands in the world as a consultant, speaker, author, and professional dot-connector. Her bestselling book, Bring Your Human to Work: Ten Sure-Fire Ways to Design a Workplace That’s Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World, was published by McGraw-Hill in the fall of 2018. Her second book, Rituals Roadmap: The Human Way to Transform Everyday Routines Into Workplace Magic (McGraw-Hill), was published in January 2021 and made the Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly and USA Today best seller lists.

Erica’s work and insights can be seen in various media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, NY Post, Forbes, Huffington Post, O Magazine, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Mogul, Conscious Company, Quartz, and Fast Company.

Recent keynotes, workshops, and webinars (virtual and IRL) include the American Red Cross, SXSW, TIAA, IBM, New York Times, HighTower Associates, AllianceBernstein, Standard Industries, Banfield Pet Hospital, and Radio Flyer. Erica was named one of Marshall Goldsmith’s Top 100 Coaches in 2020, as well as one of Business Insider’s most innovative coaches of 2020.

Please enjoy!

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher ,or on your favorite platform.

This podcast is brought to you by Newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!

Connect with Erica:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter

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Books by Erica:

Continue reading “Erica Keswin—Rituals Roadmap: The Human Way to Transform Everyday Routines Into Workplace Magic, Working with Executives and Leaders, Grounding Practices, and More (#171)”

Monique Russell — Short Advice, Experiences, and Wisdom From The Best In The World

I crafted a list of 10 life’s philosophical questions that I wanted to answer for myself. I thought—what would it look like if I ask the same set of questions to the best in the world from the different domain—so that I can learn from them—what they do, how they think on the same questions, and much more! 

This post highlights my conversation with Monique Russell on such questions.

Monique Russell is an executive coach, leadership guru, communication expert, and the founder of Clear Communication Solutions. She comes from a long line of educators in her family. Keeping in line with her desire to be on the big stage, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism.  She went back for two Masters of Science, one in Public Relations and the other in Advertising.

She’s an excellent communication consultant and coach, that’s why she’s ready to guide you with her gifts so you too can be a confident and clear communicator. This is how Clear Communication Solutions was born.

Organizations like CDC, Google, Salesforce, Verizon, Equifax, OSHA, FEMA, Chambers of Commerce, business owners, and faith-based organizations trust her to help them foster courage, creativity, and leadership. You can too.

Connect with Monique: Website | LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Please enjoy this conversation with Monique!

Nishant Garg: What books—or even movies and documentaries—would you recommend to someone who want to live a meaningful life? What books have you gifted the most, and why?

Monique Russell: The Success Principles by Jack Canfield is a book I highly recommend to anyone who wants to live a meaningful life. I have gifted this book many times, and I remember when I first started reading it years ago — my mother and I actually read it together. I’d read out loud each chapter and when a concept was so deep we would simply start talking about it right away. It was so invigorating for both of us because as we read we were able to discuss the principles together. This book helps you to realize how much in control of your decisions and life you are. You are left feeling inspired and empowered to take responsibility for your life. Since then, my mother has become a certified Jack Canfield trainer and teaches the principles often. 

Nishant Garg: What does your first 60 to 90 minutes in the morning look like? What are your specific rituals on a regular basis?

Monique Russell: The morning is most important for me to prime my mind. Before I get out of bed I begin a practice of gratitude, thinking and saying all the things I am grateful for out loud. I start with my bed, my pillow, the good night’s sleep I had, my family, my health, and so on. Then, I execute my affirmations playlist that consists of 3 to 4 regular different sets of affirmations I listen to regularly. Sometimes I will repeat them or I will listen to it silently with my eyes closed. Then, I get up, make my bed, and take a shower. I drink 8 oz of water and take a multi-vitamin. Then, I make myself the first cup of tea. It used to be coffee, but I successfully transitioned to tea four years ago. I take my tea with me to my desk and pray. Then, I get out my journal and begin to free write. Once I am done with those steps, I am ready to start my work day. I look at the list of tasks from the night before if I wrote them out, and begin working whether I am coaching, training, being interviewed, or developing strategies for my clients. 

People often ask me how I can be so positive so early in the morning and this is why. By the time I meet with the first person in the day, I am literally on cloud 9. This morning routine is so important to me because if I jump into my day without prepping and priming my mind, I find that my frustration level heightens more easily. 

Nishant Garg: You have interacted with many successful people over the years — what have you found are the most beneficial exercises that people really feel have changed their lives for the better?

Monique Russell: The people I consider to be successful are those that have been able to work in their strength zones, build great relationships, and have time to enjoy life while being in a good financial position. When I assess and speak with some of these persons, I have observed 4 exercises that help them change their lives for the better:

  • An ability to implement daily discipline no matter how small the task is. They make their practice of discipline almost second nature like breathing.
  • Actively and intentionally nurture relationships. Nurturing their relationships is considered a critical business task and they treat it as such. This means proactively scheduling time to spend time with, connect and celebrate those that fill their cup, and vice versa.
  • Consistently engage in exercise or some form of physical activity. This could be walking, running, lifting weights, hiking, dancing, rock climbing etc.
  • Invest in their mind with therapy and/or coaching. Every one of these individuals had the realization that they were their biggest asset and as such, they invested in maximizing their mental capacity and faculties with facilitated thinking.
Continue reading “Monique Russell — Short Advice, Experiences, and Wisdom From The Best In The World”

Denise Shull — The Role of Emotions in Decision Making, Resolving Mental Blocks, Performance Coach to Professional Athletes, Understanding the Feelings, Experiencing Peak Performance, and More (#169)

“Every performance improvement anyone can want is on the other side of a better approach to the so-called negative emotions.”

“If you keep considering feelings your enemy, you are war with yourself. If you embrace your emotions as information, they become much more friendly. You actually reduce the odds of acting on them by making them explicit or conscious.”

Denise Shull is the CEO and Lead Performance Coach at the human performance and decision-making consultancy, The ReThink Group Inc. Leveraging her unique combination of expertise in Neuroeconomics and Modern Psychoanalysis she has developed The Shull Method™ a unique approach to mental skills which prioritizes emotion in the pursuit of peak performance and the resolution of psychological roadblocks.

After working at IBM, Ms. Shull’s Wall Street career began in 1994 when she traded at one of the first E-trading firms in Chicago. She moved to Schonfeld Securities before being invited to run a desk in NYC in 1997. She founded ReThink in 2003 and continued to trade financial futures through her membership at the Chicago Board of Trade through 2009.

Her 2012 book, Market Mind Games: A Radical Psychology of Investing, Trading and Risk has been reviewed as the “best of its genre” and a “veritable Rosetta Stone of trading psychology.” In 2015, Shull was invited to consult with the writers on Showtime’s drama BILLIONS and in 2016 Bloomberg Tradebook released the Trader Brain Exercise based on ReThink’s IP. In 2017, Shull and ReThink delivered HEADSx, a robust talent assessment tool used by select hedge funds to hire exceptional talent. In 2018, her work with Olympian Lindsey Jacobellis was featured in the New York Times.

A highly engaging speaker, Shull has delivered talks at NASCAR’s Hendrick MotorSports, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, MIT, US Ski and Snowboard Association, Harvard Business School, CFA Societies and Leaders in Sport among others. In 2019, Shull is featured on REAL VISION – the disruptive financial TV start-up. She has also appeared on CNBC’s Halftime Report and Squawk Box both in the US and Asia. FORBES, WSJ, FT, Bloomberg Markets, and New York Times’ Dealbook have run profiles on her while FOX Business, Bloomberg, Cavuto, PBS and The Discovery Channel have also invited her commentary.

She holds a Master of Arts in neuropsychoanalysis (1995) from The University of Chicago. Her thesis research, “The Neurobiology of Freud’s Theory of the Repetition Compulsion,” was republished in 2003 in the Annals of Modern Psychoanalysis and was cited in 2013 as one of the first papers written in neuropsychoanalysis. She is also a 2009 alumnus of Harvard’s Kennedy School Executive Education program, Investment Decisions and Behavioral Finance.

Get her book Market Mind Games: A Radical Psychology of Investing, Trading and Risk

Please enjoy!

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or on your favorite platform.

Also available to listen on YouTube

This podcast is brought to you by Newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!

Connect with Denise:

Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Book: Market Mind Games: A Radical Psychology of Investing, Trading and Risk

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Continue reading “Denise Shull — The Role of Emotions in Decision Making, Resolving Mental Blocks, Performance Coach to Professional Athletes, Understanding the Feelings, Experiencing Peak Performance, and More (#169)”

Raj Sisodia on Wholeness and Healing, Spiritual Journey in the Himalayas, Mind Maps for Writing, Ayahuasca Experience, Feminine and Masculine Energy, Conscious Capitalism, and More (#159)

It is one thing to awaken. It is another thing to remain awake.

– Raj

Raj Sisodia was born in India and spent parts of his childhood in Barbados, California and Canada. He was educated as an electrical engineer from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS, Pilani). He pursued an MBA in Marketing from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies in Mumbai after which he earned a Ph.D. in Marketing and Business Policy from Columbia University.

Until 1998, he was the Director of Executive Programs and Associate Professor of Marketing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. From 1985 to 1988, he was Assistant Professor of Marketing at Boston University.

He also spent 15 years at Bentley University as Trustee Professor of Marketing, Department Chair and founder/director of the Center for Marketing Technology. Raj is a trustee of Conscious Capitalism Inc. and a member of the board of directors of The Container Store. He has consulted with and taught executive programs for numerous companies, including AT&T, Nokia, LG, DPDHL, POSCO, Kraft Foods, Whole Foods Market, Tata, Siemens, Sprint, Volvo, IBM, Walmart, Rabobank, McDonalds and Southern California Edison.

Raj is an American citizen residing in Boston, Massachusetts. Raj has published ten books and over 100 academic articles. His work has been featured in the Wall Street journal, The New York Times, Fortune, Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe,CNBC and many other media outlets.

Please enjoy!

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or on your favorite platform.

Also, you can listen on YouTube

This podcast is brought to you by Newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!

Connect with Raj:

Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | Conscious Capitalism

Download Audio:

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Book Mentioned:

People Mentioned:

Show Notes:

  • Could you tell us the meaning of your first name to our listeners?
  • Could you share one of your memorable childhood moments?
  • You lived abroad between the age of 7 and 12 and then moved back to India, how was the culture shock for you and how did you adapt to the changing environments?
  • Did you have a good relationship with your father?
  • Blend of Feminine and Masculine energy
  • You mentioned that your dad wanted to you to be something else. What was that?
  • How do you find the balance between loving and striving to have more in your own personal life and personal relationships?
  • What are the concrete practices you have in an everyday life to cultivate more of healthy masculinity and be more self aware and awakened?
  • You went for a shamanic experience, you also went to a silent retreat in upstate New York. And then you also went to a spiritual journey in the Himalayas. When was it? Could you double click on all of these experiences and share with us?
  • what does healing mean to now?
  • When you were going through the spiritual awakening and multiple dimensions of healing, what was your inner voice at that time? What were you telling yourself? Any self-talk that you remember?
  • What do you do in the first 60 to 90 minutes of your waking up in the morning?
  • Writing process
  • Could you give us a small concrete example of mind mapping that you have used recently in your writing?
  • Not everybody can have access to you and Michael Gelb. So could you tell us some resources on mind mapping that we can go and learn more about it?
  • You have coauthored a lot of your books with other amazing writers? So are there some principles, rules, structure, frameworks to write a book with another human being?
  • What did Michael tell you to just trust your instincts?
  • What do you mean by words coming from soul versus words coming from the consciousness?
  • Why Jag Sheth is your mentor and what qualities does he have that you seek him as your mentor?
  • what is the specific impact you want to leave on this world?
  • And, much more


The Nishant Garg Show:

This show is about helping you live a fulfilled life and my job on this show is to sit with the world class experts to extract the practices, routines and habits to help you live a fulfilled and abundant life. For any question, please contact me.

If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me. Subscribe to the Newsletter. You won’t be spammed! I hate spams too! You will receive only one email every Friday on the latest published podcasts.

If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in growing this little show. I also love reading reviews! Instructions are: a)If you’re on an iPhone, simply scroll down to “Reviews” inside the Podcasts app. b) If you’re on a desktop, click on “Listen on Apple Podcasts” under “The Nishant Garg Show.” Once inside iTunes, click on “Ratings and Reviews” and you’re set.

Cindy Vuu — Meeting with Dalai Lama, Foundation of Happiness, Living a Good Life, Interdependence and Impermanence, and More (#155)

Cindy Vuu — Meeting with Dalai Lama, Foundation of Happiness, Living a Good Life, Interdependence and Impermanence, and More (#155)

The state of mind of the wine drinker has a lot more to do with the enjoyment of the wine than the wine itself.”

-Cindy

Cindy Vuu is the CEO of an 8000 employees company Bitis, it’s a national heritage footwear brand in Vietnam. The brand is so well-known there that nearly all Vietnamese have likely worn Bitis shoes at some point in their lives. Cindy also is known for driving the successful comeback of company amidst the fierce foreign brand competition. Much of this comeback is attributed to the marketing campaign of the Bitis Hunter line in 2017. By collaborating with massive Vietnamese musical artist and promoting a message seeped in mindfulness and connection, the initiative transformed the brand back up to its current top spot as Vietnam’s #1 footwear company.   Cindy is passionate for shoes. She also loves to contribute & create a happy, loving, compassionate and green community.

Please enjoy!

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or on your favorite platform

This podcast is brought to you by Newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!

Connect with Cindy:

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Download Audio:

Stream the audio here

Download this audio by right click and choose “save as”

Book Mentioned:

People Mentioned:

Resources that helped me in the preparation

Show Notes:

  • How do you pronounce your name in Vietnamese?
  • When did he go to Canada to study and what subjects did you study?
  • Why do you recommend these two books – The Art of happiness and Old path white cloud?
  • Could you share a story of your struggle before reading the book – the art of happiness?
  • What did you learn or could you share any conversation with Dalai Lama? And, how did you meet him?
  • Would you mind describing the law of interdependence?
  • Could you describe impermanence and its role in the arena of Buddhism?
  • Your husband died and I’m sorry to hear that. Are you comfortable talking about what happened and how did you deal with the circumstances and grief process?
  • How do you practice unconditional love?
  • Do you have any advice to our listeners to practice unconditional love? How can we practice more of this?
  • Could you guide us about your journaling process? Is it based on some set of questions or free flow?
  • Difference between mindfulness and mindfulness meditation?
  • Could you tell us some of the resources on the internet or in the form of books to really get us started on meditation?
  • The holiness, Dalai Lama says that the purpose of life is to be happy. They have attained that level of enlightenment but for common people like you and me and others, how do we get to that level? Or how do we understand the basic foundation of happiness?
  • What makes a good life? What could be the basics of living a good life?
  • What is it like to live in Vietnam in terms of culture, society, food?
  • You are the CEO of a footwear brand company bitis. And you are talking about the challenges and the fun part. Could you share any example of your recent challenges in this company?
  • Being the CEO of a 8,000 employees company – how did you deal with your own mental health and state of mind during COVID?
  • What are your roles and responsibilities as the CEO? What does a normal day look like in your professional world?
  • What are the misconceptions that people have about the roles and responsibilities of a CEO of a successful company?
  • How do you deal with criticism and negative feedback?
  • What is the right way to give feedback?
  • and much more

The Nishant Garg Show:

This show is about helping you live a fulfilled life and my job on this show is to sit with the world class experts to extract the practices, routines and habits to help you live a fulfilled and abundant life. For any question, please contact me.

If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me. Subscribe to the Newsletter. You won’t be spammed! I hate spams too! You will receive only one email every Friday on the latest published podcasts.

If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in growing this little show. I also love reading reviews! Instructions are: a)If you’re on an iPhone, simply scroll down to “Reviews” inside the Podcasts app. b) If you’re on a desktop, click on “Listen on Apple Podcasts” under “The Nishant Garg Show.” Once inside iTunes, click on “Ratings and Reviews” and you’re set.

Jeremy Hunter on The Quality of Life and Attention, Meaningful and Engaged Life, Why Moments Matter, Japan Bathing Culture, and More (#152)

“I tell my Japanese friends all the time, you can’t digitize a bathtub.”

“Use your daily life as a place of practice.”

“You cannot manage other people unless you manage yourself first.”

-Jeremy

Jeremy Hunter, PhD is the great-grandson of a sumo wrestler. He serves as the Founding Director of the Executive Mind Leadership Institute as well as Associate Professor of Practice at the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management. For over a decade, he has helped leaders develop themselves while retaining their humanity in the face of monumental change and challenge. He created and teaches The Executive Mind, a series of demanding and transformative executive education programs. They are dedicated to Drucker’s assertion that “You cannot manage other people unless you manage yourself first.”

He co-leads the Leading Mindfully Executive Education program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He has designed and led leadership development programs for a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 200 aerospace, Fortune 50 banking and finance, accounting, the arts and civic non-profits. Program impacts have lead to both positive professional, personal and financial outcomes for participants. Past participants have worked to create a “culture of calm” resulting in more effective team performance as well as creating better firm-wide solutions. They were better able to focus on their priorities, connect with team members, and focus on larger strategic priorities. They learned to control emotions they previously thought not possible to do. For example, better-managed reactions with a volatile client saved an aerospace executive an estimated $700,000 in unexercised contract clauses. Participants also reported a higher quality of sleep as well as greater peace of mind and enhanced ability to enjoy their lives.

Hunter has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. He has been voted Professor of the Year five times. His work is informed by the experience of living day-to-day for 17 years with a potentially terminal illness. When faced with the need for life-saving surgery more than a dozen former students came forward as organ donors.

Dr. Hunter received his Ph.D. from University of Chicago, under the direction of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. He also holds a degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and in East Asian Studies from Wittenberg University. He relishes Chinese dumplings and obsesses about modern architecture. He and his wife and son dutifully serve two housecats who live in Los Angeles. He is a contributor to Mindful.com, He was featured in the article “Why Mindfulness Matters.”

Please enjoy!

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or on your favorite platform

This podcast is brought to you by Newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!

Connect with Jeremy:

Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Ted Talk: How to Change your Future

Download Audio:

Stream the audio here

Download this audio by right click and choose “save as”

Book Mentioned: The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto

People Mentioned:

Show Notes:

  • What is your connection with Japan?
  • What does it feel like to be in Japan?
  • Japan as a culture has incorporated beauty and aesthetic.
  • You mentioned about the qualities that you see in Japan. What are those qualities, if you could name some of them and what differentiates between living in Japan versus living in different parts of the world?
  • Real tension between how do you ground yourself in your reality when a digital reality can take you anywhere
  • Asian parents have certain expectations from their children that you have to be successful, you have to be this way or that way. What was your relationship with your parents?
  • Could you describe what is bathing culture?
  • What do you feel after that hot bat in terms of psychological, physiological benefits?
  • What were studying in Japan in 1990s?
  • What does quality of life mean to you? How do you define it for yourself?
  • Could you paint this picture of your relationship with your son?
  • Did your parents and elders talk to you about present moment awareness?
  • At the age of nine, what kind of meditation you started with?
  • After you got diagnosed with terminal illness, what changes did you make after that in your inner and outer world to just move forward with positivity or something like that?
  • There is a certain gift in knowing at an early age that your time is finite and that really clarifies what is important and that goes back to attention.
  • What do you mean by escaping their life in the context of meditation?
  • What practices do you suggest or recommend to leaders and executives you work with?
  • Changing the narration and stories to create the desired outcome
  • Cultivate a relationship with what’s beautiful in your life and  intentionally look for sources of beauty
  • How did you personally learn to cultivate the art of looking the beauty or looking at the source of beauty in turbulent times?
  • what do you tell yourself during the times of fear? If so, what does your inner conversation sound like?
  • Cold shower benefits –  your nervous system needs a kind of periodic shock
  • What questions, what life philosophy questions would you encourage people to ask?
  • What is most important to you in the next phase of your life?
  • How have your personal relationship with your wife has changed or transformed or gotten better?
  • What would you say to your 18 year old about how to live life?
  • and much more

Resources that helped me in the interview preparation:

The Nishant Garg Show:

This show is about helping you live a fulfilled life and my job on this show is to sit with the world class experts to extract the practices, routines and habits to help you live a fulfilled and abundant life. For any question, please contact me.

If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me. Subscribe to the Newsletter. You won’t be spammed! I hate spams too! You will receive only one email every Friday on the latest published podcasts.

If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in growing this little show. I also love reading reviews! Instructions are: a)If you’re on an iPhone, simply scroll down to “Reviews” inside the Podcasts app. b) If you’re on a desktop, click on “Listen on Apple Podcasts” under “The Nishant Garg Show.” Once inside iTunes, click on “Ratings and Reviews” and you’re set.

Marisa Porges, Head of The Baldwin School — The Habit of Obsessive Note-Taking, The Power of Connection, Military Veteran, Building Adaptability and Courage, The Effort to Keep Going, Taking Risks, and More (#151)

“Things change so quickly and it’s really about incremental changes that have a lasting difference to make the world better.”

-Marisa

Dr. Marisa Porges is known for her work on gender and education, leadership, and national security and is the author of What Girls Need: How to Raise Bold, Courageous, and Resilient Women (Viking Press, 2020). She is currently the eighth Head of School of The Baldwin School, a 130-year-old all-girls school outside of Philadelphia, that is renowned for academic excellence and preparing girls to be leaders and changemakers. She is an alumna of Baldwin and personally understands the power of its approach to educating girls: it provided the foundation for her own military service and work on national security and foreign affairs.

Prior to joining Baldwin, Dr. Porges was a leading counterterrorism and national security expert. Most recently, she served in the Obama White House as a senior policy advisor and White House Fellow at the National Economic Council, where she oversaw the development of domestic cybersecurity and consumer protection policies. She also has served as a research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and at the Council on Foreign Relations, where her research focused on counterterrorism. In these roles, she traveled alone throughout the Middle East and Afghanistan to conduct research, interview former members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, meet with Syrian rebel fighters in hiding, and serve as an embedded civilian advisor at NATO military headquarters in Afghanistan. She also worked as a counterterrorism policy advisor in the U.S. Department of Treasury and as a foreign affairs advisor in the U.S. Department of Defense. In all these roles, she stood out as one of a few – if not the only – women present, at any given time. 

Dr. Porges started her career on active duty in the U.S. Navy, flying jets off carriers as a naval flight officer on EA-6B Prowlers. Ten years after the Navy first allowed women to fly jets into combat, she pursued her dream of being launched off an aircraft carrier while serving her country. She earned a B.A. in geophysics from Harvard, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in war studies from King’s College London. Her awards include the National Committee on American Foreign Policy 21st Century Leader Award and the NATO Medal for service in Afghanistan. Dr. Porges lives outside of Philadelphia, with her family.

Please enjoy!

Marisa’s new book: What Girls Need: How to Raise Bold, Courageous, and Resilient Women

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or on your favorite platform

This podcast is brought to you by Newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!

Connect with Marisa:

Website | Book | LinkedIn | Twitter

Download Audio:

Stream the audio here

Download this audio by right click and choose “save as”

Show Notes:

  • You talk about playing video games to build our creativity and to solve creative problems. Why is that?
  • What kind of video games did you play while growing up?
  • Announcing the intention to leave the national security space
  • Graduated from Baldwin in school in 1996
  • Could you tell us a little bit about the school for our listeners who may not be knowing about Baldwin?
  • When you were in school as, as a student, did you face any challenge working in a girls school?
  • Sharing a memorable story from the childhood
  • How did you develop this passion for air wings, Navy military at a very young age?
  • Exposed to London school of economics
  • What was your motivation to study War Studies?
  • How to respond to emergencies
  • Nurturing courage
  • Whenever you test something new, what parameters or what constraints rules do you set for yourself before trying?
  • Risk assessment – What’s the worst that can happen?
  • Why do you think people don’t like to take lots of risks or what blocks to take risks?
  • You mentioned about carrying notebook in your hand while at airports, what did you write in those notebook?
  • Learning the power of connection
  • Did your parents instill any specific values in you when you were growing up?
  • Breaking resilience into core skills
  • Book writing process
  • and much more

Resources that helped me in the interview preparation:

The Nishant Garg Show:

This show is about helping you live a fulfilled life and my job on this show is to sit with the world class experts to extract the practices, routines and habits to help you live a fulfilled and abundant life. For any question, please contact me.

If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me. Subscribe to the Newsletter. You won’t be spammed! I hate spams too! You will receive only one email every Friday on the latest published podcasts.

If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in growing this little show. I also love reading reviews! Instructions are: a)If you’re on an iPhone, simply scroll down to “Reviews” inside the Podcasts app. b) If you’re on a desktop, click on “Listen on Apple Podcasts” under “The Nishant Garg Show.” Once inside iTunes, click on “Ratings and Reviews” and you’re set.

Lessons, Realization, and Relationships from Interviewing 150+ Experts

I may have an unhappy day at home. Things may not go right. I can’t control – but when that light goes on, I control my environment. And then, how many people get to control their environment? So, when I hosted a radio show every night or television show every day or wrote a column, I controlled the question I would ask. I controlled my environment.

I may have an unhappy day at home. Things may not go right. I can’t control – but when that light goes on, I control my environment. And then, how many people get to control their environment? So, when I hosted a radio show every night or television show every day or wrote a column, I controlled the question I would ask. I controlled my environment.

– Larry King

As of writing this post, I have interviewed 170+ amazing people who are experts in their own fields since the beginning of 2020. There are many ways to craft interviewing skill. I am not the one with natural talent of listening and curiosity. I really have to practice at it. Of course, you get better with the right practice with measurable outcomes.

To become better at asking good questions — you’ve to study this art, you’ve to study great interviewers. I specifically study Tim Ferriss’s work the way he asks questions on his podcast The Tim Ferriss Show. Cal Fussman is another Master interviewer and who can forget Larry King. Lately, I have been listening to Kathy Caprino’s podcast Finding Brave. Kathy’s energy is amazing and she brings elevated positive mood in the interviews. So, I’d say to you to find those interviewers whose energy and style match with yours.

If you are reading this post, you either have a podcast or interview people in some format. You might already be a great interviewer, or a beginner, or anything in between. I hope this post will help you to fine-tune your interviewing approach. Even if you’re not an interviewer, your ability to ask great questions will give a great advantage in your work, relationships and every where you interact with humans(may be with animals as well).

Here is the big question: “How do you create a great experience for yourself, guests, and the listeners?” I wrote the first part Lessons Learned From Tim Ferriss and Larry King To Interview The Best In The World which will give you more insights and understanding.

Only practice will move you forward. Here you go

1)Don’t be afraid to ask a stupid question:

I asked Kristen Manieri — “when you wake up in the morning , which app do you check first?” I was recording with Laura Bakosh in the morning and I asked her — “what did you have in the breakfast?” She responded — “nothing, she is on an intermittent fasting”..

I asked Marc Lesser that your book name is Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader — “Can this book be used by someone who’s not a leader in any capacity if they want to learn to be mindful”? I asked Tal Ben-Shahar – “Do you consider yourself as introvert or extrovert?”

I ask questions I feel like to ask in the moment without judging anything. In the beginning, it used to be scary to ask such stupid questions. You can only ask stupid questions(or any good follow up question) if you are actively listening. You might think the question as being stupid, yet it might sound like a thought provoking question to the guest. You never know!

I am not going to lie — I was super nervous before the interview with Alisa Cohn. I wanted to start with a lightweight question and actually ended up asking, “How do you coach founders and cofounders in the startup world”? This is a great question and I think it still is a broad question to ask especially after hitting the record button. I try to start with a simple lightweight questions. To my surprise, Alisa liked this question and really enjoyed answering it. An example of a simple question example – “How would your family describe what do you do for a living”?

I remind myself to go with a curious mind because I can only control my questions and can’t control what guests may interpret. I asked Amy Coleman – “what kind of a doctor are you?”

So, folks, listen up, and then ask if you really want to ask. The worst case is If they(guests) don’t like it or you are not satisfied with the answer or you think it may not serve your audience – edit it out. Simple! No big deal!

2) Control the environment: “If you can control it, then do it. If you can’t, then let it go”. We all have heard of it. 

In the interview, even though I am a passive driver, yet it’s up to me how I want to navigate the conversation. It’s a constant practice to be in the moment, actively listening, coming up with the follow up questions, and moving to another topic. I don’t have an innate talent for this and I have been able to practice this with 170+ guests(as of writing this post). Yes, asking good/great questions is a skill and can be cultivated.

I can try to control the interview by controlling the kind of questions I want to ask. It also depends a lot on my preparation. I spend a few hours going through the guest’s profiles including books, blogs, or anything they have done in their lifetime. Most of the time, I try to ask questions and cover topics I am personally excited about and want to learn. This is something I can control for sure. I can’t control what questions or topics my audience want to learn — unless they send me questions via email or social.

I remember this particular instance in my interview with Megan McDonough. She was explaining about the process of Living with EASE and then went on to explaining about her CORE values. I was actively listening and asked a follow up question: “How do you live your core value of love when you have a conflict with a member of your family”? 

Every episode on the podcast sounds different because I try to be in the moment and not worrying about other things. If I come up with a great question, it’s in the moment. Tomorrow, I may not come up with good questions. Who knows! So, do your preparation, and then go with it. That’s what I tell myself every single time.

3) Don’t Judge yourself for anything: Do you ever feel scared to ask a deep personal question to a good friend? Sometimes, I do, and sometimes I don’t. If my intention is to learn about that person, I will ask deep questions — which requires vulnerability. It may not be easier to ask deep questions to people whom you may not know very well. You may think what if they get offended, and what if you might come across as interrogating them, etc. etc.

In an interview, the intention is clear that you will be asking questions.  Simple! Asking questions is a craft. You won’t get it right if you haven’t practiced this skill before. You may not always get it right even when you have some or more experience. We all want to look good and are afraid of sounding stupid in front of others. But, that’s OK. If you go with a curious mind to learn about another person as a human being, you will feel less scared and you have less anxiety.

When I just started the podcast, I was not comfortable asking deep personal questions and in fact, I did not do in the first few episodes. Later on, I realized that my guests have been interviewed hundreds and thousands of times. I asked myself “How can I create a great emotional experience for them“? To create this experience, I had to go deeper which required active listening. I suggest you to practice listening in a way that you could ask a follow up question and still be able to navigate to other questions and topics. It’s going to take some time to get to this point. So, listen up, my friend and keep practicing.

Example: I asked Jill Bolte Taylor — “what do you do for fun?” This question may sound stupid, but I am coming from a place of curiosity.

I am in the moment. If I am not in the moment and just thinking about the next question, I might lose some good touch points. Every story brings tons of follow up questions and you can ask follow up questions with these keywords — “how did you feel in the situation X or when Y happened? What did you do…..? “HOW, WHAT, WHY”. I remember recording with Nicole Tetreault and she was discussing her deceased mother. I was in the moment and I asked – “what would you tell your mom if she is listening to this conversation”?

I don’t judge myself for any questions I ask. I try to analyze the interview later from a place of Compassionate Inquiry and not to beat myself up.

I remember two instances(very early in the podcasting) when I wasn’t sure how the interview went with Guy Kawasaki and Garrain Jones. I was analyzing too much. Perhaps I was unconsciously trying to judge the whole situation and later on I just told myself — “I did, what I did. I can’t change the outcome. I was in the moment. “

Some question might work great for one person and may not work for another. You can’t control that. You can only control yourself, you can only control your thinking and question. So never be afraid of asking stupid questions. You learn when you are curious. Be in the moment. Listen up!

4) Putting guests at ease before hitting the record: Psychological dynamics change when the record button is pressed. As Tim Ferriss says “you could interview a hundred people without a microphone and recording equipment, but as soon as you’re holding a mic, you’re hitting record, it’s being preserved, the psychological dynamics are different.” Check the full interview of Tim Ferriss and Cal Fussman here

I literally tell my guests that “there is no expectation from you. If you are not comfortable talking about anything, let’s not talk about it.” I also tell them if I ask a follow up question that makes you uncomfortable, you can pass it. This interview is editable. So, do not worry. I want you to feel relaxed and comfortable.”

5. You don’t have to know all the questions before the interview. Prepare for it, spend some time before the interview and think about what topics you might want to cover. I go with the intention of creating a master class that is timeless. This helps me in staying grounded and be present (mostly).

6) My style is getting concrete. Henna Inam was sharing about compassion practice. I asked a follow up question: “can you share any instance when you felt challenged to be compassionate?” Always try to ask for specific instances and examples . Some examples look like — “Could you give us an example of X”. “Would you mind giving an example that comes to your mind”?

7) Going with the mindset of I don’t know. I tend to ask questions which I don’t know and personally want to learn from guests. I can’t control and don’t always know what the audience wants. This mindset helps me to stay curious. I also let the guests know that “I am deep in the ignorance pool – please educate me.”

In the earlier days, one of the challenging interview was with Mickra Hamilton who’s a pioneer in the Epigenetics and human precision system. I didn’t know anything about the topic. I asked so many simple and dumb questions that luckily made the interview very well. Now, she and I are good friends.

And, the same thing happened in the interview with Inna Khazan on the topic of Biofeedback. I strongly feel that curiosity will always make the interview good, and in most cases — excellent. Another example is with the Raj Raghunathan. He was sharing the morning rituals, and when he shared about the breakfast banana shake — I asked him the recipe of the shake. My intention is to create a deep connection with the interviewees.

I hope this helps you! Happy Interviewing! If you’d like to get my help in your interview process, reach out to me!

The Nishant Garg Show:

This show is about helping you live a fulfilled life and my job on this show is to sit with the world class experts to extract the practices, routines and habits to help you live a fulfilled and abundant life. For any question, please contact me.

If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me. Subscribe to the Newsletter. You won’t be spammed! I hate spams too! You will receive only one email every Friday on the latest published podcasts.

If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in growing this little show. I also love reading reviews! Instructions are: a)If you’re on an iPhone, simply scroll down to “Reviews” inside the Podcasts app. b) If you’re on a desktop, click on “Listen on Apple Podcasts” under “The Nishant Garg Show.” Once inside iTunes, click on “Ratings and Reviews” and you’re set.