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What I learned last week from podcasts - Jan 8th

January 16, 2017

In the past year, podcasts have become one of my go-to items for learning. I often listen to a podcast and find great resources, tools, and ideas to share with my clients, students, friends, and family. However, as the weeks pass after listening to a podcast, I find it more challenging to recall the information at an adequate level of detail for sharing.


So, I've decided to launch a new series where I attempt to record and reflect on what I've learned in the past week, to not only share it with others in the short-term but hopefully in the long-term as well. I listen to a few podcasts religiously on the topics of coaching, leadership, education, business, and try to keep my learning fresh with podcasts from a variety of other areas as well.

Note to Self. The Four Tendencies: How to Feed Good Habits, featuring Gretchen Rubin.


I love learning about and taking new assessments because I find that with each insight I gain another piece of the puzzle in discovering who I am. In this episode, I learned about Gretchen Rubin's research exploring why some people have such a hard time staying motivated with habits, while others do not. She believes that it boils down to how people respond to internal and external expectations, and she classifies people's tendencies into four categories: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Understanding how you respond to those expectations can help you set up the best parameters to follow through on your goals. Which tendency are you?


The Great Work Podcast: Jenny Blake on What's Next for Me.


As someone who is continually looking for innovative career development strategies to share with my students and clients, I was intrigued by Jenny Blake's Pivot method. In short, the strategy focuses on gaining clarity through self-reflection, scanning for opportunities, and then testing the potential for a new opportunity, before launching into your next move. While much of this method sounds similar to advice in the career management space, I do like the idea of conducting several small experiments to gain more clarity and comfort for your next move. What also resonated with me from this episode was the way the Jenny described the anxiety that people feel when they are considering a new opportunity, "career changes, in particular, seem to threaten our most fundamental needs on Maslow's hierarchy...we worry that if we make the wrong move, we will no longer be able to provide for ourselves." Many of the clients I work with feel that anxiety and attribute it to their short-comings, but that anxiety is quite normal and I like this clear way of calling it out. There were several other intriguing ideas in the podcast, including thinking about your riskometer and defining your salary expectations through multiple lens. I'm looking forward to checking out Jenny's book to learn the intricacies of her process. 


Coaching for Leaders. Episode 233: Engage in Deep Work, featuring Cal Newport. 


The gist of this episode is that people spend a lot of time talking about and thinking about work, instead of actual working deeply. The idea of deep work resonated with me as I head into the new year and think about all the things I'd like to accomplish. My two biggest takeaways from this episode were learning to be selective about the technology you let into your life and planning your schedule in advance to allow time for deep work. In the last year, I've tried to cut down significantly on the unproductive technologies in my life, including the difficult task of disabling my Facebook account. While it took several weeks to break the habit of just typing "Face" into my browser, I can say now I don't miss the platform or the amount of time I wasted on it. What struck me about Cal's message is that you can just start to reduce the useless technologies in your life, or you can take a more drastic measure and start over from scratch and then reintroduce things that add significant value. Although I think the later would be a more challenging task it sounds like it might create a more thoughtful approach to understanding what you really "need." The second takeaway forced me to take a thoughtful look at my calendar. My assessment of current obligations helped me to see that I have approximately five hours per week for deep and focused work. Now knowing how limited my time is, I feel more motivated to protect that time. I believe that for me setting aside time for deep work with limited distractions is a big goal in itself and a great place to start. 


Hidden Brain. Episode 57: Slanguage, featuring John McWhortner.


My biggest takeaway from this episode was that language is not static, it continues to evolve over time. We need to learn to be less critical of using language in the "right" way and be more adaptable to the change of language over time. 

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