Ep 136 -- Be Brave and Commit with Heather Vickery

2-Minute Tip: Be Your True and Honest Self


We talk a lot about authenticity because it matters. And while it may seem daunting, it can actually make things easier. When you don’t try to fake it, you don’t waste brain cycles and energy trying to maintain a fa├žade.


There are 3 questions to ask yourself when you prepare to talk to an audience:


  1. Who are you really?
  2. What do you have to offer your audience?
  3. What do you have to gain from the experience?


Integrate this framework into your prep work to put yourself on the path to success.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Heather Vickery


“Man up,” is a phrase I don’t like. Most folks understand it to mean that it’s time to just do something that’s hard or that you’re afraid to do it.


But obviously, it’s sexist. It implies that being afraid to do things is womanly and doing the tough stuff despite fear is manly.


I prefer the exhortation to, “Fortify!” instead of “man up.” Sometimes you do need to muster all your energy and willpower to accomplish something tough. “Fortify” captures that spirit without insulting a significant portion of your audience.


I’m thinking about this today because today’s guest is host of The Brave Files podcast, personal coach, speaker, author, and musical theater enthusiast, Heather Vickery. Heather often finds herself telling clients, “So what? Do it scared.”




Heather Vickery stands against a stone wall in a flowery dress

Heather Vickery is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, keynote speaker, business owner, and transformational coach. But Heather isn’t just a savvy businesswoman − she’s an inspiration.


The founder of Vickery and Co., Heather helps organizations build an environment of honoring “The Whole Employee” so that they have empowered team members, happier clients, higher retention and make more money!


Heather is a featured expert on achieving an authentic and meaningful life and designing your own roadmap for balance and success.


A mother of four, Heather’s world turned upside down after a major life transformation and divorce, suddenly, she had the freedom to be her most authentic self. She discovered that this same authenticity empowered her with the confidence she needed to repair, rebuild, and reach her life’s vision and goals. Today, Heather leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment. Through her story of personal bravery, perseverance, and resilience, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and meaningful lives. A strong believer in strengthening her community, Heather also serves as vice president for The Children’s School and as a board member for the About Face Theatre, Chicago’s premiere LGBTQ theatre.


Heather is the executive producer and host of The Brave Files Podcast featuring real stories from people living courageously.


Heather is the author of “Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus.”


She works with people all around the globe to help them build Brave and empowered life’s.


Heather’s Speaker Demo





It’s great that I get to share Heather’s conversation this week. As I write this we are just a few days away from the Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States.


Giving thanks and expressing gratitude is an important life skill, and on December 3, Heather can help with that.


Heather’s new book, Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families will be released on December 3rd.


This book is designed to help you create intentional and impactful conversations with kids about gratitude. Doing so will lead to life-changing habits that increase their own happiness and wellbeing and give you delightful quality time together.


The second edition of Heather’s earlier book, Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus is also available.  This beautiful journal offers space to record gratitude, personal wins (high fives), and 180 unique prompts to help you connect with gratitude in unique and often surprising ways.


What I think is important about these books is that the focus isn’t just on being grateful because it’s the right moral, ethical, or spiritual thing to do. Heather talks about gratitude as something that is good for you. It raises your spirits and helps you feel better.


These can be great presents for various holiday events, or they can even help you kick start a gratitude practice for yourself or your kids as we approach the time for New Year’s resolutions.




Heather’s Website


Heather’s Podcast — The Brave Files


Heather on Twitter


Heather on LinkedIn


Heather on Facebook


Heather on YouTube


Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families


Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus



Call To Action


  • Don’t, “Man up.” Fortify instead.
  • Check out Heather’s Brave Files podcast and books at the links above.
  • Share this episode with one other pers0n by giving them the link http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/Heather.
  • Don’t get best…get better.


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

Check out this episode!


Ep 093 -- The Grace of Stroke with Vince Holland

There is beauty in social media. Not in the trolling, harassment, or fake news it too often promotes, but in the connections it facilitates.

My work on the show and Instagram brought me in contact with Vince Holland. This week, he shares his perspective on stroke and recovery.


Vince Holland looks straight at the camera in this headshot.

Vince Holland was a busy many. He worked 2 jobs and was raising a family.  He approached everything with a go go go attitude. He lifted weights, kept his weight under control, watched his blood pressure — basically did everything you’re supposed to do to prevent a stroke.

Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, it wasn’t enough in his case.

On July 4, 2016, he found himself laying on his parents’ kitchen floor while his Navy Corpsman brother worked to assess his condition. He had suffered a cryptogenic, ischemic stroke. That means a blood clot appeared in his brain, and doctors still have no idea how it happened.

And thus began his new life.

Three key lessons


If you suspect someone is having a stroke, call an ambulance. Do not drive yourself or them to the hospital. Even if you think an ambulance might take longer, remember that triage will happen in that ambulance, and treatment can start in that ambulance. And when you get to the ER, you don’t have to start triage there surrounded by other patients.

Also, if you call an ambulance, they can drive you or the person you called about to the right hospital and avoid wasting time going to a hospital that may not be able to treat the stroke properly and promptly.


There is tremendous power in goal setting. Vince talked about how valuable goals were for his recovery and how they can still support it. Goal setting has been a big theme recently on this show. Last week, I talked with Restorative Therapies about how their gear can measure progress towards goals. A few weeks ago, I talked about both e the importance of the Quantified Self, and how to set SMART Goals.


Vince talked about the grace of the stroke. Joe from Neuro Nerds talked about his stroke as a blessing. Jan Douglas named her book, A Wonderful Stroke of luck. In “Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember,” Christine Lee said about her stroke that she, “learned to accept that bad events do not have to remain bad events.”

It’s not an uncommon refrain, though I know many survivors don’t feel the same way. The point is good can come from this trauma. Hope can come from this trauma. A new life can come from this trauma.

No one is recommending that someone go have a stroke to improve their lives. That would be a terrible idea. But once we’ve been through this maelstrom, we have to stop and ask, “What now?” What do I do with this new life I have ahead of me? What can I learn and grow from this? And how can I live my best life going forward.

Hack of the Week

Use whatever tools you have available to supplement your memory. These days, you don’t need to have a great memory. Calendar and Notes apps on smart phones are great. So are digital assistants like Siri or Google Assistant.

Cameras in phones are also under appreciated. From pictures of your license plate or parking spot, to the door of the appointment your supposed to go to the empty spice bottle you need from the grocery store, taking pictures of things you need to remember can be invaluable.


Vince Holland on Instagram


Vince Holland on Twitter


Vince Holland on Snapchat


Vince Holland On The Stromies’ Blog


Ram Dasss


Stroke Comeback Center


Slow Road to Better on Strokecast


Christine Lee on Strokecast


Joe Borges on Strokecast


Jan Douglas on Strokecast




Quantified Self


Restorative Therapies on Strokecast


The Stromies on Strokecast


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


Ep 092 -- FES for Stroke Survivors

Olivia and Emilee were my two, awesome inpatient OTs a couple years ago, and we stayed in touch after I left the hospital.

One day, Olivia told me about the amazing new $40K rehab bike they just got. They were getting great results with patients. It’s too bad my stroke didn’t happen a year later.

The new device was the RT300. It combines therapy, eStim, and data with exercise to help patients improve their core, their leg use, their arm use, or all three at once.

So Olivia put me in touch with Restorative therapies.


The brain controls the muscles and makes us move by sending electrical signals through our nerves with various chemical processes. After stroke the brain may no longer be able to do that to certain muscles. That’s how we get paralysis, hemiparesis, and all sorts of similar issues.

That also means that we can bypass the brain and move those muscles by sending an electrical signal directly to the nerves at the muscle to stimulate them to make them move. This is great because movement is important to both health and recovery.

And that’s what eStim does.

The most popular eStim for Stroke survivors is TENS. This is the type I used in the hospital and later at home. I attach a couple electrodes to my affected arm, and for 30 minutes, my hand will open and close. Or my wrist will go up and down. Or I’ll do something with my shoulder.

Combining eStim with exercise is great therapy and promotes recovery.

And the units cost about $40 on Amazon.

FES is the type of eStim you’ll find in the Bioness products and the WalkAide. These devices use eStim to prevent foot drop and replace an AFO. The user wears it strapped below the knee as they walk, and it stimulates the muscle that lifts your foot as you walk.

I tried them both and had some good results with the WalkAide. At $5,000, though, it didn’t make enough of a change in my life to justify buying it.

IFES is the technology Restorative Therapies uses in their RT300 bike and Xcite treatment device. The use eStim on up to 12 muscles at once in a specific, timed pattern to accomplish a task. It’s complex, but it can help the brain relearn to do these things in the future.

Restorative Therapies Team

Jim Janicki Headshot

Jim Janicki is the President and CEO of Restorative Therapies. Jim has an extensive management background in sales, R&D,  and operations in the chemical, medical, diagnostic, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries. He joined Restorative Therapies in 2018.

Wendy Warfield headshot

Wendy Warfield is the Clinical Education Manager. She makes sure that patients, therapists, physicians, and researchers understand how to most effectively use the Restorative Therapies devices. Wendy is well-suited for this role . She began working at an Occupational Therapist in 2003, and bring that survivor focused perspective to the work that she does.

Me and the xCite

Some weeks back, I got to try the xCite. I got to work with the reps Stephanie and Michael when they visited the Seattle areas.

Unlike the bike, the Xcite is only for clinical use. It features a series of preprogrammed activities like reaching for a water bottle or brushing your hair. It fires the nerves in sequence so the muscles do what they need to do for me to complete the act.

Here are some pictures and a video from my experience.

Stroke Stories

On another note, Stroke Stories, a UK podcast focused on, well, stroke survivor stories, featured my story on episode 50. You can listen to it here:

The show mostly features UK survivors, but more recently has been including folks from other parts of the worlds. I enjoy listening for the wide range of folks the bring on the show.

It’s also different from other podcasts in that it features a narrator rather than a host and a guest. Basically, the person who interviewed me does not appear in the show. His job was to help me tell my story and get out of the way. In that respect, it’s more like a radio show.

Definitely check it out and add it to the list of podcasts you regularly listen to.

Hack of the Week

Wendy’s hack for us is to keep moving. Movement is important to recovery. It keeps the muscles and tendons healthy and flexible. It’s important for cardio vascular exercise.

Getting the appropriate exercise helps with heart health, blood pressure, and can reduce the risk of another stroke.

Even if we have physical limitations today, moving as much as possible makes future recovery more realistic.

While some exercises may be better than others, you don’t have to get caught up in details. The important thing is to just keep moving.


Restorative Therapies on the web


Restorative Therapies on Twitter


Restorative Therapies on Instagram


Restorative Therapies on YouTube


Restorative Therapies on LinkedIn


Restorative Therapies on Facebook


Kennedy Krieger Institute






TENS on Amazon


Emilee on Strokecast


Lana Malovana on Strokecast


Dr. Shah and Sentinel Healthcare


Lauren Sheehan on Strokecast






Jim janicki on LinkedIn


Stroke Stories Podcast


Bill on Stroke Stories


Where do we go from here?

  • To learn more about the RT300 bike, the Xcite device, or Restorative Therapies, check out their website at  https://restorative-therapies.com/.
  • Ask your PT or OT about their thoughts on IFES.
  • Share this episode with someone in your life by giving them the link http://Strokecast.com/RSI
  • Subscribe to Strokecast and Stroke Stories 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


Ep 135 -- Connecting with the Ambassador of Happiness

2-Minute Tip — Connect with Your Audience


Before speaking, meet your audience members. In a small meeting, maybe that means greeting them as they come in to the conference room. At a larger event, that may mean mingling with attendees in the venue.


By meeting with some of your attendees before you speak, you start to build a connection and a more personal relationship. It can make your audience instantly more friendly to you as a result.


It can also give you Valuable information about things that are on the audience’s minds that you may be able to incorporate into your talk. There are all sorts of valuable things that can come from those connections.


Additionally, it can help distract you from your own nerves in the lead up to your talk.


Maura Sweeney — The Ambassador of Happiness


Maura Sweeney is the world’s Ambassador of Happiness. She has built a career around speaking as part of traditional corporate roles she’s held and later as an entrepreneur.


The recurring theme in this episode is connection — how you connect with your audience on a personal level and the importance of connecting your message with your stories. Those connections all need to be internally consistent find success and happiness in public speaking.




AuthorPodcaster, and International Speaker, Maura Sweeney has transformed her own mantra of “Living Happy – Inside Out” to become a global influencer.


A former corporate manager and home schooling mom transitioned again at age 50 to make her life long goal a reality. Today, she brings uplift and unity to an often disempowered and divided world.


A former HuffPost columnist who has traveled to 60 countries, Maura was first called the Ambassador of Happiness by the UNESCO Center for Peace when invited to speak at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Day celebration. Since then, she’s trademarked her title and become a popular media guest featured on hundreds of media outlets in the U.S., Europe, Africa and Australia.


Maura has lectured on Influence and Leadership at universities, leadership conferences, women’s organizations, Model UN’s and several American Embassy outposts. In 2018, she was named Women of the Decade at the Women Economic Forum held in The Hague. Maura Sweeney’s genuine and first-hand approach empowers others of every background to become their finest version of self and helps us see what’s best in us all.


Maura just released an ecourse for Personal Leadership, Happiness and Authenticity on the Ingomu Learning Platform.





Call To Action


  • So check out Maura’s books, podcast, and more. You can find all those links above
  • Connect with someone in your life by giving them the link http://2MinuteTalkTips.com/Maura
  • 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.


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

Check out this episode!