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Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast, for Brain Fact Friday, episode #140 and our first Livestream event.

I’m Andrea Samadi, author and educator from Toronto, Canada, now living in the United States, (but broadcasting this livestream from my balcony in HI with my co-host Katherine Alexander-Dobrovolskia who is joining us from London, United Kingdom) and like many of our listeners, we have both been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies in our schools, sports, and the workplace. If you have been listening to our podcast, you will know that we’ve uncovered that if we want to improve our social and emotional skills, and experience success in our work and personal lives, it all begins with an understanding of our brain.

For our FIRST Livestream event, I’ve invited my colleague, and good friend Katherine Alexander- Dobrovolskaia, the owner of Talent Investors, who is joining us from London, United Kingdom. Welcome Kate, thank you for coming on my first Live event. You know why I asked you to be here today, right?

Kate: give me a guess…maybe something about the fact we are broadcasting from Hawaii…maybe because we’ve been friends for almost 10 years, meeting in John Assaraf’s forum, and now taking our Neurocoaching Certification together? You tell me….

Andrea: Kate, since June is the anniversary of when we launched this podcast (June 2019) and now that we are going into our third year of creating bi-weekly episodes, approaching 100K downloads, reaching over 143 countries, I wanted to do something different.  Then add to the mix that this month I hit that mile marker of turning 50, I knew it was time to shake things up.

And you’ve always had an eye for innovation with the work you did with your Best Boss Series[i]. When you did that series, interviewing innovators in business, what do you think stuck out with leaders who rose to the top? What kinds of things did you notice they were doing differently from the rest?

Kate: Answer about what you learned from your Best Boss Series.

Andrea: Well, since this is Brain Fact Friday, I did want to share something we’ve recently learned from our Neuroscience coaching training that we are doing together, and invite the listeners to ask questions in the chat. Anything you’d like to know after listening to this podcast if you have been following us, from how we launched, to secrets of inviting such high-quality guests. What do you want to know? I’ll let Kate answer the questions, and I’ll sit back and relax on my balcony.

Q1: Andrea to Kate: Kate, what would you say is something you have learned recently about the brain, as it has applied to your personal and professional life?

Kate: Answer…something about the brain that’s helped you personally/professionally? What about you, Andrea? What’s something important that sticks out for you?

Andrea: It was probably from episode #100 with Mary Helen Immordino-Yang “We feel, therefore we learn” and the idea that when we connect emotions to learning, what we are studying goes into long-term memory. This brings in Friederike Fabritius’ How the Brain Learns book and her work with peak performance with the idea that we must have FUN with our work to hit those highest levels of peak performance and productivity.

Andrea: What about the listeners? Let me know if you have learned anything from this podcast, or any other area about the brain, and how you’ve used these ideas for improved results?

Answer anything that comes in on the chat….

Q2: Andrea to Kate: I’ve known you for some time now, I think we were accountability partners at one point in time, helping each other stay on track with the projects we were working on. And then life hits, and you’ve had some extremely difficult times, in addition to the Pandemic. How have you been able to stay on track with life, positivity and look after everything that’s going on personally for you if you want to share what’s happened in your personal life that’s really knocked things off course for you? How are you working with the fears that you have around everything you are dealing with?

Kate: How about you, Andrea?

Andrea: During difficult times, I’ve usually found that sticking to routine has helped. Probably because the brain like predictability and doesn’t like change, so keeping a daily routine that starts with consistent sleep/wake times has been a good starting point. Then building everything else around that. I had no idea that research has shown that this consistent sleep/wake time is an important marker for productivity (from the interview with Kristen Holmes) from, so much so, that when you wear the Whoop device, it tells you how consistent you are with your sleep/wake times and this can help your health in ways that research is just discovering to be beneficial. I haven’t had anything as difficult as you have had to deal with, but I am sure our listeners have.

But for those BIG fears…like fear of someone close to you with health problems, I have found Dr. Carolyn Leif’s work to be helpful. I did a podcast on her newest book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Stress, Anxiety and Toxic Thinking[ii]

Andrea: For our listeners?  What have you been doing to stay productive during difficult times?

Q3: Andrea to Kate: Kate, I shared with you that an area that I know we could improve on in my household (other than sleep which is so easy to master in HI—I’ve had perfect sleep scores this week because there’s no agenda or time pressure on vacation) but other than this area, it would be our meals.

With the fact that we all have different schedules (the girls train at the gym every night during the school year, so it’s not like we can sit down as a family like my parents did with us growing up) so my dinner is usually at my desk while I’m working and if my husband is home, we will eat together, but it’s not always this simple. So, you sent me an incredible cook book that we can use to try some new recipes together. Can you share how cooking as a family has helped you?

Kate: answers how cooking as a family has helped them to stay closer.

Andrea: How about our listeners? What have you been doing to stay healthy with meals? Or sleep? Since we can’t be on vacation all the time and depending on where you live, it might be difficult to still shop for groceries. My Mom told me they just started to open up shopping in Toronto, but before that, I was shipping her items from Amazon that she couldn’t get locally.

Q4: Andrea to Kate: I know you are a reader, and you always keep me up to date with books that you have been learning from. What books have you been reading this year?

Kate: What about you, Andrea, what books are you reading?

Andrea: I’ve always got the book of the next person I’m interviewing on my phone, and love this part of the podcast. Where else in the world do you get to read someone’s book and then email them and say “hey, can I pick your brain on your book?” and they say sure, and you get to dive deeper into what they have written, and share it? This is the part of the podcast that amazes me every day.

I’ve got to mention Mandy Krueckebrg Lengrich, a longtime listener of the podcast, who has sent me at least 10 books to read/research. I want to spend some time with these books that she is picking up from her studies in the field of educational neuroscience. (Gabor Mate, Nicole Tetreault/Seth Perler) and her most recent referral of the book Into the Magic Shop by James R Doty, M.D.

I’ve also been fascinated with Dr. Bruce Perry’s work, (he’s just released a book with Oprah and my friends stop me on the hiking trails saying…you need to interview Dr. Perry). Episode #53 “Self-Regulation and Your Brain: How to Bounce Back Towards Resiliency” was inspired by his recent webinar series. I asked him to be a guest on the podcast last June 2020 and he was in the middle of writing his book “What Happened to You” with Oprah, and he told me to contact him when he’s finished the book. A year later, his book is out, and I feel like a stalker, but I don’t want to miss an opportunity like that, so I contacted him again, and we are working on getting him on the schedule for October, so this book is always open on my phone.

I’ve also got a fun interview coming in August with Mike Rousell on how surprise impacts the brain. Who doesn’t like surprises? His book comes out in September, so the interview will be released right before this book,

Andrea: What books are our listeners reading?

Q5: Andrea to Kate: You’ve known me for a while, and I know you love to push me beyond my limits, which I love.  We can all use a friend who doesn’t let you get comfortable. If you look at the speakers I’ve had on the podcast, who would you like to see me interview next? Give me a list of some people.

Andrea: to listeners: who would the listeners like to hear on the podcast next? Send me some ideas.

In Today’s Brain Fact Friday You Will Learn:

✔︎ What brain-based strategy Andrea and co-host Kate have found to be the most useful in their personal and professional life?

Share your favorite brain-based strategy in the Livestream chat.

✔︎ How Kate has been able to stay positive during some difficult life experiences.

Share what you have been doing to stay positive and productive during times of difficulty/challenge.

✔︎ How Kate has used cooking as a family to keep healthy habits during the Pandemic.

Share anything you have been doing as a family to stay healthy and productive.

✔︎ What books are Kate and Andrea reading now?

Share what books have been inspiring you.

✔︎Who does Kate think Andrea should have as a guest on the podcast?

Share ideas of speakers/authors you would like to see on the podcast.

What else? Any other thoughts?

Kate, I want to thank you for almost a decade of friendship, mentorship and learning. Thank you for co-hosting this livestream with me, it’s been a blast.

Thanks to all the listeners who have downloaded an episode, and are supporting the podcast. Thank you for joining the Livestream and sharing your ideas with us.

I’m off to the beach now, and hope everyone enjoys their weekend.


[i] Best Boss Series with Katherine Alexander Dobrovolskaia

[ii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #106 Review of Dr. Caroline Leaf’s Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess