✔︎ The vision for The Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast, from Majid Samadi's eyes, watching the podcast grow from the early days when it was just an idea.
✔︎ Why SEL skills are important in today's classrooms, and Emotional Intelligence training in our corporate workplaces.
✔︎ How Andrea held her vision for interviewing high quality guests with an experience over 12 years ago, of running The Teen Performance Magazine.
✔︎ The TOP 3 Guests from Majid's point of view in the past year.
✔︎ How to monetize a podcast, and why this step is crucial to sustain any idea.
✔︎ The "behind-the-scenes" of this podcast, from someone whose office is next door to where all interviews are conducted.
Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, for our 200th episode milestone, with a reflection back on “The Why Behind Our Podcast” which is the #1 question people ask me when I share that I host this podcast. I hope that we can all learn something about “why we do what we do” as we reflect back on the past 100 episodes (that covers 2021 and the beginning of 2022). I’ve asked a special returning guest from episode #1[i], Majid Samadi, senior regional sales director at Lexia Learning[ii], and my husband, to join me as we reflect back on “why we do what we do”, as Simon Sinek would say.
Welcome back. I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of you listening, have been fascinated with learning and understanding and applying the science behind high performance strategies that we can use to improve our productivity in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments. My vision with this podcast began 3 years ago, and I think it’s important to step back and take a look at “why” we began this podcast, since “the why” should be behind all of our work to keep us moving forward. As we think about “why” we do what we do, I hope that you reflect on why you do what YOU do, and see if you can gain insights from your why, to drive you to new levels of awareness, as we do the same.
I chose Majid Samadi to join me on this episode, because he’s really good at launching big ideas, especially those ideas that have a clear “why” behind them. It was Majid who encouraged me to publish my first book, The Secret for Teens Revealed to put the ideas I learned from the seminar industry into writing, and when I mentioned that I was thinking about launching a podcast in early 2019, when my website had a podcast theme, his first words were “how can I help you to begin?”
You would think that the person in our household who met Simon Sinek (me) would be his biggest fan, but Majid would be a much bigger fan of Sinek’s work than me. Every year he trains his sales team (at Lexia Learning—a company that provides structured literacy solutions and professional learning to students and educators across the country) on Sinek’s “The Golden Circle” so that his sales team launches their year with a clear why behind what they will be doing, to kickstart their year.
I’m always looking for a new angle to think about “why we do what we do” and I recently saw Mathew Portell’s[iii] keynote speech at Butler University’s 6th Annual Educational Neuroscience Symposium and it opened my eyes to a new way to approach this episode. Mathew Portell, who is currently in his sixth year as principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary, an internationally recognized innovative model school for trauma-informed practices in Metro Nashville Public Schools, opened up his keynote for the Neuroscience Symposium with a completely NEW way of looking at our why. At least it was for me. Before I bring Majid on, I wanted us to all think about why we do what we do, to see our work through a new lens, with renewed purpose this year.
Remember on our final episode of our Think and Grow Rich book study, we talked about how important it was that we had a clear vision of our goals (WHAT WE DO) but has anyone ever asked you why you do what you do? Canadian Health and PE Educator, Dan Vigilatore,[iv] teaches this to all new health/physical education teachers at York University’s Faculty of Education. I’ll put a link to his recent lesson in the show notes.[v]
Back to Mathew Portell’s keynote. During Mathew’s recent keynote, he gave us a formula to think about.
He said to think about your Intent (why you do what you do) + outcome (what are your outcomes of your work) = Impact (are you having an impact?) when thinking about the work that you are doing. It’s been almost three years ago since we launched this podcast (in June 2019) and back then, I didn’t see this formula, but I knew we had the right intent with our work, we were making headway with our programs in the schools, but the impact was not at all what I had envisioned. We were missing something with our impact.
I always had a global vision for this work and didn’t need Mathew Portell’s formula to tell me that our outcome was off. We needed to do something differently to have a larger impact—this global vision. So, when I bought a template for my new website that had a podcast theme, and the website developer said “you can delete the podcast section” I knew that I had to do something beyond what we were doing, and launched the podcast, putting our best work out to the world, for free, completely unaware of where it would lead us.
Think about Mathew’s formula with your work, and let’s welcome my better half, the one who has watched me with this work since those early days when all of this was just ideas scrawled on paper all over my office walls and he said “are you ever going to do something with those ideas?”
Let’s welcome Majid Samadi.
Welcome Majid! Thanks for agreeing to come back on the podcast as a returning guest for this important milestone.
INTRO Q: I know that you know, I think it’s important to thank people who’ve helped you along the way. It’s always been very important to me. I think you’ll remember I once drove 3 hours, each way, to thank someone who infused me with ideas and support over the years.
I’ve thanked everyone but not sure if you know how much I appreciate all you’ve done to help me to keep this podcast going, from all of the late night edits, that often went into the weekend, so you would take the kids swimming while I’m at my desk or just giving me the quiet time needed to research each guest, there’s just so much behind the scenes that goes into the production of each episode. So, my first question, after thanking you for all your support over the years, making everything, can you think back to episode 1 and tell me what YOU think are the biggest changes you’ve noticed since we launched the podcast to make all of this worthwhile?
Q1: Thinking back to our first episode, that was June 2019, you had just come home from a business trip) when I asked you to read and answer those questions (with no prep) about why these emotional intelligence skills are important in our workplace.
Almost 3 years later, what would you say now? After the pandemic--Why are these skills so important in the workplace?
Q2: I’ve always said you are my quality assurance department because every guest has been vetted by you (after I’ve chosen them) to be sure they align with the most current research with practical strategies we can all use and implement. You’ve kept me on track with the vision of this podcast with high quality guests and it’s not the first project we’ve done together where this was important. We had to do the same thing when we were looking for guests for the Teen Performance Magazine[viii] 12 years ago and I recall you on the phone with Taylor Swift’s PR team. What sticks out to you with this responsibility of making sure we provide the highest quality guests/content for our listeners, just like we did 12 years ago with our magazine interviews?
Q3: We hit the first 100 episodes last December 2020, (a bit over a year ago) and I know that don’t have a chance to listen to ALL of them (I will do a thorough review of lessons learned from our TOP 10 in this past year). But I wonder, since we are immersed in each person before, during and after their interview, is there someone that comes to mind that stuck out to you this past year as we went from 100-200 episodes?Your TOP 3? Is there anything important that you remember about these episodes?
Q4: Since you have watched the vision of Achieveit360.com where we started with curriculum and tools for middle and high schools with our Level Up Program, how do you see things have evolved over the years with our vision? If you can think back to the days we spent hours coming up with our website URL, how has our vision evolved over the years?
Q5: This podcast was created by design, to consist of the highest quality content (that was going to be a course for an educational publisher as you remember) with the idea that this information would be FREE for those who do not have access to this information. You know that this podcast is sponsored by Achieveit360.com and our programs and services but in the future, we do have a vision to do something we have never done before and will provide ads on the podcast. As someone who drives sales with your sales team, why do you think monetizing a podcast with ad space is important and for people who think a podcast will make them a ton of money, what do you think they should know?
Q6: For those who tune into the podcast, from whatever part of the world they listen to, what would you like them to know about the “behind the scenes” production process. What do you see that others don’t (without embarrassing me too much) from the researching, editing, and production side of things?
Q7: Aside from the fact that I know you would support anything I produce and create, what is it about this podcast that you see that’s different from some of the other projects you have seen me working on over the years in this office?
Q8: It’s difficult for me to go back to earlier episodes when my sound quality wasn’t that great, or to remember when the audio wouldn’t work for my first interview with Ron Hall[ix], (who now uses our podcast as a resource for a graduate class he teaches on Trauma and Resiliency at a local University in his area), or when I was nervous for at least the first 50 interviews, including Greg Wolcott from EPISODE #7[x] who became one of our top supporters, giving me many opportunities to speak and share resources with First Educational Resources[xi], but I sometimes do listen to past episodes and the content is always useful and applicable and I know that we launched without being perfect, but was always open to learning something new. What would you like others to know about The Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast that I would never say?
Q8B: What’s the process from idea formation, to an idea that comes to fruition?
Q9: If you were to hijack my email account for a day, and invite a guest that has nothing to do with neuroscience that you would interview, who would you choose and what would you want to ask them?
Q10: Is there anything I’ve missed, that you think is important that we share on this 200th milestone episode? We haven’t spoken about the fact that you believe in the importance of giving back to the community with the work you do in your spare time. Why is giving back so important?
Thank you, Majid, for coming back on the podcast as a guest and again, thank you for your support behind the scenes to make this podcast possible. I’m proud to be the one who does this thing called life next to you.
Majid gives Andrea a surprise at the end of the interview that says "Congrats on #200! Thanks for your impact on the world.!" Stay to the end to see!