On this podcast we dive into the minds of heroes that battled through adversity and came out the other side transformed into something greater. Entrepreneurs on a mission to change the world. Athletes and performers with incredible abilities for higher execution. Individuals making social change because they’re unsatisfied with the status quo. Doctors, pushing the boundaries of knowledge to push the needle on human potential.
People that made the decision to be the hero of their story, this is Heroic Minds.
Available on: Spotify | iTunes
#74 - Victor Assaf | Exigente (Demanding)
Victor Assaf is an Adaptive Crossfit athlete/coach and motivational speaker from Ecuador.
In 2012 he was driving home from a strongman competition and lost control of his motorcycle on a bridge. His body slammed into a light pole. The crash damaged three cervical vertebrae which left him in a coma.
When he awoke after 10 hours of surgery, lucky to be alive, the doctor told him he would never do CrossFit again. He had lost motor function and sensation in his right arm. Ultimately they couldn’t save his arm.
Just seven months later, he returned to Crossfit. Infact he just competed at Wodapalooza and placed 6th in the RX Men Adaptive Standing division.
Victor’s journey took him from egocentric to altruistic, from not having a voice to being heard around the world.
#73 - Zach Wigal | Video Games & Healthcare
Zach Wigal is the creator of Gamers Outreach, a company that motivates, supports and entertains those in hospital fighting for their lives. How? by bringing video games to hospital rooms in over 200 hospitals in the US and parts of Canada.
This entrepreneurial journey is fuelled by passion. What started as a video game tournament has evolved into a company helping thousands of sick or injured youth every week.
Zach has even been mentioned in Forbes Under 30 for his incredible work in the video game and non-profit world.
I was always told they are just bad. They teach violence… Zach makes you realize that isn’t really the case. Zach opens the sheltered mind and changes the socially created issues that come with video games.
Zach explains the the community, the inclusion, the life lessons and more that come with video games that you may not realize until you hear these real life examples.
#72 - Mike Farwell | Want to Make an Impact?
Mike Farwell lost two sisters to Cystic Fibrosis.
In 5 years he raised half a million dollars with his bare hands.
No business plan, no waivers, no incorporation, to charitable status… just pure passion and the will to fight a disease.
During his time away from Radio (his full-time job and expertise) Mike started a hobby/project doing chores for people in return for donations to Cystic Fibrosis Research. This BLEW UP into a wildly successful campaign called “Farewell-4-Hire.”
From lawn work, to sticking his hands in places you wouldn’t want to, Mike has become a handy man with a huge purpose.
Mike has seen his hard earned proceeds push the needle of Cystic Fibrosis care, treatment and lifespan.
#71 - Lyle Thompson | A Medicine Game
Lyle Thompson is arguably the best lacrosse player in the world.
He plays for the Georgia Swarm in the National Lacrosse League along with his three brothers, Jeremy, Haina and Miles. Lyle is growing the game of lacrosse through his heritage and beliefs as a Native American. He has and continues to make such a big impact in and out of lacrosse that he became a Nike sponsored athlete in 2015.
The other thing you may notice about Lyle is the pony tail that hangs down his back as he plays, which represents his Native Heritage. There was an incident in January this year during a game where an announcer made a remark about cutting his pony tail or “scalping” him. With an outpouring of support from fans and players around the league, this was something Lyle turned into an opportunity to educate.
In September of this year Lyle will represent the Iroquois Nationals at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships.
In this episode we cover the origin of lacrosse, how it is a game of medicine, how the stick was created, we debunk myths of Native Americans and have some laughs about an honorary Thompson brother… which is not an easy title to receive.
#70 - Corey Forrester | Ordained, Liberal, Comedian, Redneck
Corey is a comedian and author from Georgia touring around the United states. Whether on stage by himself or with his “wellRED” tour group Drew and Ryan, he is always mixing comedy with social and political issues.
Corey doesn’t reinforce prejudices in his work but rather challenges and normalizes difference.
I came across Corey in a Huffington Post about a guy that opened up his home/yard and ordaining services to same sex couples that weren’t allowed to get married at other venues. Corey is that guy.
Corey tells some powerful stories about his great friends, one who happens to be gay and has certain places he feels he cannot go as well as an African American friend who was robbed and shot but never told the cops out of fear that he would end up in jail.
It is not Corey’s mission to make change or virtue signal. His mission is to make people laugh and earn an income. The messages he brings to comedy on stage are what he truly believes. His work is just him being himself.
#69 - Dr. Norman Farb | Train Your Thought Process
Dr. Norman Farb studies neuroscience of human identity and emotion at the University of Toronto. His focus is on how cognitive biases shape emotional reactions that determine well-being. For example, some people seem to shrug off stressful encounters, whereas others cannot let them go.
In this episode we talk about the narrative thought and the experiential thought in our mind. We even talk about how emotion sits right in the middle of these two forms of thought and how we can practice controlling our emotions.
Dr. Farb gives numerous eye opening examples of just how mindfulness can help everyone reach their full potential.
#68 - Jean-Paul Bédard | Comfort in Dark Places
Jean-Paul ran the Toronto Marathon 6 times in a row. Why you might ask? Because running is his tool for wellness, power and resilience. Jean-Paul was sexually abused at a young age and didn’t tell his family until he had been married 25 years and had a son in his twenties.
Jean-Paul is a remarkable writer and speaker. He wrote a book called, Running Into Yourself - unlock your strength, heal your wounds, and find new life through running.
Jean-Pauls talks about his journey through exposure therapy, his thoughts on the starting line at a race in South Africa and how this trend of wanting a quiet mind may not be the right approach.
Jean- Paul doesn’t run with music. It gets in the way of the dark conversations that he has with himself. The conversations that deal with things he could otherwise avoid. The conversations that cultivate resilience.
#67 - Ricky Manetta | The Do Right Man
Ricky Manetta is a head co-ordinator working world wide with the UFC the ultimate fighting championship. Ricky is also the Founder and senior instructor of MMA KRAV MAGA. He is 50 years old and had his first taste of martial arts when he was just 9 years old.
Stay tuned for the conclusion when we talk about Ricky and the top MMA competitors today.
Ricky went from the victim of bullying to being the bully and now in the position of teaching people how to have the confidence to stand up to bullies without any physical violence.
Ricky takes us through a number of stories, a cab ride that landed him a job as a DJ, the dad that was afraid to stand up to a bully, why we should give a bully a hug, why we should check our own ego and when to listen to the “do right man.”
#66 - Drew Butterworth | Goodvibes
Drew Butterworth actually started the Original Uber and realized the power of customer experience when bagging groceries as a kid… but before we talk business, we talk real-life, death, masculinity, relationships, and then business.
Drew, entrepreneur and creator of GoodVibesJuice lost his grandmother, father and dog in grade 9 within the span of 3 months.
Drew makes some powerful points in this episode, two of my favourites were the process and reasoning for accepting his step father into the family and how it doesn’t matter what business you run as an entrepreneur as long as the reason for the business feeds your passion.
I even ask Drew the magical question of why, “Cold Pressed Juice vs regular juice”?
He knocks my socks off with his answer.
#65 - Ryan McDonough | Check Your Intentions
Pro Snowboarder to Counsellor.
Ryan was in the middle of what he thought to be a snowboarders dream life; professional athlete, cars, money, sponsorship, parties, travel…
He started to realize he really didn’t have much. Everything he had didn’t make him happy anymore. The lifestyle didn’t make him happy. He was doing things for a lifestyle he thought he should want. He looked in the mirror at 6’4, 170 pounds of an abused and alcoholic body and convinced himself he was fine.
1000 days before recording this episode Ryan got the help he needed. He has been sober ever since. He is now the manager of a bike shop, he’s a mentor to indigenous youth, he counsels people suffering with addictions, living and family problems and is leading a heroic life.
#64 - Emily O’Brien | Cons and Kernels
Emily is a former inmate at a federal prison. She was dragged into an illegal drug trade. Before that experience Emily was a very successful marketer downtown Toronto and used drugs recreationally as a form of celebration and to help in being the life of the party… like many people do today. Drug use became a coping mechanism for a family issue. She was then dragged into a one time, harmless, no chance of being caught smuggling trip to St. Lucia in the Caribbean. On the way back home while wearing a tailored drug smuggling dress she was caught by security.
It was a downhill spiral after being told she was going to prison. Then one day in the midst of this storm Emily turned her life around. She read 82 books in prison. She decided to live a sober life. She decided to start a business with an impact beyond just incredible popcorn, Cons and Kernels.
#63 - Greg Sutton | Risk in Business and Sport
Greg is the President & CEO of Sutton Special Risk insurance company that insures thousands of professional athletes. Beyond that Sutton Risk offers insurance for disability, critical illness, war & terrorism, kidnap, ransom, and professional sports to name a few.
We begin this episode with a powerful conversation about how to build long-term, substantial business relationships that go beyond the product or service.
We talk business, we talk about normalizing risk in life, and we talk about how professional athletes have changed their opinion on risk over the last 10 years.
#62 - Lt. Brian Murphy | Will Yourself Alive
Ex-Marine and police officer Brian Murphy was supposed to have the day off on August 5th, 2012. Instead he found himself in the middle of a gun fight at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
In a total of a minute and 15 seconds. He was shot 15 times.
He was then dragged into a police car by his partner, vest cut off with a knife and loaded into an ambulance off to the hospital. The first bullet that hit him in the face is still in his body today.
Brian explains how he stayed calm amidst the gun fire, how he kept fighting even after he was shot in the face, the negative power that pity can play in ones life, how to act as a leader and a whole lot more.
This whole episode is a collection of stories from that day, all with different lessons. Brian concludes by sharing what a hero is with a story to prove it.
#61 - Shawn Matthias | Outside The Box
Shawn Matthias played 10 incredible years in the NHL. But what happens when you move on from playing? When you have to redefine yourself and find out who you really are? An enlightening conversation I never thought I would have with a 10 year NHL vet, one year out of playing. We touched on a couple things to say the least...
- 10 years in the NHL
- How the ego is the enemy
- Wake-up calls from a visit to Africa
- Negative lifestyle habits due to assumptions
- Finding out who you really are
- Not playing hockey doesn't mean retirement
Shawn on Instagram
#60 - Scarlett Lewis | Resilient From Inside Out
On December 14, 2012, Scarlett Lewis experienced something that no parent should ever have to endure: she lost her son Jesse in an act of unimaginable violence after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This conversation is about how to face the impossible, how to find courage when you think you have none, and how to choose love instead of anger, fear, or hatred.
We can live in anger and resentment, or we can choose love and forgiveness.
With her decision made, Scarlett found some peace and began to believe that choosing love was the key to creating a healthy, safe, and happy world.
She began the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation. the foundation develops programs that teach children about the power each of us have to change our thoughts and choose a life without fear and hate.
Nurturing Healing Love is Scarlett's story of how choosing love is changing her life--and how it could change our world. To learn more about the foundation or to make a donation, go to www.jesselewischooselove.org
#59 - Craig Towler | How to Interpret Experience
Craig Towler is a bilateral amputee. On July 4th, 2016 he was struck by an impaired driver which resulted in the amputation of both of his legs.
He leads a life knowing nothing can take away his happiness and will to succeed.
In this episode we talk about dealing with the anger, the value of reflecting on the past to assist us in the future but not dwelling too long in the past that it takes away from our ability to live now.
The popular saying “It is not about what happens, it is how you react to it” … in Craigs opinion it is how you “interpret” what happens and leverage that for the future.
#58 - Angie Mozilo | Endurance in Life
On July 17, 1989 Angie was sitting in a police interrogation room, her world crashed down as she listened to two detectives tell her that her husband had coordinated and carried out the murder of his father.
Angie has lived out the heroes journey through and through. She has totally figured out how to stop living life in defence mode, how to totally rationalize mistakes to the point that they are simply mistakes and who cares, she has accepted her past with no need at all to change it, she has raised 3 children and has been re-married now for 25 years!
Oh ya she also went back to school and graduated the same day as one of her daughters.
Angie has decided to happen to life, instead of letting life happen to her.
#57 - Mike Olbinski | Into The Storm
We run away. Mike runs toward.
Internationally acclaimed Filmmaker and photographer. Storm chaser. Emmy winner. Published author. Husband and father of three.
For Mike, a passion turned into a life-changing career with Mother Nature. We talk storms, we talk philosophy, we talk life and more. From what mother nature has taught Mike about life to how it can change people to the beauty of difference in every single storm he chases. Aligning so may ways with the philosophy of the heroes journey is a quote from Vincent van Gogh, “There is peace even in the storm...”
#56 - Maria Mcdonald & Melissa McCradden | Life, Death, & Decisions
Maria is an independent consultant in privacy & health law. Melissa is a neuroscientist. A career of high level decision making under pressure. Taking into account and prioritizing a collection of philosophical, social, legal and ethical concerns with the goal of maximum benefit to patient and caregiver. A very heroic duty.
This episode has two parts:
In part one we talk about making the tough decisions, keeping out bias, prioritization of values, living with the decision, the issue with policies, and more.
In part two we apply this information to hot topics in the media today, assisted dying, artificial intelligence, and gene editing.
#55 - Haley Moss | Autism, Attorney, Artist, Author
Haley is a South Florida native who was diagnosed with autism at age three. Upon receiving her autism diagnosis, her family was told that she would be fortunate to make a friend, graduate high school, or obtain her driver’s license.
Haley has defied the expectations set forth within her initial diagnosis.
Haley attended the University of Florida and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology & Law as well as a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2015. She completed both degrees in an impressive three years. Haley then graduated from the University of Miami School of Law.
Today, she is an attorney, author, artist, and autism advocate who writes and speaks publicly about her journey and gives hope for other autistic people and their families and friends.
#54 - Ben Fanelli | Shockproof
Through podcast guests I’ve started to develop this idea of being shock-proof; composure amidst challenge. This doesn’t come from a set of skills but rather how we decide to live our lives.
My best friend once told me we all have a pot representing what we can handle. And if we don’t deal with things that need attention, our pot can boil over… limiting what we can handle, limiting our composure in the face of challenge.
We don’t have to be alone with our thoughts, we don’t have to have tough conversations, we don’t have to create things on our own anymore. It is so interesting that technology has given us so many great things but also so many crutches and distractions.
We need to empty our pot. We need to do the difficult things, the new things, the exciting things. When that road you are on takes a turn or you see a bump coming… your pot has room for challenge. You are in tune with yourself. You are shockproof.
#53 - Victor Oreskovich | Power of Nothing to Lose
Victor Oreskovich found himself in the Semi-Finals of the Stanley Cup Play-Offs. 6 months prior he wasn’t even thinking about hockey and had been “retired” for two years. He went from the NCAA to the Ontario Hockey League to retirement, back to school, then back to hockey. 5 games out of retirement he finally arrived in the NHL.
Here’s the kicker… Vic lost the love for the game when he was 12 years old.
We start with what it takes to make it to the NHL and then circle back to narrow down what mindset gave Vic the ability to play in the National Hockey League. What changed? What temporary fix gave him the ability to play in the best hockey league in the world?
Stories, regrets, and lessons learned through one divergent yet incredible hockey career.
#52 - Jim Moss | Mood Drives Performance
Chief Happiness Officer and Co-Founder of Plasticity Labs, Jim Moss, was a Hall of Fame, gold medal-winning, pro athlete. But, in the weeks leading up to the 2009 season, he was suddenly rendered acutely paralyzed from a rare autoimmune disease.
As an athlete of this caliber, he knew what it would take to fight his way back. Regardless, the doctors weren’t sure how long it would take to walk again.
Ignoring the naysayers, Jim hacked his own healing, focused on being grateful and learning the science of mood and performance. He walked out of the hospital six weeks later.
The moral of the story? Mood drives performance. When you have a transformational experience like this, you are compelled to share it with the world.
#51 - Laura & Jacob Beck | The Adventure Continues
Laura and Jacob were in a car accident that changed life for both of them. Laura is now a C6 Quadriplegic.
Laura has taken on immense challenges including yoga which we talk about. Jacob has taken on a supporting role and together they are living a life that they didn’t chose but have come to accept.
Laura talks about continuing to push the envelope. Jacob discusses learning through trial and fire how to best support Laura. They both share their new approach to spirituality or religion (whatever you’d like to call it). They both talk about how their relationship has changed and also grown stronger. The couple went on spontaneous road trips and adventures before the accident and that hasn’t changed today. They go on even more adventures today than they used to.
Laura has this incredible aura of optimism and bravery that people need to hear.
#50 - Dr. Daniel Grossman | Same Goals
Dr. Daniel Grossman is a full time Emergency Medicine Physician without the use of his legs. A mountain biking accident brought a new normal into his life.
In a mere 5 months Dr. Grossman went from being transported in a helicopter from the accident to learning how to drive without his feet to treating patients from a wheel chair.
Getting ready in the morning takes Dr. Grossman 3 hours, and he doesn’t complain about it. He views and compartmentalizes the situation as his new normal that is now part of the path to his goals. His goals are to make a difference and innovate in the medical community on an individual level as well as across the world on a macro level.
His goals in life have not changed. The only thing that has changed is how he will reach those goals.
#49 - Matt Haig | A Nervous Planet
World renowned Author Matt Haig talks with me about his new book; Notes on a Nervous Planet.
“In a full lifetime our ancestors knew on average 200 people. Today we can connect with 200 people in one morning sitting in bed on instagram.”
In this episode we talk about his book, about the world we live in today. How we think certain things will make us happy and they don’t. How there are so many technological devices and processes that disconnect us from ourselves and lots more.
Collectively we as people create the nervous system of the world. It is nervous today, just as an individual would be. A world with infinite choice. Where magazines and televisions tell us we will never be good enough. Where we are expected to build relationships over a keyboard. How do we change or resist this? How do we not only live but thrive in a world like this? Listen and find out.
#48 - Theoren Fleury | Sit In Your Sh*t
Theoren Fleury was sexually abused by his junior hockey coach which lead him to alcohol, drugs and promiscuity throughout his impressive 16-year NHL career. In this episode we talk about how addiction can find its way into someones life, maybe its food, maybe it’s a cell phone. It all comes back to an individual that is unable or unwilling to deal with their emotional burdens, often trauma. We talk about spirituality in general and spirituality of aboriginal people that actually don’t mind what you believe, they welcome you in regardless. We finish with an incredible conversation about how pain is needed in life and how to be a winner, in the office, in the classroom, or on the ice.
#47 - Greg Westlake | Stay Accountable
Greg Westlake is Team Canada’s Sledge hockey Captain. He is known as someone you do not want to find in your corner as he is an extremely tough opponent that will stop at nothing to come out with the puck. Greg is also a world record holder on a hand bike; World Human Powered Speed Challenge. Greg is now in broadcasting and philanthropy while working to grow the game of Sledge hockey.
We talk about Greg’s journey from standing hockey to sledge hockey, how he has inspired people so much that they have become Olympians themselves. We move into topics of leadership, day to day accountability. Why Greg has an ulterior motive in life when it comes to being a captain or being in broadcasting, he wants a platform to create positive change. We even talk about how Greg finds calm in the unknowns in life. In conclusion we discuss Matt Cook, Gregs Roommate who passed away from the same cancer as Terry Fox; an out-standing individual.
#46 - Matthew McCoy | The Addicts Attic
Matthew McCoy share's his story of abuse by his grand father, heroine addiction, suicide attempts, robbery, losing his girlfriend to an overdose, experience in prison, and finally being sober for 11 years.
He now works to save peoples lives with his program; The Addicts Attic.
Matthew McCoy the "teddy bear" that sits in front of me tells the story of this entire journey to where he is today.
He grew up with a wealthy family. He was a popular kid at school.
This story is proof of resilience the human body and mind can have.
This story is like a Movie.
#45 - Dr. Nathalie Sleno | Nothings Impossible
Dr. Sleno, is a mother of 7, a military doctor, pilot and teacher. Dr. Sleno was one of the last 17 individuals in the running to be selected as one of Canada's next astronauts. The Canadian Space Agency has hired 12 astronauts since 1983. Dr. Sleno is also the CEO of Leap Bio Systems; Canadian professionals in the medical, aerospace, research and engineering fields changing the way medical care is done not only in space but also remote areas on earth.
Dr. Sleno and I discuss the process of staying grounded, accepting the risk in trying to do crazy things… like leaving the planet, how she was tested in the process of becoming an astronaut, and lots more. We even touch on the challenges her organization is approaching such as augmented reality for medical treatment done in space by someone here on earth… another life changing episode. Enjoy!
#44 - Audrey Kouyoumdjian | A 20 Year Secret
Audrey was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and was told not to have kids and not to open a Physio Therapy Clinic. She has successfully done both those things. She also had to tell her husband of 20 years that she loved another woman.
Audrey and I talk openly, and optimistically about her entire life journey; specifically how her mind set at certain times correlated directly to her health. When something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t right. Talk about it, change it. Find the happiness you deserve. Waking up from surgery with tubes all over her body after having part of her stomach removed Audrey finally decided to be authentic. This is a story of approaching things that are scary, uncomfortable or will require a lot of work.
#43 - Ian Bigford | Controlling Your Attitude Part 1 & 2
He’s back! The man on this Heroic Minds journey with me. Philosophy Major, Masters in Business Administration, business consultant and more. In this episode we break down with philosophy and science exactly why YOU DO control whether the rainy day is a “bad” day or a “great” day.
- Thinking fast vs. Thinking slow.
- How to stay motivated; Dopamine vs. Serotonin.
- How the attitude you choose affects your perception of things.
Ian and I break down the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling (1910)
This poem was written circa 1895 as a tribute to Leander Starr Jameson who led about five-hundred of his countrymen in a failed raid against the Boers, in southern Africa. It is a literary example of Victorian-era stoicism.
#42 - Constable Marshall & Chase | K-9 Unit
Tyler Marshall and K-9 Police Dog “Chase” are partners in the Waterloo Police Department. They have been together since day one. Both of them sacrifice enjoyment for the safety of an entire community. Chase is a working dog. He does not live the same life as dogs you may know. He lives in his own dog house in the backyard of Tylers house. He has limited contact with the family, limited treats and definitely limited high pitched "Good boy's." When Tyler throws the tennis ball Chase takes off full speed to track it down. Tyler says without yelling “Hold” and Chase will stop instantly with complete control and wait patiently. Tyler will then say “down” and from 30 yards away, Chase will lay down and wait. Tyler then allows Chase to retrieve the ball and return it to him. What is life like for these two? How are decisions made? What are some real stories of the work Chase has done and the abilities he has. Does chase know the difference between work time and play time? Does he take on different positions in the police force? Where does he come from? All that and more, leading up to a story where Chase tracked down a suspect and had them say “I’ll come out but don’t let that dog near me."
#41 - Dana Sinclair | Managing Your Emotions
Dana is a licensed psychologist who consults with surgeons, actors, musicians, executives as well as professional teams and athletes in the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, MLS and Autosport.
She has worked with a number of Olympic teams, taking her to the Olympic Games in Nagano, Sydney and Salt Lake City in her capacity as the teams’ performance psychologist.
A former international athlete herself, Dana served as captain of the Canadian Field Hockey Team and played hockey for the University of Cambridge, UK. She has two doctorates (from the University of Cambridge, UK and the University of Ottawa) and is a clinical assistant professor with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. The Canadian Baseball Network ranked her #9 on the 2016 Most Influential Canadians in Baseball Top 100 list.
In this episode we talk about how our minds limit ourselves and how we can change that.
#40 - John Young | Be The Hammer
John Young is the only person with Dwarfism to complete an Ironman. Not only that he also regularly races in triathlons, and marathons. John Young was raised in a foster home with a strong female influence. John is also a teacher and basketball coach… yes a basketball coach. He shares funny stories of how he deals with the social situation when people may judge him and what his mindset is when he’s mid race. We also discuss a mindset on handling pain and how his quote “Be The Hammer” came to be.
#39 - Dr. D.J. Cook | Neurosurgeon, Farmer, Hero
Dr. D.J. Cook is a neurosurgeon and owner operator of OtterCreekFarms. In this episode he tells the story of working on the farm and 10 minutes later in surgery to save someones life. That is the life of Dr. Cook. We talk about decision making as a brain surgeon, how he approaches problems on the farm just how he approaches problems during surgery. Dr. Cook is fascinated by the resilience of the brain and how performance of the brain can now be seen through specialized imaging on stress induced patients. Dr. Cook is one of the most humble people I have ever met; a life saver, a farmer, a hero.
#38 - Gerry Dee | Find Out For Yourself
Gerry Dee is one of the best comedians of our time. Known for his hit show Mr. D, his stand up comedy, Gerry Dee Sports Reporter and his various role’s in main stream movies. Gerry’s journey to comedy is exactly why I wanted him on the show. He still remembers the arguments his parents had when he was a kid over whether they had enough money for food and gas that week. While doing his second degree Gerry had four jobs, one of them being comedy, which grew into what it is today. The interesting thing is that it was never about chasing the money, it was about doing something and trying to be the best in the world at it… the money would be a by-product of that. Gerry’s comedy career took flight in 2002 when he became the first Canadian to win the San Francisco International Comedy Competition (which had past winners such as Ellen DeGeneres, Louis C. K., Dane Cook, and more.) We talk sports, society, failure, goal setting, schooling, comedy, and more. “If you’re going to do something try be the best in the world at it, you may never be, you may only get close, but you have to get close to get there.” - Gerry Dee.
#37 - Joanne George & Smiley | See With Your Heart (Oct 14th)
A feel good story about a dog born without eyes that has changed and saved peoples lives. Many years ago Joanne had a foster dog that could not find a home. People thought Smiley could not live like a “normal” dog. One day Joanne decided Smiley would go from a foster dog to her own. Through an incredible journey Smiley turned into a source of hope, a saviour, and a hero. Smiley’s story teaches us how to treat and approach people that may be different, how to adapt to our surroundings and how easy it is for anyone to make someones day…without knowing that it could get them out of a rut or even save their life.
#36 - Troy Smith | Two Types of Mental Toughness
Suicide. A conversation I never thought I would be having with my hockey coach. Like anything in this world that we don’t understand talking about it will only make us better and more equipped. In this episode I sit down with Troy Smith head coach of the Saginaw Spirit in the Ontario Hockey League. Before coaching Troy played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 1995-1999 with the Detroit Jr. Red Wings/Plymouth Whalers organization. We start by talking about Troy’s brother who completed suicide. We move into other topics of how to support someone that doesn’t want help, how to talk to someone that may be having mental health issues, and how mindfulness and meditation aren’t the only way to support your mental health. We even talk about the night I had my injury and how Troy almost got in a fight in the hospital which provided some comic relief, lastly Troy reveals his hobby of playing fortnight and the ulterior motive as to why he plays.
#35 - Ben Fanelli | Living Without Sport
In this episode I bring to light something missing in the concussion conversation. Athletes may have to stop playing the sport they love one day… and that is okay. Athletes are never told this nor do they talk about it or plan for it. Once an athlete sustains a concussion they are expected to go against the grain and not play through injury which has been a habit developed from a young age. It is not “tough” to play through injury, it is habit. What is tough is accepting where you are, regardless of how terrible it may feel and acting in accordance. Athletes may have to second think their return to sport and make the tough decision of moving on from playing. You can live just as happy if not happier without sport. This needs to be talked about more to enable athletes to make this decision. It was conversations like this that helped me to accept where I was and the decision I needed to make. I can live without sport… I never believed I could.
#34 - Chris Miranda | Greater Purpose
Chris Miranda, ex-golf pro and golf course owner “had it all” until one day noticed tingling in his hands. He went from shooting a 71 to a 91 on the golf course and had trouble standing up on his hockey skates. He was told by the doctor he had 6 weeks to live. Initially thought to be a rare form of cancer Chris was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder in which your body's immune system attacks your nerves. This has rendered Chris without the use of his hands or feet. Raising two young kids, with a full time job and constantly around a game he can no longer play like he used to, Chris has found a way to get back to “having it all”.
#33 - Brock McGillis | Fear of Difference
Brock McGillis is the first professional hockey player to publicly reveal he’s gay. He played professionally in both the United States and Europe. At age 19, McGillis was ranked on the NHL draft list, but his prospects were derailed by a series of injuries, from cuts and concussions to mono and knee surgeries. Brock has become an influential advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. His story has been highlighted in newspapers and blogs across North America, and was most recently featured on CBC The National. This fall he’ll be featured in a book about hockey heroes who are changing the game for the better he will be profiled in a National Film Board documentary about LGBTQ+ athletes. He’s also starting a foundation and hoping to speak at every elementary and high school in Canada.
#32 - Wali Shah | The Power of Our Narratives
Wali Shah is a Pakistani, Muslim, Canadian, public speaker and poet. Wali came to Canada in 1997 with his mom. After years of dealing with assumptions and name calling, hate crime and more, a small altercation escalated leaving Wali in hand cuffs. It was at that point he realized the immense power that is in our narratives. The way we speak, the stories we are told and the manufactured ideas we believe make for conflict and anger that could be easily avoided. In this episode we talk his journey from hand-cuffs to the stage of 100's of different schools. We talk about the word terrorist, we talk about cultural misunderstanding, we talk about the heroic initiative we can all take to understand different people better. It is simply educating ourselves that can literally make this world a better place. We don't have to like each other but it would make this world a better place if we respected each other.
#31 - Emily Kaplan | Human Side of Athletes
Emily Kaplan is an ESPN journalist and ex Sports Illustrated journalist. Her writing is different than the average athletic story. She interviews and writes in a way that the human side to each athlete shines through. It is her type of writing that is so exciting because it allows everyday people, young, old, athlete or not to relate to the story.
We start with Emily's journey in the male dominated world of sports journalism where 11% are female. We move into a number of athlete's journeys, the reason for the culture of hockey and how it can be applied to other "groups", the social issue of concussion, past interviews with athlete superstars and more.
#30 - Michael Landsberg | Tag You're It
Michael Landsberg is a Canadian sports journalist and former host of Off the Record on TSN. Today he still works a full time job while spending 2/3 of every day helping people open-up, share, discuss and find courage in their mental health struggles. In this episode we talk as open as possible about mental health but also in general, chirps were thrown and laughs were had throughout the entire episode. Michael shares the details of his continuous journey through life while dealing with depression and anxiety. He talk about how to overcome the ego that stops us from sharing. We discuss how mental health issues are similar to a street fight where you look for any tool you can to help win the fight. We even discuss how to approach the conversation with someone else that may be dealing with depression or anxiety.
Michael Landsberg - Twitter
#29 - Nichole Robertson | We Create Limitation
Nichole is a university professor of piano and ex competitive swimmer that has been blind since birth. I prepared for this episode accordingly with questions and ideas that I thought would lead us to discussion of a different approach to life.... that didn't happen... something more incredible did. Nicole explained how she lives alone, she is a university professor and does 99% of everything people with sight do. Nicole and her story is proof that it is not what we see that creates our limitations in life but what we imagine in our minds. There was never a fear in riding a bike, in swimming, in j-walking, in music, and more. Nichole pushes the envelope of life without sight so much so that she forces her peers to improve to keep up.
#28 - Dr. Bhante Saranapala | Purify the Mind
Dr. Saranpala is known as the Urban Buddhist Monk. He was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh. He continued his secular and monastic education in Sri Lanka. There he joined one of the leading Colleges for the Training of Buddhist Monks in Asia where he received his Upasampada or Higher Ordination. After obtaining a Masters Degree in Religious studies from Hamilton’s McMaster University in 2002, Bhikkhu Saranapala returned to the University of Toronto as a Teaching Assistant, and did his doctoral studies in Religious Studies at the Centre for the Study of Religion. For two decades Dr. Saranapala has been teaching mindfulness and Vipassana meditation in the Greater Toronto Area and across North America. In this episode it is not a personal story. It is learning about the beliefs and mindset that comes with buddhism. This entire episode is like a meditation in itself.
Relax and enjoy.
#27 - Dr. Graham Collingridge | Benefits of Stress, Anxiety & Inflammation
Dr. Collingridge was recruited from Bristol in the U.K. to be the Senior Investigator at Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto. He is also the chair of the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Collingridge studies brain mechanisms that control the strength of brain cell connections, and how this fundamental property (known as synaptic plasticity) affects brain function. The work is critical for understanding the cellular basis of learning and memory. Dr. Collingridge aims to find pharmacogenetic methods (drugs) to restore behavioural and cognitive function and to prevent neurodegenerative processes that afflict people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, and mental illness. From why smells reminds us of our past to research on medication that can reverse the affects of depression to pruning our synapses and the best way to keep our brain young. I am sure you will enjoy it.
#26 - Michael Cotts | Mission Before Man
Canadian Forces Sargent Major Michael Cotts enlisted at the age of 17. He served overseas six times, in Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan as a master warrant officer and combat engineer. Michael received a medical discharge in 2012 for post-traumatic stress disorder. After returning home Michael has ventured through some dark times to find healthy habits, overcome immense adversity and live triumphantly with PTSD. He has joined numerous groups that encourage active lifestyle and competition within a wide variety of activities such as snowshoeing, cycling, fishing, scuba-diving and Cross-fit. He has biked 800 miles from Ottawa to Washington over several weeks. Michael even runs workout classes for fellow veterans and first responders with operational stress injuries in New Brunswick.
#25 - Camil Dumont | The Similarity That Bond Us
Camil Dumont is the CEO of Inner City Farms. A company that grows vegetables in the city of Vancouver... yes literally in the city, on the front and back yard of peoples homes. He does this to bring people together and to educate. Camil has accepted the pay cut, the risk and the challenges that come with the business all to make our relationship to food a little healthier. A very heroic journey.
#24 - Garret Rank | Power of Perspective
Garret Rank is a full time NHL referee and pro golfer that recently competed in the US Open. He is also a cancer survivor with an incredibly resilient mindset.
Rank has his eyes set on reffing the Stanley Cup Finals and competing in the Masters.
We talk about how NHL players will actually help him after making a bad call, arguments on the ice with past guests (Scheifele, Landeskog), we walk through how to decelerate a yelling match with a pissed off NHL player, bouncing back from a bad call or bad golf shot, and finish with some funny stories from the US Open fans and hecklers!
#23 - Brenna Huckaby | Adaptive Athletes
Brenna Huckaby is up for Best Female Athlete With a Disability at the 2018 ESPY Awards and is the first Paralympian to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition.
Brenna was a nationally ranked gymnast when osteosarcoma took her leg and career when she was only 14 years old.
Now she is a two-time Paralympic Gold Medalist from the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. One gold in the snowboard-cross and one in the banked slalom.
In this episode we talk about how literally getting off the couch turned her life around and allowed her to push the limits of life regardless of her amputation.
From swimming to water skiing, to olympic gold in snowboarding, to prosthetic malfunction mid-race, to defying her odds of giving birth. We even discuss Brenna's future goals of competing in the summer Olympics and driving a standard vehicle.
#22 - Gabriel Landeskog | Vulnerability, Stoicism, Leadership
Gabriel Landeskog was one of the youngest captains in NHL history and Rookie of The Year in the NHL in 2011-2012 season.
He moved to Canada from Sweden at 16 years old and is presently the Captain of the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL. He has won multiple medals on the world stage representing team Sweden.
From his bachelor party, to being an NHL captain at 20 years old, to surviving a triathlon, to the scariest moment in his life, to the most embarrassing moment of his life.
In this episode we don't talk much about hockey. We talk about the human side to one of the most stoic, strong and fearless captains in the sporting world today.
#21 - Mike Laughlin | A New Normal
Mike Laughlin looked death in the eyes twice. He is an above knee amputee full time Fire Fighter with endless resilience and tenacity.
We talk about 3 life altering experiences over the course of ten years and how none of them have stopped him from anything in life.
From crawling on his knees with a shattered femur and broken arm in minus 28 degrees celsius to having his leg bones stuck in the ground after a motorcycle accident.
Mike looks and acts just like any other healthy, active young male. The only difference is that every morning when he puts his two shoes on, he also puts his leg on.
This is a story for the books.
#20 - Dr. Bob Stevens | Working With Heroes Everyday
Dr. Bob Stevens has been an oncologist for 25 years. He has seen how incredible the human body and mind is first hand.
In this episode Dr. Bob and I not only discuss his mindset in the area of oncology but also the mindset of the patients that he works with everyday.
We talk about life, death, breaking edge cancer care and lots more.
For those like myself intimidated by the topic of cancer or even feel insufficient as to not having the right to discuss the topic, this is the episode for you. Dr. Stevens tells incredible stories and realities of just how amazing people are.
#19 - Daniel Gallucci | Working With Uncertainty
Daniel Gallucci has been through brain cancer and is now pushing the envelope of neuroscience to then push the envelope of human performance.
After discussing Daniels journey through cancer we then move into how he and his team are testing the human body and mind under stress while recording functional images of the brain.
Daniel and his team with some of the top neuroscientists in the world could change sport and human performance forever.
#18 - Steven Woods | Success Comes From Building The Right Team
Steven Woods is an engineering director at Google Canada leading 500 people. He has a PhD in Computer Science and started the first voice recognition software company in 1999 called Quack.com He fired himself from his own company and then re-hired himself, he went to Hawaii to meet someone in person that wasn't answering his calls. He didn't make the school golf team and was named MVP the following year. He has been told that he can be too passionate. Needless to say Steve doesn't like to take "no" for an answer. His journey to Google is one for the books. He went from school to playing hockey in Australia to scuba diving, back to school, to the golf team, to Pittsburgh, to Silicon Valley, finally to Google and more in between.
Hear how one day Google literally came to his house to recruit him.
#17 - Ian Bigford | What Is A Heroic Mindset? Vol. 2
Iain Bigford is a Philosophy major and brand marketer. He has the incredible ability to articulate complex thoughts and ideas. Perfect for this episode. In this episode we work through 3 principles that are consistent across every HeroicMinds guest thus far. We talk through, dissect and debate just exactly what it is that allows each HeroicMinds guest to be the hero of their own story.
- Evolutionary connection between the hero's journey and today's complex world.
- The biological connection between being a predator or pray.
- The neuroanatomy behind composure in times of challenge.
- How articulation of clear objectives primes the mind for goal oriented action.
@Iainnorthe - Instagram
#16 - Dara Howell | You Don't Always Have To Believe
Dara Howell is an olympic Gold Medalist, a RedBull Athlete, and an ambassador for Always #LikeAGirl. There is a lot more to Dara's current journey than simply executing on her ski's and stepping onto the podium. At the age of 19, Dara was thrown into a world of fame and success over night. This came with a feeling of shamefulness, anxiety and fatigue. After years of contemplating exit from her sport and the spot light, Dara had 9 months to train for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Her showing at the Olympics didn't come with your standard fairytale ending... but it did come with an inspiring, courageous story of its own. Dara finished in the bottom half of her fellow competitors yet she turned that situation into one that had the entire country at her back; integrity regardless of winning or losing.
It was the fear of failure that once stopped Dara from achieving her best not only as an athlete but as a person. It is failure that has now fuelled Dara with an inherent excitement regardless of the outcome.
Twitter - @DaraHowell
Instagram - @DaraHowell
#15 - Darren Van Zandbergen | Time Is Always Against Us
Darren Van Zandbergen holds the world record in the over 40 division of the Fire Fighter Combat Challenge, also known as the toughest two minutes in sports. Darren and his team finished first in the relay at the same World Championships and shattered two world records in the process. Beyond that Darren is a training officer for the Oakville Fire Department in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Darren is in charge of training fire fighters to be ready for whatever and whoever is in need when 911 is dialled. In this episode we dive into the mental integrity that is needed to stay focused while either at the top of a 100 foot ladder, or when lives are at stake. We then talk about the combat challenge, 100% output with zero room for error. Darren has a really powerful approach to PTSD in first responders, which he shares on the podcast. In conclusion, Darren shares a moving story of his grandfather which he reflects on for motivation during competition.
#14 - Heather Moyse | More Capable Than You Think
Heather Moyse has represented Canada professionally in three different sports. From Rugby to Cycling to Bobsleigh. Heather was the leading try scorer in the 2006 and 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup, represented Canada in cycling at the Pan-American games in 2012, and won two gold medals in bobsleigh in 2010 and 2014. Outside of sport Heather has a masters degree in occupational therapy, is a motivational speaker and has recently released her book called Redefining Realistic. Heather is the hero of her own story for many reasons, the biggest reason is utilizing every opportunity that has come her way.
Twitter - @HeatherMoyse
Instagram - @HeatherMoyse
Website - heathermoyse.com
#13 - Amanda Kessel | Pushing Through To Gold
Amanda Kessel is one of the most prolific hockey players today. Three time NCAA champion, silver medalist in the 2014 Olympics and a gold medal in this years 2018 Olympics. She helped lead her NCAA’s team to the first ever-undefeated season in women’s hockey. She became the fourth woman in NCAA hockey history to eclipse 100 points, with 101 points. There is more to Amanda’s story that you may not see. Amanda had to stop playing hockey for almost two years due to concussion and thought a return to playing was near impossible. There’s more to Amanda than the game of hockey. She is doing her part in the fight for equity in women’s hockey and is working on a clothing line that started as a distraction during her time away from the game. Amanda is not only a successful athlete but a successful person and is definitely the hero of her own story.
Twitter - @AmandaKessel28
Instagram - AmandaKessel28
#12 - Mark Scheifele | Sacrifice & Success
Mark Scheifele is an assistant captain of the Winnipeg Jets and one of the most exciting players in the National Hockey League today. After signing a long-term eight-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets he continues to thrive and improve. In this episode we talk about things you don't hear in interviews or in the locker room. How to stay grounded when you are living out your dream, the power of prayer, how to control anxiety and much more. Mark remains in control of his own destiny because he is able to adapt to the inherent adversities that come with being one of the best hockey players in the world.
Twitter | Instagram
#11 - Anthony Stewart | Don't Leave It To Chance
Anthony Stewart made it to the NHL with less than a 1% chance. He couldn't afford to play or commute to the rink. That didn't stop Anthony Stewart or his brother from making it. Early exposure to many things in life, walking to the rink with his equipment, striving to support his 6 siblings, all lead to his dream of playing in the NHL. Anthony is the hero of his own story and now a hero for many others that start life in the same position as he did.
#10 - Karsten Madsen | Success Isn't Owned, It's Leased
Karsten Madsen is a professional triathlete. With a heart out of rhythm he was told sports were no longer. He was reluctant to deal with adversities outside of sport, all while competing on the world stage of cross triathlons. Karsten has stepped away from his sport 3 times. His determination and win at all cost mindset is his greatest asset but he also realizes it can be a weakness when not controlled. Karsten has now made mental wellness a part of his training routine. Rejuvenated and prepared, Karsten is ready to chase success. He now has his eyes set on being the 2018 ITU Cross World Champion in Denmark and competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Cliff Bar
#9 - Ryan Martin | Acceptance Breeds Resilience
Ryan Martin is biking across Canada. It took him a long time to figure out what was going on in his head. Time after time he thought his problems were solved. When he finally accepted his bipolar disorder he found the path of resilience. Overtime Ryan has learned how to manage his thoughts and emotions to live a fulfilling life. He is biking 8000km across Canada to instil courage in others dealing with mental health challenges. Website | Twitter | Instagram
#8 - Marc Savard | The Game Will Always Be There
Marc Savard played 14 seasons in the National Hockey League. He had an obligated yet heroic journey through concussion to finish an incredible career. We discuss how he reached his dream and the moment he realized in the locker room mid-game that it was going to be his last game as a professional hockey player. We finish with a fun discussion about another sport he may play professionally one day.
@MSavvy91 Taping Twigs With Savy
#7 - Julia Mann | A Pause Doesn't Mean Its Over
On the surface people see a young NCAA swimmer, a friend, a sister, a teammate. What you don't see is that Julia found control over epilepsy and bipolar disorder, overcoming both challenges to compete in the pool again with her D1 Swim Team at La Salle University in Philadelphia. Julia has since then finished her undergrad degree and is in the process of becoming a lawyer. Julia explains how taking the time to find control over adversity isn't a reason to give up or dwell on being stagnant... because a pause doesn't mean it's over.
#6 - Eric Bolton | Create The Right Choice
Eric Bolton had the choice; med school or music... safety or passion. He chose passion and hasn't looked back. Eric is a successful business owner and recording artist. He goes to work everyday to create, teach and share his passion with the world. We sit in his loft studio and talk about the inherent adversities and exciting risk in chasing your passion, how to organically grow a sustainable customer base, how to make the right decision and the fact that everyone is an entrepreneur.
@EBoltn | iTunes - Shy Harry | Spotify - Shy Harry
#5 - Brett Maclean | Preparation And A 5% Chance
Brett Maclean just reached his lifelong dream of playing in the NHL...then his heart stopped and his life changed forever. From the moment he woke up in the hospital to sitting here chatting with me, Brett carries an aura of control and composure. That is what made him a successful hockey player and with a 5% chance of living, a successful survivor. We start with his journey to the NHL, then discuss his life changing heart attack, the lessons he has learnt and how you can support the Heart & Stroke Foundation. @mackattack_39
#4 - Amber Shewfelt | Accept What You Can't Control
Amber Shewfelt is the definition of toughness. She is living a triumphant life with Cystic Fibrosis, setting and achieving goals regardless of the daily adversity. Her main goal is to make life better for others with CF in a selfless and remarkable way. We discuss life, death, and how to share your message in a way that can change a life. Amber shares that feeling upset and frustrated shouldn't be avoided to hide the truth, but rather embraced to accept the truth and find a way through.
#3 - Kelly Boaz | If You Cant Beat Fear, Do It Scared
Kelly Boaz, a successful and vibrant Holistic Nutritionist had an undiagnosed eating disorder from the age of 11-18. She was diagnosed with an eating disorder from the age of 18-28. Her story makes very clear, what it is like to have an eating disorder and what it takes to overcome. In this episode we discuss her story, mental health and how fear can scare us away from the answer or mold us into our own hero.
#2 - Nik Knezic | Stay Weird And Live In The Moment
Chasing the NHL to Battling Cancer to Engineering at The University of Waterloo. Nik says death was not even a thought at any point of his journey through cancer, a mindset us unexposed to the situation could hardly image. Nik no longer lays his head to his pillow at night feeling as if he just went through the motions, he has a blank canvas everyday and paints it with as many colours as possible. We touch on Eminem, "gutting it out", painting your daily canvas, surgery, and more. @nknezic
#1 - Ben Fanelli | What Is A Heroic Mindset?
This is my first podcast where I share the story of my severe brain injury and how I managed to climb out of adversity. I also discuss the team approach to overcoming adversity and how that is often our best asset. We cannot expect to overcome adversity without exposing ourselves to adversity before hand, we have to challenge it, cope with it and find a way through it. A house cat unexposed to the wild will not survive in the wild. Lastly, I touch on what the future holds for Heroic Minds and the Heroic Minds Podcast.