Episode 070 -- Identity With Annie Smith

Last summer, Annie Smith was featured in the Stroke Smart magazine, sharing a story about stress and how that stress ultimately led to her stroke on December 22, 2015.

I'm thrilled the folks from the AHA were able to help me connect with Annie this week.


Annie Smith sits at a counterAnnie Smith is an Ischemic stroke survivor.

2015 was a life-changing year for Annie; her husband of 38 years died unexpectedly, her first grandchild was born; and she suffered a massive stroke.

On December 22, 2015, she fell to the floor and couldn’t get up. She suffered left-side paralysis and was in a wheelchair for several months before learning to use various canes. After months of physical therapy in a hospital and at home, she regained mobility, relearning to walk and drive a car. Annie returned to her full time job eight months after the stroke, but couldn’t perform all the responsibilities without the help of her daughter who went to work with her.

Consequently, she had to take an early retirement.

Currently, she has weakness on the left side of her body, has some imbalance issues, and suffers from chronic pain.

Professionally, Annie was an educator for two decades.

She was a college professor, teaching educational psychology and introduction to teaching; prior to earning a doctorate, she worked as an academic counselor, high school English teacher, a literacy counselor, and author.

Annie grew up in Mississippi and moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2005 to work at a university.

She hopes to inspire others to live their best lives and become aware of how stress and diet affect our health.


Annie talks about figuring out who she is now that the stroke has changed all her plans for the future.

A lot of times, survivors talk about how a stroke doesn't mean life is over. It does mean that life will be different. Changes to the brain can alter our priorities, our temperaments, and even our personalities. It can lead us to look at life in a more positive or a more negative manner. This is an internal change in identity.

There are also external changes in our identities. When someone really loves their work and identifies heavily with it, it can be extra difficult to adapt if they can't return to work after a stroke. It's not just their livelihood and financial future that's turned upside down, but also the entire way they see themselves.

A stroke can lead to new life plans and new goals. Family structure can change. And there are myriad other ways the way we see ourselves changes.

Of course that's without even getting into the physical changes we may see in a mirror or through mobility aids.

Annie is going through that process now of figuring out just who post-stroke Annie is.

And she's doing that while working through her recovery, working through depression, dealing with a lack of confidence, and mourning the loss of both her husband and pre-stroke Annie.

And it's fantastic and a testament to her compassion and caring that she invited the rest of us to be part of her journey.

Annie's Story on YouTube


Facebook Group

I've just launched a new Facebook group for the Strokecast community. Stop by, join, say Hi, and share your thoughts on recovery after stroke or about the show.

Hack of the Week

Meditation can be a great tool to control stress. Controlling stress is important for the rest of the things we need to do to stay healthy and avoid stroke -- sleeping well, eating right, and exercising.

So folks are uncomfortable with the idea of meditation, for a variety of reasons, but it doesn't have to be a big deal. Many traditional medical establishments are now promoting "Mindfulness" which provides many of the benefits of meditation without the cultural baggage.


Where do we go from here?


Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 115 — Less Doing with Ari Meisel

2-Minute Tip: Textiful


One way to avoid overwhelming and stressing your audience is to make resources available after the fact and to let your audience know those resources will, in fact, be available.


Ari Meisel recommends Textiful for this. With this tool, you can tell your audience to text a key phrase to a specific number. Now you have an automated dialog with the audience member. You can automatically email them your slides, add them to a newsletter mailing list, or set up other follow-up activities.


When you tell your audience about this at the beginning of your talk, that helps them focus more on understanding and thinking about you content instead of just trying to retain all the details.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Ari Meisel


Ari Meisel speaks around the country about being an Overwhelmologist and helping founders replace themselves in organizations. Regardless of your role in an organization, though, there is a lot of wisdom in Ari’s approach.



Ari Meisel in a black T-Shirt sitting on an outdoor couch

Ari is the best-selling author of “The Art of Less Doing,” and “The Replaceable Founder.”He is a self-described Overwhelmologist whose insights into personal and professional productivity have earned him the title, “The Guru’s Guru.” He can be heard on the award-winning Less Doing Podcast, on international stages speaking to thought leaders and influencers, and for those who prefer the written word, Ari’s blog posts on Medium offer immediate and actionable advice for entrepreneurs seeking replaceability.


Teach Your Audience to Listen


Ari starts off his talk by explaining three things.


  1. He speaks really fast to pack in a lot of information, and he encourages his audience to slow him down if he goes too fast.
  2. He likes to be interrupted so he doesn’t want folks to wait until the end of the talk to ask questions.
  3. At the end of the talk they’ll be able to get the slides and notes via textiful, as described in his tip.


By explaining these items, he teaches the audience how to listen to his talk. Giving folks the ground rules means folks don’t have to wonder if it’s appropriate to ask questions, if they have to take detailed notes, or if the talk is going too fast for others.


When we know the ground rules and set the appropriate expectations, we can focus more on the content.


OAO Methodology


Ari mentioned the core methodology of OAO.

  1. Optimize
  2. Automate
  3. Outsource


Those 3 elements are key to making yourself replaceable.


You first need to know which processes you can make more efficient. That’s not just about being faster. It’s about making sure they are built in the right way to deliver the results you want fastest and at the lowest cost.


Once you optimize your processes, how can you automate them? Are there tech tools that will deliver the same result with less involvement from you? A text message autoresponder like the one Ari talked about in his tip might be one example.


But it’s not just as about tech tools. Are there ways you can set up an automated process that triggers actions from you or members of your team in such a way that you don’t need to spend much time thinking about it? Preserve that brain energy for things that matter and make a bigger difference in your business.


Finally — outsource. Once your processes are optimized and automated for your business or role, is there someone else who can take that over? Maybe it makes sense to hire another company or contractor to execute that task for you.


TedX Talk


Ari mentioned doing a TedX Talk as one of his earlier speaking endeavors. Here it is.



Managerial Economics 101


I mentioned the Manager Tools description of Managerial Economics 101. Here is their explanation of the concept.



Other Lessons for Speakers


There’s an important lesson for speakers here. At one level, it’s about how a speaker or trainer runs their independent business, or how we do the rest of our job if we have a role in a corporation.


At another level, it’s about the content of our talks. It’s easy to fill our talks with too much stuff — with too many details. We might do that because we want to share all the details. Or prove how knowledgeable we are. Or because we’re afraid to leave something out.


We sometimes do the same thing when crafting slides. We put too much on there because we love our content. Or we want to make sure it’s complete. Or because we think we should.


In reality, putting too much in a talk or too much on a slide is just as counterproductive as doing too much non-core work in our business.


If we overwhelm our audience we are less likely to land our actual message or point. If we don’t do that, what’s the point?




Ari’s Website


Ari’s Intro Course (The 3 Keys To Becoming Replaceable)


Ari on Twitter


The Art of Less Doing


The Replaceable Founder


The Less Doing Podcast


Ari on Medium


Ari on LinkedIn


Ari on Instagram


Ari on Facebook


Ari’s TedX Talk


Aris Talks to Jordan Bellfort




Managerial Economics 101


Genius Network



Call To Action



2-Minute Talk Tips is the public speaking podcast that help you become a more effective speaker in as little as 2 minutes a week.

Check out this episode!


Episode 069 -- Retired NBA Star Charlie Ward Shares his Stroke and Lifestyle

In this episode I talk with Heisman Trophy winner and retired professional basketball player Charlie Ward about his experience with Stroke last June while on a church mission trip to Mexico.

Charlie and I talk about the things in his life that led up to his stroke and the life style changes he's made to give himself the best chance to live a long, healthy, and stroke-free life.

After a spectacular multi-sport college athletic career, Charlie graduated in 1994 and joined the NBA. He play professional basketball from 94 thru 2005 when he retired due to injuries. He transitioned into coaching and now coaches basketball at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

The big lesson that comes out of this episode is that we have to take care of ourselves. We have to manage our diets, exercise more, and keep our stress levels under control. It's not complicated or fancy; we just have to do it.

And that's easy to forget until a crisis hits. Ineffective habits sneak up on us when we're not looking. We may plan to deal with them tomorrow because it doesn't feel like a big deal.

Remember, high blood pressure doesn't hurt; there's no pain. There's just damage until it's too late.

It often takes a crisis to move us to change, and even that's not enough.

Charlie's encounter with stroke in Ensenada Mexico was enough to drive that change. He got more consistent with his workouts. He changed his diet. He worked to reduce his stress while he takes his message and story to athletes and others around the country.

5 Things Charlie Teaches Athletes and Others

  1. Develop good eating habits.
  2. Always do your exercise.
  3. Minimize the stress in your life.
  4. Learn to recognize and respond to the signs of stroke (BE FAST)
  5. Get regular check ups to stay on top of your health.

Stroke symptom graphic


His Twitter Bio describes him simply:

Man of integrity. Heisman Trophy winner. Retired NBA athlete. Motivational speaker. Philanthropist. Coach. Mentor. Lover of One Woman.

Charlies web has a little more detail.

From CharlieWard.org

A waist up view of Charlie Ward as he stands in front of a city skylineCharlie Ward, Jr. is a husband, father, mentor and coach who embodies the principles of integrity, hard work and faith in God. He inspires adults and youth alike in the way he carries himself and how he shows up in the world. Described as a once-in-a-lifetime athlete and a once-in-a-lifetime human being, Charlie’s character and his commitment to serve others are deeply respected in the sports community and far beyond. His calm demeanor and powerful leadership message of preparation, perseverance and patience set strong examples for business leaders, organizations, students and families.

Following a nine-year career coaching high school football, Charlie was named head coach of The Florida State University School’s basketball team in Tallahassee, Florida in April 2018. He travels the country delivering his inspirational Charlie’s Chalk Talk motivational speeches. He also has a "Chalk Talk with Charlie" featured segment  every Thursday on  Fox 49’s Live in Tallahassee at 7pm and on https://www.facebook.com/LIVEINTALLAHASSEE where he gives in-depth sports analysis and talks about community events.

Listed among the most outstanding college athletes in modern history, Charlie, a two-sport athlete, was a stellar quarterback in football and an equally impressive point guard in basketball at Florida State University (FSU). During his senior year, he won over thirty awards, including the Heisman Trophy, set nineteen school and seven Atlantic Coast Conference records, subsequently leading the FSU Seminoles to their first-ever National Championship under legendary Coach Bobby Bowden. 

book cover of Charlie Ward's book, The Athlete

After graduating from FSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Charlie was drafted twice by Major League Baseball and was a first-round draft pick of the New York Knicks. He went on to play for the Knicks, helping the team reach the playoffs six consecutive years from 1996 to 2001. He played eleven seasons as a leading point guard in the NBA in New York, San Antonio, and Houston, and served as an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets for two years. 

Charlie Ward is a man whose greatness and grace know no bounds. He and his wife Tonja have been married for 23 years and they have three children, Caleb, Hope and Joshua. The Wards underwrote and produced youth development sports camps throughout the country from 1996 - 2006, and continue to quietly donate funds to churches and schools. In 2015, they officially founded the Charlie Ward Family Foundation to leave a legacy of giving back by supporting youth development programs and organizations, and sharing his inspirational message of embracing the process that leads to success. 

Hack of the Week

When it comes to switching to a vegan lifestyle or starting an exercise program, just do it. It may not be easy, but it really is that simple.

We have a tendency to over think things and put them off. In reality, what we need to do is just make a decision and take action. That action doesn't have to get us all the way there. But it's a start. And then we can do more the next day.

So when it comes to making better life choices, just do it.


Charlie's Website


Charlie's book: The Athlete


Charlie on Facebook


Charlie on Instagram


Montgomery Heart and Wellness


Learn about Afib


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 114 -- Speaking, Training, and ROI with John Rohe

2-Minute Tip — Remove Filler Words


Filler or crutch words are the bane of many a speaker’s existence. The ums, ahs, likes, verys, you knows, and more clutter up our talks and conversation so much we don’t even notice them. They waste time, annoy the audience and distract from your message. So get rid of them.


Easier said than done.


One technique is to have a friend or colleague listen to you practice your talk and ring a bell every time they hear a filler word. Once you actually know you are using them in real time, it becomes easier to eliminate them and relish the power of silence


Post Tip Discussion — Meet John Rohe


One of the terms you hear in the training field (and likely other education related fields as well) is the “sage on the stage.”


In describes the lecture format in many education contexts. The wise experts stands on the stage at the front of the room and imparts knowledge on to the lucky audience members. It’s one way communication, and it has its place, but can have a certain amount of arrogance associated with it.




John Rohe in a V-neck sweater looks off to his right in an office.

John Rohe is a speaker who eschews the lectern and the stage. He a speaker and trainer in both the commercial and ecclesiastical fields, and one of themes that comes through in the episode is the importance of humility with your audience.


John’s experience ranges from start-ups to established multi-billion dollar enterprises. John launched the cardiac marker proBNP for Roche Diagnostics and the first personalized health (test and drug) for osteoarthritis for Roche Pharma, Roche Diagnostics and GSK.


He also internationalized sales for RPS, revived sales of Procalcitonin for Thermo Fisher, grew Alere’s PT/INR home testing from $9 million to $25 million in 1 year and boosted equipment service contracts for BD.


John has taken products from R&D through FDA clearance and achieved CMS and other third-party reimbursement. He has implemented user friendly CRMs and automated quoting systems, and he integrated marketing collateral with sales force access. He has also been responsible for developing and implementing automated quoting and contracting systems.  


John’ Speaker Evaluation Checklist


  • Are they using filler words?
  • Do they appear to be knowledgeable about the material?
  • Are they speaking to the audience?
  • Are they looking down at their notes?
  • Are they reading slides to me?
  • Are they moving around?
  • Are they actively engaged with the audience?


Kirkpatrick Levels of Training Evaluation


  • How do the learners feel about their training experience?
  • How effectively did the learners acquire new skills or knowledge?
  • How effectively did the learners apply what they learned in training?
  • How effectively did the training ultimately meet its goals for the organization?


You can read more about the Kirkpatrick framework here. It’s a fascinating mental exercise.




Hycap Consulting


John’s Email


John on LinkedIn


John on Twitter


Kirkpatrick Model


Servant  Leadership with Lyle Tard


Caring and Connection with Richard Kauffman



Call To Action


2-Minute Talk Tips is the public speaking podcast that help you become a more effective speaker in as little as 2 minutes a week.

Check out this episode!


Episode 067 -- Post Stroke Emotional Health with Peter and Ria Evans

Peter and Ria Evans are back this week for a conversation about emotions, mood, reactions, depression, and more.

[caption id="attachment_632" align="alignleft" width="150"]Peter Evans Headshot Peter Evans[/caption]

You can hear more about their origin story (No, I'm not watching too many super hero movies. Why do you ask?) in episode 60.

We recently published Peter's article called Don’t Underestimate the Impact of Emotions on Stroke Recovery, which what kicked off this episode. You can read it here.

This time, we have less of an interview and more of a conversation. We dive deeper into the emotional challenges of life after stroke as we explore goal setting, depression, meditation and the importance of breaking out of negative patterns. We talk about some of the techniques we use to manage our moods and take control of our mindset.

[caption id="attachment_645" align="alignright" width="150"]Ria Evans Headshot Ria Evans[/caption]

There are a lot of things out of our control after a stroke; our emotional state doesn't have to be one of them. There are techniques we can use to manage our emotions. If our mood keeps getting away from us, professionals can help us learn appropriate tools or prescribe medication to help with the worst of it. The point is we have options, and we have choices. Our doctors can help.

Book Recommendations

Here are the books we referenced in this episode:

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, By Richard Hanson


Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of being appreciated? Because your brain evolved to learn quickly from bad experiences and slowly from good ones, but you can change this.

Life isn’t easy, and having a brain wired to take in the bad and ignore the good makes us worried, irritated, and stressed, instead of confident, secure, and happy. But each day is filled with opportunities to build inner strengths and Dr. Rick Hanson, an acclaimed clinical psychologist, shows what you can do to override the brain’s default pessimism.

Hardwiring Happiness lays out a simple method that uses the hidden power of everyday experiences to build new neural structures full of happiness, love, confidence, and peace. You’ll learn to see through the lies your brain tells you. Dr. Hanson’s four steps build strengths into your brain to make contentment and a powerful sense of resilience the new normal. In just minutes a day, you can transform your brain into a refuge and power center of calm and happiness.

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, By, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor


The astonishing New York Times bestseller that chronicles how a brain scientist's own stroke led to enlightenment

On December 10, 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven- year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist experienced a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. As she observed her mind deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life-all within four hours-Taylor alternated between the euphoria of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace, and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized she was having a stroke and enabled her to seek help before she was completely lost. It would take her eight years to fully recover.

For Taylor, her stroke was a blessing and a revelation. It taught her that by "stepping to the right" of our left brains, we can uncover feelings of well-being that are often sidelined by "brain chatter." Reaching wide audiences through her talk at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference and her appearance on Oprah's online Soul Series, Taylor provides a valuable recovery guide for those touched by brain injury and an inspiring testimony that inner peace is accessible to anyone.

My Stroke of Insight TED Talk



Advice from Ria

Ria mention 2 simple ways to break a negative thought patterns.

  1. Talk to yourself
  2. Hug your pillow

Sometimes the simplest ideas can have the most impact.

Hack of the Week

I type 30 wpm with one hand these days. One reason I can do it is because I have sticky keys enabled on my Windows computer. With Sticky Key, I don't have to hold shift or control while I press another key. I can just tap them. This is a great Windows Accessibility feature.

To learn more about Sticky Keys and see how to enable it, play this video:


Where do we go from here?

  • So what are your strategies for dealing with emotions? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Visit Strokecast.com/Peter to read Peter's latest article about post-stroke emotion or listen to my previous conversation with Peter and Ria.
  • Subscribe to Strokecast for free in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.
  • Don't get best…Get better


Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 068 -- Remembering Mark French

Last July, Mark French joined me on Strokecast to share his stroke story and talk about his new film, A Teachable Moment. It tells the stories of four Washington, DC, area stroke survivors as they navigate the new world of stroke recovery. Mark was one of the featured survivors, as was Anne Daily who I spoke with in Episode 14 about making the shift key her bitch.

Mark French With the text, " I should have stopped and walked right into that hospital but I did not recognize the signs."It also features doctors and fantastic animations that explain stroke in a simple and understandable way.

The film is an hour long and available on Amazon Prime Video. You can learn more at http://ATeachableMoment.Film.

Mark had his severe hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes in May of 2015 caused by AFib (or Atrial Fibrillation) and went on to make an amazing recovery.

Four years to the day, in May of 2019, he suffered another stroke (or series of strokes). Sadly, this time he didn't make it.

My heart goes out to the French family, the team at LAI Video (here's their tribute to Mark), and all the folks who made A Teachable Moment possible.


I don't know all the details; from outward appearances, Mark was doing everything right. Sometimes, that's not enough. Even among folks here are doing everything right, there are still strokes. Roughly 20% of strokes have no known cause. Roughly 20% are also fatal.

Stroke is not a vaccine; getting one doesn't guarantee you won't have another.

For those of us who survive, and those around the survivor, stroke e a powerful wake up call. Our time on this Earth is limited. And we don't know when our time is up.

What are you going to do with your remaining days?

This episode is largely a clip show. I went back to my conversation with Mark from last summer and pulled out some key things he said that I feel get to the heart of his story, his message, and his legacy of driving Stroke awareness.

A Teachable Moment Trailer



Stroke symptom graphic


Hack of the week

With use of only one hand, getting ice cubes out of an ice cube tray can be difficult.

My new strategy is to grab the end of the tray with my usable hand and smack the bottom on the counter. It may take 2 or 3 tries, but this usually pops the ice cubes free. Then I can lift them out with my fingers.


LAI Remembers Mark French


A Teachable Moment


What is AFib?


Stroke Smart Article on A Teachable Moment


LAI Video on Twitter


Mark French on Strokecast


Anne Dailey  on Strokecast


Request a Screening


Where do we go from here?

  • Next time you use an ice cube to chill a beverage, raise a glass to Mark French and all the others taken from us too soon by stroke.
  • Check out LAI Video's tribute to Mark here.
  • Talk to your Doctor about AFib and other risk factors.
  • Watch and share A Teachable Moment with other folks you know so more people can benefit from Mark's legacy.
  • Don't get best…get better.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 113 — Servant Leadership with Lyle Tard

2-Minute Tip — Tempo


When things are going well or smoothly we often talk about being in a state of flow. We feel it in music; we feel it when we’re writing code; we feel it when we’re doing needlepoint; and we feel it on stage when we speak.


Part of what drives that rhythm is finding the right tempo, or pace, for ourselves and hour talk.


Tempo goes beyond just finishing on time (though that’s important, too). It’s about honing in on the natural way that you talk. If you naturally talk fast, that may be fine. I you talk fast because you’re nervous, then that’s something to worry about.


The length of your sentences, the words you choose, your phrasing, etc., all impacts your tempo.


When you find yourself giving a talk that just “feels right,” ask yourself what you were doing in that talk. Ideally you recorded it so you can go back and listen to it again a figure out what made it smooth.


You probably found your tempo. And when that happens, don’t fight it — lean into it. Embrace your tempo.


Your speech can also have its own tempo, separate from the speaker. Different content will lend itself to different pacing. Talks may rise and fall emotionally depending on where you are in it. The energy level shouldn’t be the same throughout; let it fluctuate as the content dictates.


Ultimately you want the tempo of you as a speaker to be in line with the tempo of your talk. If you can’t get there, then rethink that talk.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Lyle Tard


Back in college on the debate team I found my performance in competition rose or fell to the level of my competitors. The value in competing against a really awesome team was that it would draw out the best in my performance.


That was my experience in today’s conversation with speaker, trainer, Podcaster, Servant Leader, and Airforce Technical Sergeant Lyle Tard. His enthusiasm and energy is contagious.



Lyle Tard headshot

Lyle Tard is the Founder and CEO of IMPACT Servant Leadership, started in 2018. He is currently entering his 19th year as a Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force and serves his country while still on active duty at the 305 Maintenance Group at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst as the Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of Training Management.


During his Air Force career, he has been all over the world, from Europe to the Pacific Islands and everywhere in between. Among his accomplishments are honors such as Non-Commissioned Officer of the Quarter and Lance P. Sijan Leadership Award – Non-Commissioned Officer Tier. He has guided the careers of more than 10,000 Airman from civilian to military life, leading them in cutting edge training of their newly developed skills. He previously managed the Community College of the Air Force program at the United States Expeditionary Center’s school, touching the lives of more than 43,000 military and civilian members annually just before his current posting.


As a communicator, Lyle has spoken worldwide inside and out of the military community. He has motivated young adults at institutions such as Atlanta Leadership College, American University and Harvard Business School. Just as in the Air Force, Lyle takes pride in leading the next generation of world changers. From universities to businesses to churches, Lyle’s passion is to influence the world to realize that “Leaders lead best when they serve.” IMPACT Servant Leadership aims to transition our most impactful areas of society to realize that achieving power with others is more beneficial socially and economically than asserting power over others. Lyle is also the primary moderator of the Service is Power podcast, spreading the message that “The Power to Serve, Serves us All.”


Along with his wife of 14 years, Sherrell and his two children, Alycea and Ethan, Lyle has served as the Youth Pastor at Gulf Coast City Church in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, Missions Director at National Community Church, Washington D.C. and Lead Elder of Lighthouse International Ministries in Brunssum, Netherlands.


Gain From Our Perspective


Lyle found inspiration in the slogan of Franklin Templeton Investments. Here is one of their commercials.


Episode 13 of Service is Power


Lyle talked about how his guests surprised him in Episode 13 of the Service is Power podcast. Here is that episode




I found Lyle’s description of training in the military particularly interesting. It’s a model based on simulating the experience as much as practical since in the real world lives, millions of dollars in equipment, and US foreign policy are all on the line and dependent on that training kicking in when it’s needed.


Obviously, most corporate trainers do not face the same stakes, but our work may take us closer than we think. The way our learners do their jobs can impact millions of dollars of business, the jobs of their coworkers, and the health or safety of colleagues and customers.


eLearning and stand-up lectures can be part of the training solution, but ultimately we need to get our learners as close to the actual real world work as much as possible.


Go Make a Thing


As you probably noticed in the conversation, I also like how Lyle started his podcast on Servant Leadership. He went looking for content for himself, found it didn’t exist, so he created it. It’s the origin behind my Strokecast, too.


If there’s a resource you are looking for that you can’t find, go ahead and create it. You will help others, and you’re likely to learn a lot in the process, too.




Lyle’s Website


Lyle’s Podcast


Lyle on Twitter


Lyle on LinkedIn


Lyle’s Email


Lyle’s Other Email


Service is Power Podcast Episode 13Show Notes


Service is Power Podcast Episode 13 Audio


The Speaker Lab Podcast (Grant Baldwin)


Franklin Templeton — Gain From Our Perspective



Call To Action


  • Is there something you want to learn more about or that you are passionate about? Try creating content about it for other people.
  • Explore the work Lyle is doing at http://ImpactServantLeadership.com
  • Subscribe to the Servant Leader Podcast and 2-Minute Talk Tips in your favorite podcast app for free so you never miss an episode
  • Don’t get best…get better.


2-Minute Talk Tips is the public speaking podcast that help you become a more effective speaker in as little as 2 minutes a week.

Check out this episode!


Episode 066 -- 2018 AHA Outstanding Caregiver Charlene Hayward

When Steve had a massive stroke out in the wilds of Colorado, his determination to survive got him to the point where he could get help. Charlene, his wife and now caregiver demonstrated the same work ethic and fortitude in the weeks and months following his stroke.

Stroke spouses, partners, and caregivers are amazing, and this is Charlene's story.


Charlene Hayward portraitCharlene Hayward is a native of Colorado, a mountainous region in the middle of the US.

Growing up, her family did lots of outdoor activities: camping, hiking, water skiing, and snowmobiling to name a few.
Charlene and Steve got married at her parents’ cabin in Grand Lake, Colorado, and have stayed true to their “mountain roots”. They love the mountains and will be moving there full time in just a short while.
They have two amazing daughters that are at the center of their lives. Last January Charlene and Steve became the proud grandparents of a little boy and are over the moon seeing pictures and videos of him weekly!
For the most part, Charlene enjoys the weather in Colorado and loves being outside. She likes to read, go for walks, and visit with old friends. She is a swimming and diving official in the summer, and for high school, college, and masters levels as well. It is truly her passion!


In 2018, Charlene received the Outstanding Caregiver of the year RAISE award from the American Heart Association. They describe the program like this:

The Raising Awareness in Stroke Excellence (RAISE) Awards annually recognize individuals and groups from across the country for taking stroke awareness activities to new heights. Awards are given in several categories and recognize people engaged in community-level awareness activities directly supporting the National Stroke Association’s mission.

Here's part of how they tell Charlene's story:

Charlene’s story is so unique that a local television station featured her and Steve as part of a National Stroke Awareness Month feature. Her advice? Never give up and look for the blessings in disguise. Charlene is a strong, fierce and determined wife, mother and caregiver.

You can read more here.

Stroke Life Hack

Motivational quotes can help with mindset. They can help with mindset, and they can help us break out of negative thought cycles. There are many things we can't control in our lives and recoveries. So when we have the opportunity to give ourselves an edge for a while, let's take it.

Here are the 3 quotes Charlene referenced.

From Derek Jeeter, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”

From John Lennon: “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

And the one that guides her whole life is simply:
“Never give up!”

What quotes do you find inspiration from?

Where do we go from here?

  • If you'd like to reach out to Charlene or congratulate her on her RAISE award from the American Heart Association, let us know in the comments below.
  • Share this episode with a caregiver you know by giving them the link http://Srrokecast.com/Charlene.
  • Subscribe to Strokecast in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.
  • Don't get best, get better

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 112 — Caring, Connection, and Touch with Richard Kauffman

2-Minute Tip: Caring is key


People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.


As with so many strategies for success in speaking, it often comes down to the audience. How well do you know them? How well do you connect with them?


Most importantly, do they trust you?


Try to connect with the audience and make them feel you care and are listening to them and their concerns. Once you have established that level of rapport, they are much more likely to believe you when you speak to them.


Post-Tip Discussion: Meet Richard Kauffman


I do have a content warning for this episode. We do talk about both suicide and addiction. It’s a big part of Richard’s history and the journey of recovery he’s on today.


Richard Kauffman is a member of an elite group. He joins Nursepreneur Catie Harris (Http://2minutetalktips.com/Catie and Http://Strokecast.com/Catie) as only the second guest to appear on both 2-Minute Talk Tips and Strokecast.


I originally spoke with Richard in August of 2018 in Episode 29 of Strokecast about his experience surviving an ocular stroke when he was wounded in combat. Over the past year his projects and initiatives have grown quite a bit. He’s doing more work to help people than ever before.


Compassion and Caring


The theme that runs through this episode is about compassion and connection. It’s about connecting with your audience, connecting with individuals, allowing folks to truly talk with you, and enhancing that connection through the power of touch.



Richard Kauffman headshot in a car wearing a cap


Richard brands himself as #TheComebackCoach, helping people comeback from life challenges many thought they might not survive.


Richard Kaufman has had a fascinating life. At various points he has been…


  • An addict
  • Homeless
  • In the Army
  • Wounded in a Humvee
  • A retail salesperson
  • A survivor of an ocular stroke
  • A Podcaster
  • A speaker
  • And #TheComebackCoach


Richard’s book is available on Amazon. Just search for A Hero’s Journey.. From Darkness to light or click here.


Babe — Styx





Call to Action


Whether you’re selling time shares, connecting with a support group, or presenting to a thousand people, compassion and connection are how you can be effective with your audience.


  • If you want to hear more from Richard, visit Strokecast.com/Richard to hear our previous conversation
  • Check out the list above to see Richard’s links, podcast, website, and find his book on Amazon.
  • Subscribe to 2-Minute Talk Tips for free in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode
  • Don’t get best…get better.

Check out this episode!


Episode 065 -- Meet Neuro Nerd Joe Borges

When I had my stroke I was already a big fan of the podcast medium. I already had another show at that point. 2-Minute Talk Tips was up around episode 23 in June 2017. So as I began my journey to learn all about neurology by looking for Stroke related podcasts. I found only a couple of shows at first -- The Enable Me show from Australia and The Slow Road to Better from Vienna, Virginia (who ultimately appeared on this show, too). Eventually, I found a couple more and you can see a list at Strokecast.com/otherpodcasts. The lack of shows led me to start Strokecast to be the resource I wished I had 6 months earlier.

It turns out Joe Borges was thinking something similar at roughly the same time. A couple weeks after Strokecast started, Joe and his cohost Lauren, launched Neuro Nerds, a podcast by a stroke survivor and a TBI survivor sharing their journey, the journeys of their brain buddies, and celebrations of all things nerdy -- stroke related or not. I originally found the Neuro Nerds through the Stromies, a group of stroke survivors in Nebraska who are three awesome women who appeared on this show in December at Strokecast.com/Stromies.

And in the process, I've become a fan of Joe and Lauren.


Banner for Neuro Nerds featuring Joe and LaurenJoe So Rocks.

In case you didn’t know.

He’s worn various hats from retail store owner to artist manager to business consultant, but after suffering a major hemorrhagic stroke in August 2016, he’s been on a journey of self-discovery and seeking out what truly gives him joy in life.

Some new hats he’s trying on include writer, comedian, host, guy who now goes to the gym, world traveler and he’s always trying on more. He’s on a mission to create a life worthy of the gift he was given when he survived his stroke.

For his opinions and views on life, stroke survival, mind/body transformation, nerd culture, films, pop culture and everything in between, check out his blog on a weekly basis for new stories and articles.

Whether you read it or not, Joe’s still going to have a laugh because 90% of what he says is for his own entertainment.

A note on Star Wars

One more important note before we get started here: I screwed up the name of the new Star Wars movie. It's The Rise of Skywalker, not the Last Skywalker like I said. I hang my nerd head in shame. Can I just blame stroke related neurofatigue?

Anyway, here's the trailer. Are you as excited as we are?



Hack of the Week

Headphones make a big difference.

Many stroke survivors can suffer from sensory overload due to the stroke. Their brains may not have the resources to process all the sounds in the environment. It makes sense if you think about it. A lot of what the brain does all day is ignore sensory input. All the background noise of traffic, humming refrigerators, chatty conference halls, computer fans and more is always coming into our heads. The brain has to triage it all -- what's important and what can it throw out.

And it's tiring. Especially after a stroke.

Joe recommends headphones most of the time. You don't even need to be playing music or Neuro Nerds or Strokecast episodes through them. Just wear them to block out sounds you don't need to hear so your brain doesn't waste the energy it takes to ignore those sounds

Special Thanks

And special thanks to Felice LaZae, podcast engineer, caregiver and partner to Joe, and rock star who recorded Joe's side of the conversation for me. Seriously, it was of the highest quality pieces of audio anyone has sent me. Check out FeliceLaZae.con to learn more about her work and hear samples of her music.

BE FAST Warning Signs

Print, post, share, and learn:

Stroke symptom graphic



Neuro Nerds Podcast


Joe So Rocks Website


Joe on Twitter


NeuroNerds on Twitter


Neuro Nerds on Facebook


You So Rock on Facebook


Neuro Nerds on YouTube


Neuro Nerds on Instagram


Neuro Nerds on Patreon


Warped Factors: A Neurotic's Guide to the Universe (Walter Koenig)






The Hero's Journey


The Stromies


The Stromies on Strokecast


Maggie Whittum's Film


Maggie Whittum on Strokecast


Unmasking Brain Injury


Felice LaZae on the web


Enable Me Podcast


The Slow Road to Better


The Slow Road to Better on Strokecast


Where do we go from here?

  • Explore more from Joe and the community at the various links above
  • Subscribe to NeuroNerds and Strokecast for free in your favorite podcast app.
  • Are there any other Stroke podcasts you listen to? Let us know about it in them in the comments below.
  • Don't get best…get better.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 064 -- Decisions, Decisions With Caregiver Melia Wilkinson

On this show, we've talked to plenty of stroke survivors and stroke industry professionals, but not nearly enough caregivers. I'm thrilled to bring more of these folks, like Melia Wilkinson to your ears.

A lot of the focus in stroke recovery is about how life is different for the survivor, but it's not just about us. Our spouses, partners, and families have their lives turned upside down, too. They find themselves thrust into a role in an instant -- a role they never signed up for. Suddenly their financial and career future is also changed. Years of planning for the future are suddenly out the window.

Melia lived through those changes 5 years ago and continues to do so today. She's been sharing her story in a series of guest posts on the Strokecast website to help folks understand what happens in the care model after a stroke.

You can read all of Melia's posts over at http://Strokecast.com/Melia.

Decisions, Decisions

As I listen to Melia's story, the recurrent them is about making decisions. There are a lot of decisions caregivers make in the early days and in the months that follow. They range from the big ones like end of life care or where to go to therapy to the small ones, like what to have for dinner. And decision fatigue is a challenge.

Steve Jobs always wore his black turtleneck. Mark Zuckerberg is known for his t-shirt and hoodie uniform (among a couple other things). These big household names chose wardrobes that meant not having to make decisions about what to wear every day. Each decision we make in a day takes energy. And they wanted to save the energy because they have to make much better and more important decisions later in the day. And so do you. And so do caregivers like Melia.

That's one reason it's so important for our caregivers to get adequate rest. Rest and self-care aren't indulgences. They're essential to adequately care for survivors and make the best decisions possible.

It's just like they tell you at the start of every airplane flight while we're all busy ignoring the safety demo -- you've got to put your own mask on before helping others.


Melia and Kerry Wilkinson stand outside a houseMelia Wilkinson anchors her family of three as they move through recovery after her husband's massive stroke in 2014.  She grew up in Maryland and has a degree in economics, which she has never used.  Immediately after college, she spent a year in Japan teaching English and learning that she didn't want to be a teacher.

She and her husband met on the East Coast but eventually moved to the Pacific Northwest for his job in computer games - and for the great coffee!

She had a robust career first in nonprofit and then in retail marketing before landing in sales after their daughter was born.  The flexibility of sales served her well as a mom and even better as a caregiver.

While knowing very little about strokes, neuro recovery or even blood pressure, Melia quickly became an expert and an advocate and has strong opinions on how we can better help caregivers and fine tune and personalize therapy for stroke survivors.

She and her family are lifelong nerds enjoying Emerald City Comic Con, Doctor Who and anything to do with a super hero.  Watching her husband thrive and her daughter prosper does allow her to see the real heroes in her life and makes the hard days better.

Stroke Awareness Month

May is stroke awareness month. And while recent stories about the deaths of John Singleton and Luke Perry are on our minds, and we've gotten to read the amazing story of stroke survivor and Game of Thrones star Emelia Clarke, there is still an opportunity for many people to learn more.

So, for this month, consider sharing the BEFAST warning signs for stroke on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, office bulletin board, side of your car, email signature, or other communication medium. Or do something radical like talk to people in person. We want as many people as possible to recognize the signs of stroke as soon as possible because time lost is brain lost.

When someone gets to the ambulance quickly, it makes a huge difference. We saw that in Anne Dailey's story in episode 14 and we hear that again today from Melia Wilkinson.

One reason I have my disabilities today is that I woke up with symptoms so I couldn't get treatment like tpA. It makes a difference.

BEFAST refers to Balance, Eyes, Face, Arms, Speech, and time for an ambulance. Sudden loss of balance, vision issues, facial droop, arm droop, or speech challenges are all signs that a stroke is happening now. Call emergency services and get an ambulance immediately.

Stroke symptom graphic

Make sure everyone around you is aware because stroke can happen to anyone.

Hack of the Week

If you travel occasionally, keep a bag packed with travel gear. In Melia's case this includes a portable bed rail, meal tray, accessible toilet seat, and a portable CPAP machine for her husband. This way they don't have to unpack, repack, and remember things each trip.

Prestroke, when I was a frequent flyer, I had a second set of toiletries and charging cables already in a suitcase so they were already to go and I didn't have to worry about forgetting things. It really simplifies packing and travel.


Melia's articles on Strokecast


Melia on Twitter


Anne Dailey on Strokecast


Emelia Clarke's New Yorker article


John Singleton's death


Luke Perry's death


My thoughts on Luke Perry


Kate Lorig on Building Better Caregivers on Strokecast



Where do we go from here?

  • Check out all of Melia's Strokecast content at Strokecast.com/Melia.
  • Share your comments or thoughts on this conversation, or reach out to Melia, in the comments below.
  • Subscribe to Strokecast for free in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode
  • If you're a survivor, thank your caregivers
  • Don't get best…get better

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast