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Teachers, Teaching, and Top Traits

Quick – name a teacher who helped shape who you are today. If you’re like most people, and like me, you can name a few.

Mrs. Sharrett, my 4th grade teacher, who made paying attention pay off. She used operant conditioning on her willing subjects, making intentional mistakes and paying the first student to point it out with a piece of candy from a special drawer in her desk.

Mr. Buhn, my high school physics teacher, a man completely grounded in science and yet still fun in the way he taught his passion. He was delighted when his class gave him membership to the Flat Earth Society. He used their monthly newsletter as a springboard for lessons on how things really work.

Miss Gardner, my performing arts teacher and coach, who took raw talent, lit a fire under its container, and created the knowledge and belief that I would be a performer. And I was, for three decades, a very successful major market radio personality. Thank you for believing in me, Miss Gardner!


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The Sun, the Moon, the Seasons, and You

During the winter months, those of us who live in the northern hemisphere experienced shrinkage. No, not THAT kind of shrinkage. I’m talking about brain shrinkage. Your cerebellum got smaller through the winter months, and as the longer days take over, the part of your brain that controls fine motor movement is getting bigger again. Meanwhile, subcortical structures in your brain that control motivation, processing of emotions, and decision-making got larger during the winter and are now shrinking in size as the weather gets warmer.

What the heck is going on inside our skulls? Don’t be scared – it’s just your brain reacting to the seasons of the year. It’s been going on inside you since you were born – you just never noticed it because the change happens slowly over a long interval.

Some of the brain changes that are seasonal in nature are more obvious than others:

  1. Seasonal Affected Disorder is a mood change that happens in the winter. It seems...
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Are You Organized or Dis?

It’s a week before spring officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere, so maybe a little bit early for spring cleaning. It’s a month before tax returns in the US are due to be filed, and if you’re like me, perhaps you’ve found a lot of things to do instead of getting organized for that chore.

Today is designed for us – it’s Organize Your Home Office Day. Do you have a good file system that separates your work and personal finances? Is it up to date? Do you know where your W2s and 1099s are? Cancelled checks? Credit card statements? And has your mouth gone dry and have your palms gone moist, like mine? Today, can you block out some time to make your home office look and feel organized?

There are a lot of systems you can use to whip a home office into shape. The one that works best for me is to have the shredder in the middle of the room, a vertical file folder holder or a hanging file frame ready to put “birds of a feather” together,...

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Wanna Go to a Name Party?

Quick – what’s your name? I bet you know the answer to that question by heart, right? One of the first things parents teach their babies is how to recognize and use names – mama, dada, doggie, and the child’s own name. But what’s in a name and why are they so important that they get an entire week’s celebration?

The first full week in March is Celebrate Your Name Week. It’s one of those oddball holidays that got started because one person became randomly, then endlessly, fascinated by something. In this case, Jerry Hill read a news story about another Jerry Hill who died. That Jerry Hill happened to be from the first Jerry Hill’s hometown, making him wonder if they were related, then begin to start wondering about names. He became so fascinated by names that he created a website, which was so fascinating to others that eventually Public Broadcasting Service wrapped it into their website.

Names matter. Classrooms are organized by name....

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The Many Hats of Leadership

Today let’s talk about leaders, and the leader that lives inside each of us. It’s easy to think about leaders as those who are somehow above our level – the president of your division, the president of your company, the president of the United States – and those are all leaders.

Did you know that you are a leader?

Today, let’s talk about what makes a good leader, and where leaders show up in our lives. Take a look at these examples:

  • Have you ever sat behind someone at a red light and when the light turned green, they started driving? That’s leadership skills right there. A good leader pays attention to the conditions around them and reacts appropriately at the right time. If you don’t believe that taking off when the light turns green is showing leadership, think about how you feel when the person in front of you fails to go when the light turns green. Do you get irritated? Wonder if they’re on their phone? Clearly, they aren’t...
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In Honor of Spunky Old Broads

Do you equate age with wisdom? Many people do, and there’s science to back it up. While youth is revered in our culture, wisdom is, too, and when people are looking for advice, it’s their aging friends and colleagues they turn to. It is true that memory functions can fade with age, and it's also true that the frontal lobe, where logic, reasoning, and problem-solving happen, continues to develop.

As we age, we develop more emotional intelligence. That means older people generally are more concerned with the wellbeing of others, make significantly better choices and decisions, and process information and thoughts more holistically, so take in multiple perspectives and can share them more clearly.

Doesn’t that sound like someone you’d go to for advice, counsel, and coaching?

Last Wednesday was Spunky Old Broads Day, and February is Spunky Old Broads Month. Chances are, you know a spunky old broad or two, and maybe you even are one. I’m not sure when it...

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Do You Need Further Proof of the Power of Pets?

Do you have a pet? Do you know how influential you are, you pet-owner, you?

As people spent more time with their pets during the pandemic lockdown, and as those without pets realized the value of non-human companionship, all categories of pet purchases – food, veterinary care, training, boarding, you name it – have had booming bottom-line increases. The pet industry, which encompasses all things that pets need, is exploding financially. What is now a nearly $250 billion industry is projected to be pushing $370 billion in just six years.

You, with your care and concern for your pet or maybe multiple pets, are driving that. Meanwhile, your unsuspecting pet is doing what pets have always done – providing companionship to the extent you allow, being as good as you’ve helped them learn how to be (at least they’re good most of the time) and becoming a bigger line-item in your monthly budget as prices of everything goes up. While some people are making the...

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New Year's Resolutions and How to Keep Them

Do you even know what day of the week it is? This year, at least Christmas and New Year’s Day both fell on Mondays, so maybe they just showed up as regular three-day holiday weekends for you.

If you have a job that requires staffing 24/7/365, like first responders, health care workers, transportation industry, the media, etc., then maybe you even worked on one or both of the last two Mondays. If so, thank you! With three decades in major market radio, I know how it feels to be away from your family and friends on a major holiday.

Did you do the usual New Year’s resolution thing? Did you get up and go to the gym this morning, down a protein shake instead of a drive-through breakfast, and you’re on track to be a non-smoking vegan rocket scientist by this Thursday?

Yeah…I’ve put that kind of pressure on myself before, too.

Goals are wonderful – they keep us focused and moving forward. Behavior changes are often attempted this time of year in pursuit...

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What Dogs Teach You About Leadership

Do you have a dog? Two? More? Are you dogless and get your dog love from friends’ dogs? Or maybe you’re someone who just doesn’t see the appeal of dogs?

If you love dogs, you’ll probably love this article. If not, read on anyway because there’s probably something here for you despite your distaste for this nearly-perfect being. (Oops…my bias is showing!)

In the early part of the 20th century, Will Judy, the editor of Dog World Magazine, who was a WW1 veteran and an ordained minister, devoted his life to helping people understand what he saw as a spiritual bond between humans and dogs. Of dogs, Will Judy wrote, “The most loyal thing in the world is your dog. Whether you come home from Congress or from jail, whether you have lost your fortune or made a million, whether you return home dressed in fashion’s heights or in rags, whether you have been hailed as a hero or condemned as a criminal, your dog is waiting for you with a welcome...

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What do Dads and Great Leaders Have in Common?

This week let’s talk about leaders. Sunday is Father’s Day and it’s a good time to look back over your life and reflect on the first leadership style that influenced you. Whether your father was great, good, bad, abysmal, or absent, you learned lessons from him that can serve you now.

There’s an old adage that you may be familiar with: “There are no business problems, only leadership problems.” That’s how important leadership skills are. Businesses rise and fall based on the strength of their leader and that person’s team. Would Apple have been as successful without Steve Jobs? Would Microsoft have been a behemoth without Bill Gates? Would Harpo have become a multi-billion-dollar enterprise without Oprah Winfrey?

Great leaders have some traits in common:

  • Visionary
  • Great communication skills
  • Courage and ability to blaze trails in their industry

Poor leaders have some traits in common, too:

  • Focus more on themselves than the business
  • ...
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